Fast and Slow

These days go by slow and that’s exactly the way I want it.  I didn’t get into sailing because I wanted to go fast.  I got into sailing because I wanted to cross over the deep places slowly.

Let’s Get this Party Started

Occasionally, people ask me what my plan is.  And that answer is pretty simple.  Put something good into the world and make that my primary goal.

Fire

Some days it just seems colder than it should.

A Better Boat #6

I bled, I scraped, I had panic attacks. Plenty of people seemed to respect what I was doing but I suspect plenty more just saw a man in a midlife crisis freefall.

A Better Boat #5

Whatever boat you’re building, you’re going to need to decide where you’re going so you’ll know what it needs.

A Better Boat #4

Sometimes life offers us the opportunity to build a better boat.

A Better Boat #3

He needed a boat strong enough to survive the storms on the outside and the storms within.

A Better Boat #2

The kids that came from nothing and worked and clawed their way to a “B” average were more like rawhide leather. They made it to where they were on school loans, caffeine and determination.

A Better Boat #1

Coddled by schools and parents while being fed a constant stream of social media influencers, Xanax, weed and bullshit, they’re kicked out into a world that requires the street smarts of an alley cat and they’re just not that cat.

Navigation #5

If your captain is telling you to row toward the rocks, you always have the option to stop rowing.

Navigation #4

So first things first. You have to figure out where you are. This is your reckoning.

Navigation #3

How to know what to do when everything is fluid? When there are no reference points on the horizon to know where you are? When there isn’t any wind in your sails to move you forward? And worst of all, you have no idea how long this will last.

Navigation #2

The challenge was knowing where they were when there was nothing but water on every horizon line. When there’s no reference point to work with every direction looks the same. Choose wrong and you end up lost at sea.

Navigation #1

It’s hard to know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you are.

FOR ALL THE DAYS THAT END IN “WHY?” #2

The golden rule of communication is, “Know thy audience.” My personal follow up to that rule is that you reach people where they are, not where you want them to be. And this campaign did just that. It connected people with a sense of hope and comfort at a time when it was hard to know where to turn. There was nothing to sell, just a voice offering a shoulder to lean on for those who needed it.

For All the Days That End in “Why?”

What makes this place surreal isn’t that it’s run down. It’s that they’re acting as if it’s not.

Universities and Supply Lines #4

The paradox emerged that a county primarily supported by agriculture, had now also become a food desert.

Universities and Supply Lines #3

Connecting communities not only added wealth to their populations, but also created a system of resiliency. Where one area failed, perhaps by a flood or drought, another with a surplus could shoulder the deficiency.

Universities and Supply Lines #2

Rural economies are in trouble and in desperate need of innovation. The exact kind of innovation that a university could bring to the area it serves. Or it can just discount it and make fun of cows.

Universities and Supply Lines #1

While everyone seemed to be chasing numbers, the single most important thing that nobody seemed to be considering, was what purpose the university was actually supposed to be serving?

Institutions #3

The institution that is called a farm grows food and remains true to its function by feeding the farmer’s family and surrounding community. The animals are healthy. The soil is healthy. The family is healthy. The institution thrives. Form follows function.

Institutions #2

It’s a faith that we are somehow connected to the source. That there is something called a spirit. That our consciousness is connected to God through something we call a soul. It’s a faith that we are better physically and spiritually we remain in harmony with that source.

Institutions #1

The institution remains true to the function it was designed to serve. The institution thrives. Form follows function.

Cowboys, Pirates and Poets #2

And as much as corporate America likes to talk about getting outside the box, they’re mostly full of shit.

Cowboys, Pirates and Poets #1

That nagging call of the wild is always in our ear and has us scrolling our phones during Zoom meetings and living vicariously through YouTubers who seem to be living a more vibrant life.

The Space in Between #4

To think about the relationship between their lives and grace from their point of view is to think about bandwidth. It’s tuning the dial so the station comes in clearer. It’s walking into a quiet space to have a conversation. It’s making sure nothing is interfering with the signal. For them, grace is the signal itself.

The Space in Between #3

It’s not just what they are now, but more what they are no longer.

The Space in Between #2

What changes when someone gives up a life focused on the pursuit of family and career and instead commits to a lifetime of intentional poverty, service and a singular focus on something greater than himself?

The Space in Between #1

But there is a price to be paid for cozying up to the darker side of human nature.

The Monsters Among Us

A fictional account of a true story [Guatemala 2018] She staggered slowly down the road. Her clothes were torn and the dirt on her face was streaked with her tears. Blood ran down her leg. Her feet were bare and she did not know where her sandals were. She did not...

Shadows #4

At night, I build my campfire on a mountain overlook and listen as coyotes wail somewhere deep in the valley at a harvest moon. And as the flames fade to embers, my mind is quiet and turns inward and I sip coffee and consider my life as I study the constellations.

Shadows #3

They are opposing forces. Curiosity advances, caution bunkers down.

Shadaow #2

Sometimes you just can’t go back home because it’s just too dark to see there anymore.

Shadows #1

I tried to stay true to one of the original tenants of a liberal arts university and mimic the best professors I had as a student.

Mistress #2

As with Mischief, boats left behind by otherwise loving owners isn’t uncommon at all. Probably half the boats in a marina have owners who do little to nothing with them. Boats need constant attention, especially in a saltwater environment. But that maintenance is also...

Mistress #1

So one day I hoisted a cheap pirate flag and used the small electric trolling motor to get me out of the marina and into the lake where I taught myself to sail.

Moving On

We live and we learn, taking our knocks and pressing on trying to be better.

Hook #4

Conflict is the refiner’s fire. It is the condition that must be created to transform raw metal into a deadly sword.

Hook #3

Whatever the scenario, the inciting incident forces a decision for the protagonist to make the choice of pursuing the unknown or sticking with the status quo.

Hook #2

The single most important thing that a good story cannot be is predictable.

Hook

It is the story of all of us. We are caught in between these two forces. We’re afraid of living because we’re afraid of dying.

RED SKY IN MORNING. SAILOR TAKE WARNING #3

Depending on the water it finds itself, a boat can be magnificent or worthless.

RED SKY IN MORNING. SAILOR TAKE WARNING #2

What she doesn’t seem to realize is that she’s the one singing off pitch instead of finding the harmony with the other singers in the room. She’s disconnected. She’s the source of the dissonance.

Red Sky in Morning. Sailor Take Warning.

The more distance I put between myself and the earth the more likely I am to pollute it. The more distance I put between myself and other people the more likely I am to pollute those relationships. The more stories I consume about how good or bad someone or some place is, the more likely I am to believe it. It doesn’t matter if I’ve actually met them or been there. I have an opinion and that opinion is my truth.

First Light #4

Sometimes things get messy, but you do everything you can to make it work. And when you do, you get a taste of something amazing. And yet, you still end up back where you started.

First Light #3

This is the messy part. I’m all over the place. This narrative is not concise. It’s not well constructed and polished, refined by editors making sure every comma is in its proper place and each idea is given its proper place and development. I go from talking about...

First Light #2

When we intentionally disconnect ourselves from quality information, it’s willful ignorance. But, sometimes it’s not so willful. Sometimes it’s a matter of algorithms and people simply feeding us what they think we want to hear.

First Light

Whatever the word is it appeared that I was seeing more and more students gaining weight and spending less time physically engaging with other people. You know, real life. In person. When it came to the challenges and obstacles life throws at you in college, I saw more and more either just check out when things got hard or go into a complete neurotic meltdowns.

Prologue…Darkest Before the Dawn #4

What does a man, who has been given back is life, do with the days that are before him? What does freedom feel like to a man like him? How fresh is the air that he breathes? How delicious is the food he eats or the water he drinks to quench his thirst?

Prologue…Darkest Before the Dawn #3

In that moment he thought about all the dreams he’d put off.

But… you know…Try to relax.

Prologue…Darkest Before the Dawn #2

A twenty-year old college student spends hours each day scrolling on her phone. She has thousands of followers on her different profiles. She’s young and smart, beautiful and technologically savvy. When she does go out, it’s with other girlfriends and they spend more...

Prologue… Darkest Before the Dawn 1

But, he’s also depressed and doesn’t know why. When he thinks about it, nothing seems bad about his life so he doesn’t know what the problem is.

Long Time Leaving

I stayed around when I should've moved along I've been a long time leavin' ya, but I'll be a long time gone - Roger Miller 27°47′.765 N 097°23′.424 W It’s hard to leave Texas. I don’t mean that in terms of anything sentimental. When it’s come to me and my Mistress,...

Tacking

Students would stop by my office to ask even more questions or sometimes just to plop down in a chair and start telling me about their lives.  There was hardly a subject that wasn’t discussed.  We laughed and at times we cried.  But, most of all we connected as humans.  

Angels and Beavers

Sometimes when we’re the most vulnerable. Sometimes when we’re the most confused. Sometimes when we’re the most afraid.

Sometimes this is the exact moment we’re willing to pay the most attention.

Your Disgusted Brain

My job isn’t to make you cheer for a cure, my job is to make you believe something is diseased and dangerous.  It doesn’t matter if it’s true, as long as I get you to make the association in your mind.  I’m no longer a product, I’m the solution to your problem. 

How’s Your Momma?

Floods. Fires. Droughts. Sickness. It’s understood that help isn’t coming from anywhere but within. This is the way it’s always been. We know that we are largely forgotten by the rest of the world. We shoulder the heaviness instead of avoiding it. We endure together.

A Ghost on The Black River

That which we call family isn’t so much a tree as it is a confluence of tributaries flowing into a common river. Those tributaries carry culture, genetics, reputation, damage, pride and other unknown specters flowing beneath the surface of those muddy waters. 

A Year on the Bridge

The migrant camp is now a full fledge refugee camp. Except there is no United Nations here. No state sponsored anything. Just a sea of camping tents and thousands of people. I followed my border contacts online as the camp went from two hundred to five hundred to a thousand to over two thousand with hundreds more arriving daily. Border Patrol drops everyone off here who has crossed this region of the border seeking asylum.

The mood here is desperation.

Seeking Out the Space Between: Arkansas Life, October 2019

What changes when someone gives up a life focused on the pursuit of family and career and, instead, commits to a lifetime of intentional poverty, service and a singular focus on something greater than himself?

Navigation

It got me thinking about something I’ve been teaching for years.  You reach people where they are, not where you want them to be.

The Bridge

But, he wasn’t taken to a police station. The car pulled into a warehouse and he was made to get out. The police officer handed him over to other men and left. He did not know where he was.

The Boy From Bangladesh

The boy escaped Bangladesh in fear for his life. His father belonged to the minority political party and he was marked. He was given an ultimatum; swear allegiance to us or die.

And Still She Waits

She traveled from Africa searching for a safe place to make a new start. A new life. A safe life. She has followed all the rules. She has been polite. She put her trust in the system and here she waits.

Waiting on the American Dream

“Every day they were taking more people for questioning.” He told me. “You would only hear shouting, brutalization and then you hear gun shots. But, they would never bring them back.”