Wednesday, June 26, 2013
...this past weekend my oldest son and I attended a local musical competition known as The Battle of the Bands. As the title proclaims, musicians from around the area, some from across the state, others peddling in from down the block, meet up at the fair grounds for a winner take all concert.
The concept...play four or five of your very best songs, offering musical sustenance to an impatient audience baking under clear skies, for a chance at winning some free recording time, their best tune played on the local radio station, and an hour long concert during the yearly Octoberfest.
For an unknown artist of the lyrical tune, this is playoff time.
My son and I sat toward the back of the grandstand, enjoying a taste of local flavor, occasionally offering support, at times yearning for the chorus to end.
Nearing the conclusion of the show, our true reason for being there ambled onto the stage.
I leaned toward my son, who'd never heard them play. "You're in for a treat."
Musical group Reddy Freddy, three brothers and their enthusiastic drummer, all born and bred less than a mile from the stage they now stood upon, eased into their first song.
I'm a fan of Reddy Freddy, have mentioned them in previous posts, and spend my days in a cubicle, (when not on the road), sharing thoughts and ideas with their base player.
The crowd, restless after endearing twenty minutes of bad karaoke, grew still, thinking perhaps they were listening to Dave Matthews, or Jack Johnson, as opposed to a group of fellas from across town.
Each song garnered wild applause. When they finished up their time in the spotlight with their best hit, "DNA," every last soul in attendance was on their feet.
Playing only their own work, Reddy Freddy swept the competition and took first place. Perhaps I'm biased, but in the end it really wasn't even close.
When I introduced my son to the band members, including the talented base player who, during normal business hours, shares an office with yours truly, the first question out of my boy's mouth proved a bit forward, but nonetheless worthy of discussion.
"Why are you guys still playing for pennies around here, and not on tour with The Lumineers?"
The answer was really quite simple. "Because that ONE person hasn't heard us just yet." He then leaned forward, as if about to offer my son the secret to tuning a guitar in less time than it takes to slap together a ham 'n cheese on rye, and said, "But I'm pretty sure he will...some day."
That conversation between my son, and my musical pal from the neighboring cubicle, has stuck with me since.
When it's all said and done, musicians and writers are very much alike. Starving artists from opposing branches, yet stemming from the same thick trunk. So much talent, all those dreams, each of us waiting around for that ONE person that'll change everything.
And from there, an idea struck.
What if, say...Stephen King were to somehow get a copy of my novel, South of Charm? And what if he were to be so cool as to read a passage of Charm on YouTube, perhaps even the first few pages of chapter 36, my personal favorite?
And what if that simple download, just a guy reading a story, were to earn a hundred thousand hits during its infancy?
All it would take is one person to change everything.
Pass it on...
You can listen to Reddy Freddy's "DNA" on the link below...
And in case you're interested in reading Chapter 36 from South of Charm...
Thanks for reading ;)
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
...while sorting through dusty boxes and the long forgotten relics left behind from my wife's recently passed mother, I pulled from the corner of the attic, a treasured classic.
"...A sky of almost oriental crystal, a lovely clear, luminous sky, blue as a Nichapore turquoise, hung over the houses and gardens of the still sleeping city. In the dawn and its silence, one caught only the call of the swallows pursuing each other across the roofs and the acacia branches, the luscious cooing of a dove on the tree-top, and far away, the harsh creak of the axles of a country cart approaching main street and the most fashionable of the town..."
Upon my first encounter with Ariane, I found myself enchanted with Anet's prose, a slower pace of poetic beauty. Almost mystical penmanship, shared with the world during a time of most proper technique.
I vowed to improve upon my writing, yearning to one day pen such admirable prose.
...still working on it, but someday perhaps ;)
An Amazon search estimates the book's value at $49.95, this copy in particular, from the early 1920's.
I figure we'll be hanging onto this gem a bit longer.
Thanks for reading,
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
...here's what I know.
At the age of five, a girl is taken from her mother, deemed unfit to raise her child. Mother suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, often seen ranting about on the front stoop. Neighbors complain to the authorities of her lewd behavior, tossing dirty laundry out of her second story window, screaming at alarmed families venturing by her residence at night.
She refuses her medication, arguing that it makes her sleepy. Fights a court order to be hospitalized, and manages to scrape by, mentally unstable, yet savvy enough to live off her neighbors's tax dollars.
The young girl is placed in a foster home, her mother declared unable to ever care for her daughter for the remainder of her childhood.
The courts however, allow weekly visits to continue, despite terminating mother's parental rights.
This act alone dissuades any potential adoptive parents from offering the girl a chance at a real family.
Years drag on like grass clippings in a weary breeze. The girl ages to a teenager, bounces around from one home to the next, settling in, moving out...and continues to visit her mother.
At fifteen, she finds a family willing to adopt, on one condition. No more visits with the birth mother.
Mother hires a lawyer, goes to court, and wins. Visitations continue.
The girl lets her grades slide. Begins acting out in school, getting into fights, facing suspension. She tells her foster parents that she can't control herself, that she feels "crazy" at times. She tries to run away...is caught, demands to be moved, blows out of another home three months later...
A year limps by, and the girl now resides in a therapeutic home, doors locked at night from the outside, constant supervision, no time for play.
And the visits with Mom continue...
...I know of a young boy, three at the time, who is taken into care after his father beats him to a pulp for waking him up one night with a belly ache.
The boy spends two years in care, settling in with a family who adores him, yearn to have him as their son. They push Children's Services to fight for full custody. Hire their own lawyer, wage a custody battle with a set of birth parents struggling to sober up, to keep a job, to maintain a residence...and lose.
The boy is returned to his birth parents.
Three months later the boy is beat to death by his father, who now sits in prison.
I wonder if he ever thinks of his son...while he sits there, thinking.
...here's what I believe.
...in this world we live in, the majority of females, regardless of species, is at some point in their life, capable of reproduction. Gifted with the ability to create life.
Where we as a society continue to fail, is in the belief of motherhood. Giving birth to a child does not make one a mother. The title of Motherhood is a noble accomplishment...one that is earned, not granted.
When will we learn? When?