Sober City Redux: Day 90 (+1)

  

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90 days. That’s how long I spent on the good old proverbial wagon we all know and hate. Currently I find myself sitting outside a Lafayette hotel with a glass of Merlot and a Tom Robbins book in sun soaked Louisiana. The wine is decent, the book is amazing and the moment is nothing short of perfect. Perhaps the perfection of the moment is the sum of all it’s part or perhaps it’s just the Louisiana sun playing right into my hand. Either way, it’s a good day to be alive. As I type these words into my some what shackled Canadian iPhone, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for me. Sober City has come to an end once again but new life has taken root in this artist’s soul and I’m ready to blossom these buds into a whole new adventure. As I said before, this blog isn’t ending with my sobriety, it’s beginning a new, and I finally decided on how it will proceed. Dazy Mojo. 

Some back story. I used to be in a band called Day Theory (aka the greatest band in the world) when I lived in Vancouver from roughly 2002 to 2004. I’m pretty sure the term “Glory Days” refers directly to a small island tour we did in Nanaimo, BC or maybe one of the countless post gig sessions hanging out at The Roxy Burger on Granville Street. Confidence reigned supreme in the Day Theory realm and faithful followers were in ample supply. It was at some point during this time when Dazy Mojo was born. The band was scheduled to appear on a local TV show and I had this brilliant (read terrible) idea to show up to the studio in character announcing that Day Theory couldn’t make it and we would perform in their place. Nobody knew who we were of course so this plan was flawed from the start. We came up with a fake band name by combining all of our first names (DAve, JesSE, MOrgan, JOe) and taking some creative license with spelling. Thus Dazy Mojo was formed. Luckily we bailed on the idea before they recorded our segment but our ridiculous mismatched persona is forever immortalized in clips on YouTube (link not found). 
The name basically died that day save for some infrequent inside references and what not but I continued to use it in my private life for go to online handles and the like. Recently I started using it more and more and I suddenly realized how personal the name is to me and also how perfect it fits. Dazy Mojo basically means “shaky confidence”. It’s one of my defining struggles that I’m sure I share with a lot (if not all) of you reading this, so what better title for this blog? Welcome to DazyMojo.com
For now I’m just redirecting my wordpress site to that address but a proper website is in development and will be available as soon as I get it presentable. In the meantime, I’m taking this whole Dazy Mojo thing in all directions. In light of my last post pertaining dust on my guitar, I’ve managed to not only start playing again but I wrote 4 new songs with a bunch more in the works. I’m super excited about the direction my music is headed and I’m going to be using Dazy Mojo as my new musical persona as well. All good things. All Dazy Mojo. 
So I bid a fond farewell to Sober City and a generous how do ya do to Dazy Mojo. I’ve written it more than enough times already to burn it into your brains so I’ll leave it where it is and hope you all keep paying attention to the weird things I have to say. Once again, thank you for all the love and support and thank you for indulging me in my wacky nonsense. I’ve got plenty more where that came from. Cheers!
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JM
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Sober City Redux: Day 87

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What is an artist? Who gets to slap that noble age old badge of honor and mystery on their chest and rightfully wear it with pride? Lots of people claim to be artists. Painters, musicians, actors, comedians, writers, singers, dancers, poets, chefs, designers, film makers, architects, woodworkers, photographers, etc, etc. Artistry lives in manual labor and office buildings; in parenting and gardening; in coffee shop lattes and beach front properties. It’s everywhere we look and yet only a small fraction of us would ever consider ourselves actual “artists”. What does it take to justifiably call yourself an artist and own it? I struggle with that question more often than not. Maybe I’m an artist because I struggle with it. The word holds so much weight and power to me. It scares me. It excites me. It fuels me when I truly believe in it and it hurts me when I don’t honor it.  

The other day I picked up my guitar for the first time in a long time and I had to clean dust off of it. Unacceptable. I’m deeply ashamed of and devastated by this and also by the amount of unfinished song ideas on my iPhone. Add to that the fact that I haven’t properly acted in well over 2 years and I have ample reasons to strip the title of artist from my mental biography. These things are scary to artists. Idleness is death to an artist, the shame of the artist. Without creating art the artist isn’t. What’s worse, even when producing and creating, the artist constantly questions his or her self worth and value, often to the point of complete destruction or dismissal of the art itself. Shutting down. Tuning out. Giving up. Sacrilege. This is where I’m at. This is where I’m at 85% of always and yet, this is also why I know I am an artist. 
Every true artist since the beginning of time has questioned their art. I don’t know this because of documented evidence, I know this because I live this. Doubt is part of the process of creating everything. Doubt is important. The artist needs doubt to achieve greatness, to perfect the craft, to constantly evolve and stay honest and true. But doubt is a fickle ally. It’s a false friend. A necessary evil that can easily poison the artist mind and turn the artist against the very art he or she must create, and make no mistake, the artist MUST create. The only choice to be made is whether to share it or not. The artist never stops. Art will creep into the daily life of the most suppressed artist and find a way. Countless people have silenced their art for a plethora of justifiable reasons but art cannot truly be silenced in an artist. It will find a way. It will always find a way.
I find myself in the midst of a rebirth of sorts. A reintroduction to myself, to the self that I lost with my father; to the self that got tarnished by time and trauma; to the self that’s been malnourished and ignored for far too long; to the self that never really left. It’s terrifying and exciting and jarring and absolutely necessary. I am one of many and also entirely unique. We all are. The artist thrives when the artist is alive and being alive is a constant beautiful struggle, a strange dance we all dance in our own way, to our own music, in our own time. I am an artist in recovery, an artist rediscovering but an artist none the less. I am an artist and I must not forget. I am an artist and I fight not to quit. I am an artist crawling back from the dead. I am an artist…and I’m not finished yet. 
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Sober City Redux: Day 85

  

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Blogging is hard. I mean it’s not climbing Mount Everest hard or sitting through an entire Jeff Dunham special without screaming hard but it’s still hard. Mostly because coming up with things to talk about on a semi regular basis in a semi entertaining fashion is tricky. I suppose the more you have to say the easier it becomes but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to write enough of anything worthy of posting anywhere. Nevertheless, I press on for that sweet, sweet manufactured sense of productivity blogging inevitably rewards me with every time I hit “publish”. I want it. I want it now.

So…topics. Weight loss? Inspirational reflection? Playground maintenance?  I got nothing. This Starbucks is clearly suppressing my creativity with it’s smooth jazz and limited seating. I should think about writing somewhere else. My couch? That seems as good a place as any. You wouldn’t know this as a reader but two days have passed between “…writing somewhere else,” and “My couch?”. Not even a new paragraph to indicate my change of writing venue and date on the calendar. Smoke and mirrors of blogging in full effect. I’m a god damn writing rebel. I’m also currently incredibly sad and anxious for no legitimate reason what so ever.


It’s like every time I go through a period of feeling awesome and happy and content with my life, I inevitably wake up one day and hate everything all over again. Maybe hate is a strong word but I need a little muscle in my vocabulary from time to time, I haven’t been to the gym in ages. So as I sit in my present state of habitual disarray and anxiety riddled nonsense, I type words with my thumbs into a tiny device meant for communication to communicate things to a community of communion in hopes of a little commonality. Cheap therapy and creative clarity. It’s mostly selfish but not entirely. Sometimes just saying things out loud (or typing them) is all it takes to free yourself from the relentlessly oppressive burdens that poison our minds and encourage our bad habits, getting us that one tiny step closer to inner peace. You get it right? Sure you do. See? I feel 3 percent better already. 
Anyways, this will most likely be my last post for a while as I cut this whole Sober City thing short (or at least put it on pause) at the three month mark. Lessons will be learned, leafs will be turned and life will go on as it tends to have a habit of doing. Thanks for all the likes and comments and thanks for giving me a place to sort out my psyche on a semi regular basis. I’m sure future scholars and anthropologists will one day pour over these blogs and mine them for all the countless gems of wisdom buried within every line to better understand the human experience of the early 21st century. That or you know, watch cat videos. See ya’ll soon!
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JM

Sober City Redux: Day 70



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I’m kind of shocked at how much a shave and a hair cut can boost the old confidence producing machine. I mean I had all but completely written off my personal confidence machine (patent pending) as of late and chalked it up to shoddy workmanship and out of date software. Turns out all it needed was a little spring cleaning. Too many hairs clogging the drain apparently. Mustachioed ones specifically. Anyway it’s been an exceptionally good week and I have nothing to credit that to except a clean face, a new haircut and a confidence machine that seems to be in working order once again. Granted it’s still running primarily on a 2003 operating system (benchmark year for confidence machines as it turns out) but at least it’s doing something. I know it’s working mostly due to the influx of selfies magically appearing all over my phone and social media. It’s not vanity when you’re still emerging from the primitive muck of depression and self doubt. It’s progress. 

So this is all well and good but I still have a Sober City blog going on for some reason so I suppose I should post something about booze already. After two months sober I can report some minimal weight loss and more than minimal monetary gain. I almost forgot how much money I save not drinking. It’s never not awesome getting the check at the end of the night and almost always needing change back from a twenty. Thanks zero dollar water! That’s a point in the pro sober column for sure. A point in the pro drinking column though? 3 dollar beer at Sneaky Dees on trivia night. Also water is boring. This ties in to one of the biggest issue I have with not drinking actually; It’s boring. That isn’t to say people who don’t drink are boring or that you can’t have fun without alcohol in your system but it just doesn’t personally feel like a part of who I truly am.
Now obviously, drinking every day and getting drunk every weekend isn’t part of who I truly am either and I definitely have a tendency to lean towards that dark side more often than not. I could blame growing up on the East Coast of Canada where drinking is as common as music and seafood; I could blame being raised on the road by my musician parents, hanging out in bars with waitresses before I could talk; or I could simply blame my high alcohol tolerant Scottish blood but the truth of the matter is that none of those things are to blame. I’m super proud and thankful for my past because it made me who I am today and the only thing to blame for any negative behavior or over indulgence is self control and more importantly for me, self confidence. 
See, when that good old self confidence machine is pumping out the goods on a regular basis, alcohol just simply isn’t an issue for me one way or the other. It’s during those shitty terrible times of self doubt and depression that alcohol stops being a part of who I am and starts defining who I am by underlining all the worst in me and diluting all the good. Abstaining from it entirely works for sure and no one is ever going to make a compelling argument in favor of drinking over not drinking but it really doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Not for me. Not right now anyway.
So 70 days sober and still going strong(ish). I get the feeling 3 months is going to end up being the length of this self imposed sabbatical from the adult beverages and hopefully when the time comes I’ll be able to carry on with self respect and a new found perspective on my life. I just gotta make sure I keep that God damn confidence machine upgraded.
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JM

Sober City Redux: Day 64





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The mustache is dead and I’ve never felt better. As far as blog headlines go I can’t seem to think of anything better suited to my current state of being than that. It’s exaggerated sure, but there’s definitely some small stream of truth babbling somewhere underneath. Me having a mustache was a terrible sick joke that I let go on way too long and I apologize to all friends and family involved who somehow miraculously managed to put up with and accept this bizarre imposter that was masquerading as their friend/family member. You guys were all troopers. Well done. 

Anyway, now that Evil Joe has been righteously murdered by Cece Chum: The Garrison Barber From Queen Street (no relation to Sweeney), I feel much more like the good old Joe we all know and recognize. So what now? What comes next? Well first of all, I need to give you a proper update to Sober City. My last post was admittedly a little subversive and seemed to put off a fairly negative and somewhat defeatist vibe so I get that I’m well overdue for an actual update. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not apologizing for the last post because it felt honest and necessary but I know I haven’t really properly posted about “Sober City” for over a month now so here it is: I’m bored with the whole thing and I’m 95% sure I’ll be ending the self imposed sobriety in April. There you have it. Alert the media. 

This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging. If anything, I’m hoping to ramp up my efforts and start posting more without the restraints of solely focusing on how abstaining from alcohol affects me and how I feel about not drinking. There’s plenty more to blog about than that and I’m still going to have lots of struggles and experiences to discuss (like we all do) whether I’m drinking or not and if people feel like paying attention to what I have to say, I’m more than happy to continue sharing.

Now I know this could be interpreted as a failure on my part and if some of you reading this feel betrayed or let down in any way I’m truly sorry. I know some of you are following my journey while going through your own struggles and I hope you stay strong and keep fighting the good fight regardless of what I decide to do. We all have our own paths we need to take and even though yours may look different than mine, we can still all help each other get to where we need to go. I’m just trying to keep it a hundred over here and right now change for Sober City is definitely on the horizon.
In the meantime, I’m still not drinking and I still feel great but when April rolls around I’ll be heading back down to Louisiana for a much needed break from the punishing frost demons of Toronto and something tells me those crawfish boils and zydeco bands are gonna make me a little thirsty. I will be spending some time on Bourbon street after all so anything is possible. Stay tuned you filthy animals. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
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JM
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