Romancing My Vices

5 Mar

After a bountiful beginning in my teens in Theatre, Film and Music in Seattle, I was invited and moved to Los Angeles, CA in early 1988. I Pilgrimed as a Poet highwayman, an Artist soldier; with my kit bag, my guitar, the works of Brando, Dean and De Niro in my heart, Dylan, Waits, and Bowie in my head, Kerouac & Whitman, Salinger & Patchen in my soul, sincerely, riding a swelling wave of shining momentum –with two hundred dollars in my pocket, fleeing pending legal complications and extricating myself from a drawn out, come closer/go away breakup with a rising Hollywood starlet.
Though only somewhat consciously (and probably poorly) calculated, it was still a pure, decent, great dream… as well as a crafted avoidance of consequences, and a downright, bright light/good night 7/11 crapshoot. I rolled sevens & elevens for a long run, on gut feelings, hunches & intuition alone.
I rolled like a wheel into the Hollywood Machine, turning out favor consistently, for the better part of twenty years as a working Actor and Musician in “The Industry”. I’d been fortunate doing what about two percent of Screen Actor’s Guild members get to do; make a living on work in film and television, and better than just survive, I had thrived in my career. I’d worked with great directors & actors, writers, cinematographers, producers, and in my music career I’d had similar opportunity & success as well, respectively. I’d had lovely homes, passionate romances -Celebrity and otherwise, parties with legendary personas, world travel, toys, close friends, strong family relationships, transcendence and more. I was not yet a household name “movie star” or “rock star”; I was working, laying foundations under seeming celestial alignment, bridging spans from past to future, from nothingness to material, from myself to others, and manifesting that life song pretty well. Given the sheer odds of even the most talented people actually “making it” in the industry, those parts of my story are uncommon.
Conversely, through mutated attitudes & actions in the fullness of time, I’d progressively repeated decisions and deeds in that awesome forum, taking it as my playground, undermining and alienating myself from it, and the generally assumed, previously predicted, great outcomes. These parts of my story are not original; youthful entitlement, arrogance, indulgence, dark devotions, destruction, resentment, road closures, bridge burning, self-pity, envy, dysfunction, addiction, desperation, and probably thirty two or three other classic character flaws that will destroy a life in any profession. I had cultivated all of these through errors in judgment, faulty choices & indiscretions one after another & another, lost in seeing my case as different or special, it wasn’t me it was them, in evident peril of being terminally “unique”.
Drinking and drugs were merely indicative symptoms of deeper-rooted shortcomings cultivating in me, and influenced manifestations of the latter in a major way, without question. Believe that this book does not constitute or aspire to be another tragic tale of battles with substance abuse. If what I have come to find were simply that, I would not seek to bother anyone with it by hunting and pecking out another bound printing to heap upon that over fed pile. What I have come to find has been more astonishing.
In my aim to shift my shape presently, I’m painstakingly pushed again to reaching, for even a small glowing ember of the life I previously had and loved inadequately, and to comprehend the hidden degrees to which I’m the architect of my own adversity. I’m way past apprentice by now. It should all be crystal clear.
Through years of my extravagance in methods of killing, creating wreckage, denying consequences & defying my blindness to them, I’ve malformed myself to be an unlivable version of me with vicious precision. I’ve lived in constant threat of this sickness while feeding it, wittingly and unwittingly. As told by Sir Walter Scott, “Of all the vices, drinking is the most incompatible with greatness”. I’ve romanced vices far worse.
To my good fortune, I’d also been taught a straightforward solution that, at its bottom line, comes down to just three words: “Change or Die”, which I don’t mean to reduce to sounding easy, but it’s simplicity is sound. I had tested and proven it for periods of up to three years and using new tools I did transform to certain degrees. I haven’t maintained anything like my longest period of conscious growth from 1997 to 2000, and I spent the next eight years undoing most of it in conflicting & contradicting forays onto my internal battle field, sobering myself and being granted a movie, TV or music project turning my road to rise again, offending my world in wars to defend my flawed existence, and ego, lapsing back to decline & retreating into self-defeat taking demoralizing “comfort” in the “medicine” I’d taken up again, persistently chipping away at golden opportunities I continued to be given. I’ve had much more than my fair share of grace.
©2018 Brent David Fraser, Stratherrick Publishers, all rights reserves (ASCAP)

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