This is a newsletter I send out maybe once a month. If you’d like to be on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.
This is so un–de rigueur in these days of concise communication, but here I am with a long, rambling newsletter to start off the new year.
Shelter is 50 Years Old!
In 1970, we printed 5,000 copies of Domebook One and began our publishing career. We’re trying to figure out if we should have some sort of event celebrating the occasion this year. We’re still rolling!
The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening
I picked up 12 copies of the just-bound book in San Francisco recently. The thrill is NOT gone! After a year of putting it together, page by page, not being sure how the whole would look, came the moment of truth — it, ahem, looks really good. The size, the colors, the soft cover. It seems friendly. From us to you, here’s how human hands have created shelter and food.
The shipment of 5,000 books is now on the high seas, heading from Hong Kong to LA, where they will then travel by truck to the Ingram warehouse in Tennessee. Books should be in bookstores in late February.
Shameless Commerce Department: We’re offering it on our website for pre-order, with free shipping. It won’t go out until mid-February or so, but pre-sales will help us with printing bills. www.shelterpub.com/building/halfacrehomestead
Here’s a link to how I did the book (this was in the previous GIMME SHELTER newsletter). www.lloydkahn.com/2019/11/the-half-acre-homestead-book-is-finished
The 40th Anniversary Edition of Stretching
I wrote the author, Bob Anderson, and suggested he add stretches for builders, waitresses, truck drivers, kids, and older people. We started talking. He said he and his wife Jean (who did the drawings) had sold 35,000 copies from a garage in Southern California. Wow! End result: We rented Bob and Jean a house on the beach here in Spring, 1980, and in 3 months, we did a complete revision of the book.
We did a first run of 50,000 copies, and the book took off, with Random House as distributor, selling madly. It’s been selling ever since, now over 3¾ million copies worldwide, and in 23 languages. As far as I can tell, it’s the best-selling fitness book of all time.
Tech Neck An important (and timely) addition to this new edition will be stretches to combat the bad posture caused by (1) cell phone usage and (2) working on computers.
Take a look at how bent-over people are when talking on their phones. It’s called “tech neck.”
The point is, we all spend too much time at screens of various sizes, and it’s not healthy. Not good for the body.
Want to take 30 seconds and stretch right now? shltr.net/stretch
Analog Tool in This Day and Age
We’re going to print up some self-adhesive stickers to go on the back of phones. You don’t have to turn on an app: just flip your phone over and take 10 seconds to s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
This is just a rough first copy of the sticker. It will also have drawings of bad and good posture.
The new book (and stickers) will be out by May, 2019.
Getting Out of One’s Comfort Zone
I was getting a massage from a Chinese bodyworker recently. She was working on my back and I asked her to go deeper. She did, and boy, did it hurt. But I knew that the pain comes from breaking up muscle adhesions. I learned this in reading the book Rolfing by Ida Rolf some years ago. When you’re injured, the body forms scar tissue, which links the myofascia (membranes) of one muscle to another. Rolfers break this up, and it hurts. But it gets the job done. Andy Crow, a Rolfer in the traditional method, once told me, “That’s not pain you feel, it’s the release of pain.” Sure enough, when he’d go back into the same area, even deeper, there was a lot less pain. After the deep Chinese massage, my back felt way looser.
This relates to getting in cold water. I’ve started swimming at the Aquatic Park cove in San Francisco again. The water yesterday was 53 degrees. Unlike most cove swimmers, I wimp out by wearing a thin (½-mil) O’Neill neoprene shirt and a hat. It’s painful when you first get in, but within a few minutes I feel OK, then start enjoying the swim. Right now I stay in 15 minutes max. I feel really good afterwards (helped out by an, ahem, Irish coffee across the street at The Buena Vista Café).
I think one of the clues to staying active as you get older is to push the comfort zone. It always pays off. The phrase “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” (Nietzsche) is kinda true. Not literally, but the idea is that you can push yourself into an uncomfortable zone, and your body will react by getting stronger. I used to notice, in finishing the Dipsea race, that I‘d feel like I was dying and then, in 5 minutes, I’d feel great.
It’s the principle of overloading the muscles in weight training. They get stronger, expecting the next challenge.
Holy shit! How did I get to be 84? From this vantage point (space in time), my 50s and 60s were golden years.
While my 70s were the years of getting joints repaired (2 shoulders, 2 knees, 1 wrist), the 80s have turned out to be a whole new octave. In a way, cool — to just be walking around. SU, or “still upright.” But strength, flexibility, cardiovascular functions are on the wane. A lot of the success at this age is dealing with this diminishment. But hey, no complaints. My mom, when she was in her 90s, would say, “Lloyd, I’ve never felt better in my life!”
These days, I’m hiking, paddling when I can, starting to swim in San Francisco. I haven’t completely given up on surfing, but getting from prone to standing up is a problem.
I’m Giving Up Skateboarding
I had a great encounter with a young local skater when I broke my arm. He pointed at my cast and said, “Respect.” It thrilled me.
I started skating at age 65 and did so for almost 20 years. So fun! I’m still kinda obsessed — every time I see a downhill with smooth pavement, I want to jump out and get rolling. But since I got hurt, my skating has gotten way more conservative, more tentative; it doesn’t feel fluid any more. If I worked at it, I could probably get my mojo back, but the 2-fold risk would still be there: pavement and cars.
I reluctantly took all the skateboards (well, almost all of them), and safety gear out of my car.
Am I mature or what?
Trip to Baja California Sur
Over and out,