“This is perfect,” I thought to myself, “I’m in a beautiful house surrounded by gorgeous nature, clearly this is an occasion to begin writing a masterpiece — a profound, career-defining work born of an isolated, personal connection with the natural world.” How could I not think that way? So many incredible works are written in solitary communion with the nature and oneself.

But what pressure, right? I mean, for fuck’s sake. What a goddamned aspiration, what a sight to set. So, by virtue of being near nature, I’m supposed to simply begin writing something profound? …


When I was younger, I loved superheroes, namely Batman. Before nerds come for my throat, I’m aware Batman isn’t Marvel — holster your angry thumbs. I loved Batman and continue to do so. I’ve even got the Joker and Harley Quinn tattooed in the art style of the Batman cartoon from my youth. So, to an extent, I bought into the superhero world. I kept up with the movies which came out with no particular frequency. I was a kid, even the dumb movies were good to me. …


It’s in our national anthem, it’s chiseled in stone, it’s known around the world — it’s our motto, our claim to fame as a country, I suppose. Perhaps at one time it was applicable, when it needed to be, but in the years since the American Revolution, that creed, that promise, has become a burden. To me, “land of the free and home of the brave” is an antiquated statement in every sense. It’s a nuisance, as you’ll see.

Starting with the first part of the phrase, “land of the free,” we already run into trouble. Or, I should say…


Hold on tight, I don’t know where this one is going. When I come up with writing ideas, I immediately write them in my phone’s notes so as not to lose the thought. These notes can be quite detailed, outlining just what it is I’m thinking about writing — generally, when the notes are thorough, I don’t even have to look back at them. The mere act of writing the notes engrains them in my mind. But other times, the notes I take for myself could not be more scarce or cryptic. The notes generally take the latter form, cryptic…


I wouldn’t call myself an optimist per se, but I certainly wouldn’t label myself a pessimist either. Generally, I lean towards what I would call cynical optimism. Cynicism is just a symptom of having open eyes. It’s difficult to look at the world, or just America, and feel something like pure optimism. Now, I’ve been feeling better about our outlook lately, but that’s not what this piece is about. No, I wanted to discuss the little victories that can stave off the cynicism, if only for a moment.

If you were to record yourself on a daily basis, what would…


It’s probably not surprising to know that I’ve never been in a fight. Verbal fights, yes, most certainly, though they’re to be avoided at all costs. But physical fights, I’ve managed to steer clear of those for 30-years now. I’m proud of that. And while I’m sure, to some, this signifies a weakness of character or betrays that I’m not a “real man,” I don’t care. Fighting is a mistake, not a solution.

First, the “real man” label is an embarrassment. Let those so concerned with masculinity and what it means to be a man live on their own island…


Things change as you age, and if you’re doing anything even remotely the right way, you’re growing as the years add up. I was giving some thought to artistry and how it can be affected by aging, how your tastes and proclivities can change, and so does your art. Specifically, I was considering artists who not only grew older, but as they did, their output only got better. But, it isn’t a given that you’ll become a better artist with age. …


Over the course of one rather abusive year, we all grew accustomed to isolation, and with it, introspection. Most of us did, anyway. There was almost no way around it. In those early months of isolation, I imagine that the terror still had its teeth in most of us. Rightfully so, it was new, there was so much we didn’t know. Hell, I even had the foolish idea that even though I detested former President Trump, perhaps it was time to act like an adult and trust our leader. …


I was driving on the highway as the verdict was about to come in. I was nervous that I would miss it, but then I remembered that AM radio exists. I tuned into NPR at the perfect time, the judge was just entering the courtroom. I listened nervously and attentively as I navigated the early-evening traffic. But then, the verdict was read: Derek Chauvin was pronounced guilty on all counts. I whooped and yelled in cathartic excitement, pounding the roof of the car, and gesticulating wildly. …


I write this for the stragglers, those stubborn hangers-on fighting the changing tide. You may have had your time at the top, where everything you did was celebrated, but times have changed; and sadly, you did not change with them.

I write this for those who never think they’re wrong, who blame everything on the people and world around them. Your ham-fisted, crass way of maneuvering through life has no place here anymore.

I write this for the has-beens who still think themselves vital to the public. Your waning influence is indicative not of a problem with society, but a…

Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Musician, Artist

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store