Saturday, September 29, 2012

Of Music, Writing and Divers Things

I'm just in from mowing the lawn.  I listened to a lot of great music on shuffle on my Ipod and got to thinking about music and writing and divers things

I saw a classified advertisement earlier this week for an acoustic guitar,with a case, supposedly in excellent condition. I bought it this morning.

It had a broken string but I couldn't see anything else wrong with it, but then I really don't know anything about guitars.  I took it to Woodsy's in downtown Kent and  had a guitar tech take a look at it.  He found something else wrong with it, said it  would cost about $60 to fix and said it would be ready by Tuesday.  I had only paid $50 for the instrument itself.

I  started  writing this post and the phone rang.  It was the guitar tech.  He said that he had gone ahead and repaired my guitar today. I could come and pick it up.

So I did.  The tech showed me the guitar and explained the work he had done.  I asked him to recommend some self-instruction books.  He did. He suggested a book on Guitar Method that comes with a CD and a DVD.  I told him I can't read music.  He said hardly anyone can.  He asked if I was interested in learning to play any particular kind of music.  I said that I wanted to learn to play a blues song.  So he then suggested a book of Blues Guitar Photo Chords.

Can you tell I'm excited?

I'm really going to give it a shot.  I'm uncoordinated and I don't have rhythm.  How difficult could it be?

My brother John likes to go on about how when I babysat for him and my other brother Jim, I would put on concerts for them and make god awful sounds with a toy guitar and my bongo drums.  Accompanying them of course with my song stylings.  Oh, Johnny!  I'm back.


I was thinking earlier today about how I've been working, off and on, on Appearances: A Novel In 365 Fragments and how slowly that project is going.  Whereas,  over the course of the last week, I wrote over a hundred pages of erotic fiction.  And interestingly, these linked stories themselves add up to something like a novel.  More about that some other time.

I could write a lot this week because I knew exactly where I was going and because I was writing in a straight forward way.  Appearances  is writing toward the unknown.

Eileen Tabios earlier this week gifted me with an inscribed advance copy of her latest book of poetry, 5 Shades of Gray.  I want to quote one poem from this superb book:

Poetics (#2)

"Move to the limit
of what you know--

Start there"

That is quite possibly the best piece of advice a human being could be given.  I really admire Eileen's book.  It is for me her best book so far.


I've been thinking about my life in poetry.  I've made and lost friends in my poetry life.

Geof Huth is a lost friend. Which makes me very sad. Probably my fault, but probably unavoidable.

I'm very grateful for poetry friends like Eileen Tabios, Tom Fink, Sheila E. Murphy, JBR, Crag Hill, Mark Young, Richard Lopez, Rebecca Loudon, Alex Gildzen, Nicholas Manning, Steve Tills, Jean Vengua (though we have been woefully long out of touch--my fault), Allen Bramhall, Anne Gorrick, Lynn Behrendt and a host of others.  I hope I don't screw any of these friendships up.  I'm just saying: I value you folks.  Even if we never meet outside of this virtual world we inhabit.




  1. Thank you Tom. It goes both ways.

    But, more to the point of this post. Synchronicity or something dept. Guess who will have his first viola lesson ever this coming Wednesday? I decided that learning an instrument will go a long way towards helping me stay sane. Learning how to do something with my right hand, something completely different with my left and using the rest of my mindbody to keep it all together ... My goal: twinkle twinkle little star. After that, and in its time, if I live long enough, the Bach will happen ...

  2. I was thinking about John's viola as I read your guitar post. Insist on learning how to read music. You have such an incredibly fluid mind and remember, there are only seven notes. Well eight but two of those are the same note. And variations thereof. You can do it.

  3. Thanks, Rebecca. I will keep your advice in mind.

  4. I'm happy & honored to be on the list of people you consider friends, Tom. It's great that you're trying new things, and writing like mad, and writing things you like. Good luck with the guitar!

  5. last year grandma gave nick a keyboard. he's been playing it non-stop. he still hasn't figured out a song structure but he can pick out notes. now he wants a guitar. there's an electric one at costco that, everytime we shop at costco, he strums with great pleasure. i tried to show him a the few chords i know but i too, tom, am uncoordinated and have no rythmn and couldn't write a good tune even with a gun to my head. nick loves rock and roll. don't tell him this but we plan on buying him an electric guitar for his birthday.

    all i can do is pass on my love of music to nick.

    your lovely thoughts are beamed back from me to you.