When there is no time for words, pictures.
Not my amp, but my guitar.
When there is no time for words, pictures.
Not my amp, but my guitar.
It’s been a long, long time since I was active as a blogger, and i’m not going to go recap everything in my life since FEBRUARY 7, 2014, the last time I wrote a blog entry (before Brandon’s death, which is where it all ended with losing my server). And anyway most of the people who used to follow me here either are Facebook friends now, or follow me in Instangram, or are long lost as far as this place is concerned.
But, life moves and on I figure a few things would be worth mentioning, if not in one post, then in several.
In no particular order, then, i’ll start with the most significalt personal achevement.
This was something I posted a year ago, so this would now say ‘about two years ago’:
One year ago this week, I quit talking about taking up the guitar, and actually did it.
I dug my old 80’s epiphone strat out of storage, re-strung it, and tried to remember more chords and that E, G and F.And with the aid of tutorials on youtube (which didn’t exist 30 years ago), I starting over at the beginning.
A year later, i’m still working. I’m not a natural musician, but week by week, i’m learning. Learning technique, improving my ear, getting vaguely closer to having a sense of rhythm. I’m a long way from ‘let’s jam’ or getting up in front of anyone and getting through a song. But i’m not in any hurry, because it’s not about that; it’s about the challenge, and about (i admit it) the gear. I now have a couple of decent guitars i love playing, a hand-made amp and some cool pedals, and I’ve met a lot of really talented, unique gear makers and players who inspire me to keep going and keep learning.
Because, as Lemmy once said, “If you think you are too old to rock ‘n roll, then you are.” And I don’t think there’s any such thing .
It’s been a long, slow process; I”ve taken lessons for the better part of a year and while my practice hasn’t been quite as consistent since I posted that in November ’18, I a still working hard to build on my rudimentary abilities. I’m getting slowly better at it, and better at getting good sounds, which is in many ways as important to me as being skillful.
Am I anywhere near being on a stage? No. But it remains a goal. I don’t have any dreams of being in a band or making records – but some day i’ll be able to play a song with my (vastly more talented) friends, without it being tragic. Hey, it’s a goal, anyway.
So, you can see that it’s been close to six years since a tragic, stupid, pointless death stopped my tragic, stupid, pointless blogging. Sometimes life is a series of small, largely irrelevant disruptions amounting to never getting a goddamn thing done.
Last week I posted something on facebook to the effect that most human progress begins with simply getting frustrraded and fed up. And that’s more or less how I got here, and have a web site and blog again. For quite a few years I tried to get help from Brandon’s family, and from hosting company Digital Ocean, to recover whever was left of his server (and which contained my blog and many of my friend’s blogs.) We never got anywhere with that, after after a while I just began avoiding the whole thing.
Last week, I wanted to find something I’d written, and didn’t have any place to put it, and I just got fed up.
So – does that matter? Does anyone care about a blog anymore? Probably not, but I care, and small achievements matter sometimes more than big ones.
I don’t have everything recovered; images and songs were not all archived with blog backups, and some of the auxiliary blogs (like the one with all my short stories are erotica) will have to get restored separately. NOt everything posted back in the day needs to be out in public anymore, either, so some entries will probably get un-published.
But here we are, anyway. If you happen by here, please comment so I know you’re here. Because while this is just for me, if no one at all is reading, I might as well just be yelling at a wall.
It’s been an extremely long time, but, here I am.
I just now learned – 3 fucking months later – that Brandon Dawson, my friend, my business partner, and the guy who’s provided hosting for me all these years, passed away xmas eve 2013.
I’m crushed. He was the guy I came to for web help, and he never failed me, no matter how rough things got. He was more a family member than just a friend; I’ve helped him out of jams, he’s helped me keep my life afloat emotionally for years, just by providing this space.
I don’t even begin to know how to process this.
Dammit Brandon, what happened? Was it that bad you could even reach out?
The world I’d a poorer place; I’m fucking sorry I didn’t know it.
This is just the most beautiful thing ever.
I’ve long been a fan of Doves, a band with amazing lyricism. Honestly, it was Jimi Goodwin that first caught my attention; who plays bass upside down, without re-stringing it? It’s just wrong. But then I heard him sing, and that was it.
Doves have been on some sort of unofficial hiatus for ages; I’ve waited and waited for new music. Turns out Jimi’s been making his own.
He recently released the first single from an upcoming (march) solo album, Odludek. And it’s a thing of beauty – listen below.
But then – he released a video to go with it. And it’s even MORE stunningly beautiful.
Listen. Watch. And in march, go buy the album.
I have this dream of writing a western.
Not really – you know, a whole novel (because hell if I can finsih anything anymore). BUt at least a short story.
In concept, it makes complete sense. My fiction is all tough-guy, man of action, violence, loneliness, and heartbreak. Bikers, cowboiys, private eyes; noir of the old west.
I have it in me, because – well, I can fucking write.
The trouble I’m having though – aside from the never having a fucking minute to myself problem – is that I just can’t find the form. I can’t quite internalize what a western really is, what it should be. I’ve attempted Loius L’amour, larry McMurtry, Zane Gray, Jack Schaefer, Cormac McCarthy. It’s not that I don’t like them – some, anyway. But it’s that I can’t find that onw voice that resonates enough to do it myself.
With Noir and hard-boiled crime fiction, i have it; I’ve read enough Dashiell Hammett, enough Raymon Chandler, enough Ross Macdonald and Dennis Lehane and John MAcDonald, enough James M. Cain and Elmore Leonard. I get it; I speak it. I can write it.
But the western isn’t resonating with me yet; I’m not hearing it in my head.
I’m currently reading Hondo by Loius L’amour. I have a real weakness for Loius L’amour, because my grandfather used to read him, and I’d find the paperbacks around our house, and pick ’em up and read. I like L’amour’s masculine, strong prose. But I struggle with the cliches, the tendancy to tell us over and over, that Our Hero is A Hero; repeated referneces to strength, hardness, squinty eyes.
It’s not my prose, as a reader, or as a writer.
Maybe it’s the mode problem; I am always most comfortable working in first person, and I’ve yet to read a western that’s not third-person. Maybe I can’t find the voice to narrate in the voice of an 1870’s westerner. Sure, I can get around it; I could narrate as the side-kick, or push myself to write third person; but perhaps I just can’t hear the narrative because I have yet to read any in that mode.
I tought myself to write by reading; I have an ear for narrative and dialog, and know when something sounds right; when it’s clean and sharp, when it’s awkward. I know it by feel, not because I learned the rules and follow them. Rules and I have an uneasy relationship. So I need a model, a sound, a structure. Not to follow, but to measure against – Does This Sound Wrong.
So my search continues. Maybe the form is more appealing in concept than in fact; maybe, really, I just do not love the western. But in my head there’s a rough, damaged man in faded denim and worn-down boots; a man who’s fraught and lost, who’s running from his past, or himself. A man who’s got a last battle to fight, before he goes down and dies in the dust, or finds himself in the wild lands and the struggle for some greater good.
I have a character, I can see him. I just have to find a story and a voice.
I got myself blocked from my own website somehow – I couldn’t possibly explain how (because I don’t know), but thanks to Brandon, who is a gentleman-and-a-scholar, and keeps this site and many others up and running for vastly inadequate pay, I’m back in and can resume inaction voluntarily, rather than enforced inaction.
So there’s that.
Meanwhile, there’s this: you know you want some.
Shot in Mexico – Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
A couple of quick Skull Ring notes.
First, Tony Creed has a new site that looks pretty slick. Go visit him at superskull.com!
I love Tony’s stuff; my first skull ring was my ELVIS LIVES ‘riffman’. Tony’s still the original badass in the industry and his stuff is stil as cave-man-biker as ever.
MT’s awesome, and this is really a statement piece. He won’t even be offering this in small sizes; you need Big Old Man Hands to wear it.
I want it.