Plus, I might eat your eyes…
Plus, I might eat your eyes…
Last week I went to The Clearwater Festival, also known as the Great Hudson River Revival. It’s the biggest folk festival in the New York area and one of the oldest in the country, and I’ve been going for 20 years. But sadly, last weekend reminded me that I’m not a kid anymore, and I can’t have fun the way that I used to.
Camping out is not required for the festival, but there are campgrounds that me, my friends, and several dozen people use. Traditionally every night has a “hoot” (a big singalong and jam where we sing folk and old classic rock songs) that goes on way too late. Of course I joined, and I was up singing and stomping and drinking (a LOT of drinking) until 2:30 in the morning Friday night.
I woke up shivering at 6 the next day, which is amazing in itself. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that for the past year, my brain has decided that 4-4:30 was an appropriate wake-up time. My head was pounding like I was in a drum circle all night (which I kinda was…there were drums along with the guitars, flute, washboard (!), saw (!!!) hand clappers, and singers). I looked in my cooler and realized that in about 4 hours of singing, I drank 10 beers. You have to keep your throat wet for a proper song circle. There is magic in a song and alcohol is one of the spell ingredients. 20, 10, even 5 years ago, I would’ve have flinched, but I am 41 now. I was dehydrated. I was headachy, and I could barely drag my ass out of the tent.
I still had a great time on Saturday and got to see all the bands that I wanted to see (Ani DiFranco, They Might Be Giants, The Mammals, Willie Nile leading a tribute to Dylan and Springsteen, the Neilds), but on Sunday morning I felt awful. I didn’t get much sleep, it was going to be 90 degrees (it had been almost 90 the day before, and I hate the heat), and I knew that if I stayed I would be miserable to the miserablist power. So I struck camp, and I drove home.
It was the first time I had ever left Clearwater early, and you know, I’m okay with it. I made the adult decision. A younger me would’ve toughed it out for the sake of toughing it out, but I weighed the options and made what I feel was the right choice. Sure I missed Jeff Tweedy (front man for Wilco) but hopefully I’ll see him else where. Sure I missed The Mavericks, but I’ve seen them 3 times. I accepted that I’m older now. I can’t forced myself to party just to party.
Also, I should learn to pace myself with the beer. I had no idea that I drank that much. They just disappeared down my throat.
Totally worth it.
I was a child, later an adult. Every holiday we gathered at my aunt’s house, taking in the scent of all the delicious Gramma food in the kitchen: chicken or turkey, kugel, chopped stringbeans, matzoh ball soup, all a beautiful blend of tradition that made me remember the Old Country that I never knew.
And we had music.
So thanks to a friend of mine, I got that earworm stuck in my head. If you don’t know the song, here ya go. If you do, now it’s in YOUR HEAD! MMMUUUUUAHHHHH!!
But it gets worse. The ear worm spawned other larvae, dammit, the ENTIRE SOUNDTRACK FROM HAIR!! Well, actually just a couple of them. I’ll treat to you to this one.
I’m from a family of hippies, and this was a pretty influential soundtrack (though not on the level as Rocky Horror). I had long hair until my mid twenties, more than halfway down my back. I looked like an Allman Brother.
I kinda miss it.
Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair…sigh
Age 18…the hair got longer than this.
I’m still a hippie.
I have had Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” stuck in my head since last night. Not the whole song, just the chorus.
Damn you and your magnificent voice, Lightfoot!
He’s playing in the area in a couple of weeks. Now I might have to go just to get this ear worm out of my head.
What was once yours belongs to everyone. You bled on your canvas, or keyboard, or guitar. You took your guts and spread them for the world to see. You shared your soul.
It doesn’t belong to you anymore.
Yes, you’re still the creator, but the child belongs to the world. It’s yours, but not. Everyone that sees, or reads, or listens, will interpret it through their own eyes and experiences. Your vision is not theirs.
Don’t despair. It’s meant to be that way.
Let go of your creation. Let it thrive or shrivel. Let it be misunderstood, or let people find things within that you never saw. You brought it to life. Let it live.
It’s an honor to be in their heart.
I usually post the song “Snow is Gone,” by Josh Ritter every first day of Spring. Yet the snow isn’t gone. We might even get more this week.
Screw it, I’m posting anyway.
Also, Josh Ritter is the greatest songwriter of this generation.
Where I’m no fun anymore…
Sometimes I go through phases where I’m just not moved to post here. I don’t know why. It’s not like I don’t have anything to say. I always have something to say, and I usually say it at length, out loud, and until I piss somebody off. Maybe I’m just tired.
June has been a weird month. It always is. June is the month when my mother died. June is the month where I realized how much I loved Valerie, and always would.
I shouldn’t dwell on either of those, but I always do. Every time I watch a scene in a hospital, I fight back tears.
June also begins The Starving Times for me, and every other teacher. No work, no pay. At least I picked up a couple of big editing jobs. I don’t usually get many editing jobs. I charge union prices, and most people on the internet charge half that. That’s fine, you get what you pay for.
It’s also Michelada time…I’m betting that most of you don’t know what it is. Picture a Bloody Mary, but with beer instead of vodka. It doesn’t get you as messed up, and the carbonation makes it a bit more refreshing. It’s my official drink of the Summer.
I went to the Clearwater Festival on the 20th and 21st. The weather was pretty bad, but if anything, it made things even better. I camped out for the first time, I had good friends there, and made new ones as well. Clearwater is so different from the real world. People actually give a damn about each other. You might write it off as hippie bullshit, but it’s true. I suppose it’s something you have to experience.
The music was pretty damn good too. Check out this amazing band of teenaged brothers called Sleepy Man doing the bluegrass standard Foggy Mountain Breakdown.
I’m inching closer publishing day for The Watchmage of Old New York. I just rewrote one final scene. Now to do a line edit, format it with ToC and acknowledgements, get a proofreader, and get my awesome layout artist to put it all together. I’m still too nervous to set it all up myself. I know I’ll fuck it up somehow. All I really know how to do is write. I’m helpless when it comes to publishing.
I dunno. I’ve been dragging my feet on it. I’m a perfectionist, and I’m afraid of even little errors. Maybe i’m subconsciously making excuses for not publishing. I’m not worried about the actual writing, it’s all the little things that I don’t know how to do that scare me. I’m still aiming for a September or October release, so keep an eye out.
Maybe July will be better.
As for this site, I added a few new categories. One is my collection of music history articles, which I’m going to tie in to Song of Simon. For those of you that have read the novel, you know how important music is thematically. It functions as a greek chorus of sorts. I love music, especially old blues and folk that you don’t hear much of anymore. Even my music is stuck in the past.
Right now there are two up, but I have a ton more. I meant to post one on “This Land Is Your Land” for Woody’s birthday yesterday, but I flaked.
The second category is a collection of essays modified from my Creative Writing lesson plans. There’s only one up now, but more will come.
The third is on New York history, which ties directly into The Watchmage of Old New York. I don’t have any essays written yet, but I’m a fat, stinking, treasure trove of knowledge here.
I don’t actually stink, and I’m considerably less fat than I was, but you get the picture.
Speaking of Watchmage, I’m still shopping around the first novel, and I’m revising the first ten chapters of the second, tentatively titled “Cold Iron.” For those of you that remember, this story arc in the serial was called “The Great Goblin Revolt.” The serial is still up, by the way, and still free.
Ok, that’s all for now. I’m off to play some Happy Wars.