Saturday, December 28, 2013


As 2013 draws to a close I am thinking about how my creativity will flourish in 2014.

It's time to steal!

I was recently gifted(though it was actually given to my wife)...and I am not really sure who gave it to her(us).  I will just say that it was contentious amongst the givers who was giving and who was receiving.  But that's okay because the book was called Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.

In a side note he moved to Austin.  My friend LA moved to LA.  Names can influence jobs too!

The gist of the book is that nothing is original, and that a good artist steals from many things rather than one, and mashes them all together into their own creative smoothie.  Then the book gives ways to stay creative and productive.  It also says when people give advice it is really to their younger selves, so maybe this distant boom is for past Dan.

Dear Past Dan,
    Hey Dan!  I guess it's not too far in the past or you would be Daniel, but in middle school you were so uncool the one thing you could do was go by your nickname to try to turn things around.  How it that working out for you?

Past Dan:  That's funny!  I'm actually writing a letter to Daniel, me at 6 years old.  I'm telling him to stop peeing the bed and to not be OCD.  What a weirdo!

Present Dan:  I know, right!  (Past and Present Dan high five) Well, stop for a second and listen up,

Keep writing.  Keep being creative.  It all connects.  You're not going to get famous by writing 3 novels and never finishing them.  All your passions connect.  Create alone and with other people.  Don't be in box.  You can be a serious writer and be a silly clown and be manly and also be emotional.   And all of this can be apparent at the same time.  You aren't a great rapper but you are pretty funny.  Lonely Island is gonna be famous before you anyway.  And that haircut when you part your hair down the middle: not working.  The short blonde goatee: not working.  You can barely see it, so just blends with your face and makes your jaw look kinda pixelated.  Bring coolant on your road trips and enjoy your friends and family, Bindlestiff, and anything you love.  It won't all be there by the time I write this.   And be nice to little Daniel in the letter!

Present Dan (2013)

PS: In the future, you can talk to your letters and they can talk back.

So anyway...2013...I did some good stuff.  I finished grad school, wrote 100 pages of a novel, and feel my life is a little more balanced with friends and family than a year ago.  I'm also still struggling with social anxiety and how to be the best Dan I can be.  Oh, what's this?  A silver envelope with my name flashing on the cover!  Let's open it....

Dear Past(2013) Dan,

Hello Dan.  This is your Future Self, The actually Present Dan(2023).  I'm 45!  I wanted to say to be nice to yourself, and all your past selves.  They are just doing the best they can, and so are you, and don't deserve to be insulted.  Sure they seem silly now, and you seem silly to me, but so what?  What is so bad about you, or anyone?  In the future we don't lament these things.  There's not enough food and water and cable shows, but we all moved to the moon where I'm REALLY good at basketball.

When you steal ideas and use them, do it with love.  Do everything with love.  I don't mean in a cheesy way(whatever that means...we use different slang now) I mean it in a respectful way.  Don't just culturally appropriate, but learn from and use for the world.  It's a slippery slope, but at least you're not on the moon and don't need to keep tumbling down it for 30 miles, and you lost control and shat your suit, and then you were stuck with that smell while you waited for a rescue crew...for 3 hours!!!!!!!!

Well, I've got to go watch myself on TV.  Yeah, it's the new Reality show, where we watch a show of cameras that follows you around.  My favorite camera is the one in my throat so I can see my food after it comes into my mouth.  Let's see what I'm doing.  Oh, I'm writing a letter.  Now I'm taking it to my building's time travel mailbox.  I don't have my own yet, but don't judge me I'm saving up for one, so I can send letters to the past at all hours of the day.  Oh look it's a letter from my says..."don't waste money on a personal time travel mailbox.  Just walk down the hall."  but if I sent this from my own mailbox, and I don't get it, then that means...(time travel paradox implodes the universe.  Nothing is left but this moment)

D. Joseph Weil (in the future we always use our first initial.  And I know you're wondering how I signed the letter but get over it)