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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain, plus the Death of Anything Meaningful

Well, this is it.  October 31st, Halloween for most of us, and me for a while in life.  That's not really what it is, though, but at this high holy day/night of Samhain, I'm finding myself not feeling terribly spiritual.

Believe me, I want to be, but I realized today that now is the time for me to blog about something that has bothered me tremendously over the past few months.  I am again going through another shaking of my belief system, and I'm processing it about the only way I can.

I realize some of what I am about to say will likely offend you; that is not my intent.  This is not to disrespect anyone who has any (or no) views at all on the subjects I'm going to tackle.  

Now I'm also not home, so I don't have all the resources at my fingertips I might require, but I'm not sure I'll need them.  This is not going to be a treatise on anything academic, more just my opinion and feeling about things.

In the wake of a hurricane, I think a lot of our lives our really disrupted, and Samhain for Pagans, Wiccans and the like may be stuck in that same situation.  

My thoughts may meander, but I'll try not to do that.  First of all, we have the dark night of Samhain, but it is not meant to be dark in the way that other alleged religions would have you think.

We head into the winter, less sun, longer nights.  We have harvested the fruits of our labor, one would hope, and now we have time to reflect.  One of the periods of a Samhain ritual mirrors the Jewish time of Passover (I hope I'm right on this) where the dead are remembered.

This past year, there have been several deaths; too many to mention.  Friends, colleagues and others; I feel a disconnect from them, yet tonight they might come around before they move on.  If they have, then so be it.  It's made me think of my own mortality again, though I feel physically much more able to live on for a lot longer.  I just hope my mental status remains good enough to keep up.

This kind of moves me to what I'm starting to think has happened to us:  I'm starting to see the madness inherent in organized religion, and how it's being used and misused.

I don't have any particular dislike or hatred of any religion; I just don't like the way people use it.  Most of them use it for their own gain, and don't think one second about the consequences of their actions.

Those who claim to be holy or religious may well be trying to live that way, but then one must realize we are human and cannot be perfect.  We pass ourselves off as that, though; by every means necessary.

I read recently that one of the tenets of the Sikh faith is that each person must try to live an exemplary life.  Well, don't we all?  You hope...but what does that mean?  A good life?  A fulfilling life?  One that makes a difference?

Interpretation I think is part of it; I believe most faiths want its people to do that, to do good, and so forth.  Again, what is and what is not is open to interpretation, and that's where we get off course.

People who claim religion point to their holy texts...the Bible, the Koran, the this, the that...the fundamentalist (read: fanatical) and possessed believe their word is the only word, and that's it.

I find these texts interesting, as Sherlock Holmes once said, "to a collector of fairy tales."

I do not believe any of these religious texts are the word of "God."  They are stories, anecdotes, quotes; were they transmitted from someone in the know, or were they the creation of historians and very early public relations men?

Jesus supposedly didn't write anything down, because he didn't want it traced back to him.  So who wrote all that stuff?  I don't think he did, and I don't think his "Father" did, either.

Most of this stuff is written to keep people in line, in fear, and unable to get out of a shell.  Then we have the grotesque interpretations of same...

You see and hear it all the time; most people just chuckle at it, but I don't find it funny.  For example, parallels to Christianity and Islam:  certain sects of both faiths believe...are you ready for this?  That all musicians are homosexuals.

How about that?  Didn't know I was gay!  I have heard people spout that shit off.

12 words in the book of Leviticus makes "Alleged Christians" believe all the lies thrown down about homosexuality.  If it wasn't being gay, it'd be something else, believe me.

Most of these religions are all about subjugation, in the context of how they are interpreted and used.  The Protestantism I grew up with was not a hate-filled, fear-inspired, "Us against Them" religion.  The Bible was not a word for word way of life; it offered stories, guidelines and thoughts that were important, supposedly.  Faith in it all was one thing, but that faith had to be in yourself, as well.

I do feel a lot of people, regardless of their religion really do try to walk the walk as well as talk it.  Of course, the ones who talk the loudest are the ones I suspect the most.  You talk too much, you doth protest too much; sounds to me like you have something to hide.

An old and dear friend I went to a Catholic (yes!) college with many years ago, on finding I followed Buddhism asked me:  "Does that mean you do not believe in God?"

Good question.  At the time I recall saying no; because as a Pagan, I believed in a God and Goddess.

Now let me get into the context of that, and what I think they really are:

To me now, there is a higher power...it is a universal life force that flows within and without us.  God and Goddess are male and female labels and manifestations given this force, because we then can recognize and understand them.

There is something there, but I don't think it's anything you really can see.  You can feel it, yes; perhaps you can even commune with it.  It's there, but the question for me is:  do we really need the names, the labels, and all the trappings that go with it?

No matter what we call ourselves, we all have rituals and rites.  We again call them by different names; the holidays are the same, just different names.

The Pagan ways that pre-date Christianity are still there; largely, they have been co-opted, borrowed, even stolen.  

Now if I may get onto a topic that is more current:  about 15 years ago I came up with the phrase, "the obnoxious fad that passes for religion."  I used it in a radio commentary, and it raised an affirmation from my boss.

Religion, especially Christianity became a fad to me in the early 80's, but it was like that long before, with television and evangelicals like Billy Graham.  Graham is looked up to even by non-Christians but I honestly don't think that man deserves all the credit.  Considering the pro-war, hateful stance his son has taken since taking over for the old man, and that Billy has not corrected his idiot son makes me wonder.

Graham was virulently anti-Catholic in earlier days, and made clear that John F. Kennedy was not fit to be president, because of that.  He later backpedaled and apologized when he found out what a howler he'd committed.

What followed?  Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson; two men of hate if ever there were.  I recall a radio colleague trying to apologize for Falwell and his rants against "Witches."  I technically am one; wonder how this guy would have reacted if he knew?

The point I make:  a flimsy, unreal form of faith has penetrated our consciousness to the point that it no longer represents what it was meant to be.  We trivialize our faith and spirituality at every turn; politicians for eons have declared "God" to be on their side, and their party's side.  The media repeats quotes of "God" and prayer and anything like that because it supposedly makes good copy.  No, it's just "working God in there," and it makes me sick.

To me it is offensive.  One of the most egregious and disgusting acts has been the dog and pony show starring Tim Tebow.  The NY Jets backup quarterback is the frontman of a money-grubbing operation led by his father.  The "Tebowing" and all the sickly sweet things that guy does are done with calculation and with an eye toward making him look good...and making all of them money.

It's all like that.  

The man who became Buddha never called himself a "God."  He was a man, and never said he was anything else.  What he learned he passed on in oral tradition; the Four Noble Truths, his sayings, thoughts and so forth are all things that came to him, and he shared them with others.

After his death, his followers traveled that part of the world to bring those teaching to others.  A monk is said to have reached the west shore of Central American in the 5th Century; they made it as far as the Middle East.  Would it be too much to wonder...did Jesus meet one of these traveling monks and share information with him?  Possible.

I do think Jesus was a real person, and some of the stories are plausible.  Most of what is written of him is long after his death.  

Another point:  Jesus supposedly did not walk about the world crowing to all that he was anything special.  He did not need churches, mosques or temples to show off how great he was.  He didn't want everyone else making a lot of noise either.

Add to this the trappings we throw down; look at the churches, the temples, the cathedrals.  Modern day ones look like Wal-Marts or malls, but the old ones do have some charm in their architecture.  I want to think these places were built with love and with the right intent, but again, it's the people who run these things and how they run them.

The point is:  we have allowed things to surpass yet again our reason.  We allow those who claim the power and the special line to the almighty to rule us, and dictate what we will do and not do.  

It gets downright stupid; laws are made to govern that men must wear beards, women must cover their bodies because the men are too stupid to control themselves, and it's the women's fault anyway.  Men have to do this, women can't do that, and you must give 10% of your wealth or more to the church, and so forth and so on.

You know what?  None of that is the church's damned business!

Then we have the lovely scandals...the Catholic Church, and that ongoing scandal that will never end I fear.  Look at the Mormon Church; they supposedly outlawed polygamy and child brides in 1902, but it still goes on.  They do nothing to stop it.  Of course a "religion" founded on the alleged visions of a man who claimed an angel delivered him the plates of a book should be considered suspect.

We have permitted ourselves to be taken in, ruled and controlled.  Pure and simple.

So where do I fit into this?  I am still trying to figure it all out.  All I know is that while I want to ensure that you have a right to your own mind and can decide for yourself, also know I am not trying to change your mind.  

I am not saying you're wrong.  I am not saying anything of the sort; if it works for you, good.

"An' it harm none, do what ye will," is the mantra, but there are others.  

I believe in the life force, and I do think it's there.  The spirit world does exist, and it is all around us.  This is not for peace of mind, it just is.

IT JUST IS...mindfulness of Buddhism, the mindfulness training that Thich Nhat Hanh put forth...we are, it is, it's here, so are you and I.

We all are here...like it or not, we need to learn to exist together.  In most cases we do, but we do have a way of destroying ourselves, don't we?

Of late, people will note that Krishna Das has again become part of my spiritual life.  He is a vessel; the chants (or Kirtan) that he sings are songs and chants that go back centuries.

Krishna Das wrote in his book, "Chants of a Lifetime" that he was not singing to any deity, but just to his guru.  It was what he had to offer.

Meditation, chanting, prayer, mindfulness.  They are all the same thing.

We all do it one way or the other.

I respect your right to do it how you wish...just don't put it on others, which we unfortunately do too often.  We demand everyone be like us, or else.

That has got to stop.

Organized Religion should have its hall pass revoked.  What you are and what you will be should be up to you.  It's time for the so-called religions to pull their weight; to pay taxes, to register for selective service and serve this country in some way.  I love how we can send young people to war, but some of those who support and push for the war make sure their own kind doesn't have to go.

Decide for yourself, where things fit in your life and be practical.  Be thoughtful; be mindful.

I'm still trying; I don't where I'll end up tomorrow, but know this, I'm making an effort to be me, to be a decent person and to try and correct the crazy things that I know are not all right with me.

I'm not perfect, never will be, but I can be better.

Blessed Samhain to you and yours; whatever you do or don't, it is up to you.  

I don't see you any different than I did before; to my friends, my people, I'm still me, and you're still you.  Let's keep working to stay together on that, and respect our differences, and the things that make us different.

For me, it's the life force that guides us.  If you think I'm fucking nuts, you have a right to your opinion.  

Peace, I'm outta here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy...from South-Central PA

Well, very little wreckage for yours truly to crawl from just yet.  Back at the Office, and I'll give you some updates on the world about me.

I decided there was very little to do but sleep, as I am working today.  Wonder what the road to Harrisburg will be like.

Just before 7 pm, the power flicked off, but returned a couple seconds later.  Lucky.  So far I've heard 1 million are w/o power in Pennsylvania.

The rain pretty much stayed heavy with little change as the night went on, and we got the wind gusts.  Sounded like a good ol' Nor'easter, as we New Englanders like to say.  

I was awakened at about 1:15, when the full force of the winds hit.  It went on for some time, but there was nothing for me to see at this point, so I stayed in bed.  No point.

So I did finally get up around 9:30.  The gang at WITF was still at it, and we have extended local coverage today; I'll be walking right into that.

My first order of biz was to check the property.  As expected the second big tree, an evergreen that has been at a 45-degree angle for years snapped and went over.  So there's two for the landscapers to get rid of.  Beyond that, nothing.  My landlady survived the night okay, and she had company, which I was glad to see.

I've seen almost nothing in York that would make you think anything really happened.  A number of businesses are still shut down as are the schools.  Traffic has again returned to normal, and the usual gas stations and the like are open.

I'll have more pics, hopefully and another report from the road.

###

Now, the worst of it:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20137363

My friends in New York, I hope they're safe.  Some of them live in these areas, but they've dealt with worse than this.

For the local picture:

http://www.witf.org/

Other than that, we were damned lucky.  The state sounded much better prepared this time than for Hurricane Irene.  We'll see how the wild night went for others. 

For me, I appreciate not having too much excitement, especially at my age.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy...the Blogger on the Beach, So to Speak...

2:56 pm, Eastern time...I'm back at my house, after spending the morning and balance of the afternoon out and about.  As I have no specific duties until tomorrow, I've made my preparations to ride out the storm, before I have to ride into it.

I wrote earlier about the cycle of madness when people go out of their minds and buy out the store; based so far on what little I've heard from the eastern shore of the US, we might well have a reason to be a bit worried.

I was up and out early this morning to...and yes, I railed about this, and here I am being a part of it...to replace my cell phone.

Let's just say it was lost in an unfortunate accident and a bit of my own foolishness.  Anyway, I zipped over to the Galleria (Deatheria, some call it) Mall near my house.  I wondered if it would even be open.

Rain had been falling much of the night, and it was steady but not unusual.  The ground was pretty saturated, and there as a little wind.

Well, thanks to the Verizon guy, he was there, and got me fitted out with a new one...a "free" upgrade on my account, so that took no time.  While getting my data transferred, he noted a text that the Capital City Mall in Harrisburg was closing.

I wondered if most of the stores in the mall would even open today.

Anyway, I took a ride up Route 30 to the Office...they were open, and from there I watched as things unfolded.

I even managed a quick workout at the gym; Morebucks closed at 2 pm, the gym closed at 3, and other than convenience stores and gas stations, just about everything else has already shut down.

So far, no real concerns or worries.  I did not detect anyone being really flipped out, like some seemed to be the during the buyout.

So I'm home, and as long as I have power of some sort, I'll be transmitting.





Some shots of the property I just took...the rain is falling steadily still, with a few gusts but nothing serious as of yet.

http://www.noaa.gov/stormcentral/

NOAA is on top of the situation as well...this gives you a pretty fair look of how it's doing.

NPR and one of my employers, WITF have been keeping tabs on the storm as well.  None of the alarmist, Frankenstorm bullshit; we'll have enough time to get into that later.  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20121635

This link is to the BBC, and they are keeping a close watch as well.  Doing a good job.

So, you may ask, why am I not out there reporting?  Well, this is where I am.  I will be on duty for WITF tomorrow, and I am essentially the extra pair of hands.  If they need me, I come off the bench.

I am again "on the beach," but figuratively.  You feel like you should be out there, or doing something, but that's how it goes.  I'll have enough to worry about and do later.

I must be a real geek...while traveling through Harrisburg recently, I realized I was listening to AM 1670.  In that area, that is the NOAA Weather Radio relay station.  If you don't have a specific Weather Radio (as I do at home), you can the National Weather Service forecast and other related information from there.

I found that infinitely more interesting than anything that was on the radio at that moment!  My presets are to the sports stations and the weather channel, because there is NOTHING worth listening to on the AM other than that.  And the sports stations are barely tolerable.

I don't listen to FM radio hardly at all; my car presets are WITF, whom I work for, 91.7 in Philly (NPR, Jazz) and 95.3 (ESPN).  I used to have an XM radio, but no more.  (If you'd like to buy mine, let me know, heehee)

So now I'm listening to NOAA, and the robot voice.  My main plan is to check stuff out online, and my friends on Facebook, Twitter and other places and see how it goes.

Already the New Jersey coast and parts of New York, etc., are getting it.  A tall ship has apparently been lost, and two crewmen are missing.  I'm afraid we're gonna hear more like that.

I picked up the New York Times today, and I have something else to read, so I'll not be idle.  This is kind of how I am...you never stop being on duty, never stop wondering about how it's going out there.  And you be ready, in case of whatever.

So Baldrick is sitting beside me on the desk while I type; my coffee is brewed and I'll keep myself watching and waiting.  Our area is probably gonna get it tonight; I do hope we keep power; my landlady next door is up there in numbers, but I'm glad to see she had visitors, likely her son.  

I'll add more photos to my Facebook page as time goes on:

http://www.facebook.com/tory.gates

In any case, I understand some are trying to ride the storm out in the danger zone.  I certainly hope they're going to be all right; I honestly don't want news of peril, doom, and "if it bleeds, it leads."  

One person interviewed on NPR today said something that portends a not-good situation:  he was either on Long Island or New Jersey, I can't remember where he said.  He had lived through Hurricane Irene, and he said, this already is worse.

Uh-oh.

I am glad I don't have cable...I can just imagine what the major networks are doing right now.  

Well, that's all for now, blurkers...let me know where you're at and what's going on...stay dry, stay safe, and stay cool.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Here comes the end...here comes the end of the world..."

Well, here we are once again!  It is Sunday morning, and I am typing from my desk at home as I prepare for another work weekend.

As you all know, Hurricane Sandy is coming, and oh, this part of the nation has gone into its regular gyrations of screwing oneself into the ground with the impending FRANKENSTORM!

I want to know who in the media came up with this latest load of ignorant shit.  They knew full well the below average population would go mad, rush out to the stores etc., etc.

Usually this happens in the winter time; from my years in Washington, and my sister will attest to it, if a snowflake even THINKS of hitting the ground, DC reacts like it's under nuclear attack.

Around here in Pennsylvania, almost the same thing.  


Just in case you wonder, here's the current Hurricane wind speed probabilities.  Reminder that a hurricane force wind is a sustained wind of 74 mph or above.

I'm not expert, but the feeling from me is that Sandy will be a tropical storm before it gets here.  The conspiratorial bullshit idea that a storm from the west will make the FRANKENSTORM could occur, but snow?  Come now; the temps are not going to fall anywhere near freezing in this area.  Upper elevations, sure, it's possible, but again it's all about whipping the senseless masses into a frenzy.

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/zoom/hltimages.shtml

Now that's a link to projected rainfall over the next few days.  Yes, I think we're gonna get some wet weather; we may get some flooding, and some wind issues.  It happens; we survive, we wake up the next day, and we keep on going.

I will admit to making a few precautions of my own, just regular stocking up of a few things.  Better to be safe than sorry, true...BUT THAT IS WHERE OUR COMMON SENSE KICKS IN AND EVERYONE ELSE'S FLIES AWAY!

I had to go to a nearby supermarket in a shopping center of some size yesterday to pick up a prescription.  I had no need to get anything else at the moment, because I was headed to work.  It was like rush hour on I-83 or Route 30 (for those in other parts of the world...think, "Kenmore Square after a Red Sox game."  That should help.)

The store had a fair to moderate number of people buying things out, but it didn't look too bad.  Then I saw the woman rush by with a big shopping cart layered with plastic bottles of water.  Gonna be thirsty, sometime along?  The Lowes was crammed with people, the parking lot jammed up with everyone laying in their supplies for the End of the World as We Know It...

This is what everyone does...I don't know who started the "bread, milk, toilet paper" scam, but it makes supermarkets and grocery stores wealthy.  The populace, who have never known real privation (if their internet connection goes out for more than 2 minutes, they howl like raving valkyries), stock up for the BIG ONE.

Last night, I decided to drop into one near Harrisburg to pick up the extra stuff.  Two bags, all I needed; empty shelves.  No water jugs, but for two.  Cases and cases of little bottles everywhere; even the artisan and pretentious water was gone.

Yes, someone's kidney are gonna collapse, aren't they?

Didn't go down the toilet paper aisle, but it didn't look as devastated.  There was still bread on the shelves, in some sections.  I think there was a run on doughnuts, though...hmmm...

Not so many there that time of night, but it was amusing.  

I wonder if they have bunkers like we used to back in the 50's and 60's for when the Commies bomb us.  Around here, I'd not be surprised.  Make sure the AK-47's are locked and loaded, and there's five years of ammo ready, while you're at it there...I was on jury duty with a religious whackjob woman who was going on and on and on about canned water, three years of dry goods in her underground whatever...you would not be surprised to know this is "normal" around these parts.

Or do people do this, perhaps...as a big adventure?  As fun?  Maybe this is their form of fun...they don't have the life they wanted, so this is how they excite themselves.  

Being a broadcaster, how's it going around here?  The TV stations are all in their 2012 Storm of the Century mode yet again.  I'm sure they've all staked out their territory, at the markets, the Home Depots, the Lowes', the hospitals, and their favored spots by the side of the road, where the low-level wannabe reports can do their impression of Jim Cantore every 15 minutes.

Radio-wise...I can't imagine there's going to be much.  Since most stations are now automated, and on satellite programming, there is little in the way of local, real radio any longer.

The few that do have local programming (I'm talking commercial outlets here), may lay on some extra coverage and all that, but there isn't much left for actual reportage.  

There are state-oriented outlets that might do better, and in the bigger cities they have enough staff to be on top of it.  There will be some work on the NPR affiliates, but hopefully it will be measured, and not as alarmist as the rest.

Will this be a FRANKENSTORM?  I don't think so; a little discomfort, a little lost power, but oh, the wailing creatures of comfort and habit will howl if their power goes out!  Satellite dish got skewed by the wind?  OH NOOOOOO!!!  WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE...!!!

And when the power comes back on, they'll rouse themselves from their coma and be on the horn to their Congressman demanding action.  

We all do get way bent out of shape on this stuff.  It goes back to my feeling we as a nation don't have a clue about real privation or suffering, unless...you lived through a natural disaster, a real one.  Hurricane Katrina, and you were in New Orleans.  The earthquake in San Fran. in '89...the tsunami that hit Fukushima last year...that kind of thing.

We don't know what it's like to be hungry...really hungry, starving even...to have no light, heat, power, etc.  Of course we try to make people think we know, with post-Apocalyptic TV shows, movies and all that.  Most of which either does not scratch the surface or makes it all so fanciful.

We do not know, and we should not make light of it.  Somehow this mass consumption and mass buying mocks the whole thing, because we don't know when to stop.  Or shut up.

Sometimes, we do get a fascination with the weather, because we ourselves do not have anything to do.  Often that is because we're in it; we are relatively safe, but cannot do much.  

I remember the Great Ice Storm of 1998 all too well.  My then-wife and I had just moved to Maine the week before.  Layers of ice, everywhere; I'd never seen anything like it.  It was seriously dangerous; I could not even drive the short distance to the station I managed, because everything was stopped.

"Ya got powah?" was the mantra, and it was for real.  We were lucky; we did not lose it, but huge swaths of the region were knocked out.  

This was a real, serious storm.  Everything stopped.  And it stopped for days.  I think it reminded people, especially those with the short memories about nature, and what it sometimes can do.

Kaitryth and I watched the Weather Channel a lot; I admit it was fascinating to watch how the channel handled themselves. Back then, it was 24 hours of weather, not a few hours of weather, silly talk shows and fake reality shows like it is now.  What a fucking joke it now is.

Anyway, you can get drawn into that, as long as you remember where you are.  

So that being said, I foresee a storm with some significant power; we're gonna get dumped on, and we might lose some power lines, some roofs, etc.  I hope not; I never want to see that, and I don't want to see anyone lose their stuff.  But it does happen.

I do not know where I will be; I could be called to duty, or I might be about here.  If so, I suppose I'll do my own reporting and see how it all goes.

And stand back and watch the world go made for something that is a pin prick to third world residents.  Oh, it could be fun...fun indeed.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

"You're Not an Author...You're a Screenwriter..." (plus Phantom, Rocker & Slick, Pete Townshend and other subjects...)

Well, greetings once more, fellow bloggers, blurkers and the like...it has been some time since I have been here.  Suffice to say I've been extremely busy, and I am now seeking the thoughts of certain individuals...to whit, YOU.

To prepare myself, I'm at the Office and cranking the Phantom, Rocker & Slick limited edition CD I got the other day.  Post-Stray Cats mid-80's roots rock.  Powerful stuff, and memories of my college radio days.  Awesome stuff.  Considering the Stray Cats rockabilly revival, and Lee Rocker's move into his own solo career, all very good indeed.  Not to mention Brian Setzer's career since then.

I have been keeping myself busy, in this time of little employment.  No word on my sojourn to the Midwest, but I have a feeling things are not going to go the way I wish; other irons in the fire there.

The Hershey Bears opened the AHL season last night, and I produced the game; I'll have that, plus public radio stuff, but I need more.  Don't we all...and I still work with my alter ego, DJ`Riff on www.radio-airwaves.co.uk -- usually Monday afternoons.  Had some issues with the software, so hopefully we'll get that fixed.

Writing wise, I have been very much into editing mode.  I finished edits of "Time the Healer," "Parasite Girls" and "Out Among the Stars."  In leading up to what I will talk to you about, I had an inspiration to do something different:

About three years ago or whenever it was, I wrote a manuscript called "The Beauty Way."  The title is ripped from a song by Eliza Gilkyson, but my first hearing of it was a cover by Ray Wylie Hubbard.  I love what Ray did with it, and it's an excellent story song.

The story is forgettable, and is about me, a stab at autobiography of one specific point in my life.  It was essentially a three-day rant, and I tried to write it in the style of Larry McMurtry.  

I put it aside after awhile because it just did not go anywhere.  Then about a year or so ago, I began writing a series of songs, which turned into a cycle, and began to look like a radio concept album.

Some of the songs were done by my old band, Ahltyrra, but most were new, plus a cover song that fit.  I resumed looking at these recently; most of the songs are composed (guitar, anyway).

Then I thought:  COMBINE THE TWO ELEMENTS.  I suddenly realized they had a connection, and the characters of "Beauty Way" are almost the same as those in the concept.  

So I am slowly putting it together...that's where I got a very interesting assessment of my writing, and my writing style.

My friend Alice (Edgar Alice Croe in the blogosphere) has provided a perspective...I toyed with a screenplay style for the rewrite.  Haven't done more than two or three pages.  

Alice looked at it, and said it was good.  She then said, based on the bits she has read, that my writing style is NOT suited for books.

She basically said, "You're not an author, you're a screenwriter."

Her point is that I often paint too big a picture in a book in order to take you there; too much detail, too much information.  Not so much needed.  But in a screenplay, you kind of need that.

Here is the next point she makes, for my Sweet Dreams Series project:  make them, and the others as independent films.

The SDS and a lot of my other writings are anime/manga related anyway; a filmic version is a better template for producers to use.

Hmmm...

Now, one of my stories is still on this blog, in a serialized chapter by chapter method, "Take Another Road."  Is Alice off the mark, or not?

I think she's hit on a fair amount of it...I wonder....

My aim now is to take "The Beauty Way" into a screenplay, and see how it works...most of my songs will be in it, and there's others that arrive in my head as incidental music.  I think it will be interesting to say the least.

I have not written a screenplay since college, but I know the format alright.  So, if indie filmmakers are interested, this might be a cool project down the road...

No matter where I end up this year, I'll still be on it.  I wonder if the SDS and older writings suffer from this, I really do wonder.

That being said:

Last Monday, Pete Townshend's autobio, "Who I Am" dropped.  Townshend and the Who have been huge inspirations to me, and Pete (it was confirmed in the book) found the way to say what we all wanted to say, but could not put into words.  He had that gift.

The book is just over 500 pages long; it took me three days to read, but it was a fast read.  Pete is honest, forward, unafraid and unpretentious in his writing.  This may make you uncomfortable at times, but not for me.

Townshend reveals secrets about his first guitar smash, what "A Quick One" is really about, and the horrific abuse he suffered as a child.  His opinions about his bandmates, those around him, his family, all of it are fair game, and Pete writes in a very honest, sometimes affectionate and other times pointed manner about them.  

There are questions he's asked of himself all his life, and may still be, at 67.  We all still are, and Pete realizes one thing most of us forgot:  you can never stop searching for "who I am," and as I often say, you never stop learning.  You must never stop learning.

It bothers me when I see people around me I've known for many, many years whose intellectual development clearly stopped either in high school or their freshman year in college.  Some never leave; we become inflexible in our views and feelings, and look where it gets us.

I admit, I sometimes don't stretch out like I should.  The Townshend book reminds me of that; and this project now reminds me that I should try something new, something other.

So we'll see where it goes...I'm getting my brain stretched, whether I want it or not!