The Centurions was out of print for a long time. It was one of the books I searched for in used shops. I wanted to re-publish it on Greenside but couldn't find the rights holder. Penguin beat me to it. It's a classic of counter-insurgency and finally I get to read it. I listened to On Killing at the gym and running and am reading On Combat (it's the same thing isn't it- reading and listening?). Grossman is such a good writer- clear, clever, funny. Welcome Thieves was written by my friend Sean. I like it that all my writer friends are more successful than me. I don't know why. I just do. And I'm learning the myths of my people. Writing a book set in Ballard motivated me to do this.
Sometimes I get lucky and the right books find me. So much thought packed into these four books. I've been a Houellebecq fan for quite a while and buy the English versions of his books because they come out earlier than the US. Jack Donovan keeps popping up through different groups of friends. I'm going to reread this one a second time as a leadership manual. Sam Sheridan tours the world fighting and shows the devotion and work it takes to be tough. Huntington's book is a classic that counters a lot that we've been taught to think.
I've always been a driver. I come from a driving family and when I was 22 I got my class A CDL. It was so much smarter than college. I love driving. Sometime I get paid to do it. Click on the gallery to see a calvacade of wheeled love.
I had always wanted a 4x4. Who doesn't? I loved Whitey but when I found Col. Mustard in the deserts of Eastern Washington I knew I had my dream truck. I had built a 350 for Whitey and swapped that into the colonel and also stole the tailgate before sending Whitey to go live with Ian as a farm truck. Then came a four inch lift and 35" BFGs. La pièce de résistance was the exhaust. I scored some corvette headers and ran it through flow masters. 2.5" all the way. She grumbles nicely. But, it's still an old truck and has old truck problems- sometimes breaking down on the side of Snoqualmie Pass at night. She's my dream truck- when she's not trying to kill me.
For the last twenty-five years I've always had a pick up. 'Whitey', a 1972 GMC, was the first vehicle that I bought with my own money (technically I had bought a moped and a motorcycle prior but that's another story). I think I paid $1200 for it and at the time it was everything I could scrape up. There is a calm to owning an old truck. People ran into me all the time and I really didn't care. An undercover FBI agent smashed in to me and financed my first trip to New Orleans. I shit you not- the insurance check was from the FBI. A cabbie and a school bus also hit me. I told both not to worry about it and they acted as if I were granting them some magic kingdom. An old truck is a simplicity.
Of course it was also a pain in the ass. Before I switched to electronic ignition, the points used to go out and I'd have to set the timing. I carried a timing light and dwell meter in the toolbox and could do the whole operation pretty fast. I drove it to Ventura to fish squid and to Michigan a couple times to visit my parents. Sometimes I miss that simplicity, but not the poverty.
I just got some new business cards and it makes me think of the journey my first book traveled. This first solid draft was finished in 2006. I then spent a couple years sending it to publishers and agents accumulating the stereotypical drawer full of rejections. My break happened at a gallery show of my wife's art in Ballard. The gallery owner had a friend in the publishing business- Harry Kirchner. He asked to see the book, liked it and asked if he could show it to some friends (basically acting as an unpaid agent). A couple years later I was deployed with my Battalion in Mississippi getting ready for Afghanistan when I got an email from Jarret and Aaron at Dark Coast Press. They wanted to publish it and it came out in the fall of 2013. Unfortunately Dark Coast has since gone out of business. I got the rights back and put out an electronic version. It was a long road before I held my own book in my hands.
Ah, the writer's life. It's not bad if you can survive it. This is my everyday. Working at the desk with my cat/editor. She's not impressed. I've been listening to the river traffic on my scanner. There will definitely be more boats in future books. We are living in a tiny house in the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans. No car, just bikes. Kell and the duck are in the next room- the only other room. The daily routine is a morning of writing, a run around Audubon park, and sometimes a pitstop for a Domilise's po boy. And then some cocktails, cooking and music. "Let's have lunch and talk about dinner."
Well it's time to head south to New Orleans again. I crammed two motorcycles, six bicycles and two cars into a one and a half car garage. All that Tetris paid off.
Went for a hike around Discovery Park on Thanksgiving. It was a perfect gray Seattle day. The water was rough and then there was the solitary washed up boot. Mystery abounds.
Drove through Livingston Montana on the way home. Jim Harrison lives here. I crept by his house in a not too subtle stalk. Nothing is subtle about a one-ton diesel. I didn't have the balls or rudeness to bother him. I know he received at least two copies of 'Hell'. I'll keep waiting. At night I retired to the roof top deck of the hotel. I drank a Jameson's and had a pipe. This tobacco pouch belonged to my great-grandfather. History makes us who we are.
"Head East Old Man!" said no one, ever. My 72 GMC is going to live in my parent's barn. I've pretty much maxed out this rental trailer. And I can't help feeling like I'm being chased by a drunk logger. Every time I look in the mirror, he's there. Just hope he doesn't get any closer.
I'm at a coffee shop for a meeting, trying to drum up business for a failing excavation company. They chose the venue but I had to check the shelves. It's better than a consolation prize.
"Ex Libris: 100 Artists, 100 Books is an exciting exhibition that aims to bring together the worlds of visual art and literature. The invited artists will present works that draw inspiration from books that are important or special to them.
Attendees are encouraged to dress like a librarian or favorite author. Prizes will be awarded for best costume.
from 6-7 we will hear readings from local writers John Hamilton, Yonnas T Getahun, Charlotte Austinn, Trenton Flock, and Charles Mudede.
To see the entire collection, please join us for the grand artist reception at AXIS Gallery in Pioneer Square on March 6th, from 6PM to 9PM.
AXIS Pioneer Square
308 1st Ave S.
This exhibition is curated by Seattle artist and entrepreneur, Siolo Thompson"
Here's a photo of me next to the reimagined version of Animal Farm by my wife, Kellie Talbot, who was part of the 100 artists.