The Gist

I am Bobby Lehew: restive writer, ardent reader, daily brander, avid marketer, fledgling novelist, and reluctant poet. I am a frequent speaker, the Chief Branding Officer at Robyn, a SwagExpert, and a bibliomaniac. This site is my my personal workshop, idea laboratory, commonplace scrapbook, and playroom.


Bill Gates once wrote that ‘People overestimate what can be done in a year but underestimate what can be done in a decade.’ This site then, is also my decennial pursuit: an as-I-have-time-for-it foray into accomplishing a few creative goals over the next decade, goals that have been nagging me for years (my own little stay against confusion, an antidote to rotting in the wasteland of regret).

Even though protocol insists I ‘tell you who I am’ in this section, I do so with a disclaimer: you (and I) are far more complex than the sum total of our experiences. We are more than our titles, more than our careers, more than our familial roles, more than our failures, more than our successes, more than our cumulative social likeability and moreover, we have ‘an epic longing to be more than what we are’. [1]

However, since it seems few of us cannot contextualize without labels (myself included!) then I have completed this section with the resignation that if I am to be labeled, I suppose it is best that I do the labeling. Here is a larger patchwork quilt description in question-and-answer format, a brief attempt to provide a composite:

What’s with the branding iron?

I brand products for a living. I also grew up on a ranch. Branding (and with it, a disproportionate dose of western nostalgia) is in my blood.

Why do you have this site?

I wanted a central repository where I could publish any creation whether an essay, a miscellaneous thought, a photograph, a presentation, a book review, or even a poem. I also use this site as a place to post highlights from my adventures in reading (much like many use tumblr, facebook, or their ancient equivalent, the commonplace book). It is a motley collection as calico as its owner. (Skeptics and scoffers: please refer to my post, What Would You Tell a Twenty-Year Younger You?).

What do you write about?

Life as a digital and bibliophilic nomad. My daily dalliance with letters and literature. Productivity. Business. Marketing. Poetry. Creativity. Since my conversion from an annual to a perennial, I mostly tap out responses reflecting my awe of the world around me. I try to heed the words of Annie Dillard, ‘You were set here to give voice to this, your astonishment’.

Why is writing so important to you?

Writing is my preferred form of expression but I’ll defer to my elders: Cheever wrote ‘to try and make sense of his life’, both Joan Didion and E. M. Forster echoed a similar sentiment, ‘How do I know what I think until I see what I say?’ (a line Wallace Stegner cleverly uses in the opening of one of my favorite novels, All The Live Little Things). Don DeLillo echos the act of writing as a ‘concentrated form of thinking’. Flannery O’Connor stated similarly, ‘I write to discover what I know’ and Flaubert wrote ‘The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe’. But Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, sums up, for me, the reason for living at the point of a pen (or, keyboard):

‘On one side there is luminosity, trust, faith, the beauty of the earth; on the other side, darkness, doubt, unbelief, the cruelty of the earth, the capacity of people to do evil. When I write, the first side is true; when I do not write, the second is. Thus, I have to write, to save myself from disintegration. Not much philosophy in this statement, but at least it has been verified by experience.’

Yeah, but … poetry?

After years of nursing a private poetry obsession, I decided to go public. The worst that can happen is I’m labeled a flake, best that can happen is someone will enjoy my poetry. There is no money in poetry. Poetry and poverty are inexorably intertwined.


Any other obsessions?

I am an amateur (French: lover of) barista, a curious culinaire, and a music and art enthusiast (Greek: inspired by). Also a photog poseur (or, is that fauxtographer?). With the exception of the self-portrait on this page, all photos on this website were taken by me. But mostly, to the annoyance of those around me, I'm a word nerd.

Who are your favorite authors?

Wendell Berry, Willa Cather, Isak Dinesen, Jim Harrison, Wallace Stegner, Jorges Luis Borges, Annie Dillard, Graham Greene, Joseph Conrad, W. Somerset Maugham, N. Scott Momaday, John Donne, Rilke, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Frederick Buechner, Shusaku Endo, Czeslaw Milosz, Octavio Paz, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, John Kinsella

Don’t you think asking yourself questions and answering them is a bit smarmy?


Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal.’ To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. -David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again