AGE, ACHES, DION, & RABBITS

A bit more rambling…I’ve spent the day sacked out on the couch fighting with a rabbit who’s trying to get at the hot wheat bag behind my back. I think she figures its lunch. I’ve been pretty rough on myself over the last few days and every once in a while my body likes to remind me of the years I carry with me, thus the wheat bag on the tender spot.

I can’t move with any kind of determination so this is a forced day of reflection. I don’t just lie around too often as I’m one that likes to be busy. I read, write, or work around the house. Even when relaxing with television I put myself through the mental exercise of trying to figure how that kid could possibly have made it through to the live rounds. A racked-back forces me to do something that I keep promising myself I’ll do…nothing.

The anniversary of JFKs assassination started me thinking about my age. I was in high school at the time, a lanky scrawny kid with slicked-back hair and tight black jeans. Most guys strutted around doing the Elvis thing with a curled lip and a nasal “uh-huh” way of talking. Elvis was okay but I liked Dion…still do. When I started playing guitar around the fire with my less-than-rowdy but incredibly wonderful friends I’d break into Runaround Sue or the Wanderer, although by that time I’d chosen Ruby Baby as my Dion favorite. I clearly remember some of those nights and my thoughts drift.

My youth…when did it end? At what point was the simple lightness of being replaced with the weight of life? At precisely what time did I become an adult? What year was it? Was I fourteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty? On what day did I slip from boyhood to manhood? It was probably a Tuesday. I read somewhere that more things happen on a Tuesday than any other day. I don’t know if that’s true and really, I don’t care. But if it was Tuesday then at what time did it transpire? I would assume this change in life came at midnight. I wish I could remember the last Monday before that first Tuesday. I’d like to think that I wrestled as much youthful exuberance out of that day as I could muster but I surely wasn’t aware of the fate that would strike me as soon as the clock struck twelve so I probably frittered the night away watching television.

People don’t think about their youth until it starts playing hide and seek. Sometimes it’s difficult to find but other times it’s simply riding the waves of an old rock and roll song or stretched out across the surface of an old photograph. The keyword here is “old”. Photographs and records are materials and materials age as time passes. The emotions we rediscover upon hearing or seeing these things are not material. Youth is a spirit weaving through us like the mist that snakes silently through the undergrowth on a crisp autumn morning. Bodies may bend and wrinkle but youth lives on unfettered by physical restraints. It’s all in how you look at it. It’s buried somewhere in each of us and the ink has long since dried on the exhumation order.

An interesting thing that happened today was in regards to a line that I wrote for a lyric. This lyric has been nearly finished for weeks now because, well…to be blunt, I’m not very good at it. There’s a line in this song that had no real meaning, it just felt good and it fit. The line is “I’m going to roll my soul and free my mind”. Simple enough but what does “roll my soul” mean? As I said, originally nothing…it was filler to keep the rhythm until something better came along. But the more I tried to change it the better it sounded and… a meaning surfaced. While I’m sure a lot of new age thinkers will patronize me with raised eyebrows and an unwilling nod toward my philosophy, it deserves at least as much of an acknowledgement as any concept surrounding an abstract.

At the time of birth our souls are fresh and new. Even if the theories about inheriting an “old soul” are true I’m sure it’s been refurbished, tested, and detailed before leaving the factory so that when it’s presented to a new owner it’s as close to fresh and new as it can possibly be. I think that the soul, like youth, is a collector. While youth collects all the trials and tribulations that daily life throws at us, the soul collects emotions, attitudes, and spirits…some good and some not so. All of this piles up on top of what was once pure and accepting and every so often we should take the time to roll our soul, flip it, and bring the good back to the top…like tossing a salad. My best analogy would be that restless night when the air is close and the temperature is too unbearably hot for sleep and I flip, or roll, my pillow. It’s an instant albeit momentary gratification and soon the reason I flipped my pillow will come back to the surface. But I had that moment and that moment now becomes a part of me.

Today whilst temporarily incapacitated I’ve rolled my soul and re-felt the simplicity of what “being” is all about and suddenly life just doesn’t seem as complicated anymore…except for the rabbit gnawing on the wheat bag beneath my back.

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ODD’S ‘N ENDS….

This may ramble a bit…for that I apologize. I can’t seem to stay on task today.

award

As most of you know At Second Glance Books in Kamloops closed the doors on Saturday, December 1st, joining the record shops and most of the video shops in the city. We leave three used book stores to continue the fight and we wish them success. We have always been the go-to book shop and people would come to us before they went anywhere else. We have been the “Readers Choice” for best Second Hand Book store since the local paper created the category and, in the undulating universe of cosmic coincidence, we received the award for 2012…on the mourning of our last day.

Last Thursday a woman walked up to the counter and bought my book, White Wolf Moon. She said she’d been looking all over for it…a friend of hers had recommended it. I rang the sale through and asked if she wanted me to sign it. I received the strangest glare as she asked why she would want me to. I flipped through to the author photo, we had a laugh and I signed it for her. I asked what her friend had said about it and I got a slightly different answer than I’ve grown accustomed to getting. It was the thought behind some of Evan’s comments…the philosophies…that her friend had identified with. The customer asked (a) why I’d written it, (b) were those thoughts mine, (c) how much of it was biographical?

(a) Because I wanted to

(b) Pretty much

(c) More than I care to admit

I could certainly expand on those answers and I’ll probably do so in upcoming blogs but my mind has wandered again.

I’ve had friends tell me they’d love to read my book…if I had an extra copy I could give them. One of them paints houses. I asked if he would paint my house for free. Of course he wouldn’t. He works hard painting houses and his time is valuable. I told him that’s why I don’t give away copies of my book. He really couldn’t see how this was the same thing.

Most self-published writers aren’t in it for the money. If it comes then great…but it isn’t why we do what we do. We do it because we have something to say and whether we speak through a fictional character or in a non-fictional manner, we get our thoughts out there. We do it because we want to. We appreciate the recognition of those who are willing to spend their money on something we’ve created. Those of us that aren’t retired generally have a job away from those drafts to help support this writing habit. It isn’t money in the bank but every compliment, every press clipping, every radio interview or book signing makes it all worthwhile. The experience of publishing White Wolf Moon has been one of the most delightful rides I’ve ever been on and just when it appears to be slowing down, it picks up again. Some might say it all goes to feed the ego (and I agree) but after going through everything it takes to write a book and get it published I think I deserve a little ego-stroking.

On the other hand, to quote Evan Morris…“I’m too great a man to have an ego….”