Years ago, my mentor, cousin, and close friend, John Jarvis, made the statement, “We all eventually return to our roots.” That statement is true; in one way or another, we find our way back to identifying and addressing those values and ideals that took root when we were kids. And in some cases, we literally return to our roots by returning home. The older I become, the more often my mind turns to those values that took hold in the 60s, 70s and early 80s while growing up in Idaho. It’s even more poignant when my sweet wife Sara and I return to our stomping grounds in Central Idaho and reminisce. I relive some of those moments through writing when I’m sitting at the keyboard and letting my fingers do their thing. And one of the great things about writing – I can narrate different endings to some of those stories from the past.
One such story involves a moment when I was a kid and one of my girlfriend’s old boyfriends said something smart-alecky to me. During the moment, my better judgement persuaded me to walk off without pounding the shiz out of that jerk who desperately needed it! But when I added a similar incident to a fictional novel based loosely on my memoirs, my character grabbed that prick by the hair and proceeded to kick his ass all over the school grounds. See how cool it is to be a writer? A writer can literally re-write moments in history – well, kind of. We still have ethics to contend with and truth. Those two details, at least in many contexts, are important. But you get the gist.
Recently, I’ve decided to turn the corner. Life, in all it’s intriguing facets, is a journey full of twisted and turning roads, switchbacks, some highways and freeways, and thankfully, many Jeep trails plowed way off the beaten path – often over rock slides, through creeks, and up steep mountain trails no mule would dare go. I’m feeling the need to return to my roots, which incidentally involve a lot of jeep trails. There is no question, I find those paths most interesting and fulfilling. For example, I love the hearing and feeling the breeze that blows through the pine trees when I’m standing on the top of Stormy Peak (Central Idaho). If you haven’t experienced something like that, you should. Or a bit further down the old ridge road from Stormy Peak, I love to walk through the tall grass of Perreau Creek meadows and hear the whisperings of long past ancestors telling their secrets. How about hearing the bugling of a bull elk as he lumbers through the stillness of the forest during a snowfall. Those are things you can’t experience on a busy city street; I aim to someday soon get the hell out of the busy city.
In a few years, I plan to retire and move away from the bustling city and write full-time. My intent is to focus solely on Idaho history and a time when there weren’t any “big towns” in the state. Idaho is rich in old stories. I’ve always considered myself a historian. Idaho is where my roots are most deep. That’s where I grew up; that’s where all the basics of life – my values and beliefs – took hold and stuck. That’s where I want to return. On my gravestone decades from now perhaps my headstone will read, “He was an Idaho Historian – and a decent storyteller!”
About a year ago, I adopted the branded pen-name, “Kip Ocasek.” It’s a moniker that literally had absolutely zero internet search index – none whatsoever! So, I took it as my own and began writing under that moniker; thus, everything you find on the internet is mine, as Kip Ocasek said it. Sometimes, Kip Ocasek has an easier time explaining certain things than Jeff Hicks. If you don’t understand that, trust me; if you ever begin writing in numerous genres, you will begin to understand.
Starting immediately, I plan to merge and unite past writing and talk shows that have anything to do with Idaho history. Those include my novels, “Growing Up in Idaho: Quiet Desperation,” “The Day the Bear Ate the Boy Scouts,” some of my old podcasts from “We’re On the Air,” and “Growing Up in Idaho: Talkin ‘Bout the Good Ol’ Days.” As I make the changes, I hope you stick with me and enjoy this site’s new platform and genre. I plan to post or link on this site to everything I’ve written or produced having to do with Idaho’s past. Even if you’re not familiar with Idaho history or have zero interest in it, you may enjoy the stories defined by old fashioned ideals and traditional values of hard work and rugged individualism.
To be clear, I will be writing about and discussing Idaho history as it relates to the people – the old-timers; you can’t talk about the history of anything without identifying the people and telling their stories. The people’s stories are the essence of the history.