10 August, 2011

Off Topic - An Anniversary

Just realized, with 3 hours left in the day, that today marks an important anniversary in my life. 15 years ago today, I saw my first Phish show.

Alpine Valley, 1996. A very large group of friends from the Chicago/Galesburg, IL area trucked it up to East Troy, WI - passing by the Mars Cheese Castle and promising to stop there on the way back - and set up camp in some campground whose name is long forgotten by this swiss cheese memory. It was my first time camping since I was a kid, or maybe it was my first time camping ever - my parents aren't exactly the roughing it type, if you dig what I am saying.


I don't remember too much from that night but I do remember long-stepping down that hill in Pavilion as the band took the stage and went into "My Friend, My Friend". I remember the whistles following "Reba" (which they abandoned for so long and to my delight and surprise, picked back up this summer at Superball IX) and I remember "Rift", the title track from the album that introduced us all to this amazing group of guys. And how awesome was it to get a "Hold Your Head Up" (HYHU) > "Whipping Post" > HYHU series with Fishman running around onstage like a damn fool in a ridiculous moo moo? And the encore of a silly little song called "Contact" ("The tires are the things on your car that make contact with the road") followed by a hot cover of "Fire".

Great show. We went back to our tents that night with ear-to-ear grins and the next day, I got online and started trying to find a ride to the Clifford Ball festival the next weekend. I almost got there. I had the ride from Detroit to Plattsburgh, NY but could not find a way to get from Chicago to Detroit in time. That was one of the few times I regretted selling my '68 Bug to move to Chicago.

The next summer, I promised myself ... the next summer I'll go all the way to the end.

And I did.

Happy Anniversary to me.

07 August, 2011

This is a Writer's Blog

I know this has been sitting here simmering for a long time - again. The soup has mostly boiled away and the bottom of the pot is now probably permanently lined with a black sludge in all my inattention to my blog.

I started this blog to talk about myself. Which is why most people start a blog. We think we're fascinating. I mean, my life must be exciting because I'm still in it, right? And what subject do I know better than that of myself?

But clearly, my life isn't really that interesting because I can't even find the time to post nothing little tidbits about myself or my daily doings. I intended to transform this into a writing-specific blog because that's where I want my attention to be these days. Enough of the day job, enough of television's mindless banter ... get to work and do what it is I love to do. Or feel, in some way, compelled to do anyway.

But then I languish. How many topics on writing can I possible write? I mean, really. I'm not an English teacher and while I may be adept at using the language, I can't expound upon all the little frillies and functions within it. God how boring! I mean, I had a non-published post on 'Foreshadowing' sitting waiting for me to press Publish Post. You know what it was about? Game of Thrones. Yea, okay, there was some exposition about Foreshadowing in it but let's be honest. I had just finished watching the entire series thanks to Xfinity's on-demand and absolutely loved it and wanted to talk about it. And so I found a "writely" thing to couch it in, and created a post. Thank god I never published it because it was stupid :)

So, in the meantime, I received an invitation to a new social website called Google+ - thank you, Krazy Karl - and have been building up quite a network of other writers around the world and getting oodles of inspiration. Literally, oodles. And realizing that just because I am a person who likes to write, that doesn't make me a writer. Only writing makes one a writer. And I still neglect that whole "writing" thing too much. Unless you count long emails detailing what I did the night before and what I plan to do once work is done that night to my friend Mel. If you count those, then I am definitely a writer. (I count those, shhh.)

So what does a writer write about in a writing blog if not the nuances of writing?

Who cares.

My friend Peter writes about things that remind him of or inform his writing as well as movies he loves and things he does with friends. And he's a writer. And I would consider that his writing blog. He markets his books in it as well as lets his readers know what he's currently working on.

So here's the rundown of the things I am currently working on (besides emails to Mel which are ongoing and probably not interesting enough to note here):
  • Cassidy. My first novel. A defining piece of me, if there ever was one, in my opinion. I am in the third draft and finding it somewhat hard to commit to sitting down and working through the noise and distractions this house offers me. That doesn't mean that I don't want to work on it, it merely means I am easily distracted
  • 9 Years. A short story I wrote about a year ago that stands ahead of most of my other shorts in story and skill and one I hope to get published in an online story site. Pretty much done but with some read-throughs and possible tweaks still before I'm comfortable sending it out.
  • Prudence. Another short story, this one unfinished but with great promise. Very much character-driven by a psychotic little girl in pigtails. Not sure where exactly it's going to go but I bet Prudence has an idea. Another one I would consider for online publishing once done and edited and read-through and tweaked.
  • The story I woke up with this morning. Yes, another distraction from Cassidy. What can I do - the entire first paragraph was in my head when I opened my eyes. Not like I could just jot the paragraph down and not pursue it any further today. Not yet sure if it's a short, a novella or a novel but rest assured, it is apocalyptic and therefore quite capable of holding my attention
So what am I doing now? A blog post. Hey! At least I'm writing something.