February 4: Not quite as big as I hoped

The week I mean…

I should have known better than to look forward to a week that felt big, let alone was big. There aren’t many of those and this certainly wasn’t one. I didn’t get Cottonwood to the formatter. Instead I spent too much time noodling on the question of whether it needed a preface or some kind of introduction. I imagined something that linked Cottonwood gracefully back to John J. McDermott & the 1971 U.S. Open but in the end I just didn’t want to. I suppose I can rationalize the decision by my thought that even though both books are connected, they are intended to be capable of standing on their own, and I hope they do.

The whole deal found me learning about a mistake I made in JJM. I wrote the foreword. By convention a foreword should be written by someone other than the author.

That error, unsurprisingly, got me thinking about other introductory elements of a book’s front matter.

Beyond foreword there could be a preface, a prologue and an introduction. I suppose a writer could aspire to have all of them in one book but somehow for Cottonwood it feels to me like none of them fit, or are needed, so I have elected to leave them all out. Plus, it will keep me from writing another foreword that should really have been a preface or an introduction.

I should have known better than to expect a lot from a week because I felt like I needed a lot. That’s never worked, at least not in my experience. I had a zoom with one of my clients in Japan tonight. He seemed a little bit at odds as if he too was looking for something to happen, because he needed it to happen. I saw his situation totally differently than he did. I saw only his energy and dedication while all he could sense was a need for progress he couldn’t quite define.

I wanted a big week and he wanted a big whatever and neither of us got our wish.

Big week or not, I should have accomplished more this week than I did. I know that’s true but I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is follow my advice to my young client in Japan; just keep at it and don’t let up. You cannot control events, you can only control your efforts and choose where and how to apply them.

Maybe someday I’ll learn the lessons I try so hard to convey to my clients.

I know I’ve neglected my writing soundtrack the last couple days. The truth is that I’ve not been listening to much music the last couple days, other than the LPs I’ve managed to upload. Tonight’s different and so I have a different kind of writer’s soundtrack that anyone can enjoy. It’s The Shins Live at Hurricane from way back in 2012. You can easily find it at YouTube and it’s worth the search.

They were really a band in full back in 2012 to borrow a phrase from Tom Wolfe. Deep Sea Diver’s Jessica Dobson was still serving as James Mercer’s guitar hero back then (there’s yet another longish blog post I need to write) and the band effortlessly flowed and ripped and glided their way through a rainy outdoor set in Germany. I’m not sure who owns the rights to that video but I hope it stays on YouTube forever because I really need it from time to time…like tonight.

Thanks for reading.

February 4: Not quite as big as I hoped

January 21: Hiking from valley to valley

I’ve always fantasized about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I’ve only set foot on the PCT at a couple points, one near Idyllwild (in the mountains west of Palm Springs) and another time west of Rosamond in the Antelope Valley. The PCT goes all the way from Mexico to Canada. While some tough-footed folks have hiked the whole magilla, the vast majority are happy and sensible enough to traverse one section, usually one near a town and nearly always during a season without snow or triple digit temperatures.

Hiking the PCT is the King of the Maybes as far as I’m concerned. It’s not that it’s unappealing it’s just so damned unlikely. Even during a year like this when I theoretically have the time I also lack the will.

The last couple weeks have found me trying out as many local hiking trails, especially ones I’ve never hiked before. In the back of my mind is an idea. Would it be possible to hike from the West San Fernando Valley all the way into the adjoining Conejo Valley. Why? Well, let’s just paraphrase George Mallory and say because it might be fun. I’m guessing the trek would be around 15 miles one way. Once I got to my destination it would be fun to have dinner before checking into a good hotel for the night. A good night’s rest would follow and lead into the 15 miles back to the SFV the next day.

Yup, kinda silly but it could be amusing. The best time to do it would be sometime between now and April, before it gets too hot and the trails too brown.

Can I do it? No doubt. Will I do it? Maybe.

As my father would say, lord willing.

By the way, tonight’s writing soundtrack is Port of Morrow by The Shins. Thanks, as always, for reading.

January 21: Hiking from valley to valley