image

I’m not sure where I grew up.  I lived all over the place as a child, my family moved quite a bit.  I don’t know where to call “home” or to say where I’m from.  If the conversation comes up, I tell people where I went to high school as if that’s an explanation.  It gives insight to a significant piece of time, but it never feels like home when I tell the story.

There’s certain instances and events turned to memories that resonates for the rest of your life.  Moments within moments that resurrect themselves years down the line that define your being.  They capture the essence of something remarkable and often go unnoticed. Sometimes looking at these moments from a new perspective helps you fully appreciate them, or realize their significance.

When I was young my family returned to Maine, the place where my Mother and Father grew up and where all of my extended family lives.  This place would be considered “home” to them but I never felt like I spent enough time there to call it my own.  However, there’s a piece of Maine that will forever be mine.  A certain spot that I continue to visit each time I’m at the old homestead, rain or shine.

My Father owns a decent chunk of land in Falmouth.  From Grey Road you can see our old farm house up a lengthily stretch of blacktop and in it’s hay day would have seemed like a flourishing estate filled with pasture, gardens, tall trees, and children picking berries or playing cops and robbers.  From the passer by it was perfect, but years of neglecte, jealousy, and feud turned this pristine home into a dilapidated wasp nest.

I could care less about the house, the people, or storms that have weathered it.  My spot was a half of a mile walk through thick woods that sat at the river’s bend.  My Father’s property stretches from Grey Road to the river and when young it seemed as vast as the Louisiana Purchase.  Old enough to walk and follow directions, my Dad took me on hikes throughout our property.  He would zigzag back and forth scouting the landscape and proclaim each parcel a one-day dream home for a fortunate family.  It wasn’t until we reached the end and I discovered a giant pine tree next to the river that would take three large men to wrap their arms around that I found content.

As I got a little bit older and I begged my Dad for a walk to the river, did he finally cut a trail directly to my favorite spot.   We went down back with machetes and blue surveying tape to mark the trail, I remember it like the back of my hand.  Once the trail was finished, I pleaded to walk down to the river each day after school.  My Mother was beside herself, no way would she let me go alone into the thick woods to a place next to a dangerous river- but my Dad did.

I remember my first solo journey vividly.  What started out as and old snowmobile trail with many forks in the road turned into our footpath with blue tape.  I’d stop at each intersection checking the surroundings to make sure I was on the correct route.  Armed with a velcro trapper-keeper with a horrible 80’s graphic, I sat underneath the pine tree watching butterflies, listening to the river, and occasionally blocking out the blinding sun that pierced through the leaves.  This spot was mine and I drew childish pictures and wrote stories of my epic adventure.

As I’d return to the river, the path became more worn.  My Father helped me build a fire pit out of stone and cut a spot for an old two post green tent we hardly ever slept in.  The tent, due to its old construction with aluminum center posts, took the shape of a tiny green house rather than a modern dome tent.  I’d lie inside and let it’s smell of must and mildew pour over me as the trees swayed in the breeze.

The tent, fire pit, and blue tape trail markers have all disappeared but the river, pine tree, and overgrown foot trail remains.  When talking about children playing outdoors and causing a ruckus throughout the neighborhood, I asked my parents if they remembered letting me go down to the river by myself at such a young age.  My Dad just smiled and looked at my Mom.

“You didn’t go alone,” he said after a pause.  “Those first few times you went down, I followed from a distance so you wouldn’t hear or see me…  I just wanted to make sure you knew where you were going.”

That man has done that for me more times than I will ever know.

going the distance

Going The Distance is why I love movies so much.  Every once in a while one comes along that fills a punch line.  Something resonates.  Of course Justin Long’s character hits far too close to home with working at a label and pushing bands you don’t care about and ultimately taking that leap of faith and managing bands that truly move you.  While that’s just a mildly interesting plot twist to some, everyone can relate and learn something from their love story.

I loved this story because it seemed so functional, no matter how dysfunctional a long distance relationship can be.  That’s what drives me nuts about Hollywood.  No Strings Attached was awesomely entertaining but I left the theater pissed.  It was more silver screen sap that further perpetuates stereotypes and dilutes real-world relationships. 

It wasn’t the “friends with benefits” part in No Strings Attached that I didn’t buy.  That can work for a while and be a whole hell of a lot fun in the meantime.  However, it was the horrific turning point of Portman’s psyche that nerds hang on to when dealing with their own issues.   She made us believe that love conquers all no matter how insensitive, illogical, or un-repairable your situation has become.  That those dealing with loss should still hold on to hope that one day your dream girl will be standing on the door step asking for you back, instead of just moving forward with your life.

Going The Distance took the sprinkles and frosting away from Hollywood.  It was honest.  That’s the biggest praise I can give this film.  It carefully demonstrated what it takes to love and make something last- honest communication.  Everything in their relationship developed so organically and it was because both parties were secure with who they were, found that they had a significant connection, and weren’t afraid to explore and talk about it.  Justin Long could have easily let Drew get on that plane and never tell her how he felt.  That doesn’t mean he had a plan, answers, or a solution to her leaving.  In the moment, all it meant was that he didn’t want to see her go forever.

The movie also brought to light something that Hollywood also never touches on, friendship.  The importance of actually being best friends with someone you love.  Sex is great, partying is fun, having the same taste in music helps but to really be able to share the same love of Centipede, Shawshank Redemption, and The Boxer Rebellion while at the same time making each other laugh and seeing the moral significance of Top Gun creates deep and meaningful bonds.  Their relationship had substance and substance binds to the heart.

Big shout out to Charlie Day’s performance and character.  Not only did he have me laughing in every scene he was in but Drew also embraced him.  No matter how immature, odd, retarded, or invasive your homeboys can be, they ultimately mean the world to you and that’s why they’re your friend.  Drew handled the friendship between Justin and Charlie perfectly.  While she obviously cut into their “guy time” she never became a symbol of resentment and by accepting him for who he was, she was able to become that much closer to Justin.  She was genuine throughout the entire film, no ulterior motives.  This allowed Justin and Charlie to make room for Drew in their lives and ultimately grow apart on their own terms.

I loved the ending to the movie.  They didn’t find a job in the other person’s town or just say “screw it” and give up on their own dreams and career to be with one another.  While you can walk away believing everything worked and they lived happily ever after, they still had a long road ahead of them and that wasn’t ignored.

No one was perfect in this movie and that’s what made it so great.  Both of them had a past, baggage, goals, and dreams but accepting that and being confident/comfortable with who they are allowed them to share all sides and become vulnerable naturally.  I praise the writers and crew for bringing a sense of reality back to greatest story of all time- love.

image

I’ve been sitting here for over an hour making grand statements of life, sharing with you profound thoughts of enlightenment, and force-feeding some of the worst bullshit I’ve ever concocted.  Why?  Pride, sorrow, confusion, and lack of closure have made me more of a narcissistic prick than ever.  Instead of dealing with the crux of the issue, I self-project mildly thought provoking ideas as amazing personal epiphanies.  By convincing you that I’m a profound, put together, self-aware individual on the cusp of greatness, I may just convince myself as well.

I was rejected.  While I have been rejected thousands of times professionally (the music industry is quite subjective), I have never been rejected on a personal level.  Throughout life, I have had support.  My teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, friends, and mentors have always told me that the sky was the limit.  I could achieve anything I ever wanted, and that I would.  My parents are the worst offenders.  They have unconditionally supported me in anything that I wanted to do and believed with their entire heart that I could do it.  

On top of all of this, they have all been right for the most part.  I wanted to surf: I have surfed all over the world, have been published in surfing magazines, and have personally met and surfed with some of biggest professional surfers of all time.  I wanted to do music: I’ve worked at record labels, I worked for Sony, I traveled all around North America on tour bus, and I have become friends with some of my favorite artists.

I now want to fall in love.  I’ve had exactly 10 years of traveling, partying, adventure, inconsistency, and all of the randomness that goes along with “finding yourself”.  I’m ready to start the middle section of my life- the part where I’m not so self centered, where I devote to woman rather than career, and care more about my family than anything else on earth.  I would like to coach a little league team for my son before I’m 65 or teach my daughter how to catch a wave while I can still stand up.  I want to smile secretly each day in disbelief that this woman chose to be with me, but also know that I’ve truly earned her respect and love. 

Now, these are all grand notions and I understand that things never work out as planned- but you have to start somewhere.  In order to even have a chance at any of this you have to say hi.  You have to be genuine.  You have to become vulnerable and leave yourself in the hands of someone else.

I recently did that.  Now, it wasn’t nearly as serious as what I just described but we were quite close, I saw pieces of myself in her, and I adored every moment I spent with her.  I had no idea if she was going to be my wife or the mother of my children but it was the first time my gut didn’t reject the idea.  I mean, every girl I’ve dated has been awesome but deep down I knew it wasn't going to last… I didn’t know that with this one.  She had… potential.

I suppose it’s pretty sad to be in my late 20’s and just now dealing with being rejected by the opposite sex.  I mean, I’m not that good with the ladies but any time I sincerely asked one out, they always gave me a shot.  I know I’ve been rejected by girls in bars and clubs, but that didn’t matter because it never meant anything.  A stranger telling you to get lost doesn’t have the same effect as someone you already care about.

I’d like to say that this has been a good lesson, but I truly haven’t learned anything.  I could have approached things differently, maybe not have been as bold or let things develop more organically, but that’s not what I’m hung up on.  After laying it all on the line and telling her how I felt, all I got was a polite “no thanks.”  No explanation, no rebuttal, no stupid “it’s not you, it’s me” or “hang in there, tiger- there’s plenty of fish in the sea.”  A simple “no” and me quietly accepting and going my own way. 

At this point I’m not sure if a reason why even matters.  An explanation would just further dilute the end result of her not wanting me.  It’s been tough to swallow, especially now finally being in the mindset of actually wanting to care for someone.  Maybe this is karma- me starting to pay off my 10 years of debauchery and girls I said “no thanks” to.  Maybe she made the biggest mistake of her life and that 1 cat will multiply into 4 by the time she’s in her mid 30’s.  Or maybe it took her “potential” to help bring one chapter to a close and a new one to begin with an entirely different outlook.

In the end, the thing I can take away from all of this is that I tried.  Trying and failing feels much better than never knowing- maybe that was my lesson…

Ryan, Marissa, Summer, and Seth - The OC

Since the culmination of The O.C., I can’t help but feel as if a part of me died.  Not only has my weekly television viewing schedule been disrupted but I can’t seem to get over the fact that Seth married one of the greatest TV characters of all time. Bold statement I know, but I adored Summer.  I loved to hate her in season one and just simply loved her by the end of the show.  Summer Roberts, while snotty and spoiled, was tough as nails and walked a fine line between “Newpsie” and down to earth.  She was reliable, stable, and surprisingly pure.  Yes, while Summer had several questionable moments, she ultimately had a heart of gold.  She was honest, honorable, and gave the show a sense of subconscious balance which was overshadowed by the constant unimaginable drama.   Summer’s obsession with The Valley and tabloid magazines didn’t distract us from her fundamental character values.  If anything, her preppy quirkiness was endearing because she continually proved to us the complexity of her personality.  Summer’s character held the show together and indirectly became a pop culture role model for young people saturated with exposure of Brittany, Paris and Lindsey.

Not being able to see her on a weekly basis isn’t why a part of me died though.  I mean, it certainly didn’t help but I’m more concerned with dynamics of Seth and Summer’s relationship and how the show ended.  The Seth and Summer saga was pure TV gold and they were somehow able to keep it interesting for several years- without ruining it.  That’s the biggest surprise and achievement that came from the show, the writers didn’t take the easy way out.  They could have added bubble-gum drama where the two of them were off-again on-again but instead forced them to face their issues and work them out.

The writers impressed me by doing this, not only did it add a true humanistic portrayal of love to the story but it reiterated to the audience that relationships take work.  The writers incorporated notions of heart, time, forgiveness, understanding, patience and honesty to make things right.  The story usually revolved around Seth growing into these traits but the fact that the writers didn’t shy away from the importance might have influenced the social maturity of a generation. While The O.C. was filled with tons on nonsense, it was also filled with morality.  Often times they made examples of what not to do but in Seth and Summer’s case they made a conscious effort to lead by example.  That is until they got married.

The reason I can’t get over this is because Seth won.  I wanted him to win, I rooted for him from day one.  However, it gives me the same sense of disbelief that I had when Marissa died. Oh, I so wanted her to die.  It was two and a half seasons too long if you ask me.  But as she lay dying in one of the worst acting scenes in the show’s history, I felt bad.  Worse then I felt when Johnny drunkenly staggered off a cliff.  Marissa embodied so much of what was wrong with the show that by her not being there we were left with a sense of peace.  Peace makes for horrible TV and that’s why I couldn’t believe it actually happened.  The same goes for Seth.  The only other crutch that the show had was Seth and Summer, them living happily ever after completely sealed it’s fate.  I was never under the impression that there would be a spin off or it would resurrect itself several years down the line, but the marriage was just so absolute.

By Seth and Summer marrying, not only did I have to come to grips with my weekly television escape truly being over but now I’m left with another sappy romantic comedy that will further hinder my future relationship judgment and expectations.  The silly entertaining involvement between these two have subconsciously programmed viewers, yet again, with the notions of a socially retarded emo outcast having the ability to not only hook up with, but marry the girl of his dreams.  I suppose it’s possible, but it’s not realistic.  It’s just another Hollywood fairy tale that geeks have eaten up since Sixteen Candles, Can’t Hardly Wait, Gidget, and When Harry Met Sally.  We’ve been force-fed the idea that love holds no bounds and me, along with the rest of our society, hold on to the fantasy that our love life will take shape of that which we see on the silver screen.

Seth and Summer are the reason for half of all marriages failing in the United States.  From a young age pop culture has lead us to believe that we have the ability to become the next movie god or rock star.  As we hit our twenties and thirties depression levels have also spiked, leaving most of us wondering where we went wrong and feeling utterly unfulfilled.  Love has followed a similar suit, we get wrapped up in falling in love but have no idea how to live with it once we have it.  The TV show or movie always ends once the guy gets the girl.  No matter how many episodes of Joanie Loves Chachi you’ve seen, we’ve never been subconsciously taught how to deal with longevity.  The O.C. further perpetuated this cycle.

I can’t say if I’m more disturbed by the social implications of the relationship or if I’m just upset that the now Summer Cowen isn’t Summer Hammond.  It’s not that I can’t cope with a few more divorces but it’s going to be really hard for me to find a girl saving the sea otters while at the same time wearing stilettos.

image

Hey man, take a look at this. Pretty gnarly scar huh? Haha, yeah, Ted Nugent did that. Caught an arrow right in the leg. Crazy back woods bastard was target shooting before a show. I happened to be hanging out back stage with one of his roadies, we had become friends at a roadies convention. Pretty sweet deal really, the union gets together once a year at the Marriot. Usually get some sort of lunch and they tell us not to lift with our back. Never mentioned anything about getting shot with arrows though, I guess I was the first.

Newsletter

Enter your email below and never miss news and new releases from SW Hammond.



Pick Up Your Copy

  • Prime
  • Kindle
  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
  • Buy
News
SW Hammond
Wow wee, things look a bit different, eh?? Check out the brand new website! Here she be—I like the new design quite a bit and it should...
SW Hammond
Jaidis Shaw of Juniper Groove Books fires off a few questions about The Final Book: Gods –from favorite characters to who would play the...
SW Hammond
Comic Cons & Book Fest! September 23 & 24 – Reno Comic Con @ Sands Regency Hotel October 21 – Vegas Valley Book Festival @ Historic Fifth...
Culture
SW Hammond
See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. While there is absolutely no moral equivalency being drawn between good and evil—right and...
SW Hammond
No. For reals. I’m genuinely asking. While Conway isn’t single handedly responsible for Donald Trump being elected, she was certainly...
SW Hammond
I was taken aback after the 2016 Presidential Election, but not in the way you’d think. I understand the higher over-arching symbolism that...
Media
SW Hammond
Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight… I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was...
SW Hammond
Life Is Strange became a perfect storm of teenage angst, friendship, and hipster quirkiness backed by thoughtful storytelling and a...
SW Hammond
People are sheep, and Stanley Milgram scientifically proved it. How could the Holocaust happen? How can there still be institutional racism?...
Music
SW Hammond
Sarah Saturday's dreamy-reflective bedroom pop rock project captivates and compels with earnest songwriting. Sarah Saturday might be my...
SW Hammond
Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack. For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost...
SW Hammond
Guilty Pleasure? Embarrassed??? Hardly. As much as I love music, and devoted a significant amount of my life to it, I can still be pretty...
Philosophy
SW Hammond
Here’s a much different way of looking at art and storytelling—perhaps a method that your editor or writing group may never have considered,...
SW Hammond
George Berkeley slides onto the scene a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business ; the “cool guy” that’s had enough of these schoolmen stinkin’ up...
SW Hammond
Ideological partisanship is deteriorating our society. It’s very nature fosters inequality, stunts progression, and detracts from the common...
Memoirs
SW Hammond
I was finally able to extract a bunch of data from an old hard drive. I was sure it contained old writings, school projects and music but...
SW Hammond
As I’ve become older, out of my twenties for a couple of years, I’ve found myself settling into a pattern of reveling in solitude. When I...
SW Hammond
I used to pour my guts out. Seems the only way I ever understood my feelings were to read them. The collection within these pages used to...