Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Isbell is God

Guess I'm doin' what I'm on this earth to do
And I don't think on why I'm here or where it hurts
I'm just lucky to have the work

And every night I dream I'm drownin' in this dirt
But I thank God for the work

And the day will come that I'll find a reason
Somebody proud to love a man like me
My back is numb and my hands are freezing
But what I'm working for is something more than free

- Something More Than Free

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

If You Build It, He Will Come

"I came to Iowa to study, one of the thousands of faceless students who pass through large universities, but I fell in love with the state. Fell in love with the land, the people, the sky, the cornfields, and Annie. For years, I bathed each morning, frosted my cheeks with Aqua Velva, donned a three-piece suit and snap-brim hat, and, feeling like Superman emerging from a telephone booth, set forth to save the world from a lack of life insurance. I loathed the job so much that I did it quickly, urgently, almost violently. It was Annie who got me to rent the farm. It was Annie who got me by. 

The year after Annie and I were married, the first year we rented this farm, I dug Annie's garden for her; dug it by hand, stepping a spade into the soft black soil, ruining my salesman's hands. After I finished, it rained, an Iowa spring rain as soft as spray from a warm hose. The clods of earth I had dug seemed to melt until the garden leveled out, looking like a patch of black ocean. It was near noon on a gentle Sunday when I walked out to that garden. The soil was soft and my shoes disappeared as I plodded until I was near the center. There I knelt, the soil cool on my knees. I looked up at the low gray sky; the rain had stopped and the only sound was the surrounding trees dripping fragrantly. Suddenly I thrust my hands wrist-deep into the snuffy-black earth. The air was pure. All around me the clean smell of earth and water. Keeping my hands buried I stirred the earth with my fingers and I knew I loved Iowa as much as a man could love a piece of earth."

- W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

Here's to women who support childish dreams, be it building a baseball field in the cornfields of Iowa or attempting to write a novel. Here's to women who won't let you settle for a salesman's job, even it means throwing all caution to the wind. Here's to my Annie. 

Monday, June 8, 2015


Sunday afternoon found me at my cousin Frank's condo in Farmington, checking in on his cat. Outside the sliding glass door, a late Spring thunderstorm raged in the darkening sky. I sprawled out on Frank's living room carpet next to the fire place, put on his Nirvana Unplugged in New York record, and drifted off with the storm clouds for a little while. Kurt Cobain's live performance in New York that night is considered one of his most haunting and one of his best, and it is a testimony to Cobain's spirit that when he gave that performance that night, he did so while going through the utter torture of heroin withdrawal. I listened to Cobain's voice, and, like reading Kerouac on a winter night, it felt good to remember that I wasn't the only one who saw the world through sad eyes sometimes.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lasting memories I have of days spent at the office: zero.