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 I began my journey at the age of consent, or before depending on what small-minded collection of southern laws you’re using to judge this sort of thing. After all, you can marry your twelve-year-old daughter off to your forty-year-old cousin in Arkansas without a second thought, and no one will raise an eyebrow.  So in 1974 I began my travels as an apolitical smart-ass, with a full head of steam.  All I had known up to that point was the Vietnam War and the occasional idiocy by George C. Wallace. This is how my political views had been shaped up to that point and I wanted no part of it. At sixteen I hit the road with a lust for adventure, armed with Myron Herring’s draft card and an arsenal of half-baked ideas.  Never had I felt more free and sure of myself. 

 

I left my home on the rural route, believing many things that I no longer hold to be true except for the fact that confidence is your best ally; it can get you into places you thought you’d never see and out of jams you’d hope never to see again. By the time I turned eighteen, my contemporaries were relishing the fact that they could vote. This was a big deal. It was like the government had caved and was actually going to allow mere children to vote; but in my anarchist bravado this was too little too late. I had now succumbed to the idea that our social security numbers, which I had received a mere two years earlier, and the voter’s registrar were only methods of keeping track of the populace. Needless to say, it was a good ten or twelve years before I registered to vote.

 

And now looking back on that time, knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently. At fifty-one, I have helped elect a black man president, me and all the eighteen year olds who have stepped up to the plate. Of course what else were we to do, after two terms of having a seemingly illiterate marionette in office? Most everyone I know is just happy to have someone who can speak with a modicum of eloquence. No more stupid rich kids in the White House, please. But there is a little more to it now than just jumping in and stopping the country in mid flush. The economy has gone around the corner just enough that we’re in for a wild ride before things are put back upright again, and this is going to take some patience; it’s a virtue, you know, and not one many of us are familiar with.  Even the earth seems to have lost its patience, believing us too feeble to run the show any longer, unable to flush what needs to be flushed i.e. nuclear war heads, war and poverty. It has begun to accelerate its options. Thinking it better to do something definite than to let global warming bring the next flood, the earth has begun to deal natural disasters in rapid secession. Within three months of each other, we have had three earthquakes of a magnitude not seen in two hundred years and one volcano in Sweden erupting in such force that the plume of ash has darkened the entire continent of Europe. I’m not sure but I believe it’s time to pull ourselves away from the television and the drive-up hamburger stands just long enough to take a look at what’s left of the world around us; take one deep breath of what passes for air these days and go underground. 

The party was over, or had it just begun. One could never be sure in those days but to set the statistic straight we’ll say the playing was over, the rehearsal, the foe preparation for that ever eluding greatness that was just around every corner. I say foe preparation because once the playing started so did the party.  For any of us who were at that moment serious about the next big step there was frustration.  For the rest the party was on so let the bong tong roulette. It was not early, about mid evening, certainly not late.  We were on the porch planning the rest of the party, you know taking up the collection, searching for change in the sofas; pondering the virtues of buying or flying.  It was the two of us, me and my old friend, our second drummer who is now in his third internment, that made him at this point number twelve and I think it was our sixth lead player. The four of us have been together about six months by this time.  It was still early, only a couple of girls were hanging around.  The lead player’s girlfriend and her racy sidekick; she was long and lean, very shapely and shall we say effervescent. Oh yeah, then there was Saint Louie the new bass player; this was about his second showing. We called him Saint Louie because he hailed from, where else, Saint Luis.  He was a very rotund individual and keen on being a part of the band, mostly because he was a Rolling Stones fan and we did enjoy our stones.  He was a fan clubber, made every Stones conference in the nation.  He always brandished some stones paraphernalia either a neck tie, a pen, or a silk shirt which featured the classic tongue and lips logo at least a hundred times in endless rows. Saint Louie wasn’t really hip to our antics and begrudgingly chipped in a little for the liquor run. 

            Fast forward a couple of hours, the night was still and dark the streets relatively quite for the student ghetto.  A good time was being had by all good company, sharp banter. All frustrations and disagreements seamed to have been forgotten. Saint Louie even seamed to be enjoying himself, leaning up against the door jam that led out to the porch.  When the conversation turned to a discussion on the movie Urban Cowboy, this film seemed to be a favorite of the girlfriend and then more precisely the conversation switched to the mechanical bull.  Sense I thought I was the only one with any background in such things, I began to describe the inner workings of the mechanical bull and what it took to prepare, then ride the machine when our long tall shapely and most effervescent vixen piped in.  In a mid drift top, with painted on jeans tucked into short western boots she placed her self firmly on the autumn as if riding a bull. "This is one of my favorite hobbies," she said in almost painfully erotic detail.  She began to describe the mounting of the bull. “First they put the bull rope around the bull,” she said “then you put on your glove,” as a prop she pulled on a short black thug glove onto her right hand. “Then you place your hand beneath the rope next to the bull’s back. It’s threaded through the loop and pulled back over your hand tightly where you grab it and rap it around twice and then put it back through your grip.”  At this point everyone was engaged as she twisted and wiggled, going through every motion as if she were truly settling in for the ride of her life.  And that was the look on her face, reckless abandon. Saint Louie had stepped away from the door jam and into the middle of the porch to get a better look, when she thrust her hips, shoving her crotch squarely into the arm that was holding the bull rope and heaving a sigh that turned into a squeal, arched her back and reclined with her head draped over one end of the autumn and her legs the other. At that moment it seamed like the earth gave way. The wooden floor groaned and lamps fell upon it as Saint Louie’s, 250 pounds hit the deck, with his head bouncing off the floor like a rubber ball.  As you can imagine this is a very sobering moment for a room full of drunks. Everyone was clamoring to make a decision whether to call 911 or to lift his enormous weight upon the couch but as I began slapping his face and talking to him Saint Louie began to come to.  “I don’t know what happened,” he said, “I blacked out”.  The vixen collected herself sticking her finer between her lips and then touching her bottom with a sizzle, “Another one bites the dust,” she said and carved another notch on her bull rope.

 

A while back someone asked me in an interview what had facilitated the change in my writing style i.e. from long time storyteller to a more philosophical bent. This had me flummoxed, complexly dumb founded for I’ve been writing the same way for most of my life save for my transition from wondering menstrual to everyone’s favorite “the blind song writer”. Those changes were of course forced and necessary for me to continue my job, but mainly technical. The impetuous for writing has always been right off the top of my head, what strikes me at the moment, either with a guitar in hand or in the old days, just a pen and paper, which was more times than not reduced to a matchbook, cocktail napkin or something else handy. The sightless days since have reduced that even more. Now days I rely on recorders and just good old fashion memory. All that being said, I’ve never thought of myself as anything other than a storyteller. No matter the topic, no matter the subject, I’ve always told stories and if anyone had really paid attention a bit of my philosophical views have always been scattered through out my writings. To be fair I should take back a little of the sarcasm and state that there have been quite a few profound and life altering experiences in my life as of late and the writings around this time do reflect that. So how might that question have been answered? How does one say what goes into something we hardly understand ourselves? I am defining these stories? Am I channeling them? I am present when it takes place, but sometimes I have no recollection of the expanse of time or the thought process that went into this creation. I can knock out countless “love ya baby” rockers with out much effort, but these are seldom satisfactory to me. I imagine if anyone ever gets to this level of interest again, I will have come up with the perfect answer, yeah, well probably not. This has been witnessed over and over through out my life. We don’t get to clean up our mess, no redo’s. So, if someone asks that question, if someone is interested in what we do, jump on it. Answer it with zeal and forethought; they may never be interested again. 

At the age of fifty-five I have come to a revelation, maybe that’s a distorted use of the word, for nothing has actually been revealed. It’s more like some things that I’ve always known have been highlighted and I’ve been granted an insight gained only from years of distillation and that’s how my story is born. All the properties are collected, combined, and simmered for an undisclosed time, mixed occasionally tasted and remembered and eventually it reaches a state of richness that is able to be re-shared and told. The story I’ve cooked up begins with a twelve-year-old child who grew up loving stories. Stories told by old men and an unfathomable time. Stories from minstrels with names like Marty Robins or The Sons of the Pioneers. Stories told of far away lands and distant times by travelers who have circumambulated the globe in search of knowledge, in search of wealth, in search of adventure. These stories were shared around kitchen tables, around campfires, from sleeping bags where minds were fading into oblivion, a wash with new tales to ponder in the dream world. Things happen in a life that point one in a direction wither they know it or not, subtle things like an older cousin’s brother in-law reminiscing about his brief stint as a stage strolling front man, or the distant relative from the outer fringes of the bloodline showing up at a family function pulling out a guitar and beginning to sing, leaving you slack jawed. The last nail in the coffin though, was a close cousin singing and playing at her sisters wedding reception, from then on it was understood people actually do this. Those glimpses into an unknown world bring familiarity and possibilities here to fore unthought-of.

The ground is prepared and made fertile waiting for a seed of inspiration or opportunity. By age fourteen the die was cast and I knew that this was something I would and could do. In the fourth grade I had been given an assignment to write a poem and discovered an aptitude for this form of manipulating words. By the eight grade I hade begun a study, which would unknowingly launch a quest, that to this day has been my closest confidant and constant companion. Laced within the joy of discovery had been many seemingly unproductive times, more often that not resulting from situational or personal hardship. It has taken me many years to understand the importance of the rough and tumble life I’ve lead. After all, stories have to come from somewhere, from some experience first or second hand. For me observing the life and times of those with whom I share the planet is the best source of second hand materiel, with interviews or reading next best. Then adding a touch of personal experience or emotion allows the story to take on a new life of its own. Within this framework is the well from which these stories dwell, that well echoes constantly with the slivers and scraps of fragmented phrases, streams of consciousness vomited into existence for later use and so it goes, this endless search for cleaver insight and well turned phrases, for vivid descriptions and constant contemplations. This practice continues hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Every so often I lower the bucket dreamingly into the well and heave it back to the top, overflowing with nectar that satisfies my unquenchable thirst and it swirls within me before gaining stride and then flight, a new born tale, still wet behind the ears, a fresh story to be shared. This is my journey this is my quest. 

Somewhere beyond the buzz of velvety neon and sodium streetlamps, where black is night and fire is light and nothing else matters. When the last drinks are poured and the last secrets spoken, our kisses will burn into the fabric of time. 

Recognition

 

There can sometimes be a confusing link between rules or methods of operation and the way they can change from setting to setting, life to life, or any form of organization or business. A spiritual teacher once suggested a more even movement through life called the middle way, never too negative or manic, never shout from the rafters your new found beliefs, just listen compassionately and let your actions do the talking. This rang true to me, it was after all the way I was raised to be, humble and let others know you on your merits. This ethic instilled from a lifetime of practice has been questioned for eternity and especially in the creative realm. It seems that here for an artist existing in this space the bottom line is self promotion, unless one makes a diligent attempt at it there will be no recognition for your creative endeavors, no fruit from your labor. Frist this realization came in dreams and fitful attempts to understand the how, when, and why of it all. As with every other effort I’ve undertaken I jumped in with both feet and began to write. This has always been of interest, but seemingly out of reach by the standards purposed in society. It merely took a dream to unhinge that way of thinking and set loose a frenzy of stories and recollections to illuminate a colorful imperfect, yet fully lived life. As per usual, this was taken completely over the top like every other activity held so close to the heart and if there is ever a history where these sorts of things should be remembered, I hope they are tempered with an understanding that this was undertaken as a work study program, on the job training. In this era of DIY sensibilities this sort of thing comes naturally and who knows, maybe some of you have actually been around since that beginning to witness the improvement or just enjoy the attempt to be recognized. 

Questioning Authority

 

To understand where one is at any point in a life, if this has come into question, takes research. For instance, why would anyone at the age of 16 leave a comfortable middle class home for the open road with nothing but a duffle bag and the clothes on their back? This is the research applied to this story, my story. Some with degrees in psychology or social ills would insist that this is merely an issue with authority, which probably was the case in high school. English and literature teachers and coaches I got along fine with, but the principle and other over eager authoritarians were difficult to stomach. By breaking contact with home and not communicating for over a year, I inflicted my parents with considerable grief and worry, which is regrettable.

 

Coming to this age of strength, vitality, and relatively quick wits had made me head strong and uninterested in the paths offered. Orders, rules, and disciplinary tactics were meet with sheer annoyance. Armed with a strong back, a Webster’s dictionary and a Hohner in the key of C, I lit out never to be enrolled in a public school again.  This was not the end of an education, but the beginning of a career.

 

First stop Nashville, and the apartment of three friends. These girls from the same hometown and a couple years older welcomed me with open arms. Quickly came the lessons and they haven’t stopped since. For being one’s boss doesn’t mean there are no rules, while applying for jobs the rule was presented: no social security number, no job. So wearily entering the government bureaucracy I received my social security number from Tennessee. Pumping gas and washing windows was the first job off the ranch and there were no issues, it certainly wasn’t rocket science. The over night shift was fine with less costumers and giving me more time to write. It also put me into contact with musicians living in the same apartment complex as I and rehearsing in the rec room. We became fast friends, and joining them to tour, the die was cast. It took a matter of weeks to become familiar with the routine and prep for the job at hand. Here we were traveling from city to city playing in bars, clubs, and lounges almost every night of the week, staying up all hours of the night and mixing with throngs of people who were drinking age and beyond, which I was not.

 

That time and the things that were happening impressed me so deeply that it settled into my bones and has yet to leave. It’s now part of my DNA. As years pass, passion for this creative outlet increased, as I started to write and tell the stories that I was living and seeing. Proper schooling might have been a better alternative, but it’s pointless to speculate, for with each job I’ve ever accepted the passion has been for the stories and the experiences, rather than the work itself. That’s the reason for the collection of notebooks, cocktail napkins, matchbooks and any porous material that would accept ink, my archive for stories, phrases, and one-liners. That’s the life that was chosen, that’s the life that created me as much as I created it and for better or worse, that’s the life that has been lived, not a controlled existence, but a meandering, rambling foray, not exactly on my own terms, but certainly avoiding the majority of unwanted authority. From point A to point Z, this story has many threads that can and will be followed as research continues into the state of affairs concerning life at this moment. 

 

Written as a journal, this story could bring shame and/or trouble to some of the characters who were involved. So the names of everyone, but Pony and myself have been changed to protected the guilty. And the story itself has been written in a nuanced fashion so as not to bring anyone into the spotlight. If this is bothersome to anyone or confusion sets in, feel free to drop us an e-mail with Pony as the subject. We’ll see if we can calm your mind.

 

Pony

 

It was somewhere around the tenth of May give or take and I had received a letter. That’s right, actual snail mail. I recall that moment vividly. Feeling poorly for the past nine or ten months and had living over two miserable gigs, an outdoor performance the previous September and again around the first of March, at a club performance. It was yet unclear as to why I was having these breathing problems. So I had stopped accepting bookings and decided to finish up the year with the last two booked in Dallas for June. Who knows how this parcel actually reached me with no zip code or house number, just my name, the mangled street name, city, and state. Nothing else, and I laughed when I saw the return address. Four letters printed, “Pony”. This was certainly a blast from the past.  I had meet Pony, aka Gustavo in another lifetime, we were both in our mid twenties and my life was in technicolor in those days. Gustavo had come from Guatemala five years previous and had learned to speak passable English in that time. We meet working at a slaughterhouse and became fast friends; he was given the name Pony because of his stature by his boss at his other job, which was exercising racehorses. See, Gustavo was a mere four and a half feet tall, perfect for racing. We had kept in touch sporadically over the years, but it had been at least eight or ten since we had last met. The letter read, “Hello my friend. Has been long times. Have phone number,” and it was printed, “Please call.” Signed Pony. Short and sweet, just like Pony I guess. I reached out and touched him within the hour. We caught up for a while; his voice was a little gravely since the last time we had spoken, but still youthful as ever. Then the other shoe hit the ground, “You still play guitar?” He asked. “You know I do, just been slowing down a little this year.” “Good, good,” he said, “then you will be able to come.” Then he laid out the scenario. He had made a respectable amount of money exercising horses at Sunland Park and had three other writers on his payroll and now had met a woman twenty years his junior and they were to be married. I congratulated him and asked, “When?” And he said, “Oh, soon. The fifteenth.” I moaned at the quickness of it, but he continued to pluck my heart stings and after about fifteen minutes I caved, but there was still the fact that I had to talk someone into going with me. Especially since he wanted me to play at his wedding. This might take some finessing.

 

The Curs had been put on notice that we might not be playing for a while. The Dallas shows were solo performances and I would sink or swim on my own merits there. Luckily, I had been working on some songs that would accompany a book I was writing with two musicians who had not yet become Curs. I had known these cats for a good while. Actually Emil had played bass for the last outfit I was in, his brother Edward was a fine guitar player, but this had been the first time for us to work together. I called them up and we played for a while, then I dropped the question, “Who’s up for a trip to Juarez?” It took a little talking, but actually no one could find a reason why not to go, other than a wife that might need to be smoothed over. So we were on, this was going to happen. Now I just had to completely talk myself into it, but no matter the reservations I would be there. This was my long time friend and I kept my word.

 

We light out about nine AM the day of, on the way I brought my newfound Curs up to speed on what shenanigans may or may not happen while dealing with Pony, his wife, and entourage. We would meet in El Paso at the Camino Real and be chauffeured into Juarez. The drive down was smooth and thankfully Pony had guaranteed to give us an array of equipment to choose from, we need only to bring our instruments. That allowed us to travel in a lighter vehicle. We had stopped in Las Cruces to top off the tank and grab a quick bite, this put us in El Paso a little after two PM. Pulling into the parking lot of the Camino Real, we cruised the perimeter before parking. I punched in the digits to retrieve our escort, within twenty minutes Pony pulled up in his customary late 80’s Thunderbird. Stepping down from a stack of cushions, which afforded him the ability to see over the steering wheel he dawned an equally antiquated straw hat 80’s vintage with the crown higher in the front than in the back. The sight was completely comical, but it was damn good to see him. He looked me over while Emil and Edward were chocking back the urge to cackle. After a brief introduction the trunks were opened and the instruments transferred and we loaded up in the land yacht.

 

For quite a while violence had been pretty heavy in this part of the word, but Pony assured us we would see none of that. Crossing into Juarez was relatively uneventful. Pony seemed to know most of the officers and the questioning was kept to a minimum. So into the streets we launched. I sat in the front with our host with my knees around my chin, while Pony pointed out certain landmarks that were important to him or his future in-laws and some that we could never figure out what he was going on about, when he finally pulled up to a building with no windows in it. We piled out of the land yacht and entered the building into a small office/waiting area, which Pony strode through coming upon another door leading to the back. He knocked forcefully and we waited. In about five minutes someone lead us into the sanctuary and our jaws dropped.

 

The back of the building was about 5,000 square feet and with the exception of about 400 square feet, the rest of the building was filled with musical equipment. Mostly older or vintage amplifiers and speaker cabinets, some things were newer and about a quarter of the bulk looked like scraps or maybe repairs.  Pony gazed upon our inquiring faces, “Okay my friends. What would you like to use?” Edward was like a kid in a candy shop, he could have looked around forever, but Emil pulled him away after about forty-five minutes. They returned with two good choices and Pony guided them to the carpeted cove where everything was plugged in and tested for dependability. The vintage early 70’s Twin Reverb and Bassman amps began to hum. These of course were the workhorse amps of the time. Pony spoke in Spanish to the two men who seemed to be minding the store and they disappeared with the amps. Edward was looking for a place to smoke and Pony took one from him and said, “Right here,” as he sparked the lighter and handed Edward a beer. Emil and I being the only teetotalers of the bunch settled in and listened as Pony laid out his plan.

 

The nuptials would commence at midnight with the wedding party then moving across town to the dog track, which was procured by his brother in-law who was one of the managers. The three of us looked at each other and snickered but Pony piped up, “No, no, no, it’s a good place. No policia, no problems.” The band was to be set up in the Northeast corner of the cavernous building with an open bar and plenty of room for dancing. This moonlight, midnight affair was created out of pure necessity for the dog track had its scheduled races to run, then the staff cleaned up till closing leaving a window of about an hour and a half for us to set up. Pony squired us around, showing us the venues and the travel corridors to be used. We would eat with him and his handful of pre-wedding pals, while his future bride and in-laws would eat and prepare separately with both parties converging before midnight to recite the vows. For us, the dinner fare consisted of empanadas and roast pork with soft tortillas and picante. Dinning with us were two of Pony’s friends who were to serve as our guides and minders, as well as the equipment and sound crew, they tried to tell us what they had planned for the evening. This was slightly difficult to understand, but I gleaned from the fits and starts of conversation that we would be recorded that evening with a version of Pro Tools on a laptop and who knows what kind of mics. This changed the event considerably. The plan had originally been to run through my catalogue as I recalled it and Emil and Edward would follow. They were good at this, real professionals, but now I was thinking of new compositions and older tunes that could use a dusting off. Time was fleet and considering the hour we were to begin, we we’re strapping on our guitars before we knew it. A portly gentleman by the name of Hector introduced himself with a flurry after setting up the small blue swirled Ludwig kit, which prompted Emil and

Edward to join in for a five-minute jam session. The sound reverberated round the concert walls and floor ricocheting back to them, off of the plate glass windows looking onto the dog track, which was kind of a muddy mess. The thin young man operating the recording set was called Taso. He positioned the mic and tweaked the levels on his laptop. I tried to ask him if I could get a copy of this recording when it was all said and done. He just flashed a thumb drive and smiled. The drums and bass were pretty booming and it was hard to tell how the capture would turn out. The guitar mics for my acoustic were placed close to the source through a direct box to the PA and then soloed to the right monitor, which was placed behind the band. The full mix came through the left monitor and was adequate to keep time. The sound check/jam session continued as the last tweaks were made. We played a couple of tunes to warm up as the wedding party began to spill into our recording session. The sound of tinkling glass and liquor poured over ice began to rise through out this dimly light reception hall.

 

Pony and his new bride made their entrance as people lined their path on either side. We fell into an impromptu march, increasing the drama as we held this monotonous dance between two chords. This is the best Pony had ever looked since I’ve known him. In his black business suit and maroon tie. His petit new bride standing at five feet was gorgeous as well in her flowing white satin and lace, which she changed from in about twenty minutes. I announced our congratulations as we began to play through the wee hours. Our sound crew, which consisted only of Taso, had been recording everything we played which included of a number of covers. Edward and I traded back and forth singing one Hank Williams song after the next, basically anything we could think of as well as plodding through a good portion of the Cole Mitchell catalogue. At some point towards the middle of our tenure I threw a few unrecorded tunes in the mix making sure these songs particularly would be recorded. This was pretty much a marathon gig, I mean we played for a good three and a half hours. Who knows what people are thinking when they go at it like this. Somewhere around four AM the brother of the bride did a face plant right on top of the front monitor dragging his dance partner down with him. The pawing, and crying and debauchery that ensued pretty much ended our marathon gig. Pony who was departing for wedded bliss made sure that Taso would take care of us and get us to El Paso safely. While we packed our instruments Taso uploaded the session to the thumb drive and placed it firmly in my grip along with an envelope Pony had left for me, which wasn’t to be open until we were in the U.S.A.  Taso was as pleased as he could be, he kept giving us the thumbs up and big smiles, slapping us on the back, acting like our best friend. This was completely over the top, but a pleasant way to end a very odd day.

 

Emil drove back to Las Cruces where we topped off the tank as the sun was beginning to peak over the Eastern horizon. The consensus was to endure and just get home. Emil continued to drive giving Edward a chance to sober up for a while, which he did taking the reigns at Elephant Butte and driving us the last couple of hours home. On that last leg I opened Pony’s envelope, there were five one hundred dollar bills folded up in a piece of paper, which read, “Thank you my friends. I call in two weeks.” This of course put a smile on everyone’s face and made this grueling twenty-four hours not so hard to take. Getting to the studio to download the thumb drive took about a week and to tell you the truth was rather disappointing. There was very little separation and the drums and bass were hardly useable. I segregated four of the new tunes, these seemed to be the best, I guess because there was a slight adjustment when I had asked to make sure these were recorded. Those four were culled to two, which I released on the album “Souvenirs…” They should have been rerecorded, but the story was just too cool not to be represented somewhere. Actually, “Souvenirs…” took several years to make and many odds had to be over come, and many hardships faced. It’s a wonder it ever made it at all. 

Why is it that we fight? Why is it that we all can’t just get along? I’m not sure how many of us ask these questions, there are some I suppose, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind and others less recognized. But so few really that the message is diluted and then twisted to the slant of perpetrators world wide, its been this way since recorded time and before. People have always fought for one thing or another, food, territory, jealousy, or the want to posses something. Take all this and distill it to its essence and you’re left with opinions, that’s what we fight about, our opinions. One person believing that their opinion is more viable than another’s and it happens at every tier from top to bottom. Someone with relative power and or charisma with a myriad of ideas or opinions begins to suggest that others go along with this reasoning and they do, if not agreed upon then by coercion or out and out combat better known as war. That’s where it starts, one charismatic leader or ruler states their opinions and then defend it with force light or heavy depending on the resistance and no where are we free from this, great empires have been built on this and then tumbled by invading hoards of stronger opinion holders. Religions have been built on fundamental ideas and opinions in the same way, spiritual ideas are coopted into a bureaucracy far removed from the original idea of profundity and it seems that no one is above the fray. Not Jews, not Christians, not Muslims, nor Hindu’s, or Buddhist, excuse me if I left out your favorite cult or higher power. To tell you the truth they’re all the same, when enough people get involved opinions clash and the originals thoughts of wisdom and compassion are blurred, metaphors are taken for realities and realities are bent into metaphors that hold only a fraction of the truth intended. And so it goes, first your money, then your clothes until finally you are naked and starving from trying to defend the opinions of all the high up their wigs that create the laws or hold the opinions that we’re meant to live by. These fiefdoms are controlled and compounded by each level of authority onward and upward to the top. There from the golden thrones of opinion the edicts are handed out. Opinions are weighted as to there adherence to the ideas of accepted standards from the smallest communities and primary schools, through the enforcement of laws handed down by governments on up through cities, states, and countries where the top dogs rattle their sabers and threaten annihilation to anyone believing anything that doesn’t meet their criteria, all of this from rigid adherence to our own opinions. I once heard a joke that probably doesn’t deserve repeating, but the punch line merely stated that everyone has opinions. This being said, maybe we should soften our grips on our opinions, let those with other opinions speak and be respected and maybe they’ll continue to let us speak and respect our ideas without resorting to incredulous anger. Just a thought, something to be contemplated, maybe we could learn something from each other and if we disagree it seems that there’s plenty of room for ideas and opinions to flourish and maybe, just maybe the wealth that is saved and heartache avoided would be reason enough to live a more virtuous life. By the way I have an opinion that has ever so slowly been getting some traction over the past five thousand years, ‘Can’t we all just get along’. Don’t take my word for it, plug in your favorite opinion holder through out the annals of time any monarch, dictator, president, warlord, governor, mayor, or police chief all the way down to your neighborhood watch volunteers and see how they fair. Where there is an assumption of power there is a possibility of corruption in order to hang onto that power. 

 

It has been said that writer’s block, or whatever you may name it as it applies to your profession can be worked through or even avoided by using the proper techniques. There are essays and books written on the subject and I’m sure some people have received benefit or think they have received benefit from these offerings, or maybe the time it takes to read the ‘Artists Way’ is just the time it takes for the block to move through you and be gone. I’ve never really paid much attention to these writings, mostly it’s been a matter of coming and going and I’m lucky in that sense. There have only been a handful of these episodes. This one has begun to move only after having a white-hot spotlight shined upon it revealing it for the sham it is, merely a lack of inspiration. Inspiration can be as simple as a driving melody, or a clever turn of phrase and most of the time I am oblivious to what it is or where it comes from. The best lines are discovered as if by accident and after they’re committed to the page inked for all time it’s hard to say who was channeling who. That being said, it always come back to the same place, mining the mind or better yet exploring becoming more familiar of what is held in the recesses of our cavernous heart, not the muscle but the mind. It can never be tapped out. The obstructions are closer to the surface, these distractions often lead to depression or addiction or a multitude of false paths leading to dead ends or worse yet, no end and so it goes the proverbial numbered grey hounds in hot pursuit of the ever-elusive mechanical rabbit. Around and around and around we go for all eternity, and that’s the sham that damn rabbit designed to entice but never to be obtained. From some dim primordial memory we all have the answer, the cure, it’s just too foggy to recall. We are unfamiliar and it is for that reason that we’re encouraged to practice, to contemplate our situation, to sit quietly and undistracted surveying the depth of our mind. Practicing this regularly we become more and more familiar with the territory, less and less hindered by distraction we can develop true paths unencumbered by obstacles that were previously unavoidable. Paths that lead to a wealth of knowledge, long concealed by ignorance and self-importance. It’s there for the asking, writer’s block just a sham. 

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