The Struggling Artist (USA)

USA – Atlanta, Georgia ~2010

As a kid I could sit at the kitchen table for hours and hours drawing – whether it was superheroes, monsters or my teachers – my imagination was my own limit, and I did it all on reams of cheap copier paper (my Dad “knew a guy”)…unfortunately this passion was sidelined to the meager position of hobby once I was pushed into university. Sad times, but that’s life I guess. OR SO I THOUGHT!

After I was accepted to the Georgia State exchange programme, I was told that there was next to no limitation on what I could select for my classes, and that it would all count towards my degree. Four hours of art? No problem! So yes, not only would I be checking out if the food portions really are that much bigger (British people are fascinated by this for some reason), but I would also be enjoying four hours of unadulterated drawing every week, and it would actually be worth something! Drawing?! Obviously, I thought I was well on my way to becoming the next BIG THING…all sorts of thoughts flooded through my head; maybe I should change my name to Salvador…or maybe I should start wearing some weird shit to throw people off…or maybe I should invent something life changing – how about, a sandwich, that never runs out?

Genius GIF

Well I was getting a little ahead of myself, clearly. But it was fantastic news nonetheless.

Let’s fast forward a little bit…so it’s a warm summer day in downtown Atlanta, I’m certainly looking the part of “artist”; that is to say I am lugging an obnoxiously large art folder with me and I have a regrettable hat defying gravity on the back of my skull, possibly cut off jean shorts? Who knows. Basically, I looked liked the kind of guy you would strongly dislike on first sight, the kind of guy who invited and endorsed that kind of bitter prejudice. The kind of guy…well you get the point.

Surprising then, that as I am standing at the “sidewalk”, a busy looking business man runs up to me and grabs me by the shoulders…”EXXXXX-EXXXX-EXCUUZ ME?!” he stammered, in a caffeinated flurry. “Err?” I manage to reply.  “ARRR YOU AN, ARTIST?” I pause for some time due to sheer confusion, you see I wasn’t sure if taking an art class and holding a folder meant that I was a fully fledged “artist” (whatever that means)…but then I remembered I was wearing a hat and cut off jean shorts, so I landed on a definite…

“YES.!”

YES GIF

AWESOME! I NEED AN INSTALLATION DOING, LIKE…SOON! DO YOU HAVE YOUR CARD?!

“Ah. No. I don’t have one of those.”

DO YOU HAVE…A NUMBER THEN?

“Ahhh, no. I don’t have one of those either.”

DO YOU HAVE A SPARE PIECE OF PAPER THEN?

“Sorry, no. I need this for my-”

WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?

And that was that. He stormed off into the cosmopolitan crowd never to be seen again. He probably found another person wearing a hat, who DID have a card, or a phone number, or a piece of paper, or a fully functioning brain. Anyway, after this I carried on to my class and immediately told my teacher what had happened…she seemed intrigued, and asked me to repeat the exact specifics of the encounter at least a couple of times – after which she looked at me closely with comforting eyes, held my quivering hands in hers and with a reassuring tone said…

“You fucking stupid bastard.”

Shock GIF

And that was the first and last day I ever considered myself to be, an artist. It was a tough gig guys, not for me.

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Everyday Expressions

There are a whole lot of phrases and idioms that I feel like we can all do without…I mean just because we are used to using them, and they have been around for a while doesn’t make them any less silly, or in some cases non-sensical! 

Here’s a little list of everyday expressions that I think we could all manage perfectly fine without! 

“I’ve got some skeletons in my closet…”

Creepy Skeleton GIF

This one has always bugged me, especially as a kid as it gave me the heebie-jeebies…I mean the insinuation is that someone has dead bodies in their closet, just sitting there. Rather morbid I’m sure you’d agree. But moral implications aside, wouldn’t people suspect you immediately when you are walking around in clothes that smell like corpses?! Wouldn’t be a big secret past for long! Yeeesh!

Suggestion: “I’ve done some things in the past I’m not proud of.” OR “I’ve killed many people, and I’m a little tardy with the cleanup – so now I have a load of skeletons in my closet. It’s truly embarrassing – can we go to your house instead?” 

“That’s really unique…”

Unique GIF

That odd looking fella at the bus stop, the mole on your aunt’s face, the unexplained growth on your groin – they are all unique, and one of a kind! So because of this, the description of their uniqueness cannot be assisted or amplified by any other word – they’re either unique, or they’re not. So we can throw out the use of; so, quite, really, very, etc and every other adverb of degree as they simply don’t make sense.

Suggestion: That’s unique.” (Now take a photo)

“I’m not gonna lie…”

No Lies Please GIF

Oh wait…so you have to make a little disclaimer before you say whatever it is you are about to say? I’ve been listening to your drivel and just assuming you are not a morally corrupt sith lying through your teeth…but now I doubt everything you have said before this point! It’s the same premise when people ask if you want “the honest truth” – like…WHUT?!

Suggestion: “I’m usually a massive liar – you’ve watched Pinocchio, right? Well it’s based on my past life as a professional bullshitter…but this time around I’m telling the truth. Maybe.”

“Needless to say…”

For Fuck's Sake GIF

If it’s truly needless to say, then why are you saying it? Why do you have this innate need – this unbelievably strong compulsion to just say it anyway?! Can we just sit in silence, or can you perhaps make me a cake or something? I’d probably like you a lot more if you were to do that.

Suggestion: Nothing…like literally, nothing. 

“It was a mutual agreement…”

Head in Hands GIF

An agreement is two people agreeing…and as they agreed on something, we can correctly assume that they had a mutual understanding (hehe, see what I did there?) on the subject of their agreement with one another. Urgh, my head hurts.

Suggestion: “We talked for a bit, and then agreed.”

“If someone would have told me 10 years ago, I’d be doing ____, I would never have believed them…”

Freaked Out GIF

If someone walked up to you in the middle of the street, presumably with a cape and a crystal ball – spouting out forecasts for your future, and telling of omens on what will be…well you would rightly be a little nervous. You’d probably run away, or at the very least pretend to be too engrossed in your earphones to hear what was been said. You may even beat the lady with her broom, and add another to the closet, who knows? 

Suggestion: “I know this is going to sound totally pretentious and self-involved, but my life is way more awesome than I could have ever expected 10 years ago! Seriously, I mean look at me – I am fucking fantastic.”

“You’re the apple of my eye…”

Bacon GIF

I feel like this used to work perhaps…you know back in the day when you would get an apple and an orange in your Christmas stocking – but now? No way. There are just way better things in regular circulation that would serve as better metaphorical comparisons to the feeling of true love!

Suggestion: “I love you! You are the bacon double cheeseburger of my eye!”

(SEE! The GIF makes sense after all!)

Anyway my friends, that’s all I’ve got…but did I miss any? Can you think of some more that should have made the list?! 

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

Japanese Faces

I just read of a Japanese proverb which goes something like; “you have three faces, – the first you show the world, the second you show to those closest to you, and the third you never show anyone…this is the truest reflection of yourself.”

Mirror CK GIF

 What do you think about that?

Well I’m not so sure, people often bandy around the expression “two faced” with differing levels of severity; ranging from iconic comic book villain, to your husband/wife sleeping with the neighbour for twenty years. But the truth is we all wear a whole host of different masks – we are each our own personal halloween costume store, and we pick and choose a different guise as and when necessary.

For your viewing pleasure why don’t you take a little tour around my little internal shop? Let’s see what you may find! :

1. The “I just ate an entire large pizza by myself, but I’m not even sorry” face:

Pizza GIF

2. The “what you said wasn’t remotely funny, but I’m trying to spare your feelings” face:

Fake Smile GIF

3. The “why are you distracting me from writing with YouTube videos?” face:

Distraction GIF

4The “hello little old lady, I promise I’m not one of those hooligan/thug kids you hear about” face:

Innocent Smile GIF

5. The “kindergarten teacher” face, aka – the “John Lee Taggart”:

Kindergarten Teacher  GIF

Clearly there are many, many, many more…but I am sure there are other stores to visit, and perhaps you are a little peckish – so off you pop, and come again soon! I get a new collection of masks every month! 

But what about you? Come onnnnnn…honesty is the best policy!

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!