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  • Johnn Ventimiglia

This is official notice that I've completed a final draft of The Highway Kind. I started writing this novel in November 2020. It took a long while because things like this take a long while. I am also lazy. I wrote this book across at home, at work, in coffee shops, airports, and bus stops.

It's a cross country adventure, it's about family, and being Hispanic and motorcycles and old school bikers and truck stops and cold beer. It's for everybody.

Right now, I'm trying to sell the damn thing. If and when I do that, rest assured you will be the first to know. As for the book itself, I love it. It's influenced by some of the people I love the most in the world and by some of the experiences I've been lucky enough to have. I can't wait to share it with everyone.

  • Johnn Ventimiglia

Tide - Noun: the alternate rising and falling of the surface of the ocean and of water bodies connected with the ocean that occurs usually twice a day and is the result of differing gravitational forces exerted at different parts of the earth by another body

Tides are a hell of a thing. Surfers, clammers, commercial shipping; they all depend on them. They come and go with regularity. They happen everyday. The Earth gets stretched by her neighbors like a superball. Even better: tides connect Earth to the cosmos on the ground floor. Astrology fans would probably be better served by looking to the water than the skies. It is closer, it is tangible and visceral and real. You can see the heavens at work by watching the ebb and flow at a shoreline. Tides do more than touch the skies, they bring things and take them away.

And so it is no wonder that life too is tidal. Things go away. People leave, they die in wrecks or or overdose. Jobs end, transmissions fail, clutches burn out, a favorite shirt will tear, guitar strings rust.

But things come back. Old friends talk, a fresh pair of boots is hard to beat, you can find a box of old pictures or an old pair of jeans with twenty bucks in it. A favorite cousin can leave this world a precious little girl who looks just like her. You can hit 13 and 26 and 28 all in a row and be back in the game. Sometimes it's you who gets the picture cards and not the dealer.

Life is full of tides. Maybe they don't always come twice a day for you but they are momentum, they are alive and dynamic. Movement means you're alive and not a rock. So whenever possible, ride the tides.

  • Johnn Ventimiglia

Do something 10,000 times and you’re an expert. At least, that’s a maxim we seem to have heard often. But what is an expert anyway? And why would you want to be one? What does being an expert have to do with New Year’s Resolutions?

I guess that depends on the person. To me, being an expert isn’t a single qualification or mastery of specific skill. Rather it is the accumulation of a certain set of skills to perform/express a task and/or combination of tasks to the point of fluency with ease or; being able to do something in your sleep

An example: a master chef can take a few simple ingredients and with their knowledge turn them into a world-class meal. For the sake of simplicity let’s break down the architecture of a thing into three parts.

1. Fundamentals

2. Advanced Knowledge

3. Expert Knowledge

In nearly everything you can break it down into three categories. (The idea that these can also be further distilled into further more specific competencies is also valid.)

But only in their specific lane. A master chef in French cuisine does not necessarily mean a master chef in Japanese cuisine. A black belt in Kung Fu is very different from a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. Different strokes.

Enter the idea of resolutions. Every year many of us either make a mental list or put pen to paper and make a list of things that you want to accomplish or change about yourself for the upcoming year. Many of us fail, many make strides, all at least try. But detractors will say, “Yeah, well, that’s a dumb idea.” “Everyday should be New Years! You don’t need a special day to start living the way you want!”

Yes, the detractors are right. The day to start is arbitrary.

But much like the theme of this essay – they’re kinda wrong too; because it’s all "shades of". People are ritualistic. Go to Atlantic City for a visceral example. And a special day that connotes the idea of a “kicking-off” or “fresh start” is enough of a catalyst that we make a ritual of it. So let’s run with that.

Where the resolution machine breaks down isn’t in the planning or even the execution. The sales of gym memberships in January does not slip. It’s in the sustainability. It’s in the repetition. People go to the gym for a week, two, a month even – and then things happen and a one event leads to another and before you know it there was a cascade of events that makes you drop your resolution.

So the advice I’ve heard that makes the most sense is to not make resolutions, make repetitions. Stack up the hours. Whatever it is you want to do put the raw time in doing that thing. Now don’t phone it in but committing the time to an endeavor will either make it or break it. Putting the time in will help you find out if that thing is for you or not. If it’s not, you’ll hate it and eventually you'll give it up for some better use of your time. If it is, then you will watch as it becomes a part of your routine and thus a part of you. Who knows, you might even become an expert.

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