The Splendid Quill

Below, please find just a few(4 in total) of my writing samples that run the length of styles I’m comfortable writing in. You’ll also find a few I’m not so comfortable in, but I guess I just enjoy the pain of it.

Narrative Prose
Published Online
July, 2008

In the first grade, I remember thinking how big the second graders were. I looked up to them, we all did. I wanted to be one of them. I desperately wanted to wear Karl Kukta’s Mighty Mouse jean jacket, win at dodge ball and get Ashley Dillehay to talk to me.

But I couldn’t. I was only a little first grader.

I didn’t know how to do the big-kid things that they did. They got to write with little yellow pencils. We had to use fat, tall white ones. Interestingly, there was a fringe benefit other than color. With the introduction of the yellow pencil one would learn to write in cursive. And that was a big deal! My grandparents wrote in cursive. My teachers wrote in cursive. That was the language of the big people. Only first graders and kindee-gardeners wrote in that archaic, lesser, block-letter format. I looked forward to learning the secrets of cursive with the same enthusiasm I would later feel toward life itself. This was a defining life lesson filled with all my future potential personal transformation. And it could not come quickly enough.

Cursive.

These radical transformations of spirit and ability rarely happen. We want them to. We yearn for this kind of mental shift in perspective, but it’s not an easy road. Good, new, creative thought requires a change of habit and that can be sort of, you know, hard. Think about the millions of Americans that smoke, gamble and have one more drink when they don’t really want to. It’s a fairly basic process to have jump-starts that send us down the right path, but somewhere near Albuquerque, the personal process that puts us where we want to be from where we were requires a change of habit that just doesn’t get met. I find it a particularly teeth-grinding process.

But enough doom and gloom, we’re already dealt enough toxic soup on the news. It’s the beginning of a new year and this year, 2008, we get a whole extra, bright, shiny, normally-leapt-upon day to work with. Even though we’re in February, January is still fresh and it’s okay to hash out resolutions for the year. I may not be so great at changing habits, but the idea of a list to make me better is admirable enough. Hope springs eternal and the green leaves of the future are daring to peek out from behind the frozen tundra of another Christmas gone by. We get to think deep personal thoughts as we look forward. Personally, I cling to,

“Haven’t screwed up this year yet! Let’s make a go at the rest of the year!”

I’ve been at this life thing for a while now. Not enough to be an expert, nor am I new enough at life that my insights are limited to Cookie Monster’s credo, “me want cookie!” All in all, I’ve had a lot of resolutions fail and I’ve had a lot of them succeed. Scarier still, I’ve managed to pick up a few tasty crumbs that I dare to suggest may be inspirational. So it is with the spirit of adventure, enthusiasm and a leap-year that I offer a few impressions on life.

That project you’re working on? You need to love it. I don’t really care what it is because it doesn’t really matter. So if you scrapbook, eat rocky mountain oysters, or process TPS reports, the paramount focus should be on loving it. Otherwise, leave it. No job, no hobby, no relationship is worth it without the love.

Your junk? You know, that unpleasant stuff in the past? You need to deal with it. The future is what you make of it. Whether it’s a post apocalyptic vision like Logan’s Run or a Wellian utopia, one can’t achieve their dreams when they are stuck in a personal nightmare. I really don’t think this is a cliché. I know, because I looked it up. I’m being original. You can tell because I referenced Costner. And who does that anymore? Anyway, there is a kernel of truth in all this jest, which will make me sound less jesterly while I make my grand gesture of morality. Hurt exists in a fallen world and it’s a fact that faces us all on a daily basis. The devious nature of hurt begs for us to spend time stuck in it. And in the event we can slog our way through it, the memory of it lingers like the scent of an ex-girlfriend, begging to be remembered and lamented to the point of agony. It’s time to drive a hunter’s stake in the heart of that hurt and walk away from it. There is strength to be had from hurt, but the strength isn’t the memory of the pain, it’s the confidence of walking away from it. And to use a cliché, “These boots were made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do.”

All that action happening around you? Leave it. Be still. I’ll even spell it out. That’s how important this is.

B-E S-T-I-L-L

I have a picture of Ray Harryhausen on my wall. He’s there to remind me to stop. His work is the apex of being still. He’s a stop-motion animator. In fact, he’s THE stop-motion animator. Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad are his creations. He’s to stop-motion what Steve Jobs was to computers. Or maybe he’s to stop-motion what the iPod was to Steve Jobs. I’m not sure. Because I’m not being still. Too many thoughts are all happening at once.

I met Ray in 2002. I shook his hand and it felt like magic. He moved slowly and he moved with purpose. He knew what he was doing and he knew what he was there for. I didn’t understand at the time, but he explained to me that when you animate stop motion, every motion has to be considered in the context of the next few motions and the last few motions. No movement exists independent from the others. All the armatures on his stage needed to be like real people if the viewer were going to think of them as characters with depth. Therefore, they all had thoughts and reactions that he had to channel into his being before he could animate them. And at the end of an exhausting and emotionally draining day, he’d have added maybe 8 seconds of footage to his film. At this point I gave an audible silence of incomprehension. He smiled at me and his 82 year-old eyes twinkled.

“This is a slow art. This is an art that has taught me how to live through my characters. Each one of them is dear. Each one of them is a part of me. I learned how to be me by being deliberate about being them. They taught me how to be still and just feel. That’s where the magic of stop motion happens. Not on the screen, not in them, in me.”

Cursive.

These are radical transformations of spirit. Take out that little yellow pencil you haven’t touched in who knows how long. I’ve got mine in hand. It’s time to love what I do, deal with my crap and just be. Then I reckon I’ll start writing and figure out what to do with my bright, shiny new year.

The Great Shape of Water
Dealer Newsletter Article
Published February, 2009

In January 2002 the spa industry was forever changed when Dimension One Spas (D1) unveiled the Bay Collection to the world. From that moment, the curvilinear spa shape has grown and evolved to become the leading luxury spa style in the world. No competitor has been able to match the combination of sophisticated design, appearance, and features that appeared first on Sarena, then Lotus, Dupree and finally Amoré Bay.

This revolution in the industry altered the basic understanding of the identity that comprised D1. Now, 7 years later, it is impossible to separate company and product, the soft sweeping organic designs of the Bay Collection define D1. We are forever tied to our innovation and infinitely proud of the heritage and tradition it has inspired.

When the first finished Amoré Bay was presented to CEO Bob Hallam in a showroom with the sister spas of the Bay Collection he was heard to remark, “After 30 years, would you just look at the great shape of water these days?”

“The great shape of water.”

It was more than a statement made by the CEO. It was a statement that recognized how D1 has changed its perspective and grown into the leading innovator of luxury hot tubs.

With that comment guiding company thinking since 2007, D1 has unveiled a brand identity that matches the organic style and rich design of the Bay Collection. Moreover, D1 launched this brand with a new tag line: The Great Shape of Water.

The great shape of water encompasses everything D1 One does. From the shape of the spas themselves to the gravity defying arcs of the LFX fountains, D1 engineers have always sought new ways to ensure that the product line is always in great shape.

Alternatively, the vision of the company has evolved into it’s own great shape with a new supporting website, brochure, and an entire suite of over 50 new POP items that focus attention to the finest luxury hot tubs ever produced: the Dimension One Spa.

With such powerful tools and elegant products at your disposal, take a look around your showroom. The brand starts with the company and travels with the product to you, where it is then passed on to our customers. Let us work together to make sure that we are all in Great Shape.

Diamond Staycation
National Press Release

http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/d1spas/36791/

February, 2009

D1 SPAS’ ECO-FRIENDLY BACKYARD “DIAMOND STAYCATION” KIT
Heart-Shaped Hot Tub & Eco-Luxe Gifts Create Valentine’s Forever Date

Vista, Calif. (February 03, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — Dimension One Spas (www.d1spas.com) is leading the pack of innovative luxury companies in 2009 by responding to economic instability with an investment that keeps on giving this Valentine’s Day and beyond – a Diamond Staycation Kit to help create an eco-friendly, “forever date” in your own backyard. Central to D1’s Valentine’s Staycation promotion is their Bay Collection of hot tubs, which are available for a limited time with interiors that sparkle like diamonds. Each Bay home spa comes with a free Staycation kit – valued at $1,250.00 – that contains a pair of earth-friendly, 1 karat moissanite earrings (a crystal mineral that shines brighter than diamonds), organic chocolates, a soy candle and two luxurious bath towels made from bamboo and organic cotton.

D1 Spas is also inviting consumers to join its online community at www.diamondstaycation.com to receive “greening your backyard oasis” tips from one of the country’s original eco-designers, Kelly LaPlante. www.kellylaplante.com

News reports continue to highlight the new trend of consumers either foregoing vacations — The “Naycation” for 2009 (MSNBC, Dec. 8, 2008) — or creating backyard retreats they can visit anytime (USA TODAY, May 24, 2008; CNN June 12, 2008). Trip Advisor surveyed 3,000 travelers, 66% of whom revealed that sustainability measures in travel make a difference to them and 34% who said they would visit an eco-friendly hotel or resort in the coming year

“When you think about it, a week at a destination spa or a 10-day, island vacation for two can cost more than $10,000 when you include airfare,” explains Kelly LaPlante. “By turning your backyard into an eco-friendly oasis that you can get to without security check points or fuel guzzling airplanes, rejuvenation is just steps away whenever you want it. In essence you’re creating a romantic, luxurious and carbon neutral getaway that’s good for you and good for the planet!”

Always at the forefront of innovation, D1 founder and CEO, Bob Hallam explains the thinking behind the promotion. “We received such a phenomenal response from our red, six-seat, Amore Bay ‘Love Tub’ Valentine’s Day promotion last year,” explains Hallam, “that we decided to create another special offer this year. However, in response to the marketplace, we decided to feature the lower priced, heart-shaped, Diamond Dupree Bay model and emphasize what’s most important for consumers now – price point, sustainability, and staying close to home to renew and rejuvenate.”

Eco-savvy details about Dimension One’s Diamond Staycation Kit for its line of Bay Collection home spas — starting as low as $11,500 — include:

* The 2009 Valentine’s Day signature model is the two-seater, Diamond Dupree Bay spa: This “Porsche coup” of eco-friendly hot tubs makes every dollar count thanks to unrivaled performance and quality standards that guarantee its longevity while allowing couples to reduce stress and heat up their relationship. D1 Spas, a visionary leader in the home spa industry with 30 patents in 30 years, has infused the Diamond Dupree Bay with green design elements including: an exterior made from recycled plastic, water cleaned with UV light and ozone and a circulation pump for the filtration and heating system that returns 84% of its energy back to the water as heat. www.d1spas.com
* 1 Karat, Guilt-Free, Premiere Moissanite “Diamond” Earring Set: Indulge your sweetheart with a pair of 1 karat stud earrings made from moissanite, a crystal mineral that was first discovered in a meteorite and shines brighter than real diamonds. This jewel of a gift comes without the environmental impact of having tons of earth mined for one gem.
* C Salt Gourmet Chocolates: Indulge in a box of Courtney Dudman Donley’s all-natural gourmet chocolates that are handmade with organic sugar, cream and love. Flavors include Pine Nut Pistachio Brittle and regular and vegan versions of Pistachio Cherry Chocolate. www.csaltgourmet.com
* Two Nandina Heavenly Bamboo Bath Towels: An ideal finish to a Diamond Dupree soak, these 100% eco-friendly towels are more absorbent than regular cotton, offer the sheen of silk and feel of cashmere, and come in a lustrous “Black Pearl” hue for him and a luscious “Blanca” shade for her. These hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial, and mold & mildew resistant towels are made from plantation-grown bamboo, organic cotton, natural or low-impact dyes, and loomed in a wind-powered factory. www.nandina.org

D1′s Diamond Staycation Kit will be available online and at select dealers in the U.S. and Canada.

About Dimension One Spas

With high tech and design innovations reminiscent of each year’s developments in the automobile industry, this award-winning, California-based hot tub company is known for introducing advances in materials science and water handling technology to bring customers the most advanced spas in the world.

Founded in Vista, California by Bob and Linda Hallam, D1 spas and aquatic fitness products are now sold through a network of more than 250 dealers in the United States, and 450 dealers worldwide in 30 countries. The company’s three product lines include a range of home hydrotherapy and aquatic fitness products that meet a variety of consumer needs and budgets: D1 Reflections®, D1 Bay Collection®, AFS – Aquatic Fitness Systems® and @ Home Hot Tubs®. Innovations include: hydronomics – design based on human anatomy, ergonomics, acupressure, reflexology and fluid mechanics – a wireless, totally submersible hot tub stereo system; a spa-within-a-spa lounge chair aqua massager; clean energy systems; and patented fountain & lighting systems. For more information visit: www.d1spas.com.

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Red Razor
Published Online
March, 2007

She had the look of death
in her eyes
her soul was the sort of waterfront
where men drowned like sorrow.

She wore red like a razor.
Standing there, her slender danger cut the difference
from night to day.

It’d been a long time since love had burned me sweet
like a stiff ginger and rye.

I’d begun to see life as a glass
half empty
and she filled me
like a bourbon lake drunk on her hips.

Those nights the only rings we owned
were those we left behind from
drinks sweating on the warped wood.

She was gone.
Her nails long as coffins, clutching hundreds
Once mine
like a church fan cooling both her faces.

Deal me in.
Suicide Kings.
I laughed and ordered up another bottle of tales.

One day that will be me in the godawful ground.
A cemetary of kisses
under an autopsy moon.