Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/29/09 - 10/31/09

Grandma passed away/funeral
Totaled car
Missed concert of one of my favorite bands
Lost girl

They say "bad things always happen in 3's." Well, yes, and sometimes they happen in 4's. The past few they've sucked. A lot. Last night, I couldn't help but laugh at the whole thing. It seemed like the plot of some overly dramatic indie movie.

A while ago, on this very blog, I pointed out that "Our beautiful world is injected with negativity on a daily basis. I feel the need to fill it with as much bliss and positivity as possible." (February 28, 2009)
So since then, I've made it a point to write about all of the beauty in the world.
It's turned into a way of life, a way of seeing and interpreting things on a daily basis. If I had feathered graying hair and a cheesy headshot, I could write a motivational book on it. It's been that life-altering.

10/29/09-10/31/09 really put this idea to the test.

But I found myself looking at the light in each situation. I prayed months, weeks, days for my grandma to have "peace as she lived out her last days". It was answered directly as she passed away in her sleep early Thursday morning. I prayed for "peace and understanding" as I had to say goodbye to chances of a relationship with the girl I had been interested in for nearly half a year. While driving to Louisville this notion finally set in. I didn't want to accept it. I still had hope. But before I knew it tears were unwillingly welling up in my eyes. I let myself have this moment. My disposition changed when I saw the beautiful clear night sky above me. There was something, someone else present. I felt a hand on my shoulder encouraging me to breathe. My weary overly analytical mind was turned off and I was able to see the beauty outside the window.
"Some day
Some happy day
Some day I'll find
The one with eyes that say those words I cannot find" (A. Bird)...
I sung to myself.

Louisville offered a chance to get away from it all. I was at the mercy of the changing leaves of the city's towering autumn trees and the company of my best friend. We took drives through winding roads that were veiled with falling red and gold ember. The leaves floated past our outstretched arms and brushed against our wind-blown hair. In spite of all the mess and the broken-ness, my mind was at rest.
Front row tickets to the Avett Brothers had been arranged when we bought our tickets late this past summer. This would make the week all worthwhile. That night, the rain made the roads slick. On our way to the Avett Brothers show, someone ahead of us stopped abruptly and I went into the back of my friends car. Leaving nothing but a small dent on her car. My car was totaled, it's insides sandwiched together in a heap of metal. It was such a strange sight. Next to no damage on her car and the now unrepairable my vehicle had become. This all happened while only going about 25-30 mph.
Roger, our wide-eyed tow truck driver offered us advice and cigarettes. Through clenched teeth and a country twang he made the accident seem minute and manageable. I junked the car I was still paying off for $250 and called it a night. My mom said she was on her way to pick me up, the funeral was tomorrow morning at 8am.

The finality of it all had set in. I lost my grandma. I lost my girl. I lost my car. I lost my concert ticket.

My friends skipped the show, despite my request, and stayed back with me. They ordered us a pizza and we shouted and danced to Avett Brothers songs the rest of the night until mom came. Once again, I was struck with the beauty of the situation. Sure, I had lost it all. But at the moment, dancing to "Will You Return" was a pressing matter. Shouting lyrics until my voice was hoarse seemed like the solution to it all. Standing in the corner silent, smile across my face, taking in all the love in the room, I thanked God for the day.
The "peace and understanding" I asked for still stands.

The funeral is beautiful, and I'm given the chance to reconnect with many old relatives and friends. I expect to see my grandma sitting at the head of the table at the reception. When she's not there, I take comfort in the fact that the whole family is together, happy, celebrating her life.

Now I sit here at home. The doorbell rings every so often with trick-or-treaters. My dad jumps up with excitement, scurrying to the door like a small child. He gives them a hard time, "they must EARN their candy". My sister laughs and makes fun of him after they leave. The fall leaves blow across the yard and lull me to sleep through the half open window.
I am content.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reverie #4 - Mother

Hastily spoken words exude from her lips. A flow of speech infused with the passion and intensity of her voice. She is reminding me of something a mother would remind her son of. Some mundane reminder of something she knows I'll put off until the last minute. Reminders like this sometimes annoy me, I have a to do list, I have reminders set up in my phone, I'll leave it to the last minute but I'll take care of it. I just want to read this paper of far more exotic speech, of human struggle in far away places, of social change down the street, while I eat my soggy cereal and drink my orange juice.
But I stop myself.

I look up from the paper.
I see a beautiful creation. I see her beautiful laugh lines and the way she talks with her hands. She smells like hairspray and home. A smell that when in context, is one of the best smells in the world. She smiles and I know things will get better. I want to tell her everything, she can solve all of life's problems. She could broker a treaty of peace in the Middle East. She could fix global warming and send a man to Mars. She could listen to me complain about a rough day. She could buy me groceries for my barren college kitchen. I remember her embrace. This familiar warmth that stays with me long after we have parted. I see her passion for life in her weary eyes, used to working overtime. She's the most beautiful woman I've seen.

My mind is put at ease, that in such a world, she can exist.

"So you think you can have that done by Friday?" she says finally.
Thanks Mom, yeah I can.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Written by my friend Louis in a facebook note;

"I want to be a part of a revolution. I want it to be going on all around me. I want to get out there and do something great. I want this generation to stop being so lazy. I can wish as hard as I want that I would have been born into another time and been a part of all the great things that went on in the 60's. But the only realistic option is to start and/ or participate in a new revolution. In this day an age a young person can not say, "we all want to change the world." So many people just don't care. I guess it has really always been like this though. So maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I can sing that. Maybe I can sing whatever I want to sing. Maybe it will start some movement in this generation of people. One can only hope. At least I know I want to change something. Being in the area of the country I am in, it is hard to surround my self with like minded people. Every "revolution" this country has seen seems to happen somewhere on the coast. When is it the midwest's turn? Will people ever flock to southern Ohio for a fulfilling experience? I don't want to have to follow in the footsteps of other revolutionary people to create something that has already been done. I want to shoot off my own path. What is a revolution? A turn of a wheel. The wheel keeps turning. Over and over. So do I really want a revolution? Maybe not. Maybe I want to change the wheel completely. A fresh tread. Are there other people around that feel like I do? It's an odd feeling. I'm not even sure what type of "revolution" I'm looking for here. Musical? Artistic? Maybe. I'm all for peace and love, but from what I've seen, and from what I know about people, I don't expect it. There will always be cynics. Its natural for people to disagree. Some people have attempted to start something by living as simple as possible. Just getting by and using little resources. It seems to me like we should be taking advantage of the technology that we have. I'm sitting here now typing this on my cell phone. Many of you who know me also know that I am the first person to spend money on something old and obsolete. I do my best to re use things that have not met their full potential. I am a huge fan of the past. I want it to continue, and live on, but I want future generations to be able to look back on us and think the same thing. When you really think about it, we have just been recreating things that already existed. Yeah, they continue to get better, and more convenient, but they're not completely new. Are people having new ideas? Am I having new ideas even? Are we all doomed to relive the past? Has there ever been a future?"

Here are the responses:

Anne L.
People want to feel important--change the world, as you say. I hear everyone say that. Would I like to make an important contribution? Of course! I'm only human, and we humans want to feel like we are serving a purpose. However, we can help all the people we want, and still strangely not be satisfied. There will always be things to fix. I think the... Read More most important thing is relationships. Maybe, along the way, we will all gradually change aspects of our modern lives in a large sense, but in the meantime, we really need to work on our morality and treatment of others. I feel that a lot of people do things to fulfill their own self-righteousness, rather than doing something with humility and grace. That's a big one.

This won't come as a surprise to you, but I, too, am a mega fan of the past (same decades as you I'm sure). However, I don't know if I would have wanted to be part of the whole hippie movement. I don't like some of the things they did. I'm glad they cared, but I'm not entirely convinced that they were all genuine in their beliefs. We are stll living with that generation, and I'm not sure that they are the cream of the crop when it comes to the 20th century. What I like about the past decades is the prevalence of manners, respect, and class (although I don't like how less accepting they appeared to be). I think we could learn a lot if we could remain open-minded while maintaining strong values.

Bryce R.
just hang on. as the years go by, this feeling will be squashed out entirely. patience laddie.


After reading this, I couldn't help but say, "That's sad!", out loud to myself.
To live knowing that you're compromising your ideals? To live knowing that that feeling you "used to have" has been "squashed out"? To think that no matter how much you help people you will be "strangely unsatisfied"?

That is no way to think. Don't let yourself fall in to that path of thinking. I'd rather live on the other side of thinking. If you believe you can change the world and yet you only end up changing one person, you've done more than had you sat back and repeated those mantras others have previously mentioned.
I don't think the world will EVER change. I think we live in a world where there will ALWAYS be bad. But I feel like it is everyone's duty as a human being to go out there and try to show love. To show goodwill and selflessness. I feel like THAT is the way you will achieve what you want in this life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Originally uploaded by AustinDressman
Part off an ongoing project on pinup girls...coming soon...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Theresa Dressman

Her wrinkled eye lids flicker against the warm light flowing in through the window. Muffled voices surround her. She cranes her neck in each direction hoping to pick up a part of their conversations. There is a soft glaze over her eyes that makes us think she can't hear, that she's near sleep, that her hearing is nearly gone. But just as these thoughts cross my mind, she perks up and we meet eyes. Her old now unflinching eyes stare at me with unfamiliarity. I now hear the muffled voices. The others stop and stare, as if expecting her to spout out her feelings about the illness. She says nothing and slowly closes her weary eyes. Her tumor-ridden stomach rises and falls with each exhausting congested breath. Her fingers flinch when she exhales. The hands which once held me as a small child are frail branches entwined across her chest.

Each time she turns to me I smile. She looks through me at the head of the rocking chair. I'm not ever sure if she see's me or not. I remind myself that she's not in pain as she used to be. She is merely living out the last stages of her life. I can only pray she is sent comfort and peace as her frail body attempts to hold in her untamable spirit...The same big-hearted spirit she always had in cooking elaborate holiday dinners for a family of more than 70, for raising 12 children through half a century, for always remembering my birthday even as I was one of 50-so grandchildren. They continue to talk and she continues to slip in and out of sleep.

"For the kingdom and the power and the glory are Yours now and forever. Amen," escapes from her lips. And I sigh a heavy sigh. We all turn and stare at her clenched eyes, closed, basking against the warm light from the window as she licks her lips and a feeling of yearning falls across her face. She mumbles more prayers. We are silent. Saying our own internal prayers while absorbing her presence.

My father sits, head bowed, eyes closed.
"You taking a nap?!", she says jokingly, suddenly pulling herself up in her wheelchair. A wide smile reaches across my father's face. For a moment I see the old sparkle in her eyes.
I say my goodbyes. I bend down to hug her and she manages to bring one of her arms up to my side. An old comforting familiarity settles in as she mumbles "goodbye" into my ear.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This is beauty

"...Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death."

-John Keats
from "Bright Star"