Category: Books

QUICK, WHERE’S MY CAPE? by Ric Gibbs, Mythmaker Films & Media, Los Angeles California, 2017. SELF-HELP/Personal Growth

Some time ago I began casting about for a book idea big enough to encompass the many lessons of in my twenty-five years of travel, human observation, and professional storytelling.

At the same time, I was nagged by a strange and growing recognition that the story patterns I observed in my fictional writing, were showing up in the everyday lives of the humans I knew as well! Real humans. Real ugly ducklings. Real Romeos & Juliets. Real men and women battling their way home through some Odyssey of challenges that could not have been more perfectly written to transform them!

At first glance these alignments were simply odd. The kind of cute conversation heard at university cocktail parties. ‘Doesn’t OJ Simpson remind you of Othello? The celebrated black hero, driven by mad jealousy to murder his white wife?’ Or doesn’t such-and-such athlete make the perfect Cinderella story? Rising from neglect to claim the gold?

And yet, as these alignments continued, they became harder and harder to laugh off. Something was going on here! All around me, life was unfolding in patterns that the dramatist in me could not fail to recognize. Now why, I wondered, would that be?

The other side of ‘you’

This book is about the ‘you’ you do not know. The you that drives your unconscious behavior, your appetites, your creativity and yearnings. The fact that you do not know this side of yourself is no indictment of you personally; or your intellectual faculties or perceptivity. Your mind was designed to hide these things from you – with each of us being divided from ourselves by sleep. We are divided into a ‘conscious self’ we know, and into an ‘unconscious self’ we know almost nothing about, except that it is connected in some mysterious way to forces larger than ourselves. This predicament leaves you, cosmically speaking, just outside the loop of what’s really going on. And striving – if you’re smart – to figure it out.


cubs_game 7

For the past several months, I’ve been writing a book about how certain myths recur again and again in the lives of men. And how each of us are unconsciously recreating these stories, through the characters and content of our seemingly ordinary lives.

Most times, this underlying architecture is pretty hard to see. But occasionally, it makes itself obvious. As it did last night for the whole country to see, in Game 7 of the World Series. Here’s the story:

Anthony Rizzo was chewing the shirt sleeve of veteran catcher David Ross between innings. Literally chewing the fabric. Ross is thirty-nine. Rizzo is twenty-six. He was looking for any port in the storm sweeping through his young psyche. Game Seven, World Series. Nobody in this ball club had ever felt pressure to win like this. Not in their lifetime. Not in their fathers or grandfather’s lifetimes. If they could pull this off, if Rizzo could just hold it together for six more innings, they’ve be the first Cubs champions in 108 years.

Full disclaimer, I am not a neutral observer in this drama. I am a Cubs fan. I grew up a Cubs fan, which meant that for my entire life, a Cubs’ loss was an inevitable as a sunrise. You hope it won’t happen. You pray the wins keep coming, that your team finally makes it to the dance floor before the music stops, before cold reality snatches the dream away for another year… but it always did.

When a team gets beat so often and so cruelly, entire belief systems develop around them – whole mythologies about why and who caused it. “The curse of the billy goat,” for example, many believed was placed on the club in 1945 by an angry fan who got kicked out of Wrigley Field for bringing his pet goat. The ghost of Steve Bartman, an over-enthusiastic fan who reached over the infield wall in 2003 to snatch a ball away from a Cubs outfielder and blow the playoffs. (Bartman was driven out of the city for that). Superstition around the Cubs is so deep, the fans won’t even sing their own fight song until AFTER a win, because it contains a forward-looking phrase “the Cubs are gonna win to-day.” And that would jinx things for sure.

If we never got to a playoff series, this might have been tolerable. But we did go. Hopes were dangled. Promises made. Please God, just let ‘em win. If you let ‘em finally win, I’ll do anything. We’ll do anything you ask. Erect churches. Build monuments. Love all mankind. And God smiled. Then snatched it away.

To show you how deep this wound lies, only one night ago (Game Six) I was watching with two other Chicago fans. We were up by seven runs at one point. Seven runs is a massive lead, but these men were BOTH still terrified. “Could still lose, could still lose,” Derek kept chanting. And that stress was nothing compared to Game Seven.

One of my favorite headlines for the entire season ran in the Chicago Sun Times the next morning. It read:

Game 7: Because that’s how the story is supposed to go.

Exactly. Because there IS a mandatory narrative to a transformation this big. Any victory this long delayed cannot come easily. An easy win would never fulfill our inner narrative. And make no mistake, the inner narrative of a million Cubs fans was absolutely controlling this game.

And so, it had to be a battle. An epic battle that fans would talk about for the next hundred years. It had to be played in hostile territory (Cleveland). We had to have the lead and lose it. Twice! We had to see our mightiest pitcher choke. Watch routine throws turn into bone-headed errors. And that 39 year old catcher? We would watch him fail to block a wild pitch, allowing not one, but two opponents to score! Then we watched him dust himself off, come back and smack a home run over the centerfield wall his next time at bat. His last time at bat, ever. Redemption.

And finally, if as this were all not enough, as if the gods would never cease toying with us, a rainstorm blew in off Lake Erie to drench the field and send the players running for cover. Into the clubhouse to wait. And sweat. And chew on shirt sleeves.

“Because that’s how the story’s supposed to go.”

What story, you ask? The triumph of the underdog. The triumph over adversity. The greater the adversity, the greater the triumph.

“An Excruciating Final Test” –  Bob Nightengale, USA Sports
“Curse Cast Off in the Witching Hour”  –  Tyler Kepner, NY Times

I love sports writers. They write with such emotion. And they get nearer the truth, sometimes, than they even know. It was the Cubs’ night to win (8 to 7 in 10 innings) but it had to be monumentally difficult, almost insurmountable. It had to push them into a realm of heightened, almost surreal opposition – the witching hour – before access could finally be granted. When a curse is built up for this long, held in the hearts and minds of millions, that’s what it takes to break it – to cross that magic threshold, from losers to champions.

Ric Gibbs’ new book “Quick, Where’s My Cape?” will be published (God-willing) next month. Let me know here, if you’d like an advanced copy.

McHenry's Guide to Treasure Hunting_cover image

Smuggler and scoundrel, a man used to hit & run opportunism and flying under the radar – the last thing Wyatt McHenry wanted was to find himself dragged into a lopsided war, by a do-good American female hell bent on saving a nation! But that’s exactly what happens in this rip roaring and calamitous misadventure, set in a tiny Asian kingdom cut off from the world and harboring a mystery as old as the gods.

Part romance, part thumb-in-your-eye rivalry, “McHenry’s Guide to Treasure Hunting” is full-on adventure, both hilarious and deeply felt.

Genre: Adventure, with a strong dose of romance and hilarity.

Buy the Book


Based on a true story of a young woman’s extraordinary odyssey through the underworld of sex slavery, and the young man who becomes entangled with her. Ric Gibbs’ first novel explores a hard hitting world that exists right under our noses.

Coming in 2017.