AllBetter

"A Primary Source" with Chris Kelly

April 17, 2023 Joe Van Wie / Chris Kelly Season 3 Episode 57
"A Primary Source" with Chris Kelly
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AllBetter
"A Primary Source" with Chris Kelly
Apr 17, 2023 Season 3 Episode 57
Joe Van Wie / Chris Kelly

Chris is a columnist, blogger, editor, writing coach and old-school muckraker for The Times-Tribune. He received a degree in journalism and creative writing from Keystone College in LaPlume in 1997 and began his career with the Times-Tribune the same year. He has been a clerk, regional correspondent, police reporter, feature writer, general assignment reporter, columnist and editor.

Chris has won numerous awards, including eight first-place awards for columns from the Associated Press Managing Editors, the Keystone Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2014, he won first place for Distinguished Writing and first place for best columns in the Keystone Press Awards.

His coverage of local soldiers as an embedded journalist in Iraq won several reporting awards, and his five-page “Pilgrimage” special section about visits to the sites of the 9/11 terrorist attacks won second place for distinguished writing in all circulation categories in the 2004 Keystone Press Awards.

While covering Scranton neighborhoods in 1999, he was part of a team that won a Society of Professional Journalists’ Spotlight Award for investigative reporting for a series of stories examining drug activity at Village Park, a low-income housing development. The months of reporting revealed a grim scene of brazen drug trafficking, sporadic violence and terror against neighbors in and around the apartment complex.

Chris is from Beaver, a suburb of Pittsburgh. He lives in Dalton with his wife, Chrisann, senior technical editor for Times-Shamrock’s new media department, and their cats, Typo, Shadow, Smudge, Puck, Timmy, Silvio and Paulie Walnuts.

CKelly@timesshamrock.com

(570) 348-9100

Read his award-winning blog at timestribuneblogs.com/kelly


Please stop by ApplePodcast and give us a Rating and Review!

Leaders Of Long Term Recovery in Pennsylvania 

We combine proven recovery principles with new, innovative techniques to provide one of the most effective programs for young men in the country.

 Discussions on addiction and recovery. We interview clinicians/researchers, legislators, and individuals that include a variety of means to recovery. Joe Van Wie is a father, husband, filmmaker, and reformed media consultant in recovery. 

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As a treatment center, Fellowship House offers both residential and outpatient treatment services to

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Chris is a columnist, blogger, editor, writing coach and old-school muckraker for The Times-Tribune. He received a degree in journalism and creative writing from Keystone College in LaPlume in 1997 and began his career with the Times-Tribune the same year. He has been a clerk, regional correspondent, police reporter, feature writer, general assignment reporter, columnist and editor.

Chris has won numerous awards, including eight first-place awards for columns from the Associated Press Managing Editors, the Keystone Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2014, he won first place for Distinguished Writing and first place for best columns in the Keystone Press Awards.

His coverage of local soldiers as an embedded journalist in Iraq won several reporting awards, and his five-page “Pilgrimage” special section about visits to the sites of the 9/11 terrorist attacks won second place for distinguished writing in all circulation categories in the 2004 Keystone Press Awards.

While covering Scranton neighborhoods in 1999, he was part of a team that won a Society of Professional Journalists’ Spotlight Award for investigative reporting for a series of stories examining drug activity at Village Park, a low-income housing development. The months of reporting revealed a grim scene of brazen drug trafficking, sporadic violence and terror against neighbors in and around the apartment complex.

Chris is from Beaver, a suburb of Pittsburgh. He lives in Dalton with his wife, Chrisann, senior technical editor for Times-Shamrock’s new media department, and their cats, Typo, Shadow, Smudge, Puck, Timmy, Silvio and Paulie Walnuts.

CKelly@timesshamrock.com

(570) 348-9100

Read his award-winning blog at timestribuneblogs.com/kelly


Please stop by ApplePodcast and give us a Rating and Review!

Leaders Of Long Term Recovery in Pennsylvania 

We combine proven recovery principles with new, innovative techniques to provide one of the most effective programs for young men in the country.

 Discussions on addiction and recovery. We interview clinicians/researchers, legislators, and individuals that include a variety of means to recovery. Joe Van Wie is a father, husband, filmmaker, and reformed media consultant in recovery. 

Fellowship House
As a treatment center, Fellowship House offers both residential and outpatient treatment services to

allbetter.fm
Discussions on addiction and recovery. We interview clinicians/researchers, legislators, and individ

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.


Stop by our Apple Podcast and drop a Review!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/allbetter/id1592297425?see-all=reviews


Support The Show
https://www.patreon.com/allbetter

00;00;02;08 - 00;00;46;07

Joe Van Wie

Hello and thanks again for listening to another episode of All Better. I'm your host, Joe Family. Today's guest is a friend. It's Chris Kelly from the Scranton Times. Chris is a columnist, blogger, Ed writing coach and old school muckraker, The Times Tribune. He received a degree in journalism and creative writing from Keystone College in La Plume in 1997 and his career with the Times Tribune the same year he's been a Clark Regional correspondent, police reporter, feature writer, general assignment reporter, columnist and editor.


00;00;47;06 - 00;01;22;28

Joe Van Wie

Chris has won numerous awards, including eight first place awards for columns and the Associated Press, managing editors, Keystone Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2014, he won first place for distinguished writing in first place for the best columns and the Keystone Press Awards. His coverage of local soldiers as an embedded journalist in Iraq won several reporting awards in his first five page, filmic, rich special section about visits to the sites of the 911 terrorist attacks.


00;01;23;15 - 00;01;57;17

Joe Van Wie

One second place distinguished writing in all circulation categories in the 2004 Keystone Press Awards while covering Scranton neighborhoods in 1999. He was part of a team that won a society of Professional Journalists Spotlight Award and guest and investigative biologist reporting for a series of stories examining drug activity. Village Park, a low income housing development and months of reporting revealed a grim scene of brazen drug trafficking.


00;01;57;20 - 00;02;47;06

Joe Van Wie

Sporadic violence and terror against neighborhoods in and around the apartment complex. Chris is from Beaver, a suburb of Pittsburgh. That's in Dalton and his wife, Christine and senior technical editor for The Times. Shamrocks of New Media Department in a catch typo Shadow Smudge. Jimmy Silvio and Paulie Walnuts. Well, that's me, Chris. We have a range of topics discussing our own personal recovery, A.I., the future of journalism, motivation and romance from writers that promote nihilism, drinking, self-care in an age of cynicism and the collapse of critical thought.


00;02;47;28 - 00;02;51;19

Joe Van Wie

Let's meet Chris. Great.


00;02;52;03 - 00;02;53;05

Chris Kelly 

Great. Sounds good to me.


00;02;53;11 - 00;02;55;25

Joe Van Wie

Then one earmuffs. They turn out so intentional.


00;02;56;25 - 00;03;03;06

Chris Kelly 

No, it's not. Almost nothing I do is intentional. Anyway.


00;03;03;17 - 00;03;07;11

Joe Van Wie

Some technical adjustments with Chris Kelly. Chris, thanks for coming.


00;03;07;22 - 00;03;08;14

Chris Kelly 

Thanks for having me.


00;03;10;05 - 00;03;17;22

Joe Van Wie

I'm always afraid that the first 10 minutes of chat and with a guess that's interesting as you did, we talk about everything interesting in 10 minutes.


00;03;18;18 - 00;03;21;27

Chris Kelly 

And now you know you've made me nervous about being interesting.


00;03;21;29 - 00;03;32;26

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, well, I have no plan, so we'll have to find what's interesting. But I thought we could start in the personal note. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


00;03;33;29 - 00;04;03;04

Chris Kelly 

Wow. The best answer to that is when I was working an overnight shift at Sunrise. Sunoco in Beaver, Pennsylvania. Yeah, right. I remember vividly like being there, and we have these circulars for tire sales. And they were they were blank on one side. So I would sit there smoking hundreds of cigarets and and writing bad poetry on the back of those.


00;04;03;05 - 00;04;21;21

Chris Kelly 

You know, and there was that and there was, you know, writing letters to the editor of a local newspaper. And, you know, they got published and they'd call and say, Hey, man, you know, this is this is really good. So, I mean, I still I was you know, when I came here, I was supposed to be an art major at Keystone.


00;04;22;01 - 00;04;41;11

Chris Kelly 

And, you know, I came out I was living with my cousin and, you know, Woodrow Yeah. And, you know, the idea of, you know, submitting my portfolio was accepted and all that stuff. And, you know, it's always been assumed that I would be, you know, an illustrator or something like that. And I'm standing in the line to schedule my classes.


00;04;41;11 - 00;04;58;01

Chris Kelly 

And for whatever reason, I, I decided I wanted to be a creative writing slash journalism major. And I got into the other line and I registered and I came back, you know, I was living with war and they came back and said, You get registered and all that, you know, everything went okay. And I said, Yeah, yeah, but I'm going to be a creative writing major.


00;04;58;09 - 00;05;00;08

Chris Kelly 

I just looked at me like, you.


00;05;00;08 - 00;05;02;04

Joe Van Wie

Know, and it happened in that moment.


00;05;02;19 - 00;05;20;11

Chris Kelly 

I honestly, it was in that moment, you know, I had always loved to write and I don't know, I just had this really strong feeling that I should give it a shot. And I did. You know, it's just one of those it's another one of those great moments where you look back at the arc of your life and you're like, Yeah, yeah, something was there to guide me.


00;05;20;12 - 00;05;25;28

Joe Van Wie

Well, that's a maverick because you didn't seem in that moment you didn't need to consult with anyone or doing it. You know.


00;05;25;28 - 00;05;29;12

Chris Kelly 

I was your new civ. Yeah, it was really impulsive. Was like, I'm doing this.


00;05;29;12 - 00;05;30;16

Joe Van Wie

Impulsive, exciting.


00;05;30;28 - 00;05;51;03

Chris Kelly 

Thing. Well, that's the other thing. Well, you know, and it was also in my nature. What disastrous thing possibly do. And I'm getting a second chance at college. I have, you know, my my cousins are great guys. He's he's, you know, he's helped me get here. He's going to let me live with him. And, you know, I you know, this is my chance, right?


00;05;51;04 - 00;06;09;12

Chris Kelly 

I had blown things terribly back in my hometown of Pittsburgh and, you know, feels out of school the first time is the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. You know, like, I just you know, this was my chance. I think I was 27 and I was going back to college and this was it. You know, it's this is your last chance.


00;06;09;12 - 00;06;17;23

Chris Kelly 

You need to do this or you're going back to the warehouse or the factory line or whatever else for the rest of your life. And how could I really screw that up?


00;06;18;06 - 00;06;19;25

Joe Van Wie

Did you see the Deer Hunter before?


00;06;20;12 - 00;06;35;23

Chris Kelly 

My God, Like, how many thousand times? You know, and I don't know. Maybe that was it. Maybe I wasn't. You know, maybe I was looking just to, you know, to to make it to make a mistake or whatever. I was, you know, I'm very I've always been a very self-destructive person. You know, if I get a break, I want to ruin it.


00;06;35;23 - 00;06;38;14

Chris Kelly 

And, you know, that's what happened. But it worked out, right?


00;06;38;23 - 00;06;53;18

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, me too. Do you relate to any of the symptoms, I mean, of attention deficit disorder or ADHD? What? I don't know if it was, you know, spoke about by the time you were in high school.


00;06;53;18 - 00;06;56;11

Chris Kelly 

I missed all that. All the Adderall, all that really good stuff.


00;06;56;11 - 00;07;19;23

Joe Van Wie

I was like, first wave. And my mom didn't let me get medicated, but I read about it. I don't know if you'd find this interesting. Counter will this thing that rises up in people who have ADHD and it's almost Gabor Matty wrote a book called Scatter Minds and this counter Will is you think it's the only exercise in your liberty that you can have agency.


00;07;20;00 - 00;07;23;28

Joe Van Wie

Someone tells you not to pick up the pen. You pick up the pen because I'm free.


00;07;24;01 - 00;07;24;16

Chris Kelly 

That's right.


00;07;24;23 - 00;07;29;17

Joe Van Wie

But your choice was already made. It's like a paradox in it. Someone just made your choice for you.


00;07;29;19 - 00;07;31;19

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, right. That's true. And you'll see.


00;07;31;26 - 00;07;41;26

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. So I always felt impulse for me was an exercise in liberty. Even though it could be destructive. It was my choice. I'll deal with the consequences. My choice? Yeah.


00;07;42;05 - 00;07;52;17

Chris Kelly 

I'm going to do it. I'm going to take agency over the situation. And, you know, I never really cared if it was. In fact, most times I expected disaster and I was comfortable with that. I knew how to deal with it. Yeah.


00;07;53;08 - 00;07;59;28

Joe Van Wie

I don't think people talk about that enough. There's. You just said it, you're comfortable with the consequences are facing. And this is my road.


00;08;00;06 - 00;08;26;28

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean and you know, you just become, you know, your comfortable with the disaster. You're comfortable with bad outcomes. You know how to deal with those. I've never like, I'm one of those people who can't. I have a really hard time accepting praise, right? I mean, I don't know what to do with that. Yeah, but if you tell me what an asshole I am, you know what you know or how you know, useless I am as a reporter and a writer and whatever else, you know, I know how to deal with that.


00;08;26;29 - 00;08;30;18

Chris Kelly 

That's cool. It's almost like a balm. Yeah, for my soul. Well, I'm doing this right.


00;08;30;20 - 00;08;31;18

Joe Van Wie

I've done something.


00;08;31;18 - 00;08;32;26

Chris Kelly 

Right, Right, exactly.


00;08;33;02 - 00;08;54;28

Joe Van Wie

I like the artful way to call the diagnosis. Now, what a contrarian is. There's a diagnosis for it. It's called oppositional defiance Disorder. And I'm like, Oh, man, that's Robyn. The poetry of mavericks. We all need, especially in journalism, which I want to talk about at the end of this. But one thing I want to pry a little bit more about is writing so you have this interest.


00;08;55;01 - 00;09;19;15

Joe Van Wie

You make the decision and a line that you departed from graphic design to become creative writer. You're taking a path. Initially, what writing did appeal to you? Was it always journalism or like you said, you're writing poetry. Who would be the authors? Dead? These voices from the dead echoing up to you. Which one of them are? What are you drawn to initially?


00;09;19;16 - 00;09;42;17

Chris Kelly 

Well, I remember, you know, John Irving was what was my favorite, you know, novelist at the time. Probably still is. And, you know, I mean, I read a lot of his stuff. I read Stephen King and and, you know, some other things, maybe not, you know, and some Hemingway. And, you know, it was just you know, there was something about like I used to really I was down on Hemingway, I tell people, and I thought it made me sound smart, too, you know?


00;09;42;17 - 00;09;43;21

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;09;43;21 - 00;09;45;08

Chris Kelly 

You know, Hemingway types with his knuckles.


00;09;45;09 - 00;09;49;21

Joe Van Wie

I loved Cuba. That was the way to do it if you're in the film as well.


00;09;49;21 - 00;10;17;15

Chris Kelly 

And so, you know, but John Irving is in my favorite John. Everything book by far is a prayer for Alan Meany, which was made in a terrible movie called Simon Birch. But, you know, there's there's an economy in in Irving's writing that doesn't doesn't Rob is prose of a poetic expression. You know what I mean? It was like he hit that sweet spot in between too little and too much.


00;10;17;15 - 00;10;38;06

Chris Kelly 

And it just spoke to me. And, you know, I thought I just really fell in love with words when I was it was when I was younger, but it was always secondary to the art, you know what I mean? You draw, you paint, whatever you do. I think there was some kind of rebellion in that, too, because it was this other thing that I didn't have maybe such a natural aptitude for.


00;10;38;06 - 00;10;51;25

Chris Kelly 

But I really wanted I wanted to do that, you know what I mean? I saw it on the page. I saw that the is or, you know, you think about Stephen King. What's the what's the opening sentence of the Dark tower? It's like the man in black fled across the desert.


00;10;51;25 - 00;10;52;07

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;10;52;10 - 00;11;11;01

Chris Kelly 

Or, you know, and the gunslinger follows slinger. That's a perfect sentence, right? It says so much, it sets up the whole thing and there are others I can't really think of right now, but, like, just. I would read a sentence and I would feel. I guess I get a dopamine hit. Yeah. Or whatever. I'd feel that. And I was like, I want to do that.


00;11;11;01 - 00;11;29;14

Chris Kelly 

There was something a little bit it was, you know, was more difficult if you're drawing an image. Right? And especially from a young age, I have some artistic ability and you draw it and people would be like, Wow, man, you're really good at this. This is, you know, you're you're the best kid in the school, right? Yeah, I was never comfortable with that.


00;11;29;14 - 00;11;42;23

Chris Kelly 

Right? So then you go off to art school and everybody is good. It's good. Yeah. And they're most of them are better, you know? And it's like. It's like a car crash. It's like, boom, you know, What is this?


00;11;42;23 - 00;11;56;13

Joe Van Wie

We never talked about this. I, I had a similar path. Like, yeah, I wasn't excelling in grade school with academia, but I can draw, I can paint. I found refuge and doodling and just disappearing, and.


00;11;57;00 - 00;11;58;00

Chris Kelly 

You could just disappear.


00;11;58;03 - 00;11;59;11

Joe Van Wie

I was drawing and reading.


00;11;59;11 - 00;12;00;06

Chris Kelly 

In the summer.


00;12;00;29 - 00;12;28;11

Joe Van Wie

Wow. That's interesting. So with writing that draw, what what did you first practice? What writing like to where you are now? Editorial writing? What is keeping kind of the fourth institution alive in our region and county? Is it harder to write editorial or do you find it difficult to write What is first before you want to put a voice?


00;12;28;11 - 00;12;31;28

Joe Van Wie

How do you accurately say this is what happened?


00;12;32;06 - 00;12;33;28

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, well, it's it's reporting, right?


00;12;34;00 - 00;12;42;07

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. How do you how do you find the meet? Like, I've always wondered how people I've never talked distinctly to a reporter. Where do you find what is versus what you're like?


00;12;43;03 - 00;12;59;04

Chris Kelly 

Well, I mean, you know, I mean, there are things like documents and, you know, certain static things and facts, but, you know, you have to have sources and you get it's like 27, 28 years. Now, a lot of sources, a lot of people call me. But, you know, you have to be the first job in journalism to be accurate.


00;12;59;07 - 00;13;05;18

Chris Kelly 

You got to get it right. Right. And that's just the baseline. That's the bottom the bottom line. Get the facts straight.


00;13;05;18 - 00;13;05;26

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;13;06;20 - 00;13;28;03

Chris Kelly 

Before you even think about trying to, you know, decide what they mean or express what they what they mean. In your opinion, So much of opinion writing for a long time has just been some you know, some guy. Yeah well I think this Yeah sure right It's not there's no reporting involved. There's nothing It's just you know, this bloviating and and I understand that because it's easy to not to do anything.


00;13;28;03 - 00;13;42;20

Chris Kelly 

You just sit down to write what you think. That's not what I do know. And I've never and I've been blessed by editors who don't let me get away with that because, you know, it's not. And I have to I have editors. I have a really strong editor in Joe Buck, which I've been blessed with strong editors from the beginning.


00;13;42;20 - 00;13;48;07

Chris Kelly 

And, you know, it's not like I just pick something and, you know, pull it out of my ass and throw it in the paper.


00;13;48;10 - 00;13;58;11

Joe Van Wie

But you have you experienced heartbreak in a story? You definitely wanted to tell. You thought you saw the story clearly, but the sources weren't there. So that was it defeating. Yeah.


00;13;58;18 - 00;14;17;28

Chris Kelly 

It is defeating. And you want to help everybody? Sure. And sometimes you just can't. And sometimes you have to accept that. And that's an ego thing, right? I've learned that sobriety. It's it's you know, you want to wear the cape and you want to fix it. And, you know, you just sometimes you just can't. Or, you know, the situation is too complicated or you can't nail it down.


00;14;17;28 - 00;14;26;15

Chris Kelly 

I tell people all the time, you know, there's what I know and there's what I can prove and what I can publish. You know, they're not always the same thing, you know, And that's that can be really frustrating.


00;14;26;15 - 00;14;44;02

Joe Van Wie

But yeah, it can be frustrating for someone who isn't trained or like myself, when I see things or stories or gossip. I know personally that would never make it to a publication. But you know, there's an injustice somewhere and you're like, Man, why isn't the here's the real problem with it.


00;14;44;15 - 00;14;44;24

Chris Kelly 

Right?


00;14;44;24 - 00;14;45;15

Joe Van Wie

Oh, man.


00;14;45;21 - 00;14;47;17

Chris Kelly 

You're one of these idiots out of the paper. See that?


00;14;47;17 - 00;14;49;06

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, know, I know.


00;14;49;06 - 00;14;49;20

Chris Kelly 

It's okay.


00;14;49;26 - 00;15;08;08

Joe Van Wie

Like what? Like if you to to tie this off because I want it to go back. Like, if a layperson wanted to understand who shared my frustrations and what I just described, what is the standard before you go to press, how many sources like is there a formula that you're like, I meet this criteria. There is. And now I could.


00;15;08;08 - 00;15;27;18

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, there's a basic formula. For instance, I just use this as a, for instance, using unnamed sources. We don't do that unless and it's very rare that we do it, but it has to be confirmed by two other sources. It's not something like somebody tells you this and you're going to write for the end of the paper. I mean, you must again, accuracy is job one.


00;15;27;19 - 00;15;46;03

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, right. So I mean, there there are you know, we have written standards. We have, you know, and we have our own stylebook, that sort of thing. But yeah, it's not, it's not a fly by the seat of your pants thing. You know, there's a lot of things that, you know, often seem obvious to the public at large.


00;15;46;03 - 00;15;49;23

Chris Kelly 

Well, this is that this is what they should be doing. You know, you can't just.


00;15;50;03 - 00;15;50;29

Joe Van Wie

You know, no sources.


00;15;50;29 - 00;16;20;17

Chris Kelly 

You know, if you don't have a source, if you can't find a way in and that's what you're working on, you know what I mean? I've been blessed to have good sources, but I work for those. And, you know, the key to to, you know, finding and maintaining sources is is the work. And if somebody tells you something, somebody share something with you, slips you a document or something like that, you act right if you can you, you you for that story and you get it into print and they they see that you're someone who's not just going to sit on it.


00;16;20;19 - 00;16;30;22

Chris Kelly 

You're someone who's going to work for it. Yeah. Give you something else. And that's the way it is. And you never burn them. And you do your best to to make their tips, you know, to realize them.


00;16;30;25 - 00;16;45;26

Joe Van Wie

And that's what you do. Be perceived as almost betrayal. Like in the sense a source gives you a document, there's an injustice. They could be really close to whatever this Yeah, you know, the primary person involved and they don't see a print it is that's a scary position to be in if they're a whistleblower.


00;16;46;03 - 00;17;01;17

Chris Kelly 

Right, right, right. Yeah. And and you know, there are times when you know, it's going to take a little longer, you know, and everybody thinks that their problem is the worst problem. Sometimes it is. But, you know, there's a lot of work that goes into, you know, you know, this thing. Okay, So we have this thing. It needs to be revealed.


00;17;01;17 - 00;17;17;21

Chris Kelly 

Yes, it does. But we have to do the hard work of of of backing up the story, making sure it's true. You know, we have to gather the evidence. We have to do these things. And it frustrates a lot of people because, you know, I've had tips that, you know, I've been hanging around for years, but you can't if they have to be actionable.


00;17;17;25 - 00;17;33;20

Chris Kelly 

Right. And, you know, people get frustrated. They call up, they complain, they yell at you on the phone. But I mean, there's really you know, there's nothing I can do. I can't magically I lack subpoena power, For instance, you know, if I had it, my job would be a lot easier. Yeah. So, you know, it's things like that.


00;17;33;20 - 00;17;57;26

Chris Kelly 

But we we take our responsibility, too. It's that's one of the things that's great about this job, right? Because you do have a real platform. You know, the paper's been publishing since 1870, right? It's been owned by the line Integrity Family since 1895. You know, I'm part of that legacy and part of that mission. And, you know, and I'm really proud of that, you know, and and we all take it very seriously.


00;17;58;10 - 00;18;00;04

Chris Kelly 

We're doing what we can. Do you ever.


00;18;00;04 - 00;18;11;02

Joe Van Wie

Feel a weird position or is it just the economy of the times we live in that you're the only paper in this town. Do you get a lot of grief that there's only one voice in this town?


00;18;11;02 - 00;18;13;03

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, but that's been, you know, from the beginning.


00;18;13;03 - 00;18;15;04

Joe Van Wie

It's like 25 years now. 30 years?


00;18;15;04 - 00;18;35;14

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. Yeah. You know, And we did have, like, you know, we kept the Tribune going for a long time, but yeah, merge the two papers and we did have two staffs and, and all that stuff, but it's just economically, I mean it's, we're actually, you know, fortunate. I don't just mean the paper, but of the community that we still have a community newspaper because a lot of communities don't.


00;18;35;20 - 00;18;54;05

Chris Kelly 

Pittsburg Pittsburgh you know crazy right just you know and there are things that newspapers do that other people and this is not a knock on like television, you know, or anything like that. But there are things that we do that just nobody else does. They can't do it, especially television and limited in their format talk radio. It's just garbage.


00;18;54;11 - 00;18;55;05

Joe Van Wie

Now. It's madness.


00;18;55;18 - 00;18;57;21

Chris Kelly 

And you know, it's not there to inflame anyone.


00;18;58;05 - 00;19;17;16

Joe Van Wie

You know? Let's stay on that. Let's talk about that. Here's some of the consequences. Add to that, I see a paper doesn't cover w any PE, doesn't cover school board meetings, zoning meetings, county notes in this, this is where corruption could just flourish if they're not covered. Right.


00;19;17;16 - 00;19;40;15

Chris Kelly 

So well, they don't look at budgets. They don't they don't know the personalities. They don't know. You know, that's one thing that we have a lot of the paper still is institutional knowledge. Yep. You know, been around people. There's people who have been around longer than me. I you talked to Peyton McKenna, who's our editorial page editor. I mean, there's almost nothing that's happened in this town for the past 40, 50 years He doesn't know about, you know, and and that's the thing.


00;19;40;15 - 00;19;55;02

Chris Kelly 

I mean, we have people who have who are around building sources and building institutional knowledge for years. And we look at the things like the county budget and we know how much, you know, this thing costs and all that stuff. We can we can supply information other people don't even know how to find.


00;19;55;06 - 00;19;58;25

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, yeah. It's a it's a lost art. Besides, Google is.


00;19;59;08 - 00;20;00;01

Chris Kelly 

Google, right?


00;20;00;09 - 00;20;09;03

Joe Van Wie

Research in air, the rise of a I don't want to jump into that just yet but you being replaced by Yeah yeah it's it's wild.


00;20;09;03 - 00;20;10;15

Chris Kelly 

Skynet is what it is.


00;20;10;16 - 00;20;13;23

Joe Van Wie

Oh God. Yeah. I've seen this film. We've been in the film.


00;20;13;24 - 00;20;18;21

Chris Kelly 

Oh, my God. I, you know, I say this all the time. Haven't we been in this movie? Have we seen this film? What?


00;20;18;21 - 00;20;28;23

Joe Van Wie

I don't think the designers did like the first major film Metropolis. Yeah, it's the first story. It's this. Like, is this I going back to fucking with this?


00;20;28;23 - 00;20;48;24

Chris Kelly 

It's. It's Frankenstein. It's Godzilla. You know, biotech is Godzilla. It's, you know, and again, it's it's like the Jurassic Park thing. What is Jeff Goldblum's going to say? They were so busy figuring out whether they can do it, they didn't think about whether they should, you know. And I think, you know, now the voice of reason suddenly is Elon Musk saying, let's slow down.


00;20;48;26 - 00;20;57;13

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. And it's not him just attacking a competition. Yeah. I mean, I think the alarm is getting louder, but it could be too late even now.


00;20;57;14 - 00;20;59;12

Chris Kelly 

It's it's it's probably already too late.


00;20;59;12 - 00;21;07;03

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. So I don't think people really understand it because it's like the hard problem of consciousness. How do you know when a machine's deceiving you?


00;21;07;05 - 00;21;08;02

Chris Kelly 

You don't. You don't.


00;21;08;14 - 00;21;18;17

Joe Van Wie

And you can't find it in the code. But they already are writing codes. The air is generating its own self-learning code. They don't know what it is. They can't even read it.


00;21;18;26 - 00;21;42;17

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, I remember. Okay, so this is another it's as an aside, but I got to say this. I remember it was one of the The Lord of the Rings movies and it was, you know, it was a scene where they had that that giant, the giant battled the war, the Four kings, whatever it is. Yeah. Like they're all coming down just, just like endless seas of, of, of troops are coming down and meeting in the middle.


00;21;42;17 - 00;22;08;10

Chris Kelly 

Right. And you know, as a as a, as a visual effect, it was like it was unreal, right? So I never seeing a making of a documentary and they explained how they did those scenes and they created little air guys to go down. And in the film. Yeah. And so and fight. And what happened was they had a problem because some of their air warriors retreated.


00;22;09;19 - 00;22;10;27

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. Wow.


00;22;10;29 - 00;22;16;09

Chris Kelly 

They did. They recognized, right? They recognized what was ahead and they kept retreating.


00;22;16;09 - 00;22;22;09

Joe Van Wie

That wasn't too long ago. And there was a similar problem. They already were on to that idea from the the game quake.


00;22;22;19 - 00;22;23;13

Chris Kelly 

Oh, okay. Yeah.


00;22;23;14 - 00;22;39;07

Joe Van Wie

Quake's like a first person shooter game. You going to a reading Arenas and Deathmatch? It was a PC game pre X-Box and PlayStation. Well, one designer left the game running for 20 years. They all stopped because of the futility of the fight. And then we.


00;22;39;09 - 00;22;39;21

Chris Kelly 

Learned.


00;22;39;23 - 00;22;57;23

Joe Van Wie

Once a joystick was moved, they went back into this massive fighting. I think there's an idea there that, you know, if you ever read the paper, what is it like to be a bat? Was mangles hard problem of consciousness in the seventies and now a new paper guy that's pretty popular in the last 20 years.


00;22;57;23 - 00;22;59;12

Chris Kelly 

Nick Bostrom I don't know.


00;22;59;20 - 00;23;21;10

Joe Van Wie

He wrote the simulation theory. The probability. We live in a simulation. Yeah, he's yeah, he's an interest. He's fun to watch. He looks like a maniac genius. He wrote another paper. It's called The Paperclip. And so if you gave I see. Like he said, this is one problem you won't be able to stop. You tell A.I. to design the best paperclips.


00;23;21;10 - 00;23;28;14

Joe Van Wie

It might make the universe into a paperclip like it won't stop making paperclips at the cost of making humans paperclips. Like.


00;23;28;28 - 00;23;30;01

Chris Kelly 

Like it's a wire.


00;23;30;08 - 00;23;34;17

Joe Van Wie

But the paper, if you read it, it's like, Oh, wow, I guess I'd never considered this.


00;23;34;17 - 00;23;37;06

Chris Kelly 

I'm going to avoid that paper. Yeah, I don't want to know.


00;23;37;20 - 00;24;00;05

Joe Van Wie

Well, before we go into it, I rabbit hole. I'd love to keep talking. I wanted to address I guess the distinct question is when did you fully accept you had a disorder that would be called substance use disorder, alcohol use disorder, all old school alcoholism. But when did you realize this is this? I really have this.


00;24;00;24 - 00;24;24;01

Chris Kelly 

Oh, yeah. Years before I start, I tell you that. All right? Yeah. I mean, I actually became, you know, resigned to it. I you know, I'm an alcoholic. I mean, you get to a point where, you know, your your consumption and your behavior and your your trail of destruction. You know, the people around you and yourself can't really be ignored.


00;24;24;10 - 00;24;45;00

Chris Kelly 

Right. So what is this? Well, it's you know, it's alcoholism, right? Substance abuse disorder. And so, yeah, for a few years, I think probably four or five years until I finally, you know, reached the end of the line. Yeah, I know. And I felt trapped in it and I just was resigned to it. And he even found some romance in it every once in a while.


00;24;45;02 - 00;24;52;08

Joe Van Wie

Absolutely. I, I think many can understand that. How many attempts it was there failed attempts. Many.


00;24;52;13 - 00;25;11;13

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, they were all like I went to rehab twice. I mean, for the first first time I went to rehab was 98 and I was like, you know, 30 or whatever, and, you know, wasn't really ready for it. I don't think, you know, I wasn't really mature enough for it. And, you know, that's the thing.


00;25;11;13 - 00;25;34;27

Chris Kelly 

I came out here when I was like 27, right? And I went to Keystone. I was really successful. I got the internship at the newspaper, which turned into a job. And, you know, I had like, you know, I was part time of the cleric. I was part time correspondent. It was all these things worked my way up. I've actually had like every beat at the paper and I was like a utility guy who would fill in for other people, you know, Faith go, I was lifestyle's editor.


00;25;34;27 - 00;25;55;20

Chris Kelly 

Now, I always say this I I'm really she's she went out on maternity leave and I filled in for her while she was gone. So her daughter Olivia, who's now I think out of college but you know was my ticket. Right. And, you know, so suddenly I was, like, successful, right? I don't know what to do with that.


00;25;55;20 - 00;26;15;19

Chris Kelly 

You know what I mean? It's like and this is in humble bragging, right? I'm just saying, because they would say, you know, I kept getting like awards and stuff, Right? You know, I don't know. I mean, I'll tell you, in my all my awards, they're in boxes in the basement. That's where they are. You know, seriously, I don't know because, again, I don't know what to do with praise.


00;26;15;19 - 00;26;36;15

Chris Kelly 

And it was just like this, the struggle of it. So I had this, like, really strong imposter, you know, complex. And we're all egomaniacs with low self esteem. That's that's the attic. And, you know, so I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not really good at this, you know. Okay. And they will eventually figure that out and they'll bounce back to the factory or whatever else.


00;26;37;04 - 00;26;58;11

Chris Kelly 

And so I didn't enjoy any of it. And then I became then I started drinking, you know, much more heavily. But anyway, when I was out the first time, right. So I stayed sober for a little while. My life dramatically improved. I met my wife who was the love of my life. Work went really well. Everything improved once I got sober, but I couldn't deal with how positive everything was.


00;26;58;13 - 00;27;29;10

Joe Van Wie

I That's a strange thing. I think nonalcoholic people don't understand how sobriety looks like. It's producing all these good things. And maybe so. But alcoholism is really dangerous when alcohol is taken away like that. If that condition is not treated, the idea of an imposter syndrome I can relate to. I felt that every time I won an award I only had my ego just unmeasured like it almost made it comical how shameless I could be to promote myself.


00;27;30;08 - 00;27;52;06

Joe Van Wie

So there was a joke, but I really was thinking if someone believes that, maybe I will someday. Yeah. To be an imposter in your own life is the condition in this sense Like you can find alcoholism in that because. Right. The world's saying this or I'm being celebrated for an art or this, but it's not matching the internal dialog I may have now for what you're saying, 27 years.


00;27;52;06 - 00;27;52;13

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;27;52;23 - 00;27;53;01

Chris Kelly 

So.


00;27;53;10 - 00;28;09;23

Joe Van Wie

So this disorder starts long before you pick up a drink. It's it really rises up as a coping mechanism and you could call it addiction. It becomes that powerful. But what do you think alcohol did for you in the midst of that? What what what's it giving you that you couldn't give yourself?


00;28;09;26 - 00;28;32;03

Chris Kelly 

Numb me? Yeah, right. I mean it numb the fear. You know, I think that's 99% of substance abuse is about is about fear and about, you know, past trauma, stuff like that. But just, you know, for me it was like fear of being found out. This is not in my life. This is you know what I mean? You know, and I was playing a character, right?


00;28;32;04 - 00;28;47;15

Chris Kelly 

You play the character you need to be for each person that you see, but you lose who you really are and you never know, you know? And I didn't like who I was, right? I mean, the self, the self-loathing. It's like people think, you know, that guy's really an arrogant bastard. But the fact is, he hates himself more than you know.


00;28;47;16 - 00;29;03;10

Chris Kelly 

I mean, I used to think that would be, you know, it was like, you know, the anonymous comments on the in the bottom of my column and all this stuff was I don't read anymore. But like, I used to read those and relish them. Yeah. You really know if you only knew what a rotten bastard I really am, you know, And it just feeds it, right?


00;29;03;10 - 00;29;10;00

Chris Kelly 

And it, you know, and I hate to use the word, but my father used to say that I had I have an endless supply of fuck you.


00;29;10;07 - 00;29;10;19

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;29;10;19 - 00;29;11;27

Chris Kelly 

Right. And he said it's going to hurt me.


00;29;11;27 - 00;29;14;06

Joe Van Wie

My name is right and list supply.


00;29;14;06 - 00;29;27;05

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. Yeah. You know, you just that's, that's your response to everything. And it's not going to serve you well in life. And you know, there have been times when it has. Yeah, sure. But yeah, mostly he was right. Yeah.


00;29;27;21 - 00;29;41;14

Joe Van Wie

It's funny. From one character to another when I first had a good rapport with you before I knew recovery, we'd have smokes in an alley. And I'm like, Oh, he's like me. We're playing like, Yeah, I knew I was amongst a.


00;29;41;14 - 00;29;45;03

Chris Kelly 

Peer the same way.


00;29;45;03 - 00;29;57;20

Joe Van Wie

So when did recovery entering recovery for you become meaningful? When did you realize, Oh, this could be recovery? There is relief in recovery. What was the change?


00;29;57;20 - 00;30;24;00

Chris Kelly 

Well, this time around, I think the change was, you know, an additional 20 years of you know, of self-abuse and, you know, and the, you know, in harming others in, you know, emotionally and and professionally, maybe, I don't know. But like, I just you know, I was I was 51 and, uh, I had, you know, really quick, you know, I thought I was having a heart attack.


00;30;24;00 - 00;30;42;18

Chris Kelly 

It was like Memorial Day and was convinced I was having a heart attack. The rest me down to mercy. And this is before this this is after all that anxiety attacks that we thought that was back in the day. So, you know, and they decided they're going to scope my heart. My, my, my heart. Expulsion rate was 24%.


00;30;43;02 - 00;30;56;12

Chris Kelly 

Right. They're going to go my heart. They go in there. They're expecting to find all kinds of plaque and all that stuff. And, you know, I gave I signed the thing, put stents and whatever you got to do, they went in there. There's no plaque. There was no plaque. It was I was killing the heart muscle with alcohol.


00;30;56;27 - 00;31;15;14

Chris Kelly 

Oh, wow. Chris. Yes. Well, so scared the shit out of me. So I had to sit on my wife and I was like, I'm done right? And and especially so all got together. I said, Look, if you don't stop drinking, I'd be dead inside of you here. They told me that this is a clinical people these. So I was.


00;31;15;24 - 00;31;44;04

Chris Kelly 

I'm done right. I went home and I stayed sober for three days. And that Sunday at 8:00 in the morning, my wife caught me chugging cheap vodka, you know, in the garage. And I have never and I hope I never do experience that kind of shame. And guilt and failure. The look on her face I will keep in my mind's eye for the rest of my life.


00;31;44;23 - 00;32;04;02

Chris Kelly 

And that was the first moment. And I said I had to go upstairs. I called my worth. I went right over there Tuesday. Soon they had a bet. And then there was another turning point, which was and I went and I was done. I was crushed. That's what happens. You get beaten into a you know, to a sense of, you know, yet.


00;32;04;02 - 00;32;26;13

Chris Kelly 

So I they have this thing where they have your someone from your family writes a letter, right. It's kind of like that show. Yeah. But much more personal and you know, like my wife wrote this letter basically saying, look, if you don't take this chance, I got to let you go. Right. And I know know how difficult it was for her to write that letter.


00;32;26;13 - 00;32;47;14

Chris Kelly 

And have you read it in your small group. And I have never I think what I think I cried every year that I that I had welled up over like my life. And it was in that moment that I said, this is going to work this time. This this is it. Because this woman I mean, you know, you go into rehab, right?


00;32;47;16 - 00;33;05;10

Chris Kelly 

And there are people there who have lost everything. They've lost their jobs, they lost their families. Some of them are going to jail when they get out of there. Right here I am. I'm a guy getting the second shot at rehab, still have my job, still have my wife, my God, the love of my life. I still have her.


00;33;05;10 - 00;33;27;16

Chris Kelly 

Everything I've lost almost nothing, right? Yeah. Who am I to piss on that? I can't do that. Right? And so it was just. And it did, you know, once I once I made that decision, Robert Downey Jr says this. You know, it's not hard. You just have to make the decision. And I think in that moment I made the decision and the benefits, the peace, right?


00;33;27;16 - 00;33;38;24

Chris Kelly 

It just kind of clicked. It's like, yeah, and it washed over me. I'm safe, I'm committed, and I just have to listen to these people and do what they, they say.


00;33;38;24 - 00;33;40;09

Joe Van Wie

Suggest to.


00;33;40;12 - 00;33;40;27

Chris Kelly 

Do what they.


00;33;40;27 - 00;33;43;26

Joe Van Wie

Tell me. Yeah, right. We suggest you don't drink cyanide.


00;33;43;26 - 00;33;50;02

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, right, exactly. And so, you know, but, you know, I mean, this is I'm a person who drank vodka for breakfast.


00;33;50;02 - 00;33;50;21

Joe Van Wie

For a few. Yeah.


00;33;50;24 - 00;33;58;25

Chris Kelly 

So, you know, but it was then and I and I thank God for it. I mean, it's just there was a moment of clarity. Yeah. You know, you have a few of those.


00;33;59;00 - 00;34;24;02

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, they don't. They sound like they're instantaneous. They're not. They took that long, and I don't want to be more of it, but I really do have sort of, like, obsessed with death. You. You have anxiety. I've experienced anxiety attacks, So I'm talking from a place of relating this in deep regret and that I was going to die without that.


00;34;24;02 - 00;34;44;04

Joe Van Wie

Like, was there a deep dive in regret that you were describing of what life is without you like it moved on? What regret like I could see it in your eyes when you were talking to me. I think alcoholics have that consideration. You finally realize, Oh, I can't believe and this is what I've left. Yeah, and I think you've experienced that in the garage.


00;34;44;28 - 00;34;49;26

Joe Van Wie

Were you? Was that the first time you possibly considered. Oh, this is what death would really look like?


00;34;50;05 - 00;35;11;10

Chris Kelly 

No, I. Well, I mean, maybe. I think I would get, you know, of course I'd be alone in the garage, brooding, you know, drinking and smoking and, you know, just a you know, like I said, at some point, I romanticize that. One of my favorite poems is called Cherry Log Road. And it's I can't remember maybe Shel, I can't remember who wrote it.


00;35;11;10 - 00;35;17;24

Chris Kelly 

But the last line is wild to be wreckage forever. And that's what it was. Yeah, right.


00;35;17;24 - 00;35;18;12

Joe Van Wie

Repeat that.


00;35;18;12 - 00;35;36;25

Chris Kelly 

What is wild To be wreckage forever? Well, they sped up and sped down. Cherry log road, wild to be wreckage forever. And. And that was me. I was like, you know, you know, I'd romanticize. This is how I die. This is how goes, man. You know what I mean? And I'm going to burn it, you know, all the way.


00;35;37;04 - 00;35;57;24

Chris Kelly 

You know, it was like when I was waiting to get my ride over to Maurice because I had a friend take me over, you know, and I was, you know, standing in the garage waiting for a guy to take me over to tomorrow's earth. And I was I was talking a couple of pints of cheap vodka. We should I'm riding this tragedy all the way to the door, you know, because I just couldn't stop it.


00;35;57;24 - 00;36;14;02

Chris Kelly 

Right. And I didn't. And there was a part of me that didn't want to because I hated myself, you know, I thought life's never going to get any better than this. I'm stuck in this trap and I'm just going to I'm going to ride it to the grave. And I'm sorry, Chris. You'll be better off without me. Everybody be better off with me out of the way, because I'm not going to change, you know?


00;36;14;02 - 00;36;26;00

Chris Kelly 

I mean, I tried. I can't do it. And yeah, so, I mean, everybody I thought, you know what? You get to a point where it's like, you know, life is misery, right? All the time.


00;36;26;01 - 00;36;27;28

Joe Van Wie

You go the suffering. Yeah.


00;36;28;22 - 00;36;46;06

Chris Kelly 

Right. And then you look at it, you know, you step outside of it for me, like, God, why? Why am I so miserable? I have this great life, everybody, you know. And of course, everybody looks at me like, Wow, this guy has everything, blah, blah, blah. And so then you hate yourself for not being grateful, not being happy about it.


00;36;46;06 - 00;36;47;23

Chris Kelly 

It's this endless, the vicious.


00;36;48;01 - 00;36;48;17

Joe Van Wie

It doesn't make.


00;36;48;17 - 00;37;05;19

Chris Kelly 

Sense. The cycle of alcoholic insanity or, you know, addictive insanity. And and, you know, it just becomes miserable. I used to drink. I used to tell people and it's true. It was true in the beginning. I used to drink to slow my head down. Right. Isn't a ADHD thing, right? Me too. I've been diagnosed a hundred times since.


00;37;05;28 - 00;37;26;00

Chris Kelly 

Right as an adult. Right. But. But I drank to slow my head down. And that was true in the beginning. Right. And but then, you know, I drank to numb myself. And it's like there's a great John Hiatt song where he says, you know, one day that drink by little misery at the corner store, but one day that train of pain won't stop no more.


00;37;26;09 - 00;37;39;29

Chris Kelly 

And that's what happened. It just there was no relief. There was no you know, I didn't get buzz and I didn't get numb. It was just ache. Yeah, constant ache with, you know.


00;37;40;01 - 00;37;41;14

Joe Van Wie

And alcohol didn't take it.


00;37;41;14 - 00;38;02;27

Chris Kelly 

Away. Didn't take it away. Didn't work anymore to tell people that alcohol worked for me until it did not functioned or the high functioning alcoholic, which is a load of shit too. Yeah, sure. But I really did get through some really challenging, particularly in my career points by numbing myself with booze. You know, that whole affair when I was going to work for Kathleen Kane, you know.


00;38;03;07 - 00;38;12;29

Chris Kelly 

Oh, I forgot about that. You know, that was a that was crazy, you know, Thank God I you know, I stayed at the paper in the end. But anyway, that's a whole other story. But that's.


00;38;12;29 - 00;38;13;25

Joe Van Wie

Alcoholism.


00;38;14;10 - 00;38;35;09

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. And, you know, and I just, you know, I just drunk, you know what I mean? I you had to know because this, you know, here I am. Okay? I'm this guy who lucked out, got this amazing job at the newspaper, Right? And it's like I'm a fraud. They don't know, but they're still buying my game. Right? And who am I to jump from that?


00;38;35;17 - 00;38;52;06

Chris Kelly 

This, you know, this blessing? You don't deserve to try this other thing. What's wrong with you? You know? And then you find out that the attorney general is going to jail pretty soon, you know, or probably his. Right. And he can't go there. What have I done? You know what? I you know, I've been given this amazing life and I'm just throwing it away.


00;38;52;06 - 00;38;55;04

Chris Kelly 

It's just me again. It's old Chris. Let's destroy everything.


00;38;55;04 - 00;38;55;27

Joe Van Wie

Switch lines.


00;38;56;12 - 00;39;17;12

Chris Kelly 

And your mansion to the ground, you know, And. Yeah, so I was I had and I, you know, it was just constant psychic, emotional pain and fear. And I do whatever you have to to shut that off because you still have to function. It's like, you know, I can't get I can't go into one of those depressions where I just stay in bed for a week.


00;39;17;12 - 00;39;24;25

Chris Kelly 

Can't do that. I don't have that luxury. So whatever I need to do to keep myself going, that's what I did.


00;39;25;05 - 00;39;32;06

Joe Van Wie

Well, novelty is powerful. It's not. Especially if you're in pain. Yeah, it's a solution. Immediate. Oh, yeah.


00;39;32;06 - 00;39;32;19

Chris Kelly 

Yeah.


00;39;32;25 - 00;40;05;10

Joe Van Wie

I. I've done similar things. I want to go back real quick to the idea first. That is like this solace that you're going to be an alcoholic. How do I manage hurting less people? I've been in that position, but, you know, my friends, my generation in years, people who find the romance in a Bukowski. Yeah. Address thousand you know maybe they're you know half a writer but it indulges them that this lifestyle could be you're free or you're free to be yourself.


00;40;05;10 - 00;40;34;03

Joe Van Wie

You ended that by saying life is suffering and this is like the premise of Buddhism. What I don't think alcoholics consider is that, yeah, life is suffering. Life is hard, but it doesn't have to be as hard as the problems I keep manufacturing from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed right. A lot of them, my anxieties, you know, if traumas happened when I was younger, why do I keep experiencing manufacturing them for the next 30 years in my head?


00;40;34;04 - 00;40;43;10

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. Or designing my relationships to fail because I'm going to let you down. I couldn't see that. I thought the world was causing my suffering.


00;40;43;12 - 00;40;44;07

Chris Kelly 

Oh, yeah.


00;40;44;07 - 00;40;52;17

Joe Van Wie

Sure, I that was profound to me. It wasn't to people around me. It was profound for me to find out, Oh, I'm like, I could stop this.


00;40;52;17 - 00;41;13;20

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. And you're not the center of the universe, so, you know. Whoops. Yeah, right, exactly. It's all about you. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I totally relate to that. And, you know, I. But I had the, you know, the the extra handicap, not feeling like I deserved anything. Like, it wasn't like I felt an Enfield cheated, right? I felt like I didn't deserve it.


00;41;13;20 - 00;41;14;11

Joe Van Wie

A Catholic.


00;41;14;11 - 00;41;17;02

Chris Kelly 

We race cars. Oh, I'm a Presbyterian. Well, we.


00;41;17;02 - 00;41;22;03

Joe Van Wie

Welcome you you you're perfectly prime for Catholicism. I deserve nothing. We'll give you nothing.


00;41;22;04 - 00;41;42;20

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, right. And I should be happy with it. And, you know, I just really. Well, I learned to fail like that, you know? But not that. Not in the positive way. When I was younger, I remember I was. I think I was in third grade, and they took me to a psychologist, the school see the psychologist, and they said I was gifted at high IQ.


00;41;42;20 - 00;41;43;18

Chris Kelly 

I don't know what the number.


00;41;43;18 - 00;41;43;28

Joe Van Wie

Sure.


00;41;44;10 - 00;42;02;24

Chris Kelly 

So they told you you're going into the gifted program, right? So what? You know, what's that I had? Because I had, you know, I excelled in school through the third grade and suddenly they take you over and they put you in the small group of kids and they say, you know, you're a genius, essentially. Right. And I think the message I heard was, I don't have to work for this.


00;42;02;24 - 00;42;21;12

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, right. Dial it and then. Right. And then it started to tank and suddenly there was all this criticism and I didn't understand it. I didn't know how to deal with it. And it just it went that way. And I ended up being, you know, the kid who, you know, was such, you know, such a smart guy wouldn't apply himself.


00;42;21;26 - 00;42;47;28

Chris Kelly 

And, you know, couldn't couldn't concentrate and, you know, and then barely graduated high school, you know, But you can draw you can draw, you know, I mean, it was it was like that. I mean, I just and and there are other failures and I can think I can still see them. There are mornings when I wake up and I can remember an insult from like my Pop Warner football coach right out of nowhere, this long dead guy.


00;42;48;18 - 00;43;09;10

Chris Kelly 

And the thing I think that makes it sting is that I deserved it. So some criticism is deserved. That's the stuff that bothers you. That's why you get to really get their backs up in an argument. It's because the other person that said something that's true. Yeah, it hurts. It hits and it hurts, you know, to me. And I'm 55 years old now, right?


00;43;09;18 - 00;43;16;29

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, Come on. But those things are still in there. They still swim around and they're waiting and they're part of It's the disease. Hey, what about this?


00;43;16;29 - 00;43;33;25

Joe Van Wie

I had an old sponsor. I don't know if you remember Bruce. He lived downtown. Looked like Santa Claus. Used to put him in ads. Yes, Yes. He's the guy that, you know, he's my first connection to 12 step or peer to peer organizations or I would have never he he pulled me out of one. It's like, I know who you are.


00;43;33;25 - 00;43;48;10

Joe Van Wie

And he's like 65 and I'm like 16 at that. That's that was my first connection in the room. But he used to say, if someone called you a plate, you would just be confused or concerned for them and walk away. But when they call you an asshole, you're like, you're like, Who the fuck told you?


00;43;48;20 - 00;43;58;24

Chris Kelly 

How do you know this? For me, it's like, Oh, you want to see an asshole, you know, Because if it's going to come down, if it's an asshole contest, I'm going to win. I wasn't with it.


00;43;59;00 - 00;44;02;27

Joe Van Wie

I wasn't showing you that. How did you find that out? How do you know this exactly?


00;44;03;14 - 00;44;04;29

Chris Kelly 

Let me show you how right you are.


00;44;05;20 - 00;44;21;03

Joe Van Wie

Well, in the context of recovery, you know, you have a career to be very proud of. Even during active addiction. You've been a great voice in the area and you've stuck to your guns and you picked really big fights in and you know.


00;44;21;04 - 00;44;24;25

Chris Kelly 

Well, of course, that's my in a suicide bomber that's with my wife.


00;44;24;25 - 00;44;30;28

Joe Van Wie

But you're the you're the role in the hive like so you see you're suffering caused from that. Who else is going to do it like I didn't.


00;44;31;14 - 00;44;52;08

Chris Kelly 

So it's a blessing, right? Yeah. I mean it's a it's a it's it's a role that, you know, has been carved out for me over years. And, you know, I was there. I did some of the work, but I have you know, I've been blessed by, you know, a company that stood by me many times. I could have fired me about it.


00;44;52;08 - 00;44;56;28

Chris Kelly 

I used to joke with Bill O'Reilly say, you should have fired me when I had a chance. You know what I mean?


00;44;56;28 - 00;44;58;12

Joe Van Wie

Like you're now at the.


00;44;58;12 - 00;45;17;15

Chris Kelly 

Time, right? You know? Yeah, right. But like, you know, they could have fired me from again and many, many times. And they, you know, they didn't and they stuck by me and, you know, so it's it's build. It's been like a conversation really with with with the audience over the years. And, you know, and the interesting thing is, I mean, I was I was convinced.


00;45;17;23 - 00;45;29;24

Chris Kelly 

Right. That I could not write unless I drank, you know, I bought, you know, all that stuff. I loved Tennessee Thompson, I love Bukowski, all that crap. And now I'm calling it crap now because it's garbage. Yeah, but not the writing.


00;45;29;24 - 00;45;32;27

Joe Van Wie

But no, I understand that romance.


00;45;32;27 - 00;45;33;27

Chris Kelly 

The romance of death.


00;45;33;27 - 00;45;35;19

Joe Van Wie

Let's all. Man, that's a mental illness.


00;45;35;19 - 00;45;46;21

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, It's all sit around and, you know, black turtlenecks and berets and, you know, smoke. Campbell, Brown Scots or gin. No, it's bullshit. That's how you end up in the closet with a shotgun in your mouth.


00;45;46;27 - 00;45;49;04

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. All the people who didn't get published right.


00;45;49;04 - 00;46;11;04

Chris Kelly 

And all those people right? Or if Scott Fitzgerald, you know, lived a miserable, horrible alcoholic life, wrote some of the great literature ever. You know, the plays are unbelievable, but it was all, you know, pain. It's all pain, right? And now it's you know, that was that was his muse. But it's also you know, it's the allure of that is really destructive.


00;46;11;04 - 00;46;29;19

Chris Kelly 

I mean, for me now, it's like I even bristle at I don't want to get back to what I was saying, but like I even bristle at the idea of life is suffering. It's really not. I don't think it isn't. Yeah, life is really good for me right now. No, I can make it as hard. Like you said, I can make it as hard as I as I choose to on a on a on a given.


00;46;29;19 - 00;46;32;29

Chris Kelly 

But I have the choice. You know, I had no choice when I was driving you.


00;46;32;29 - 00;46;45;23

Joe Van Wie

Even awareness to awareness gives you just choice. Exactly. I didn't even have the awareness when that rose. I saw that I was like, Yeah. And it's painful to think like, because there's regret. Like the idea.


00;46;45;23 - 00;46;48;12

Chris Kelly 

Is more expensive than regret. Yeah, I've learned that.


00;46;48;12 - 00;47;02;02

Joe Van Wie

And it's a weird idea. Like, just in reality, regret relies on you thinking there was all your possibilities, right? Sure. So this other timeline could exist where I. What made it do? What the fuck is that? Because it doesn't exist.


00;47;02;02 - 00;47;02;28

Chris Kelly 

Any doesn't The.


00;47;02;28 - 00;47;32;10

Joe Van Wie

Word can't be applied in reality. Like if there's no where, you could say that's a possibility. Yeah. It's only what happens. Yeah. If that freaks me out, I could. I could rely on probability. Yeah, sure. When I wrote My Life Down and you wrote that apology letter, this is creating a probability that I could start making decisions with the expectation that, wow, I could get a different result if I try a different way.


00;47;32;10 - 00;47;45;26

Joe Van Wie

And for the beginning of my recovery was kind of trusting other people at first. That was that was my spiritual awakening was I got so close to people, I allowed them to change me. I trusted That's it. Yeah, that's.


00;47;45;26 - 00;47;50;23

Chris Kelly 

It. That's true. Because you know your best thinking. Got you. Yeah. I mean.


00;47;50;24 - 00;47;52;08

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. What a pistol in my mouth.


00;47;52;08 - 00;48;10;25

Chris Kelly 

Right? Right, exactly. So maybe we should just listen to other people who care about us and, you know, accept that they do and, you know, follow their suggestions where they're what's right of me. And, you know, I was I was just about to say it's like. So I was convinced I could not could not write without it. I couldn't do this job without without alcohol.


00;48;11;07 - 00;48;26;07

Chris Kelly 

What I've learned is I do it better than I ever did. I can go back and look at old things and say, Man, that's pretty purple. I didn't need to go there. Sure. You know, I don't mess around with that because it's gone. It's done. One of the things I like about my work that it's archived, it's all there.


00;48;26;07 - 00;48;31;05

Chris Kelly 

You can go back and look at it if you want to. I don't I don't do that. Maybe I want to some day.


00;48;31;05 - 00;48;32;17

Joe Van Wie

I do it weekly. Yeah. Where?


00;48;32;17 - 00;48;56;20

Chris Kelly 

For you. Okay, well, it's great. But here's the thing about it, though. And and this is the tricky thing. It's been in sobriety, as is. My job tends to reward my worst character traits, you know? I mean, and it's. And it's really helpful. I have a great sponsor. I have a great editor who understands my disease, I think, and gets me.


00;48;57;12 - 00;49;19;16

Chris Kelly 

But, you know, like back when, you know, the awards thing and all that stuff, man, you know, here's another award drunk columnist. Here's you know what I mean? It gets reinforced. And sometimes you have to be, you know, in this role, you have to hurt feelings and you have to, you know, and that was one of the reasons when I came out of rehab this time, I, I, you know, I people didn't like this lot of you on the program were really pissed off that I did it.


00;49;19;16 - 00;49;21;13

Chris Kelly 

But I told people where I was and what I was doing.


00;49;21;21 - 00;49;26;12

Joe Van Wie

You know, I wasn't. And I think anyone who has a it's different generations.


00;49;26;12 - 00;49;27;08

Chris Kelly 

It is a generation.


00;49;27;08 - 00;49;28;16

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. It's a generational thing.


00;49;29;02 - 00;49;42;04

Chris Kelly 

But I needed to be able to point a finger at myself if I'm going to make my living pointing fingers at other people. Yeah, I need to hold myself accountable. Awesome. That's it. You know, accountability. I also wanted to remove the back door to. Right? Because, you know, I.


00;49;42;07 - 00;49;51;14

Joe Van Wie

Think in any spiritual culture that's led from Christian Judeo, even ancient ones, most of your iniquities and you'll have strength. Yeah. And you're sincere.


00;49;51;15 - 00;50;08;04

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. I had to be I had to say it I, you know, and that was the thing so it was, you know, there was I suppose a selfish element to it, but it really was about I can't, I can't be phony anymore, I can't do that. That's, you know. Yeah. Rigorous honesty. Right. When I went into more work than they had done in the meeting room and it was on the whiteboard.


00;50;08;04 - 00;50;10;05

Chris Kelly 

Right. Those two words, they were terrifying.


00;50;10;08 - 00;50;10;19

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;50;10;21 - 00;50;27;03

Chris Kelly 

This is honesty, man. Not something I ever wanted to have. And, you know, and when you do your first step and you have to take that personal inventory, man, that was another great turning point for me because for the first time in my life, my sponsor said this to me. He said, You know, this is probably the first time in your life you're going to be honest with yourself.


00;50;27;10 - 00;50;32;21

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, with yourself, right. And and it was and it just it's a weird idea.


00;50;33;00 - 00;50;34;14

Joe Van Wie

You're honest with self.


00;50;34;14 - 00;50;38;01

Chris Kelly 

That's to this to people. Right? Exactly. And it is.


00;50;38;08 - 00;50;45;03

Joe Van Wie

Carl Young you know, early friend of, say, Alcoholics Anonymous. Yeah. He said there is a second self It's the shadow.


00;50;45;19 - 00;50;46;17

Chris Kelly 

Yes. And that's.


00;50;46;17 - 00;50;59;25

Joe Van Wie

It. And then the more you hate it, the more it'll destroy your life. And my shadow. You know, I've read different variations of it, but six, six year old, it's in a lot of pain that I deny exists. And he keeps showing up. He's like, Oh, you got to fucking hate me.


00;50;59;25 - 00;51;00;18

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, mine's.


00;51;00;18 - 00;51;02;14

Joe Van Wie

15. Let me take the wheel for a little bit. Yeah.


00;51;02;21 - 00;51;08;08

Chris Kelly 

Right. And then the whole idea of like when you when you get sober, you go back to the age you were when you start.


00;51;08;09 - 00;51;09;02

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, Really?


00;51;09;05 - 00;51;18;21

Chris Kelly 

They're called crazy from lower to you pick me up. And I said, you know, you're 15 year olds ready to come home, you know? Yeah. Stop. I get it. Go get an Xbox and some.


00;51;19;07 - 00;51;20;05

Joe Van Wie

You know, that's awesome.


00;51;20;12 - 00;51;36;23

Chris Kelly 

Because I was like, you know, and emotionally that's where you are. And, you know, you but it's but it is a gift in that, you know, you get to go back, you get to you get to to experience that maturation right. They didn't really ever have.


00;51;36;23 - 00;51;37;02

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;51;37;07 - 00;51;50;06

Chris Kelly 

And you learn how to be an adult and a person in this world And I'm not you know, I'm still figuring out, you know, four plus years sober and I'm still figuring out who I am. It's But I'm okay, Right?


00;51;50;14 - 00;52;05;07

Joe Van Wie

It's pretty magnificent to have so many writers as heroes. And I always thought of like, especially when I read you, I always in my head, it could be true or not. You're my local Chris Hitchens. Now, here's a guy who drank and smoked.


00;52;05;07 - 00;52;05;18

Chris Kelly 

Yeah.


00;52;05;26 - 00;52;08;05

Joe Van Wie

And righteously attacked all.


00;52;08;05 - 00;52;08;27

Chris Kelly 

And he was.


00;52;08;27 - 00;52;11;28

Joe Van Wie

Great. He was really good at it. And I always.


00;52;12;18 - 00;52;13;21

Chris Kelly 

Thought he handed sometimes.


00;52;14;04 - 00;52;14;18

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


00;52;15;07 - 00;52;17;13

Chris Kelly 

To race the ghoul of Calcutta.


00;52;17;13 - 00;52;18;24

Joe Van Wie

The Angel of Death.


00;52;18;24 - 00;52;21;13

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, right. I was a little bit over the top, but he was brilliant.


00;52;22;09 - 00;52;53;01

Joe Van Wie

But to stay in that tone, you know, because here's a brilliant guy that could be really cynical but righteous and, you know, that's dangerous for someone that's in recovery. And you were you were noted to in your new approach of writing better, you're writing distinctly in recovery. What do you do to deal with catastrophizing or or cynicism with the speed and the scariness of the news in the last three years?


00;52;53;01 - 00;53;09;19

Joe Van Wie

How do you, you know, have self-care in the midst of having to pick a story? And I got to really go say I got to dig in and fight what I would perceive as a villain. What are your guardrails to take care of yourself in the midst of that? That's that's really hard, right?


00;53;09;19 - 00;53;25;04

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. Well, you know, a lot of prayer, a lot of, you know, discussion asked. You know, I asked my higher power for guidance on a daily basis. And, you know, your ego is the thing. Right? And it's it's you want to put on the cape and you want to jump in there and be the hero and all the crap.


00;53;25;04 - 00;53;51;02

Chris Kelly 

And, you know, I can't I can't let that. So what I do is, you know, a lot of prayer, a lot of meditation. And, you know, I, I just look at the facts right? It's the facts. There's so much, you know, this is a weird, weird time. Right? And, you know, the news is I've never seen, you know, and this is I don't watch cable news anymore.


00;53;51;03 - 00;53;56;07

Chris Kelly 

Like, I don't watch FOX. I don't watch MSNBC. I don't I just I get all my news from reading. Okay. Right.


00;53;56;08 - 00;53;56;21

Joe Van Wie

That's great.


00;53;56;21 - 00;54;16;10

Chris Kelly 

I gave up talk radio like, you know, as soon as I came out of rehab. Right. Well, they actually a little bit before that, my life has improved dramatically. Right. So so right now, rage. Right. Rage and outrage. It's it's the hottest commodity out there and stoking it. And you make a lot of money doing it you can make a lot of money.


00;54;16;10 - 00;54;19;21

Joe Van Wie

It demands attention. And attention is the commodity.


00;54;19;21 - 00;54;44;22

Chris Kelly 

That's it. And fear and, you know, stoking that. And, you know, I just don't I don't expose myself to it to this. I'm not I'm very well informed about what's going on nationally, locally, whatever, you know, through reading. And I, you know, read a variety of newspapers and magazines. And there are any budding writers out. There have been a subscriber to the to The New Yorker for almost 30 years reading, you know, you want to write well, read good writing.


00;54;45;02 - 00;54;47;08

Joe Van Wie

What other endorsements? How about The Economist?


00;54;47;08 - 00;54;53;12

Chris Kelly 

The Economist? You know, I guess I've been there. I don't know. The New Yorker is beautiful.


00;54;53;12 - 00;54;55;02

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, I don't read it enough myself.


00;54;55;17 - 00;54;59;21

Chris Kelly 

Well, I mean, it's in a New Yorker is one of those things where you need a little bit of time because the pieces are.


00;54;59;21 - 00;55;04;00

Joe Van Wie

Much longer and they're witty and you might need it. You might need a dictionary.


00;55;04;00 - 00;55;04;28

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, that's true, too.


00;55;05;01 - 00;55;06;03

Joe Van Wie

It's a beautiful way to read.


00;55;06;04 - 00;55;19;25

Chris Kelly 

But every time I read the Wall Street Journal and, you know, that's kind of the conservative Bible and some of the things, but I just, you know, I don't get worked up. And this is the thing that, you know, things that are beyond your control. Yeah, right. So I try to keep my menu to that on a daily basis.


00;55;19;25 - 00;55;36;04

Chris Kelly 

What can I what what can I reasonably do? I ask God for these things and I can't affect, you know, I mean, I it drives me crazy to see like people are being a diner and people are arguing about some, you know, new law in Tennessee or some.


00;55;36;04 - 00;55;39;11

Joe Van Wie

Bullshit talking point. That's yeah. Gurjit written it to their attention.


00;55;39;14 - 00;55;57;07

Chris Kelly 

Exactly. You have no idea what they're talking about because I love the I tell the story real quick. Right. So Years and years and years ago when I was in my first, you know, period of extreme hopelessness after I'd failed out of art school and I was working in a warehouse. Right. And we used to go to this bar that was right next to the warehouse almost every day.


00;55;57;07 - 00;56;11;03

Chris Kelly 

That was that was also the culture I grew up in. You know, they call Pittsburgh a drinking town with a football problem. Yeah, that's true. Yeah, that's what it is. And, you know, you know, you drink at the end of the day, you got to have it. But we used to this place had really good wings was called Kokomo was.


00;56;11;21 - 00;56;30;02

Chris Kelly 

Oh wow. In Baden Pennsylvania. And so so we're in there one night and and these two guys are talking next to me and this is during like Clinton was president, right? And there was, you know, one guy sitting there and is regurgitating whatever, you know, Rush Limbaugh shit into their skulls that day and.


00;56;30;08 - 00;56;30;26

Joe Van Wie

Who big.


00;56;30;28 - 00;56;31;03

Chris Kelly 

Oh.


00;56;31;05 - 00;56;31;14

Joe Van Wie

Man.


00;56;31;19 - 00;56;50;18

Chris Kelly 

And then and there's Vince Foster and how he was actually really killed. You know, they had him killed, right? Yeah. And and he says yeah, right. Whitewater, whitewater, all that crap. And it was like Guy said, yeah, you know, Clinton had that Vince Foster killed because he was because he was having an affair with Hillary. Oh, yeah. He goes, Yeah.


00;56;50;18 - 00;57;13;24

Chris Kelly 

They found blond pubic hair in his Gentile's and I turned a wheel on this guy. So I said, Well, I hope is Philistines were clean. Yeah. And they just looked at you know what I mean. So yeah, yeah, right, exactly. It was just like, you know, it was that kind of just stupidity. And this is the thing that, you know, was craft in my school.


00;57;13;24 - 00;57;21;07

Chris Kelly 

I don't waste time and I can't anymore. I know. And not everything is worth an argument and not, you know. And I don't need to be right. I don't need to.


00;57;21;17 - 00;57;22;18

Joe Van Wie

Be in charge of.


00;57;22;18 - 00;57;37;27

Chris Kelly 

Or be in charge. No, I don't. I mean, that is a personally, I think is I think it's very it's sad and sick the way a huge portion of our populace has been, you know, brainwashed and still. And that's before you even get into the Q stuff and all that.


00;57;38;02 - 00;57;40;06

Joe Van Wie

It's all brainwashed, it's all perception.


00;57;40;09 - 00;57;53;11

Chris Kelly 

Horrifying and it's all emotional. There's no side, there's no rational size, no critical thinking going on. I mean, anybody who applied even a lick of critical thinking to most of what's going on right now would not you know, it would dissipate.


00;57;53;11 - 00;57;54;10

Joe Van Wie

It's it's to.


00;57;54;11 - 00;57;54;25

Chris Kelly 

Fog.


00;57;55;03 - 00;58;11;25

Joe Van Wie

I think of this thought exercise just for myself was an electric magnetic wave, an MP from a nuclear blast. Someone just captured the entire planet, lays waste to all electronics.


00;58;11;25 - 00;58;12;14

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. What do we do?


00;58;13;11 - 00;58;39;09

Joe Van Wie

Well, it's a new crisis, because how many people are left that could critically think and right it right? Yeah. Look, we have an entirely new crisis. It's not ticktock. It's like, where is that? In 15 years of writing how to ask questions? Methot the heart of your journalism. You you said I have to establish what is. Well, that's really hard today for think of what a 16 year old or an eight year all these times.


00;58;39;25 - 00;58;48;14

Joe Van Wie

Where are they going to be in 30 if they say there was a collapse of just systematic collapse of technology, how would we disperse truth?


00;58;49;01 - 00;58;53;10

Chris Kelly 

Well, how would you even communicate it? It's not it's one thing to like, have it.


00;58;53;22 - 00;58;57;16

Joe Van Wie

Dance at each other, like tick tock skill, make it a dance, impersonate each other.


00;58;57;16 - 00;59;15;18

Chris Kelly 

It's yeah, it's it's not. I try to have a generally positive outlook, but we are. So it reminds me of a guy, this old guy I used to know, and he said to me, This is a God like 20 something years ago. And he just and he was just a random guy. And he said, he said you to all them.


00;59;16;00 - 00;59;26;01

Chris Kelly 

All the payphones are. And then, you know, and he was like all the landlines, you know, but like payphones. Yeah. And he was like, and all you got is them little things tied to a satellite. That's interesting.


00;59;26;01 - 00;59;26;23

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, exactly.


00;59;26;23 - 00;59;44;12

Chris Kelly 

And he was right. I mean, it's, you know, and then I think again, especially people our age, right, we're dealing with ease and convenience that we never in our in our wildest fantasies ever imagined.


00;59;44;23 - 00;59;53;24

Joe Van Wie

Right. In biology, we're not aware of like that's defeating us. So you were saying before we write for fear. Yeah. Well, that sensation.


00;59;53;26 - 00;59;54;19

Chris Kelly 

Sensation.


00;59;54;19 - 01;00;14;28

Joe Van Wie

We're wired to look for threats constantly. And now we see them and we have news stations. It's dopamine, and you're getting defeated by 150,000 years of neurology and biology, that engineer near you to look for threats. They tapped into this frightening and I hate seeing day there.


01;00;14;28 - 01;00;17;21

Chris Kelly 

Is it's it's always the same though it's you know the.


01;00;17;21 - 01;00;18;27

Joe Van Wie

Proverbial the.


01;00;18;28 - 01;00;25;29

Chris Kelly 

Corporate media let's say that. Yeah I actually work for the corporate media in that my my paper is owned by a corporation, a family owned corporation.


01;00;25;29 - 01;00;41;21

Joe Van Wie

Everything the commodity worldwide, 100 million say users on Tik-tok in the United States would be a human being's attention. Irregardless of where the attention's going, they don't get to even have a life. Now you're watching the experience of someone else's life.


01;00;42;09 - 01;00;42;20

Chris Kelly 

You know.


01;00;42;27 - 01;00;48;15

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, I used to have to have resentments to do that. My phone is attacking me every 10 minutes is for my attention.


01;00;49;06 - 01;01;16;19

Chris Kelly 

I know. You know, you know, again, I just think it's it's generally, you know, if if the commodity is appealing to our basest instincts, you know, fear and fear is, you know, fear breeds anger and all that other stuff. I mean, I just think that there's got to be and you see it with like the Trumpists and all this, you know, there's got to be a time when the fever breaks, right.


01;01;17;11 - 01;01;26;19

Chris Kelly 

And when it becomes. No. And I sort of think of the kind of the way it was for me and drinking. Right. So so eventually it didn't work anymore. Right. But to.


01;01;26;19 - 01;01;27;09

Joe Van Wie

Be violent.


01;01;27;10 - 01;01;47;14

Chris Kelly 

Oh, good. Exactly. I mean, I'm not saying and, you know, as far as that goes, I'm not going to you know, it just drives me crazy when people like, oh, they shouldn't indict Trump because his people will go crazy. We're going to have a civil war and all this other garbage that's Civil War garbage, such bullshit. It's ridiculous, you know, And yeah, you want to go ahead and take up arms against the United States military?


01;01;47;15 - 01;01;47;29

Chris Kelly 

Go ahead.


01;01;48;15 - 01;02;11;13

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. I don't know what that faction splits. You know, my concern, I'd Be concerned about that. If I saw states now in a really, you know, phenomenal way started moving because of political reasons. People start having accidents. And I don't see that particularly. But I don't know what's true in the sense of of that. But I'm not worried about it.


01;02;11;13 - 01;02;12;01

Chris Kelly 

I'm not you.


01;02;12;01 - 01;02;27;24

Joe Van Wie

You nailed something that is kind of my spiritual motive. Motive now, because I can be anxious and I want to be prepared and I want to control things because I don't I have big trauma. I'm always preparing myself for just awfulness. Sure. So I have to think of awfulness.


01;02;28;01 - 01;02;28;20

Chris Kelly 

That I gave you.


01;02;28;20 - 01;02;42;20

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, I gave it up. But someone you know, here's the extent of my control. Don't hear this, Chris. It's like things are arising and I'm not having the life that's happening in real.


01;02;42;20 - 01;02;45;28

Chris Kelly 

Time right here. You're not even present in your own life. What's sick.


01;02;45;28 - 01;02;46;08

Joe Van Wie

You that.


01;02;46;14 - 01;02;47;06

Chris Kelly 

I get so much?


01;02;47;07 - 01;02;48;05

Joe Van Wie

I'm so sick of it.


01;02;48;17 - 01;02;51;28

Chris Kelly 

And, you know, thank thank God that you are aware.


01;02;51;28 - 01;02;52;06

Joe Van Wie

Yeah.


01;02;52;13 - 01;03;09;16

Chris Kelly 

Of that. Because, you know, that's the thing. These people, you have people who are spending, you know, their whole their whole day staring at things that have nothing to do with them and feeling, you know, they're getting the dopamine hit of the rage and all that stuff. But like, meanwhile, their whole, their lives are just unlived in. It's like they did not, you know.


01;03;09;20 - 01;03;11;11

Joe Van Wie

It's a vessel empty vessel.


01;03;11;11 - 01;03;27;22

Chris Kelly 

You just hear the you know, you just hear to eat and, you know, consume and die. Yeah. And you know, somebody makes money off of you every and every step on step of the way and you're not living. You know, that's the thing. I wasn't alive when I was taking I was you know, I didn't enjoy any of it.


01;03;27;22 - 01;03;56;06

Chris Kelly 

I had a great all this great stuff and. All these great things happen for me and all these other things. I didn't enjoy any of it. It was empty. Yeah. And, you know, I had to, you know, I had to put down the thing that numbed me and kept my demons or whatever the phone hate that whenever I did go for the phone or aggressive, but I know I had to stop indulging those things and running from them and just deal with them and it, you know, Yeah, yeah.


01;03;56;11 - 01;03;58;25

Chris Kelly 

It was, you know, sometimes painful, but it was.


01;03;59;01 - 01;04;00;06

Joe Van Wie

It's the adventure, man.


01;04;00;06 - 01;04;02;00

Chris Kelly 

It's the area I struggle.


01;04;02;04 - 01;04;17;12

Joe Van Wie

I struggle with the phone. I've left my phone at the house and it like doing things that are nurturing and real and liberating. See what my daughter going just up to now? Yeah. Leaving my phone here feels like a reckless thing that, you know.


01;04;17;12 - 01;04;18;03

Chris Kelly 

Right, Right.


01;04;18;03 - 01;04;37;03

Joe Van Wie

And I'm like, this is wrong. I want to be free. I want to be living the life that's happening. Yeah, it's you have to intentionally get through a feeling that you're doing the wrong and that, you know, I meditate in the morning, and that was the first thing I came to grips with. It took me a almost a year to get through.


01;04;37;03 - 01;04;38;10

Joe Van Wie

10 minutes without checking.


01;04;38;20 - 01;04;59;17

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, the phone. That's what happened. And I remember when, you know, I had to find a payphone to call in a story dictated over the phone. You know, seriously, you know, And it's funny, too, because I look at it and we get the younger kids coming in. We have the interns are in now and, you know, and even before it was like, you know, all the clips were in the morgue, right?


01;04;59;17 - 01;05;18;11

Chris Kelly 

So like, somebody clips the paper and it's in the morgue. And these envelopes, we didn't have electronic archives, We didn't have Internet. Now, when I started, I started the paper in like 95. So, you know, they when you tell them that, you know, you would say to on the young, you know, why don't you go check the clips of you know what what are the clips you know, those yellow.


01;05;18;11 - 01;05;19;15

Joe Van Wie

Things is an artifact.


01;05;19;22 - 01;05;28;11

Chris Kelly 

Right? And it's like, yeah, right. And, you know, and then you end up to do it. Well, there was a time when we didn't have electronic archives. You had to look it up.


01;05;28;11 - 01;05;35;03

Joe Van Wie

On people, I mean, new slang because it was actually meant something to do, you know, it's a slang for something else.


01;05;35;17 - 01;05;57;03

Chris Kelly 

And it's, you know, so they look at you like, Can I help you back to your desk, you know? Yeah. And it's you know, it's true. I mean, I you know, so again, I'm a look, I'm a fiercely analog man. Yeah. Who's being dragged kicking and screaming into the digital sure world. But that's okay. You know, I mean, I but I, you know, I can't control any that man.


01;05;57;15 - 01;06;19;01

Chris Kelly 

I'm not, you know. Well, I have this small sphere, right? My, my what do they call my side of the street And I can do what I can here. And if I just do that, you know, then I'm then I'm alive and I'm doing the next right thing. And I keep it simple, you know, And that that for me has been really, you know, one of my great mentors in life.


01;06;19;01 - 01;06;41;03

Chris Kelly 

And he's he's been gone a few years now. He was, you know, John Murphy. And he used to tell me he was my first best editor and, you know, used to tell me, if you want to be content, be grateful. Yeah, I never understood what that meant, Right. Until until this. And it's you know, it's true.


01;06;41;03 - 01;06;47;08

Joe Van Wie

It is. And I don't like it because it sounds cliche. I've been around that language since I'm 16 eight.


01;06;47;14 - 01;06;48;13

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, Yeah.


01;06;48;18 - 01;07;15;24

Joe Van Wie

But I took a new approach because I listen to I have to hear in different ways the same lesson. Gratitude is the stoic life, because gratitude is understanding. None of this has to be happening for me. Or does it? It requires imagination. Yeah. And I'm an I have anxiety. I think the horrifying things, the way to cap them and tie off my anxiety is it transitions into gratitude.


01;07;16;15 - 01;07;34;09

Joe Van Wie

I'll get aware that I'm having an anxious thought or telling myself a new story to be terrified of in my head, smoking a cigaret and I've gotten used to the practice of saying, Wow, thank God that's not happening. Yeah, right. Like what? I know what's going to happen tomorrow. All right. Sure. And I'm like, that's gratitude for me.


01;07;34;09 - 01;07;38;27

Joe Van Wie

It's like it's not happening. I'm going to enjoy today. I'm manufacturing most of my problems.


01;07;39;00 - 01;07;50;11

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. No, you did. You did. Because you don't want to do it again. It's like I'm still learning what to do with a good day, right? I woke up. My God, the sun's out. And we hear.


01;07;50;14 - 01;07;52;05

Joe Van Wie

On a weird podcast opening.


01;07;52;18 - 01;08;13;01

Chris Kelly 

Right up and it says, It's great. You know, and I'm having this great day and going back to work and and you know, who knows what you know? But but I have hope and I have a sense of adventure instead of, you know, dread and looking at each new day as an ordeal to, you know, to be survive, to be endured.


01;08;13;01 - 01;08;19;00

Chris Kelly 

Right. To be in a constant defensive crouch all the time. It's awful. Yeah, it's.


01;08;19;07 - 01;08;21;15

Joe Van Wie

Exhausting. Yeah. I need more naps when.


01;08;21;15 - 01;08;33;14

Chris Kelly 

I needed funds, you know, still way to live. And I just and it just made me think of a kid I grew up with, you know, back home, he died from this disease week.


01;08;34;06 - 01;08;35;18

Joe Van Wie

And I could not.


01;08;35;27 - 01;08;53;01

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, well, I was actually much closer with his. With his brother, his younger brother. And I had seen him. I was home like a year or so ago and I'd seen him and he said to me, you know, he said, you know, Dave, Dave's not good. And he's like, he'll call me at like 10:00 in the morning and he's drunk of his mind.


01;08;53;16 - 01;09;12;02

Chris Kelly 

I don't know what's wrong. And and I said, Well, he's an alcoholic, right? That's what's wrong with him. And, you know, if you, you know, I mean, I'd be happy to talk with them where you should maybe direct him. You know, there was another kid that I grew up with. It's kind of going the same way. And I talk to him myself because we're closer friends.


01;09;12;02 - 01;09;33;29

Chris Kelly 

But, you know, he just didn't get it right. So they found him dead in his apartment by himself. And, you know, I think that's another aspect of of, you know, the people who make it and the people who don't. If you're very, very fortunate, you know, you have people around you, right. Who monitor you and who really look after you while you're doing your best to kill yourself.


01;09;33;29 - 01;09;40;05

Chris Kelly 

Right? Yeah. You're committing time lapse suicide. And he didn't he lived by himself and he didn't have that, you know. And so.


01;09;40;16 - 01;10;05;17

Joe Van Wie

It's hard to face off with that because everyone want everything rosy. Or you could hear things generally shared at a peer organization. Rosie, not everyone has the same variables now. It's like you see that even when I meet someone, getting honest about this might be the best dignity. Like we're all on a timescale. Like what makes you think I would never have been sober if I wasn't from like, here's the variables.


01;10;05;17 - 01;10;16;29

Joe Van Wie

I never measure properly without gratitude. Screening siblings, friends, people who tolerated the worst of my behavior. Some people don't have that at all. Like every.


01;10;16;29 - 01;10;17;09

Chris Kelly 

One of those.


01;10;17;09 - 01;10;17;29

Joe Van Wie

Boxes. Yeah.


01;10;18;06 - 01;10;28;27

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, some people don't. And you have to, you know, And that's the thing. And it really is no different than, you know, when you see, like, I met my brother. I love my brother dearly, but he's, you know, he's a Republican.


01;10;29;16 - 01;10;31;01

Joe Van Wie

He's know my brother's a Republican.


01;10;31;04 - 01;10;51;02

Chris Kelly 

He's a Republican, you know, public schoolteacher. So it's really it's kind of a funny mix in a union member. But no, but he you know, we had this discussion once, you know, you know, privilege, Right? You need to have a privilege. And, you know, we grew up in a you know, in a middle class family, two parents stayed together and loved each other.


01;10;52;02 - 01;11;11;00

Chris Kelly 

You know, we played Little league and pee wee football. We went up to the sports and we you know, we had opportunities right in this sun all. It's you know, it's not all tied to our race or any of that kind of stuff. But it is it's an opportunity that we had know that many, many, many people don't have.


01;11;11;09 - 01;11;15;02

Chris Kelly 

And you don't realize it when you grow up because you think everybody lives like. No, you know what I mean?


01;11;15;02 - 01;11;28;16

Joe Van Wie

Here's how many people didn't have it. 10 billion people since one and 50,000 B.C.. Yeah, the average life was 30. I always reset my clock with that 30. So, yeah, for most of history, we would be like.


01;11;28;16 - 01;11;29;14

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, long that.


01;11;29;14 - 01;11;30;12

Joe Van Wie

We're the outliers.


01;11;30;12 - 01;11;30;20

Chris Kelly 

Yeah.


01;11;30;28 - 01;11;36;25

Joe Van Wie

Like these last 120 years is a total outlier to the rest of human history.


01;11;36;28 - 01;11;53;17

Chris Kelly 

Yeah. And people don't get it. And so you know, that was the other part of it. I've been this blessed. I have done. I've done just about everything to to trash the life that I've been given. And I'm, you know, I tend to keep it. And I have a responsibility like you failed it.


01;11;53;17 - 01;11;55;16

Joe Van Wie

You know, you have you failed at it.


01;11;55;28 - 01;12;21;22

Chris Kelly 

I failed. And, you know, and but I don't have to keep failing. No, I can finally, you know, I can finally be a real success. Understand it, Appreciate it, and, you know, not have it be an ego thing. There's a satisfaction in having done the right thing or to the best of your ability. There's a satisfaction in completing the work that's given you.


01;12;22;24 - 01;12;43;00

Chris Kelly 

And you don't need that other. You know, it doesn't, you know, in time, once I think once once I realize ego is the enemy. Right, Right. Because you don't think you're an egotist. You're like, Man, I hate myself. Yeah, I you know, I don't like anything I do. I've never liked the single. You know, by the time I publish something, I've read a million.


01;12;43;00 - 01;12;43;22

Joe Van Wie

Yeah, I can.


01;12;43;22 - 01;12;45;18

Chris Kelly 

Tell you, I thoroughly hated it. Time to run.


01;12;45;18 - 01;12;59;23

Joe Van Wie

God, that's total criticism. Like, that's a different style of work to constantly do that. But I don't think people have the broadest sense of the idea of ego. They just use it as a maybe an adjective. They don't fully come to terms with the.


01;13;00;17 - 01;13;01;25

Chris Kelly 

Other slang term ego or.


01;13;01;25 - 01;13;08;20

Joe Van Wie

Whatever, and it's as broad as like my I lost my phone. I say this to myself in my head, Who the hell am I talking to?


01;13;09;07 - 01;13;09;18

Chris Kelly 

Right.


01;13;09;23 - 01;13;33;18

Joe Van Wie

There's a duality in that. And and I, I think my approach to recovery and the steps started to diminish the duality of it. There is a sense of self today that's not an unmeasured. I feel my ego more when it shows up. Friendly Sons Dinner. I rarely go to dinners anymore. I felt it in the way I shook someone's hand right when I walked in the door.


01;13;33;18 - 01;13;39;15

Joe Van Wie

I'm like, Oh, there he. There's that grimy Joe What am I selling tonight? So it's not a sale now.


01;13;39;19 - 01;13;41;02

Chris Kelly 

I mean, you you go, right?


01;13;42;04 - 01;14;05;28

Joe Van Wie

Yeah. Chris You know, to end with flattery appreciate what you do here. And Scranton does too. Even people that bite at your heels, you're benefiting them. Your work's noble, and it's needed everywhere. Agree or disagree? We need this institution and they're failing at a local level and city Scranton is blessed to still have, I agree, a primary paper.


01;14;05;28 - 01;14;12;21

Joe Van Wie

Everyone's like there's one voice. Yeah, well, some don't. There's zero voices. Zero voice. Yeah. We're in an zero sum game here, Rachel.


01;14;13;01 - 01;14;14;24

Chris Kelly 

If it ain't us, it's nobody.


01;14;15;02 - 01;14;16;19

Joe Van Wie

Is there anything I should have asked you?


01;14;18;02 - 01;14;29;25

Chris Kelly 

Yeah, I like that you asked that because I always ask at the end of the day, you know, I don't think so. I just want to say how much I appreciate your work and. And I haven't heard the Buckeyes yet, but I can't wait to listen to me. I actually will listen to this.


01;14;29;25 - 01;14;31;17

Joe Van Wie

That's when I read the paper, when I'm in it.


01;14;31;17 - 01;14;53;22

Chris Kelly 

Right. But yeah, right, exactly. But no I mean, you've always been someone who's who's, you know, who's civic minded, who really loves this community. This community has been good to me. You know, everything good in my life has happened since I came out here. Everything that's lasting and good in my life I owe to this city, to this community, you know, to the people, to the readers, to my employers.


01;14;54;03 - 01;15;17;02

Chris Kelly 

I nothing but blessed since I came to this this small city, you know, 350 miles away from where I grew up. And and it's people like you who and you know, who are going to if it's possible to continue to elevate this community, it's going to be people like us. We have to do it. And and and you've always been a leader in that in that respect.


01;15;17;02 - 01;15;19;28

Chris Kelly 

And I and I really I appreciate that. And I respect what you've done.


01;15;20;04 - 01;15;23;22

Joe Van Wie

Well, thank you, Chris. It's flattering. I hope you come back. So I.


01;15;23;22 - 01;15;25;12

Chris Kelly 

Will. Yes. I mean, at least.


01;15;25;21 - 01;16;00;07

Joe Van Wie

I got to hit the head. I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of All Better to Find us on All Better. Not after or listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards and Engineering Company. 5070 Drone Please like or subscribe to us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


01;16;00;25 - 01;16;20;08

Joe Van Wie

And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember, just because you're sober doesn't mean you're right.




Intro
Do you see the Deer Hunter before the ultimatum?
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Do you see the "Deer Hunter" before the making your decision??
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
How many sources should you use?
Skynet and the rise of Ai
Sobriety and addiction.
Making the decision to leave everything.
Life is suffering but it doesn't have to be manufactured
How do you know when someone is an asshole?
The importance of awareness and choice.
How do you deal with cynicism in recovery?
How many people are left to critically think and write?
If you want to be content be grateful.
Ego is the enemy