Welcome Back My Friends–

It’s been an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer weekend for me, if you can believe that.  Yesterday while I was roaming the Internet (which means I wasn’t doing anything), I discovered a live recording from one of my old records that they did of Tarkus, all 28 minutes and change.  It brought back a few memories (like what happened to all my records) . . . and not all of them good.

I grew up in a small town.  My graduating class had something like 170 people in it.  I was smart, but you wouldn’t know it from my grades, because I was always suffering from something: being bi-polar, inability to have a good relationship, afraid of just about everything–it was all there.

I’ve talked about how I used to read a lot, but I was also into a lot of music when I was in high school.  And, if you haven’t guessed, when most people were listing to Top 40 AM, I was getting into FM–

And then I found Pictures at an Exhibition.

I didn’t so much find it as someone gave me an 8-track (yes, those magical things!) and said, “This is probably something you’d like.”  Since most people knew me as “that strange kid”, I knew where they were going with that.  The thing was, I found the recording fascinating.  I loved the arrangement, and I’d always like organ and piano music, so I gravitated there.

(I didn’t like them enough to get good at playing, however.  I was sort of self taught throughout the later part of the 1960’s, and I remember sometime around 1969 going, “The hell with this; who makes a living playing piano?” not realizing that some guy in England named Reginald was going to show us just how that shit was done–)

So that was my first foray into “Progressive Rock”–or, as my friends liked to call it, “freak music”.  You know, because when you’re friends are getting into 3 minute songs and you’re jamming down to 18 minutes of Close to the Edge, you gotta be a freak.

It was around this time I started writing as well.

I would like to tell you that I wasn’t the sort of kid who sat in his room with the curtains drawn and his writing pad in his lap, his fancy pen taking down his every thought . . . but if I did that, I’d be lying.  In 1974 all I needed was a Neo trench coat and I’d have been ready to go on a rampage.  (It was also around this time that someone tried to sell me 5 pounds of C-4, blasting caps, and detonators for $250, but that’s another story.)

I never really got far with the writing thing then.  I did a few things here and there, had a couple of “good” ideas, but never really got far with anything.  One thing or another was always pulling me away, and that “thing” was usually depression brought about by whatever the hell was going on in my life at the time.

Now . . . it really all seems different.  Yes, there is depression–and by the buckets–but I still manage to get through that, and even when it seems the worst I find something to write about.  It seems like my mind is constantly going into “work in progress” mode, and with only a few days left before we writers find ourselves with a muse holding a Glock to our heads while mumbling, “I don’t give a shit how hard it is, gimme the fuckin’ story!” I’ve found my inner nutcase is pretty calm about the whole thing.

And I might have something with another story coming up . . . something very soon.  Just a matter of getting off my butt and doing it.  If you’ve been following this blog you might have an idea what I’m talking about–

In a way, being different, a purveyor of “freak music”, if you will, being someone on the outside didn’t hurt me that much, because when I get right into it I didn’t fit in with a lot of things as it was–I mean, my first story ideas weren’t “out there”, but they weren’t the sort of things my friends would have ever expected.  I could do without being bi-polar, but you take the good with the bad.

My dream the other night said I was going the wrong way.

It’s time to turn it around, and take it where I’ve never been before.