Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Bruce Springsteen Hungry Heart
 Irene Cara What A Feeling
Have you ever attempted to construct an empire? Tough ain’t it? Sometimes I curse myself for a complete lack of business acumen as I can do the whole writing pretty bit but, when it comes to having the faintest idea how to make it commercially viable, I’m left at the loosest of ends. While pondering long and hard for a solution, I’ve been forced to swallow the bitterest pill, as it appears I simply don’t possess the tool set to translate my gift into credit. I say that when it’s not so much that I lack the apparatus as having absolutely no desire to memorize how they function. It’s the most significant downside to being creative minded as there’s just no time for mundane tasks when there are so many glorious things to be fashioned from absolutely nothing. Maintenance is some other person’s job and they’re very much entitled to it as that frees us up to clear a path forward, push boundaries, break formation, and explore any undiscovered country before us. If it looks like hard work and it feels like hard work then what the hell’s in it for us anyhoots? Doesn’t make me a slacker if I choose not to put in a shift. Says the eediot with nary two dimes to rub together.
So all of this got me to thinking as, four years after Rivers of Grue’s conception, I’m not nearly as close as I desired to coming good on my original five-year plan. The foundations have long since been in place and I’ve continued to nurture this sleeping giant until which point as the industry has a vague idea who the Keeper of The Crimson Quill is and what he can bring to the table. Yet still I’m essentially a full-time blogger, some Joe Schmo with a dash of purty prose and ten twinkling toes but no concept of where they should go. The world of literature would still rotate on its axle if I just went “POOF!” and vaporised like a fart in a gas chamber. This would inaugurate a period of several months within which I could still achieve a degree of posthumous success before the annual subscription on my WordPress account goes “POOF!” too. Suddenly I’m like Sam Wheat, desperately attempting to suss out the whole can punt trick while some canoe-faced cretin prepares to fist my colon for not purchasing a ticket to ride his subway. Meanwhile, who’s the spook with his calves wrapped round the missus while making sweet pottery together to The Righteous Brothers? Doesn’t sound very righteous to me.
My point is this: I’ve got to get out of this place if it’s the only thing I ever do. Fret not Grueheads as I propose for anyone with the cojones to have upheld faith in my endeavor thus far to undertake the pilgrimage alongside me. Wherever I’m headed, it’s got to be an improvement from running the treadmill as I’m not entirely sure how much longer my blighted old lungs can hold out and I give myself another twelve months to figure something out before the moment she passes once and for all. As it is, I’m now officially claiming benefits, and alas, this monthly hand-out isn’t handed out with an open palm so much as wagging finger. “You find yourself some employment bucko or we’ll find some for you and make it deeply unpleasant” is pretty much the long and short of it and I’m not particularly keen on either length to be honest. Heaven forbid I wind up on a factory line (not that I’m knocking it but it’s kind of like employing Usain Bolt as a baker’s son). I’m sure he’d knead no end of dough and mould some delightful pastries to boot but he won’t be running faster than snot on a slalom will he? And for minimum wage for chrissakes!
So the way I see it, this simply has to be the time when I blow my own trumpet a little; remind myself why the bloody hell anyone in their right mind should entertain my claptrap in the first place. Fuck humility for a cotton picking second as my dick isn’t sucking itself and that seems mighty wasteful. My problem is that I seldom slap on the lipstick as I prefer to go au naturel and accept any kind token that comes my way to remind myself that I have some game. But business is business right? How can I ever hope to sell a product to someone else if I cannot make the sale to myself? So what makes my shit stink any less than the next asshole prising one out? It’s actually plainly obvious to me, as conceited as that may sound, as I’ve hunted as high as I have low and, for the life of me, can’t locate another motherfucker on this particular collection of rocks and gases whose art is presented in quite as novel a manner. I know right? What a narcissistic twat monkey, I should inject myself with bird flu for making such self-absorbed observation. Or should I?
Or perhaps, and this is just throwing it out there, I need every scrap of that self-belief if I’m going to stand any chance whatsoever going forward in such time-sensitive fashion. This needn’t be viewed as arrogance, but even if it is, maybe I need me some of that just to maximize my reach. Take my film appraisals for example – every time I pluck one of these cherries from the ripened cluster, I swear blind that it will be the sweetest in the garden – as I place more care and attention into the human connection than any other “critic” currently coining it in for “real employers”. The very moment I cease believing this, the ass-end comes out of what I’m writing. But I’m still the most self-effacing dude I know and that isn’t subject to change in light of any hero-worship that may or may not come my way from hereon in. If one of my brows is high, then the other is low, and I learned that shit from Steve Martin three decades back. Call me a clown and I’ll honk my hooter but will damn well make it entertaining.
The odd thing is that I’m not at all precious about how my work gets out there into the public domain and could never see the logic in selfishly grabbing at it while forewarning any potential poachers that “We wants it, we needs it. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses” as I much prefer forward momentum than rear view. Should an idea I’ve formed find its way to a larger audience by way of a third-party and without any involvement from me then I’d rather take that as a compliment than call to arms. Over the past 48 months I have written well in excess of one million words and there are more where they came from so knock yourselves out with my blessing and I’ll focus on keeping my own house in order. More critically, I’ll take a look around me for any similar hovels and spring clean them too while I’m at it. You see, one thing I can bank on is synergy, and this is what keeps me concentrated on the plusses as opposed to subtracting myself from the loop and fading away like an oil painting under direct sunlight. Through thick and thin, certain nodes have remained connected to my cause, and failed to be waylaid by bogus hype and misinformation. Certain folk know of my soul and don’t see fit to question it thus, should they believe in me, then they’ll see what a two-way transaction this is.
I may be severely lacking in business sense but I can discern the bigger picture and how this diagram connects us all. It’s not that we can’t hope to stand unless united, more that there’s a far sweeter vantage from atop the shoulders of giants. In my humble opinion, anyone with faith in your ability automatically qualifies as one such colossus; indeed I consider myself blessed to know so many others in possession of their own exclusive gifts and simply play a part in this collective synergy. It may not be the only way forward but it is undoubtedly the one that proposes the most excitement and reward come the eventual pay-off. Should one of us make a breakthrough then we all shift momentum as a unit. I’m honored to take my seat within this Trojan titan and pledge to muck in like all the others if we reach the castle drawbridge without capitulating. Even if we do splinter, I’ll do like Gump did and recover any wounded soldiers from the smouldering wreckage, drop them off at the medical bay, and saddle back up before you can hail “you’re not supposed to sit astride this nag mong boy”.
So this is where the much ado part comes into play, and fret not, as there’s not nearly as much to do as the title card suggests. I can’t draw up a blueprint or battle plan at this point as I’m clutching at straws with regards to orientation and my compass is going just as haywire as the next chump’s. But I’m assured that, by rambling towards the light, we’ll be in that ballpark and all that’s left then is to play ball until those scouts come a sniffing. Team sports always were the most rewarding and I always was a sucker for cheerleaders so I’ll be your quarter back if you can make that sixty yard dash and I know you’ll reciprocate if my lungs don’t explode the very second I’m caressing pig skin. If it’s noise we should make then I’ve already got the cymbals strapped to both knees and reckon they’d sound delightful when accompanied by tuba. Synergy is where it’s at Grueheads and there’s much ado right now as these dreams won’t go chasing themselves right?
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017