February 12, 2018
My friend Tim is up to his eyeballs in a major home renovation. He’s doing the work on his own. I don’t know how good he is with tools – better than me, I’m sure – but either way it’s a big and ambitious job that I sure wouldn’t try.
But then, I’m not planning to turn my renovated house into a fund that will move my family to the south of France for the immersive cultural experience of a lifetime.
Love it, love it, love it.
I’m telling you this because I felt the world encroaching on me this past weekend. Part of the world, anyway. The negative, fearful, egoic part that seems to dominate our airwaves and attention these days. I saw a couple of things that made me shake my head. Then I went down the black hole of Facebook – a place I increasingly don’t want to be – and was confronted with the worst of that digital Wild West. The anger. The vitriol. The pettiness. The violence. Sometimes when I encounter that stuff I just want to check out. Not check out of Facebook, but check out of the whole system. Withdraw. Just give up.
Tim’s European dream pulled me out of the quicksand and I’m grateful for it. It’s easy to engage with the darkness and get pulled in and in the process become part of the darkness too. I don’t want to do that. I think the best way to beat it, at least internally, is to shift the focus by reminding myself that there are amazing people doing amazing things everywhere you look. I’m privileged to know some of them.
For example, my friend Mary Jennifer Payne just published her fourth Young Adult novel, Solomon’s Ring. It’s the second book in her Daughters of Light trilogy, which follows two stand-alone novels, Since You’ve Been Gone and Enough. How awesome is that?
My friend Monty and his band Galactic Cowboys just reunited after a 17-year hiatus and released their critically-acclaimed new CD Long Way Back to the Moon. It’s fantastic.
My friend Mark Swan, a terrific and quickly rising drummer, is watching as one of the artists he plays with, the fabulous POESY, blows up on The Launch Canada.
My sister-in-law’s boyfriend is chasing the dream in Hollywood and has landed roles in major films and television shows.
My friend Seamus, another terrific drummer, had an inspiration to start a podcast about drumming a couple of years ago. He launched Drumgab and has since logged dozens of interviews with the top drummers in the world, building a wide audience along the way. He and his show have become a prominent part of the drumming world.
My friend Jordan Gauthier, still another terrific drummer, started making drums as a hobby back in 2013. His passion and craftsmanship turned into YC Drum Company, and he is now building drums and teching for drummers including Danny Miles of July Talk, Tim Oxford of Arkells, Gavin Maguire of The Trews, Kurt Dahl of One Bad Son and many more.
One of my oldest and closest friends felt a pull to help at-risk youth and had the courage to go back to school in his 40s to earn the qualifications. He’s working in schools right now.
My friend Chris Banks, the celebrated Canadian poet, recently published his fourth collection, The Cloud Versus Grand Unification Theory.
My other friend Chris, aka FenyxFyre, is a freakshow legend and fire eater who holds multiple Guinness world records.
My friend Dana just opened her own tattoo shop, ED Hair & Tattoo.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Yes, the world sucks sometimes. Yes, people suck sometimes, but the world is also immeasurably beautiful and people are awesome. Pay attention to the awesome. Celebrate the awesome. Support and promote the awesome. Be the awesome. To paraphrase Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H, “Don’t let the bastard win.”
His bastard was death. Mine is fear. Or negativity. Or cynicism. That doesn’t mean you ignore everything that’s wrong in the world. Sometimes the best way to fight the bad is to bring up the good. People need it. I need it. Probably you do too.
So do me a favour: Make your next Facebook post about something or someone awesome.
And now, a selection from Galactic Cowboys: