Monthly Archives: May 2013

“Specialization is for insects…”

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”                                                                                          ~ Robert A. Heinlein

I’ve tried in my own way, to live my life by that philosophy. After all, it is the basic premise behind the very notion of what defines a “Renaissance Man”. People like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo or Thomas Jefferson – did not spend their whole lives focused on only one pursuit. Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t ‘just’ a painter. Michelangelo, not ‘only’ a sculptor. Thomas Jefferson, not simply a ‘slave holder’. We are not defined solely by our greatest accomplishments nor by our deepest faults. At least, we shouldn’t be.

No, I don’t consider myself to be on par with those examples. But they do serve as inspirational targets. And so I have spent my personal and professional life pursuing various avenues of the arts, arms and commerce that intrigue, inspire and enrich me. An itinerant scholar of life’s many paths. I choose to follow my heart and head wherever it might lead; Including but not limited to Fencing, Jousting, Flying, Writing, Film Making, Scuba Diving, Acting, Photography, Travel, Politics, Teaching and Studying… always studying.

“Jack of all trades, master of none…” the old adage chides. The implication is that I have squandered my life by not dedicating it to one single pursuit. But I’ve decided to wear that appellation proudly. “Specialization is for insects” – my banner reads. In point of fact, most of the Masters I have had the pleasure to study with, were well rounded Renaissance Men (And yes of course, women). They were fencing masters, who were great musicians or mimes. Film makers who were avid car buffs. Artists who were chefs. Illustrators who were rock drummers. Soldiers who marched for peace… I could go on. And without exception, the truly great ones, when asked how their pursuit was going –  always said something like “I think I’m getting the hang of this…”  And they never, ever stop learning. Especially from their students.  Because if you really feel like you’ve ‘mastered’ something – you’re probably only kidding yourself.

I like to think I’m still young, that I’ve got a lot of vibrant years of living, learning and creativity ahead of me. But the truth is… I’ve put in some miles. But that physical odometer comes with a lot of colorful living.

“You have lived a storied life,” someone said to me after I related a colorful incident from my checkered past. I realized of course, that that was true. I’ve got stories to tell, and I enjoy telling them. Sometimes they are true stories. Sometimes, they are stories I wish were true. Occasionally, they are truths I tell in advance.

So I’ve brought a few of them together, to this virtual way-station for raconteurs. I’ll use it to highlight my newest pursuits in film, screenwriting and publishing. I’ll take the time to put down some of those colorful moments, and the lessons I hope I’ve learned from them. I’ll proudly promote my newest creative efforts, whether on the page, the stage or screen, and gently cajole you into downloading, reading or watching them.

I hope you’ll pull up one of those tree stumps and make yourself a regular visitor to my camp.

Let’s sit around the fire and tell tales.