Within every moment of our lives there are decisions that need to be made. Forks in the road in which you, the traveler, must decide which path to take. Small moments such as your morning coffee: homemade or Dunkin Donuts? To greater moments: college or vocation? Either way it is these moments that define us. They shape us. They create a unique story and perspective into who we are. It was in one of these simple opportunities when I had decided to move to San Diego.
I had been afforded the wonderful opportunity to be in a relationship with a great guy for four years. In these four years I had found my strong ability to settle down. To change small habits of my own to fit what made him comfortable. To understand how best to address or go about handling situations with him. And to build a small tolerance to being alone all though he was off and out with his friends. Ultimately it was in this that I recognized my ability to establish longevity and common grounds. It was also in this where I had lost major parts of myself. The man everyone loved, the one that he had ultimately fallen in love with.
During this lovely relationship, I had been introduced to my friend Austin Stannius. (You have read about him before) Being as he’s in the Marines and stationed in San Diego, conversation often turned from our books to the fun that he was having out there. Weather, stories, and experiences had sounded like an amazing endeavor. I began to check out what was really going on out there. I fell in love with the pictures and the weather reports. I learned they had a football team, the Chargers, Coronado Island was a huge tourist attraction, and La Jolla hosted some of the finest restaurants in all San Diego. My interest was aroused. I had always wanted to go to the west coast but I had never truly looked into what it would be like.
On October 1st 2011, the lovely relationship aforementioned, came to the end it was destined for. Holding my head high as best I could I continued to work, read, smoke, and drink as usual. I began hanging out with friends to prevent myself from slumping into the looming depression. The nights I was forced to spend alone would be spent in solemn numbness. An occasional tear, or thousand, but I kept my thoughts from drifting. They would only feed the monster in the corner with the red eyes. Made of wisps of imaginary darkness heavy enough to drag one down, hold him there, and torture him there. A fight that would only end in surrender before the beast would hurl one into it’s dark cave, cold and lonely. I had to pretend it wasn’t there. It called to me everywhere and yet I had to keep on.
Before long, I was on a roll. Social life blossomed again, new friends and situations. People genuinely interested in me. Interesting people of which I couldn’t learn enough about. Friends who lent an ear, gave advice, offered living space, made me smile, danced the night away, enjoyed each others company so much there was no need for any television, and all around great people. There was a hitch. The decision had already been made. It was several weeks in the planning, but it was now time for me to move on. I had convinced myself of that.
It had actually been weeks. I knew of San Diego. I also knew of the constraints my work put on my quality of life and writing. Writing. That’s what I’d love to do. I wrote three books, two in the years I held a manager position, working 60-70 hours in a week. “What could I do if I had more time?”
When I was a young boy, I always watched Emeril Lagasse cook. When I was old enough to get into a serving position, I wanted to work as a fine dining restaurant manager for Emeril Lagasse. A beautiful life goal right? I accomplished this. I loved it. But I then began to ask myself, What else? I don’t feel like that is the top of the ladder for me, but it was the top of that ladder in my life. What else can you do there? Stay – and be on top of that goal ladder and know you made it or, Jump! Jump to the next ladder that extends past this current ladder, gets you higher in the proverbial ladder maze of life.
Scary as the leap is it will prove worth it. Even if this one extends only fifteen feet above the last, I’m still further.
It is with this thinking that I chose to pick up and move everything to San Diego. Press the Re-set button. Bring my life lessons, experiences, and goals with me for a trip to the next big thing. Feb. 20th I begin my trip. I intend to stop at Myrtle Beach, Memphis T.N., the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Vegas. I will be taking pictures and posting as much as I can here from thoughts to fears, woes to victories, and scary to funny.
See you soon, and thank you for taking time to read this blog!
Caleb A. Mertz
Could it be that the physical location of the author, writer, artist has a strong impact on their work? Is it the state of mind, frame of mind, or mental stability that produce works worth talking about? I’m not sure but I am more than willing to find that out for myself.
There are a million songs out there that have to do with break ups. A few thousand that refer to one being in love and the other not so, and a few more where the other is cheating. Regardless a situation as such is never good for one’s soul, heart, or drive/motivation. Could it be that this state of mind could create some of the most heartfelt poem, song, or soliloquy? Or would a refined and renewed sense of life create a piece that encourages thousands of others through the same situation? This was only a simple example of how the argument of location versus mind comes into play. Is it possible that a new location, surroundings, view on life could stimulate a writer to create works of literature that could be read for years and generations? Much like our greats from the past (#Ernest Hemmingway)?
Hemmingway was a man of great emotional troubles. He was also a man that traveled often. Found himself in situations he wasn’t sure how to handle and later found a perfectly reasonable answer in his writing. One of his favorite things to do was talk about his travels. These travels inspired locations, landscapes, physical descriptions that allow the reader to piece together their own landscape roughly similar to what he had experienced. Were these places so special that he decided to write about them? Of course they were! Little towns, small cities, ports, all very important and of significance to Mr. Hemmingway. But then you have to ask yourself, especially if you are familiar with his works; What was his state of mind?
While Hemmingway was often apparently in feud with himself over a gal, he also was fond of absinthe. He loved himself a drink or two at any given point in the day. Each time he did this he made it seem as if it were a grandeur ceremony. Both examples show how the possibility stands that location and state of mind inspire writing. So while my writing feels stale and pungent, a good change of location may be all that I need to switch things up. Liven things a bit, add that extra spark. Even if it were to only be a mental thing, ultimately reverting back to a “state of mind.” Could a location as different from what we know as normal change the way we feel?
Every time that I used to visit Florida a flood of experiences waved over me. Though I was inspired to write, I was too enthralled with everything going on around me that I could not focus. I would type out a word or two and go and chase a lizard. A new world invited a threshold of new experiences, new views, no matter how miniscule. This is one of the reasons why I am packing up and moving to San Diego, California. I have a perfectly fine life here where I live in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. However, standing strong to my muse (Hemmingway) I am willing to try a change of scenery. A different view on life, new friends, new situations, and new surroundings. I have never been one to be okay with my life without trying to get to the Bigger Better Deal (BBD). I will obviously keep my blog, but I am anxious to see how much truth lies behind a location that inspires you to write. I mean, I am already writing. Only thinking of my future destination! Please check back to see where I stand with this philosophy, as mine change regularly based on my life situations.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you found some inspiration of your own.
Caleb A. Mertz