Archive Monthly Archives: June 2005

How Do You Get A Job Like This?

Stay with me here for a moment.

This is NOT going where you think it is.

Here’s the story: The European’s have more fun than we do. I love America, I really do… but sometimes I feel like we’re trapped in a 1950’s-era loop, forever trying to crawl out of the sensual rut the Puritans kicked us into centuries ago.

No such problem across the pond.

The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology just held a 4-day “info binge” in Holland. The hit of the show was recent research into what parts of the brain are activated when people have orgasms.

This is paid research, people. This is doctors standing around in lab coats watching volunteers screw.

Anyway, the Reuters spin was all about how women can’t fake out the “orgasm meter” — because science has located the part of their brain that bleeps when they boink.

And it doesn’t go off when they pull a “When Harry Met Sally”.

Listen carefully: Men and women have different parts of their cortex activated during the Big Wow.

But the researchers sort of lost focus on the men, once it became clear they were on to some intriguing “inside” info on the ladies.

Turns out that women, during orgasm, shut down their fear and emotion centers. You don’t slam the doors on those rooms, no fireworks.

Now, the rest of this article was full of astonished quotes from the guys in the lab coats. None of it was very sexy — while the Netherlands may be one long rockin’ party, their scientists are still uber-geeks, clueless about social interaction.

And this is where we take an abrupt left turn.

At the Galletti “Web Tracking and Online Testing” seminar in Vegas last weekend, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a Rogue’s Gallery of top Internet marketers — Jim Edwards, Michel Fortin, Armand Morin, and several others.

During one shop-talk session, we explored the effect that recent psychological discoveries could have on salesmanship. For example, the color of the lights you use during a talk can get the crowd excited (red), distracted (yellow), or lulled into a relaxed, receptive mental state (pink).

Also, many top speakers are experimenting with how different word choices affect response during talks. If this were a small thing, it would be of only passing interest.

But it’s not small.

Some of these discoveries are revolutionizing the way cutting-edge marketers operate. It’s not cheating — it’s just using the available science.

Don’t get paranoid.

Now, the advertising world has always had an unhealthy fascination with psychology… mostly about finding some secret magic way to hypnotize people into becoming customers. There were some truly creepy moments back in the sixties, when ads for alcohol and cigarettes were purposely studded with subliminal messages about death and sex — barely discernible skulls in the ice cubes, vague outlines of genitalia in the tousseled hair of models.

This was also around the time that, during the long scenes in the burning desert in the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”, theater goers were flashed with subliminal photos of glasses filled with Pepsi.

Get it? Desert. Thirst.


Madison Avenue really thought they were on to something… but the results were spotty, at best.

It was, however the beginning of the end of relying on proven salesmanship. The classic brand of salesmanship, practiced by David Ogilvy and John Caples and Rosser Reeves.

Brave new world, the up-and-coming ad honchos said. Time to get hip to the breakthrough new science of selling.


Now, I’m actually pretty excited about some of the revelations coming out of the testing laboratories. I’ve dabbled in NLP, I’ve been fascinated with social psychology for thirty years, and I eagerly read the releases from the weirder frontiers of science and brain study.

But I run all of it through my Bullshit Detector.

During one of my very first jobs as a copywriter, I met a real old-time salesman who sort of took to me… and he delighted in sharing with me all his favorite discoveries. This guy was pushing 70 back then, but could still sell ice to Eskimos.

In fact, he was on his THIRD Miss America finalist wife, forty years his junior. Didn’t win her with diamonds, either. He sold her on a life with him… just as he had Miss A #1 and Miss A #2. (This latest version was a stunner from Brazil.)

He was all about the classic tactics of killer salesmanship. He never tried to trick you, never lied, never even hid the fact that he was selling you on something.

You knew exactly what he was doing… and yet you did his bidding anyway. Glad for the opportunity.

God, he was good.

Anyway, he often related selling back to sex. He was an expert at both. And he told me, once, about how necessary it was for most women to feel safe and anxiety-free in order to climax.

He didn’t need any scientist with a clipboard and bleeping monitors and blood-flow gauges to figure this out.

He knew it because he was awake. He paid attention to people, and he studied them, and he learned from every single experience he had.

He was not dispassionate about people, either. He liked the idiots just as fervidly as he liked the smart-asses like me. Enjoyed lazy people as much as his closest energetic friends. And genuinely thrilled at the company of frumpy women as much as the beauties.

This guy was a true work of art. Not many like him, then or now.

Killer salesman. Could have taught every psychologist in that Dutch Reproduction and Embryology seminar something about human behavior, no matter what the test results were.

And here’s my point: The Web is a rockin’ piece of technology that is changing our lives. It’s damned exciting, and I love everything about it — I feel like I’m living through a real-life science fiction movie.

It’s just so cool. And there’s sooooo much money to be made online.

But there is also a huge temptation to believe that all the old rules need to be thrown out the window. That it’s (again) a brave new world online, and it’s time to get hip to the bells and whistles of truly modern commerce.

And that temptation will murder your bottom line.

There’s a place for science. I’m a fan. I use it.

But there’s also a place for the human “gut” feeling. Especially when that gut feeling is coming from experience and expertise.

That old-time salesman knew intimately of everything the guys in the lab coats had discovered about female sexuality, long before any of the test or studies had been done. He probably couldn’t have identified the exact parts of the cortex that were activated… but he knew, metaphorically, where those parts were in the street-level psycho-emotional scheme of human interaction.

The power of classic salesmanship — with it’s basic psychology and visceral persuasion techniques — is just as critical to good marketing as it’s ever been.

Maybe more so now… with the increasingly compelling stare of the computer monitor lulling us into a deeper and deeper sleep.

Learn your salesmanship chops. Learn them well.

And embrace this brave new world with the most powerful tools you will ever own.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

Technological Demons

Just roared back into town from Gary Halbert’s big damn Miami seminar, and I’m hesitating only briefly before roaring off again for Carl Galletti’s event in Las Vegas this weekend.

I’ll be sharing some of the cool stuff I’ve learned in future posts. No time right now, though — I’ve got a huge project that just went sideways due to technological glitches.

Actually, it’s worse than going sideways. More like jumping off the track, rolling over into a ditch, and disappearing in quicksand.

We’ll get it fixed, but blood, sweat and tears are required. My sleeves are already rolled up. Let the technological exorcism begin.

Here’s one fast tidbit: Email, as marketers have known and loved it, is forever gone as a simple, easy, no-hassle way to contact prospects.

Spam filters are gobbling up emails from your grandmother, and joints like AOL are now armed camps, suspicious of everything and shooting first while asking questions later.

Michel Fortin (one of the speakers at the seminar) has done more real-world testing on this newly-evolving problem than anyone else I know. His answer: Use short — VERY short — non-html emails that lead to a link within the first paragraph.

I’ve used this tactic before, just because I loved the “tease” element of leaving a sentence unfinished. (“What’s the answer to this burning question? That’s easy. It’s… “)

Plus, when I write a pitch, I do not want to be hampered by the limitations of email — there are design issues, length issues, “taboo” word issues, yadda yadda yadda. Screw that.

Once you’ve sent your prospect to your link, you can warble on to your heart’s content.

Simple tactic. But it can ameliorate some of the pain if you’ve seen dramatic drops in response to emailed sales messages. (As almost all marketers have recently.) The real problem, of course, is getting white listed on the major email systems, like hotmail and AOL, and they’re just being bastards about large campaigns. Even mailers who follow all the rules (including providing double-proof of opt-in names) are getting blacklisted.

The Web — it’s an ever-evolving funhouse of horrors.

My friend Harlan has done great research on this problem, and I’ll have more to say about it when I get back.

Okay, I gotta go. I may post again, even from Vegas. There’s something urgent and important going on that few people have a clue about right now… and I want to be one of the first to blow the cover off it.

It’s hot stuff. The money at stake is just ridiculous, too.

Stay tuned.

John Carlton

Off Again

In my ongoing quest to speak at a seminar in every city that scores a spot on the colored weather map in USA Today, I am boarding another jet Thursday.

Next stop: Miami. Our own little third-world enclave, yet you don’t need a passport!

I’ve spent a lot of time in Florida over the years. Halbert moved to the Keys, then to Miami during the time I was working with him, and I racked up impressive air-miles going back and forth. See, I am a west coast boy through and through, and dislike humidity. So I always returned as soon as I could.

The nudity on South Beach was fun, of course.

But the humidity kills me. I live in the high desert, where we maybe get up to 20% moisture in the summer (and you get a static shock every time you touch the car door), on purpose. I like dry.

Not many icky bugs in the high desert, either. Fleas can’t live here. The crawly things you do come across are not slimy, and bloodsuckers are rare. Rattlers mostly keep their distance.

In Florida, you’re assigned a mosquito nest when you arrive. (“Here, this is yours — enjoy the swelling!”) And I don’t even wanna know what those wet, finger-sized monsters were that crawled into my shoe the last time I forgot to never leave anything on the floor overnight.


Plus, the sun is supposed to SET over the ocean, not rise over it. They got it completely backwards on the east coast. And those “waves”. Gimme a break.

Still, heading back to Miami is always good for a few laughs. Halbert’s holding a semiar — also good for more stories (and potentially an entire Rant). We will see what happens this time. The word “unpredictable” does not even begin to describe a typical Halbert event.

Wish me luck.

I’m gone until Sunday, and then turn around and fly down to Sin City for another seminar — this time, one of Carl Galletti’s big shindigs. That, too, should be eventful and fun.

So I’m gonna get a well-rounded look — again — at a section of American life few people ever see in the heartland.

Miami, where last visit I couldn’t buy a bagel in the airport because I didn’t speak the language. (What’s “bagel” in Spanish, anyway?)

And Las Vegas, where last visit the taxi driver did a forty minute hard sell on a hooker he was “representing”. I passed, but thoroughly enjoyed the earthy sales pitch.

Anyway, I’ll be out for the next 10 days or so. Be sure to check in after that, to get your fix.

Don’t have any wild parties while I’m gone, and make sure you let the cat in at night.

John Carlton

Miserable Genius

God, I love this blog.

I’m sitting here in the midst of four crushing deadlines, with projects tumbling around me like the walls of Jericho and a plumbing problem in the kitchen that’s warping the floorboards… and I notice a new comment on the last entry.

“Steve” from the UK wants to know why “most American copywriting guru’s are bad tempered, stroppy and miserable. Is it because of your ages?”

He’s worried, he says, because he’s about to turn 48.

Well, here’s my answer:

First, what the hell does “stroppy” mean? Should I be insulted?

He’s right, though (more or less) about the bad tempered thing.

But we have an excuse. If we come across as gruff and irritable sometimes, it‚Äôs mostly because teaching requires the kind of patience we never received ourselves, coming up the ranks. I‚Äôve had mentors throw manuscripts back at me… I‚Äôve had yelling matches with pig-headed clients who thought they knew better (they didn‚Äôt)… and while I‚Äôve never missed a deadline, I have encountered nightmarish ‚Äúreal world‚Äù problems with projects where patience had no place.

When I talk about the “front line trenches of advertising”, it’s not just a metaphor.

With printing presses starting to roll, hard drives crash-diving with your files onboard (a-ooga, a-ooga), people flaking out right and left, and more money on the line than you’ve got in the bank… well, anybody standing around calm and relaxed just doesn’t quite grasp the reality of the situation.

Veteran ad honchos have usually had the idealism knocked out of them long ago.

Still, as teachers, it’s our job to be patient. Even if we have to grit our teeth doing it. The fact we’re often helping clueless twenty-somethings get filthy rich with shortcuts we never enjoyed ourselves might contribute to our general attitude, however.

Behind the scenes, my friends Halbert and Kennedy are loose and hilarious. Though we do enjoy a harder-edged, “M*A*S*H”-style sense of humor that can shock the uninitiated. We’d go crazy if we took this job too seriously.

Gotta go. The plumber’s on overtime, and making me nervous the way he’s frowning at the wall behind the fridge…

John Carlton

P.S. to “Steve”: Don‚Äôt sweat 48. It‚Äôs fifty that‚Äôll kill you.

Party on, dude.

Rumor Mill

Jeez. You cop to being a certain age, and the pups gang up on you.

I was just talking to Halbert — who is much, much older than I am — and he told me about a post on some copywriting blog urging everyone to study what he, I and Dan Kennedy offer… because we’re all gonna be dead soon.

I mean, we’re all waaaaay past forty, and to a twenty-something, that’s one foot in the grave. I guess.

Just hearing about this post cracked me up… but I am taking it upon myself to dispel the rumors.

First: We’re all ridiculously healthy. We’re a little pissed off about some of the details of lost youth, but for the most part we’re all happier than we’ve ever been. (And, in two cases, even more physically alluring than ever.)

Second: While Dan does enjoy his trotters, he’s an eminently sane man and not risking life and limb with every race.

Some people have slightly more dangerous hobbies than others. These days, the most risky thing I do is drive on the freeway… but I still sit in with bands occasionally, in rowdy bars full of bikers, hookers and cowboys (the usual night trade of Northern Nevada cocktail lounges), and if I ever sat down and figured out the potential mayhem of any of those gigs, I’d have to stay home and pull the covers over my head.

Also — I don’t smoke. Apparently I was on some teleconference, and had to cough a few times. Guys — I probably had a cold.

Or, hey, do this: Set a stopwatch for one hour. Hit it, and start talking as fast as you can. Don’t stop for the entire hour.

See how clear your voice is toward the end.

It’s vicious work, talking. Harder on the body than you’d expect.

I work out with a sadistic trainer who is determined to get me into triathalon shape, I play tennis (badly) and golf (even worse), and I often figure out copy angles by walking for two or three miles here in the foothills. (Distracted, stumbling over rocks and bumping into trees, but walking with purpose nonetheless.)

This is so embarrassing, having to explain personal stuff.

Finally… Halbert is as fit as an ox.

Okay, fit as an insane ox, but fit nonetheless.

We’ve all abused our bodies along the torturous courses of our respective careers. Dan has flown more miles than Superman (racking up total g-force accumulations equal to an astronaut), Gary has been obsessed with high voltage indiscretion all his life (he’s not shy about telling tales on himself), and I’ve never hidden the fact I was a long-haired, counter-cultured hippie/beatnik entranced by the Dark Side pretty much right up until the time I got serious about freelancing.

We have all put in our time partying at The Big Damn Watering Hole, and we’ve all calmed down considerably. Neither Dan nor Gary drink anymore, and if I have two beers in an evening I have to call my old pals and brag about it.

We channel our passion through our work these days. Mindful of history, perhaps.

We’re just trying our best to do the right thing, and maybe pick up a few well-earned baubles along the way.

However… none of this “we’re all fine” banter means the basic message of that guy’s warning post is wrong.

You SHOULD learn as much as you can from all of us. Not because we’re one step ahead of the Grim Reaper, though.

Because we’re all seriously considering various forms of active retirement.

That means… you’ll all be left with the second string as guides.


I can’t speak for Dan or Gary… but I’m booking things out through the end of the year, and then I’ll play it by ear. I still have a lot of projects I want to get into the mix, and I’ll always be there for my long-time clients.

But the possibility I’ll cut back doing personal critiques, or discontinue the Insider’s Club past the current membership scrolls is always there. (That’s why I limit membership to one year at a time.)

I got novels to finish, you know. Music to record. Art to artify.

This truly is a period of time they’ll be talking about for generations. The Web is still in its Wild West infancy, things are hopping… and personal access to a handful of the best in the biz is still a reality.

The potential for anyone smart enough to grab this kind of raw opportunity has been duly noted on all our main websites, in glowing testimonials. Lives change, fortunes accumulate, and business becomes fun again.

Grizzled we may be, but the experience, savvy and know-how we bring to the table cannot be faked.

The old school rocks, and always will.

Don’t take it for granted.

John Carlton

P.S. That smoking rumor just frosts my ass. I did smoke for a while, but quit twenty-five years ago. I got started in my late teens, cuz I wanted to look cool like Humphrey Bogart. (I didn’t. I looked like a scary kid gagging on a Salem.)

Then, I found out that Bogart was only cool for a few years in the forties. Afterward, the cigs ate him alive, and he died a shrunken, fragile shell.

Smoking sucks.

P.P.S. Almost forgot — I’m still letting people get the Pro Level Freelancing Career Kit (the one with all the personal attention and swipe files and other goodies). You can read the letter at the hidden page

P.P.P.S. One last thing. I’m speaking at Halbert’s big seminar down in Miami next week. It’s filling up fast, and crammed with pedigreed notables in both the offline and online marketing world.

If you missed rubbing elbows with advertising’s royalty at Bencivenga’s New York event, here’s another chance to meet many of the same folks.

Check out the details at

Miami. What a concept. It’s a little vision of what America would have been like if Spain hadn’t lost the Spanish-American war…

When Things End

One of my colleagues died this past weekend.

The news spread fast through the ranks of entrepreneurs who knew Corey Rudl and relied on him for advice, expertise and information. The man was very, very good at what he did.

My friend Phil Alexander left a message on my phone shortly after it happened. A shock.

I say he was a colleague, because we were in the same business, and had many, many common friends. But I never actually met Corey. Twice, I spoke at seminars where I had to leave early, and missed him by an hour each time. (By all reports, he electrified the room, while I had merely titilated it.)

He was someone I expected to meet, however, and do projects with. It was only a matter of time, as they say, until we would have gotten together, so I never sweated the missed connections. I was sure our paths would cross, somewhere. Soon.

Such are the cruel reminders God delivers.

Sometimes, there just isn’t a “next time” in the program.

I’m sure the grief is still raw for his friends and family. Time is disjointed, the absence surreal. I’m not going to say much here.

But familiar feelings were immediately stirred up by Phil’s phone call.

Grief and I are old friends. When I was seventeen, I was in an off-road accident up in the foothills above my high school. Two of us walked away, but the driver was strapped in and tumbled 600 feet down into a gulley. He never regained consciousness.

I had my first taste of true horror, and luck — the Jeep rolled over me as we flipped, with enough pressure to splinter my glasses, but not quite enough to crush my head.

Things ended for the boy who died. He would never get older, never finish high school, never hang with us again. Things ended for his friends, too — he would never be there again, except perhaps in uneasy dreams.

We all learn early that things change, and even when those changes are tough, we muddle through.

But when things end… really end… there’s something more than just change occurring.

A door closes that can never be opened again. And you can never truly understand that emtpy feeling until you experience it.

After you do experience it, you’re a slightly different person.

For me, that fatal accident sent me off on a tangent in life. I became both more mature (or at least less of a child) and yet not quite fit to lead my own affairs… because that absence stayed with me for a very long time.

I made different decisions, at almsot every point, than I would have before brushing up so close to death.

I’ve buried many, many more friends and family since then. It never gets easy, but the absence isn’t so much of a shock anymore. It’s just there.

My sense of time, however, has never recovered. I still slip up, and fall back into the habit of treating time as if there was plenty of it, as if this mortal coil were a movie with replay, or a game with reset.

And it isn’t. Time may or may not be linear, but what we possess of it is fragile and limited. And precious.

That’s what has stuck with me all these years. It’s a realization that keeps you just a bit off-balance, all the time. Even when you forget for a while.

Kiss your loved ones tonight, and maybe take a little time off this week to reflect on things. People are in mourning. You may not know them, but their grief is something we all share sooner or later.

I am very, very sorry for Corey Rudl’s family, and I hope they find a measure of inner peace soon. He touched a lot of people’s lives, and his death is a godamned shame.

Be well.

John Carlton

A Bad Burlesque Show

A funny thing happened on the way to getting my big damn freelance course online.

Well, actually, a bunch of things happened. And none of them are funny.

It’s been like a bad burlesque show — lots of pratfalls, stumbles and set breakdowns. Or maybe it’s been more like a slow-motion train wreck. If I was superstitious, I’d swear this site had been cursed.

But I refuse to be superstitious anymore. I played organized baseball until I was seventeen, and like a lot of ballplayers, I developed hopelessly dumb superstitious quirks. I was a shortstop, which caused me so much anxiety I still wake up in a cold sweat over that hot grounder that got away forty years ago.

I just never developed the steely ego required for facing down bruising line-drives, spike-up slides into second, and those nightmarish pop ups that disappeared into the lights and took half an hour to come back down.

I really should have been on the chess club.

So, in a futile attempt to assuage the jitters, I started piling on the superstitious nonsense. Like, maybe if I “did everything right”, the hardball gods would smile on me.

First, I couldn’t touch any baseline, ever. Even when running out a bunt. That drove the coach insane.

Then, I couldn’t have a dime in my pocket. Don’t ask me where this stuff came from — I have no clue. At some point, dimes became tokens of evil. I refused to even touch them, and if I couldn’t get two nickels in change at a store, I’d just walk away ten cents poorer.

Things got really bad when I somehow decided I had to stomp every dirt clod around me before each pitch. At first, it was just the clods nearby. As the season heated up, though, I occasionally darted halfway over to second base to crush a big one that caught my eye.

“What the hell are you doing out there, Carlton?” asked the coach, in that nice way he had of talking to his players. “You look like you’re dancing the frigging tango.”

Then, one day I took stock, and decided superstitions were nonsense. I even defied all my personal bugaboos, on purpose, and charted the results.

big surprise: There was no difference in how my life progressed.

Of course, I was a teenager, so things weren’t going all that well anyway. But nothing bad happened because I violated any voodoo rule.

To this day, I still feel the unwelcome tug of superstition. And my response is always to just take it head on — step on the crack, take the other detour, break routine.

Come on, Evil Eye, do your worst.

Result: What happens, happens. The rabbit’s foot doesn’t make a bit of difference.

So, I don’t believe in fate much, anymore. We make our own luck, and we create our own hells.

Nevertheless… I would be forgiven for believing my freelance Website has been cursed.

I don’t want to get into the sordid details. The site’s still not up, and I’m doing what I can to fix it. Part of the problem involves the payment options — merchant account stuff, very boring. I don’t do bean counting very eagerly.

But I haven’t pushed as hard as I could, either… because, frankly, I got swamped with people ordering the freelance course just from the limited “sneak peeks” to a few blog readers, and to my Insiders (who always get first look at anything, and a better deal than anyone else).

I actually considered not floating the Website at all this summer… because I offer so much personal hand-holding with the Pro Level Freelance Career Map, including critiques and answers to emailed questions.

My lazy ass has a limit to how much help I can offer newcomers. And I’m at the cusp of calling the Freelance “club” all-full-up for the moment.

However, there are still numerous blog readers who have been very patiently waiting to see the Freelance pitch. I would be a royal cad to go grinch before giving you a fair shot.

So, for a short time, I have posted that pitch at this hidden page:

When the official site finally goes up, I will pull it whenever too many people sign up, and repost it when I get a handle on the workload again.

I love teaching, and I get chills everytime I receive another hot testimonial from someone who followed my advice and got rich. New testimonials from the recent release of the updated freelance material are already mounting… and these guys have only had a month or so to get going.

But I can’t teach well if I’m stressed by the workload. So I watch the limits VERY carefully. That’s part of my job as a conscientous teacher.

I don’t want to frustrate anyone hot to get after their own freelance career. But you need to jump on these opportunities when they arrive. I’m only one guy. Out of necessity, I will pull this hidden page as soon as I reach my predetermined limit again.

And I’ve got my fingers crossed that no one gets left out this time.


John Carlton

P.S. Got a good superstition story? Feel free to post.

Drunk On Love

I’m not a religious guy.

My maternal grandfather was number twelve in a family of sixteen with a Tennessee Valley tent-show minister for a father… and he ran away from home as a teenager, met my grandmother fresh off the boat from France in Texas and whelped his own eight-kid family along the Depression Highway through Arizona to Californee.

Had the religion beaten out of him, so to speak.

Neither of my parents belonged to a church, and they left it up to me to figure out my spiritual needs.

In that respect, I am one lucky dude.

I’m not religious, but I am spiritual. One of my oldest and dearest friends is an Episcopalean clergyman, and I count fundamentalists, observant Jews, and even a few witches among my inner circle.

Keeps me alert.

I do count my blessings, every day. I had an over-the-top fabulous childhood, a miserable early adulthood, and so much luck along my career that I’d be a fool not to realize that somebody or something is looking out for me.

I’ll figure that out on my own. Please guys — let’s have no efforts to save my soul here. Should the need arise, I have plenty of people very close by who are itching at the chance. They get first dibs.

But it’s late, I’ve just finished a loooooong damn day, and as I’m nursing an IPA I’m feeling the love.

I am so swamped with love in my life, in fact, that I routinely have to block it out just to function. I have a good woman, good dogs, good family, good friends, good clients, good subscribers, good colleagues… and God help me, I love ’em all to death.

Hey — I’m the sap who has to hide tears watching frigging pet food commercials. My emotional structure comes in handy trying to empathize with prospects when I write a sales pitch… but sometimes it’s hard to understand it’s a strength and not a weakness in everyday life.

Trust me — it’s a strength.

I just downloaded “Move On Up” by Curis Mayfield from iTunes, after hearing it on some commercial on the tube… and listening to it just now triggered deep memories that had me smiling through sobs. Part of the totally bitchin’ soundtrack to my life, and my nerve endings are still quivering from just that one refreshed listening.

(Just so you don’t think I’m completely soft for the old stuff, I also downloaded some Muse, Coldplay and Queens of the Stone Age. So there.)

Anyway, I don’t really have a great point to make here. Just that, from personal experience, I know we all tend to let the love slide. We put off that phone call another day, blow off writing a needed letter, skip a chance to hang with someone.

Cuz, you know, we’re so busy.

So much other important stuff to do.

It’s bullshit. The core of your life here on earth is and always will be love. The love you feel for people, the energy you derive from your joys, and the bliss you suck out of work.

There’s so much cynicism out there. So many people who think that hardening themselves against emotion somehow fortifies them. So much in-your-face evidence of the futility of optimism.

Well, screw it.

You can be a hard-ass if that rocks your boat… but I’m gonna meditate for another few minutes on all the amazing people in my life, all the joy I derive from breathing deep, and all the things I want to do (again) before I check out… and then go snuggle with my sweetie and the mutts.

Spring was a mess here in Northern Nevada, rainy and overcast and miserable.

But June has arrived with authority, and while I was outside this evening examining the explosion of new flowers — marvelling that the sun was only just now setting at nine p.m. — I realized I will die a happy man.

Hopefully many years from now, of course.

But dammit, I have felt the embrace of another summer day, and I am drunk on love.

Don’t let life pass you by.

I’m gonna fire up Curtis one more time here, and just bliss out…


John Carlton