I made a mistake. Not career-ending or soul-crushing, but just an idea that didn’t work out. See, as some who follow this blog know, I’m a student guitar player. By which I mean I’m not good enough to just say “I’m a guitar player,” because that would be a lie. It can hardly be said that what I’m doing is playing the guitar. More of playing “at” it, so that sometimes it vaguely sounds like music. A lot of the time it doesn’t. Regardless, getting to the mistake—not too long ago I bought a parlor size guitar because I liked the idea of keeping one downstairs so I could practice or just noodle about whenever the mood struck me (and needless to say, my wife is a very patient woman), but there was a problem—a parlor size guitar is just too small for me. Now, in some ways it was good practice, because it made me be super-precise in my left hand fretting, since the strings were so close together that I’d mute adjacent strings unless my fingers were exactly perpendicular—and sometimes even then. In short, the guitar was unforgiving, and in this stage of my development, I could really do with a bit of forgiveness. Continue reading
Stories, that is. You have this flash of an image, or a snip of dialogue, or whatever seed corn works for you that gets a story started, and you’re off. The words flow, one scene follows another and…
Nothing. You got nothing.
This isn’t writer’s block, or something of that sort. Nope. The story just died on you. Whatever you thought was there, that spark you were following through the scene like the will-o-wisp it was, vanishes. It’s not even that you can’t write the story. So far as you can tell there’s no story to write. We hate when that happens. It’s a bad thing. But it’s a long way from the worst.
You’re kidding, right? You just lost a promising story. You wasted…what? Two days? More? Of precious writing time that you’re never going to get back. What could be worse than that? Continue reading
I was starting this post with something that sounded—even to me—like whining. Then a cat jumped onto my desk and rather than biting my hand until I petted him (which is his usual MO), he immediately hopped down into my lap and started purring. Hard to get a good whine going when you’re filled with the background hum of the universe. Or a purr, which is pretty much the same thing. So what if I am now battery powered. I’m still here and there’s still work to do.
It’s possible I mentioned this before, but we live on the north side of a river gorge and our back yard is pretty spectacular. The front yard, by contrast, is a forty-five degree slope no more than about seventy five feet wide and eight feet deep down to the sidewalk and street. Yet that’s where the deer have been showing up to feed. There were two last night, a mother and yearling digging through the snow for something they apparently found tasty. We watched them from our front window, no more than a few feet away. They leave the herb garden around back alone, so I don’t mind. Deer gotta eat, especially in winter. I do give them points for knowing there’s no hunting allowed within the city limits. Squirrels and rabbits show up as well, so the area around our house stays pretty busy.
I know these posts about me are pretty boring—don’t deny it—but only temporary, I promise. When I’ve gotten myself together a little better I’ll be looking at some more interesting topics. That shouldn’t be too hard.
Third time refers to one more medical incident I won’t go into detail about and yes, I’m fine, but I am so over 2016. Far too many people passed whose work had meant a lot to me and that hurt. Too many people in this country have apparently lost their minds and that also hurts. I hope 2017 is a better year, but there is a chance, if for no other reason than the bar is so low.
Considering how things were going, it seemed very prudent for me to finally get that $#%# story finished and sent out. I had almost forgotten how freeing it feels to get a story out into the world. Once it leaves your hands you’re no longer bound to examine and second-guess yourself and what you did or should have done. It’s time to move on to the next project, and progress is always a potential in the next thing you do, never in what you’ve already done. That’s how progress works. Proud as I am of the work I’ve produced over the last few years—and I do think the story turned out well–the work I’m mostly excited about is what I’m going to do next, and that is the way it should always be, for all of us.
Interesting times are ahead, but then we’re interesting people. So buckle up, and don’t forget to tell your stories.
Looking back at it all now, it occurs to me that the life lessons a child learns while trying to turn into an adult can be downright screwy. Here are a few things I picked up on the journey:
- Always tell the truth. Except when you shouldn’t. For instance, the answer to the question “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” is never, ever “No, not really.”
- Be Creative. Except when you shouldn’t. This was when I learned that an improvised flamethrower is not the best method for removing a wasp’s nest. It works, but the collateral damage can be significant.
- Understand that what seems normal and natural to you likely won’t be to everyone. For instance, when I was a kid, I often wondered what it would be like to be someone else. How was the world I saw and experienced different for them? How was my sisters’, or my uncle’s reality different or the same? Expressing the thought was not a good idea. People worried about me.
- Repeating a word in mixed company you heard your uncle use? A very not good idea.
Things I learned as an adult:
- I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did.
- The grown-ups I knew as a child were, as the movie said, “Making it up as they go, just like I was.” Wish I’d known that at the time.
- Growing up is highly overrated. I can’t recommend it.
I won’t call this something I learned, just a piece of new information (well, it was new to me): I have a Wikipedia page now. I have no idea how it got there. The information is superficial, naturally, but mostly accurate. Read it while you can, because it’s being considered for deletion. And here I thought I’d “arrived.” Richard Parks.