5 p.m., the first backer transaction of the day. My eyes welling red, passing out in my chair, I am jolted. This is the casino culture that I come from. The thrill in the hit, the loose slot ringing, the royal flush. Much of the support that I’m getting is coming from the across the Atlantic where I learned the mentality that sometimes we gain more from a moment of glory than a lifetime of small victories. In the USA we love indulging in our own legendry. The story leads the way. The reputation precedes the person. Moments of glory initiate a certain myth-building sequence, which is all we really need to see ourselves the way we want to see ourselves. We are all works in progress. Either we accept what we have become or assume the role of becoming. At this point, for me the myth is gone and the small victories are actually the moments of glory, but the thrills remain thrills.
I’m thrilled that people are coming to contribute to my Kickstarter and I hope that they come with a sense that Inspiration Drive is going to grab, gut, tickle, and embarrass them. And if it’s not that then what is it?
Is it the race to the finish?
Listen to the radiolab podcast, “On the Winning Side.” It’s about rooting for the underdogs and top dogs.
I can probably relate to the underdog as much as I can the top dog, but it’s something else that drives these thrills for me, some other paradigm. Allow me to make some other association with competition that toys with casino culture—gambling on real skill. How much fun is it to exalt when a pitcher goes nine innings with a no-hitter? How thrilling is it to watch an amateur singing competition in which the talent you spotted goes all the way? These are unlikely events that confirm to us that the biggest desire we have is for the chance to lose ourselves in the joy of the feat. We want to be there when it happens. We want to be a part of it. That’s entertainment.
For most of us our thrills are different than what appears in the spotlights. We work on a daily basis to get somewhere, to feel the pleasure of being part of something that has nothing to do with the spectacle where all that appears looks better because whatever looks better will appear. We live for the difference.
There’s a hatchback full of cliché going on around in my head and the hour is slowly encroaching on evening in Paris. I’m watching numbers with a sick obsession, trying to having an impact on the outcome. There’s a high that comes from thinking people buy the book because they know it’s going to make a difference in their lives. Inspiration Drive is not like anything that’s ever been written about a father and son relationship or coping with death. You won’t need Oprah to tell you to read it, either. It’ll be your find and it will find you. And there will be passages, like this one from December 2011, just after my dad told me he had six months to live:
“Up until now everything has been alright. Everyone in good health, the heart beating strong, the lungs pumping air, the electric storms conducting their way in the brain. Now we’re at a standstill: the four-way crossing whose lights have just gone out. There’s a bit of a sway in the hanging lamps, the wires, the wet wires. Across the street a big white truck doesn’t see well; the red car neither. All three of us know we’ve got to make a move and if we don’t stop and think we’ll get into an accident. We’re looking out into the desert night sending signals in our thoughts to the other cars. One out of three imagines the people in those cars, the way they rest their elbow on the door, their hands on the steering column, their slumped position. Genetics and gravity running its course, cells dividing, time moving forward—the only way it moves. The red car sounds his horn and mutters to himself calling other people names, easily becoming frustrated. A passenger shaking a rolled newspaper, putting all of her excess energy and deadbolt thought into the curve of the paper, looks through the tube along the floor to the thin torn carpet mats. Her thighs are big, getting bigger, her feet are tiny, hands clean. She wants to be thin because maybe that will get him to love her better. I’m 43 years old and having trouble finding a job and a place to stay for the night, goes the story of the blind boxer on the side of the road. Not this road. The one she takes to work where she opens her change purse every day. One focus is not another’s, one lens shifts as the subject changes. The last of the three cars punches the gas pedal thinking aggressive/aggressive when he should rather be aggressive/cautious, but who knows his place on earth, his time here, the fight he has to fight each and every day as the road grows darker and the weather more grim? None of them saw the fourth car who mistook the color orange for green. But the horn caused the gas pedal to ease up and the white truck felt the life blood flow in his own body.
We heard about the kids taking on characters, given names, acting the roles. Maybe cells do that, too.”
Inspiration Drive is written in the midst of life in a world of real skill, where when one thing happens, everything else is still happening. Buy it here today.