Friday’s Theme Music

Today’s was a direct and simple connection between walking, thinking, and my theme music.

Thinking about time, I was walking through some low humidity, ninety degree sunshine. Across the valley was clear from my vantage. It was its typical summer brown, the green baked away, a striking but depressing tableau under a crystal blue sky. With that vision of heat and dryness dancing with memories of wildfires from the last five years, I hoped for rain.

The opening words that Sting sings from “Desert Rose”, a duet with Cheb Mami (2000), rose in voice in my mind.

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

h/t AZLyrics.com

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Tuesday’s Theme Music

My head seems to be residing in the 1990s frequently this month. Another nineties staple, Alice in Chains’ song, “Man in the Box” (1991), has appeared in my mental stream.

It happened when I was walking yesterday afternoon. I suspect that it’s the recurrent thoughts/sensations that I often feel trapped in a box coupled with the opening strides of music that prompted the song to enter my stream. I was walking, and the music’s beat and my rhythm matched.

I always considered AIC underrated. After I bought their unplugged album, I told my buddy, “This is a really good album. You should give it a listen.”

He replied, “Dude, it’s Alice in Chains. I mean, no disrespect, but how good could it be?”

 

Something Fundamental

His head was down against the silvery sunshine heat. Walking along, he looked up to orient his course and spotted Doctor Frank further up the white cement sidewalk.

He literally froze where he was. His heart beat – he felt it – but a shocked stupor held him stiff. Doctor Frank had died two months before. This had to be a doppelganger. He’d heard or read that everyone has an exact replica of themselves elsewhere on the world. This was the most perfect one he’d ever seen. The man was just like Doctor Frank, the biologist, in every aspect from his impish, good-natured expression, gray and white beard, and slender-as-a-broom frame to the outdoor pants, boots, and vest that were Doctor Frank’s regular attire, including the forest green bush hat.

He snapped out of it. The result put him up the sidewalk past where he’d spotted Doctor Frank, as if he’d never stopped. His head swooned. Pausing to regain control of his senses, he saw Q across the street, waiting to cross.

Now that was fucking impossible. Q’d died four years ago. Like Doctor Frank, doppelganger Q was an eerie ghost of his deceased friend. As he wondered what the what, he saw his mother-in-law, Jean, dead for the last two years, off to the left, with her husband, Carl, who’d been dead since 1992. 

“Holy shit,” reverberated through his mind and came out his mouth. “What’s going on?”

In a blink, he realized all the color had deserted the world, as though he was watching a movie on an old black-and-white television. Closing his eyes to recover, he gasped; with his eyes closed, he could see everything taking place in color, except the dead folk that he saw weren’t there.

Slowly, he cracked his eyes open and took in the monochrome world. The sound differed from before. Swiveling his head, he saw more dead friends and relatives. It wasn’t his beloved hometown any longer, until he closed his eyes. With eyes closed, color was restored, and he was in the town where he’d been living and walking.

Keeping them closed, he resumed his walk. That seemed to work, but it was a temporary solution. Something fundamental had changed in his world.

He was going to have to open his eyes again sometime. And then…

He shook his head. He was going to keep his eyes closed until he was home. And then —

Well, he’d see.

Be Brave

Another writing slash self-examination of myself post. It’s all about me, you know…

Writing often is about the author, whether it’s the process or subject, the writer is deep into it. I’m too damn introspective for my own good, and I’m a fragile beast.

I’m struggling with April Showers 1921. Much of the struggle is my fault; some is due to life events.

Life events kept me from writing several times. Vacation. Vacation is a good thing, right? Not for this writer, as it meant not writing. Felt like someone was scraping the enamel off my teeth.

Other life events, a birthday party, memorial service, surgery and health issues, interfered with my writing habits. Those, though, could be overcome. I felt confident of that.

Harder to overcome was my doubts about what I was writing and the story that I was relating. “Overthinking” is the world. Overthinking let in the doubt monster. The doubt monster fed my writer angst. Next up was a full blown case of imposter syndrome worries.

I walked and fretted, ate and fretted, awakened and fretted…fretting accompanied everything. I was engaging in one of the worst and most common problems afflicting writers, trying to write for others instead of myself. It took me until this morning to realize it. A young woman’s tatoo finally awakened.

She’s a barista at my fave coffee shop. On her left wrist was a tattoo, “Be brave.” 

I’ve known her for four years. She graduated from high school a year early. She was sixteen. She then took a year off to travel Thailand and southeast Asia. She said tattoo was a reminder.

After speaking with her, I went on a walking break. I admired her and her tattoo. I’d never tattooed anything on myself, but I employed a mantra: “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I’d developed it when I was young to help me overcome those things. Others were always saying that they saw things in me and nominating me for stuff or asking me if I wanted to try something.

What kind of cad would say no to such sugary words? Not me. Between genes, birth order, and socialization, I’m just a boy who can’t say no. I want others to like me too much. I don’t want to disappoint them. I fear disappointing them.

That’s where and when the mantra was born. People would tell me, “You got this. You can do it.” Nodding, I’d agree without speaking, and then tell myself, “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I frequently added, “Focus.” Results were often excellent, usually surprising all of us.

Remembering that, I turned back to the times when I employed that mantra and achieved good results, and decided, time to drag that mantra out again.

No fear, no doubt, no worries.

Time to continue writing and editing like crazy, at least one more time.

 

Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s music came from thinking about the struggles with writing April Showers 1921. During a conference call with the muses, they advised me to trust them and go with instinct. “Everything zen,” I replied.

That introduced the old Bush song, “Everything Zen”. Released almost a quarter century again, it came out the same year that I retired from the military. I enjoyed this song, but the entire album, Sixteen Stone. “Everything Zen” joined my daily commute tape, used in emergencies when I couldn’t find anything on Bay area stations, while the album was put into the CD player’s preferred section.

Thinking over those words, it’s remarkable how technology has changed. Sixteen Stone was on CD. Two CD players served me then and now. One is part of the Bose Command Center, and holds six at a time. The other player is a Sony two hundred disc player, which can be organized as eight sections of twenty-five CDs. I rarely use it now, as music is so readily available via digital sources.

While I know the words to “Everything Zen” and like their play, I wasn’t aware of their references to other songs until recently. Now that it’s all been pointed out, I was dismayed that I didn’t recognize any of that. Songfact explains it well.

Have a great life, whichever day or night it is for you, wherever you reside on this spectrum of existence. Cheers

 

One More Complaint

I don’t mind sweating, but I’ll tell you, I intensely dislike it when the sweat makes my boxer shorts stick to my butt cheeks. Makes me want to swear off undies, but then I’d just end up with my shorts stuck to my butt. The only option seems to be to avoid sweating, unless someone makes undies that repel sweat…

Woof.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

“More Than A Feeling” (Boston, 1976) is a song about memories and regrets. Yeah, mistakes? I’ve made a few.

After a pleasant writing session yesterday, I drifted through plans and my personal history, which took me into this song.

So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky

h/t AZLyrics.com

I was twenty years old when this song came out and stationed with the U.S. Air Force in the Philippines. Whenever this song was played at parties, someone inevitably requested, “Turn it up.” Dos, someone usually played the air guitar. Trey, several people would sing along. It’s that kind of song, a poignant rocker.

 

Fourteen

A beard and mustache like smudges on the face

long and thick brown hair pinned up to play baseball

faded bell-bottom blue jeans with a large hole in the rear

and no undies underneath

white high-top canvas shoes

hand-painted fluorescent orange

a worn white tee-shirt with a green marijuana leaf in the center of the chest

under by a torn military fatigue shirt signed by everyone met

worn open like a jacket

quoting Asimov, Clapton, Kirk, and Clemente

reading Leary, Chekov, Dumas, Tolkien, Heller, and Knowles

listening to the Stones, Humble Pie, Cream, Jimi, Janis, and Bob

dancing to Sly, Chicago, Three Dog Night, and EW&F

runnin’, walkin’ and bikin’ to go anywhere and everywhere

through any weather and across any terrain

That’s the fourteen-year-old that I remember.

Nature

Don’t you love it when you’re outside with a hat on, and a large spider starts running around on your hat brim’s underside, and then he drops down on a thread and swings onto your sunglasses like Tarzan, and then races onto your cheek and makes a dash over your mustache for your nostril?

Yes, yes, I really love it.

Really.

Ah, nature.

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