Saturday, November 6, 2010

Off To A Stammering Start

Hey All,

So ... I got the website up, and I got the blog account, and I figured out how to stick the blog into a frame on the website so it opens there, and you all can read the blog and still be inside the website where run-on sentences like this are just one of the many thrills available to your anxious eyes and ears. Now the hard part ... actually writing something. Why bother, you ask? Wow, it didn't take you long to turn on me!

But, to be at least semi-serious, I've been feeling the urge to do this. Some of you may remember that I did a bi-weekly column-sort-of-thing several years back. I sent the link out to my friends, and sometimes they shared it with their friends. I had some interesting adventures around that little thing, which we now know was a blog. I would live free-form for a couple weeks, and then sit for most of a day turning the events of those weeks into a piece of writing. I'm not sure exactly why I felt that I should; why I thought that my life was interesting enough to snag anybody's attention for the time it took to read. I guess I wasn't thinking too hard about that at the time. I was sort of preoccupied with the doing of it. The life ... not the writing. And it just felt natural to write it up and send it out.

But as often happens, the impetus to start a thing wears off. If the impetus to continue a thing fails to arrive on time and with sufficient energy, the thing begun becomes one more thing abandoned. We all live this scenario out. One of my constant bafflements is knowing people who always push through and continue what they have started. I admire their fortitude, Dude, but I have much different wiring wadded into my skull. If doing something, anything really, stops paying off ... I set it down and back slowly from the room.

The pay-offs for the writing I'd been doing - I referred to it as a 'Memoir in Real Time' - might not have been obvious to others. I wasn't given money for it, and I certainly never achieved the sort of notoriety that we now see given to a few of the millions papering the 'blogosphere' with thoughts profound and dopey. But there were rewards. Sometimes somebody would write to me saying I had triggered a memory, and to thank me for that. Sometimes somebody would send a story as long as my own, recalling an episode similar to mine from their own experience. And on occasion, a friend would introduce me somewhere as a writer. For reasons that will become obvious should you follow this blog, that was an appellation that I was surprised by, and as eager to try on as a boy with his father's hat.

Beyond those though ... those responses, something else was happening. I had begun to pay close attention to the dramatic, and comedic properties of my own little life. This happens when one assumes this challenge: 'Write something interesting on a regular basis, using only your direct experience as material'. It's a bit different than say, a political blog, where you would pore over the events and ideas of the public moment, and after some synthesis, tell 'em all what you think. No, when the politics are personal, the crises local in the extreme, and the triumphs, however small, are one's own, the important things have a way of leaning forward from the rest. The interesting stuff starts emerging like bas relief from the flat surface of everyday life. I miss that awareness, and I've been wanting to get back to it. Why did I stop? I'll tell you later. I'll save that for the moment when the circumstances re-occur. I'll use talking about it to 'push through'.

For now though, let's just declare the effort begun. As some of you know, I have begun to travel to far-off places to sing my songs. This has been a long time coming. Too long? Maybe. But I don't think so. At any rate, I am going forward. As that kicks in more, the stories will undoubtedly become more interesting, or at least more varied in their settings and casts of characters. Till then I will try to establish this character, the point-of-view character, the narrator if you will ... Me. I'll set down a bit of who I am, where I came from, and what, in general, I think and feel about the world in which I find myself. I hope to have you with me.

In closing, I want to acknowledge my friend, John Zipperer, who I ran into last night at Kulak's Woodshed where we both had gone to listen to Severin Browne's First Friday band. John has a way of underestimating his value as an artist and performer ... always seems a little surprised that we all like him as much as we do. Maybe there's a little shtick there - we all have public personas that we get comfortable with - but mostly, I think, he hasn't stepped fully over the line dividing 'can be' from 'be'. I hope that makes sense to you. Anyway, interacting with John always reminds me that I struggle with the same thing; the notion that if it comes from me, it must be somehow a minor thing. I know that that is bullshit as it applies to John, and he seems to think the same of the idea applied to me. It made me want to come home and write. Here's the thing: for now let's assume that our lives have meaning, that we are each of us unique and interesting, and just get on with telling the tale.

See You 'Round the Yard,


  1. Ah, that old " if the club has me in it , I don't want to belong" chorus that I carry around in my head like a withering fog.
    God speed Dave, your're a good read.

  2. Really well said, Dave! Your observations are insightful and fun to read. And thanks for the comments about John Z. Maybe someday, between the 2 of us, if we keep flogging him enough, he'll start to understand how valuable he is to his friends and to the indie music community.

  3. Thank you Dave. I must say I am astonished whenever you voice your self doubt. You are an artist to the Nth degree. Songs of depth and meaning that bring us all shards of truth and a feeling of kinship in the dark.
    Well said Lorin. Let me just say that I deeply want to belong, but have serious doubts about my own qualification for membership. I am constantly astounded by the sheer numbers and level of talent I am surrounded by.
    I am grateful for it. It urges me on. True it can occasionally crush me like a bug. More than once I have stood at the back of one of Dave's shows and thought, "why do I write" and "how can I play my tripe in front of people?" Encouragement from the "Big Kids" does help. So again thanks Dave and Tara.
    I am most grateful for the one thing that, I think, I may be good at and that is the Friendship.