Monday, January 2, 2012


Xmas/New Year - When God gave man hyperbole.

Hello, World.

How good to be able to blog again, to slog around in syntax and subtext.   In fact,  I have been muzzled for several months.  Forbidden by legal counsel to blog or give interviews because of a legal
contretemps with a publisher.  (See earlier blog: SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY.)  But soon there will be closure,  all will be well again.

Although a hairy,  little seer  in diapers  has recently stepped from a cave on some far  mountain-top  and announced that the world will end in May.  Oh, really?   In fact,  the world as we know it ends every day,  is radically transformed with each birth,  each  death.

In 2011,  we were radically transformed when we lost a force,  a Messiah,  for which the obituarial  scribes are still scrambling to find adequate language.  I met Steve Jobs some  years ago before he  was diagnosed with cancer. You might say he was in his prime.  He had already magisterially transformed major industries, like computing.  But there was still  the iPod, iPhone, iPad to come.  He had not  yet altered the entire planet.

 He was still black-bearded then, not gray,  semi-virile looking in that perennial tight turtleneck.  Eternally Goth in black.  I hadn't  seriously crossed over yet to electronic publishing, I was hanging with  a  Big 6 print crowd.  So I had only a vague idea who Steve Jobs was.  Some genius hacker-inventor.  Another 'nerd.'  But even across the room,  across that vast reception-crowd, one could feel his intensity, so strong it was like the pull of gravity.  It looked like men were spilling blood  trying to get next to him.

I remember his face.  Even when he smiled it was like he had two faces,  a stern, bespectacled, intell-ectual's face,  superimposed  over a wider,  sort-of-handsome, sort-of-sexy face.  But even then, surrounded by ecstatic fans,  he seemed not fully focused on the  here and now.  His brain perhaps at play in more celestial spheres - mobile-computing,  the coming cyber-wars.

By  2011,  I  had become a cross-over,  a hybrid-writer still published by one of New York's big publishing houses,  but - as the Big Malaise set in,  and  print-income drastically declined  -  I was now also  dipping my toes into electronic self-pubbing.  And slowly I came to appreciate and  revere Steve Jobs,  the semi-sexy 'nerd' across the crowded room,  the man they were now comparing to Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  The man they say will be forever  unmatched in the modern history of innovation.  (For starters, think how he has affected computing and telephony.)  Again, there is not yet an adequate language  to describe his feats.

But what Steve Jobs did for me, and you -  for all writers - is something  much more personal.  He invented our freedom.  He created the means by which we  are each in charge of our destiny.  As self-published authors - ebook and print - we are the uber-independents,  high plains drifters of the digital age,  high-tech entrepreneurs answering to no one.  A natural progression.  Jobs was the  role model and reigning avatar for a whole generation of entreprenurial rookies - Bezos, Zuckerberg, etc. ( many of  whom became million-and-billionaires. )

Addressing a  college-graduation class,  he spoke of the period when he was fired from Apple and spent more than a decade in the wilderness,  battling depression and trying to stay afloat. He described how,  after the 'heaviness' of being successful,  he eventually experienced the pleasure,  the  'lightness' of being a beginner again,  less sure of everything.  "It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."  He was eventually rehired by Apple,  the rest is history.

By the time of that graduation-day address  he was losing the battle with cancer,  and he told the audience that "Death is the single  best invention of life.  It is life's change agent.  It clears out the old, making way for the new."  In the years since his cancer diagnosis,  he had pushed himself harder than at any time in his life.  He warned them, "Don't be trapped by dogma.  Dogma means living with the results of other people's thinking. "

 Jobs' parting words that day were:  "Stay hungry!  Stay foolish!  I have always wished that for myself. This is what I wish for you."

We had a conversation that  long-ago night at the reception.  He asked what I did, what my life-goals were, and  how I planned to achieve them.   After I responded,  he scowled  and said.  "Never,  NEVER  ask permission.  Just do it."

My  New Year's wish for all of us.  That we stay curious,  stay foolish,  even  hungry.   That we dare everything.  That we continue to leap,  knowing somehow a net will appear.  That, in short,  we just roll up our sleeves and Do It.  And that, finally,  in our warp-speed, digitized and networked world  we  take  time to remember, and sit back in awe.

Steve Jobs.


  1. What a wonderful blog post. I love his words about never asking for permission. Great story!

  2. I am so glad you are back to blogging. I was not fortunate enough to meet Steve Jobs, but I do share your admiration of the man and his accomplishments. He dared to be different and proud of his differences. You know how much acceptance of differences means to me. He made such a difference in our world in multiple ways. Mahalo for writing the tribute and welcome back.

  3. @Kathleen, thanks for comment! You're a doll. As I emailed you, your output is phenomenal!! Will alert you when new blog-post is up, including your book.

    @Dear DS Walker, thanks its good to be back. The legal mess is coming to closure! I ENJOYED AND ADMIRED and learned a lot from DELIGHTFULLY DIFFERENT. Congratulations!
    I am doing a roundup blog of a few surprising books I enjoyed in 2011. Yours is one of them. Will alert you when its up. Imua! press on with that next book! Kiana

    1. Mahalo Kiana! Your support means the world to me! Just read the post and loved the review. I hope to do more reading for fun this year and your books are definitely on my list.

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