December 16, 2003

I tracked down fellow UGA Lipscomb Hall Alumni Jarrett Arnold on the Net the other day. He wrote:

Yes it is me . Hello Chris, I don't check e mail very often, sorry. I am a free lance artist in oregon. My daughter, shashi was born August 2. My son through marriage, Bodhi, is 2.5 years old. Quite a different life I lead now, except for the continued prolific pouring forth of my soul onto whatever I can find. Yes. still painting like crazy. All of that web stuff is old art though. What does your life look like these days? Paint me a picture with your words. jarrett

What I wrote him back is as good a snapshot of my life as I think I've put together:


Jarrett,

My life is the 60's song "Five O'Clock World" by the Vogues:
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Trading my time for the pay I get
Living on money that I ain’t made yet
Gotta keep going, gotta to make my way
But I live for the end of the day (yeah, yeah)

Cuz it’s a five o’clock world when the whistle blows
No one owns a piece of my time
And there’s a long-haired girl who waits, I know
To ease my troubled mind, yeah
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I've got this Clark Kent rat race day job, writing code for some financial services company. The name doesn't matter, they're all the same underneath the logos. I tweak the code of this application to fit various logo-companies, making the zeroes and ones jump through the hoops that the logo wants. I'm thankfully, blissfully, mostly insulated from the finished product. The code is my haven, and I could care less about finance.

My code is the great left-right brain balancing act, equal parts Jarrett and Jack. The Jack side tells me the monochrome details, technical specifications, white light. I put that white light into the Prism Bridge, and it crosses over into the Jarrett side of my brain, where the colors get twisted and woven, saturated and hued, until I find the right pattern and pallette. Pass it back across the bridge, and the changed light tells the Jack side how to code the Solution. It's satisfying work, solving problems in code. Code is the executable poerty of the Digital Age. It's also like magic tricks, where the audience only sees the result and most of the art and creation is only known and appreciated in secret by the trickster himself.

But like the song, what holds me to this world and gives me real meaning is my family. Back in 1998, I made an honest woman out of Melissa Petrey, who was a friend of Jack's back at Brookwood. Like any successful union, each has qualities that the other admires and wants for themself. I admire her ability to strike up converations with strangers, speak her mind openly and be outgoing or aggressive as the situation demands. Like any man betrothed, I'm not sure what she sees in me, I just consider myself lucky to have her. To guess, she may like my calm demeanor, humor and sensibility, to temper her fiery nature. Matthew came into being in February of 2002. Melissa wanted a little Chris, all blond-haired and blue-eyed, and she got a "Mini-Me", just like she asked for. Underneath, however, he's all stubbornness and love; all Melissa.

To satisfy the Jarrett side, I've been writing and photographing and sketching and photoshopping. I've made music with my voice and in digital beats and bytes on the computer with Acid Music. And when other challenges are lacking, I turn to PS2 to provide narrative, action and accomplishment in the virtual. Melissa, meanwhile, is into Lord of the Rings full-stop, from her hairy Hobbit feet to the tips of her little pointy ears. She's found community in the celebration of the movies and books of Tolkein, and the underlying messages of the writings. Together, we were lucky enough to travel to Germany, and this October, to London.

Feelings of comfort have turned to wanderlust as of late, as Melissa and I desire to move out of backwoods Flowery Branch, Georgia. We need someplace with more life, less quiet, greater variety, less predictability, just plain MORE. There are, I am certain, parts of the Sahara Desert that have more culture to offer than Flowery Branch. The Gypsy in her blood is showing and I agree, it's time to move on. There are places that need to be seen, people met, experiences had, all of which cannot be done here.

Good to find you! -Chris

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