Five Years

Last week I drove to my parents house and sat down with my Dad, as I needed someone to look over a few plans for my gaming company. My dad has started more small businesses than he has children, and I’m the oldest of six.

My brother Asher was in town. I could say that sentence right now and not be sure if it was a guess or a fact. He will sneak over the border between my life and his, and call me a few days later, or just show up on my porch. His plans are often his own. Secretive and unpredictable are two words I would describe him with while smiling. He took a Chinese bus from New York twice this month. It has been good to see him.

We stood in the dining room of my parents house. It was old when they bought it. Now it is older. Tennessee weather and termites have caused a fair amount of damage. Which is fine, since my parents are selling the furniture inside the house to move back to California. The dining table is already gone. I don’t know where they eat.

Asher just signed his first record deal. He fought against the chance a half a dozen times before.Maybe it helps that our youngest brother Ben is in the band. This is why he is unpredictable. The secretive part is he didn’t tell anyone for a few weeks.

My Dad was bent over a closed piano from the world’s fair. No one plays that piano but it’s where he keeps his speakers. He was playing the mixes for the new album and listening to every song like he hadn’t heard them before.

Asher and I stood in the place where the dining table used to be.

We had moved into that house the day before I started seventh grade. Our baby sister was born in the back a few weeks later. It was the house I spent all my time designing games in. The house Asher spent the majority of his nights upstairs recording music by himself.

I laughed as we stood in the dining room together. The new house now falling apart. Furniture missing. And baby Madison, about to graduate high school and watching us from the kitchen.

I laughed because we were listening to Asher’s record deal. And I laughed because I was only there to work on my game design company.

We kept making things. We kept going.

*

It was Easter yesterday. Meagen have now spent three Easters together. I couldn’t be happier. I hesitate to write anything else–it is special, what we have. Describing it does a disservice to something magical.

I am happy thought. And that in and of itself doesn’t even make sense.

*

I spent five years behind a desk. The very desk I am typing to you from. I spent years hesitating to mention I had a job. I wrote so many letters to all three of you. Never mentioning my day job, assuming professionals hid that sort of thing.

I think it was a disservice.

Making art is hard. It is very hard. And there are structures to help and structures to hinder. Great big rocks in the way of everything. The biggest rock will be yourself.

I have worked in the same place for five years. I spent forty hours a week from 9 to 5:30 sitting here. It was, at times, not bad. It was–many times over–horrifying. The people above and beside me were often emotionally unhinged or spiteful. The environment could swing from simple to hostile in a matter of seconds.

And oh, the work I did. The numbers I typed. The codes I remembered. And the amounts that I balanced. At one point I wore a uniform everyday. And that felt bad too.

I wanted to leave after my first week. I would leave the job crying. I was younger then, to be sure. But it was…I guess the worst part, was it was debilitating. It made me feel stupid to wear a uniform and get yelled at. It made me physically and emotionally exhausted to type all day.

But you know what? I stayed. I stayed here for five years. And everyday I went home. And I made art. I stayed up late at night. And I worked hard all weekend long. I woke up every morning. And I went to work. Hungover or angry or sick. And I made art even here, at this horrible and wonderful desk. Whether it was during a simple day, or a hostile day. I made art.

And you can too.

*

Having a job is a privilege, but now I am leaving. After five years I have saved enough to leave this place behind forever. I am not getting another job right away. I have enough to survive all Summer and beyond, just doing art and living a magical life next to Meagen Crawford.

After five years of this job I will spend a hot Tennessee Summer finishing my novel and card game. Both of which I might never have started, if I hadn’t needed to fucking escape from this job and into a fantasy land. This year marks five years for the card game and the novel as well. It is no coincidence.

Onward you and I will go.

-mE.


Todd Rogers