Sunday, February 20, 2011


I don't have a drinking problem, not really.  I actually am not an alcoholic, don't drink to anything near excess, and don't spend a lot of time with those who do.  But when I do drink, things happen, and mostly at home.

We are a sensitive people:  To environments, to people and their states and their intelligence.  My wife and I both have also had a lifetime of difficult relationships, starting with childhood.  They say you find your parents in later life as mate choices.  You can work that into a pretty good case, and you can dismiss it with some good citations as well.  But you can't deny where you've been, and it does seem to hold true in large part, that one seeks that which is like what one already knows in life.  I mean, what- don't many of us keep having to re-take the same "test" many times over in the course of a lifetime?  Don't the same scenarios, in different settings/contexts, appear in our lives?  Often they are the ones that run deepest, that are the most woven into our psyche and therefore the most difficult, most complex to dig up.  We avoid those, but they don't go away.  They keep coming back.

I have some issues in regards to,... I'll start with volatility.  I was called "volatile" once by an ex band-mate after my summary dismissal from a band.  I in fact took part in the dismissal and the set-up for it in the first place by putting myself in a vulnerable position with them.  A friend not in this particular group had cancer, and I wanted to do a benefit for him.  I knew that, they finding him disagreeable for their own reasons, I would be in the ruts with them afterward.  But the gig was a party for their friends and a bunch of good PR for their band, so it went down.  It was successful, but my own sentence, so to speak, had been written.  In a letter I received after my firing (quitting?), I was told I had, among a short list of alleged issues, a "volatile personality".  Well, my wife agreed with that one... I flinched.

But it's true and I know it.  And I'm sometimes able to 'go off', in a low-level way, on something that might seem trivial or missing the more obvious point.  But I have a perspective, and sometimes don't state the obvious, but speak according to where I am in my own track of thought.  Whatever, I can generally explain myself when pressed, if I'm willing to.  I can pretty well make myself understood.  But when I have a beer or so in me, well, it can 'move up a notch' in intensity.  Worse, it can even 'open a door' for something potentially hurtful to someone else, that I'm not even really taking part in.  It's usually in the form of a stray spoken word that escapes from my lips and goes like a shot to the most vulnerable person in the room...  My wife calls it "The Devil".  I hate that.

At any rate, analyze it and turn it around all you want, it doesn't matter.  It's trouble however you call it, and if I want to keep the good thing I've got I'm going to have to deal.  When I met my wife, I knew I was going to have to hold her up in ways.  It's part of any partnership/commitment like this, and that person has agreed to trust you.  And then if you bring in new people (make babies), they have no say in the matter at all- and you really have to hold them up, protect them, be trustworthy. Children mostly singularly define the word "vulnerable".

So I'm quitting.  Drinking I mean.  Right now.  I'm aware, as I write this, that I'm making quite a bold proclamation for a guy who plays gigs in a couple bands with other like miscreant-types, and spends time around large crowds at Portuguese Holy-Ghost Festivals... yep, it's going to be a commitment that will test my resolve (read:  "character") and not step aside from before my eyes.  And everyone who knows will be watching.  But hey, nothing can come of not drinking alcohol that could possibly be meaningfully detrimental!  In fact I'll be healthier, my prostate will have a better chance of a long and useful term, my skin might not get quite so dry in winter, and I won't spend any bread on beer. 

"Your wife told you can't drink??"  Well no, actually that's not it.  The (at least immediate) future of our household- of my kids, of my marriage, health and perceivable security of our home depends on whatever stability and good ground I can provide for.  This is my chance to save the day, to break open a way to redeem years of screwing up.  And it's for someone else's happiness too, really, which is very meaningful indeed.  Especially for me... 

Besides, I play better when I'm not drunk.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Obvious

I'm back to work.  That is a great relief, and changes the entire look of the road before me.  Of course it does!  ...Stating the obvious has always been sort of a strong suit I guess.  But it's not so much what we do, as how we do it, isn't it?  Stating the obvious is ok if you have a novel angle to offer along with it.  Then it becomes "insight", and thus new information... and that's the thing we're after in this endeavor of writing, I suppose:  To "open it up", as it were, and get to the good stuff of life that's got hidden in those nooks and crannies so easily calloused-over with the wear and use of a day.  We write to provoke and to encourage the seeking out of that now-blurred inspiration we once had, not so long ago, bringing it again clearly into view for the refreshing of the spirit and renewing of the outlook.

We tend to go numb over time, you see, and forget the whats and hows that come of those *fleeting but bright* inspirational moments (we are a creative creature, after all).  In fact we might even fail to recognize those tiny glimpses of the heavenly when we soldier on, doggedly, nose-to-the-grindstone without a break. We need to maintain- yea, I say to re-create our selves- on a regular basis.  It's like checking the oil in your car:  Your engine will eventually seize...

In a similar way, my morning can become transformed from the drab nowhere-going routine it threatens to "bloom" into to a scape of almost-glimmering, hopeful possibilities, with a mere adjustment to my point of view.  A little help can really make it happen:  This morning I am refreshed with the glad and hopeful burden of having to get my narrow ass over to a house to replace some exterior doors.  It's an odd-job I took on to hold my suffering morale upright until regular work could rear it's homely-but-happy head, and so I must do it its honor.  Besides, it's for a friend and musical associate, and I have my future to think about... obviously.

I hope things turn around for us all, for good, soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Resolve, or Something Similar

I've rediscovered my Fostex Model 250 4-track cassette recorder.  I got it a couple years ago for $50, with the manual.  It all works!  A bit finicky, but it's an old booger and sounds good, like me.  : )  So I'm spending a few short evenings a week with it, dropping bits on it to turn into songs, or parts of songs.  There's only so much you can do with 4 tracks of bass guitar, but it's a start.  There are a couple other instruments around... but I have an ad in the venerable for a drummer, and will try and avoid the morass of tormentive "local talent" that is sure to surface, and circle, slowly...

Gigs are slow so far, and I presume that it's because of the poor market at-large we're experiencing.  I am beginning to wonder how some of my neighbors, let alone myself, are surviving... but we're a resilient creature, made of hopeful stuff- so we shall survive, one innovative way or another.  Like the Fantastic Mr. Fox, we shall rise to the surface, even if it's from underground.  Inspiration of the day.

My life is nonetheless full of negotiating- even every moment at home is a continually-morphing labyrinth of politics, desires, anxiety, etc... and in large part it's brought on by the constant reconciling with the iron demands of the outside world:  A world that establishes its own order, having bolted-shut the side-doors and window exits to alternate paths for achievement, and personal success, on one's own terms.  School, for example... "No Child Left Behind".  Do we need to get into that?  It would be more straightforward and honest to just divide us all by a standard, set up ghettos and potato farms, and get on with it.

There's never been a harder time to be creative- but because of that, there's probably never been a potentially more rewarding time, or more fertile ground to plow into.  The deeper the peril, the higher the ground of success.  I have to run with that.  So we're off for the high ground.  God bless us... this is gonna leave a mark.