Mine was never what you’d call conventional. We could start with my college in North Dakota. Aside from promoting rock concerts, the likes of Alice Cooper, Rush, amongst others – learning how to program code and diving head into the alternative energy revolution of the early ’80s, I didn’t have time for much else – let alone class.
And after a couple of years of surfing friends’ couches, I serendipitously fell off one into publishing commercial arts and printing directories in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. This led to a life changing twenty year journey to Los Angeles establishing a nationwide technical prepress and printing recruiting firm – and doing it as a single father raising my daughter, Alexandria. That my friends, above all has had the biggest impact on my life. While professional pursuits were not necessarily sacrificed, they were adjusted, modified if you may, to accommodate what I believe was best for a symbiotic relation between Alex and myself.
This symbiosis moved me away from money being my primary motivator. While money is nice, who’s kidding who – it wasn’t and definitely isn’t now what I want to be known for. In fact what I did professionally, that dreaded title on the business card (I hate titles), means little to me now. It’s about the story. It’s the people and experiences I’ve had the opportunity to have. It’s the good times and the bad times – and looking back it’s hard to separate them. I feel my life has been like a ‘box of chocolates,’ as my Australian friend, Annalie Killian says: “Sometimes it’s good and … well sometimes, it’s like those awful ones with the cherries in them.” Thank God for a waterproof tent and: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Just ask Alex (her side seemed to leak more than mine).
But what all these experiences, these people and this ‘road’ has taught me (potholes and all) is that it all comes down to community. Because without community, not matter how big or how small; or how it’s put together – it’s really all we got. And this is why I’m here … and actually why you’re here reading this. My journey has given me a unique skill-set and a perspective that I believe can be instrumental in rebuilding or should I say retaking our communities. And this is how I want to leave this world … how I want to make things better for all of us.
But I ask you to let our roads intersect, and we travel together. I ask you join me in helping our world, our society, but most of our communities – where you live, and where I live, in making them places where we really want to be – not in places other people tell us we should be. I want you to travel with me, combining your journey with mine; joining in an effort that individually we couldn’t envision – let alone accomplish.
I invite you to start by delving into my ideas by reading, ‘Rebuilding our Neighborhoods through the Middle Ring,’ the first piece of On the Road to Your Community’s Perfect World; my attempt to articulate a vision how we can create better, more inclusive, unique communities as the solution to our society’s pressing issues – both problems and opportunities. Consider each week’s post a Mile Marker of sorts, a cerebral off-ramp, taking a you little further down this road until sometime this Summer when we reach … well, you can decide what we’ve reached for yourself when we get there and what you feel you should do about it.
Because hopefully you’ll see …
“If not us … then who? If not now … then when?”