A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS

One of the criticisms I received with White Wolf Moon was my depiction of Evan’s stance on drugs…that his anti-drug comments were invalid and I used him to preach my opinions on the matter. First, Evan does not necessarily speak for me on anything. That being said this is an example of people reading what they want to read and missing what was written. Evan isn’t preaching anti-drug…just that drugs weren’t for him. Yes he is negative about the culture based on his personal observations and that is what readers have keyed on. On various blogs and pages I have made statements in my name about hunting, wolf hunters in particular, and have been taken to task for those comments. It matters not how many times I tell people that I am not anti-hunting or anti-hunter, they read what I write, put their own spin on it then call me some of the most ludicrous and childish names, even threatening me personally. To set the record straight I do oppose trapping, poaching, and trophy hunting but I get angry when I read about a careless, irresponsible hunter who shoots at a deer and misses, sending the bullet across the street where it smashes through a living room window and hits a five-day-old infant in the head (and it’s considered a misdemeanor). That is when I have to speak out…and not all that kindly. http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/09/25/DA-5-day-old-infant-grazed-by-bullet-in-hunting-accident/stories/201409250337

But back to the point of this blog:

Friend number one…In the mid to late sixties I worked at CJCA Radio in Edmonton, Alberta. I produced commercials (among other things) and recorded musicians whether for their promo tapes or auditions and commercial jingles for local businesses. I was still fairly new at it when someone booked the studio to do a department store jingle. One of the musicians had a reputation for being hard to work with, mean, and demanding. He could play virtually any instrument and claimed he was qualified enough on each of them to have a valid opinion. I learned that his claims were indeed justified as over the next few years I recorded him playing keyboard, drums, violin, all types of guitars, banjo, harmonicas and even pan-pipes. He displayed an expertise with each of them that impresses me to this day.

To make a long story a bit shorter, during the recording session I was reprimanded by said musician (on drums) as I had pointed out he’d made a small beat mistake on the instrumental bridge and we should redo the take. He took me to task and shouted that when we played it back there had damn well better be a mistake…which there was. He called me into the studio and extended his hand. He congratulated me for noticing the error (which probably would have gone unnoticed anyway) then shook my hand again for having the guts to point it out to him. While there’s a lot more to the story the outcome was that we became close friends. He was demanding of everyone (especially of himself) and we battled a lot. Sometimes I won, but not very often. He continually pushed me to strive for something better when it came to production and I’ll always owe him for that. Physically he looked the lifestyle of the sixties rocker. He wore leather, rode a motorcycle, and had the long hair and beard…typical in those days. One big difference…he avoided drugs and refused to work with anyone who was high or drunk. Away from the studio or stage he preferred wine as his vice of choice and does to this day. He’s still got the hair and the motorcycle and he just celebrated his seventieth birthday by climbing some mountain in Hawaii (where he now lives).

He phoned me about four years ago after having no contact for over forty years. All he said was “Hey man, what’s happening?” and we picked up right where we’d left off decades before. During that call we talked about auditions we’d done. He remembered the names of the musicians, the titles of songs we recorded and what instruments were used. I confess I didn’t remember a lot of it until he reminded me.

Friend number two…Around the same time as my phone call another friend touched bases with me. He was also a part of that old recording scene and a few years younger than me. Unlike friend number one he lived the complete lifestyle back then and, as of our reunion, still did. We got together for a drink and I spent what I still consider to be the longest hour of my life listening to the paranoid ramblings of someone I used to know.  It was an uncomfortable barrage of disjointed conversation that culminated in an offer to “do a joint” in the parking lot. I refused…then came the real reason for the reunion. He wanted to borrow some money to get bus fare to Vancouver where he was going to crash for a few weeks with some friends.

Friend number one spent all those years honing and working his craft, retired to Hawaii with a huge bank account and remembers all the good times we had. He is also one of the driving forces behind the Evan Morris and Danny Mann characters in White Wolf Moon.

Friend number two spent all those years doing the same-old same-old. He was one of the peripheral characters in the book and, like Carl Perry, was written out of the story-line far too early.

Yes these are two extreme examples, or at least I’d like to think they are extreme, but I’ve seen this scenario play out so many times over my years that my attitude is much like Evan’s. It’s your life and you can do what you want…just don’t involve me in it.

Hat

 

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GRAPE EXCERPTATIONS….

Okay, the title has nothing to do with anything except that I’m sitting behind the laptop snacking on bowl of grapes. I usually prefer my grapes aged and liquefied but it’s a bit too early for that sort of thing.

First a HUGE thank-you to SK Nicholls for the wonderful review of “White Wolf Moon” and for making me realize that I haven’t been as diligent with the book (or the blog) as I should be. That is all about to change…in fact there are going to be a few changes in my writing life. I can only hope this tired old brain can keep up with the learning curve (more on this in future blog postings). Interestingly though…the more I delve into these changes the more this tired old brain seems to wake up. Before I embark on this journey I have to unload some of the baggage that has been occupying far too much of my time. I have been distracted by my on-going involvement with wolf issues of late but a lot of that has now come to an end. While I am still and always will be decidedly pro-wolf I have come to the conclusion that any sort of dialogue with most of those anti-wolf people is just a waste of time…time that could be better spent in other arenas.

I have started restricting my on-line time to “absolutely necessary” occasions (checking emails, updating blogs/facebook etc.) and I now allow myself about two hours a day for such activities, first thing in the morning and again after dinner. How successful I’ll be remains to be seen because, as I’ve already discovered, it’s not easy to break those old habits.

So my journey starts here and while the destination is far down the road it’s now one step closer. Once again thank you to SK Nicholls for the nudge!

Following is an excerpt from the sequel to WWM that could just as easily refer to the process of writing and independently publishing a book…

Jenn picked up the large paperback, read the title then smiled at Evan. “Beginning Guitar?”

“Like everything in life you need to go back and do a refresh of the basics every once in a while.”

“But you’ve been playing for years.”

“True but when I uncovered that book it made me think of how I felt when I first started playing. There was the sense of accomplishment when I’d finally get a new chord down but there was also the excitement of discovery. It was all so fresh and new for me. I was creating sound…me, little Evan Morris, was making music of sorts. I set my sights on stardom, producing records and living the dream. That became my destination but I quickly realized that the journey is every bit as important as the destination. You can’t have one without the other. You do have to have a goal in mind but if you’re obsessing over the future goal then you’re not concentrating on the now…the journey. If you have the desire the destination will always be there so just let it go. Focus on the now and enjoy the ride. Just because you’re driving to Disneyland doesn’t mean that there aren’t many wonderful stops en route. You have to put Mickey in the back of your mind and fill that mouse-less space with any turn in the road that strikes your fancy and take time to appreciate the mini-destinations along the way. Each of them can be a treasure and they’ll eventually take you where you want to go so relax…Mickey will still be waiting when you get there.”

“So…stop and smell the roses?” Jenn laughed. “Sorry…”

“Don’t be, its true.” He reached for Suzi and began lightly strumming. “Honestly I’m not very good at this but it really doesn’t matter. It’s for me and that’s why I do it. Over the years I’ve let it slip and now I see what I’ve been missing. It isn’t just the music but all that comes with it…the peace, the relaxation, the magic of creation, and the evolution of ideas…the little things. It’s all about making music, good or bad, that reaches into the mind and soul of the player or composer and takes him to another place. If other people can appreciate the journey then that’s good but it still comes back to the simple selfish joy of creation.”

“Ah but you also have your record album…” She pointed to the framed copy of ‘Roses and Rust’ on the wall behind his desk. “Wasn’t that a part of the original destination?”

“Yeah it was a bonus…but sometimes the destination isn’t quite what the trailers promise.”

“You seem to have forgotten about all those people on your fan pages. Now they’re appreciating that journey too.”

Evan grinned. “Yes they are and I still can’t believe it. After fifty years I guess I finally got there.”

“And Mickey was still waiting.”

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