In spite of my unequaled predilection toward public displays of expressive thought, I've managed successfully to suppress said urges in silent pursuit of a differing ideal. That you have no idea what I just said or what I'm about to ramble about means as little to me now as it did when I was a more public rambler then. With little or no fanfare, I shelved this blog for much of the year so as to concentrate on the at least internally oft celebrated next obvious. It was a well intentioned but poorly conceived plot and of course the book inevitably has stalled...you didn't really think I could pull off the next great American novel between March and Christmas did ya? Even my hubris has limits. Writing for a specific purpose has proven to be my insurmountable Everest and if I'm honest I've been itching (begging!) for any inspiration to write about something (anything!) other than the dipshit predictable characters that have been furtively dancing around the margins, refusing to be written all year! Suffice to say that I've somehow broken through that creative divisive surface and I'm writing again...for a different reason. That's a good thing...if I were a shark, it could be said that I'm about to breach.
I've experienced an unexpected windfall of success and positivity on a professional level in the last week or so. It's not the finish line in any regard, but certainly a line I had to cross. Personal reflection at such a time for a dude like me is unavoidable and that's happening right now. If you've read anything I've written ever, you know I believe in 'paths', right? Everybody's got their own, nobody can walk it but them...blah, blah, blah. I won't belabor nor debate the duplicity of the Nick Cave phenomena implicitly stated, but the events of this past week place me squarely, dare I say force me almost back into a contemplative, reflective space. That's where I'm most comfortable...and creative for that matter; I like it here. The simple fact is for me at least, attaining a thing, reaching a goal isn't the point of the path. Recognition is important and I'm as honored as ever to represent the firm in a now increasing capacity and I've been truly humbled by the adulation heaped upon me this week. All good things, but I need to put that success behind me, refocus and continue on this path: success quickly becomes a roadblock if you allow it.
Long story short? We should hear a song.
It's a story song. This particular song is the retelling of a legend and like all good legends is based in, at least from my not-so-exhaustive research, some fact. There is a public record of a man, a young river driver named Sandy Gray and there is in fact a place in Ontario called Sandy Gray Falls and it is indeed located along the Musquash River. The actual history behind the legend and subsequent song are blurry at best so I accept this song as the "official" record of the events of that Sunday morning in 1899.
Listening to harrowing tales like this about the men who endeavored to tame and shape this wild continent, to exert human will over the parlous forces of nature in order to carve out a life render within me a deep sense of awe and astonishment...inadequacy even. Men, who against all odds walked a singular path with hopes only of providing a brighter future for their family. I'm not talking about men like Rockefeller and Ford. They shaped this country for sure, but they were egomaniacs - especially Ford. If you don't believe that, pick up a copy of Fordlandia. Henry Ford believed he could recreate his vision of a utopian middle America in the rain forests of Brazil as a means to harvest cheap rubber. His experiment ended in abject failure as you might imagine, but that is a lesson for another day.
I'm talking about men whose names are lost to history now...the men who cleared the land for farming and laid the tracks of the first railroads and set poles and strung wire to bring electricity to the masses...young men just like Sandy Gray...who fought and died in battle, who with no deference toward their own wellbeing, just simply got the job done. This story is about a young, brave (if reckless) man who tragically lost his life but I see it as more than that. The take away here is that all of these men were just doing their job. They weren't heroes by definition. They were just men. I fear 'just being a man' is a lost concept on this modern America. Of course pragmatically speaking, Sandy certainly should have dove for the banks of the river with the rest of his soft-hearted compadres, but if he had, a little known folk singer wouldn't have written a well crafted song about his short life 100+ years later and an even lesser known blogger would be twiddling his thumbs this Sunday morning. I applaud, hell I absolutely celebrate his audacity. We should all have a little more Sandy Gray in us.
At any rate, I love this song...literally let it play ten times minimum in a row every single time it crosses the rotation. Further and just as an additional unexpected aside, if it's the last thing I ever do, I'm going to take this girl I know for a hike up along the banks of, near the mouth of the Musquash River to Sandy Gray Falls someday and I'm going to sing her this song. That event won't make my life epic, but it will be an important point along the path.
"I'll be damned, we'll break this jam...or it's breakfast in hell."