Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day eleven...Let it rain.

It's raining today.

I don't know why, but the rain always makes me want to play guitar.

Perhaps it is the equivalent of nature's percussionist.



A million tiny drum sticks striking in a strangely connected rhythm. A consistent, pulsing layer of sound that somehow snuck in the side door and started a long, slow roll on the snare. It makes me want to join in. It makes me want to play. It makes me want to produce sympathetic vibrations where needed, and lay out and enjoy the pauses and spaces between bars. I realize the rain doesn't need me. The rain can play all day by itself. It's a natural.

Snow, on the other hand, affects me in a visual sense and it gets me excited when I can see it. It's what made me start this crazy writing project in the first place. My shade was up, the flakes were falling, and it made me want to type. It's like an open Hustler laying on the table. I know the power it has over my emotions but it only really affects me when I'm looking at it.

I know, I'm a sucker for metaphors but like a bottle of good Polish vodka smuggled in your luggage and still intact upon arrival; once you crack the seal, it's really hard to stop.

Oh, and I like similes too.

As I was saying:

Snow and rain.

Visual and aural.

Cold and temperate.

Solid and liquid.

Different, yet made from the same elements. Both capable of some seriously destructive behavior.

I suppose that with snow, you know what you're getting. It's relatively simple to look outside and see what has accumulated. You can easily gauge how much difficulty you will be facing when you step out the door; an easy read.

Rain, while it makes a beautiful and consistent sound, could erupt at a moment's notice with a lightning bolt of deadly fury followed by a gargantuan thunderclap that'll make you sit up straight in your seat. A crack on the knuckles with a ruler by Sister Mary Theresa if you will.

It still makes me want to play guitar. Something I haven't done in a while.

I'll get back to it soon enough. All this writing has lubricated the part of my brain that can compose a story. Soon I'll try to put one to music. The cessation of smoking pot has brought some range back into my voice. And the comments I have heard and read by many people regarding this blog have given me the confidence to once again put myself out there and present a new creation.

All in good time.

But time really flies when you're not trying to escape from it. Not too long ago I had a different definition of success. Not too long ago I'd pat myself on the back with any number of vices if I managed to make it through the work day without having a meltdown. I'd clench my fists to attempt to prevent the usual lethargy and confusion from getting in the way of collecting a paycheck. Then I'd make a few phone calls and stomp out the embers in my pants pocket where my wallet usually went. That's partly why I wear it on a chain. If I made it through to quitting time I could punch in at my second job. This is the one that really took its toll on me. I did whatever I had to to keep it because getting tanked on the job was allowed. That's what the job was. Now that I'm in between jobs it seems like time just won't give me a break. The hours go by so fast that it's dark before I know it. Lucky for me, the days are getting longer.

Not too long ago I would judge how long I stayed up drinking (read: staring blankly at the TV) by how much was left in the litre. Now I know what positive tasks I have accomplished by the things left unfinished. And this is OK. Because the unfinished things at least have a thread still hanging. I can easily see where I left off. I can wake up, re-thread the needle, and resume connecting the pieces. To mend a hole long ago neglected. To finish what I started, knowing full well that it was I who began it in the first place.

In other words, I don't have to dig through the trash to tell what kind of food I had delivered the previous night.

The rain is starting to die down and snow's not predicted till the the beginning of next week. But the good thing about strengthening your gray matter is that you can fantasize with a lot more realism.

Yes, I think it's time to play that guitar.

Thanks for reading.



Anonymous said...

A new friend of mine (a guitarist in WASP) says that he is more productive on gray days because he is not distracted by the sun. I sometimes find that to be true, too.

It is such a treat to read your journal. I often wonder (and too frequently ask) what people I know are thinking. When you have to stop to think about what to say about what you are thinking, it doesn't ring as true. I'm reading you and getting to see how someone else thinks.

Although the ignition device will be a pain in the ass, I am happy that it is being used to try to keep repeat offenders from driving. I was rear-ended by a drunk driver in 1992 and ultimately ended up having a disc removed from my neck. As hard as it was/has been on me physically, it was very upsetting to my kids to see their mom in the hospital in traction. If this device saves one person such pain. I know that you realize the consequences of your decision to drive could have been far worse and I trust that you will not do this again.

I know that your life will be better now. And I wish you love and health and rainy days of guitar playing.

Running Hard Out Of Muskrat Flats said...

Nice Writing Freddy. Keep Coming.

There is a pretty famous anecdote about Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. Jerry was in his San Rafael Hobbit hole one night playing the guitar when a ferocious thunder and lightning storm whipped through the Bay. He began playing along with the rhythm (sometimes y indeed, what a weird word rhythm is...Remember the Waver named Rhythm who worked for us for one day) Sorry.

Anyways Jerry was moved by the rhythms and beats provided by this storm. And he came up with some music which he decided was a keeper.

The next day he got together with Robert Hunter who told him that he was writing the night before when the storm came through. He was on the other side of the bay so he was not only hearing the same thing Jerry was but seeing the opposite side of the storm. He showed Garcia the lyrics he had written to the timing provided by the storm. Jerry began to play what he had come up with and it was a near perfect fit. That is the true story of the writing of the Grateful Dead Classic, Terrapin Station.

Nature is a good motivator. You just have to listen sometimes...

ina said...

Thank you, Alex! It worked!

If I want to practice after I put the girls to bed, I have to wait until they are asleep, otherwise they'll be kept awake by the playing (yet somehow they can sleep through it if they're already asleep).

So I often sit down at the computer to read for a bit until they're asleep. Of course, what happens is I start reading & surfing and before I know it, I'm tired and ready for bed myself. So no practicing.

Last night, I stopped in here, read this

Yes, I think it's time to play that guitar.

turned off the computer and practiced for two hours! So I'll just bookmark this post and come back any time I need the butt-kick device!

Okay, I'm off to practice!

P.S. Will it get annoying if I compliment your writing all the time?? Another beautiful post. Thank you.

F. Alex Johnson said...

Thanks Ina,

I've been keeping tabs on you too and it's a pleasure to see your progress in the world of music. Keep up the good work. And I will never get sick of your comments. Just promise you won't hold back with criticism if and when things start to go astray. I sometimes need a "boot-kick" myself to pop the bubble that sometimes surrounds me. It can't all be gold, but it'll always draw my eye if it shines.

Thanks again,