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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Alan Watts on What You Want

“Generally speaking, the civilized man does not know what he wants. He works for success, fame, fun, to help people, or to be a ‘real person.’ But these are not real wants because they are not actual things. They are the by-products, the flavors and atmospheres of real things—shadows which have no existence apart from some substance.”

Alan Watts

Hunter S. Thompson on “Live Your Passion”

“As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal) he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.”

Hunter S. Thompson, a letter to a friend

I’m still reading this one through. I think I will be for a while.

When an Internet Friend Dies

My friend died yesterday. I got a text as I was leaving my house. “did you see the email!?”

I hadn’t seen the email. I had been entertaining some close friends for a few days.

I want to share a little what it’s like to lose someone you like a lot, even if you didn’t live near them or spend a significant amount of time with them.

His name was Scott Dinsmore. To be frank, he was — to me — a “Marina Bro.” But unlike most of the Bros I know, there were more ingredients in Scott. Fun loving, sensitive and brutally charming; he believed in himself without being arrogant; a child-like exuberance mixed with an upper middle class “we can do whatever we want” kind of confidence; utterly adventurous; it was almost terrifying to make plans with him because you might accidentally end up on an eccentric billionaire’s yacht… or a hot air balloon or something.

He was California and Tony Robins and Evil Knievel and Ekhart Tolle and a toddler boy enthusiastically putting everything in his mouth all wrapped up in one exquisitely manicured DNA string. Oh god, did he ever come from good stock.

I worked with Scott professionally for a time. Scott had grown a huge website. Then he did a TED talk and after that video got, like, a billion billion views we worked together to redesign his site.

I never tired of poking fun at him for the “passion” stuff he wrote about and I always guffawed at how he mangled the beautiful typography I setup for him… italicizing and bolding every other word, throwing in HUGE QUOTES OUT OF NOWHERE and writing in tiny, 5 word paragraphs like his return button was sticky from one of his morning fruit smoothies. He thought it “looked cool.”

I made fun of it, but it fucking killed it on the internet. People ate it up. Scott, even though he was literally extraordinary, felt like he was just one step ahead of you; like you were exploring some ancient ruin and he pauses just in front of you, taking a big breath and turning toward you with a cheezy dad-with-daughters kind of smile to say, “oh man, you gotta see it from up here,” before giving you a hand up.

I made his website pretty and he filled it up and the people kept coming and all the words on that site were written by a person who is dead now.

He was a pair of Sperry Topsiders with brandy and pineapple juice spilled on them. He was the Jimmy Buffet of small hedge funds and the Warren Buffet of the beach. He was like a Tommy Bahama party you were actually glad you went to. Jesus, I’m really going to say this, I’m trying so hard not to, it’s too on the nose: he really was a living legend. His site was called Live Your Legend and he was a goddam living legend. That’s as bad as any of his dad jokes ever were and I can’t delete it because I know it’s true.

His perfect DNA. His stunning bride. His love for his dad. Oh god this is hard. The parents who made him, the woman he loved… I’m just a guy who got to hang out with him quite a bit in the past 5 years. I got to call him and jest and pour him strong cocktails, I got to bar-hop late night in San Francisco and Portland with him during conferences and dream up ideas with him about his business and my own. God dammit, Scott.

This is, I think, the first time I’ve lost a friend I knew principally on the internet. We had only a handful of days together, really. But we texted and tweeted and Skyped and I sent him Gifs and he’d laugh and we’d get serious and he’d recite his nearest goal to me and then I’d laugh… and he’d wear those fucking five-fingered shoes. I really knew him, but when I look back on it the relationship really, principally lived on the internet.

This is the second time I’ve had to watch grief as it moved through me. Two years ago we lost our son Rowan in labor. I hadn’t known Rowan; but I knew him. And I processed that like this and like this and like this. It was the first time I had experienced grief, and it had this weird “I know this person but I also don’t” kind of thing going on.

I feel something similar with Scott. I knew him but we weren’t fixtures in each others’ lives. We cared about each other, but it’s not like we had a weekly call or a season where we lived near each other or a yearly vacation or something like that. Let’s put it this way, he’d definitely get an invitation to my wedding, but he’d be sitting at the “friends from the internet” table… actually, if we were getting married today, most of the tables would be “friends from the internet” tables.

I had this moment when I was grieving my son where, exhausted and isolated and lost under thousands of leagues of dense sadness, I could clearly picture Rowan alive, bundled in his baby blanket, wearing the hat my sister knit for him, sucking on a pacifier and looking at me through the slats in the crib we made for him… and I saw his eyes for the first time… in my mind… and he looked at me with empathy and pride — he was proud of me. For how I was taking care of his mom, for how I was talking through it with his brother, for how I was grinding through the gears inside myself trying to know how to feel and what to do. It’s almost as if he spoke the words: “I am so proud of you and it doesn’t hurt and you’re not doing it wrong and you’re not disappointing me and if you cried for a million years or shouted or wrote until you withered away or never wrote again there is nothing you can do to change how I feel about you, what I know about you. You don’t have to keep trying, you can just be.”

If you’ve ever lost a friend and didn’t know the right way to grieve, if you knew Scott but from afar, tell stories about him amongst yourselves, feel all the things, be reminded of the good stuff we get in these slowly expiring bodies.

Scott, I loved you. I couldn’t see that when we were together, I didn’t know what was at stake. I will keep missing you and the ways you wrote and the shoes you wore and the exuberant perma-youngness that lubed up our interactions.

More on grief & Scott

Mozart on the Work of Creativity

“People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.”


Twyla Tharp on how creative acts are born

“I will keep stressing the point about creativity being augmented by routine and habit. Get used to it. In these pages a philosophical tug of war will periodically rear its head. It is the perennial debate, born in the Romantic era, between the beliefs that all creative acts are born of (a) some transcendent, inexplicable Dionysian act of inspiration, a kiss from God on your brow that allows you to give the world The Magic Flute, or (b) hard work.”

Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

More from this great book:

“After so many years, I’ve learned that being creative is a full-time job with its own daily patterns.”

On Mozart in the film Amadeus:

“The film Amadeus (and the play by Peter Shaffer on which it’s based) dramatizes and romanticizes the divine origins of creative genius. Antonio Salieri, representing the talented hack, is cursed to live in the time of Mozart, the gifted and undisciplined genius who writes as though touched by the hand of God. Salieri recognizes the depth of Mozart’s genius, and is tortured that God has chosen someone so unworthy to be His divine creative vessel.

Of course, this is hogwash. There are no “natural” geniuses. Mozart was his father’s son. Leopold Mozart had gone through an arduous education, not just in music, but also in philosophy and religion; he was a sophisticated, broad-thinking man, famous throughout Europe as a composer and pedagogue. This is not news to music lovers. Leopold had a massive influence on his young son. I question how much of a “natural” this young boy was. Genetically, of course, he was probably more inclined to write music than, say, play basketball, since he was only three feet tall when he captured the public’s attention. But his first good fortune was to have a father who was a composer and a virtuoso on the violin, who could approach keyboard instruments with skill, and who upon recognizing some ability in his son, said to himself, ‘This is interesting. He likes music. Let’s see how far we can take this.’”

A Marketing Tip from Kurt Vonnegut

“Now let me give you a marketing tip. The people who can afford to buy books and magazines and go to the movies don’t like to hear about people who are poor or sick, so start your story up here {indicates the ‘good fortune’ part of the graph}. – Kurt Vonnegut”

Kurt Vonnegut

Emerson on Art & Money

“Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider. ”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thomas Kinkade on Relevance

“The No. 1 quote critics give me is ‘Thom, your work is irrelevant.’ Now, that’s a fascinating, fascinating comment. Yes, irrelevant to the little subculture, this microculture, of modern art. But here’s the point: My art is relevant because it’s relevant to ten million people. That makes me the most relevant artist in this culture, not the least. Because I’m relevant to real people.”

Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade vs Richard Branson vs Andy Warhol vs Basqiat vs Paul Klee vs Kanye West vs Joey Ramone… Which is the best artist? Which the most transparent and insightful and true to themselves? One day let’s get drinks and talk late into the night about it.

Melville on All Caps

“One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, though it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of this Leviathan [Moby Dick]? Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor’s quill! Give me Vesuvius’ crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms!”

Herman Melville

Friends, hold my harms!

“You are not an artist… You make things in order to sell them. The difference between you and an artist is you can’t wait years to be discovered.”

David Hieatt

“I am myself the matter of my book; you would be unreasonable to spend your leisure on so frivolous and vain a subject.”

Michel de Montaigne

Richard Saul Wurman on the Arrogance of Doing

“Please understand that everything everyone has done in this room — including myself — is primitive. We’re in the first moments of doing something. And we have this arrogance that we’re ‘really doing something.’ No. We’re in this rapidly changing thing and we can’t vest in the excellence or the finality of anything we’re doing.”

Richard Saul Wurman