Keep Going

11 Feb

A video dedicated to all creative warriors…

Shack Attack

The stories behind the video

A pile of mulch has sat in front of my house for four months now.  A long sinuous line of the stuff stretches down the street starting with the largest pieces and tapering down to the finest particles. If my son was older, I’d use it as an example of erosion and how fluvial deposits form, but he’s not. He’s only a couple pounds and still inside Lori’s womb.  I feel a little bad neglecting that pile of mulch but I’ve other work to do.

As I load my twenty dollar bike into the van and hang my grandpa’s old suit off a bungee cord, the ‘I shoulds’ shoot at me from all directions. I should shovel that pile of mulch. I should work on the baby’s room. I should work on that kitchen remodel bid.  I should work on a business newsletter. My remodeling business after all is “real work” that pays.  I chuckle and check my gear: Video camera-check, tripod-check, notes and storyboard-check, guitar-check, beer, food and firewood-check.

“Where are you going again?” asks Lori.
“Brett and I are going to the shack.  I saw this old shack when I was out fly fishing and thought it’d be a cool place to shoot video, “ I reply.
“Oh…a shack,” she says with her eyes rolling towards the mulch pile.
I kiss her goodbye and rub her belly, “The shack!”

She gives me the look. The look can go both ways: I married this guy? Or I love this guy!  Today, it’s a little of both. I take pride in soliciting the look; it’s a sign of a healthy marriage. Actually if it weren’t for Brett, an old buddy whom she loves, I’m positive this mission would be vetoed. Brett is visiting from Chicago and she knows how little we get to hang out.  We zoom off before more mulch piles can erode our resolve.  Two hours later we pull the van off the road.  Forty mile an hour wind gusts rock the van and speeding trucks and cars add to the maelstrom.  We start gathering our gear for the steep walk in.

“You see it!” I scream.
Brett zips up his coat and pulls on his hat, “The shack man!”
“Definitely private range land!“ I shout, “All good though. It’s too shitty out. No one will know we’re down there!”

Having been exposed to Chin-antics for almost twenty years now, Brett simply shrugs and grabs the camera and tripod; everyone needs a friend like Brett. He’s been putting the ‘I shoulds’ aside for much longer than I, transforming silly-little ideas into reality for decades. He’s a black belt creative warrior who taught me to think decrepit shacks in the middle of nowhere are the best things in the world. I change into my grandpa’s old suit and we’re ready.

We stumble into a high desert valley in Eastern Oregon with dust biting our faces.  Sage bushes bend and sway almost as if they are yawning: High winds, dust and cold. What’s new?  We stop occasionally to marvel at the power and landscape. I stare at the leaning structure in the distance and joke about the rifle shots we’d feel but never hear.

Brett thrusts the tripod towards the gray sky and marches on.

Read on for Extras

I know son…books are pretty cool.


Deleted Scenes

Cameraman and creative blackbelt, Brett Neiman,  jamming in the shack and paying tribute to Mr. Moon

* * *

The suit and hat were my Yeh Yeh’s (Chinese for grandpa on Dad’s side) who immigrated to the U.S in 1949 and passed in 2008.  He was a great man with a great smile, the coolest Chin of them all.  His hard work along with all my ancestors’ sweat forged the way for me to follow my dreams. I can pursue what I want to do because those who came before me did what they had to do. When I was sitting in the shack with his suit on, I couldn’t help but think Yeh Yeh was up there laughing his ass off.

Yeh Yeh and The China Mission

Before Yeh Yeh passed away he told me about a makeup table that belonged to my grandma so I went back to China to get it.  The China Mission included finding and retrieving the table and a treasure hunt for lost family jewels.  The China Mission was well documented with video and will be my next multimedia memoir.

* * *

Grant is a neighborhood man whom I chat with often.  He enjoys keeping tabs on the new sticks and stones I place in my yard. I left a note at his place telling him I needed an ‘urban sage’ to say a few lines.  He called and asked, “You need what?” Later that day, he rode over and we shot his scene.  I don’t think it would have been possible to cast someone better for the part.

An outtake from the Grant scene

* * *

Thanks for watching and reading.



9 Responses to “Keep Going”

  1. Melissa Petreshock February 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Thanks for the mention of my website, Ryan!! I love the videos you make. They are so artistic!

  2. Rowenna February 9, 2010 at 12:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing this–I needed a dose of perseverance this week! Best!

  3. Regan Leigh February 10, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    Thank you for the link to my site! I appreciate it! I actually stopped by to tell you to go see my latest blog post so I can add info for you!

    *Sad that my sound is off for a sleeping dog and hubby! Your video looks great, but I hear nothing. 😀 Will be back!*

  4. Susannah Morgan February 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    wonderful writing. Thank you! Please post this on facebook through networked blogs so I can read it every time you post? blog: Just for the Hell of It.

  5. greg gutierrez October 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Brother Ryan, there have been times in my writing and art career where it seemed NO ONE, (not even my wife) believed in me. Sometimes it hurt so much the only thing that kept me from chucking everything out the window and moving to Kauai was my children. But I did not give up. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote until is could not stand looking at my work any longer and had to take a break. I queried a hundred agents until one fell in love with my novel, “Mammoth Mountain,” (five years of writing). “Mammoth Mountain” is still being read by a huge editor but hasn’t sold yet. I dove into my next novel, “The Evening Doorman,” (two and a half years of work). Now “The Evening Doorman is almost ready for my agent. Don’t fucking give up until your dead!! Wishing you the very best of all things,

    Greg Gutierrez
    Zen and the Art of Surfing

    ps. success is an illusion (albeit a good one).

  6. Lori Benton October 20, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    Ryan, Next month I am going to Australia and New Zealand with some fellow retired teachers so when I saw a copy of your book at Hair of the Dog on Alberta, I couldn’t leave without it. As a fellow teacher, dog caretaker and traveler, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it this summer. It is delightful and I wrote down the Maori words and expressions on my bookmark. As I was usually reading while sitting by the river with my dog,I was unable to view the video portion and finally got around to it this evening. Very enjoyable, beautiful scenery and lovely music. I played every clip I could find on your websites but don’t know how to access all the videos in sequence.I will try again , but do you have any advice? Am looking forward to your future multi-media books about your China trip and fatherhood. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences! Lori Benton

    • Ryan Chin October 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Unfortunately Youtube and Vimeo throw the videos in random order. You can go to the book’s site in the video tab and all the videos are labeled and in order.

      The new print version will have QR codes so smartphones can take you directly to the video. Most print readers don’t break away to watch the videos which is fine because the videos are not essential to enjoy the story. They are a nice extra. I’m shooting to release the multimedia China memoir in 2015. Cheers!


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