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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Jennifer Senior on a New Script for Parents

The one mantra no parent ever questions is, “All I want is for my children to be happy.” And don’t get me wrong: I think happiness is a wonderful goal for a child. But it is a very elusive one. Happiness and self-confidence, teaching children that is not like teaching them how to plow a field. It’s not like teaching them how to ride a bike. There’s no curriculum for it. Happiness and self-confidence can be the byproducts of other things, but they cannot really be goals unto themselves. A child’s happiness is a very unfair burden to place on a parent. And happiness is an even more unfair burden to place on a kid. [...]

Absent having new scripts, we just follow the oldest ones in the book – decency, a work ethic, love — and let happiness and self-esteem take care of themselves. I think if we all did that, the kids would still be all right, and so would their parents, possibly in both cases even better.”

Jennifer Senior

The physical world is wiggly. Clouds, mountains, trees, people, are all wiggly. Only when human beings get to working on things-they build buildings in straight lines & try to make out that the world isn’t really wiggly. But here we are, sitting in this room all built out of straight lines, but each one of us is as wiggly as all get-out.”

Alan Watts

We see things not as they are, but as we are.”


Campaigns for George

Ever heard of George McGovern? There’s a story about this guy’s run for presidency that’s instructive for any of us looking to do good work in the world.

See that picture above? It’s a bunch of artists contributing pieces to a large mural in support if George’s run for presidency. (He ran against Nixon.)

I randomly stumbled upon this picture while staying in a friend’s house. It was in a book about artists and writers and the parties they threw in the Hamptons from 1950-1980.

As I flipped through the pages, taking in all the famous faces pictured in house parties and on sandy beaches with cigarettes and coffee mugs and cocktail glasses in their hands, a fable about these people evolved in my head.

It made me think about my own work and my own friends who are doing good work. It made me think about some parties I’ve attended and the faces of other people who were there.

And a kind of fable about the people in this particular picture (the one above, here’s a bigger version) sort of came clear in my head.

Here’s some ideas that stuck with me.

(Please spare any political tirades or history lessons. I don’t know much about this time or these people. Don’t care to.)

Must have been a lot of work getting everyone together to work on this.

I bet these artists think they’re doing something big. I bet they think they are big deals.

I have a little reach myself. I’ve been in (extremely minor) situations where I felt similarly, when someone thought my contribution would help in an important way.

“People pay attention to me. I’m sort of a big-ish deal,” they think to themselves. “Sure, I’ll help support the cause.”

I have never heard of George McGovern. I can paint a bit of a picture: he was the democrat running against Nixon. Artists love dems, traditionally… or so I’ve heard.

“Hey guys, let’s do something big, something important to make a stand. To make a statement and support this guy. We can’t let the republicans ruin this country. Let’s do something together… let’s make it count.”

But then George didn’t win.

What did they feel then? What do they think looking back? Did they already know they’re help wasn’t going to matter? “We tried. Whatever. Meh.”

Were they discouraged? “Last time I ply my oars for this backwards fucking party… backwards fucking country, too.”

Again this is all some fable in my head. I don’t know if any of this shit is true. But I could imagine myself as one of the artists here. It’s a fable, but it’s instructive for any of us trying to do something big, something that makes a change, something that brings light to darkness and joy in the suffering.

Many of our projects will end up being campaigns for George. If, instead of trying, we hold ourselves back, don’t contribute, we’ll save a little face. We won’t have put our necks out for a loser.

But I see another story in these photos. I don’t see anything about a president. I don’t see any real purpose.

I see an excuse for a bunch of weirdos and ragamuffins to get together and make something.

I don’t see art critics talking about “what this means.” I see a weird dude in a hat painting on his friend’s back.

I see cocktails on a massive canvas.

I see an old dude in a chair smiling lackadaisically and another old dude on his knees measuring meticulously.

In episode 47 of the podcast I intro us as the muppets. And at the end I mention this great quote about the moral of the muppet movie:

“The message of the movie is that a bunch of wonderfully eccentric, creative and outlandish individuals can somehow be brought together and stay together, because they take great joy in what they do.”

That’s what I see most in these pictures.

The guy they were rooting for didn’t win. George lost.

These folks painted anyways, almost as if they were dancing to their own music, following the joy and groove of the making, doing what they can with what they have focusing on what they can control (the making) disconnected from what results may come.

It’s just a fable in my head, but I want to get into that groove, the joy in the making, more… For a while at least.

When you work for yourself you need results too. I gotta make that coin. But I’m prone to an imbalance, and when I’m too results-focused I make worse stuff… Because I’m smiling less in the making.

Go get some friends together and help a George get elected.

That’s all you can ever do in life: do your best and enjoy yourself.”

Dr Steve Peters

Robert McKee on Going There

You have to go there, you know. You have to take your character to the place where he just can’t take it anymore. You’ve been there, haven’t you? You’ve been out on the ledge. The marriage is over now; the dream is over now; nothing good can come from this.”

Robert McKee

Reading through Don’s Million Miles in a Thousand Years in preparation for a talk I’m giving. Such a fun book to read.

Eugene Schwartz on the 2 Reasons

Every product you work on should offer your prospect two separate and distinct reasons for buying it. First, it should offer him the fulfillment of a physical want or need. This is the satisfaction your product gives him. And second, it should offer him a particular method of fulfilling that need, that defines him to the outside world as a particular kind of human being.”

Eugene M. Schwartz

RMR on Dragons & Courage

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Sync Mac Desktop with Dropbox

You can use Dropbox to sync things outside your Dropbox folder using a little Linux wizardry.

Then open terminal and type this and hit enter:

ln -s ~/Desktop ~/Dropbox

Done and done.

Pro tip: the first path is the source, the second is the target container you want to choose (not a copy of the source itself on dropbox). Read here for more info on this.

I do the same thing to sync my MAMP folder on my mac through Dropbox:

ln -s /Applications/MAMP/db ~/Dropbox/Apps/MAMP

And to sync my Wiretap Studio library:

ln -s ~/Documents/WireTap\ Studio\ Library.wtpl ~/Dropbox/Apps

37,000 Miles on Tenacity

Tenacity is when you’ve got enough balls to start something and then you’re too stupid to quit when you realize you shouldn’t have started in the first damn place.”

Steve Fugate

Trail Therapy — a modern day rustic poet

“In 1999, lost his son to suicide. A few years later he lost his daughter to a drug overdose. At sixty-four years old, he has walked across the United States seven times to raise awareness for depression and suicide and to inspire people he meets to “love life.”

This was, just… when he cries… his language… i just… the juxtaposition of how he looks, the down to earth idioms, his story, the simple quest he’s on and the handful of moments of free-flow beatnik poetry… this is magic.

…so they can go through that situation of pain and convert that damn evil, negative self pity into self reliance and go help others with it through nothing more than telling their own story.”