Friday, September 27, 2019

Shooting Stars

A year ago, I became friends with a very talented singer I was lucky enough to work with at a big concert in town that happens every year. Introduced by mutual friends, we found we had a great deal in common, and our conversations took off quickly. I wanted to ask her out, but I also valued her friendship and our being a part of a wonderful circle of friends. I didn't want to risk losing that.

Eventually, I found a concert that was coming to town that I thought we would both enjoy, and I bought tickets for us to see it in the Fall. That gave me the chance to suggest going out for lunch somewhere so I could give her the ticket, and get to know each other a little better as the show approached.  



Soon we were putting together our own little music group, and we recorded a batch of cover songs.
We started hangng out at open mic events together, going out to more dinners, and having more conversations about life in general. I figured at that point it was a natural that we should give dating a try. I wanted it to work out, but was afraid to take the chance, in case it didn't.



One year later, we've performed together countless times, including that same stage in town. And a regular open mic series where we first met in July of 2018. She is like a beam of radiant light in my otherwise oft-overcast world, and life will never be the same. I'm glad I overcame my fears and followed my heart, which told me I wanted to experience a kind of joy like no other. That's what I'm happy to say I'm feeling these days.
  


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Since I Started this Blog 10 Years Ago...


Originally, it was about tracing the roots of Wallace Stegner. But since he lived in so many places, that was not a viable option for me. Instead, I sought out the easiest and most difficult two places where he lived.

Saskatchewan and Vermont.

One places took me three days to get to and I've only been there once.

The other took 3 hours and I've been there 3 times.

What I enjoyed was the contrast. The wide open spaces of the Canadian prairie and badlands. The green hills and fresh running mountain waters of Vermont. People are interesting no matter where they are from. Some more friendly than others. I discovered the people in both to be about the same...  curious at a distance, reserved, but still polite.

In 2019, I have plans to get back up to the Northeast Kingdom, and someday, make the train ride to Montana and zip up to Saskatchewan once more.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

In The Moment

Back down in Rhode Island for a day, and everything is quiet, and warm. The sunsets on the winter are so pretty. The barren trees allow more of the pond to be visible, and the sun sets directly over the water.



It still is a great place to relax and focus on the being in the moment. I think about where I've been all these years, and the constant moving around. Finally settling in Western Massachusetts and putting down some roots. 

After it all, the little place in Little Rhodey has remained. I thought I would share this with someone this year, and show them where I find my peace and solitude. It only takes me a 2 hour drive to get into the moment. 2019 has been all about living in the Moment. Having been through everything imaginable last year. January is behind me, and even though the cold and the snow is not over by any means, I come down here and the ground is free of any frozen precipitation. 

I'm okay with that.

February will fly by, March will drag on, and before we know it, April and Spring will be upon us. I'm ready for that. But in the meantime, getting through the Winter, finding new challenges for the new year, and expanding my horizons are all part of my wishes to accomplish. Living in the Moment doesn't mean Staying in the Moment. It was nice to be here just for a little while. 



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Spectator

Another year gone by. Another year filled with Music.


Highlights of the year included Transperformance,



and countless rowdy shows with the Savage Brothers.





I also Rocked out with the Mambo Sons a few more times,




and guested with the guys from Brass Attack & extended Company on several occasions.





                                                   

                                          

hosting (or co-hosting Open Mic events...



Always making rest home appearances for seniors...



... and finished off the year very nicely on New Year's Eve.


Moving Forward...



20 years living in Western Mass. My tribe is here, and the Valley is my blood.

What started out with a long drawn out Winter turned into a cathartic Spring and a Summer & Fall of song, celebration and joy.

All part of a still-evolving process, I am nowhere near completing.

I anticipate many wonderful shows in the future, and 2019 is already filled with all kinds of exciting, challenging activity.

I'm ready.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Shooting Star





Some days are too cloudy too see the beauty that is still there.







Rhode Island is a place where I have many fond memories.

As a child, I would swim at Misquamicut Beach, play arcade games, and stroll the beach from one side to the other. As I got older, I would see live music at the clubs, until I was eventually playing in a few of those clubs. I lived in Providence during the early/mid '90s, and have a soft spot for the gritty area. Surrounded by large houses, bakeries, bistros and just up the road from Thayer Street where all the students from Brown and RISD would congregate.

I recently found myself back here, when I pressed the Reset button on my life. My parents bought a small house in the early '80s, and after my Mom passed away, my father had no interest in returning. So, now it is a place shared mostly with my brother and occasionally, I make the 2 hour trek to hang out and watch the sun set over Watchaug Pond. I filmed some videos here of me singing cover songs and originals alike.

A lot was going on in my life.



Starting over after so long where nothing seemingly changed was not something I would get used to quickly, but I was starting to get adjusted to this new normal. I would return to some of the beaches where I remember happier times. Eventually, I allowed myself to enjoy them once again, because it is a beautiful place, made to have new memories.


I'm getting there.



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Recapitulations


 I didn't make it up to Vermont this year, so instead I went to New Hampshire. There was some significance to the trip, because I used to go there often as a kid with my family. I recall us going from Black & White TVs, The Beatles and walking on the Moon... to Space Invaders, Asteroids and The Ramones. I had a great family. My brothers showed me life as it could be when I got older. They set good examples, if I chose to follow them, or perhaps did something similar, but somehow in my own way. Guidelines to being a decent human being.



Vacations in New Hampshire meant swimming, water skiing, boating, the lapping waves from the Mount Washington cruise ship that would go by daily (more on that later), and the little cottage we all would stay in. As I got older I discovered girls, and that presented an interesting situation, as I never felt like I fit in anywhere. Not even back home, and certainly not in New Hampshire, where everybody talked funny, but I was the one with the weird accent (according to them). Girls in bikinis could be quickly forgiven, as I tried to figure out their Boston slang.

Later in my teens, I became a musician and by the time I was 18, I developed a little confidence, finding it slightly easier to meet people and feel comfortable with myself. I still operated at a hyper level, and could not quite settle down, but if I was able to make people laugh, and then maybe bring my guitar and get them to sing songs by The Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Skynyrd, then I was starting to finally fit in.



My favorite memories were by myself playing Pinball in the old arcades - which were now located on the other side of the lake at Weirs Beach. In more recent years: I was working in a band that started playing on the Mount Washington, so now I was getting paid to perform on the boat I used to see go by as a kid. I would play pinball for hours upon hours in between gigs, and especially the older machines made me happy and nostalgic for the pre-video game days.

Simpler Days.



So as it was, I had some free time at the end of this summer, and some leftover arcade tokens. I went back. Found a sweet beachside motel unit on the cheap, right next to the last cottage we rented.

Back to that wonderful view.


Back to that wonderful time.

The last few years there were very different. My brothers had moved away, and no longer went on the vacation. I was often alone, which I didn't mind. Our age groups were so that we had our own friends. But now the girls I used to hang out with up there were gone too. Family things had come up with them, and their summer priorities changed. Finding myself alone again for the first time in 30 years put me back into a place I knew. It wasn't all loneliness in that stillness, but a little bit of calm that I found. I was okay then, and I would be okay again. I just had to remind myself of that. Perhaps this was the reason I returned. Not to share it with others, but maybe to have a little closure.

One of the lines Stegner wrote in Angle of Repose was, "They say you can't go home again, although I've done it, as I have here, but it gets less likely."

I have indeed done it, and it does get less likely.



Monday, June 18, 2018

Most Things Break

Including Hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus - Wallace Stegner.


So began a brand new journey for me. This time, not on a train, or driving to some distant location, but to some raw, undiscovered emotional territory.

What was that going to be like?

A lot like this.