what's your coping mechanism?

lums0909Lum’s Barbecue, Junction, Texas. This is where I normally stop for lunch when I drive between Alpine and Austin. Just over halfway.

That smoker’s been there over 3o years, they tell me. And the guy who smokes the meat has been there even longer.

One more reason to love living out here.

People were quite surprised when I moved out to Alpine, nearly two years ago. They had gotten used to me being from New York or London.

But I had always imagined ending up somewhere like here eventually. It was just a case of waiting for both the Internet and the ol’ art career to reach a certain critical mass. When that day finally arrived, the move happened rather quickly.

And it could not have happened at a better time. In the last few months business has gotten a lot more hectic. For reasons still unclear to me, the private commissions just started coming in faster and faster. Why now, I wonder? I don’t think I cold have coped with it nearly as well, living in a big city.

As I’m fond of saying, Success is more complex than Failure. This quiet, pared-down, unglamorous, low-maintenance West Texas life in the high desert seems to be my way of dealing with it.

What’s your coping mechanism?

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  1. I wonder if it is a Texas thing…er…thang?

    Sometimes I swear the air just smells better here than anywhere else.

    I live west of Austin and there is a local Mexican restaurant that I hit way too frequently.

    One Saturday after errands, in the twilight between lunch and dinner, I stopped in and had the place to myself. The staff came and sat down with me and we ended up watching, of all things, stunt bowling on ESPN.

    In the last 12 years Austin has developed much and I’m not really in the boondocks any more and I find myself pondering whether a place even further west would be good for the soul.

  2. Hello Hugh.

    Ahhh simplicity: “pared-down, ungla­mo­rous, low-maintenance”.

    I reckon these are keys to help us focus more clearly on stuff that matters.

    I love these qualities too, and find happiness in discovering authenticity and connectedness with down-to-earth people and places.

    Congrats on your successes and thanks for writing this post.

    Much love,


  3. My coping mechanism is a little different. Left alone in too much solitude I find my energy drops. If I head to one of my favorite cafes and write I seem to feed off the energy of buzzing by.

  4. The best coping mechanism is to be an extraordinary person and always try to think outside the box.

    When the going get tough be tougher and raise your head up never allow to sink just remain afloat

  5. Coping with stress of success?

    Usually just keep on at it, but for relaxation to counter stress I like eating out, drinking and reading paperbacks.

    Then occasionally (i.e. not often enough) getting a serious adrenaline rush from thrashing my sports car around a race track.

  6. 12 steps, helping others, making time to do nothing (or trying to do nothing – it’s a difficult art). Living part-time in Silicon Valley and part-time in NYC, so I can have the hectic city life (which feeds me creatively) or the mild, more outdoors-y California life depending on my needs. Truly amazing friends. Excellent therapy. Reviewing my personal and professional progress on a regular basis (it’s easy to lose sight of accomplishments when you don’t take time to celebrate or notice them). Laughing a LOT.

  7. Hugh

    Junction, Texas? Get yourself a copy of Jim Dent’s ‘The Junction Boys’ to get clued up on the town’s place in college football history.

  8. Oh… so you come from the city, and don’t know the horrors of being from a one-horse town… of being labeled by the illiterati, the pressures of trying to fit in in amongst the Joe’s BBQ’s folks that deride and berate you for knowing words of more that two syllables. And *READING* all those books. trying to get to the larger town where you can check out the ones that the minister will slyly insert into his sermon next Sunday. He sits on the library board, so there’s no hiding it.

    You and John Melloncamp are welcome to it. Stephen King knows something of the truth about corn fields and trailer parks and rural poverty.

    Nice attempt at glamorizing, though.

    • I grew up in the big city? Wow. You know nothing about me.

      Sounds like somebody is still haunted by their High School days 😉

      But that’s not the Good Folk of Junction, Texas’ problem.

  9. Motivating other writers.

    When I feel down-and-out and start to doubt myself I put my motivational abilities to the test.

    If I can sway one writer with my words, and give them a guiding hand back to the path of creativity, then that’s it, I know can do the same for myself.

    It’s a matter of perspective and perseverance, like most things in life.

    • Ryan, I feel the same way. When I write something that helps another writer find their path it gives me the energy to get back on my own direct path.

      And I think that we redefine failure and success throughout our careers.

    • Lonestar?? No! Bud Lite!

      And some of the others mentioned like good Tex-Mex & smoking.

      A good Aggie game is a nice diversion from time to time… when the broadcast them… when they have one!

      But the best one right now is great music & great beer at Zapato’s Cantina on Northgate.

  10. Success more complex than failure? I would like to find out about those complexities. I have a number of possible coping mechanisms in mind if I only had the success to use them. Right now, I’m treading water. Coping mechanism? Reading great books. Escaping into them. Disconnecting from everything else through the words of other writers.

  11. Great post.

    For me–

    1) living in a small town
    2) living simply
    3) books and art
    4) poetry
    5) good wine, good cheese
    6) yoga
    7) good friends
    8) writing

    I didn’t mean for good wine and good cheese to come before good friends. I actually like to have all three together.

  12. Try Cooper’s. The BBQ is better and it is closer to the highway and more gas stations. BTW, next time you are in Austin we will hook you up with some beef ribs at Iron Works downtown. Best beef ribs in Texas.

  13. Hello just thought i would let you know that i also had a issue with your blog appearing blank as well. Must be chimpanzees in the system.

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