Processing What I Wish I’d Known at the Time

I don’t know if there’s a “trigger warning” on this post or not…but I’m going to talk about rape in it.  And I will also be using some very strong language–because this sort of thing is the time and place for it.  So know that going in…

Brief pause so you can consider if you want to keep reading or not…

Okay.

This weekend a very brave, close friend of mine went public with her story of being raped by a former “boyfriend” in college.  (Part one is herePart two is here.)  And even though I’m posting those links, I’m going to be using pronouns instead of names in this post.  I’m not sure how much is appropriate to say in my own post, so I’m going to at least not use names…  And I’m not going to soften it by calling it “sexual assault” or whatever.  Rape is rape and we need to keep calling it that.

I had no inkling that my friend had been through this, although I knew her well at the time that it happened and had even made small talk on a couple of occasions with the “boyfriend” in question. In fact, I can see his face in my mind right now as I’m writing this…  This entire weekend I’ve been thinking about what I missed, when I missed it, and when I should have known better.  The entire weekend, I’ve been thinking about the fact that if I’d even suspected that after he shot the breeze with me in the Library, he went off and raped my friend, I’d be in prison right now for what I’d have done to him.  I don’t know what happened to him after she (thank Christ) got him out of her life.  I’m not sure I’ve even thought about him since then, and it’s been about a decade.  But right now I hope the motherfucker is dead and no one cared enough to look for him.  If I could say one thing to the cocksucker, I’d want it to be the last thing he ever heard: “Jesus does not love you and God never knew your name.  No one will ever miss you.”

But I digress.

My friend was very brave in sharing her story.  But it took her 10 years.  Ten years ago, I was hoping my church elders didn’t figure out that I drank and cussed in my private life, otherwise I’d have a really awkward conversation…  At that same time, my friend wasn’t sure she could tell the people close to her that she’d been raped.  I know that you can only know what you know…but I’ve felt a deep mix of shame and embarrassment over the past couple of days.  Not only did I miss that someone I care about was going through what is probably the worst thing that’s ever going to happen to her…but when I heard they “broke up” I think I even said, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”  I feel sick thinking about those words.

I’ve e-mailed back and forth a little with my friend since reading her blog post. One of the things I’m grateful for is that her story doesn’t end 10 years ago.  She found a great guy to marry and they’ve got kids and everything now.  I’ve expressed a lot of what’s above in my e-mails to her, plus some other stuff that I’m not going to be printing here.  I’m proud of her for sharing.  I’d be proud of her if this hadn’t ever happened and all she’d done was graduate college and lived a nice life with her husband, too.  But knowing that courage grew from fear…she might be the strongest person I know.

I’d have been sad and angry about what happened regardless of when it transpired.  But I’m struggling hard with the fact that it was during a time where I saw my friend at least weekly; usually more often than that.  I don’t know if I could have stopped anything.  But I wish like hell I’d had my eyes open enough to at least suspect something and say, “Are you okay?” rather than, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

I’m learning a lot this weekend.  I’ve decided that this is an opportunity for me to learn and grow and open my eyes more often.  I don’t want to miss an opportunity to help again.  And I want to make some promises to my female friends and family members.  I want them to know that I am among the MAJORITY of men who find rape disgusting.  That I’m furious at the men who do it, the men who cover it up, and the men who pretend that the victim probably brought it on herself.  I want them to know that inasmuch as it depends on me, I will fight for their safety.  That if they’ve been attacked, I will do what I can to defend them, and if they share their story with me they will be BELIEVED and not blamed.  I want them to know that I take personal responsibility for my actions and if I’ve ever been wrong or treated them inappropriately I am not only sorry–but I MEAN that I’m sorry and I will do everything I can to change…

I want to promise to do better, to be better, and to fight against what’s worse.  I hope others will help me do that.  I don’t know what that means just yet.

I do know that I’ve donated to RAINN this weekend.  If you’d like to do likewise, please visit https://donate.rainn.org/.  People who’ve been hurt need to know that there’s a story after the story, and organizations like RAINN help people find it.  Check them out.  But be forewarned…donating to a charity doesn’t take away the pain of knowing what you missed.  It’s just something you can do.

Thanks for your time in reading this post.  I have a lot of internal processing to do.  Probably a lot of people do…I just happen to think out loud.

 

Stuff I’m Working On

Like the title says…here are some updates/announcements about stuff I’m working on…

  1. A couple months ago, a friend started a blog about pro-wrestling.  We were talking about maybe me writing some contributions for it, mostly write-ups of my memories of old angles, Pay-Per-Views, etc…  Stuff that I liked as a kid/teen that maybe a modern audience didn’t see live.  Then he stopped writing the blog.  Don’t know why; haven’t discussed it…  But I liked the idea and I still want to do it.  So occasionally, I’ll be posting those pieces here.  I’ll be calling those posts “Wrestling With My Memories” and they’ll start coming pretty soon.  I’ve got a big list of stuff to write about, and maybe it’ll get me posting more frequently.
  2. As you’re all aware, I’m working on an album for early 2018 called “It Could Be Worse.”  I’ve been on pause with it for the last few weeks.  Things got busy and I need to be in the mood to do vocal takes.  It’ll get done.  Just need to get off my butt.  Right now, the mic stands are out in my car following my last gig with Mike Feldman last weekend…so that’s where we are in the process.  🙂
  3. I’m also going to be bringing back my old podcast soon.  I was doing “Empty Checking” on a weekly or every-other-weekly basis for about a year.  I stopped for a few reasons.  In part, I got a roommate and it got hard to find a quiet hour to talk into a microphone about the shit I bought. But I also got a little burnt out on it.  And I stopped buying comic books, which was making up probably 90% of the podcast at the time.  But I liked doing it and I’m living alone again…so why not?  It’ll be a different experience this time.  Few if any comics.  Mostly music.  And I’m looking into hosting options…the one I was using at the time was okay, but I think I can do better.  I’m actually considering doing the whole thing on YouTube and just posting the videos in the blog.  And there will probably be a *slight* redesign of that blog just to mark the change. We shall see…  As soon as I’ve got a host figured out, I’ll start promoting it here.
  4. I’m also outlining my NEXT musical project.  Yes, I know the first one isn’t done.  But I’ve got a bunch of oddball, proggy songs that’ve been looking for a home for years…so I’m stitching them together.  No idea on a release date for that.  Late next year?  We’ll see…  But I’ve realized that I’ve got one–ONE–ridiculous, pretentious-assed prog record in me, so I’m working on it.  My default is the rock meets folk meets country meets punk thing I’ve always done…  But prog and heavier music have always been a big part of my life, and I want to make my own, humble contribution to the genre…finally..  The working title is “Complete Departure.”  Because it would be–it won’t fit with anything else I’ve ever done.  But, of course, that title is subject to change.  It’s an ambitious project.  And it might even get scrapped as I freak out about it while recording…but if I don’t talk about it, I won’t think about it…so here we are.
  5. The *other* thing I’m working on is losing some goddamn weight.  I’ve been “heavy” for a few years now and I’m willing to accept that I’m not going to get back to “thin.”  But lately, it’s been a number I’m just not comfortable with anymore.  So I’m going to do something about it.  I’m pricing exercise bikes.  So far, I’m only short by the cost of one exercise bike.  Also when I first wrote this, I misspelled “exercise.”  So that bodes well.

And that’s the stuff I’m working on.  Couple more small bullet points below…but wanted to do a post just about upcoming projects, rather than my standard “everything/nothing” posts.

Current Listening:

  • I’ve been getting in to Dinosaur Jr.  Never really listened to them before now.  Wow.  This band is where “grunge” came from in the 90s and most of the kids in flannel had no idea.  A lot of them probably still don’t.  Enjoying the hell out of them.  Present favorite album is “Without A Sound.”
  • Also been listening to solo J Mascis (the front-man of Dinosaur Jr).  He’s great as an acoustic solo artist.  The “Tied to a Star” album is a gem that I’ve overlooked for FAR too long.
  • Manchester Orchestra – “A Black Mile to the Surface”  (aka – “A Bad Title for a Great Album”) – GREAT release.  Took me three listens, but this thing’s an epic and it’s worth every listen.

Recent Reading:

  • I read George Saunders’ novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” about three weeks ago and it’s still with me.  I’ve been wanting to share about it.  It’s a quick read.  Think it only took me like three sittings.  It’s written almost like a play in quickly attributed dialogue.  It’s about the death of Abraham Lincoln’s young son Willie.  What is known in real-life history is that Abraham Lincoln visited his son’s tomb after he was interred and held the lifeless body in his arms for a while–a vision of Lincoln most people probably do not call to mind when he is mentioned.  Saunders took that concept and ran with it.  “Bardo” dives deep into the spirit world and examines what the residents of the graveyard must’ve thought of it…but it’s so much more than a ghost story.  The book is an examination of grief and while yes, it helps to know a ***little*** about the history, it’s largely unnecessary.  The Lincolns are just a backdrop for Saunders’ greater points about death, mourning, and giving the dead permission to die while the living gain permission to live.  It’s chilling, moving, and stunning.  You definitely could do worse than to make this the next thing you read.

And that’s it.  Goodnight.

For Once, I Think I Said It Best on Twitter

No names because I’m not sure who in his life knows and who doesn’t. Some of you might figure it out. Some won’t. Some will assume the wrong person. But I needed to share this for my own sake. This is from my twitter feed in the wee hours of 7/23. I know most people probably missed it. So I’m putting it here too, because it helps me to think about it. Thanks for reading.


* Note – I overestimated. It’s closer to 15 years.

Something happier next time, I promise.

“Woah, slow down there maestro. There’s a *New* Mexico?” – Montgomery Burns

I don’t normally like to do two random posts right next to one another, but it’s been a couple weeks and I don’t have any one subject worth posting about.  (But at least the first one’s long.)  So…Simpson’s quote in the title…and here we go…

  1. Saw Iron Maiden with my brother last night.  I think it was my 7th time seeing them, if I’m counting right.  Maybe eighth?  It gets hard to remember.  It was Dave’s 10th show though.  (He seemed sure.)  Maiden is one of my favorite live acts and they were in rare form last night, all looking to have a ton of fun playing for a crowd that seemed largely unfamiliar with their newer material.  (That always drives me nuts.  They put out a new album last year, have been touring behind it since, and their setlist has been online the whole time.  Look at the set, buy or–ugh–stream the album, and sing along!)  Didn’t buy a shirt last night because they didn’t have the football shirt at the merch booth, so I’ve ordered it from their website.  The regular shirts were $40, and there just wasn’t one I liked enough to pay that much.
    Ghost opened for Maiden.  They’re OK, not great.  I like two songs; in fairness they did play them both.  I’ve really TRIED to like them.  I like what they THINK they’re doing, and the music is strong…but the vocals are kind of weak, in my opinion.  The guy just sounds like he should be fronting a power-pop band, not a willfully Satanic black-metal act.  But, they set a decent tone and served as a strong opener for Maiden.  I think they probably brought in some people who would’ve otherwise been on the fence or not gone at all, too.  So that’s good.
    Maiden’s this whole other thing, man.  I sometimes forget to mention them as one of my favorite bands, but they definitely are.  Steve Harris is one of my top bass influences, and Bruce Dickinson has inspired a lot of the screamier side of my vocal technique (although I don’t do it even a fraction as powerfully).  Their sound is so massive and their songs so energetic and their stage show so fun that seeing them is almost a life-changing experience…from the first time you see them onward, you just start including the phrase “I saw Maiden this one time and…” in your concert conversations.  Good show last night. Not the best I’ve ever seen them, but maybe the most fun I’ve ever seen them have.  And that means a lot as a fan.
  2. I was very disappointed to see that in the space of two days, Message author Eugene Peterson took a stance in support of the LGBTQ community, then immediately back-pedaled when it threatened his bank account.  Coward.  But then, he’s made a whole career of misrepresenting the words of Christ.  Why should he be expected to stand behind his own?  (Sorry…I just think transliterations are a bastardization of scripture that should be avoided.  There are plenty of proper translations that are plainly readable. I do own a copy of the Message.  It sits next to my copy of the Book of Mormon.  Because I put the same stock in them both.)
  3. Speaking of books… I’ve been reading Denis Johnson’s “Jesus’ Son” so named after a line in The Velvet Underground’s “Heroin.”  And that’s fitting.  It’s a bunch of semi-related short stories all told by the same narrator (known only as “Fuckhead”) and all of the stories involve drugs in one way or another from what I can tell.  It’s a quick read and a fun one. Plays with your head a little.  I can see why people were raving about the guy in the days following his death.  Wish I’d discovered him before he passed away.
  4. Bought a couple cool Summer hats at Levine Hats in downtown St. Louis.  They’re both of the straw variety and kind of trilby-shaped.  Although one’s a lot closer to a traditional fedora shape.  Most people don’t know the difference…as a quick primer, what Indiana Jones wears is a fedora.  What you THINK is a fedora is a trilby.  I like both of the hats.  They’re nice ones and they’re doing a great job keeping the sun out of my eyes.  🙂
  5. The new record is going okay.  I’ve sort of started on vocals in that I did a few takes and didn’t like them.  I’m a little too loose in my presentation.  I want to get a little stronger and tighter in my approach and present something I’m really happy with.  The vocal track is a large part of why I’m taking almost a full year on this one.  I want this record to be my best vocal performance to date.  And I think the songs are strong enough to make that a real possibility…  But the first takes aren’t there yet.  🙂
  6. I’ve got a gig coming up with the Feldman Group at the end of the month (the 29th, I believe).  It’s at a little bar that Mike plays a lot because they’re pretty loyal to him.  It’s not the kind of place I’d normally hang out, but they treat Mike and his band well.  And a gig’s a gig.  It’ll be fun.
  7. Doctor Who was REALLY FUCKING GREAT this season.  Sad Peter Capaldi’s leaving just so they can get all the fan-girls back with a younger, prettier guy again.  Or there are rumors that they might case a woman as the Doctor this time, too.  Which I feel would be a mistake.  Not because I won’t keep watching…but because I think MOST people won’t keep watching (see the Ghostbusters reboot).  There’s a formula to that show…you just can’t stray too far away from it and keep the fanbase.  Casting a woman would be a transparent publicity stunt to show everybody how PC they are that would end up tanking the ratings after a couple of weeks.  The legacy of the show and likely the actress they’d shoehorn into the role would both deserve better.  But of course, everything’s pure speculation at this point.  Personally, I’d love to see them offer the role to Simon Pegg.  Or failing that to an actor EVEN OLDER than Capaldi.  Like if Max Von Sydow isn’t doing anything…
  8. I’m up late because I forgot that I needed to do laundry.  Seems to happen to me a lot. Should really just set a day and stick to it.
  9. It was announced earlier in the week that Nick Lowe will be coming to town in October with Los Straightjackets along with him.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow.  So…in other news…tomorrow I’m going to be buying tickets to see Nick Lowe with Los Straightjackets.  How could I possibly pass up seeing one of my favorite pop singers with one of my favorite Mexican Luchador surf bands?

And that’s where I’m going to stop, because I’m tired.  I’ll try to post again soon.  I think I’ve got a thing or two coming up that merit posts of their own, anyway!

————

Current Listening:

  • Still Maiden. Mostly the stuff they didn’t play at the show.  🙂

“What is it with cherubs? I mean, are they barfing or something?” – Millhouse Van Houten

As long time readers of the blog (if any) know, the Simpson’s quote in the title means this is a random post.  However, I’ve been told there are some folks passing around my blog address to members of the McGuire Family so they can read the post I wrote about Momma McGuire.  I’m touched by that.  In case you’re one of those folks and you only got the general blog address, the direct link is here: https://derekbrink.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/rest-in-peace-momma-mcguire/. Thanks for stopping by!

Now…here’s the usual format…

  1. I’ve learned that St. Louis staple bar/restaurant Cicero’s is closing.  That’s sad to learn.  Been around since before I was born.  They say that they have “determined it no longer makes sense to continue.” Which doesn’t really answer any questions.  To most people in town the news comes as a shock and the announcement ITSELF doesn’t make sense…but I guess they probably have their reasons, some of them probably stemming from the original owner’s death last year.  (But I read the release and it’s a bitter mess with no real information in it.  We’ll never know what really went wrong, I’d imagine.)  I’ll miss Cicero’s.  I kinda fell in love with somebody there, once.  But she determined that it didn’t make sense to continue, too…so there you go.
  2. I’ve been sick today.  I blame Burger King.  I haven’t gone to Burger King in probably close to a decade for lunch/dinner (I’ve had a couple breakfasts), so I guess my resistance was low.  Or the sauce they gave me for my nuggets was bad.  It’s kind of defeating to have food poisoning.  Eating’s the one thing I do really well and I even managed to fuck that up.  Stayed home today.  Think I slept for about 6 hours of what would’ve been my 8 hour work day.  And now I’m writing this, which is the first thing I’ve done that you could call “productive” all day.
  3. I think I mentioned some time ago that I’d started reading Paul Auster’s novel “4321.”  Well, I’m within the last quarter of the book.  I put it down for a while and took longer than I meant to in order to get back to it.  It’s a great book, but it’s a difficult read.  (As an example, the sentences are very long, complex sentences that seem like run-ons, but are grammatically correct.  I counted one particularly long one and on a page with 38 lines on it, 21 were one SENTANCE.  Not paragraph. Sentence.  And there’s 866 pages of that.  It’s a tough read, even though it’s great.  It’s like scaling Everest, if you really like climbing mountains.  After this, I’m going to read some short stories by Denis Johnson, with whom I was unfamiliar prior to his death, but who came highly recommended by those mourning him.  Even if they’re hard short stories, at least they’ll be SHORT!  🙂
  4. I’ve picked up a TON of new music in the last couple weeks.  Just among the new releases, I’ve picked up stuff by Jason Isbell, Jade Jackson, Cheap Trick, Flogging Molly, Roger Waters, Glen Campbell, and Los Straightjackets.  And it feels like I’m missing one or two…  So far no stinkers…  But I also don’t have a frontrunner for my favorite album of the year yet.  There’s plenty in the running, though.
  5. Had a bit of a power outage on Saturday night into Sunday.  I was without power for 9 hours.  Some others in town hit at least 24.  Because every storm in Florissant is absolutely the first one we’ve ever experienced.  In fairness, it was a pretty aggressive one.  Knocked down some branches at the house, too.  Although I was up for it, and it didn’t seem that bad.  Over in about 30 seconds.  But I guess that’s enough.
  6. Don’t have anything to update on the progress of my next record (“It Could Be Worse.”)  I need to do vocal takes, but keep putting it off.  Which may be a good thing, actually, as the song “No One Leaves St. Louis” needs a small re-write because it mentioned goddamn Cicero’s in a way that implies it’s open…  So for once my laziness is a blessing in disguise.  It’s going to be a good record though, and I’m excited about it.  I have set up the microphones in a somewhat experimental way for the vocal takes–I want to use the room to create a natural reverb and I think I’ve got a decent approach…just need to actually TRY it now.
  7. I paused between entries 6 and 7 to deal with my stomach issues again.  I have no idea what I was originally going to write here.  I’m just hoping to make it to work tomorrow at this point.  Don’t worry…I’m staying hydrated.
  8. I think I noted previously that Dave and I have tickets to see the Descendents play in St. Louis in October.  Last week it was announced that The Get Up Kids will be opening.  I LOVE The Get Up Kids!  in the early 2000s, they were regularly in my player right next to the Descendents.  I associate those two bands with one another, and I’ve never seen the Get Ups, either!  So the show became a two-fer for me!
  9. There’s a cool guitar pedal board thing I really want to buy.  But it’s a little bit expensive and I’m not in a regularly playing band right now, so I’m having trouble justifying it.  If I were at least playing at a church every week, I could maybe talk myself into it, but we’re not there yet.
  10. I’ve been lazy about getting plugged in to a church.  Got used to sleeping in on Sundays, mostly.  Plus, there keep being other factors keeping me away.  Like a Memorial Day picnic, or the person I know at the church is going to be out of town and I don’t want to sit alone, or there’s a storm that knocks out my power overnight, or I’ll look at the clock and realize it’s 4am and I’m still up so there’s no way in hell I’m waking up in time, and stuff like that.  God probably understands that, huh?

Well…this is a bad post and I’m exhausted from being sick.  So I’m going to stop.  I’ll try to be interesting again soon.

————

Current Listening:

  • Jade Jackson – Gilded — Heard a lot of this record milling about in Barnes & Noble while my brother shopped for a Father’s Day gift for our Dad.  Liked it a lot, asked who it was, and bought it.  It was produced by a member of Social Distortion (although it’s NOTHING like them), which might have something to do with why I liked it.  Good folky rock.
  • Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound — Pretty good.  Not his best album (that’d still be “Southeastern”) but it’s got some deep hooks and I like it a lot.  For the first time in a while, the rock songs are stronger than the ballads.  So that’s pretty cool.

Rest in Peace, Momma McGuire

I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I’d thought my birthday would prompt it, but here we are two weeks later and I’m just now writing something. There are reasons, but most of them boil down to “I wasn’t sure what to talk about.”  Unfortunately, I’ve got something to talk about now.  Elenore “Momma” McGuire passed away on June 11.  That’s not a Blues singer.  She’s the mother of the guy that’s probably the closest thing my Dad’s ever had to a brother.  I even call him Uncle Dan.

I guess the easiest way to describe it is that Momma McGuire was a matriarch not only to Dad and Uncle Dan, but to pretty much their whole group of friends.  That group of friends formed a club in the 60s known as The Gluttons.  The Gluttons are still a functioning, dues paying club to this day (albeit with a mostly newer membership) and celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2014.  It started out as a bunch of high school friends. Most of us at one point or another said “we should form a club” to our high school friends.  But these guys actually did, and they kept it going.  For the most part, the original membership is still in contact, though some have either moved or passed away.  Life takes different people to different places, and for myself, life placed me in the pool of the Gluttons Club as a kid, where I learned to swim, where I snuck my first taste of beer, and where I met the McGuire family.

The great shame of the Gluttons is that the members’ kids didn’t really grow close.  We all recognize each other, but for as small as St. Louis is, it’s also easy to not see someone for years at a time, and if you weren’t at the Club at the same time you might not be best friends with the other kids.  So it goes.  But I did manage to grow fond of most of my “Glutton Uncles” as Dad has always called them.  And if there’s one thing that can be said about the “Old Boys” amongst the Gluttons, they all loved Momma McGuire.  And she loved them too.  She contributed to most of their delinquencies back in the 60s.  On that note, she is very likely indirectly responsible for me being born, as she once saved my Dad’s life.

I’ll spare all of the details…but the short version is my Dad was raised in a Baptist home by good Baptist people.  Dad himself was also a good Baptist, but those Gluttons sure were a bad influence on him.  (**wink**)  After one such night of influence, Dad went home a shade of green that he found himself needing to explain to my grandmother.  Now…my grandmother was a kind, generous, warm person…  But there is no doubt in my mind that she would have killed Dad if she knew the truth.  Dad, of course, said that he’d gotten sick–I believe saying “it was something I ate.”  Grandma picked up her telephone and (I’m sure with a wooden spoon in one hand) dialed the McGuire household, speaking to Elenore, asking questions one might expect her to ask.  Momma McGuire replied telling her that “oh, yeah…I think just about all the boys got sick.  I don’t know what they ate, but it must’ve been bad…”  She fed Grandma the same load of crap my dad did.  (Because she loved those boys.)  And Grandma bought it, my dad lived, and eventually I was born.

Decades later, Dan and Don (Dan’s brother) were throwing a birthday party at the Gluttons Club for Momma McGuire.  Dad said he’d help get the place cleaned up and showed up to do so.  A couple hours went by and the McGuires weren’t there yet, so Dad called and asked if they were still coming.  They consulted Elenore and said something to the effect of “well, Dave’s over there doing all the work himself right now…”  She replied, “He still owes me.”

That’s a good story. I hope my Dad doesn’t mind me writing it down. (I’ll edit it if he does.)

The last time I saw Momma McGuire was in 2014.  She would have been 88 or 89 then, but you’d have guessed younger.  Sadly, we were both at a funeral for a member of the Gluttons family.  Barb Bolesta had died too young.  I wrote about that here.  I’d gone through the receiving line already and was milling about as one does at a wake.  In through the door came Momma McGuire.  We were well acquainted, of course, and I went over to say hello.  “Hello young Mr. Brink” she said and kissed me on the cheek–the first and as it goes last time she ever did that.  I was wearing a suit and I remember briefly feeling like I was at a mafia meeting and I just got made.  (If the mafia existed.  Which, of course, it doesn’t.  And if it did, it would be awesome.)  That was immediately followed by her pointing right at me and saying, “Is there coffee?”  And I said, “Yeah, it’s downstairs…” to which she threw a dismissive hand in the air and said, “AH! …of COURSE it is!” and she wandered off.

That’s a pretty good story too. Mostly because I also hate stairs.

It was late in the day this past May 29th when my dad called me and told me that Momma McGuire was in hospice and wasn’t going to make it.  I don’t often hear my dad cry.  It’s not fun.  By coincidence of the calendar, that was also my birthday…but who can you possibly hold that against?  Nevertheless, that’s got a little bit to do with why I haven’t written, I think.  Hospice is one of those awful things that in its kindness is also misery.  I go back and forth on whether or not it’s a blessing or curse that most people in hospice don’t know they’re there.  And what’s better for the family?  To sit around waiting for someone they care for to die, or for it to happen quickly?  I’ve never been sure, even having had some experience in the field…

I don’t know arrangements yet, but I did tell people at my office as early as May 30th that I may need to take a day off with very little notice.  Because of COURSE I want to go to the funeral.  She saved my Dad’s life, and I owe her.

Elenore “Momma” McGuire was 91.  It’s hard to feel shortchanged on how much time she had or how much she packed into it.  91 years is a good run.  And for at least 90 of those, she had the demeanor of somebody much younger.  A boundless energy and a joy of living.  “Feisty” is a good word for it.  If I live into my 90s (ha!) I hope I have even a fraction of her same energy.  I don’t even know if she meant to do it, but Momma McGuire drew people to her and when they walked away they felt better, even if they were already feeling good.  That’s a rare gift.  I’m glad to have known her and even though the memories are good, it hurts my heart to know that the last time I’ll be in a room with her, she won’t be able to make me feel better…

But damned if I won’t find a cup of coffee at the service.

More “Worse”

I’ve taken some major steps forward in regards to the recording of my next solo record, “It Could Be Worse,” so I thought I’d give you some updates.  If you don’t care, then there’ll probably be an everything/nothing post in a couple days or something.  If nothing else, my birthday is Monday so that’ll probably motivate me to write something.  But for now, I wanted to write a post for my fan.  Singular.  I have one.  Hi, Angela.

I think I’ve got all or at least 99% of the instruments recorded.  There’s guitars, bass, keys, drums, and even a little harmonica.  It’s sounding good (if I may be so bold).  There’s a little bit of a different feel to this one.  For my own sake, I burned a CD of just the music tracks to listen to and check levels/performances, etc…and most of the songs hold up as a good listen, even without the vocal parts, which I’m not sure I’d say about a lot of my back-catalog.  (Some of it, sure…but a lot of it definitely needs words…)  It’s turned into an interesting mix of laid back, moody stuff and punk-influenced pop-songs.  Yet it gels pretty well.

All told, I think it’s going to be about a 40-minute record (give or take).  Some folks could probably fit it into their morning commute.  And I think that’s good.  Ever since CDs came along and offered everybody 80 minutes to mess with, albums got too long.  Sometimes it’s nice to know you don’t have to take the whole day off to listen to every damn idea the writer had in the past couple of years.

I was going to wait until we were a little closer to release in 2018 (I’m thinking March–which means we’re about the gestation of a baby away), but why wait?  Here’s the track list, so you can choose what song you’re looking forward to the most based on absolutely no other information:

  1. So Anyway…
  2. Nobody Else
  3. Everybody Shut Up
  4. What I’m Dying For
  5. No One Leaves St. Louis
  6. Who I Am Today
  7. Amanda, I’m Tired
  8. That Was Then
  9. I Still Believe
  10. Always

Looking forward to sharing it with you in a bit.  Haven’t done final vocals yet.  I usually end up doing three vocal takes I think are going to be “final” so if it sounds like I’m almost done and may as well release it in August, you’re way off…  I’ll do a couple vocal takes on each song, then the mastering process usually takes me about 30 mixes of tweaking and compromise…so even though the instrumental stuff went pretty quick, there’s still a long haul before it’s done.  And once it IS done, I plan to set it down, not listen to it for a month, then relisten and fix the stuff that I would’ve wanted to fix after it was released if I DID put it out in August…  It’s a different approach than I’ve taken in the past, and I hope it’ll keep me from issues like wishing I’d turned up the vocals a little bit across the board (“Trigger Warnings…”) or wishing I’d gotten one more drum take on the opening track (“Grounds”) or that I’d worked a little harder to put fills into the drum parts (“Ink-Stained Fingers”) or whatever (Uhh… “New Year’s Eve” maybe?).

Anyway…that’s your window into where I am on the project for now.  Next time I’ll talk about something else and probably also this again because it’s all I’m doing in my free time.

Thanks for tolerating that!

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Current Listening:

  • Chris Bell – I Am the Cosmos
  • Me