The Journal, Friday, 2/17

Hey Folks,

Wow. Long post today.

I pulled out my guitar (Martin HD-28) yesterday when the kid and I got back from town around 4:15. Pulled out a pick and showed my grandson how much I’ve forgotten. (grin)

No “Under the Double Eagle,” no “Wildwood Flower,” and no “House of the Rising Sun,” though I did manage to hack my way through a stiff, stuttering version of one instrumental piece called “Pipeline.” (I finally remembered the name as I was writing this.)

My fingers were just utterly unfamiliar with the fretboard and strings. Well duh. I honestly don’t remember the last time that poor Martin was out of its case. That’s how many years ago it’s been.

The strings themselves weren’t dead (I was amazed) but it took several chord strokes for them to wake up and stretch. I had to retune one string or another on the guitar probably ten times over the next half-hour.

My kitten, bless her heart, lay on the back of the couch and watched and listened impassively. She didn’t leave, so I take that as a positive. Impassivity is acceptance with a cat.

My grandson grinned a lot. A Lot. But the only thing he ever said was “Sounds good.” That happened about every five minutes, bless his fibbing little heart.

I used to be a songwriter. I managed to remember maybe three of my own songs, lyrics and music. Of probably 50 or 60 I wrote back in the day.

But I was able to hand him rough versions of Hawkshaw Hawkins, Hank Williams (the first one), Willie Nelson, BB King, Charlie Pride, Web Pierce, Carl Smith and a few others.

The session ended, quickly, when I saw my wife pulling in and suddenly remembered I hadn’t made supper yet. Oops. (grin)

I cheated. I slapped a pizza in the oven.

The experience harkened me back to a time when I and a few musically inclined USMC friends played regularly in the lounge of the Chilton in Yuma AZ for extra money.

I also remembered playing one time (ONE time) with another guitarist named Woody on a sheet of plywood laid over an 8-foot pool table in a tiny bar. That was a confusing experience. People threw beer bottles (but always empty, so they weren’t really angry) and applauded almost ever song. And danced. A lot.

I also remembered traveling with my bunch from Yuma to a small town in Colorado to do a gig where all the guy wanted was Hank Williams and Jim Reeves and then whatever else we wanted to play. And he wanted covers of those. Ever try to sing both of those with one voice? Great fun, though at the time I was petrified.

Covering Hank has never been a problem. Just remember to add an N or M before the right words (for timing) in his songs. Jim Reeves, not so much. Before my natural baritone went due south, it was more Don Williams than Jim Reeves.

So the night before the gig, I lay on the floor of the hotel room with a large speaker alongside each ear. My buddy put on a Reeves cassette and turned it up just louder than my voice so I could sing along and “smooth” my voice into matching that of Mr. Reeves.

It worked. Thank goodness the owner wanted Williams in one set and Reeves in another. I sucked on a lot of limes that night.

We did one side of a Mel Tillis album that night too. I forget the name of the album, but it has “Who’s Julie?” on the side we covered. And then for the fourth set we belted out a few of our own.

It was a great little bar band, and I’m glad I have these memories. Probably a few thousand people danced (and bought beer) to our presentation over the years. We made a good deal of money, too, but I really don’t remember anything about that.

But the passion wasn’t for the money. The passion was in writing and presenting the songs. With the covers, the passion was in arranging and presenting the songs. In my versions (as in Charlie Prides’s) Hank Williams’ songs have a lot of appropriate minor chords.

I didn’t rediscover my passion for guitar yesterday, but there’s a flicker. I hope to take it out a couple times a week. We’ll see.

Well, I’ve rambled on more than long enough. The intention when I started was to write a lead-in to a topic on not getting in a hurry with your writing. Or something.

But as I said, enough is too much. I’ll be back tomorrow or the next day with a topic. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:40. Wake-up stuff and writing the stuff above took up almost three hours. Finally to the novel around 10:30.

Around 11, rain is moving in so I’m headed for the grocery. Looks like it’s gonna be a light day of writing again.

Back from the store around and stuff put away and emails caught up around 2 p.m. Frankly, I haven’t written much at all today.

I’m calling it a non-writing day. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Normally, I would list this after Dean’s stuff, but it’s too important. If you’re one of the unfortunates who are still chasing agents and traditional publishers, take a gander at this. Seems censorship has moved from politically correct spoken speech to what you write. Just in case you didn’t know, I personally believe this is a massive pile of fresh, steamy, foul-smelling bovine excrement.

One really good comment on Protecting Choice at

Check out You Can Learn Story from the HGTV Network at Pretty good post that covers a lot of ground. Chock full of gems.

Fiction Words: NADA
Nonfiction Words: 1160 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1160

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821
Day 12… 1721 words. Total words to date…… 35648
Day 13… 3289 words. Total words to date…… 38937
Day 14… 2311 words. Total words to date…… 41248
Day 15… 2262 words. Total words to date…… 43510
Day 16… 2046 words. Total words to date…… 45556
Day 17… 4189 words. Total words to date…… 49745
Day 18… 4758 words. Total words to date…… 54503
Day 19… 2648 words. Total words to date…… 57178
Day 20… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 39943
Total fiction words for the year………… 132553
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10310
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 30000

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 162553