I have a friend.
To precisely define Jason is not easy, for he is quite unlike anyone I have ever hung around with before.
I have known him since the beginning of this millennium and whenever I am in Freiburg im Breisgau I always ring him up and we will briefly get together for one or two pints and he will invariably convince me to buy yet another photograph or piece of writing he has created.
I already have in my cluttered apartment three of his portrait photographs and three of his self-published novels.
I buy his work, not so much convinced that he is a budding Robert Doisneau or Ernest Hemingway, but rather to encourage him to continue to explore his creativity and reach his potential.
He is, like myself an English teacher, but where many freelance ESL teachers struggle and worry about meeting their basic expenses, Jason, either through outside assistance or through creative frugality, always manages to live the life of Riley.
He teaches as little as he can, frequents places where spirits flow and is one of those individuals who will probably have visited every country on the planet before he expires.
Jason is viewed by many as narcissistic and self-absorbed and certainly I can see why some folks might think that, but what I see when I consider the phenomenon that is Jason, to me he is a Peter Pan-like man with the ability to enjoy life and the compulsion to do so.
There is something almost Zen-like, almost Jeff “the Dude” Lebowski-ish, about Jason.
Just as his bloodstream is possibly a chemical wonderland, his thoughts seem to throw themselves on furious steeds and dash off madly in all directions, much like his frequent travels.
Jason is a contradiction for me.
There is much about him I admire: his Hakuna Matata approach to Life, his drive to create regardless if few ever see his creations, a hairstyle untamed to match a spirit barely contained.
Yet simultaneously I know I don´t want to be like him, know I could never be like him, because for me Jason represents life without real struggle, emotion without real depth, entertainment without real substance.
Now, to be fair to him, I want to believe that at least his girlfriend, closest friends and family know what true depths lie beneath his carefully constructed facade, but the roles he has played for so long in front of so many have typecast him to the extent that the actor has become the role supplanting the reality.
When I view his photographs, some seem on the cusp of artistic expression.
When I read his novels I sense a talented ability to string words together, but as much as he may want to be a Salinger or a Kerouac, his writing, at present, lacks Impact, the ability to not only capture the human experience but as well to motivate the human spirit.
A goal of writing I aspire for and one day hope to achieve.
I recently shared with him my aspirations to become a published writer and I was quite candid with him when I said I thought my two biggest obstacles were my lack of discipline and a need for more courage.
His response was a 50-year-old should not dream of becoming a novelist and should simply self publish.
There is neither a maximum or a minimum age at which to start writing.
A younger writer can create unhampered by hesitation.
An older writer has life experience he can draw from.
Granted it is easier to achieve success if one starts earlier rather than later to build a network of people who can recognize and develop your talents, but as all the defendees of today´s modern age continually remind me the world is on the tip of my fingerprints and the click of my mouse, I need only reach out and keep trying.
Jason has proven to me that he knows how to live it up.
I pray that he possesses the strength of character to survive once the party´s over.
He has the power to make a difference.
The question remains:
Does he have the will?