Before I explain the wonders of David Toczko’s new and colorful book on bourbon, The Ambassadors of Bourbon: Maker’s Mark and the Rebirth of America’s Native Spirit, and talk about how he’ll be at The Summit area Barnes & Noble  this Saturday at 1pm – I’d like to tell you A Little Story to start:
We are very lucky creatures to have such useful arms. Take a moment. Have a look. Aren’t they just marvelous? The way they swivel is just fantastic for doing all manner of Good Things In Life: you can make them into noodles and wrap them around other humans, or turn them soft-belly-side-up and carry things really well (especially flat things in this position, with your forearms) and you can strap useful stuff to them – just think of all the bags people can carry this time of year! Arms: an-excellent-thing-that-humans-have-that-are-great-having-where-you-can-use-them. I specify this usage stuff because many, many other animals need their arms for walking – as in, many other animals have too many legs and no arms. That’s sad.
More: Arms can do lots of other great and wondrous human things that I didn’t list up there. But, as is the case with that which is important and worth understanding, arms have a dark side. Arms can throw things. Arms can break things. Sometimes these happen at the same time, and – sometimes – the Things That Get Thrown And Broken turn out to be Very Important Things Indeed. That is also sad.
My Part in The Story: yesterday my arms threw my flash drive, and – when my arms did this – it made a zillion little bits on the hard wood.
That was the climax of the story; you may not have noticed because it was short.
On one hand, when this happened, it was pretty. The shattered plastic of guts on the floor. Kind of glittery. The green parts being a very rich and beautiful shade of “forest” or “hunter” mixed with the microscopic flecks of gold hardware. The gold hardware. On the other hand, now, this was ugly. The gold hardware was everything I’ve ever written. Please re-read that sentence a few times. Everything I’ve ever written – and here we mean Written. That which is personal, late-night and continuously-rejected-by-literary-magazines-but-still-recognized-as-important. The Written that is called “creative writing”. The “creative writing” that was mine. It’s gone.
I’m a little devastated. I wanted to tell you. So I did.
But I’m not going to give up on my arms just yet. They did a terrible thing to me yesterday, but I know – as an adult who is learning from Life – that we must often accept the Good with the Bad.
Here’s some Good: At the end of the arms are the hands. And the hands are even more marvelous. Go ahead, have another look-see, there – it’s great stuff happening. The list of things that hands can do is so long as to be tedious, uncountable and, therefore, jaw-dropping.
Here’s a excerpt from the List Of Things Hands Can Do: Hands can pour bourbon into a glass. Hands can hold said glass. Hands can lift said glass to lips. Hands can do this all evening in all seasons in the Bluegrass and the world.
Hands can also flip through this here book of David Toczko’s, too. And there’s also bourbon involved.
Drawing from a repertoire of over 10,000 photos taken (with hands) at the famous Maker’s Mark distillery, photographer David Toczko presents 250 of his favorite images in the new book, The Ambassadors of Bourbon: Maker’s Mark and the Rebirth of America’s Native Spirit. Providing colorful access to the bourbon action on the Star Hill Farm in Loretto, Kentucky, Toczko tells the story of Maker’s Mark, rendering the history, process and modern revival of this most fantastic piece of Kentucky heritage. The second book of photography to come from Toczko, The Ambassadors of Bourbon joins Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and makes another notable addition to Toczko’s array work with his company, Lone Dakota Photography .
Join him at The Summit location of Barnes & Noble this coming Saturday, December 15th, at 1pm for a special signing of lushly booklicious bourbon delight. Your hands can shake Toczko’s, turn the pages and can definitely buy a copy or two for the Holidays.
Maybe you can swing by my place afterwards and we can make hands all over the book together. That’s a good distraction from all the Missing Writing. Distractions are a good way to ignore all the Shaking going on underneath all the Calm-As-A-Hindu-Cow I’m trying to practice. It’s just words, right? At least I still have my arms.
The Summit area Barnes & Noble is located at 4100 Summit Plaza Drive. For more information, call (502) 327-0410.
Image: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org