Hello, my dear friends! Hello, hello. I have been hatching up a plan to get back on this here blog for months now. Months. After such a dry spell, a certain type of pressure builds up. What am I going to write about, what am I going to focus on? I’ve been humbled by a couple few people who mention my blog and how they’ve read it. That blows me away, for, as far as I’m concerned, I’m sending this stuff out to Cathartic Space. So, thank you for saying something. The struggle is real! Setting aside specific time (without a specific purpose) to do it routinely is the key to success. That’s what ‘they’ say about writing. But we live in America where time is money. And I’m a goddam businessman. My time is bottom-line shit!! Well, let me tell you, I’m moving up in the world. Or ‘out’, anyway. I’ve finally got myself a writing den. An office. A butt-hut, as our old neighbors referred to theirs. It’s a bona-fide a-frame from the religious compound that took over Antelope, OR in the 80’s. I’m not shitting you; watch Wild Wild Country and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It could have once been a love shack for the Rashneesh!
Anyway, I digress: It’s day 2 now where my space has a desk, a chair and heat. So far, so good. It’s more than slightly intimidating, because I have a journal entry from 1999 that documents myself telling myself that I (that’s me) need to take my writing seriously and do it consistently more often. 1999! Anyway, without getting too deep in it, I now have a dedicated place to allow my mind to wander, to read, to draw and to think. All the ideas that I’ve scribbled in notebooks about stories and novels and screenplays are pressuring me to release them from their pages like that goofy movie with Jack Black, where the authors’ books (which are horror, by the way) come to life and cause all sorts of problems. With me, the notebooks are there and they know I no longer have any excuse. They were whispering all sorts of stuff. Maybe you can imagine?
It was weighing on me as I finished constructing my desk. It began to feel like impending work; the triaging of the in-box. Luckily, I’ve been hoarding books looking forward to the time when I could get them all in the same place to pal around. Books have that power, you know. It’s very different than our phones. Books have their identity, while our phones can be everything…which becomes nothing pretty quick. Especially when you get books together in groups. That’s where the magic energy is. My dictionary is from 1960 and a squirrel has eaten most of the spine, but it’s reassuring to use it, flip through it instead of searching on my phone. I feel something besides now, something besides me. Gads, this is dragging on, isn’t it?! To the point, there was pressure regarding what I would be writing. How am I going to get it all done? I’ve got character development and timelines and outlines to follow up on. How am I going to make good on the promise I made to myself? Well, I luckily realized where all this pressure is coming from. And to dive deeper into it, my goal was really just to write. So, I promised myself yesterday that I wasn’t taking up any of the projects I’ve been tinkering on for the last 20 years. At least not now. Now is the time for nonsense and discovery. Blatantly obvious, isn’t it?
Oddly enough, this coincided with the badda-badda-BOOM of the coronavirus. So it’s ok to sequester myself, first of all. It’s also ok to wonder what the fuck is going on? I mean, what the WHAT? This is nuts. I would feel better about our society if we had a decent leader that could say leader-like things, but I digress for the second time. Even with some reassurance from our government, people would still be freaking out. I remember discussing Y2K before the New Years with a co-worker. This co-worker was admittedly a bit fanatic, his bronco was painted in 100% camouflage with a bumper sticker that said ‘Driver only carries $20 of ammunition’ and he routinely was telling everyone about all of his guns, toilet paper and matches he had stored away in preparation. He told me, with a straight face, that he was pretty sure he was going to have to shoot people who wanted to ransack his home, in search of all that toilet paper and matches. He actually seemed kinda excited about it. This was Y2K, all fabrication, no substance. It pales in comparison to what’s going on today, especially that we have movies that show how the coronavirus turns people into zombies. Just kidding! As our world slows down, we know that there are going to be casualties on many levels. We also know that staying calm is essential, right? Please say ‘right’.
The reason that I wrote to you today is actually to tell you some good news. And while my writing den definitely hits that mark for me, I wanted to tell you about an amazing story of how this global society with all this technology is actually working, despite my fears of the opposite on any given day. This pandemic virus doesn’t select based on skin color or race or gender. It’s an incredible equalizer, and hearing about the negativity that some of our Asian friends have endured in the face of it is appalling. Instead of that garbage, think about this: Today, my friend Erik Lu, who imports our beer into China via Shanghai, sent me an email. In it, he expresses concern for my family and my business. He tells me about the global challenge to our shared industry and what a difficult time this is for all of us. He also shares with me that the situation in China ‘is getting slightly better’ but people are still reluctant to go out due to fear of a second wave of the virus with the heightened activity. And, he signs off with offering to help us by working on more orders from our brewery, as long as things are getting better over there. There are so many good things about this, right? It’s about as good of a Light at The End of the Tunnel as we could hope for considering we are still in the early stages. Personally, this partnership between Erik and I, as well as the other breweries he works with across the world, proves that we are in this together. This is beyond nationality, beyond borders. What our brewing industry is experiencing is also happening across many, many other industries. We rely on each other, and thanks to progress, we are able to communicate across great distances, to numerous people, with ease. Thanks, internet. Thanks, smartphone. To me, this kind of thing reinforces the idea that We Will Be OK. If we can collectively reassure each other (We CAN, that’s what I’m getting at here), then we can spend our time figuring out how to help the people who do not have the same resources as us, the ones this slowing economy is going to jettison. Instead of piling more stuff on the worry-wagon. I hope that your minds are in this place with me. Regardless of what happens, I pledge to you that I will not freak out and will do what I can for The Big Picture. Stay healthy and mindful; slow can be good. It has to be good.
And finally, thanks for your partnership, Erik. You are teaching me a lot about business relations on our global scale, but most of all you are teaching me about humanity. I’m very grateful.
March 17th, 2020 at 1:20 am
So happy about your Wild Wild Country hideaway (one of the best documentaries in a long time by the way). You are such a great writer and inspiration for so many too afraid to take the leap you’ve taken, I’d love to see references/recommendations to some of the books that have inspired your approach to life. In the times of social distancing, we all need a “best of” reading list. Would love to see your list.
March 29th, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Hey Troy! Thanks for the feedback. It means a lot to me, really. Here is a quick list, off the top of my head:
-Sometimes a Great Notion (ken kesey), all his other ones are worth reading as well
-Ray Carver poems and short stories
-Stop-Time (Frank Conroy)
-The Catcher in the Rye
-Cormac McCarthy (esp Blood Meridian)
-Cruddy (Lynda Barry)
-Robinson Jeffers poetry