I'd decided somewhere recently to get out of the advice-giving business, also known as consulting. Most of my advice is a) never heard (b) summarily dismissed, and if I'm really honest, (c) it's really some wise part of myself sneaking in sage counsel to my own self in the guise of advice to you. For instance, like I told a friend (variation of a theme to three friends same week...and that's a clue it's really about me):
"We usually aren't frightened by being bankrupt/homeless as much as we are at how grand and beautiful and overwhelming the dream/vision/calling is and if we are worthy to execute such a wonder. I think you are getting ready to move from endless possibilities to making a firm step in one."
So what would I write if I wasn't telling you what you should do?
Might explain my huge lapse in blogging. Maybe not. Been travelling lots (and future: NYC Sept 8-13 if you'd like to meet up). Excuses galore. Way busier people like Fred manage to blog everyday. And remind me why we do blog: Voices. People. Yet my voice is radically changing (and I am), and I don't know what that'll mean but it'll make for an interesting trip.
"I wanted to have my own platform to put ideas out there without any barrier between me and the idea and the world, and fashion is just that," says a former new media and marketing guy.
Said former marketing guy is today L.A. menswear designer Scott Sternberg.
So if you're flying on Southwest this month, I highly recommend swiping this month's inflight magazine issue and reading up on Scott and his line, Band of Outsiders (oh, yeah, that's a very bloggy website).
The other day I'm chatting with an elderly couple sitting in their car looking over the bluff at the Pacific Ocean. We're gawking at the surfers catching waves. He's a retired school bus driver. One grandson, now in high school, wants to be chef 'when he grows up'.
The culinary school he wants to go in Campbell is $21,000 a year tuition.
The school even says all the restaurants around here are already fully staffed.
I quietly listen to their laundry list and thinking of a successful chef I know that quit Harvard, "Sometimes chefs open their own place."
But you know the failure rate of new restaurants is 50 percent.
"Yeah, that's certainly true. More than fifty percent of restaurants suck."
Then we talk about the high school in my neighborhood. Yup, he's driven kids right there. We talk of other things while I wistfully wish I could meet their grandson.
"I came home from work and the girls were drinking champagne in the living room," Dean says..."A few minutes later, Kent came over, and he pulled me aside. He said, 'We can't let this happen. And I said, 'Kent, we're gonna be the good husbands here and let the bank be the evil person. They'll never make it past the bank. No one's gonna loan the girls money when they've never put a restaurant together before." - "They Can Take the Heat", Southwest Spirit, August 2006
So said husband (and celebrated chef) Dean Fearing about his wife's Lynae and her friend/partner's Tracy Rathbun's crazy venture to buy out and renovate a Dallas sushi restaurant. Go figure: bank did loan them the money after all.
"I didn't even have to wear suits at CAA [Creative Artists Agency, former employ]...But I'm 31 now and just thought, 'I need to own a suit.'
Eventually, I started saying to a designer friend, "I'd love to make suits, but I'd have to find the right factory and...'
And he said, 'Shut up and do it. Just figure it out!" And I booked a trip to New York and met the two factories that could do it the way I wanted, and the second I got the first sample of the suit -- which didn't even fit totally right -- once I slipped it on, it was like, 'Omigod. Just keep making this.'"
Scott's suits premeire this fall.
I'm mostly swimming upstream these days in every area of my life. Don't expect kudos. Don't expect others to assuage your uncertainties. But if you have a kick-ass friend like Scott's designer buddy, thank them profusely. They are rare finds.
Me? I'm like that looney friend that sends you quotes in your email inbox when your rent is past-due like:
Make no little plans; they have no passion to stir men's souls. - Architect Daniel Burnham
Or these few snippets from very same Southwest inflight mag about the MacArthur Fellowships:
Most of the time, the first thing they say is, "You know, I'm not a genius."
..."It sort of honors the fact that you've taken risks already, and says, 'Here, take some more' -- which is a pretty amazing thing."
A very amazing thing to be sure.
Band of Outsiders? Naw. We're out there. It only appears lonely when we're in doubt.
Psst...it's not about the suit, anymore than it was about the bike. Uhhhh, is kick-ass inspiration the same as advice...?
p.s. The Shinsei restaurant name means 'pure' in Japanese. There's a Buddhist slogan painted on their avocado green walls: "By absence of grasping one is made free." And seems like the inspiration for the Band of Outsiders menswear, the film by Jean-Luc Godard is tres Buddhist too: "Le narrateur: Franz is wondering if the world is a dream or a dream the world."
image Shirt & tie by Band of Outsiders (Teen Vogue via Band of Outsiders blog site).