“The word imagination gets little respect. For many people, it connotes “make believe,” and is primarily the domain of children and artists. But the truth is that your imagination is the single most important asset you possess. It’s your power to form mental pictures of things that don’t exist yet. Your imagination is what you use to design your future. “Excerpt from Pronoia, by Rob Brezsny

Very little flute work. ……again. I have a sundeck here at Rancho Relaxo. I built a railing for that sundeck from 2x4s, long before most of you were born. ….it has been a termite “Happy Meal” for the last 25 of those years, and is mostly just sawdust covered with paint. I’m replacing a lot of it, mostly as a courtesy to my friends, who are no longer as young and “fit” as they once were, and may have difficulty recovering from a 15 ft. header onto a driveway should they lean against my railing. Not to mention the risk of shattering some nice margarita stemware in the process….. Moving along….


My flute building is artistically experiencing a transition, not unlike a glider caught up in a breeze, in that I never know where it’s going. I’m a flute maker, and I’m North American, I’m not Native American. I made a note of this somewhere in this blog about 2-3 years ago, figuring no one would see my flutes on the internet with that designation via Google, or any other search engine. Now, I’m not so concerned. It has something to do with a desire to be simply creative, as opposed to chasing a defined market. Native Americana is not my body of experience, nor is it in my genetic code, but I’ve been building NA style flutes because they appeal to me. Three generations of my family were born here in Southern California, and I’ve spent a sizable amount of spare time in Northwest Mexico, so to keep this adventure a satisfying cathartic experience, I have to be true to those influences and experiences that are mine alone. I don’t really get to do otherwise. Although I’m a member of a Scottish clan, dating back centuries, I’ve never been to Scotland, I don’t speak Gaelic, I’ve never met any of these folks, and refuse to wear a kilt. I am therefore not motivated by personal experience to start building bagpipes. With a personal cultural history that’s relatively boring by comparison, I nevertheless plan to continue crafting beautiful instruments that are mine alone and best characterized as North American flutes.

Thanks to Michael Graham Allen, I will continue building a six hole, minor pentatonic instrument, with the same stunning voice characteristics as noted in my unsolicited testimonials, but I’ll follow my personal artistic inclinations, rather than chasing an overworked Native American market and fan base. Will I lose a percentage of my following? I don’t believe so. Does it concern me? No. I build musical instruments as a cathartic experience to keep my demons at bay, and I sell them, or I don’t. In any event, they will remain universally appealing, beautiful instruments none the less.

I now need to find a web designer to re-vamp my homepage. My designer, with a PhD in particle physics, understandably moved on to other things, despite promising I would remain his only client. After building the websites for Microsoft, and MSNBC, I remain honored and amazed at what he created for me. I believe he’s currently playing with the supercollider in CERN. Moving along….,

From the ”Questions you constantly, over and over again, never ask” Dept. ………Why do you have so many fetish blocks that look like birds, instead of like, elephants, armadillos, and gophers? A: I purchased this great natural abalone in sheet form, @ 5×9 inches for $60.00 a sheet, and find that beautiful multicolor abalone doesn’t look so good on the sides of mammals or rodents….. or whatever family elephants are from. It just seems to work best and look beautiful, on birds. Birds can get away with splashy colors. The material might look good on a trout fetish, but I don’t want to adorn any of my flutes with a trout. I think when I do, it’s time to quit.

Switching gears for a moment, a brief observation about the economy. Actually, it’s a question about our “recovery.” What the Hell happened to it??? My flute sales are upside down by about 50% for the year and according to a number of fellow builders, this little cottage industry is off by 30-60% overall. In some circles, all of the stimulus programs are collectively being referred to as “trickle up poverty.” Undaunted, I will however continue to fire out flutes at the blistering speed of about one every two to three weeks, and I’ll do it for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I don’t know how to do anything else, and secondly, I formed the opinion years ago, that on a global scale, every small child in the world wants at least one flute, as well as that small child that constantly dances around in all of us until we die. With that in mind, following this posting, on 10/17/2010, I’m reducing the price of every flute by an additional ten percent.


Where do I start. Generally, or probably always, outside temperature readings are done in the shade. If you cannot find shade however, it’s much more interesting to know what the temperature is in the sun, where you happen to be standing, which in my case, was 122 degrees Fahrenheit, although it was 102 in the shade. I think there are parts of the sun that aren’t even that hot. Anyway, I sold a flute on Friday, shortly after arrival, and immediately went over and gave the money to John Kulias, for one of his incredible ceramic drones. I spent the weekend hanging out with some flute makers that I love dearly, and overall had a great time………….right up to the point where I was banned for life from continued participation in the Festival ….for “bad behavior.” Things went sideways very quickly about an hour before the end of the event, in part due to that little ADHD problem of mine. Now that I have a new festival sign, and no festival in which to display it, it’s going in front of my corporate headquarters, making ingress and egress a little more challenging, but adding a distinctive look as well.


Switching gears once again, the bus, although looking like collateral Hellfire damage from Iraq, is really taking shape. The roof of this monster was raised 16 inches, windows torn out and replaced with black glass, and the 14 foot hydraulic living room slide out is fully operational, awaiting sheet metal. Jenna and Dustin are balking at my request for exterior Spongebob Squarepants graphics… but maybe I’ll have a place for my new Querencia Woodwinds sign. Sweet.

Ok, I’ve said enough. Go outside now, and play nice.