SERESTATIC: Streets & Trailers

SERESTATIC Streets & Trailers

Thursday, January 28, 2021. 11:31 AM 16°. Chill and metaphysical fog of death descending.

My four-season porch window on Algonquin Avenue faces busy Stillwater Avenue slightly to the northwest. The little avenue I live on is a short shot between two well-trafficked roads, Ruth Street and Stillwater Avenue. It is just a blink between mountains of snow. However, Stillwater is an ever-bustling thoroughfare through questionable neighborhoods and residential housing, eventually leading to a cute town named Stillwater.

I imagine that my area was once a matrix of sleepy, uncomplicated streets and happy faces – before low-income apartment complexes sprang up around the neighborhood, the average age of residents increased, and wage level decreased. Now, there are dangerous neighborhoods and questionable living spaces everywhere within a five mile radius. I delivered pizzas to some of those places last year.

Just last year there was a shootout with cops, an armed man, and a helicopter at the intersection of Stillwater and Algonquin. I was delivering pizzas in a different area of St. Paul at the time, but could’ve watched the whole fracas unfold if I were sitting at my desk watching life whizz by, as I typically do.

But I wasn’t at the time. And this static isn’t about the unruliness of the neighborhood around me, the prevalence of tent cities and low income lives, nor the crazy things I’ve seen while sitting at my desk and working on art, books, and blogs. I’m no sentinel, no neighborhood watch, no caretaker of the people around me.

I’m just observant. When you spend thousands of hours in the same place, staring out the same window, witnessing the patterns of traffic, pedestrians, and people over time, you become watchful and aware.

And you begin to wonder and mentally wander.

Buses pass on a clockwork schedule up and down bumpy Stillwater Avenue, mostly taking up both lanes of the road as they traverse due to their size. Stillwater as a traffic pathway is unique in this part of town because it is one of the only streets that have been cleared for large-semi traffic through residential areas – even though there are only two lanes, parked cars on either side, and scores of humble houses and close-knit spaces.

You think buses have a hard time squeezing up and down Stillwater with parked cars and two lanes of traffic? Huge trucks with massive trailers tend to take up the whole road.

As I watch trucks with large trailers pass by from my desk window, they can take up the full frame, dwarf any car or normal-sized truck that comes in contact with it.

Such is the way with “3M. Science Applied to Life.” trucks with trailers that use Stillwater frequently. I see them pass up and down Stillwater a couple of times an hour every weekday, their big red logo shouting like a hypnotic billboard on wheels. There are plants and warehouses nearby, I think. To be honest, I don’t know exactly where they come from or to where they are going. Having once been an employee of the company, I should know or should’ve asked the questions sooner, but I don’t and I didn’t. I don’t know what they carry, why they pass so frequently on Stillwater, or why I never noticed the frequency of their trucks until I was no longer an employee and staring out the window on a Thursday afternoon.

But their cadence is mesmerizing.

So many products shipped, sold, and consumed. So many consumers, so many trailers filled with products. Every day. Many times a day. Stillwater is seldom still.

Two years removed from exiting a state of security that I never should of left, I am constantly reminded of the decision to leave a life of my own comfort and stillness. Like echoes that never find equilibrium, I am buffeted by the fallout of the decisions following the death of my Father.

I lived through the Kubler-Ross Model and arrived at acceptance, but it feels like the stages didn’t ever end, that the Model is more like a Chutes & Ladders game – where you exit the fog of one dark space into the light of another, and eventually find your way sliding back to where you were before on the board. Depressed. Lost. In denial that what you’ve lost is attainable again, that the ladder behind you is findable and climbable again.

Parts of the Model feel circular, the swirling madness of creeping insanity that hook at you from caveats and idiosyncrasies. Another red-logoed truck passes, two over the course of the hour now. Is this the fucking Matrix? The size and vibrancy of their trademark is hard to miss. They catch my eye as they tease my periphery. Always at the edge of my orbit, reminding me of a time when my patterns didn’t feel awry.

Where was I? Where am I?

I can’t seem to move past the loss, move on to the next stable phase of my existence. My inability to get a job over the last year has led me to question what it was I accomplished after all, if I actually accomplished anything at all over a decade. I tell my story, but it’s starting to feel more like someone else’s success. Removed from the orbits of a stable life and support system, I now see everything through critical and clarified lenses and with Occum’s Razor in hand.

I fight to survive, and cut through the fog as fearless as I can.

I expect that this will always be a heavy week for me. The death of my Father on January 31, 2019 set off a string of strange events that altered my life unexpectedly and completely. I didn’t expect to take a leap of faith in myself. I didn’t expect the Seremark Synchronicity on the deathbed of my Dad. I didn’t expect my ex-wife to force her way into my workspace, much less in the same building where I worked. I didn’t expect to fail completely at trying to make a welding future happen. I gambled. I lost. I learned.

Moving on is happening slower than anticipated. The baggage is more uncomfortable than expected.

His death changed me as a person, but never changed my experience or capabilities. The death of a family member is an experience that is inevitable for most of us, and is one that haunts a lot of us for many years following. And when the numbers of surviving family starts to be countable on two hands (including extended family), your perspective on the exit changes dramatically. I can see a time more empty than now. I know the downside of life will be harder than the upside I just experienced. I struggle to see the positive.

But we’re all trying. Every day, in different ways, to see the positive.

Through pandemics, political division, and collapsing health, we strive for better days. I am deeply thankful for the many people in my life that keep me smiling, hopeful, and patient. They remind me today is not the end of the map; now is just part of life’s complicated matrix of streets and roads, trucks and trailers, heavy and light.

Two years following my Dad’s death, the old house on Fairway Drive where my parents spent over 30 years has new lives living in it. Gone are the memories of Zuege graduations and weddings, celebrations and holidays, pets and gardens. Lost is the sentimental anchor to a parental “Home”. The ghosts of another yesterday may still live in its walls, but it will now absorb the memories of another. It will house new joy and new experiences, while our present involves retirement communities, distance, and overcoming the tragedies of life.

There’s nothing left to protect, very little but legacy left. The mystery behind the passing trucks matters very little in the scope of the timeline and graveyard landscape. We try to escape our past, but it always catches up with us, runs circles around us until we’re too dizzy to comprehend direction, too jaded to give a shit, and too exhausted to do anything but

wonder, and wander,

as another trailer passes by.

#serestatic

SERESTATIC Streets & Trailers

SERESTATIC: The Eve of Evolution

Artemis Sere Serestatic The Eve of Evolution
Tuesday, December 29. 10°. Gray skies, white ground, fucking cold.
 

I feel like a powder keg about to blow the powder off these slick streets. Not necessarily angry at anyone in particular. Not terroristic or blatantly suicidal. Not twisted or realistically violent.

I know I’ve felt this way for  most of 2020, and know I need to change. This trend isn’t healthy or hopeful.

But I seem to be mired in a constant state of head-shaking these days. Nodding through the failures, smiling through the dismissals.

2019 was a year of deep alignment, sadness and separation; 2020 was the year of collapse, of everything I built over a decade.

2020 began positive promise with the completion of my first book in five years, the largest thing I’ve ever created, and the coalescence of nearly one thousand hours of work. It started with my enthusiastic application for jobs that I thought I was qualified for, following the acceptance of the delay of my #metalmorphosis. It started with the development of Grimspell Gaming with a circle of trusted friends and brothers.

2020 nears its end with my confidence shaken, my professional career on lifelines, and the Artemis Sere universe jilted. This static isn’t a cry for help. This isn’t an emo tantrum. This isn’t a wistful whine.

This is a serious accounting of where I’m currently at, and acknowledgment of the reckoning that has befallen my life. This is the esoteric crackle of #xoterica kinetics. This is the basement level of Six Martyr Place.

I’ve applied for over 50 marketing jobs in the Twin Cities Area in 2020, trying to claw my way back into the vocation where I have the most experience and success, That tireless work has resulted in 45 minutes worth of interviews and a two-month project that sadly ended up as fruitless.

I’ve given away as many copies of “Echoprism Vol. 1” as I’ve sold in 2020. Even with the promotion I developed which gives a discount on hundreds of dollars of tangible art with the a simple $50 purchase, I’ve sold less than ten copies. As it represents 300 of my fine art pieces and some of my best work, I take it personally that my audience hasn’t embraced it, appreciated all of the work I put into it, and made it part of their lives.

But I don’t let that slap stop me, only sting me.

I spent most of 2020 away from the majority of social media, sticking with Twitter to maintain the soft heartbeat of my brand. But even my Twitter audience continues to fade away, with engagement near zero and no regular engagers without my political rants. My return to Facebook and Instagram have provided me outlets to share my work, but offered me windows into who is no longer connected to me, no longer interested in my art.

For all the work I put into art, I’m mostly paid with silence, distance, and indifference (note: deep thanks to those people who have stuck with me on this long, dark road). I needed to sell well this year to dig myself out of the hole my Welding misfire put me in, and I failed. For the first time in over a decade, I’m facing complete professional, financial, and personal crashes. I dwell at rock bottom these days, and am struggling to find my way up.

In 2020 I produced some of my best work in my history – best book, best blogs, best website, best brand content, best paintings, best photography, best art yard sale, best digital art. Yet, I feel farther from successful than ever.

And I feel like I’m running out of answers – or, at least, I’m running out of the passion to try to find new answers because the old ones, the ones that are supposed to work, aren’t working. Inspiration is at an all-time low. The fires of hope have dimmed as low as the days when I was chronically ill.

Why do I have to try so hard? Why do I constantly have to redefine and recommunicate my value? I have friends that kick off new art and businesses and their efforts spread like wildfire. My LinkedIn feed is filled with positive stories of progress and success.

I want to believe that human existence isn’t one big popularity contest, where you’re either part of the pageant or part of the audience. I want to understand what my role is here. I want to feel like I’m part of the party again.

It seems like I just don’t know how anymore. I was once a fearless leader; I now feel more comfortable as a feeble follower. I once believed that you make your own luck, but have learned the hard way that there is truly no such thing as a self-made person.

I’ve been watching the “Manhunt” series on Netflix lately, and becoming reacquainted with both Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph. They’re certainly not inspiring stories, nor people to emulate. They were two people who were twisted enough by society to turn against it. Intelligent, gifted men that became so frustrated by the system and the humans within it that they turned to preying on it. Trust me, I’m not considering preying on the system or the people in it, but I do understand how the system can turn people against it.

Violence doesn’t lead to positive change, and raging against the system only makes you a target of the system.

But the system only benefits those that it chooses. As a single, unmarried, family-less, childless white male with more art assets than fortune, I have few places to turn for help. The pressure to conform to the system and to society around us turns some of us into flawed diamonds, but renders most of us as compact cores of coal with soft shells and hardened, calcified hearts.

I’ve lived without healthcare in any form for two years now. I simply can’t afford it. I’ve had to prioritize my life in very dramatic ways since I started my metalmorphosis in early 2019. Presently, I have an ear infection which has reduced the hearing in my right ear by half (or more, depending on the day). Earlier this year, I suffered a major on-the-job injury and had a month-long brush with covid. All outside of a healthcare system that I can’t afford to be part of.

Ironically, I spent half of my last 10 years of working a well-paying job to pay off back taxes and medical bills that I acquired while I was part of a system that I couldn’t afford. I didn’t transition to trying something new with wealth or a wealth of opportunities.

I did it with raw human courage, hope, and passion. I fight this battle by myself and what little resource I have, appreciating the friends and social programs that kept me afloat during 2020’s #yearofcivility.

I held in a lot of fire and rage during this divisive, explosive, and confrontational year. It’s far past time to let the inferno scream and burn as a passionate pyre.

On this eve of evolution, where I dream about the opportunities and possibilities of a new year, I hold hope for a brave new future.

I’ve survived tougher times than these.

#serestatic

Artemis Sere Serestatic The Eve of Evolution

SERESTATIC: Cleaning Out the Closets

Artemis Sere Serestatic Cleaning Out the Closets
Thursday, October 15. 42°. Mostly sunny, blustery.
 
 

Time files fast these days. Feels like just yesterday I was pulling out my summer clothes and readying for warmer weather. The seasons are swiftly changing with the roar of Canadian winds, and I’m now  exchanging button-up shirts for layers and thicker jackets.

Fierce winds push loose leaves across the yards like yellow and orange tidal waves smashing on brown beaches. The garden out back withers away and crumples to dust. The glorious plants that I grew over the last few months fight for survival in a house with few good bright spots. No matter how hard I try to keep the falling foliage under control, there is no denying Aeolus.

The cold is coming. The season I dread the most is knocking at the door. And with it, another six months of breathing dustbox air, of shoveling the driveway and marching through knee-high snowbanks, of short days and long nights, and of seldom feeling refreshed in the face of biting winds. Now we also have to fret about influenza and novel coronavirus — on top of doldrums, seasonal affectedness disorder, holiday stress, and dangerous roads.

I despise winter almost as much as I do Donald Trump. It brings out the worst in me, recesses all of the good momentum I try to build during the year and withers me physically away, chiseling my health away with every passing winter season. I tried to move away to warmer climes last year, but it didn’t work. 

It was a flawed, miserable attempt at escape from the anchors that drag me down in my life. 

Thankfully, I currently have a great, interesting job where I get to work from home. Much has changed since I left the professional world for a different path, yet a lot has remained the same. There are many disappointing and disheartening parallels to where I was in my life ten years ago, but I remain vigilant and hopeful this time around.

I’ve got great, supportive friends. I’ve found my voice and my platform, away from the buzz and turbulence of social media. I’ve survived the jump off the cliff and the rock bottom depths. I’ve found renewed confidence in myself, my art, and my place in this space. I’ve come to appreciate the silence away from the feeds and bickering.

I’m at peace with a “less is more” approach, and am finding that the more I clean up my life, my content and my story, the less stress I encounter. Simplicity has its merits, and an overencumbered life has gravity that cannot be undone while beneath it.

Minimalism leads to clarity, because too much stuff, too many voices, and too many commitments causes distraction and confusion.

With all of my possible might, I’m going to do my best to continue to clean up my life over the course of the next few months as I’m in virtual hibernation.

Many of you who are subscribed to this blog saw a flurry of posts recently. This blog has been running since 2010, and I’ve had several iterations across different platforms (livejournal and Blogger). Over the course of the build of this site, I ported content from those sites into this one, and didn’t move content out of Draft status. Additionally, I made live some previous blogs that were under lockdown, and published some content that was more more personal and less polished than my newer work. Rather than trash all of those imperfect content pieces, I’ve decided to share them, so the story of how I got to who I am now is more clear for everyone.

I’ve got Echoprism Vol2 to finish and release, and a publishing calendar of exciting projects next year, including the tenth anniversary release of “Obscurious”. A lot to do, with too little time to accomplish it all.

No more hiding, no more bullshit. The closets have been packed with closed boxes, clothing containers, and chattering skeletons for too long. 

If you’re reading this, thanks for being part of my journey, and caring about the static of this artist’s life. I appreciate your patience as this experience evolves. I’m a one-man creative army, and I have a lot to tackle.

Less is more. More space. More time. More life.

#serestatic

Artemis Sere Serestatic Cleaning Out the Closets