One of my favorite things about working at the brewery was creating a blog for them. One finds plenty of time on one’s hands in a craft brewery in Asheville in the winter, especially one so well stocked with hairy dudes who know what they’re doing and don’t take too long doing it.

The French Broad Brewery is pretty much a laissez-faire operation, management-wise, as far as those things go. Our Dear Leader, Daddy Mumbles, more haunted the place than ran it, leaving us to our devices and permitting us free rein to create our own jobs, sort of. You could do your own thing, there, so that in the winter doldrums when the wind was coming in and the forklift sheathed in ice, a fella could sit down at the computer in the close, dark, cluttery office and in the light of a ten dollar lamp contribute his pittance to the World Wide Web.

There’s something that happens sometimes in the writing life that is like a hitter in baseball having a hot streak, except that it’s specifically incited by location. Lance Berkman always hit the crap out of the ball in Cincinnati, and I always felt especially good writing there. The keyboard was wonky, the PC an antique, the WordPress format a bit mystifying , the chair squeaked, and you had no privacy at all…somehow it was perfect. Sometimes it came more grudgingly than others, of course, of course, but lots of times the words just happened through me, alive and shapely, narratives existed on the glowing page to be revealed through the carving away of whiteness until only packed drums of paragraphs remained.

I have long tended toward the grandiose: my schooling as a writer has largely been a campaign of frontal assaults and flank maneuvers and pincer actions against that grain, except on the blog, where–perhaps because I had some kind of official cover and platform–I let fly. There’s a time (and a place) for fortissimo. What feels better than singing really loud?

Well, I’m hoping I can re-capture some of that old magic for NeverNesters. My idea here is, don’t write it from home. Home is where I procrastinate instead of writing the novel, where Arielle and I drink beers at the kitchen counter and confide, where we keep lists of things to do to the house, where we make detailed precis of our days on the wall calendar, where we talk about the deals we’re working and the steps we’re going to take; always, forever, constantly: the future. It is not without substance, the future. Not in our kitchen. In our kitchen, it is a thing with form we are trying to grab. Sometimes it’s this and sometimes it’s that, but it’s always pressing down on us.

Last night I said, but are we just selfish, to not want kids? Or are you selfish either way? And then at five-thirty this morning I woke up after four hours of sleep and was wide the hell awake with thought, an endless reel of the stuff. Home is where it’s hard to sleep. So don’t write from there.

Voila: I add my pittance to the Global Parlor, this morning, from the agent room in the new offices of Sunrise Properties, where I’ve recently gone full time as a Realtor. Incidentally, I can see my house from here, no shit, and the new roof looks boffo. We’re having a friend over for drinks tonight we’re going to talk to about putting a new coat of paint on the place. He and his wife didn’t have any kids either.

When you’re talking about a human life, is it absurd to even let selfishness factor into the equation?

O.K. 9 AM. Time to go to work.


The view from the office