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Oil Notes Paperback – 1995
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Rick Bass brings a lyric imagination to the oil geologist's craft. Digging for oil is a way of digging deep into human experience, a subterranean exploration of self. And nothing escapes this writer's eye or imagination. 20 line drawings.
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Top Customer Reviews
Throughout the book, many facts that are in oil exploration also coexist in life. For example, Bass claims that "Nothing lasts. Old seas are buried" (42). Not only is Bass talking about the soon to be scarcity of oil, he is talking about life. No matter how much you try, you will not live forever. Rocks do not last forever; eventually they become stones, pebbles, and eventually sand. That is the same with life. Life does not last forever. Unfortunately, death is inevitable. Everything that is thought to last forever...love, hatred, and friendship...will cease to exist when the person dies.
Another example of life being told in terms of oil is when Bass talks about leadership in the field of geology: "A leader-in a profession of men and women who cannot be led, and will not" (135). Bass says that those are the type of geologists that everyone needs to stay away from. They are the geologists with the egos that are bigger than their head. In life, staying away from people like that would help a lot. People with big egos refuse to help people and also refuse to be helped. They are solely dependent on themselves. Unfortunately, they will not learn in life until they drastically fail at something. Only then will they hopefully realize that there are sources other than themselves.
Time and change coexist and have a big effect on the oil business and life. Everything revolves around time. Bass is amazed that in a lifetime "you will see a picture more different than could ever be imagined" (134). Things can change drastically in a lifetime. Just look around a city. Remember what it was like 10 years ago or 20 years ago. No matter what duration of time, change always occurs. In the oil business, drilling can go smooth for fifteen hours, and then it becomes tough due to different rock. The flow of oil can trickle and then it can spew out one-thousand barrels per day. It can change that drastically in a short period of time. In life, the health of a person can drastically change as the person ages.
In the oil business assumption can make or break your career as an oil person. In life assumption can do the same. Bass says, in reaction to not knowing about your oil well, "You've got to be careful not to judge it too quickly or too harshly" (145). If a person assumes an oil well is in shale, and uses a bit that only goes through shale, it will ruin their day to find out that the $10,000 bit is useless because they are actually drilling through granite. The oil well can be lost and the geologist can be out of a job. In life, the same can occur. If a person judges another person before getting to know them, that can prove to be a big mistake. Maybe that person could have been a good friend or something more.
Finding the perfect oil field is similar to one's efforts to try to find out where they belong in the world. Bass claims that "Someday I am going to drill my own well. There is no geologist who does not dream of this. It is what you are after" (89). In any profession, a goal is set. A pilot might want to fly a certain plane or so many hours. In oil, the goal is to own a big money making petroleum company, owning a well. Life provides goals similar to those and with a similar pay off. The fact that Bass says "someday" means he is going to try. That is an analogy for life. A person may look all of their life to find out who they are, where they belong. Once the person "knows himself" then the world is his. They know what they are capable of and what they are made of.
Not only is Oil Notes about oil, it is about life in general, about one person's effort to find their place in the world.
No matter how intriguing, these elements are relegated to the status of sub-currents within the framework. On the surface, Bass treats the reader to a large helping of fascinating details about the oil business, and it was this that first attracted me.
Of course, as I read the author began to make contact on a second level, and my interests shifted. Years later, original motive no longer relevant, I enjoyed Oil Notes again. There is much to be learned here. Bass seemes to be that rare creature; the sensitive male. I'm not sure, but now that I've read it several times, I think maybe some of it might be about to rub off.
Art Tirrell - author of The Secret Ever Keeps - Mar 2007 from Kunati Book Publishers.
Oil Notes is a fantastic book, and Rick Bass is an equally outstanding author. I have since read everyone of his books. He vividly defines his feelings and passions in everything he writes about, be it drilling for oil or studing wolves.