Showing posts from April, 2021

Excerpt from upcoming book: That Internship I Didn't Take Is One of My Few Regrets

As my guitar player got progressively ill, I tried to find ways to take care of myself, to keep alive what we’d built together on my own, on his behalf. One of the things we’d done together was learn to make  homebrew and engage with that community. Bell’s Brewery 's head brewmeister Mike had founded our homebrew club. Also, my hotel coworkers held “staff meetings” at Bell’s sort of monthly, so that venue was considered safe territory. A guy could let his girlfriend go there alone and not be worried that she’d meet weirdos or healthy musicians.  I was seated at the bar next to a couple of clowns I didn’t know and we were passing a magazine back and forth, laughing at some article. I don’t remember what it was about. But I yelled at one of them:   “YOU’RE TOO PARSIMONIOUS TO BUY ME A STOUT!”  A guy behind me turned and said, “Excuse me?!”  I half-apologized, because I was sorry for nothing, and told him I was yelling at the blokes on my other side.  Clowns, blokes. Whatever.

Another Fun Ride Murder - Flash Fiction

"Open the gate. " The tall man in the disheveled tweed suit flipped open a badge and ID: Detective Robert Semones, Jackson, NJ Police . A nervous park attendant peered at the badge through the gate, then released the latch.  Semones ushered in his partner, Detective Grant Ambrose, and followed behind.  Ambrose touched his fedora and nodded to the attendant, who looked miserable. She latched the gate after them. "Which way, ma'am?" Ambrose asked.  The attendant waved a limp hand down a path already populated by police and Six Flags staff. Her eyes teared up; she made a croaking sound.  "Snake ride...follow them. Oh, gawd!" she wailed into her hands. Ambrose fumbled through his pocket for a handkerchief.  Semones slapped his arm.  "C'mon, Grant." Semones ambled up the path. Ambrose gave up chivalry and shuffled into step beside him. Camera bulbs flashed against the rosy sky of dawn like earth-bound images of the stars that were fading into

Getting the Cattle to Abilene as a Conceptual Skeleton - on Writing and Diversity

Harry Youtt teaches a writing device he calls Getting the Cattle to Abilene. It means you can spend half a page on minutiae  –  the kettle falls into the fire, or Jim Bill shoots himself in the foot  –  but if you don't get the cattle to Abilene, your story has no raison d'etre , just a bunch of beef out among the tumbleweeds. Social rules and cues exist to herd us along the road to Abilene, in this case meaning where Society wants to go, the  marketplace where cattle will be deemed of some value. Cattle that never get to Abilene have no assigned value. Our protestations stand mute and don’t defend us in situations where we don’t want to be defensive:  We want so much, just this once, to fit in. So instead of jumping into the conversation, we run an eternal slideshow against the back wall, looking for a similar scenario with a positive outcome so we’ll have a template upon which to act. But if I’ve done my job right, there isn’t a similar scenario. I’ve tried to throw mysel

Emotional Diplomacy, and Where it Falters vs. Folk Music

Our diplomacy suffers while it tries to defend patriarchal underpinnings. Maybe not explicitly excluding fat chunks of American society, but protecting the stability of a system built by and for elite white males who wanted to set up in the New World what they couldn’t have in the old . Those old white guys thought they were the oppressed; maybe they thought they were being fair. They literally didn’t see as peers all the people who didn’t look like them. There’s evolutionary precedent for that ( evolutionary sociologists will tell you all about it ) but there’s also empirical evidence that we’ve evolved the ability to get over ourselves. We don't need to serve that mindset. I'm attending  Folk Unlocked  online, an annual event which usually overruns a hotel with troubadours somewhere in North America. As a former hotel worker, I shudder but also want to join in. One of the panels I attended -  Anti-Racism: Setting a New time in Folk Culture  - included the voices of @joe_seamo