Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are We Lost Yet?

It was Gertrude Stein, supposedly, who coined the phrase "Lost Generation" to describe those men and women of the world who came of age and fought through The Great War. Of course, they're also known for living through the Great Depression and then the Second World War, some of them even making it all the way to the moon landing.

And then it was the character Tyler Durden who said of Generation X (and I'm using the movie as the quote source), "We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." And he was right about them. They came of age after the tumult of the 60's, after the disaster of Vietnam. They came of age during the Cold War, during the 80's when music was either overproduced or totally raw, when yuppies were using cocaine and Reagonomics reigned.

So who are we? Are we lost?

We don't have a great war, either. Only the war on terror. In a way, I guess it's more like the Cold War than either World War; it creates global tensions and is a fight over ideologies, though not exactly political ideologies on both sides. Except it's dragging on, like Vietnam (which is a hot part of the Cold War). But whatever.

We also don't exactly have a great depression. Except, what are we in?

Like Generation X, we were made promises. But our promises seemed more realistic on the surface; we didn't all expect to become rock stars (although with reality TV and youtube it's easier than ever for some unknown to become known), but we were given a very simple recipe for success.

"Go to college, get a bachelor's degree, and when you graduate you can get a nice office job at the very least and have the life you want." Then when we started graduating, that happened. And we very easily bought houses, nice cars, giant televisions and Playstations and laptops and iPods.

But now what?

Ten per cent unemployment? I know they keep saying that we're going to hit that soon. But I have news; we're well beyond it. That unemployment rate you hear them talk about on the news, that's a number that is arrived at very carefully. Nine and a half per cent of the employable population currently receives unemployment insurance. That doesn't count the unemployed who never filed for benefits. It doesn't count the people who were laid off and applied for benefits and didn't receive them. It doesn't count the people who applied, received, and then ran out of benefits without finding a job (many of whom are in such despair they have stopped searching for jobs).

And it doesn't count the millions of college graduates who followed that simple advice of going to college, getting their bachelor's degree with the ultimate goal of gainful employment, and then were unable to get hired. You can't apply for unemployment benefits if you never had a job.

A friend of mine who graduated in May 2008 has been looking for a job since then. Last week, I went to the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens with a group of eight people, all of whom are either in college now or have graduated in the last five years. Only two of us had jobs. Two are still in school, three graduated and haven't been able to find jobs, and one was laid off five months ago and hasn't had so much as an interview in all that time.

Each time I think of the Lost Generation, I think of them gathering at cafes in Paris, drinking heavily, maybe to forget their reason for being lost. Perhaps that is what sets our generation apart from theirs; when we drink, we're hopeful. We toast, to the future. To what it may hold. We're waiting to be handed the reins, to shoulder the responsibility of running the world. Maybe we are drinking to forget. We're trying to forget the fact that while we hope someday to inherit stewartship of this planet, so few of us are in a position to even get a glimpse of what that may be like. They keep shutting us out.

I guess we'll all run to grad school, get our PhDs, and wait for the current leaders to fix things up for us. But let's not do that. We want a shot at helping. Somebody give us a chance. Otherwise, we'll be woefully underprepared to take over when those of us who have been where we want to go start leaving.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dear Readers,

I was going to blog tonight. I had every intention to do so. But I've got a terrible sinus headache and am extremely tired. So you'll have to wait.

In the meantime, please watch this helpful video.



Friday, July 17, 2009

Five Years Ago Today...

Happy Anniversary, Kathy. I love you.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Whitaker Music Festival

Well, it's summer in St. Louis, which only means a deluge of many different things.

First off, there's the actual deluge of rain, which seems to appear once or twice every two weeks. Now I'm a man who loves rain, but unfortunately since I have become a homeowner rain has lost some of its charm and replaced it with uneasy woe. For instance, last summer our air conditioner was in jeopardy. Another for instance is that the original builders of our house made a slight shortcut when they built in 1958, which has resulted in a problem for us in 2009. You see, all the houses on our street were built almost identical. I say almost because certainly there are slight variations; some have two car garages while others (like our house) has what by today's standards could be considered half car garages. There are a few distinctly different rooflines, some have the floorplan that is a mirror image of ours (so that when you stand at the front door, looking in, the kitchen is on the right and the bedrooms on the left as opposed to ours, which is kitchen-left bedrooms-right), and some have the door in a slightly different spot or a square glass block front window into the entry way closet as opposed to our circular one (which is a square window on the inside but framed on the outside to be circular). But the one thing every house had in common was the stairs to the basement are in the garage.

Yes, that's right; to get to the basement of any house on my street, you have to first enter the garage, either from the garage door, the kitchen, or the doorway to the side yard. Of course, since 1958, a few of these houses have since been upgraded so that now there are stairs inside the actual house that go down in the basement, though most houses still only have the original staircase. The previous owners of our house did a slipshod remodel (and we'll leave it at that for now) that included a staircase from the living room down to the basement, which they had partially furnished into a media center/office/exercise room by putting up some drywall (which also created another pointless, unused room, a laundry room and a gross ventless 1/2 bath). But the previous owners' misguided attempts at remodelling aside, as I said the original owners made a mistake. That mistake was not putting stairs from the garage to the basement (although really guys?), but instead was in not backfilling gravel under the garage's foundation. When they then put the stairs in, they just cut a stairwell into the ground and poured cement. The upshot of this is that this summer, since we no longer have to be concerned about our air conditioning unit sliding down a hill, we can focus on the fact that water comes in along those stairs, since there is really nothing underneath them but hard clay soil.

But that's just one deluge the summer brings in St. Louis, and that is all I have to say about it now. Another deluge is the deluge of days of ninety-plus degree weather. We're nowhere near the equator or an ocean, yet our days in St. Louis are full of sweltering heat, near total humidity and heat indexes in the 110+ range. When it's 8:40 in the morning and you walk the nine yards from your front door to your car, in St. Louis it's perfectly reasonable to expect that all of that good clean feeling your cool shower gave you has been replaced by stinky, sweaty grossness. Which is a third deluge: the deluge of sweat you produce yourself simply by stepping out the door while the sun is up.

But the most promising and enjoyable deluge is the free concerts. The summer usually kicks off with the RFT Music Showcase, which isn't all free but mostly free (some places do make you pay a cover, but for the most part you're clear to enjoy some free local tunes). Then of course with Fair St. Louis (the 4th of July festival downtown) there are usually a fair number of acts that perform for free (The Oakridge Boys in 2005, perennial favorites include Cowboy Mouth of course). Several years ago, they expanded this idea into Live on the Levee, which this year includes Sonic Youth (on my wedding anniversary, no less). Last year, due to the first kind of deluge I talked about, the riverfront area was slightly less hospitable than normal (and slightly more flooded) so they moved it to Soldier's Memorial in front of City Hall and called it Live Off the Levee, but this year's looking a bit more promising.

And then, of course, there's the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens (see link below). This is a great opportunity to see the Botanical Gardens for free (usually a $5 entrance fee for residents of St. Louis City and County, $8 for out-of-towners unless you're a member) and hear some music.

Except that each time I attend the Whitaker Music Festival, I am reminded that the event is not so much about the music as it is about being in the garden and spending time with friends. All one has to do to seek confirmation is to check attendance records for the 2007 Whitaker Music Festival, which was held in the parking lot of MoBot as opposed to inside the actual garden due to construction and maintenance on the usual site. Attendance that year fell dramatically over previous years; sure, you were still free to roam the garden, but if you wanted to listen to the music you had to sit on the hot pavement. Not ideal when it already feels like your skin is boiling in the shade.

Of course, as I said above, the music isn't the reason people come to the Whitaker Festival (I am, of course, generalizing here; there are those, I am sure, who attend specifically to listen to great artists play, but as you get further from the stage the excitement level in relation to the music takes a dive). The year the festival took place in the parking lot, it made no sense to park yourself under a tree near the English Garden and consume massive amounts of wine, cheese, pita chips, hummus and grapes. If the music is happening in the parking lot, you just look like you're on a picnic and freeloading in the Garden's lush acreage. But now that it's back inside the garden, there is no reason not to put your blanket down on the ground a quarter mile away from the stage. There are speakers so you can still sort of hear the music, and you won't look silly because most of the people at the garden for the concert won't be able to see the stage.

So I have come to the conclusion that, for the average attendee, the Whitaker Music Festival isn't so much about Whitaker (full disclosure, the festival is supported by The Whitaker Foundation which was established to encourage the appreciation culture and heritage by putting art and music in parks) or even music, but about the Festival Atmosphere.

In all honesty, even after attending the July 8th performance, I had to double-check the website to know that it was the Tony Simmons Band that provided background music for my evening. But judging by appearances, most of the people who come view the music as just that; something as a background to their night out with friends. I, myself, made new friends, which is part of the festival's draw; you set your blanket (or, in my case, just your stuff as we forgot our blanket at home) down on the ground, and as strangers walk by somebody in your group recognizes a passing face or is recognized by a passing face, and suddenly your group of 3-4 has grown to 8-10. This is part of what makes Whitaker such a great event for the St. Louis summer days (not to mention its midweek placement makes it a great way to unwind and get ready for those last two days before the weekend).

The Whitaker Music Festival takes place Wednesday Nights at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO. This year's events began June 3 and will continue through August 5. Please consult website for schedule of artists, directions, parking and any other questions.

The Missouri Botanical Garden presents the Whitaker Music Festival

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Your Questions Answered, Volume 7

It has been a long long while. We've got a lot of work to do. No time for lolly-gagging.

From Your Questions Answered, Volume 6, September 27 2008:

Lisa asked:
How is future Elliot doing?

Oh how I wish I had a better answer. Wait, I do have a better answer. Future Elliot is doing amazingly well in all aspects of his life.

From Video Blog - Semester Reading, September 28 2008:

Becca asked:
How many credits are you taking this semester?

I think it was...18? Yes, 18 fall semester.

Becca also asked:
Was that left stack just for one class?

Confession time: Those were all the books that I had ever purchased for college courses that I hadn't returned (and I kept a lot of the novels and anthologies), plus a copy of Origin of Species I had on hand and a copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

Bridget asked:
How about blogging book reports?

Book reports? I wish. Book reports would have been way easier than critical essays about Emily Bronte. Ew.

Lisa asked:
How come you get [Green Eggs and Ham] and I get The Great Gatsby?

If you look closely, you'll see Gatsby is in one of those stacks. I had to read it in high school and then again at two out of the three colleges I attended. I'm damn near sick of it.

From Coming Soon: Blogapalooza 2, October 18 2008:

Molly asked:
Why don't you just relax?

Relax? During the school year? Then I might have shut down altogether!

Bridget asked:
Did you finish reading all those books?

Don't tell my teacher, but I didn't actually finish House of Mirth. But mostly, yes, I read them all and then some.

From Tuesday Excerpt Blogapalooza 2, October 21 2008:

notawritersfather asked:
You had beer in the fridge and didn't invite me over?

Probably not, dad. Seeing as how that was a story.

From Never Mind That Blogapalooza List, October 22 2008:

Christopher G asked:
So who was the poor team that you defeated for your only win in each of the last two seasons?

It was a different team, I think, each year. But now I don't remember. Plus, I think the team has been disbanded. We were tired of losing.

From Secret Blogging, November 2 2008:

Becky (your writing teacher) asked:
And does this count as a post?

Well...I guess this proves my html skills worked. So yes, yes it does.

Molly asked:
Do you get graded on this?

Not on the blog, no. But on the fake webpage, yes. I got an A in that class, so I guess I did all right.

From Getting Older, November 16 2008:

Molly asked:
Maybe you don't remember

I learned from the best, mom. Don't tell the good parts when you're trying to guilt people. Just let them know how tragic your life has been, and they'll want to do whatever they can for you. Let them know you were ever happy before they came into your life, and they won't come to your Blues City Deli birthday party. Ever.

From Best Thing I Learned This Semester, December 4 2008:

Abalama asked:
Isn't that the greatest movie evar?

Evar isn't a word. And it is a very fantastic film.

Abalama also asked:
You JUST NOW saw it?

Yes. I had been busy with school, you know. Most of the movies I saw from fall of 2006 to spring of 2009 were films I watched specifically for class.

Molly asked:
Does anyone listen?

What was that, mom?

From And now, More Things I Learned This Semester, December 21 2008:

Bridget asked:
What's next?

Kathy gets to find a job to support me while I write the next great American novel. Or something.

Molly asked:
Has your mother told you she's proud of you?

Yes. Thanks, mom.

From It's Coming... December 30, 2008:

Molly asked:
What's wrong with that.

I am not calling our cat "Methy." It just won't happen.

Kathy asked:
How will I ever know what Amethyst looks like? live here. And so does she. She was just cuddling with you not half an hour ago.

From The Long Awaited (and delayed) Post, January 26 2009:

Molly asked:
What's up with that?

Database object query search not found. Error. Delete search criteria. You'll have to be more specific in future queries.

From Way Overdue, April 19 2009:

Bridget asked:
Could this play have felt different because you know you'll be graduating in a few weeks?

Maybe, although I think the main reason it felt different was that it was directed by somebody else this year, rather than by me, and so it was more humbling to be a singular part of the process, rather than a very large part. I liked being the writer more than being the writer/director.

From Something Big... May 27 2009:

Bridget asked:
What will I be reading?

Yes, that is what I asked.

Molly asked:
You wanna know what I'm reading?

Yes. That's why I asked.

From A Free Write Friday of Sorts, July 3 2009:

Becca asked:
What is this anger you speak of?

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Molly asked:
Where are the women?

Well, first off, it's mainly a story about a young man and his relationship with his father. That's one of the central pieces to this novel. Another piece to the novel is the young man's relationship with his bandmates, all of whom are, yes, men. But you have to remember a couple of things: 1) I don't think I'm very good yet at creating female characters (which is something I am working on) and 2) This is only a very off-the-cuff spontaneous writing that only reflects a very small part of what I have envisioned for this novel. Rest assured, there are female characters in the works.

Well, that about wraps it up, everyone. Hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July weekend, and here's hoping that the coming months bring happiness and hope to everybody. Please do whatever you can to help your fellow man. We're all living on this planet together. We've got to share in each others' triumphs and failures. Otherwise, we're not doing our part.

Friday, July 03, 2009

A Free Write Friday of Sorts...

I have not been posting, and there is a reason for that.

I have been very angry. Those who know me well, are friends with/stalk me on facebook or follow my tweets, you already know what is making me angry. For those of you in the dark, I don't want to get into it. It's been all I could think about for something like two weeks, and every time I sat down to write I couldn't, because I wanted to write for my novel and not in anger. Let us leave it at that.

As to the rumors I've been hearing through the pipeline that I have forsaken blogspot for twitter, or that I feel my art should be only used for pay, or that I'm stuck in a tunnel, or that I've gone so crazy I forgot I had a blog, or whatever other crazy rumors are out there, they're all wrong. Each and every one of them. Trust me. I've just explained myself.

First things first, before I get into the writing: a quick update. The month of June was fairly uneventful. my sister and her husband celebrated their 4th anniversary. My brother-in-law Joe got married, which meant I got to attend my second wedding of the year. The first one was a low key deal in March in Iowa. This was rather a bigger deal and took place in Puerto Rico. The trip was very nice, if I do say so myself. Very nice indeed. Of course, sunny and beautiful just about every day, and the wedding was amazingly awesome. The flight back was a terror, but we're going for the highlights and not the lowlights on our way through June.

Skip forward to this past weekend, when my old roommate Chris came to town for a Twins v. Cardinals showdown. Of course we hit up the City Museum, Ted Drewes and drank ourselves some Schlafly Pale Ale (I believe Chris went with the dry-hopped American Pale Ale here at the house, and then the regular Pale Ale at Beatnik Bob's). Good times were, indeed, had by all. I can't remember who won the baseball game, though.

Anyway, that about wraps up the update. Work is still going well, Kathy is still looking for a job (leads? leads? anyone?) but in a slightly ironic twist of fate she received word this week that the bi-monthly program guide published by the television station from which she was laid off won an award for its design, and that her name is on that award because (fancy this) she was the designer. So with that tidbit added to her resume, she can't possibly be too far from employment now!

Okay, now on to the Free Write Friday of sorts. I've been stuck writing my novel lately, as I said I wasn't exactly in the right mood. But I need to keep my head down and power through. So in the interest of doing so, I'm going to write for a little bit and do it here, on my blog, spontaneously. Well, maybe not so spontaneously, as I've been thinking about how to go about constructing my novel for about two months now, and have actually already written some down. But this is a part of the envisioned novel that exists only in my head and as a scribbled note in my composition book.

Now I know that usually, my Free Write Fridays are done via suggestion; I ask around Tuesday or Wednesday, I check comments, I pick the most creative or the one with most potential (or I sandbag it and post an anonymous suggestion myself and take off with that...wait, did I just admit that?) and on Friday write it. But instead, this time it's just going for the overarching idea in my head of the novel about the guy in a band working through the relationships and the music, and one of the more specific ways in which I was planning on presenting the idea. So we'll give it a try. Here we go.


July 2009

One of the most important lessons about rock 'n' roll my father taught me was the idea that a song belongs to the person who wrote it in much the same way a true story belongs to the person to whom it happened. But, he was always careful to point out, that doesn't stop others from trying to tell the story or play the song.

There are two ways to cover a song, my father used to say. Make it sound like it did on the original recording, or make it your own in some way. He made it very clear which method he preferred.

"If it's a fast song originally, try to speed it up. If the main instrument is a guitar, transpose it to piano. If it was sung with a twinge of longing, amp it up."

I had a hundred perfect examples for him the last time we had this conversation. "Dad, you know that song 'Superstar' by The Carpenters?"

"Yeah," he answered, "originally written by Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, sung by Bette Midler of all people on The Tonight Show, but made famous by The Carpenters," and he started singing it.

"Yeah, that one. The way they do it, you know, it's, you feel sad for the singer."

"'Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear' yeah, 'but you're not really here...'"

I should have stopped there, tried to talk about that song, because I knew where the conversation would end. But I went on anyway. "Well, there was a tribute album to the Carpenters, you know, back in 1994?"

"'You said you'd be coming back this way again baby...'"

"And, well, Sonic Youth did a version of it, and..."

"What do I always tell you about covering tunes?" He had stopped singing, was looking at me, had even taken his glasses off so I could see how serious he was.

"Well, it was a tribute album," I tried to stall him. "It was released ten years ago, dad, and Sonic Youth..."

"And what do I always tell you about rock 'n' roll?"

I knew his rules, the gray areas. I tried to stall a little longer, hoping to pique his curiosity enough to at least ask if he could hear what I knew he would ultimately decry as a bastardized version of one of his treasured musical masterpieces. He liked to do that, to claim all the music that came before 1976 as his own. "But dad, look, it's a tribute album, for a band that made music from 1969 until 1982."

"Eighty-three," he corrected me. I couldn't let him go any further until I had said more.

"Fine, eighty-three. They made music before and after. And the tribute isn't about a bunch of people thinking they can repackage the songs and sell them to a younger crowd, they're paying tribute to them."

He was speechless. I thought he might actually want to hear the song this time. My heart pumped in my throat. "What I wanted to say was, though, that the way Sonic Youth does it, that you don't feel sorry for the singer at all, you feel kind of, kind of creeped out. Like with The Carpenters, you feel like the guy lied to the singer just to get her into bed or something, but with Sonic Youth, you know? Not that! You feel like, like, feel like there never was any actual connection between the singer of the song and the person they're singing about. You get the sense that the singer's kind of, like, a stalker or something. It's really very cool, they do what you say, they make it their own."

I had just contradicted myself, and I knew it; after trying to convince my father that Sonic Youth had not usurped the song, had paid tribute to The Carpenters, I then told him flat out they had made it their own. And he caught me.

"I thought you said it was a tribute."

"It is, but..."

"That's not a very nice tribute, huh? Changing the meaning of their song?" And that was that.

"Nobody should ever be allowed to cover a song," he said to me, and I mouthed along with the next part of his statement; "except for Joe Cocker." I rolled my eyes. "And," he continued, "speak of the devil, Mad Dogs and Englishmen covered the tune before anybody else. Delaney, Mad Dogs, Bette Midler, Cher, some Australian lady, then The Carpenters. Maybe this Sonic band's paying tribute to somebody else, and they shouldn't be."

Because Rock 'n' Roll, I knew, attained perfection in 1976 with Led Zeppelin's release of "Achilles' Last Stand."

This was just the last of many conversations I had with my father about covering music. I asked him when I first started my band if we should play some Rolling Stones tunes, and he said no. "Not unless you intend on dressing up like them, looking like them, and playing only their music, and call yourselves The Ruby Tuesdays or something like that. Be a tribute band. You're no Joe Cocker."

To be honest, though, there were three kinds of bands that could play rock 'n' roll cover tunes, and my father acknowledged all three of them: Joe Cocker (not really a kind of band, but he goes on the list), tribute bands and wedding bands. And there is a reason they go in that order, too. Joe Cocker is the ultimate, because according to my father Joe Cocker is creating art from the remnants of previously shattered art (and what shattered that art? I'll let you know when I find the answer). Tribute bands fall next because they are providing a service that is like but not equal to the service provided by bands and artists who have passed this world and entered the crowded venues of Rock heaven. Wedding bands go last because they provide a very basic service which is always better than hiring a DJ but nonetheless nothing to get excited about.

These rules only ever applied to rock 'n' roll, though, never to any other kind of music, at least according to my father. Together, he and I had spent every Christmas since I was thirteen playing in a community orchestra together. My first year out of college, the band wasn't touring for various reasons and so I joined my father full time with the orchestra. He played timpani, I played whatever other percussion instruments needed to be played, and one night after playing some Holst and Mahler I asked him about the rules.

"If we're going to open with Mahler, dad, shouldn't we stick with Mahler? I mean, unless you're at a wedding gig, you wouldn't open with 'Twist and Shout' and then go on to 'Misty Mountain Hop' now would you?" We were packing up the music and still standing on the stage while the audience dispersed.

"You probably wouldn't play 'Misty Mountain Hop' at a wedding anyway," he answered, "but you're right. Only, this is different. Nobody in our audience ever got a chance to see Mahler. You can't run down to the record store about buy a recording of Mahler conducting himself, you know. He wrote it down so that others may play it. So much of the enjoyment of classical music isn't happening out there," and he waved toward the seats in the auditorium, "but up here, with the musicians. Rock, you know, the enjoyment...there's a lot of it up on stage, but even more of it out there. And out there, they want to see what they hear. They don't want to see Blood Sweat and Tears playing 'Stairway to Heaven.' Give 'em 'Spinning Wheel,' give 'em 'Lucretia MacEvil.'"

My father's first Christmas without his own father came upon all of us suddenly. My grandfather had died in February, but when December 15th came everyone in the family realized how different this year would be. Grandpa always played his tuba at an event called "Tuba Christmas" in one of the malls in town every year, up until the year before he died, and there it was, Tuba Christmas, upon us. We had almost forgotten about it, until one night there we were, rehearsing for the orchestra's holiday concert, and one of the tuba players mentioned it in passing. Of course. Tuba Christmas.

We called all of my father's brothers, even the ones we never talked to in Alabama, and invited them all up to come see Tuba Christmas one last time. Only the ones who were still in St. Louis came. So on a Saturday afternoon, we went to the Galleria and picked out a spot to watch and listen to all the tubas. We sat. We watched. We listened. I was the only one of my cousins to show up, but then for some reason Grandpa Schulz had always seemed especially fond of me over his other grandsons. While others would get a card with a five dollar bill for their birthdays, sent in the mail no matter how close they lived, Grandpa would always come down and visit with me, take me to a movie, usually war films or flicks about baseball. We sat for a long time, even after the tubas had all been packed up and hauled off. We were trading stories, and my father was telling all about the last camping trip before Robert, the oldest brother, moved out on his own. He told the whole story, and we laughed at the right spots, except for my uncle James, the second youngest.

When the story was over, James frowned. "Gerald, that's not how it happened. We weren't lost in the woods for six hours, it was more like half an hour. And it only rained for the whole day one of the days we were there. And dad had spare gas, he didn't use Robert's whiskey to fuel the boat, he just threatened to."

"Maybe you're right," my father said, after a silence. Robert sat, grinning, not willing or wanting to settle the matter of what happened to his whiskey.

"I am right," James said. "And it wasn't the sixty-two Pontiac anymore, it was the sixty-five. Remember, Dale had totalled the sixty-two on his seventeenth birthday?"

"That, you're right about," Robert chimed in. "It was the sixty-five. The Bonneville. Maroon."

When all was said and done that day, my father and I got back into his car to head home. "Why does James always insist on contradicting you?" I asked.

"What, about the story?" I nodded. "He's right. About the time lost, the rain, the whiskey. Dad's not around, James feels like he should correct history. But sometimes, you know, when you cover a song, you gotta change it a little. Make it your own." He turned the radio on, perhaps somehow knowing that Joe Cocker's version of "The Letter" would be on the classic hit station. "Besides, your uncle James has never been able to change it up that way. He's in a wedding band."


A little (very) disjointed, but remember, this only existed as a sliver of an idea in my head when I started. But the important thing is that I kept my head down and powered through. I've made an important step. Yay!

No promises about blogging. You can follow me on twitter, though!

Happy 4th of July everyone!