David T. Lewis

Father, educator, drinker, listener.

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How Memory Works

When someone dies it is strange to think about them. You don’t remember them in the last moment you saw them, you remember them all at once. All the time you spent together comes back as a flood of memories. Images rush back in, as your brain struggles to make sense of the crushing loss.

What I keep coming back to with Rick starts with this idea of a boy: so sweet and simple. Just a child. We are skateboarding, playing ball, talking, laughing. Then I get hit with this blur of moments. Nothing specific, but through them I get a sense of the man. The picture becomes clearer until I finally get a glimpse of him and a memory pulls into focus:

It is just this past Spring. After my Father’s death and I remember Rick’s hand on my arm. We were standing outside in my backyard and I was sobbing. He was so sensitive, so aware. He looked me in the eye and said, “I am so sorry.” But it was...

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A Fond Farewell

I lost my father and I miss him dearly.

Clearly this happens to everyone in some stage, at some point in their life. In some cases it is all too early. Sometimes it comes after much suffering. In his case neither was true. My dad died quickly after a life full of laughter and wine. I am totally grateful for that.

What I’m left with (beyond the stunning loss) is the question of, why? Not why did he die, but why do we live? I know that lots of people have written about grief and loss and this kind of existential crisis is part of the process. I just can’t help myself.

I always lived for my mother’s love and worked for my father’s admiration. That is to say I wanted him to be proud of me. And I know he was. Though not always: like the time I pierced my tongue to impress a girl but wound up getting a mild infection and going to the doctor. His exact words, “you are a fucking idiot...

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Why You Aren’t “Just Lucky To Have A Job.”

Over the last 8 years I have been working with young artists on developing their careers. Many times they get stuck somewhere in the process and their hope turns to bitterness, “I’m just lucky to have a job.” I’ve heard this sad phrase uttered and muttered as some kind of self-fulfilling, defeatist mantra. Its wrong. If you are any good, any employer should be so lucky as to have you. The whole sentiment of the benevolent, single-sided employer is a twisted idea that has much more to do with our own crippled national ambition than it does our current downturned economy. (Though we most certainly should feel lucky for the opportunity to work, but that is another post.)

Watching Larry Smith’s TEDx Talk, Why You Will Never Have a Great Career, really reminded me how much of our work environment is a direct reflection of our own drive to innovate and demonstrate our merit in the...

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Speaking up and speaking out.

On the eve of September’s Suicide Prevention Month, I’m reminded of how important it is to discuss the challenges that so many of us face in our mental health. If for no other reason than to attempt to normalize the loneliness that comes along with the acute discomfort of depression.

Very rarely do I post anything this private, but I think it’s important that I say out loud that I struggle with social phobia and anxiety …and have done for years.

This has been incredibly difficult, not only for me, but for my closest friends and family. It is something I have been really ashamed of and as a father of two beautiful children it is a constant reminder of no matter how adult we might look, how truly fragile we might actually feel.

In order to try to keep this panic at bay I’ve explored just about everything: avoidance, therapy, medication, drinking, denial. It has not gone away...

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