By Callie Oettinger | Published: March 5, 2015
This afternoon I drove through the Santa Cruz Mountains with David Carr and Neil Young, on the way to Neil’s Broken Arrow ranch.
I’ve been mining David’s columns and this one is a favorite. I like how he molded words to animate stories and convey thoughts — and have felt them tugging at me these past two weeks.
I was cruising through his interview with Neil until he crashed in a quote from Neil’s book Waging Heavy Peace:
“Writing is very convenient, has a low expense and is a great way to pass the time,” he says in “Waging Heavy Peace.” “I highly recommend it to any old rocker who is out of cash and doesn’t know what to do next.”
Around that time, my seven year old came in. She spent a slice of the snow day making a sign to sell her pictures and handmade wooden toys. Her plan is to collect fallen branches once the snow melts, make them into toys, paint a few more pics to keep up with the envisioned demand, and then sell everything. Easy street. Just create it. That’s all it takes.
With Neil on my mind, we talked about what she wants to do — and the why fueling it.
She wants money to buy more art “stuff.”
I’m ok with the money focus. It’s what gets you that ranch, where you can create in peace, and in Neil’s case led him to “Old Man.” But… There’s more to it. Creating something isn’t enough.
If writing a book was a natural step for any “old rocker,” every one of them would have one out there — and all of the ones that are out there would be fandamntastic. But they don’t — and they aren’t.
Neil’s a creator who has spent decades crafting songs. He knows words. He knows emotions. He knows what he knows that he knows.
“I don’t think I’m going to be able to continue to mainly be a musician forever, because physically I think it’s going to take its toll on me — it’s already starting to show up here and there,” he said. Writing a book, he added, allowed him “to do what I want the way I want to do it.”
The seven-year old knows what she wants, but she’s 99 cents short of Neil’s dollar.
I suggested that we put away the “sale” sign and fine-tune the art. Right now, she’s got a room of her own to experiment. In the future, perhaps we’ll be Sunday driving out to her ranch, and someone will be mining her work as I’ve done David’s and Neil’s, inspired by the nuggets she so generously gave to others.
(If you feel like mining… Check out David’s syllabus for his “Press Play” class — and read the items on his recommended reading list. Whether your “thing” relates to words or images or … It’s good reading.)