New Reason New Way by Andy Eppler - Read Online
New Reason New Way
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Prolific artist Andy Eppler discusses his experience with making art and his need to redefine inspiration and the creative process after losing his belief in the god of his childhood.
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ISBN: 9781483533476
List price: $9.99
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New Reason New Way - Andy Eppler

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1. A Short Prologue:

As I wrapped my penis around each knob and fader on the famous mixing board once used by Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings I imagined the energy of their admirable creativity flowing into me and I smiled my biggest smile. I didn’t really think I was being imbued with special powers or anything but I did feel like I had made a special connection with my musical ancestors. I quickly walked out to the front of the historic KDAV radio station where the DJ and our mutual friend were just beginning to light their cigarettes. When they had gotten up after our interview to go out for a smoke break we walked right past the famous Buddy and Waylon board and I had hung back for thirty or so seconds in order to make my special connection with Lubbock, Texas music history.

I think the guys kind of thought I was just lagging behind because I had gotten a little stoned before our interview and so they didn’t even ask what had held me up. They were idly chatting as they began to suck down their cigarettes and I stood on the curb in front of the radio station in the Depot District of Lubbock, Texas thinking about my connection to the city and my small place in its strange story. The city has produced more than its share of great artists over the years and there has always been a distinct heritage, which is recalled like bloodlines by the local lore keepers. When I first started out making my art in Lubbock one of my fondest hopes was to someday rise to the ranks of the legendary artists whom everyone in the city seemed to respect.

I was hungry for approval back then. The special middle child in a busy family, I had developed a need for attention and approval that was probably unhealthy. I had to leave to be able to clear that from my mind as much as I have now, but I still want to be connected to those legends in some way unique to my own experience. This is why I had decided in that moment of walking by the mixing board to stop and let my hosts walk on ahead. I had molested the knobs on the board out of respect and seeing as I generally have a high standard for my personal hygiene, I figure no harm was really done to the equipment. Perhaps some folks would disagree. If anything, the knobs might have held a faint body wash scent for a few hours. Hell, I probably cleaned them off a bit. From everything I know about Buddy and Waylon, I think they would have laughed along with me, though perhaps not as maniacally.

The winter wind was moving at a slow but decidedly steady pace through the neon drenched block and a half of clubs and bars which themselves seemed to be huddled together for warmth. I watched as the cold breeze rolled a paper cup down the nearly empty Buddy Holly Avenue. It tumbled around the few parked cars which were lined up next to the entrances of their owner’s favorite bars and then the little piece of trash rolled out into the middle of the street. It danced down the double yellow line until it was smashed by a passing sports car, which carried a cell phone chatting college chick. For some reason (probably the weed) this scene was internalized and I felt a connection to that little paper cup rolling down Buddy Holly Avenue late at night dancing in the wind, riding the breeze down the open road only to be unintentionally crushed like the unimportant trash it was.

A few seconds later the breeze picked up again and the frigid waves of it lifted the flattened cup high into the glowing amber streetlights and curls of neon signage. It then gently dropped it into the bike rack on the roof of a nearby van. The adventure continued after all. Somehow I am that trash being tossed in the wind. I have no idea where I’m going. All I can do is learn to ride the breeze.

Unlike the beer and pot induced haze of that night in the Depot District, these last few years have brought into sharp focus my view of what I do. Some very fundamental things have come to light and changed my life. I want to try and explain how I developed my view of the world, my newfound perspective on art and what I have learned about being creative, making purposeful work and living happily while working furiously. I am still young and I know that I don’t know everything, but I am living a wonderful, happy life full of art, and I can only hope that artists who run across this book will find it encouraging, freeing and relatable. I hope this work inspires people to be creative and to live thoughtful and purposeful lives.

2. My Childhood as Briefly

as I Dare:

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. — Pablo Picasso

When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years

–Mark Twain

When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.

– Mark Twain

Iwas born in the summer of 1985 in Lubbock, Texas to David and Colleen Eppler. My mother and I almost died from complications during pregnancy and she was bed ridden for quite some time after my traumatic birth. She had to take time off from her work at our local church where she had been helping them with their choir and musical ministry. The whole thing was a pretty horrific ordeal and my mother still cries when she talks about it. I was their second son. My brother James and I would be joined by our sister, Betsy, four short years later. In general we were a happy family. We all shared a naturally upbeat personality type and rarely did anyone really fight or yell.

In the early years, my father was selling high-end menswear at one of the only really nice stores in the area. My grandfather, Jim Eppler, had also sold designer clothing and worked in that field his whole life, loving it even to the end. I think he had kind of expected my father to do the same but when I was still very young, maybe second grade, dad quit the clothing sales business and became a pastor at the same local church my mother was working at. His sense for fashion was overridden by his innate love for people. He felt called to the ministry by God. I should explain for folks who aren’t familiar with how big churches work that my dad wasn’t the guy standing on stage on Sunday with a message from God. My father was one of maybe a dozen or so pastors who do things like lead men’s groups or take charge of the homeless ministry or teach Sunday school classes or run the mission work.

My dad’s actual job changed a lot while he worked there. When he started he was the pastor in charge of the janitors and the print shop. Yes, they have that. Mom went back to her work at the same church and got her old job back that she had to give up when she fell ill with me three years before. She was treated as most women were treated in the patriarchal society that was West Texas Christianity back then (and probably today in most places in that state). She was essentially hired to do the jobs of three men and got paid less than one man would have made. We were poor. Not Dickens novel poor but still pretty poor.

I remember thinking that it seemed like we ate either egg sandwiches or hamburger gravy over mash or toast at every meal. I still love this kind of food. It was the flavor of my childhood, canned vegetables and deep fried meat meant to keep you on your feet and fill you up as cheaply as possible. My favorite was chicken fried steak, which my mother mastered easily enough having grown up on similar stuff in her own childhood up in the state of Washington. There was salt, lard, steak, buttered potatoes mashed into creamy homogeneous deliciousness and always a crispy and flavorful crust around the most succulent two dollar steak you have ever eaten. It was always good. She doesn’t cook like that anymore and hasn’t in years but she is alive to tell the salt and fat-drenched tale, I suppose. It was made with love and it always put everyone in a good mood.

Trinity Church was huge. As kids, we referred to the large sanctuary where Sunday sermons took place as big church. It was an apt description. The church was also a thriving business. It had a private school, called Trinity Christian Schools, that it sponsored right on the property complete with playgrounds and different buildings for different grades. I mention it because this is the place I grew up. I was on the premises of that church and school for most of my childhood and even early adulthood. I went to daycare there before I started school and went from there right into their kindergarten. I would go to school there for eleven more years, taking a Bible class every single year.

My parents couldn’t afford a babysitter so we went to church as often as they did. There was church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Saturday nights and periodically on other days when there was a special event like the church Super Bowl party or if it hadn’t rained in a month or two there would be prayer meetings. At school, we would have Bible class where we would memorize scripture or study symbolism and on Wednesday we would have chapel. All that is to say, I got a lot of churching while growing up.

My folks, knowing how much we were getting at school and church, didn’t preach at us much at home. We didn’t have a regular family Bible time or anything like that unless there was a fad going around the community, which they would on occasion. Some new book would come out and since people were always one-upping each other in terms of spirituality, it would eventually come around so that everyone had pretty well agreed to read whatever that new book was and if it were a devotional series you could be sure we’d be hearing about it at home. Other than those few episodes we didn’t do much talking about church things at home. At least we, the kids, didn’t. We prayed before meals but mostly my family watched TV. They wouldn’t watch just anything but they did watch a fuck lot of TV.

As a kid, I would come home from school and retreat to my room for some peace and play with my toys. I would stay up there alone