I was snooping around, looking for info on the writer Thomas McGuane. He’s a good friend of Jim Harrison’s and for me, any friend of Jim’s, well, you know. I came across several interviews, each shedding a little more expanse on this western writer. Like most authors, some of his books have received rave reviews, others have been razed by the critics. Critics. One interviewer asked McGuane about this, does that bother you? - that line of questioning. McGuane replied it used to, but not anymore. He said my give-a-shit is broke.
The shirt my parents bought me, the one whose tag reads 100% hemp, it feels so good on my skin, soft, effortless. Linen is nice, but fragile, bordered by spring and summer. Hemp is hearty, four-seasoned. I wore the strong shirt twice this week, back-to-back days, I bet no one even noticed. But I did. I love it. I may save up for two more shirts like that, same style, same color, alternate them, give each a Sabbath or two before wearing it again, and so extend their life. Maybe then, after days or weeks someone would notice, say good lord, John wears the same shirt everyday. And I could say yes and I wouldn’t care. My give-a-shit is broke.
What are your affections? What are the things in life you love? The poet David Whyte proses that’s all you need to know in this life and in that knowing point your life in that direction. The moralist quickly jumps in and questions whether your loves or my loves, these affections, are always good for us, he or she always demanding answers before we’ve even time to live the questions. You have to have something stronger than linen in your veins to hold that voice at bay. You don’t have to be mean about it. But you can be hemp.
I love little baby ducks, old pick-up trucks, slow-moving trains, and rain
I love little country streams, sleep without dreams, sunday school in May,
I love leaves in the wind, pictures of my friends, birds in the world, and squirrels
I love coffee in a cup, little fuzzy pups, bourbon in a glass, and grass…
I love honest open smiles, kisses from a child, tomatoes on the vine, and onions
I love winners when they cry, losers when they try, music when it's good, and life
And I love you too.
- Tom T. Hall