Hi there Blog.
We haven’t communicated with each other in a while. It’s been nearly a year, to be exact. A lot has happened in that year and some of those things pulled us apart. Oh, I always knew you were there. I sometimes checked on your statistics and every now and then I even read one of your posts and smiled at the memories we shared with the internet. I’m sorry I haven’t written anything in you. I’m not always this neglectful. Absent-minded? Yes, sometimes, but never neglectful. Will you allow me to explain? Thanks.
I’ve always been creative and I’ve always had a fantastic imagination. That’s why when I started doing stand-up comedy, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I mean, sure, I wanted to vomit before every gig but the actual joke-telling part was a lot of fun. It still is. I just never found being creative to be a hard thing. That was until last year. It’s amazing how one day you can go from being a free-spirited scamp writing witty musings and sometimes posting them on Twitter and/or Facebook, and the next your soul is crushed and the last thing you want to do is try and entertain others. That feeling when you hear and see people laughing and you want to grab them by the throat, shake them hard and ask them to stop rubbing it in your face is terrible but not completely unwelcome. I lost it my creative juices and there is a reason for that.
You probably don’t know this, Blog, but there was a lady who used to read you a lot. She read every single post in you and smiled. She adored you, Blog. She absolutely did. She would call me or email me and tell me how much she enjoyed you but she’s not with us anymore. She was my mother and she passed away after a very short and frustrating battle with cancer in April, 2012. 7 weeks from diagnosis to death. Isn’t that fucking rough, Blog? It sure is. I’m glad you agree. Her passing has left a hole in my heart that, on some days, feels like a raw, air sucking wound with bits of shrapnel stuck in it. For a large part of last year, I was numb. That kind of thing really impacts on your life.
I’ve read on numerous occasions that some of the funniest people in the world are also the saddest. Well, for me the funny doesn’t come when I’m sad. I had a horrible year and didn’t write one joke. That’s almost professional suicide. Oh sure, I wrote a boatload of premises and a few ideas popped into my head but the creative magic wasn’t there. The worst thing was that I kind of expected to fall into some sort of fugue state whereby I’d wake up, start writing and after an hour or so I’d have pages full of perfection. In reality, I’d stare at the screen and every now and then I’d write down a sentence only to delete it within seconds. I would do this for an hour or so. I read once that Jerry Seinfeld would write for an hour every day. Well, I did that but it’s just that every line I wrote disappeared into the ether. The pages of material I managed to write (and save) are angry ramblings that appear to be a cross between a high school student’s English essay and the letters submitted to the local paper by a disgruntled senior citizen who hates the world and wants everyone to know about it. I guess there might be something worthy in there. Can you remind me one day to open those musings? That’d be super.
My mother was an inspiration and she was supportive in everything I attempted. I once wanted to play the violin and my mother heeded my wishes and a violin was acquired. I spent 4 years learning that damned instrument and on a few rare occasions I succeeded in making a sound that didn’t sound like a cat being sodomised. She stood by me though, always smiling. Sometimes the smiles were strained. A 12 year old playing the violin can do that to you. When I told her I was going to start doing stand-up comedy, she was delighted and informed me my first gig would be fantastic. She was absolutely correct but I’m lucky she didn’t come to my second where I ate so much fail I nearly quit then and there. The first time she came to see me perform occurred about 7 months after my first gig and it was a surprise. I was lurking in an inner city venue before a show, wanting to vomit, when I bumped into my Mum and Dad at the bar. I was elated to see them but secretly shit-scared. I also spent the next 10 minutes in the bathroom rearranging my material because it was all about her. I’m sure she would have liked it but I didn’t want her to feel bad in any slight way. Funnily enough, I think I still have the recording of that gig. I bet if I rummaged around on the computer I could find it but I don’t want to listen to it. The material would make me cringe but hearing her loud cackle would be too much to bear.
She also loved my writing but I bet even Hitler’s mum loved “Mein Kampf.” That’s what mum’s do. “I like it but not so much with the Jew-hating, Adolf. Here, have some strudel” She encouraged me to write and knowing she enjoyed by stories filled me with joy. Of course, there were some stories I wrote that I probably would have never told her in a million years but, as anyone will tell you, once you have an audience it’s hard to stop. But I stopped writing last year. Writing became hard and telling a joke or funny story became a chore. Yes, Blog, I did enjoy standing on soggy stages making a room full of people laugh but that’s easy when you can fly on auto-pilot. Adding a new tag to a previous bit was a win for me and I kept those wins. They were the small coals that kept the fire burning. My mother always told me that it’s easy to quit and that a lot of people do it because it’s too hard to keep going so I stuck with my craft and kept the ashes warm, waiting for a spark.
It’s been nearly a year since she passed away and that spark has just started to smoulder in some wet leaves. It’s amazing how a small throw-away comment can spur you into action but that’s what happened. Thanks, Mike van Acker. Thanks for kicking me in the gooch and getting me active. As for you, Blog, shall we start afresh? I’m ready if you are.