Memory is an acute thing. It can baptize you, take you over, reflect on where you’ve been and, in some extreme cases, incapacitate you. Memory can also warm, warn and welcome you — and this story is a matter of the latter in the name of one my earliest mentors and influencers, Rick Alloway. Yes is hard. No is easy. Rick Alloway was always a Yes Man in the most honorific possible way.
Rick gave me my start in radio at KFOR 1240 and KFRX 103 in Lincoln, Nebraska when I was 13-years-old, and he helped correct me, win me and convince me in every single way of the world. He was never harsh or cruel or condescending — even when you earned such treatment. His greatest talent was simply listening and being infinitely patient. In the radio advert below, Rick is in the front row wearing a mustache and I’m right next to him sporting the sun-sensitive hipster glasses.
There once was a time, in the mid-1990s when tech authors could actually make a living — oh, you could, can, and shall always be able to make a “killing” writing if you strike the right stone! — writing computer books and about other tangential topics, and that effort could support an author life and subsidize a family.
A year or so ago, Google dropped a bomb on all website designers, publishers and online content authors: Your websites had better not only be SSL-secure, but also “mobile-friendly” — and while the first edict is easy to solve with money, the second command costs you a lot of time and money and energy — especially if you’ve been publishing live content on the web for a long time.
Your process — of creation, of thinking, of being — belongs to you and only you, and to discuss your process for understanding the world, and for coping within its spinning — is something you should never do, because nobody but you comprehends the when and the why of how you get things done to contextualize meaning.
As we age into society, there are certain human truths we not only begin to learn, but then start to live — and it is in moments like those, like the one we’re sharing now in the rare “long form” live read on the internet — that I want to urge you to abandon the trophies and the tricks and the cunning surrounding our lives and to instead leave behind something that matters, footfalls suspended in amber, creating your own fossil record.
There’s an old, weary, chestnut in the theatre — that deserves to be burned alive, eaten whole, pooped out and buried in the deep blue sea and then never spoken of again — that goes a little something like this, when directors say to Playwrights: “Never Speak to the Actors!”
In the Rise of the Millennials, feelings are given a whole new status above and beyond any shared fact or shred of righteous communal reality. Today, “feels” are peculiarly individualized, and non-universal, and they are now powerful cudgels used against the unwashed and unwitting others.
Instead of honoring every whim and ninny, we need to be in control of our own feelings, evaluate the reality surrounding them in context beyond the self, and then make a rational, logical, decision on what to do next based on perceptive thinking and not on implied — explicit or otherwise — slights and insights and invented microaggressions and their ilk. We must not only keenly know the difference between purposeful cruelty and interpreted, environmental, intention, we must proactively act upon the right result.