I’m writing briefly here to offer proof of life, and to promise that as winter begins to settle on us here in the Cascades that I will be swinging more devotion to these pages. We have built a valuable and cherished audience here at RIR, but one truth of the modern age is that we are, many of us, operating under attention deficits. If we don’t post often and well we run the risk of losing the audience we have built up over the years.
We don’t want to do that.
First, an update. As many of you know I have spent the last two and a half years diving into a film project. The result: The Outside Circle: A Movie of the Modern West, I am happy to report has found some success. We have been featured in four film festivals around the country, with more in the offing, and recently concluded a deal with Horse.TV for the subscription video rights. We were also picked up by a distributor—MVD Entertainment Group—which is probably the most crucial piece of the puzzle. MVD exists to strike deals and to see our film distributed on the On Demand platforms—think Amazon, etc. The documentary film world is not lucrative and I won’t be buying an island anytime soon—which was never the idea to begin with—but I am extremely pleased that this project will find its way in front of audiences so that the people in it, and the story we try to tell, can have their day for those who might appreciate the effort.
What has come with all of this is an abundance of travel, time away from a blank page, and to be honest a bit of a creative conundrum. But I was on the desert last week chasing down a story and in that experience a number of issues I have been confronting resolved themselves in front of a panel of petroglyphs. The desert works on me, and perhaps for me, that way.
Meantime, I am working on several new projects. First is a second book of essays entitled The Road of the Dead. These are essays of place and time with a fictional narrative through-line that I have been working on for several decades. If I work hard this winter, and Krom smiles upon my efforts, I am hopeful to have it out in the spring. I am also working on a coffee-table book of photographs taken during the filming of our movie. Between Sam Pyke, who served as director of photography, Cody Rheault who served as a second cameraman, and myself, we managed to piece together some very fine photographs that are worthy of being collected and bound and that people might find an interest in.
Finally, I am developing a second film. I have an idea where I want to take these filmmaking efforts—focusing on the modern west and the people who inhabit its flyover reaches—and I am hopeful the idea resonates. One thing I have learned is that making a movie is extraordinarily expensive—to do it right—but I remain as undaunted by that reality as I was naïve about it when I started the first film. The next effort will focus on a desert sheepman, a trapper, and a logger, and will be anchored in the same way as the first film by a Native perspective—in this case a traditional Blackfeet man from Montana. This is the work that interests me, and as the wise man said: make the movie you would want to watch.
I had coffee with Jim this morning and can report that he too is alive and well. We are nearing the end of an election cycle and you can probably imagine that in his role as the Editor in Chief of our newspaper he is like the Gypsy Moth battling a storm in the Roaring 40s. The politically devout—a growing demographic–vector in on his location relentlessly, from every angle of the compass, with every conceivable complaint and gripe, and if there really is a Krom Jim needs to take a few days off and go fly fishing with me on the Lower Deschutes. Krom or no Krom, our occasional coffee klatches in Sisters town offer us both a kind of decompression chamber from the hyper-political vicissitudes that vex.
As mentioned above I spent several days last week on the desert meeting one of the principles of my next film, a Basque Sheepman named Bob Weir, getting to know him, and the country that he covers. There is serendipity in it, and I will be bringing a story about all of that to these pages shortly.