What a month already!  I decided to spend last night in the heart of the city, downtown with the lights and buildings looming over me, everything moving faster than anything has any right to on cold winter days like these.  I’ve been troubled lately…dealing with changes in myself, my relationships, the very air around me–let’s just say it’s left me waxing philosophical more often than not.

After spending some time downtown with an old friend that I don’t see nearly enough, I decided to hit a local coffee shop to have dinner with the lovely Brittany.  Little did I know that while I waited for her to arrive, a budding friendship would strike a creative match in my soul.

“What brought you to work at the Community College?” was the question that did it.  I was sitting at a table, drinking a house blend and talking to my new friend Danny on the phone, still going through the “getting to know you” growing pains.  The question took me back nearly three years, to my graduation from Baylor, the largest Baptist University in the world, and my return to Dallas, city of the hedonistic impulse.

My homecoming wasn’t the festive event I hoped for: no fancy job lined up, all my friends gone and married, everything in my old room at home just as it was the day I left.  I decided I would have to be the change I wanted to see–I was going to commit myself to being an artist.  Devote myself to my writing, my charcoals and pencils, my clumsy music, whatever means I wanted to express myself with.  But something distracted me, something about seeing my peers (or rather, not seeing them) and their successes, their families and their important lives, made me feel…like a failure.

I told my new friend that it was that fear that made me go to the Community College and apply for the part time job that two short years later would lead to administration.  “Who the hell have I become?” I wondered as we talked.  Suddenly, almost on cue, I felt the spark, the fleeting spirit that carries inspiration with it!  It passed through me and I caught it although I almost didn’t recognize it due to months of estrangement.  I tore out my notebook and began to write.  I ordered queso and chips.  Sent Brittany threatening texts while I waited.  Wrote even more.  My sultry waitress in her corset and heels asked if I wanted any real food–I sent her packing.  In creative moments like those, real food is useless–only coffee will do, hot on the near-empty stomach, nothing substantial to make you lethargic and useless.

That’s how things are here in this city, it seems.  Everyone’s always drinking too much coffee, eating too little food, moving too fast, never sleeping.  The traffic never slows for a moment, no matter the hour: home of the 24-hour-anything-you-can-conceive-of.  That’s Dallas.  I’m trying to pick up the pace and maybe catch up to the man I once planned on being.  One more cup of coffee might help.