Hi, I’m Archer. First off, thanks to Rourke for inviting me to contribute to MSO. I’m honored, my friend. I’ve followed your blog long before we ever spoke.
John has given me freedom to write about whatever I see fit, so chances are we’ll cover a lot of ground. I intend for my posts to be colloquial and informal, like a couple of old friends and a pot of coffee on a back porch, listening to coyotes yip and trading thoughts. The forecast surely calls for a storm, but all that means is we should enjoy the time we have – and be ready, of course.
Oh yeah – so who am I anyways?
In 2012 the muse hit me. I started writing fiction, collapse fiction – or as Jim Dakin called it, “militia porn.” Heh. Touché, Jim. The Western Front was my first book, and eventually became the namesake of the series. Part 1 of that book is free, by the way. There’s five books total in the series, and if I catch the muse again, maybe more. I’ve written other books, too. There was some zombie fiction, a short story or two, and my favorite – a steampunk novel that never seemed to get off the ground. But enough about that…
About a year ago, work became more demanding. We’ve got this depression goin’ on, ya know. (As I’ve heard it said, a recession is when it affects folks you know. A depression affects you.). Creativity is a finite thing, and if you spend the day’s allotment at work, there ain’t none left for you when you get home.
That right there, the “finiteness” (of course it’s a word…) of who we are and what we can produce, and what life has become for an American, is one reason why I think we’ve lost a lot of our ingenuity. Oh, trust me, there’s a whole lot more to why we’re in the mess we’re in – but that’s a story for another day.
That finiteness (if I say it enough, it becomes real) is also one of the reasons why people literally clock out at 5:00 and figuratively clock out as well. They chase each other home, like rats. They plop down on their couches and consume “stuff” that can hardly be considered food, while watching pictures flash before their eyes that can hardly be considered entertainment. We’ve done an awful fine job of destroying our families with the busy-ness of our lives. According to Focus on the Family, fathers spend an average of 3.4 hours per week with their kids. And we wonder why our kids are rurnt (‘course it’s a word)? Well, who’s raising them?
Oops… sorry. So life got busy and I’ve had to quit writing for a time. I’ll pick it up again. It’s just not the right time yet.
“Life” is the oil and gas industry. Someone once told me, “If you ain’t in the oil business, you just ain’t in business, son.” For now, it’s stable enough; more so than most. If you’re one of those that want a job, but’ve fell on hard luck – go to the Dakotas, or Ohio, or Lake Charles (next year). Loyalty to a dying career (or a dying region) don’t pay the bills, friend. “Survivalism” ain’t just a cabin in the woods. It’s doing what you can, while you still can, with an eye towards that storm that’s comin’. Just a thought.
Life for me is also a house in that awkward transition between suburban and rural. Cow pastures and soccer moms – who’d a ever thought? I can’t go all Rawlesian, not yet anyway. Maybe I never will. All I know is this: where I am is where I’m supposed to be (again, another story for another time). Take some time and figure out where you’re supposed to be, if you haven’t already. Get tribe, if you can. Have some candid conversations with people. Make the hard decisions now; it might save your life.
One more thing about me before I go: I don’t talk politics, not anymore. Now, we can have a conversation about natural law and Jeffersonian liberty and all that jazz – but folks, those concepts don’t exist in our political system anymore. Some say they haven’t for a hundred years, or since a state tried to divorce itself from this political marriage, but was met with force. Some say we didn’t really ever have those ideals, and that the establishment of the Republic was ‘nere but a coup. To quote Lady Macbeth, “At this point, what difference does it make?”
The whys and the whatfors notwithstanding – since you’re reading this, you probably realize it’s broken, too. Talking politics now is like arguing over the tapestries and the tablecloths on a used-so-often-it’s-a-cliché, famous sunken ship – while it’s in the midst of going down. So I refuse. But I like stories; always have. So that’s what we’ll do here – spin tales. Tales like this:
When I was a kid, there was this barn out behind our place. It was one of those barns you see in all those paintings. You know the kind – the quintessential American barn. It was also about a generation past its prime. The older folks had long since abandoned it, but not us kids. To us, it was something to be climbed through and played amongst. I can’t tell you how much of my life was spent hopping across rafters and building forts and lookout posts. Today – heh – today it would be considered child abuse to let kids near something like that, much less turn ‘em, aloose with hand tools (gasp!). No; today, DHR would call DHS and the BLM would show up and we’d have a weeklong standoff on the ranch.
So one day, I walked outside, and that old barn had finally given up the Ghost. Collapsed into itself like some great chasm had opened up underneath it (or perhaps a horde of termites and kids…). Everything we’d built in that barn – all of our castles, and jail cells, and crow’s nests – all of it was gone. Collateral damage. Never to be rebuilt. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear for that deathtrap.
I’m rambling, so I’ll leave you with this: One day, we’re all going to walk out our back door and see our barns in a heap. Between now and then, we’ve got to figure out how our little systems and structures (our castles, if you will) can survive that great crash that might come all at once or in fits and starts. And if they won’t survive, well, we better build some new kinds of systems. Or, perhaps, take our toys and get the hell outta the damn barn.
That’s why I’m here. And we’ve got a lot to talk about. So top of my coffee, will ya?
[Check out the Archer Garrett author page on Amazon – Rourke]