Why I practice, “Letters of Appreciation”.
It happened so organically that I didn’t notice I was walking into a lifetime practice of brilliance and synergy. One day, I just got drunk and decided to email someone who made me feel good. I don’t remember who the first person was, at this point, but the practice had begun and it would grow over time. The seed of the idea is pouring out your soul to someone who has influenced you, in one gushing email or letter. It doesn’t matter if they respond, it only matters that you show them appreciation. Soon I was in the practice of sending out a series of emails whenever the spirit struck me, to whom ever deserved mention at the time. Soon I was in contact with film makers, poets, and artists of all types. Sure, not everyone responds, but when someone who has influenced you does respond, the affect is powerful. For instance, I was a fan of Wayne Ewing’s films documenting the life of Hunter.S.Thompson.I reached out to him and let him know. At first he responded with kind words. Next, a few years later when I did the same, it was offers of films I hadn’t seen. Then we established a relationship over years of “checking in” and he gave me the title, “Gonzo” from the lineage of Hunter.S.Thompson. The key was that I was sincerely a fan of his work and once a year or more I checked in with him to re-state the influence he’s had on me. His film, “Breakfast with Hunter” is one of my all time favorite films. I emailed him while working in Vegas. I emailed him while touring with Cirque du Soleil. I emailed him working in a grocery store. I checked in after my “Certified Sommelier” accreditation. These are the types of actions you engage in with a mentor, and I guess, in a way he was. His films led me on the way of my own development. I returned to them over and over, for a decade and they influenced my daily life. The same goes for the owner of the Beat Museum in San Francisco. I kept in contact with him when I was successful and when I was just struggling. Recently, I made contact with David Amram of Beat fame, as well as musical cinematic history with his original score for the film, “The Manchurian Candidate” starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Janet Lee.
David Amram was Kerouac’s main musical collaborator and is a prolific composer and entertainer at the age of 87! He is a true inspiration. I emailed to thank him for the energy he has given me with his wide body of work as well as his appearances on Wayne Ewing’s films, “Breakfast with Hunter” and “Animals, Whores, Dialogues, and Electricity”. I wrote him an email and he responded in kind filling my sails with wind forever! He works and inspires young artists all around the world and he personally took the time to write me back and exchange artistic words of creativity back and forth. This is invaluable to the younger artists and thinkers of the world. I awoke to his email and immediately wrote a college student I like to foster along in kind. The winds of inspiration blow and feed us all with energy to create and do our own wills. Do as I do. Have a cocktail. Unwind and write sincere words of appreciation to the people who affect your world today. Don’t be uptight. Drink. Breathe free and let the love go.