Thursday, September 30, 2010

Feather-Stuck-in-Hat Dept.

My wife likes to call me "Deacon" sometimes.  It's because seemingly, when the occasion arises and there's need of something to be said or a query to be satisfied, I can come up with what hits the spot.  A word in due season, as it were.  Now I'm no sterling character, no Man for All Seasons, no Dudley Do-right.  It's a talent, and has nothing to do with me really at all.  The name has no place in me, I don't think... but ok evidently it does, and the rest of me is wanting to 'catch up'.  I'm in no hurry, I'm afraid.

There are some things I am 'getting' though, and it's all ground-level basics:  Just keeping my head on right and remembering to look through the Objective Lens- the one that isn't already installed in my poorly-jigged head- instead of my own distorted one; walking and not running through a day; being kind instead of reactive.  These aren't high-reaching goals, they're more about just being present of mind than anything.  If you can do it, you can live with other people, so I'm at it.  I'm a family man, after all...  Basics, mang.  Because I'm really, down deep, a pretty selfish, unambitious, socially narrow and un-forward dude!  I can build something from a plan, I can pull a funny quip out of my hat when the pressure's hot, and I can play a tune and make a lot of noise with my bass guitar.  But those are not basics... 

Anyway, you are what you is and you get what you got.  I'm learning.  I'm Deacon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deep Thoughts...

I had something really good today to post.  It was a real twist, witty and provocative.  I've been working at a carpentry job in the East Side of Providence, which as a neighborhood has a sort of vibe conducive to little glimpses of intellectual 'expansion', if one is so inclined.  There's just a feint edge of the not-so-mundane woven in there.  Don't know why, maybe it's the Brown University association... maybe it's all the liberal world-travelers/Peace Corps organizers/commercially successful artists who pepper the wending side-streets.  Either way I think these 'little glimpses' is all I'll ever get, but I'll take even a momentary respite from any day of the arduous and often mind-numbing procedures involving working around/against the unforgiving rule of gravity for the sake of the logistical convenience of the garden-variety house-dweller... i.e., house carpentry...

Anyway, aside from the special influence of this magical neighborhood, my mind has been a mine-field of emotion and trial due to issues not new to mankind, like those having to do with raising young and educating them.  Smarts abound in our small household's inheritance, but so do some other elements of the human equation, combination of which can manufacture "problems".  The more questionable elements in our case are probably passed along from my own self, who have had my share of such issues in my youth.  Just ask my folks... so, a gratifying but small offshoot of all this stressful activity in the mind/soul realm lately has been the surfacing of these glimpses of understanding I mentioned above, these small inspirations of enlightenment.  But if I don't write them down right away, they become lost in numbers, angles, nailing patterns, carbon-steel cutting-bits and clouds of rough wood dust.  That's what happened today.  So I don't really have anything to write now.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Somehow, among all the failing and broken parts in my own mind here, I am still elevated by the prospect of musical participation.  Talking with my wife this morning about our kid's playing of Vivaldi is suddenly uplifting.  There's some kind of engaging 'science' to all this music that swallows me up in a good way and energizes me.  It has nothing to do with me, or my "standing" anywhere else.  I could be in prison and this would be a constant element of who I am.  It's weird.  I suppose it's why they call it a 'gift'- it's just there, with or without your having earned it. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Learning to Write

My wife said an interesting thing tonight.  About 100 years ago people used to write letters.  You know, with pen and paper.  They did this a lot, because it was good to keep in touch with people you knew and there was no telephone or internet, etc.  People were skilled at this letter-writing business; they had an understanding of how to exchange information, and what information was proper to publish.  There was decorum, consideration for feelings and sensibilities of the reader.  Language was articulate, concise, eloquent, nearly art.

Then we had the telephone.  Then tv, and the rest of modern media.  Letters fell largely by the wayside- I remember my mother having to nag me to write "thank you notes" after Christmas.  It was a chore for a spoiled, jaded kid growing into an artless world...

Now we have the internet.  There are open on-line forums where anyone can 'register', choose a screen-name, and start posting on the subject of their choice:  If you can Google it, you can go raise some virtual hell about it!  For we are a whole new generation not raised on letters.  Poorly skilled communicators, unable to properly frame their thoughts or intentions now run rough-shod through the cyber-universe, hazarding conflict and acrid retorts from other disagreeable, distant enthusiasts- whom they'll very likely never see or know.  It's a potential orgy of misinterpretation and ill-appropriated  counter-blows than can, with little provocation, erupt into volatile "flame wars", complete with grammar and spelling errors a 4th grader would snicker at.  And perhaps some language a 4th grader wouldn't know what to do with.  All because we can't really say what we mean.  That takes practice.

I posted some items here over the last couple days that were really a tad less than appropriate in one way or another.  Won't say why, just suffice that I've discovered some remedial communication skills of my own to pull together.  I'm just not a 'man of letters', you see, and I may bump into myself here more than once.  I'm going to keep a sharp eye on it.  And try to have some fun as I learn this new thing...
I promise to post something happy next time.  : )

God and Losing

I came out of a 5-year period of Christ-cult involvement.  That's what the song I wrote, "God", is a reference to.  Now since a close friend of mine has discovered God I sometimes feel like I've been sucked right back into that unhappy vortex of guilt, mixed messages from the "office of the Spiritual Realm", ascetic self-denial, general severity and alienation... and blind "obedience" to, uh... God, I guess.  Becoming spiritually awake is a mind-changing experience, and can be intense... but it doesn't have to be the cult-trip that ruined everything for me, such as I had.  This'll probably come up again some other time...  Quick disclaimer: Names have been appointed to characters here in this true story.

Of that which I did sacrifice to the god of agendas, the very most precious and close-to-home was Nineh, a beautiful Lebanese woman who'd been raised in England.  I met her in Miami one day as I was having an argument with my girlfriend.  My girlfriend went home after a fight nearly went down with a bristling male passer-by in a pickup truck... the air cleared, I walked up the street 100 yards and Nineh swooped in to see about me.  Lucky me, she was beautiful and unique to my standardized sensibilities.  She won me after a day of torment in my own, loyally-disposed heart (head) from Ellie, the girl I'd been arguing with earlier, who had become a bit of a regret by this time.  Little Ellie, easily impressed and young enough to need to explore everything new that stepped into her path, had had a rendesvous with a bandmate after a show late one night... which I found more of a compromise than I could easily deal with.  She sort of lost me right there, although I tried to keep it together with her.  I didn't like change, see...

I'll never forget Nineh.  She changed my life in a good way.  When she left Miami to go back to England (some legalities incurred by an associate of hers while here) I think I became almost embittered... I felt ultimately lost after such a beautiful time with her- it was like a dream, in a way.  She took the lead in our affair, and it suited me, who was hardly able to cope with a simple life on a daily basis.  She loved me for no reason at all- and I laid down in it like a man lifted from 30-days in an ocean-bound life-raft and set in a pillowy, soft bed.  When she had to go home, well it was just plain unfair.  Drop the rescued guy off at the homeless shelter...  A year or so later, after my impression into service for The People of the God-thing, I was "encouraged" to never see her again.  She came back into town that year and I wouldn't see her.  I was afraid not only of God's disappointment with me, but of the retribution our cult-leader and His self-appointed servant "Duper" (obvious name-alteration here) would lay upon my poor soft head for being "unfaithful".  What a load of crap.  I'm sorry still that I treated Nineh that way, like I'd made her something unclean that would tarnish my spanking-new, shiny soul.  I had been moved up a rung in the order of things, you see, and could no longer play with my dirty little mud-pie-making playmate.  Just plain disaster.  I'm sorry, and will remain so for the rest of my days.  I'm not sorry for my life now, just for how I treated someone who genuinely loved me, with all her heart and soul.  What a prize for giving your heart to someone- to be suddenly spurned.  I might as well have run over her in my mini-van.

And now, it's time to go make pancakes... it's Saturday morning...

Friday, September 24, 2010

So my wife's and my friend Stella called tonight.  I was dozing in a chair in the living room while my youngest played a computer game, and the phone rang.  Yackety-yak, oh were you sleeping, etc... and in the flow of our ramblings around my still semi-sleepy head she says to me, "You should have a blog".  Evasive manuevers followed by some cajoling and reasoning by Stel... and here I sit.  I think it's a good idea- I'll give myself 5 minutes a sitting to hammer something down, a one-shot run at articulating the thought of the moment.  Should be interesting, sometimes... maybe over time it'll form up something coherent, unified.  And it's not like I haven't thought of it before, but it was nice to hear someone interested enough to push for it.  So I know I'll have one reader, anyway.

Today's item?  I wrote two songs the other night.  They were started by some real, somber over-indulgent thinking about episodes in my life that made lasting marks (i.e., "scars").  I scribbled a blurb of soulful, wistful stabbing into the ether down into my purple wire-bound "Dad's Notes" book... and it expanded, with some liberality and loose interpreting, into a 2-verse song with a bridge.  Hal, my old friend and the leader/vocalist of a group called "The Volunteers" I was in for a few years once said to me, "Who says it needs to be true?  Just write a song man, just roll with it".  So I wrote two.

One is called "God", and is a short story of doing exactly the opposite of your desire- in a big, life-changing (ruining) kind of way.  The other is called "Dream Walking", and is about not paying attention to, or having any interest in the affairs of the world around you.  And they are both about true events or conditions that exist/existed in my life, mostly.  So much for good advice, thanks anyway Hal!