WARNING: Long entry.
We picked up Nana, our new German Shepherd puppy, on Friday morning and have been enjoying many pleasurable experiences with her. We took her to the vet yesterday and she weighed in at just over 8 pounds. Quite a handful.
A week before last my son sideswiped a Mustang on his way to work and in all likelihood totaled his Expedition, if he had collision insurance on it, which he didn’t. Well, it is a ’99, so there’s not much point in carrying that kind of coverage. That’s the thing about him, he always drives older cars and then bitches to high heaven when they breakdown, which they often do. He has a ’72 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in the carport that came as a piece of shit. It had sat in somebody’s leaky garage for over ten years and suffers from serious, structural body cancer. On the driver’s side the door panel falls off when he shuts the door, the seats for the bolts having rusted away.
He has an ’06 Ford Police Interceptor with over 140,000 miles on it and a clattery engine that needs to be changed out with a new one. In his mind he sees going to a junkyard and picking up some low mileage Ford engine out of a Crown Vic or Grand Marquis that had been involved in a wreck and is just sitting there and waiting for him. The Expedition needed a new engine, too, but for once in his life listened to me and bought a reconditioned one, that now has just over 4,000 miles on it. That’s what he hopes to sell today. A new 5.4L Ford Triton engine for $2,500 and he’ll throw in the bent and scratched body side panels and bent front wheel assembly for free. All the buyer has to do his take the thing away. What a deal.
Of course, there is not much I can say for myself, either. I’m still driving the ’03 Cavalier that got t-boned when I pulled out in front of someone back in 2014. The passenger side doors were both bent in and the joints are now sealed with black Gorilla tape. But, since I don’t drive further than the grocery store, which is not quite a four-mile roundtrip, there’s little need for me to have a more complete vehicle; though I still dream of having such a car, maybe next year.
Since I am Type 1 Bipolar, my son has a 60% chance of inheriting the disorder. He’s been going to a psychiatrist for a number of issues over the past year or so centering around intermittent explosive disorder (road rage) and anxiety. He’s been through three SSRIs and now is on an SSNRI, plus something for the anxiety. Now, after his accident major depressive disorder has been added to his mix and he’s been put on an anti-psychotic (the one I take). When he went in to his psychiatrist I told him to her that I’m Type 1 BPD not Type 2. He said she seemed concerned about that information and maybe she’ll see that his anger is an expression of some form of mania. I hope the anti-psychotic helps him, his anger can be traumatic around the house.
I’ve been sliding into a general funk over the past few weeks. The anticipation of getting the new puppy has passed and now she’s here and my son smothers her with attention. Rambo, our three-year-old German Shepherd, hasn’t quite accepted her and has nipped her twice already. But, none of that is my problem.
I think my creative abilities are waning. I’m struggling while working on writing four new stories, poking at each one as I try to bring out characters into some form of reality. Honestly, I think it might just be time for me to go away (no, not that way). Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe it goes back to the way I’ve been my whole life, trying to be someone I’m not. It’s not like I’m a popular writer. My readership at GA is totally pathetic, but I’ve never written for the masses. I’ve never wanted to be a mass market author. Maybe I should’ve worked harder on learning how to write poetry, though that genre has alluded me since high school.
“D___, what is the deeper meaning of this poem?”
“The deeper meaning?”
“Yes, what does it say to you?”
“What do you mean? The guy is walking down a lane on a snowy evening. Is there something more to it?”
“Darleen, what do you see when you read this poem?”
On there it was, the inevitable deeper meaning. The hidden nugget of truth. The rack waiting for the lamb. Could I have changed if I had tried a little harder? I'll never know.
That’s kind of the way it was back when I was in the final years of my experience with music. In elementary school, I learned how to play the alto saxophone, but I hated the instrument. I had wanted to play the baritone horn, but my mother had played that instrument and decided I was to play the saxophone. She was that kind of mother.
But, I was given the opportunity to have a private instructor at a music school in Seattle. I played in the little swing band they had for students. We played at different venues on weekends, learning skills that might have lead some of us to careers in the music field. In junior high, I was selected to play in the all city junior high concert band. My mother had to drive me nearly the length of Seattle to get there and this was in the days before the freeway went that way. She was that kind of mother, too. I was good, very good, but I was a technician. I learned a piece and played it as I learned it. I lacked the ability to improvise, but I also lacked the desire to play the alto saxophone. In junior high, I had the opportunity over one summer to try to learn the bassoon. It was a good instrument, but the deal was I would have to continue playing the alto in band, to get to play the bassoon in orchestra. So, I took up the clarinet. I took to it like a kid takes to a licorice stick. It’s a beautiful instrument and definitely has more opportunities than the alto. I also learned how to play the baritone saxophone.
The clarinet, alto and baritone saxophones lead to a day in swing band practice where the instructors decided we were to learn how to play jazz, genuine improvisational jazz. There is a technique to it, a skill, but there is also an art to playing improvisationally. When Count Basie came to Kansas City his band would play a twelve-bar blue progression all night, improvising on that theme with different instruments taking turns with solos. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned the twelve-bar blues progression like the other members of the band. My instructor simply assumed I could pick up on what was happening because I was such a good player. I was a dismal failure. Improvisation doesn’t turn on like a light switch, it takes practice. I’ve heard that Charlie Parker practiced 15 hours a day for three years when he was starting out. I was expected to play jazz without a smidgen of practice.
I quit playing music at the end of my sophomore year in high school. Technical expertise only goes so far and I think I took it as far as I was able.
So, where do I go from here? Well, I have two chapters to go on “The G.M.Os.” until it is finished. Well, not finished, but finished in the sense I can’t go any further with it right now. I can’t give up writing, but I’ve run out of steam. I’ve been working with another writer to change my style to make it “more” popular, but so far it’s been like pulling teeth. Back when I took some college-level courses on creative writing, I learned to write without using dialogue tags or at the very least using the word “said”. It took me a number of years to add the words “asked” and “exclaimed”. Now, I have to consider throwing in “cried”, “laughed”, “snickered”, and “sneered”. I don’t know if this will come to pass. Maybe it’s all for naught and I should just accept the wave of modernity as gone past and it’s time for me to put the pen in the drawer and go the way of longhand.