Afternoon, Spider Rock © Robert Sommers 2023

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Agenbite of Inwit

My photography trip tomorrow just got cancelled. Ken is getting a cold. Probably all for the better, the flowers in the Anza Borrego are not yet near their peak, my ankle is too sore for hiking and I need to make some money to pay the bills. Which never quit.  I commence my annual e-bay dump. I have a nice print by Frank Benson up now and it has already made reserve. Lovely but I don't think I will miss it too terribly. Soon it will be joined by some other pretties.


I was talking to my trainer Jeaneanne this morning and we were talking about the concept of certainty. I mentioned that the certainty of a large pile of bills was ever present in my life, like it is for most people. For most of us life is a struggle to keep up, just the way it is. We all just have to keep grinding. And I must say that looking at those supposedly lucky individuals who have struck gold and freed them selves from such earthly worries, well, they just find new ways to get themselves fucked up. Spend it all on mistresses or therapists. Do the Howard Hughes and sit in a sealed room and watch your fingernails grow.

Anyway we or I desire getting to a point where we won't have to worry about such temporal things, the certainty of having it made if you will. She brought up another point. She said that Tony Robbins says that not only do humans crave certainty but they also crave uncertainty. And I hadn't thought of that. Do we humans crave certainty and uncertainty at the same time?

I guess that if you are living a muggle type existence, winding the same nut onto the same bolt in your factory job for the umpteenth year, you might be desirous of a fresh breath of air. So maybe that's the trick, finding that neat middle ground between breath of fresh air and being camped out in the fresh air permanently holding a cup of pencils.


There are a couple of competing or maybe dovetailing plans that people are developing for the future of our town. Both conceived by well meaning people who devote tons of energy, time and money with little or no reward for the good of their common man and all that. Having seen countless studies and plans in my three decades here, I take it all in with a bit of skepticism and a grin.

It seems to me that things have to grow organically and that grand schemes of social engineering are probably doomed to failure.

The first thing I read about was a plan where my fair burg Fallbrook would emulate Little Italy. The county has put aside 40k for a Fallbrook, Little Italy study. I called up the progenitor of the plan, Vince.

"Vince, we can't do a Little Italy up here," I says. "Why not?" he replies. "We don't have enough italians." (sound of rimshot.)

The other plan aims to create a large art corridor in town on Alvarado. I heard that part of the plan was that this street and Main one block on either side would be reserved for art galleries. I am trying to verify this. The cost of the first strategy would be borne by already tapped property owners like yours truly, the latter by private donations.

The reality is that I have been on Main St. or Avenue since about 1990 and have seen a lot of businesses come and go. Fallbrook doesn't patronize the art galleries and shops that are here now. Both framer/galleries are struggling to get by, the Brandon is subsidized as is the Find and they aren't exactly beating a path to my or Michael Johnson's door.  Why would a surfeit of more galleries be expected to change the existing paradigm?

Like it or not, the once capitol of avocados is a quiet town, caught in a tug of war between the well heeled gentry and the old farmers who don't give one whit about things changing. I figure that if things do change they will change slowly and organically and not by anyone's road of good intentions. I salute the shop owners and businesspeople who have hung in there, no matter what their business might be.

I also readily admit to not having an answer or plan either. Well Robert, what would you do? I have no idea. It just seems like we are applying lipstick to the proverbial porker. This place will never be Carmel or Laguna. Leslie says for that you need an ocean or maybe a good apple pie. Fallbrook is a wonderful place to live and to be retired but maybe not such a great place to make a living. It is not enough to wish and conceptualize a certain type of sophisticated model for the town. There has to be substance and content and one has to be realistic about what the residents will actually support. We are making great progress at being a wonderful town for artists, for people involved in making art, sculptors, printmakers, painters, glass blowers, bronze casters, writers etc. Selling works of art and people making a living is an entirely different proposition.


I was reading Helen McHargue's excellent blog Guacamole Gulch and learned a tidbit about one of my favorite mystery writers, Georges Simenon. I quote:

"In addition to his seemingly endless series of Inspector Maigret stories, he wrote more than 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, and scores of pulp novels under pseudonyms. He wrote 800 humorous pieces in a two year period as "Monsieur Le Coq" between 1919 and 1921, when he was 16 -18 of age.  He would write 60 - 80 pages a day, vomit from the tension but nevertheless turn out a novel in 6 or 7 days. When he'd start a novel, he'd get a medical exam to assure that he was up to the stress. Next, he'd get his four dozen sharpened pencils ready, put a "Do not disturb" sign up on his room and let it rip."

Now let me just say that Simenon is a fantastic writer (and apparently a prodigious lover, although one would hope that his literary output was not as premature as his apparent tenure in the sack) but can I say in all modesty that if he can output a novel in 6 or 7 days, surely I can crack one out in a month or two?


Some of you may no that I have been writing course curriculum for teachers this past year. I just finished three courses, including one on Vietnam that passed muster and I am actually getting paid for writing. And if the courses sell I get paid pretty well. So I intend to plumb that avenue as well since I enjoy writing so much. Might as well get paid for it.


I saw my brilliant, crazy jewish friend Warren this afternoon. He was feeding his grandkids. He asked about business. "Oy," I said. He said," I know what you mean, just waiting for the vey to drop."


Anonymous said...

one week it is gourmet chalets,
the next week it is 99 cent tacos.
one week it is selling priceless collectables,
the next week it is scraping it together to make ends meet.
one week it's spa's and massages,
the next week it is doctors and physical therapist.
one week it is winning at the tables'
the next week it is counting pocket change.
one thing for sure, you never know what week it is!

Blue Heron said...

There's just no certainty!

Anonymous said...

I think your idea that Fallbrook ought to grow organically is dead on correct. The various grand designs that come and go lack grounding in the basic realities of the town. Most are unoriginal imports from other towns that have been successful at various reinventions of themselves but the Fallbrook copies have not transplanted well.

I lived in Santa Ana for 27 years and saw a successful art community slowly and painstakingly built into a very successful arts district. Much of this was possible because the city had affordable rents and because there is an actual art business in Orange County. Santa Ana consolodated activities that were present and self sustaining in the surrounding areas and managed to bring in some real art forces such as the Cal-State Fullerton art school which sited its graduate residential program there. The factors for success were present in the community and the plan was congruent with the basic realities of the town.

Fallbrook has attracted many of its residents because of the semi-rural nature of its surroundings or because of the opportunity do do agriculture. If a downtown plan could be developed that could tap those priorities perhaps it could take off. The endless presentation of grand designs that aim to turn Fallbrook into something fundamentally different may never succeed even though they keep coming.

But as long as we are putting out plans, how about requiring all county employees to wear avocado suits when in Fallbrook. That has about as much chance of success as some of the other plans and at least this would be fun. Imagine a trip to the library :-)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting article on the Santa Ana arts district and its attempt to integrate and synergize with the surrounding community.


Anonymous said...

Old town Temecula has been remade anew and is thriving. All you need is to become a City and spend a bizillian dollars on infrastructure. What we in Fallbrook need to do is what you and I have been doing for 22 and 29 years. Just keep plugging along and running a good smart business. My deli has been open 7 days a week for 29 years except for the week of the fire. Sunday's take a long..... Time to build business owners can't stay open three Sundays and say well I tried. In two years my main street Sunday business has finally doubled and is now profitable to be there on Sunday. Just keep on keeping on. Grand schemes are usually just grand schemes. Oh well.
Deli Guy.