It’ll Come

Want to know what’s really hard?  Lighting.

No, seriously…freaking lighting is a nightmare.  Table lamps, chandeliers, recessed, track, indirect, spot, flood…

Lights are, to all intents and purposes, flat out evil.

Have you ever tried to find the perfect pendant lights for a brewery in a 100-year-old train station?  Good lord, I feel like a 14 year old trying to find just the right outfit for his first date…


See, this is how places end up with basic fluorescent lighting that doesn’t only look like shit, it also pisses off the customers: it’s just easier that way.  There are companies out there whose entire business model is based on our society’s subservience to FOMO.*  But not these lighting folks, nosireebob.  They’re just the opposite; they build their model off our willingness to surrender and simply settle.  They know someone shopping for new commercial fixtures is likely starting a new business.  They know that particular someone is going to be stressed and overwhelmed.  They know timelines and costs are probably already out the window by the time the buyer gets to lighting, so they base their marketing and product selection on that other little nugget of societal gold: “Stop dithering and just buy something, ferfuckssake!”

*Fear Of Missing Out, if you’re wondering.

It’s insidious.  It’s evil.  And, of course, it works.

Crap, I wish I had known more about sales and marketing when I was in high school and college — I wouldn’t have left “those” parties and bars alone quite so often.

Ahem.  Never mind.

The good news out of all this is that I am at the point where lights are a concern.  Freakin’ lights! That right there is progress, if I do say so myself!  Remember way back when I told you about how I really am able to write — really write — only in taprooms?  And when I hinted about becoming my own best friend in that regard?  Yeah, that “really far down the road” ain’t lookin’ so far away now…

Of course, then I just have to find (or manufacture) the time to actually step away from everything else and just write.  Ah well, it’ll come…it’ll come…

Ray Bradbury was really good at titles.  Yeah, the man could write, too…but he truly ruled at creating titles.  My favorite title of his?  Something Wicked This Way Comes.  Change your perception of the second word to our modern slang interpretation, and…oh my, does that title work even better for me right now!

If you’re curious, by the way: Desmond Depot Brewhouse

{Musical Note — Let’s go with a band I haven’t posted on here before…

Edit: the writer created this song while backpacking alone through a strange country. It was a song about alienation, and missing home — and also about hope. It is also, of course, a song about the cost of being away from home. This is, when you get down to it, a song all of us wanderers and hobos can identify with.}

Crap, Diapers Are EXPENSIVE!

Okay, so I’ve started to slack on the posts a bit (again).


I do have a good excuse this time, however.  I’ve been spending as much of my time as I can planning and preparing for a new venture that I’ve hinted at in previous posts.  Now, before I describe that venture, let me offer a bit background info…

Those of you who have read this blog for a bit now are aware that I simply cannot write at home.  For those who are new(ish) here, let me say this by way of explanation: When I put myself in a quiet, solo environment, I can do a lot of things.  Some of those things are even mentionable in polite company.    They do not, however, include fiction writing.  Whenever I try to write at home, that quiet, private space is very much reflected in the mood and tone of what I produce.  When I write at home, I end up with material that is introspective, reflective, and generally far more influenced by my personal black dog than is good for me (or anyone else).

I know, I know…a lot of folks find it surprising that a writer can’t write when it is quiet and private.  I mean, just how counter-intuitive can you get?  Okay, so maybe that environment is conducive to writing, but that would be for a completely different person, and different kind of writer, than me.  For me…

For me, I need life and activity.  When you get right down to it, I need people around me — I need to feel in contact with the real world — if I want my characters and scenes to be anything close to what I originally envisioned when I planned them.

Now, like most writers, I do a fair bit of work in coffee shops.  That work, however, is usually the planning and editing of my pieces; the actual writing part of writing, I do in taprooms.  That’s it, that’s my personal rule.  Put me in the corner, surrounded by my fellow drinkers, with a beer at my elbow and my earbuds blaring directly into my skull, and I’m the happiest writer in the world*.  I am also, more importantly, at my most creative and productive.

*Err…even if I have tears in my eyes from what I’m writing, I’m happy…I’m just happy on the inside!

Err…writing, in a taproom?  Isn’t that loud and obnoxious?  Isn’t that kinda, well, distracting?

Yes.  Yes it is.  And that’s the point.

Hey, remember that dissonance thing I’ve talked a couple of times?  The heart of my stories — just like the heart of who I am as a person and a writer — lies completely inside that dissonance.  Intellectual dissonance; emotional dissonance; cognitive dissonance, it’s all there, and it’s all important.  Hell, there’s even quite a bit of social freaking dissonance; I mean, c’mon, how else do you find a semi-recluse misanthrope who has to be around people to be creative and productive?!

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that a good taproom — like a good pub — is one of my absolute favorite places in the entire world.

Well, that love of taprooms went and got drunk.  It got drunk, then it got all funky and passionate with my compulsion to do the most random and unexpected things.  A few months later, the inevitable happened…

It wasn’t the easiest birth in the world, but that baby is finally in my arms, shitting and puking all over the place.  I am, in other words, the proud proprietor of an infant taproom of my very own.

Oh, it ain’t ready for the world, not yet, so don’t get yourself all geeked up.  In a year or so, however, when it is solidly into toddlerdom — and has been toilet-trained — then I’ll officially introduce it to y’all.  Just watch out for your shoes; those baby taprooms can be pretty messy, you know!

For now, if you’re anywhere near Michigan’s thumb coast, maybe I’ll let you play with the little tyke a bit…

Forgive the crappy picture — its my cellphone, and I was in a hurry!

{Musical Note — I just like the song…and it kinda fits the mood}

I Ain’t Gonna Lie…

It feels good.

It feels damned good.

C1EB3D0B-4C1C-4DE8-8058-CFB7B40B1B34Look, for whatever reason, ever since the day after everything shut down, I’ve been jonesing for a burger and a beer sitting out on the deck of my local dive.  Yeah, I know, beer isn’t exactly hard to come by, and I can cook my own burger.  It might make sense to do it that way — hell, it’ll probably even taste better to do it that way — but that doesn’t even come close to scratching this particular itch.

Crap, do I really have to remind you about the fact that I only really write when I’m sitting out at coffee places and taprooms/bars?  I’m not talking about tossing out a few hundred words here and there of marginal quality and little relevance.  No, I’m talking about a few thousand words of meaning and effort.  I’m talking about writing, dammit.

So, here I sit, reading stories before I start writing — stories off of even pro-Trump, ultra-conservative sites, mind you, to go with the neutral and liberal ones I also read — about 3,000+ deaths a day expected by June.  About the growing possibility of a “second wave” of coronavirus.  About the fact that those woods we’re walking through?  Yeah, they ain’t really any thinner yet.

Do I feel guilty?  Do I feel like I should be sitting, still, inside and isolated while I contemplate what to cook for dinner?


No.  No, I don’t

Look, I fully realize that eating a greasy, fatty burger and fries sitting on a public deck is killing me.  In more ways than one it is killing me.  But…well…it’s worth it, for the high.  Yeah, yeah…I just compared my afternoon to a drug.  Because, well, it is…at least to me.

001F8B7C-C3E1-4F34-9EC2-698204B2768ALook, I’ve spent my time with various potions, powders and pills.  I (probably) spend too much time with beer and coffee.  But my real drug of choice?  Yeah, today is it.  Grease and fat and beer sitting — socially distant, of course — in the sunshine while I write and contemplate the world.

So, this afternoon, I mainlined an oversized dose…and the high is everything I dreamed it would be.  I know there’s going to be consequences, but those are for tomorrow.  For now?  For right now, I’m gonna shove another french fry down my gullet, have another drink of beer, and revel in my personal version of escape.

My Cross To Bear

One of my favorite (over-used) concepts is having a “cross to bear.”  That phrase is generally so over-the-top self-congratulatory and gloriously narcissistic that it is pretty much self-parodying.6C1AA318-A27E-4D21-96A5-5D08414067F9

“I’m just too smart for my own good, that’s my cross to bear…”

“I’m gorgeous and rich, that’s my cross to bear…”

“Palpatine knows what’s best for the Republic, that’s his cross to bear…”

I know too much about beer, that’s my cross to bear.

No, really…stop laughing, I’m being serous here!

It’s a terrible burden, having a foot (and several internal organs) in the craft-brewing world.  I mean, c’mon, it’s hard going to new bars in new(ish) cities and trying new breweries when you know what various styles and types of beer are supposed to taste like.7B0C62A0-DFB2-46AD-8C85-C467639D0195

Look, when I order a Czech-style pilsner, I expect a Czech-style pilsner…not a freaking wannabe-IPA.  I hate (most) IPAs!  Harrumph!!

Like I said, having actual beer-taste — and knowledge! — is my personal cross to bear.*  It’s a terrible burden for which I’m willing to sacrifice myself in order to save you, because…because, well, that’s just me.  I’m a giver.

*As opposed to, say, my complete inability to commit to long-term romantic relationships, or my arrested adolescence that (still) shows no sign of ending…

I’ll even go so far as to go to other places to discharge my moral duty of sampling beer.  I mean, look, I’m sitting here in Bozeman, Montana — in preparation for going in to Yellowstone for the next six months — and what do I do?  I spend half-an-hour discussing craft breweries with a couple of the taproom’s staff members (after bitching about my poor, not-really-a-pilsner pilsner).

Saving the world, one beer at a time, that’s me.EC2EC66A-BB98-49BD-9AA3-D18ACC3974D2

Annie was right, it’s a hard-knock life…and that’s just my cross to bear.