An Introduction to the Communitea Books Writing Digest

Embarking on the Path of Insights: Welcome to My Writing Universe

In 15th century Italy, a Dominican priest ordered the burning of objects that he considered “sinful:” The Bonfire of the Vanities. They burned cosmetics, art, books, musical instruments, playing cards; they burned anything that might tempt one to sin.

In the 20th century, United States, Tom Wolfe wrote a satirical novel of classicism, racism, and politics: the Bonfire of the Vanities. A novel, in an attempt to capture the “essence,” of New York City in the 80’s, “a hotbed of racial and cultural tension.”

          I was born in Sacramento, California on a military base that has since been closed, and resembles, now, only a grid of cookie-cutter homes each one more similar to the last than the next, or is it more similar to the next than the last? In either case, there is nothing like it in the natural world. My family moved from Sacramento to Little Rock, Arkansas, and from Arkansas to Charlette, North Carolina, and from North Carolina to Fussa, Tokyo, Japan, and from Tokyo back to Sacramento, and from Sacramento to a small unassuming town—at the time—outside of San Antonio, Texas. And, with that move, my father retired from military life. My sister and I spent our formidable years watching this small ‘unassuming’ town of Boerne, Texas change; our family settled on 6 acres not far off of Interstate-10. My sister and I graduated from high school and attended university while our little patch of family land developed in character as a representation of our family, it is home regardless of where else home might be.

When I was 19, I dropped out of the University of Texas at San Antonio and in my 99' Honda Civic sedan, packed as full as it was able, I headed west on I-10. Somewhere in New Mexico I started driving north(‘ish), and upon several days of random exploration I found myself in Pocatello, Idaho, and I stayed in Pocatello, at least for a while. I took a job working the graveyard shift at a potato processing plant, and I found a third-floor apartment in a renovated historic hotel—now apartment building—and went about learning how to celebrate life. Eventually, I moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho—not far north of Pocatello—I met a girl, and five months later we were married; we lived together in a small duplex. I have pictures laying around, because this was a time when taking a photograph meant putting your phone away, and pulling out your camera, and waiting while the negatives printed and copies were tucked away in photo albums.

We moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. [She] went to school and I worked at a Barnes&Noble Booksellers (my third bookstore job to date). After a few years of the life she and I separated, I moved to New York City, New York—and was involved with opening the new flagship Barnes&Noble at 86th and Lexington on the Upper East Side—while I taught myself what “one step back, two steps forward,” means when celebrating life. After a few years in New York, I was inspired to move to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I fell in love with the city, and the surrounding landscape. Northern New Mexico was [is] gorgeous! And I was beginning to feel as if I were no longer [kind of] learning to celebrate life but that I was actually celebrating life. I met a woman, we were married. [She] had three children, two of which I was parenting in our two-bedroom home across from the 'Rose Park,' near downtown Santa Fe. I was too naïve or too unguarded perhaps, to notice the manipulation and abuse beginning to overshadow the faith in our marriage, and before too long I had become a shell of who I once was, and she was now the authority and the vanity of my life. I kept a suitcase, a small one packed and hidden in a hall closet, and one afternoon I took it and I left, and I kept leaving and everything else just, kind of, stopped. I stayed in Santa Fe for a few more months hoping to hold on to the place that I fell in love with years before, but it was gone. I moved back to Texas and for several years I simply existed, and had forgotten how and what it meant to celebrate life. Nearly a decade later the opportunity to move back to Santa Fe presented itself, and I accepted. I lived in an apartment not far from that two-bedroom home across the street from the 'Rose Park,' for nearly a year but it was clear to me that the Santa Fe that I knew and loved was gone, and that I was no longer the same person.

          I moved to Livingston, Montana.

          I have forgotten more about my own experiences than most people will ever get to experience in a lifetime, and as absurd and cliché as that may sound, in relation to a soundbite, and some arrogant banality that people reference to encourage intrigue. Nevertheless, I have learned a great deal over the years, much of which should light a fire to the absurdities and the vanities we covet and wrestle with on a daily basis, and so I decided that, instead of writing another novel, that I would attempt to write a blog.

The following are my thoughts and experiences, lessons and mistakes, and not everything may be to your preference, liking, belief structure, or ideals, nevertheless what’s coming should make for a helluva blog.

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