On my Home and About Me pages I described a bit of what makes me want to send words out into the ether. I write, a lot. You can see by the number of novels published. Good, bad or indifferent, they contain a lot of sentences, paragraphs, pages, stories all courtesy of me. But if you speak and no one hears, have you said anything? Is the voice shouting into the void of any significance? Thus, this. The blog. Seeking an audience to give form and meaning to my utterances.
I can’t assure you that this blog will be about anything in particular. Such discipline is a bit beyond my ADHD. It will, rather, speak to various interests that, from time to time, populate my brain.
-Thoughts and ideas
And, of course, anything else that captures my attention.
One promise, I will not address politics. Too emotional and the mere mention of the word gives me a headache.
I’ve been a fan of music for sixty plus years. Watching the Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand and other variety shows like Carol Burnett, Glen Campbell, Smothers Brothers, Sonny and Cher… My first purchase of a record album was The Cyrkle, ‘Red Rubber Ball’. I taped music off the radio on a big reel-to-reel, then cassettes. I came late to CD’s, being loyal to the LP but when I made the switch I did it big. Became a huge fan of the Columbia Record Club where if you bought one you get like a million for free. Too bad they went out of business or I’d still be a customer. I now own like 4000 CDs and hundreds of records. My categories are rock, jazz, world, the blues with a bit of reggae and rap thrown in for good measure. No country please.
I find that location dictates preference. While writing or working, jazz and world are appropriate. In the car its rock and blues. At home its softer rock and gentler blues. Patty abhors country as do I so it never intrudes. And with the crotchety opinions of the elderly, music today isn’t as good as it was back then. Oh, certainly in the days of my youth there were the sugary pop songs, canned and processed tunes, formulistic offerings but most all of them had the advantage of performance by real musicians. Now, the formulistic, canned and processed are far less imaginative and backed by simplistic, tasteless, unimaginative computer algorithms programmed for mass market appeal. Not to say there aren’t worthy contestants for the ears hidden in the bushes, but they rarely make the top forty and require effort if they’re to be heard.
I’m a voracious reader. I view a book as an escape from and a barrier against the outside world. My interest is primarily in the novel. I do occasionally read classical history, a bit of religion or mythology, some biographies but the most pleasure comes from literature. In that sensed I tend to be eclectic. I’ll become immersed in Irish authors, then English, or French or Russian or Japanese or South American. I have specific favorites like Rushdie, Cather, Amado, Laxness, Hugo, Murdoch, Saramago, Woolfe… The list could go on. I keep the books I like which means I’ve quite a collection. I re-read regularly. The sad fact is that I don’t absorb the words. Often, I can’t even tell you the title or the author. When I do go back to a book that I know I’ve read in the past, it’s often like seeing it anew. Still, the subconscious, I’m sure, has a glorious time sifting through all the forgotten themes. That’s my conceit, anyway.
Occasionally I require mind-candy. Something uncomplicated. In my youth it was Edgar Rice Burroughs, Conan the Barbarian, science fiction and fantasy adventure. Later I moved into westerns, particularly Louis L’Amour. I’ve read each of his books three or four times, some even five or six. Lately its been Tom Clancy, John Grisham and the ilk but I find the need for such escape to be less insistent. Too much to read and so little time.
Writing has long been a dream of mine but I lacked the discipline to sit down and put words to paper. In high school I’d formulate stories or poems, generally when I was supposed to be paying attention in class. Over the next three decades I’d jot a few notes but nothing serious. Then one day a friend said she’d put the art to a children’s poem I’d written. We turned it into a book and I caught the bug. I found that the computer was far superior to paper, easier to flow and edit. Interesting phenomena, editing the written page and the computer page results in very different conclusions. The experience of each is unique to the medium. A combination of the two is best. Since I can’t afford a professional editor and must rely on myself, any aid is appreciated.
I started setting aside time every morning to work on my creations. I rise early, like five or so, my wife not till about nine, so there was plenty of time to sip coffee and meander across the pages while jazz played in the background. Now the habit has become a necessity. If I’m not working on a new novel, I’m editing the old. I publish on an online service known as kdp, Kindle Direct Publishing, an Amazon company. Their website isn’t the best but once learned it’s acceptable, and more important, free. I’ll speak of my individual books as time goes on.
I started lifting weights at fourteen, I ran track and cross country in high school. In college, between the many bouts of excess, I continued running, playing handball, hiking, biking etc. Not with any structure or consistency but enough to stay fit. In my late twenties and early thirties as family took precedence my running continued on a sporadic basis. Then at age thirty-eight a friend invited me to a 5k race. Three miles, I said, easy. I do that in my sleep. I went out too fast, died by the half-way mark and felt humiliated. Still, a seed was planted. For the next twelve or so years I was obsessed. Two a day workouts. Running races. Mountain bike races. Triathlons. Duathlons. Sometimes two in a week. And I was good. Could almost always podium at least in my age group. Then one day at age of, like, fifty-one, I woke up one morning and decided that I’d had enough. I reduced from obsessed to merely passionate. I still worked out almost every day but only once a day. I rarely enter races. I’ve lost my competitive desire. To this day I walk, my body no longer tolerates running, bike, paddle board, kayak, yoga, box, lift weights and anything else that’s physical. Lots of theories to discuss.
When Patty and I first met we fell in love. I was in law school and had already signed and paid for a two-month study abroad in Mexico City. My first trip outside the US. I convinced my wife-to-be to visit and we spent a glorious week touring the country. Two years after we wed and before kids, we spent five months driving around Europe. Since then we’ve visited some thirty-five to forty countries. Italy being the favorite. I’m now retired but in truth I took my retirement in stages. We’d go to Europe for two and three weeks at a time. Twice to Southeast Asia. The Caribbean.
Mountain biking has been a passion for a long time. Not quite on par with running back in the day but it did hold a place of honor in the pantheon of my athletic endeavors. We lived in Ocala where the cross-Florida barge canal was supposed to go many decades past. It was decommissioned by Nixon, I believe, turned over to the state and transformed into a park about a mile wide and running from east to west across the county. A group established mountain bike trails that were officially sanctioned in the late nineties. We lived just five minutes away. There are now about a hundred miles of trails at all levels of ability. The point of this diversion does come back to travel. I’ve used mountain biking as a vehicle to go all over the world. Many times out west to Colorado, Utah, Oregon, South Dakota. The south, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee. New York. Canada, Mexico. Through Morocco. Across Scotland. Day trips in England, Italy, Austria, Thailand, Costa Rica.
THOUGHTS AND IDEAS
As the saying goes, opinions are like assholes, everyone has them. (Not my creation.) Anyway, I have mine…both actually, opinions and an asshole. For now we’ll disregard the scatological reference and focus on the cerebral. None of my views are in the particularly controversial realm, more like concepts developed while writing books or walking the beach or riding the bike or sitting on the crapper. You know, places conducive to inward analysis and random observation. Are mine of any particular value? For you to judge. Still, I’ll put them out there and see if they garner a salute. Most, I fear, will be rather simple, perhaps obvious. Some annoying. Some thought provoking. Some forgettable. None life-changing. Sorry, not up to that degree of responsibility even assuming I possessed the capacity. No, what you get is the benefit of my mental gymnastics, most of which, I’m afraid, belong in the circus rather than the Olympics.
One great difficulty that I face in presenting my offerings is the lack of a competent memory. I often devise bon mots, interesting concepts, off piste introspections but then, before they can be transcribed, preserved for posterity, I forget the essence. Lost in the synapses and axion of my febrile brain. Imagine if this difficulty occurred to past scribes. Shakespeare couldn’t recall ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’ So instead he wrote, ‘Maybe I’ll live, maybe I’ll die, who knows?’ Or Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t quite recollect ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ It came out as ‘No point in being scared when all you’re scared of is being scared.’ Or Mick Jagger forgot ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ so sang ‘It ain’t like I’m happy or something.’ Or Fred Flintstone couldn’t remember ‘Yabba dabba doo’ so yelled ‘A dab’ll do it to ya.’ Not the same impact, right?
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
So there you have it, subjects that may grace these pages. Oh, there will be others, worry not. It depends on the mood of the day. I researched blogs in deciding to write mine. The consensus is that it should be around twenty-four-hundred words in length. This has nothing to do with the sustained interest of the reader but is because the search bots are more likely to find it and give it beneficial placement for others to find. That’s a lot of words and I’d rather please you than some arbitrary electronic device. Right now I’m just short of nineteen-hundred words and I’m going to stop.
Talk with you again soon.