Soon to be renowned!

Thursday, April 12, 2018


My brother and I

A six-pack of cheap beer, an old soup can, a handful of dirt, and a little branch of ivy.

In the right hands, that's all it took to derail my life the first time. It was a good derailing, a fortuitous one, back in the early days of college. My major was, at the time, "Cellular and Molecular Biology/Biochemistry". A god-awful, pompous mouthful of a degree. I loved it. Well, saying it anyway. You had to actually say the "slash Biochemistry" part. It was more impressive that way. The problem was, I think I hated everything else about it. I just didn't know what else I was supposed to be doing.

That is, until my older brother Griffin showed up in my dorm room one evening with the aforementioned supplies for a re-potting session and sent me tumbling through the air, in love with plants. Simply because he was. His passions were so contagious I couldn't resist following along. Whether it was fishing, motor-scooters, or the music of Tom Waits, his sincerity and unbridled enthusiasm made it seem insane not to go along for the ride.

I changed my major to Botany I think sometime later that week. The new tracks of horticulture I screeched onto were rusty, warped, and did not provide a comfortable ride by any stretch. But the places it took me, though inglamorous and unlucrative, were so much more interesting! Beautiful, dirty, exhausting, and satisfying to a degree that no laboratory, however prestigious, could ever compare. And I owe it all to him.

This week, my life derailed a second time. Again, because of my brother. But this time, because I had to say goodbye to him. He fell, and hit his head, and that's it. Sudden and senseless, random and final. Now I'm spinning through the air again, and I'm not sure when I'll land, or in what condition. All I know is that life has an irrefutable momentum and this, if nothing else will carry me forward. Hopefully, if I have enough sense to look, and can see the ground through bleary eyes, I'll make out a new set of tracks, tearing off through the future with the same brilliant, crazy fire my brother ignited in everything he set his sights on. An unspoken decree to love what you love because others may need a spark to get going.

I won't waste time trying to further explain what made my brother a great man. If you knew him, you already know, and if you didn't, nothing I say will come close. Suffice it to say there is tremendous power in the death of a good person, and while it is this power that has his family and friends reeling, I believe it can also, in time, propel us onto a truer course for the remainder of our own lives. It'll be uphill, and a difficult track, but once we land, I think we may have enough momentum to do my brother proud.

Life can end for any reason, or for no reason. At any time.

Live without fear. Live like you mean it. Make your love known.

(Griffin leaves behind his wife and three young girls, here is a link to our gofundme campaign to help support them. Any contribution helps. Thank you.)

Friday, April 6, 2018


During the month of April, all proceeds from sales of my book will be donated to GROW, a community-gardening advocacy group which also assists low-income gardeners and helps connect food banks with community-grown produce.

These are pretty awesome things to do.

Secretly, it is my dream to someday start a community food garden in my own neighborhood (er—I guess don't tell anyone). Not so long ago, in the time before Fencebroke Promontory Gardens, we lived in the city. Wellmore in the city; FPG isn't exactly a rural setting. The point is, we had no land of our own to plant. So we spent a couple years on a waiting list for a spot at one of Seattle's neighborhood P-patches. A couple looong years. It turns out, there are a lot of people who want to garden and only so much space to do so in the city. 

The demand side of this equation is just fine, but I'd love to do something about the supply. Hence this small step into the realm of non-profit advocacy. Gardening is one of my life's purest, dirtiest joys. It changes people, and never for the worse. The more opportunities we can create for gardeners to bloom, the better our society will be. Sure, we'll all have to put up with a lot more vests and seed-talk at work, but I think it's an acceptable trade-off. 

I've rarely been happier than the day the P-patch finally called and said our plot was ready. From that moment on, in my mind, I was a farmer.

This is for all the other would-be farmers out there. 

(If you've already purchased my book, or frankly have no desire to do so, please don't let that stop you from checking out GROW or a similar organization in your region. They are doing valuable work and can use the support. Thank you!)