For starters, I never thought I would ever be writing anything like this.
“Chapter Two”. It always follows that which came first. In my case, “Chapter Two” will encompass what’s followed the first fifty years of my life.
2012, for me, was not a typical year. After 35 years of a pack and a half a day habit, I successfully quit smoking. At 10:53am on January 16 of this year, I crushed out what was to be my final smoke. I’m immensely proud of that.
In February, for reasons I won’t get into here, I left the employ of Taylor Guitars. It was a dream job, to be sure. Hanging out in guitar stores for a living, hanging out with Grammy winners and riding on (well, occasionally riding on) the company jet were things which, up until I worked at Taylor, I never thought would be a reality in my life. Yet, that’s exactly what my reality became. My association with Taylor Guitars also allowed me to expand my photographic exploits, and really allowed me the opportunity to get into concert photography.
After leaving Taylor Guitars, I stayed out of the job market. There were things I needed to work on, which I won’t get into here, simply because of the deeply personal nature of them. As with anything else, there was good and bad, and it was mostly the bad which has propelled me into “Chapter Two”.
“Chapter Two” involves me re-entering the world of the gainfully employed. It also involves me moving from San Diego, California to Portland, Oregon. Alone. I’ll let you infer from that what you will, but I can state, unequivocally, that I am a better man for the past 28 years of my life, and because of who I was fortunate enough to spend those years with. I will simply leave it at that.
But there’s another chapter waiting to be written. The first 50 years of my life was Chapter One. That was the chapter which includes everything from birth to high school to a military career to a career in the music industry to no career at all to moving to having a career again. It was all a long time coming, yet it passed in an instant. In a mere blink of an eye, everything was different.
So, I’ll be packing my truck and driving north, and I’ll put my foot on the brake when I get to Portland, Oregon. I’m sitting in the middle seat of an otherwise empty row on Southwest #741 out of Reno right now, returning to San Diego from Portland. I have a job there. I have a place to hang my hat and call “home”, at least for the time being. I have a life waiting to be lived there. I don’t know if Portland is where I’ll stay. It may be, and it may not. But I know it’s where I have to go, at least right now. Maybe one day I’ll end up in Florida. Or New York. Or North Carolina. Or Vegas.
Right now, though, it has to be Portland.
It certainly wasn’t my first choice, but it’s what I now believe will be the right choice, all things considered. Florida was my first choice, as I have family there. Chattanooga, Tennessee was actually in the running, as well, as my good friend, photographer Holt Webb, tried to lure me down there to go into business with him. Holt is the one photographer I probably respect above all others, so that was quite a tempting offer.
But in a moment of lucidity and clarity, I realized that I couldn’t go to Florida, and I couldn’t go to Tennessee. It became clear to me that the only reasonable, sane choice was Portland.
And so I’ll go there.
And I’ll start writing “Chapter Two”…