Original Pursuits Society
A very long time ago I created this thing with my brother: an independent high schol club. It turned out to be an amazing disaster. What I mean by that is that it was amazing, it really was. But, in the end it was also a disaster.
TCO embodied a lot of things, and that was partly the problem. TCO embodied the creativity between Cliff and I and our relationship. It embodied the creative frustration of a group of artistic-y kids stuck in a small county with little place to physically turn. It embodied the potential that the internet had for creative individuals that did not yet exist (like video sharing). It was a giant wish really, it just happened that forty-fifty people were wishing.
That’s right, forty-fifty people. The other problem with TCO besides lack of true definition, was the leadership. Leadership was not under the guidance of anybody with experience. Like everything in my life TCO was structured and made, honestly, out of my head. Because of that TCO had too many connections to what was in my head. It didn’t help that I was a crazy person. Imagine a crazy Asher, who’s also a teenager, who’s also in love… that literally types disaster.
Despite all of this Cliff and I were able to amass about forty-fifty people in our high school (which we were attending) into some form of pseudo-club without any parental interference or guidance. We basically made our own clique. It was for creative individuals, by creative individuals. Really, it served as a social outlet for the teens involved. People who didn’t quite fit in were welcomed into the clique, membership was open to everyone. Teens who had amazing creative ideas and wanted to share that energy, but didn’t have the resources to make it, found a place where they could talk about their dreams and people would actually listen.
Sometimes, some people actually got together and made something. And there were other things, like a newsletter I would sell on campus for a quarter. All in all I would say TCO brought in about $120. Unfortunately it spent about $10,000. Not the most economical endeavor was it?
I was a sixteen year old lunatic with a very loving mother. I made some terrible decisions in the hopes that someday we’d explode big out on to the internet. One day I was talking to my sister-in-law Aila about a site where people could share their videos. She said, “Who’d want to upload videos to the internet?” Later, of course, YouTube came out. That was typical of the time, and I thought I had something unique and innovative to bring to the internet. Problem was, it was too unique. In-jokes aren’t funny to people who aren’t in on the IN-joke. Another problem, it was TOO ambitious too fast. I built up this thing that didn’t exist in my mind. I was like a megalomaniac tripping on power that only existed in words.
Finally, I graduated and things went downhill. Being a megalomaniac kind of gives you a very small window to look out of at the world and to structure what life really is in your head. The models in my head were grossly disproportionate to their actual counterparts, and it didn’t help that I was extremely intense. As well, my mental illness (as it usually does around this age) reared its ugly head really hard. Pile on top of that immediate changes in social life, challenges I couldn’t solve, and living away from home for the first time… and it finally died. In a way, I died, at least that version of me.
In all, it was actually a really good thing. In fact, it was probably the best thing. All my very close friends that I had during TCO, are either not a close friend, or I’m seriously no longer talking to them at all (excluding my brother Cliff). I learned who needed to be in my life, who didn’t, and why. Sure, I attempted the same type of thing with a political party several years after that… but it too met with utter disaster, and I learned that just because somebody says they’re your friend doesn’t mean they are. The next ten years gave me the opportunity to look at a life interrupted, and slowly realize how much of a crazy disproportionate person I was… and because of that what I missed out on. In some respects, I missed out on a lot because that time was filled up with something else, myself. Sometimes it saddens me when I look at certain pictures and drawings that I destroyed my own experiences, that I yearned for things to happen that didn’t at my own hand.
But, that’s life. Everybody has issues.
I guess I didn’t exactly paint this in a glowing light with that introduction, but, I would like to announce that I am currently looking into starting up an organization again. I make no promises right now! This would be another creativity organization, but it would freely take advantage of the technology we have now and not reinvent the wheel. When TCO existed many technologies and media either barely or didn’t exist. There were no Smartphones, no Tablets, no YouTube, there was no Facebook, no WordPress, no Tumblr, no Wix, no SecondLife, no hashtags, and barely even Twitter. But now, its amazing, it’s here!
The part that really moves me is that I think I’ve finally figured out what it means to be a rational human being in my life, and that so many people I knew had already figured that out. I wish I had figured it out at eight, but I guess that’s what being eight’s all about. My life is better, I go to therapy every three-four months, I have kept my apartment clean over a long term basis, there are no crises that need fixing every day, and no more crying. I understand the narrowness and disproportions of the past, and I’m not inclined to repeat them, in the same vein I know what people are, not what I want them to be.
The organization is named the Original Pursuits Society. You can find much more basic information at that link. It is very small and just beginning, and I’m hoping we can find some creative individuals who are interested in such a thing to help us start it growing. I know I won’t get much from this post on my Facebook and Twitter, but that’s not really why I’m posting it.
I have behind me countless and countless failed attempts at so many things. TCO is one thing among several that actually did work. Because I was crazy it was doomed to failure, but at its core, it worked. And I love doing it. I hope I can do it again.