I was warned.
They told me that that I’d run out of babble; that I’d get bored with my own writing; that no one would comment (unless I picked a fight); that some ITiot would switch me over to different blog software and I’d have to learn a New Trick (just kidding, Chris)…etc etc.
My own special gray soup. A bit like Dunbeath harbor when the haar rolls in…
Whatever the reason, or conglomeration of them, I would eventually hit a blog-jam. I did. A sort of senseless mental speed-bump. Oddly, when I slammed into it, I was cruising along through a particularly pleasurable time: another trip to Scotland for the always-amazing conference at North Lands Creative Glass, this one keynoted by a brilliant speaker on memory that I can’t recap for you here because I’ve forgotten it all. Kidding.
Then once the conference ended, Dan & I headed south to deliver one of the North Lands master course leaders, the devilishly elfin Clifford Rainey, to his plane at Aberdeen airport. Sly pilgrims we, the most logical route to the airport was obvious to all of us: the Whisky Trail through Speyside.
Aberlour, Balvenie, Clynlish, Dalmore…so many drams, so little time.
As Designated Driver, I had slightly less fun that my passengers but I did have Wee Drams enough to begin seeing life from a slightly skewed new perspective.
The normally Bigger Than Life Mr Rainey diminished by vegetation near Nairn
Just how skewed my POV had become became even more evident while touring the Balvenie distillery (arguably THE best tour on the trail).
What is it, that in the middle of a dream vacation, the whole world still looks like a glass factory to me? Watching the coopers building the barrels, all I could think of was how THEIR tour was better than OUR tour.
Heading to the malting floor at Balvenie. Visitors wear screaming yellow vests. Distillery workers wear sexy black T-shirts.
“Dan, look at those cool black shirts the team is wearing. How come our guys can’t wear Bullseye shirts at work every day?” Like some sartorial SNAFU is standing in the way of reaching the pinnacle of Esprit de Corps-ism on our production line.
“Did you see the press coverage that Glenfiddich got when those three ducks got onto the malt floor? I wonder if Nicole could get the Oregonian to run something about the rats in the cellar at the gallery.”
“Did you notice that they don’t call their reps ‘reps’? – they call them ‘Brand Ambassadors’. Brilliant! Why don’t WE think of titles like that?”
I was most profoundly affected by a bit of lore that came into focus on the second day of our pilgrimage. If you’ve ever visited a distillery, you may have wondered why they’re all kind of sooty-looking. A blackish powder all over the slate roofs, the stone walls, the cobblestone paths. It’s so much a part of the exterior décor of distilleries that many have incorporated the rich black into their packaging, their logos, the shirts of their coopers(!).
What’s so “angelic” about the Dalmore stag?
But what IS the black stuff? I asked a Brand Ambassador. “As the whisky ages, a certain percentage is lost to evaporation”, he explained. “We’ve always called that ‘la part des anges’, the angels’ share.”
I was in love, what a romantic story.
Then one of the cynical leprechauns traveling with me whispered “it’s a fungus, Dear. It feeds on the alcohol vapors and grows on the walls”
It also grows on the shrubbery. A bush with major Angst des Anges.
“Why didn’t WE think of that?” Clearly Bullseye has been missing the mark for years. I swore to myself we’d make it up.
“Mary Kay, you know how customers complain about the little corners that are missing off some of our sheets?” I can’t wait to get marketing working on this one.
“We could call it ‘le coin des anges’ – the angels’ corner.”
In spite of seeing everything on the Whisky Trail through glass eyes, I managed to survive my brief vacation, propelled largely by the vapors of my New Ideas for marketing.
But before I could inflict my brilliance on Mary Kay’s team, they’d changed my blogware – fully aware that it will take me weeks to figure out how to use a new program and they’d be free for a while of my Helpful Hints.
So here I am. Stewing in “le coin de l’idiot”.
Where sometimes a blog-jam is better than what’s behind it.