Back Among The Living

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It’s been nearly a year since the car wreck and I haven’t decided how to celebrate the anniversary: Stay off the roads… Or go back to the spot to “spike” it with my cane as if crossing a goal line. Getting back up on my feet has been a mental and physical journey during which I sometimes didn’t push hard enough and other times took on more than I was ready for. For instance, I should not have been climbing ladders and carrying things too heavy so early in my recovery. These ended up causing setbacks, sidelining me for weeks at a time.

Having been cooped up for so long, I was eager to feel back among the living.

A lot has happened since the accident:

My novel Blue Rubber Pool has been contracted for publication this September (2018). We’ve tackled the first round of revisions/edits and plan to have another go in June or July. Another novel is now under consideration by at least one literary agent and another has completed a second beta read. I’m halfway through a new story too.

I’m driving again. Some. At first, the old Jaguar. But now, finally, the Jeep. I’ve enjoyed a couple top-down outings on back roads to places more boondock than even Pineapple Hill. It felt good. Led Zeppelin or Dire Straits blaring. Or just the wind.

I’m back in the vineyard—repairing what was neglect during my time in the hospital and by deer last summer. Glad to see resilience among some of the older vines. And glad to be adding new ones—babies—that will someday contribute to my winemaking trials and tribulations. Too, I am watching the peaches and blackberries grow and wondering, again, what I’m doing wrong with the apples.

Repairmen are tackling projects interrupted by that car pulling in front of us last May, projects my injury won’t allow me to enjoy completing myself.

I started shopping for another sailboat then decided to hold off until further along in my recovery. I’ve booked a trip back to the beach. I’m back in the hot tub again, tending my bananas and bamboo again. Taking care of elderly parents again—back to watching them slip further into the mist of dementia. Shouldering this yoke again puts me closer to back to normal again. The track I was on was on before.

The other day I found a small tree growing in the farm truck, having rooted in soil caught between the tailgate and the bed. Wonderful, isn’t it, how the universe hangs on, keeps going as George Harrison said: “Within you and without you.”

# # #

—Tim Bryant, Surf Director

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Led Zeppelin’s 50th Anniversary

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Sooooooo I wrote Warner Music Group’s London office for permission to use Led Zeppelin lyrics in my Led Zeppelin 50thforthcoming book Blue Rubber Pool . I thought they’d go along within for kicks and giggles. You see, my book comes out in 2018–same year as their 50th anniversary.  I thought they’d like the guerilla marketing aspect (a lot of guerilla work occurs in Blue Rubber Pool). Too, I thought they wouldn’t–given the extent to which their music was influenced by others outside the band.

 

Dear Sir:
I’d like to be part of your 50th anniversary celebration for Led Zeppelin in 2018. During a difficult period in my life I wrote a sort of journal about a middle-aged guy whose sanity is spared after finding a long lost bag of weed tucked in a box with his favorite Led Zeppelin cassette. With these he climbs into a cheap rubber pool and floats off into a variety of adventures —many of which cause him to question the world around him (love, war, religion, capitalism, socialism, etc.).
The book is under contract pool book coverfor publication next year. The contract stipulates that I strip out all Led Zeppelin lyrics (they appear sporadically throughout the tale) or provide written permission to use them. I am writing to secure permission. My thought is that writers, painters and artists of all types should be invited to show the influence of Led Zeppelin across all art mediums. Wouldn’t that be cool: A worldwide grassroots “cheers” to the greatest band ever.
I’ll be glad to share the Blue Rubber Pool manuscript via email. Line edits begin in coming  months or so. I realize this is a long shot but look forward to your reply either way nevertheless.
Best regards,
tims's signature 1

 

What I got back: crickets. Combined with the usually nightly ruckus of geese brawling on the Jonesville Reservoir (not far through the trees at Pineapple Hill).

 

O well. We’re going with an Un-Ledded version. No prob.

But, still, it’s not too late for Led Zeppelin fans to demand a perfect world. Write LZ. Show up with pitchforks, torches and some friendly pints. Try reaching them here. Or here.

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

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Wind From The Carolinas

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Robert Wilder’s Wind from the Carolinas is one of my favorite books for the beach or boat. It’s one of Jimmy Buffet’s favorite books too. I read every other year or so and have several copies including one that lapped me around the pool a few times.

If you like historical fiction you’ll like this story of an aristocratic South Carolina family relocating to the Bahama Islands after ending up on the wrong side of the Revolutionary War. They went “lock, stock and barrel”–even dismantling their big plantation house brick-by-brick and shipping it out as ballast.

The plot unfolds with a fulfilling description of early life in the Caribbean then follows changes to island life through several generations.

There’s a love story in there too.

Bring a copy of Wind from the Carolina’s along next time you’re under sail or heading to the coast.

# # #

–Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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Books for the boat or the back roads

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I’m a book hound. Books fit my life the way sailing, sunning, beaches, hammocks and machine guns do.

After moving to the boonies and getting more or less settled at Pineapple Hill, I’ve been on a “books for the boat, books for the beach” book buying binge. By that I mean grabbing up five, sometimes ten, at a time. They’ve become a sort of security blanket “wooby.” During times when I can’t escape to a boat or beach, I escape to a book.

Listening to some buds explain their SHTF plan, it occurred to me that a good book will be worth its weight in gold in the event the world goes off the grid –shutting down the Internet, television, DVD players and so much else. People will want information and will want to be entertained.

Your bug out kit –whether going to the boat or the back roads– should include a private library. A few titles or a big stash. Loan em. Trade em. Sell ’em.

And, in the meantime, enjoy ’em on your pool lounger.

# # #

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

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Beautiful Swimmer

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It was happening again, wonderfully. The Transition. The Moment Of The Crossing Over.  From One World Into Another.

Traversing the spiritual bridge between land and sea is bewitching, is familiar and comfortable yet also new and exciting… so powerful.

Man o Man what a home wrecker is the sea (an incredible blonde with dreamy eyes waiting under the motel sheets in the middle of the day).

I let myself ease in… I gather up the sensations, letting them build as I drift along with them… and then I let go, releasing myself into the moment, letting the moment take over, letting it sooth me, cleanse me.

Somewhere in this, briefly, my mind reached back to Pineapple Hill and our promises…but the water lured me away … until …soon …I was looking ahead instead of looking back.

The sails tightened. Water splashing easily off the hull provided an excellent shade of quiet. I let the sound of it wash over me for the longest time.

But then a voice came over the VHF radio. “Thanks for the wake, asshole!”

What an odd thing to be spoken “from out of the blue” like that, interrupting my reunion with the sea.

I looked around for the voice and for the wake but saw no likely suspects.

It became quiet again. But the mood was gone.

Then came more chatter on the VHF, this time between the dock master and a cargo vessel. At the same time, MadDog and Roger came out of the cabin congratulating one another on finding and fixing a shorted wire from the galley fan to the battery bank, and The Kid joined us in the cockpit (he’d been standing at the bow pulpit –perhaps also feeling himself led away by the sea, led away from his knocked up girlfriend and her eviction from the trailer over stolen beer).

We eavesdropped on the conversation that had intruded our space by way of the VHF. The harbormaster was recommending a Chinese restaurant to the crew of the cargo ship Beautiful Swimmer.

We looked for it on the horizon, hoping to watch it come in, hoping to see the craft with such a lovely name.

But all we saw out there was the dark thin line at the edge of the world.

# # #

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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Sailboat for Sale

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Not mine but worthy of spreading the word.

1996 Custom Gaff Rigged Sloop
$39000
Isles Of Palms, SC

William Hand design, adapted and built by Mark Bayne (builder of Spirit of South Carolina)
Construction is 1 1/4″ Juniper strip planking with 2 layers of fir veneer, covered with two layers of 10 oz. cloth in epoxy

She is 35′ on deck and 31 LWL. Beam is 10′. She has a full keel and a draft of 54″

Powered by a Yanmar 3GM 30 F (27 hp). Fuel tank holds 55 gallons.

All sails were replaced in 2013 and are like new. Made by Leitz sails.

Bottom was painted June 2017 with two coats of antifouling paint.

This is a very capable offshore cruiser that has made several voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Central America.

Here’s the link

* * *

Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

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What Harley Riders Mean

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A friend/co-worker from long ago sent a message via LinkedIn Green-Acres-150x150asking “Whattaya up to now?”

I tried explaining that, yes, I’m still a marketing consultant but have expanded from general marketing communications to also offer specialized work in strategic brand positioning (targeting, competitive analysis, value propositions and so on). And that I was still into vision and mission statements. And still freelancing in public relations too.

I told him that, yes, I still hear from the ad rep at Aviation Week and still get free passes to the Middle East & North Africa Finance Project forums in Dubai but my world now also includes wild blackberry plants, cows that runaway from home and friendly notes back and on the topic of raising goats.

I even confessed that I’m trying my hand as a novelist: one under contract for publication in 2018, a second being shopped around, a third undergoing revisions and a fourth with just a few chapters finished but going strong.

I said that though The Work is still interesting and still important to me so too were other things –having learned to enjoy my work and my play as one (like peanut butter & jelly).

What I hoped to convey is that I’m still evolving. Still in the game but with more than one game going now. That I’m a bit of a rolling stone.

It feels good. Feels right.

Though it is a bit strange for a city boy sailor to go full blown boonies.

The house is up on stilts like at the beach –but in a pasture. Cows get loose and wander too close to the grape vines. Deer gather at the persimmon tree in broad daylight to eat the fallen fruit. A stray cat (that we’ve been feeding) has taken up residence in the farm jeep (I’m still unable to drive, still recuperating from a car wreck).

But it all makes sense somehow and I finally understand (genuinely and deep within myself) what’s meant when Harley riders say “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.”

Dear Reader, if you don’t get what I’m doing, you probably never will. Not until you try it for yourself. Try something new, zig left when others zag right.

I can’t wait to hear about that, your new adventure in life, the one that changes you forever.

# # #

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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The blackberry trellis (Voila!)

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We have lots of blackberries growing wild on Pineapple Hill along the bottom pasture prunbl1fence line and in a thicket concealing the ravine out by the road in front of our house. The ones along the pasture don’t get very big but are easy to pick. The ones in the thicket get plump as thumbs and so juicy they’ll burst when you pick them –but you risk your life going after them. The thorn’s will tear you to shreds like the wood chipper in Fargo. That is if the snakes don’t get you first.

And, of course, you don’t want to be snacking on berries (five for Management, two for Labor) right after the power company has stopped by for a neighborly spraying of highly poisonous defoilant. (We’ve agreed they should warn me next time.)

Your trellis design could look something like this. (You can also make one using bamboo.)
Your trellis design could look something like this.

Making the switch from boat to land and from city to boonies has not been without hiccups (as described in my book Blue Rubber Pool, coming out in 2018) and although I seem to be learning the hard way I am, at least, picking up a few tricks. For instance: the blackberry trellis.

Training blackberry canes to grow on a trellis is ingenious. And a good addition to another thing I’ve learned –not to plant grapevine too close to oak trees (because the tree drink up the water intended for grapes. So now my vineyard includes a few blackberry bushes too.

Set out some mesh fence (of the type used for a goat pasture). Plant the bush. Start but cutting off any old canes. Then periodically weave the new growth through the mesh. Voila!

Pick up your game yet another notch by using thornless blackberry plants. That’s right, thorn-less.

The blackberry trellis “set up” might also be a good solution for city/suburb dwellers wanting to grow berries in limited garden space.

Be sure to have a good recipe for blackberry daiquiri

Stay tuned for another episode of Green Acres.

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

 

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On Wine.

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Smuckers-Concord-Grape-Jelly-e1380113357359-1I’m not a wine connoisseur but I think its fun to stand at the tasting counter at wineries near Spartanburg listening my fellow tasters describe wines as “nutty”, or “vanilla-y” or “crisp with hints of chocolate or walnut.” When it’s my turn, I’ll say something like “Oreo cookie dunked in apple juice followed by a shot of peach schnapps” and to my surprise the stranger fine of six people down will agree. “Exact-o-lackity! That’s what I was going to say!” I like the movie Sideways.

I’m more interested in how wine is made than actually drinking it. I want to know what is needed to arrive at different color and flavor characteristics. Plus I really like the concept of leveraging time as an ingredient. Having finally gotten to the other side of my mid-life crisis, I can say with authority that aging is a good thing.

I like it that my buddy Palmer, a wine sipping fiend from West Coast wine country, still enjoys exploring the under $10 bottles with their “relax kick your shoes off” names: Barefoot, Red Truck, Oops, and Mad Housewife, to name a few. But still he won’t buy the ones that come in a box instead of bottle.

I like it that wine making reflects humanity’s thousands-of-years-old patience: A legacy passed down through the ages not unlike passing poodles down from wolves.

I like looking at the neatly manicured vineyards versus my snaggle-toothed rows here at Pineapple Hill and daydreaming aloud to Crystal that my experimental vineyard might look nice someday. And I like that she smiles and nods knowingly, saying nothing, motioning to the sommelier to bring the next sample.

# # #

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

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First Post

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tim bryant on the beach20150910_0154
The Author. Young. And already a beach bum.

My life hasn’t always been pretty but, lucky for me, has been filled with pretty things:  beaches, boats, girlfriends, wives, children, perfect waves, amazing storms, cocktails with tiny umbrellas in them, words written by thoughtful people with incredible hearts and minds.

I like so many things of the world but find it hard to fit them all in: old movies, small dogs that do tricks and large ones that take up half the pickup truck bench, oysters, water tinkling as it tumbles over smooth stones, grits, big flowers growing wild in the tropics, machine guns, fishing poles, motoring out slowly in morning fog while sweet rolls are baking in the sailboat’s small oven, dolphins that swim along side for awhile… Many other things too. Many. How will I ever find time for them all?

— Tim “JT” Bryant, Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

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