Sunday, March 30, 2008

A few steam of consciousness ramblings, hot air rising in the dampness under an overcast sky in this dreary part of East Texas. . .

Another birthday. Who would have thought it?

I very much miss touching my muses, who I seldom if ever see in the flesh. I very much miss wandering through their minds and souls.

A couple of weeks ago as I watched a music legend perform the same show I’d seen several times before, I couldn’t help thinking: let us hope that we do not become parodies of ourselves.

Last month, I interviewed Mickey Raphael, who’s played harmonica for Willie Nelson for more than 30 years, and has recorded nearly 300 albums with Emmylou Harris, The Beach Boys, Solomon Burke, Guy Clark, Elton John, Aaron Neville, John Prine, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, U2, Townes Van Zandt, Lee Ann Womack, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, and so many more. I asked him how he stays fresh. His answer, both simple and complex: “You have to reinvent yourself every night.”

In the past year, I have learned that I can lose 75 pounds and maintain that weight loss while still, from time to time, eating a slice of lemon pie . . . learned to clear brush and then start a fire to burn it with one match (sometimes). . . learned how to find a good sports coat for $1 . . . learned to shrink my environmental “footprint” on Earth and expand my creative influence . . . and trimmed an old rose bush and apparently am getting some of the cuttings to grow into new bushes, although that’s not for sure yet. Some of the cuttings will die; some are sprouting new leaves rather quickly in this spring weather.

I’ve been paying more attention to my photography again, and now have some photos on sale at The Winnsboro Gallery after a tiny, tiny starter show at Image Warehouse in Athens.

I completed, for my own benefit, a CD mixing some classical and jazz and just a bit of other stuff. Ranging from Bach’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor” to Charles Mingus’ “Myself When I Am Real” to Sonny Rollins’ version of “God Bless the Child” to Mark O’Connor’s version of Benny Thommason’s “Midnight on the Water” to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” to Dvorak’s “String Quartet in A Minor Op. 16,” the mix stirs my soul a bit.

I am just beginning a one-act play, “Muse&Man,” to explore and work on dialogue. I have no idea how far I’ll get with it, or how long it’ll take, or what it will say. I have not often worked with dialogue.

In March, I did a one-hour creative-writing lecture and q/a with 80 fourth graders in Grand Saline. They would take the state-mandated writing test two days later; the test tries to emphasize individual voice, so I talked with them about the 10 elements of creative expression and how each of us is an individual and has a unique way of seeing and talking about things. Afterward, as they were filing in rows out of the room to go back to their classes, one little girl who hadn’t spoken during the whole hour broke ranks and ran up to me just to tell me her name. There was something important about that.