Lucas Wyatt Jackson

June 14th, 2024

 I recently brought a little Kodak "Water and Sport" 35mm camera to Roatan, Honduras, a small island off the coast in the Caribbean. I bought this camera for $18 dollars off of amazon(ick), knowing that I was going to be scuba diving while in Roatan. While the island has so much more to offer, its reef is well known in diver circles aka I heard it mentioned once by someone who read about it on a blog.

 I brought this little camera because I wanted to capture what I saw under the waves, to take home some of those feelings. On the other hand, I've seen dozens of divers bring GoPros or full underwater housed digital cameras (I've thought about buying one of these set ups but they are more expensive than my professional grade camera!). Folks who bring these seem more focused on getting the perfect picture, or filming everything they saw, than the experience itself. The reason I love diving so much is getting lost in those moments, the wonder of exploration. It's alien down there and metaphors alone fail to encapsulate what it's like.

 The camera I brought only had 23 photos it could take. This artificial scarcity helped me live in the moment. I can't capture everything, therefore, I only capture those really special moments. Most folks can probably handle having a GoPro or something similar and still enjoy the experience but I know myself. This limit was important. It made me really consider what was worth capturing and what wasn't. It stopped me from taking a thousand photos but let me bring back a few moments I could share. Most of the time, I forgot I was carrying the little thing around.

 This little film camera is rated to go 50ft underwater and by the end of the trip I had gone on plenty of dives that went 60+ feet deep. After my second to last dive, I was pretty sure I saw water inside the plastic shell. Did the film get wet? Did any of my photos survive? I had no idea.

 Fun fact: X-ray machines can irrevocably damage undeveloped film. Another fun fact: TSA agents don't have to deal with a lot of film anymore. This means deep levels of confusion as I hand folks a hunk of plastic and beg them not to x-ray it. It especially means that the Airport workers in Honduras who did not speak English combined with my poor Spanish nearly spelled defeat. The security line was over a 100 people long and my partner Abby and I had already skipped most of it because everyone else on our plane had already finished boarding. She went through first, exasperated and worried, only to turn around and see me trying to negotiate with the staff. They wanted me to take a picture of them(this is what they said although I doubt it's what they meant). The people behind me were getting impatient and I felt the pressure. Eventually we can to an agreement where they tried to take a photo with it, saw it was empty and just let me through.

Diving is the most deeply isolating experience I've ever had. Being unable to speak and floating around this foreign world. Yet it is also this wonderful shared moment with your fellow divers. Once you surface you can't help but gush about all the amazing and crazy things you saw.

Did you see the barracuda had a hook in his mouth?

That turtle was almost invisible while it was sleeping among the coral.

I was staring at a fish before noticing the huge spotted eel right beside me!

Can't wait to be underwater again.


August 13th, 2023

 The first thing I do when I write anything is swap the font to Georgia. When I look at my writing in other fonts, I don't read it in my voice, but I do in Georgia. This doesn't really have anything to do with what I wanted to write about but I suppose it wouldn't be a blog post for me if I did start with an incoherent ramble and fall victim to my own stream of consciousness. It's been a while since I did one of these, but I would hate to simply recount all of the things that have happened in the interim, and it's been a long interim! That's such a lazy way to write anything, I might as well be writing a Christmas post card to send out to acquaintances from college who never write back. Unfortunately, I just read my most recent blog post from early 2021, about 2 and a half years ago, and I do have to follow up on that depressing piece. I recognize what that version of me was feeling and I can happily report that I am in a much better place.

 But I didn't set out to write about that today and I'd much rather talk about all the things that make me want to write. The expressions of other's creativity that make me want to be creative as well. I have become a voracious reader for the first time since I was in middle school. I think over the last year I've read 20+ novels, all of which have been by Sir Terry Pratchett. That's right astute reader, I'm deep into the Disc World series. These digestible, emotional, romantic, and endlessly clever novels have pulled me into their world like no other series has done in the last decade. I find myself crying, laughing, smiling, and thinking about life more from these books than anything else. They are just such touching reflections of life but twisted in with an entertaining chunk of fantasy. Terry Pratchett has firmly nudged Frank Herbert to second place in my list of favorite authors. Frank made me contemplate some of life's big questions, our place in the universe and such. Terry makes me contemplate people. He makes me empathize with dwarves, zombies, and most difficultly, humans. 10/10, I have been recommending this series to anyone who will listen to me for the last year and I expect I will keep doing so for the foreseeable future!*

 I'm sitting here writing this little post eating raspberries and petting my dog** I want to add a contemplation of raspberries to this post. They are weird, gross little hairy fruit that taste better than any other fruit. 9/10, would suck down another box of them without hesitation if you put it in front of me. Top tier fruit.

 That reminds me, I have not had a chance to discuss my rating system on this site. Abby*** and I have been slowly defining a 1-10 scale where more than just 7-10 are used. Find it enumerated below. This scale can be used for anything from a new beer, a restaurant, a movie, a person, etc. The exact language changes but the underlying feeling stays the same.

1. This is quite possibly the worst thing in its category. It has no redeeming qualities and can't even be complimented on it's horrific nature. The Room is a bad movie but that makes it entertaining and therefore much higher rated. This rating is almost as unused as the ten, it's legitimately difficult to find something this awful and not also be impressed by how it's doing awful as good as it is. There is nothing worse than a one. If given a choice between doing something that's a one on this scale and dying, it's a hard decision.

2. The only difference between one and two, similar to nine and ten, is personal preference. It's important to leave some vague, nebulous definitions to remind us how subjective this entire concept is.

3. You really don't want to do a three. You throw a fit, demand to do something else. Threes suck. You have to drag me into Times Square, and I'm unhappy the whole time I'm there.

4. A general disdain. It's disappointing and maybe worse, it's boring. You would rather turn off the television than watch a movie that finds itself in this category.

5. The word of the hour: Mid. Something that finds itself in this category is serviceable. It's not trash but you would never seek it out. Fives don't move you, they don't really make you think. A five is a decent beer or glass of wine. You're glad you have something to drink but they don't really enhance the experience.

6. Pleasant. A six is good. You'd go see a comedian again if you thought their performance was a six. Not everything can be great but there is nothing wrong with being a six. I'm never mad about encountering a six. You'd get a beer afterwork with a six.

7. Sevens routinely find themselves in my memories. I want to go back, I want to rewatch or reread. They're impressive.

8. You're mad if an eight doesn't win the golden globe. It was damn good and you're willing to fight for an eight. Here and above, you're emotionally attached

9. As I said before, there is no criteria for a difference between nine and ten, just personal preference. I can think of a bunch of movies and books I would rate a nine, they are the best in their breed, they are the pillars upon which genres are built. But they don't occupy that number one spot in your heart, or should I say the number ten spot. Gods, that's a bad joke and I can't imagine a good reason to not remove it in the edit.

10. This doesn't have to be perfect. We all have flaws. But the flaws of a ten add to it, they make it better in a way. Very few things can be tens. You have to love them, and that love has to last, it's not some puppy lust that fades. These stick with you, they inspire you, they make you want to create something just as good. They are the finish line.

That's it for today. Your sign of life for the year.


*Terry has also taught me two important lessons when it comes to writing: The power of footnotes to have little digressions but not ruin the flow of the page and that anyone who uses more than one exclamation point at the end of a sentence should be classified as clinically insane.

**His name is Winston and I'm sure a photo of him will be posted on here eventually. Future me, put a link here.

***This is my partner, girlfriend, co-parent of Winston, and all around a lovely person. I don't write about her here because every time I try to write about her it turns into a love letter and I don't think you, dear reader, have any business reading my love letters.

March 21st, 2021

 I don't think I have anything interesting to write today but that's how all of my blog posts start. I haven't felt creative or productive in a few weeks and it's really been killing my motivation. Even if this stays saved locally and never published, it feels good to write a bit for myself right now. I'm smiling as I write this because that's so self-congratulatory for such a simple little act and I really really really want to be condescending to myself, but I will resist the urge! Instead, I will simply be self-deprecating. I have a terrible poem to share but I'll save that for later.

 Today, Friday, I had my first drink since last Sunday. It wasn't difficult to make it the 5 days sober. I had a few cravings here and there, in the quiet moments when usually I am either stuck with myself or enjoying the companionship a bottle brings. That might be a bit melodramatic, but it's not mistaken. My drinking, like much of the country, has skyrocketed during the pandemic. I took the month of January off, then I started daily drinking right back where I left off. I noticed it was really bad last week, without a day going by that I didn't have a drink. So, I decided to take the week to myself. It didn't have the desired consequences if I'm being honest. At the start of 2020 I was in the worst place I had ever been in, and alcohol was a big part of that. I stopped drinking that January, and it left me fresh, renewed, and happy for what felt like the first time in a long time. I did the same thing this year and I felt no better than I did in December.

  Now, that's a massively privileged statement. I have a loving partner, a satisfying job with good hours, and the pandemic has really cut back my spending so that an AmeriCorps budget isn't difficult. It's impossible to have such a dramatic shift in mood like I did last year because I'm no where near as low. But still, I'm disappointed by the results of my sobriety. I want to be more interested in my hobbies, my career, and my job than I have been. I want to be in better shape. But yet I spend my evenings lounging around when I have so much work to do. I want to point at the slow depressing winter we are just now crawling out of, but I don't think covers the whole situation. I don't know what the whole situation is. Writing about my mental health always helps though, putting these words down is sometimes the only way I can reflect critically on my actions, my behavior, my life. Maybe I'll get on my bike today.

Anyway, here's wonderwall.

One day,

I will look up at the sunset and feel nothing.

I will not feel anger over injustice.

I will forget the words to my favorite song.

One day,

I will not leave.

I will not laugh.

I will not be sad.

One day I will look at your face and not smile.

On that day I will cease to be me.

Until then, I will hold onto these moments.

Cherishing the happiness,

the sadness,

and everything in between.

Smiling, at the beauty of a sunset.

October 6, 2020

 A new day, a new city, a new state, and a new adventure. Today was the first day I truly got to explore the city I just moved to, Albany, New York. It feels odd to live not in Wisconsin ha. 24 years old and starting over. I've heard people talk about this kind of feeling a lot, a fresh start in someplace new but mostly I'm feeling a bit lonely. I'm not even sure what I want to write about here but as I've done on all new adventures, when I end up by myself, I write. As you can tell it's nothing special but I'm going to use this platform to express myself when I have no one around who I can call a friend. Yet.

 Moving during a pandemic is probably a bad idea, and the difficulty has been turned up on the 'making friends part of a new place' aspect. Today though, I find some hope and optimism. I went on a 16~ mile bike ride across the city and along the Hudson River, stopping at my new office and then the abandoned factory a mile down the road. There is probably a metaphor about the dilapidated building in contrast to my new start but that's a little more effort than I want to put into this blog post right now. Regardless of the forced dichotomy, I finished my ride feeling rejuvenated. Throughout the summer I trained with my best friend Michael to ride our bikes 64 miles from Milwaukee to Madison WI in honor of the covid-canceled ShrekFest. Originally, we were going to ride to the festival but instead we decided to ride to the park where it would have been held. We trained rigorously for the first few weeks then I got super lax. While he kept putting on the miles by himself, I never rode over 40 and the one time I did that it damn near killed me. I had always planned on moving before the scheduled 64 mile ride but then this new job in Albany pushed back my start date and I found myself wildly unprepared for a ride I no longer had an excuse to skip. Was I a man of my word or a coward who would succumb to his own laziness? Maybe it was the fear of disappointing myself and all of my friends who I had told about this ride, or maybe it was simply a delusion of grandeur but I got on that bike and mile by mile made my farewell tour of Wisconsin.

 10, 20, 30 miles, Michael and I were breezing through towns and laughing the whole way. 40 miles and I was sweating, telling myself that the pain I felt in my legs wasn't real because if I was this tired at mile 40 there was no way I could get to mile 60. At mile 50 Michael was as chipper as ever while I was panting on the side of the road desperate to give my legs a reprieve. Mile 60 came with labored breaths and an absolute disdain for every inch of road that I had left. Finally, mile 64 came and went and with it so did my will to move. I would have been willing to lay in that grass for the next 10 hours but Michael was determined to get a victory beer and how could I not oblige my friend after he dealt with my whining and even me crashing into his back wheel at mile 52.

 This was without a doubt my greatest physical accomplishment and I wouldn't have even tried it without my friend there to push me along every step of the way. The reason my training schedule fell apart was not because I didn't have the time to ride, it was because I didn't like to ride alone. I don't really like to do anything alone, even when I spout off about my love for traveling alone, my favorite part about traveling is meeting people along the way. Over the course of this pandemic summer I easily rode over 150 miles and maybe 4 of them I rode alone. I have been worried for a lot of reasons for the last 2 weeks and one of them was the fear my bike would have cobwebs on it sooner rather than later. Without Michael him here to push me, to laugh with, I didn't know if I would get back on my bike but today, I proved that fear to be unsubstantiated. Even with the Skrek-Trek defeated I still have a reason to ride. This may seem like an inconsequential thing to be worried about, but it perfectly reflects so may of my hobbies. Without my friends to support me and to explore with, will I still practice my photography? Will I go to a game store to win a few games of magic? Will I put new miles on my bike? I answered one of these questions for myself today. Winter will be here soon, and I might have to pack my bike away, but until then I'll see you on the road.

-Lucas Wyatt Jackson

Day 13 of Quarantine, March 25th 2020

Covid-19 is really running a muck in this country. I'm pretty sure I had it the past few weeks, can't say it's been fun.(Author's note: I did some contact tracing and I think I actually caught a bad case of strep throat from a friend) I tried to get tested but my symptoms were not severe enough to warrant testing, which is to say there are so few tests in this state that they have to save them for medical personal and high risk patients. What a boondoggle this whole crisis has been. It really shows our true colors as a people, as a nation permanently connected to the internet. That connection is what allowed us to meme a shortage of toilet paper into existence. One to many popular memes and people swarm the nearest Walmart to buy their entire supply.

I've been handling this pretty well though. I've spent my time perfecting my juggling abilities, working on this website, touching up my resume, and all sorts of unproductive bullshit 90% of the time. I really expected my depression to flare up during this confinement in my home but surprisingly it has stayed away. I guess I'm lucky for the supportive people in my life who keep me occupied without leaving this far to comfy couch. I was hoping this post would write itself, kind of a personal documentation of the crisis that's killing so many people across the world. The funny thing is how little is really happening. What a polar set of emotions we all have right now, anxiety that the world is ending and boredom from trying to stop it the only way we can. Social distancing is manageable, tolerable even, but my god is it boring. Regardless, I'm happy to have my health and happy my family has their health because so many other families in this country have neither. I'd rather be bored than dying. I hope other's head the news and shelter in place. To many stand to lose everything in the upcoming months if we don't hold fast to our commitments.

Till next time friends

Musings on Nostalgia

What a drug you are. I'm sitting here alone looking back at the good and the bad but you, you're soaking through all of it. I know how I was feeling behind the camera in many of these pictures, angry, anxious, unhappy, all of the emotions one would rather forget and you're there to make me remember the smiles of those in frame. Taking photos of everyone leads to an interesting stroll through memory lane. A lot of lovers, a lot of people who I called friends, just a lot of people. I feel a lot of resentment and anger towards some of them yet viewing the moment where I felt nothing but love or happiness makes everything I was going through feel insignificant. Truly it was insignificant, because here I am years later still breathing, still beating. I wish I could talk with them. In reality I could, it would be easy to do, but burned bridges are hard to walk across. Christ if I use one more superfluous metaphor in this stupid little journal entry I'll delete the whole damn thing. I won't, but it's a nice threat.


Friends and family, lovers and those I've hurt, those who hate me and those who would rather never hear my name again. It all blends within your rose tinted hue. Ironic because I was really into editing in yellow tones in most of these. We all look sun sick because I just couldn't leave the white balance alone ha.

I have to wonder how important you are, what you acomplish. I can feel you nagging me to message people I shouldn't, to rebuild those burned bridges. They burned for a reason. But there you are again, telling me they're not burned at all, in fact they stand strong, simply forgotten. That I could easily walk accross them again.

But you're wrong.

I shouldn't. I know better.


Trying to Write an 'About' Section

I always feel stumped when trying to write something about myself. It's not that I couldn't vomit some words onto the page about what I believe in, who I trust, the things I like to do and the people I care about. Maybe a picture or two of my dogs and maybe one of myself. But lately I've been doing a lot of self reflection, trying to figure out who I am today. It's easy to get trapped in the labels we have asigned to ourselves yesterday, last week, last year. It would be easy to wave my hand in the air and say "I'm me, nothing more, nothing less." but that reaks of pretention and a lack of understanding about who I am underneath the cool and collected facade that's rarely cool or collected.


What I think I really struggle with is finding the line between authenticty and trying to be authentic to the point where authenticity is lost. What a dumb concept anyways, we are only what we say we are, the actions we take, and the things we create. It's nice knowing no one will read this other than Davis but still putting thoughts out into the world. Guess thats why people like social media. For how much I complain about social media this whole page could easily be condensed and posted on a timeline. Maybe not enough drama but it would fit in all the same.