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The Said Email to Gabe

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
Here it is in full. I've decided to post it, just because if I was willing to say all of this to Gaben, I can say it to you guys.

Dear Gabe,

I want to work at Valve.

I want to work there more than anything else I think I've wanted in my life. And I don't think I'm going on the right path to do so, and it terrifies me. Right now I am majoring in graphic design, making logos and brand booklets for State Parks that don't exist. I'm also making kinetic type videos for songs, which I enjoy significantly more. But I can't help but feel like I'm wasting money, and more importantly, time. I've never been more stressed in my life, and I just feel like I'm flinging myself against a wall just to get through, where I'll find another wall made of concrete and thicket. I don't know what to do, and that scares me. I think I'm going to finish here, be put into an internship at a graphic design firm that churns out corporate logos, and I know it's not what I want to do.

When I was young, my parents and I would drive by an old mall in my home town that had a giant "For Sale" sign placed in front in the grass. It had been closed years after a new one opened. When I saw the big grey exterior, I imagined myself buying it, making it into a factory where I'd make fantastical things, something like Willy Wonka but without the creep factor. I wanted to change people's lives, or maybe I just wanted to own a giant building because I thought it was cool. I'm not sure, my memories are a bit foggy from then. But I do know I thought big. And I always have.

When I was in Middle School, I wanted to be an architect. At the time, I was a huge Nintendo fan. Mostly because I loved Zelda and Banjo Kazooie, but I remember what struck me from those games was the experience. The feeling of entering a different world that had been made for me to experience. So I decided I wanted to make one, but I had no idea how. So I went to the next best thing, The Sims 2, obviously. I wasn't a huge fan of the "game" part, but I loved making buildings. I became obsessed with doing so, and crafted Frank Lloyd Wright houses, and championed the Modern, Art-Deco style on the forums. I felt like I was making things other people could experience and appreciate, and it was exhilarating. At the final point, I was creating the full Imperial Hotel, had created the whole exterior tirelessly, and was now working on building the rooms inside. And at one point, the walls stopped being built. I was shocked, terrified to some extent. I eventually found out, The Sims 2 had a limit on the amount of walls you could build. I couldn't believe it.

I stopped playing The Sims 2 that day.and decided that The Sims 2 wasn't enough, I wanted to make real buildings. I wanted to be an architect. But I wasn't sure at the time, and probably because that wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. Deep down I knew I just wanted to create things that other's can experience. I just didn't know how, and architecture was something I could major in while at college.

In school, I didn't do amazingly well. I went to an arts school, focusing on Orchestra, and I loved my music classes. But I especially loved composing. Once again, creating something for other's to experience. But I also loved writing, again for the same reason. There is literally no better feeling in life than giving someone something you created, and seeing them smile while they experience it, feel it. You've affected their life in some small way. And I was and am addicted to that. But how did I end up in Graphic Design?

I almost would like to think bad luck, but there's no such thing, just bad consequences from my own actions. I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in when I left high school. There was so many things I wanted to do, and I had no idea which one to concentrate on. It was almost cruel for anyone to make me do so, I felt. But I narrowed it down Digital Arts at Stetson University and Graphic Design at University of North Florida. I wanted to get into Stetson University so much, but because I failed to get any scholarships from High School, I couldn't afford it. It hurt so much to be told I couldn't do something because of money. So I went to University of North Florida, where I floundered, and I still feel wrong, like I don't belong here.

But when I left for college, I built my own PC. I discovered Team Fortress 2 and played it to death. The art style, the simplistic but genius story, the finely tuned and pitch perfect game-play, it all just worked together like an epic symphony. It quite literally blew my mind. This is what I wanted to do. I just knew it, and I think I knew it all along, but it took Team Fortress 2 to remind me what I really wanted in life.

I didn't want to convince people to buy things for vanity or convince people to go to a show, I wanted to make those things or be in that show.

So I picked up mapping. I search for YouTube tutorials on how to make maps, I got on and learned all I could, and I created a turd of a map. It was awful, but I was so proud of it. Of course it was torn apart by the community, but I took it and made more. I was sucking up the information like a sponge, I wanted to know how to make these, and make them better.

I literally think the pinnacle in my life so far is when my map, pl_crag, was included in the community Night of the Living Update. I had made the base of the thing in 72 hours in a contest, and it was deemed quality enough to be included in an update. Albeit a fan update, but no less an honor. I had made something that people were enjoying, and I was excited and I knew this is what I wanted to do.

But life caught up with me. College called, figuratively, and had work for me. I needed to be a graphic designer. And I was back.

Gabe, I know this is long, and I'm probably being incredibly silly for telling you my life's story over e-mail, but I'm laying here at 4:50AM and I just don't know what I'm going to do. I know what I WANT to do, but I'm here, quite literally stuck because of loans, and I don't know what to do. My only option is to graduate with my degree in graphic design, but I don't want that.

I want to make experiences, breathtaking ones. How do I do that?

Thanks for reading my absurd rant,
I partially hope he read it, although I'm half-way positive he gets a billion of these things ever week. He probably closed it after the first sentence. Ah well.

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  1. Logan's Avatar
    I hope he reads it too bud - you never know. If he does, let's hope it strikes a chord with him.

    I'm sure he gets lots of letters that straight up beg for jobs - so yours may be refreshing and chime with his own experiences (I don't know his back-story).

    Good luck dude - and try not to stress yourself too much. Life is a sprawling mess of pathways. As long as you keep stumbling forward, with a dream firing your mind, you're bound to get somewhere you like sooner or later. I won't patronise you by saying 'be patient' - I know that won't speak to your energetic imagination and creative lusts - but I will say Keep on Keeping on; because Jack Kerouac had a far better way with words than I do

  2. Leminnes's Avatar
    I've come back and read this again. It's been over a year now, haha.

    I actually came back to look at it to delete it, as it's a pretty embarrassing moment of weakness on my part, but I'll leave it anyway. I'm pretty sure everyone goes through something like this at some point. This email in particular just happened to be a moment where I realized something about myself and wanted to act on it.

    Maybe I'll make an updated post about what's going on in my life and how I've tried to better myself since this happened.

    Also, thanks for replying back then, Logan. I remember it helping me quite a bit.
  3. Logan's Avatar
    Good stuff man. Pretty sure life has moved in positive ways for you since too - and that things have been worth experiencing


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