I’m Chase Reeves. I collect and develop thoughts on how to make and live matterfully. Mostly for men. Make sense? Hmmm... lots of ‘m’s.

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“You’re gonna make it if you’re special. And if you’re special, generally speaking, rules don’t apply.”

Craig Mazin

Hayao Miyazaki on His Life’s Work

Hayao Miyazahi on His Life’s Work

All that work you’re doing on your company, your reputation, your skills, maybe it all comes to a moment like this.

You’re 72, you just finished a project that took you two and a half years of constant, steady work, you’re on the garden roof of a building your company designed, where you’ve spent the majority of your life for the past 20 years, and you can sense how pointless it is to imagine it all somehow staying together.

“It’s just a name” you say with equal parts broken-heart and indifferent wisdom.

And then you get distracted by a perfect moment of sunlight and leaves.

This was from a documentary on Studio Ghibli called The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. If you’ve loved movies like Totoro and Spirited Away, you’ll love this film.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been struck so hard by what it would look like at the end of life to have lived the way I dream of living now… and still being as full of dissatisfaction, sorrow, creativity and friendship.

I said this to my friend who was stressing over having kids or not: “In the end everybody loses. It’s not like some people win and others lose. Everyone loses. Nobody wins in the end. This being so, what kind of adventure do you want to have? For myself (and I didn’t know this at the time), my son is the best adventure I can have. Nothing else in my life is as dangerous or joyful or exhausting, nothing else — no movie, company or creation — elicits the depth of feeling from within me that my sons have.”

The kid stuff is my story. Regardless of where you land on that, the first bit is true: you’re going to lose in the end and you won’t be able to take anything with you. You could build the best goddam company and bring more magic to people than any of your contemporaries… and you’ll still stand somewhere at the end recognizing that whether it persists or falls apart won’t be up to you. And then the wind will brush your hair and face and you’ll get distracted by something beautiful regardless.

This being so, what kind of adventure do you want to have?

Jim Henson’s First Commercials

In 1957, Jim Henson was approached by a Washington, D.C. coffee company to produce commercials for Wilkins Coffee. The local stations only had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials had to be lightning-fast — essentially, eight seconds for the commercial pitch and a two-second shot of the product.

From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee […] The ads were so successful and well-liked that they sparked a series of remakes for companies in other local markets throughout the 1960s.

The ads starred the cheerful Wilkins, who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy Wontkins, who hated it. Wilkins would often do serious harm to Wontkins in the ads — blowing him up, stabbing him with a knife, and smashing him with a club, among many other violent acts.

Once I get past the crazy violence all I can think of is: goddam that’s a lot of variations on a theme!

What if, in the next thing I make, I forced myself to make 100 different versions of the thing? The value of each idea goes down, but the cumulative effect is much different.

More interesting to me is whether or not I could even come up with 100 versions of anything. Seems like a hell of a task.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Bob Dylan on Being Creative

If you sang “John Henry” as many times as me – “John Henry was a steel-driving man / Died with a hammer in his hand / John Henry said a man ain’t nothin’ but a man / Before I let that steam drill drive me down / I’ll die with that hammer in my hand.”

If you had sung that song as many times as I did, you’d have written “How many roads must a man walk down?” too.

Bob Dylan

Wow. What a great and rambly read.

“How few people can I influence and still be doing this tomorrow?”

Seth Godin

John Roderick on Being Busy

“I spend hours everyday just trying to fill the increments of time between now and my inevitable death. It’s been 20 minutes since I had a cupcake. Propriety and dignity prohibit me from having another cupcake for 45 to 50 minutes. So I’ve got almost an hour here to kill.”

John Roderick

“Make cool shit you’re proud of with your friends. That’s my motto.”

Amy Poehler

Last Word to Steven Colbert Every Night

“Squeeze out some sunshine.”

Steven Colbert’s Producer

His producer says it to him just before he goes through the curtain to start the show. It’s a good call to arms for me.

In listening to this chat, I couldn’t help but think about the writers’ job. I thought to myself: their job is not to make funny jokes about the news. It’s to write scripts.

Which made me wonder about if I’ve got my job right. Is my job to make podcast episodes and articles and courses? Is it up a level: to help people make progress on their business? Is it down a level: to write lede paragraphs and write anecdotes and find a quote and make a case and write a closing story and ask a final question and then to slam those all together into an article?

I have my hunches.

More from this interview

“The pitch is not just ‘this is the story, we think it’s interesting and here are the jokes,’ but also ‘what is your character’s take? What is his opinion of it?’ Because in this show feeling is first. When feeling is first whoever pays attention to the syntax of things will never fully kiss you. So my character has to kiss the news really hard, he’s very passionate. He’s not ironically detached, he’s passionately attached. It’s important if only because he’s talking about it.”

“I had a hunch that I could make something funny if I could just put it together.”

Mike Judge

This was his hunch before he knew how to animate, before the shorts he did that turned into Beavis & Butthead, before B&B saved MTV, before success of King of the Hill, before the uncanny Idiocracy or Office Space or…

It was a good hunch, Mike.