Write-a-thon, Day 40: Time has come today

Posted: August 1, 2013 in music, Writing

I’ve been noticing the passing of time more than I usually do. It’s been a crowded season with a lot of lessons.

Participating in the Write-a-thon while Clarion West runs in Seattle reminds me of the six weeks I spent at Clarion in 1986, when every day and night could turn into a write-a-thon. There are about 18 students in this year’s class, a cross-section of scribbling humanity. What are they feeling right now, besides exhaustion?

I just had a birthday. That always makes me stop and think (after I’ve opened my presents).

I just saw my sister’s kids. They’re in the early moves of their lives.

I just saw my parents. They’re playing out their endgame.

I just lost two of my aunts. They both lived into their 90s.

But the daily reminder of the passing of time is an absence. Our dog Teddy (aka Storm Small) died in June. The life he lived in that area we humans simply walk through, the first 12 inches above the floor, is empty. I think of this whenever I don’t walk into him or trip over him or look at him fondly as he takes yet another nap in a high-traffic area. Maybe I should grab a pillow and lie down there as an homage to this small dog who got us past the death of our senior dog, Emma, who helped us establish ourselves in Portland, and who was willing to bark at just about anything that walked through the front door.

I’ve had very few dreams that I could remember on awakening. Most of my dreams are about dinosaurs or cheerleaders. No, not in the same dream. A few of the dreams I do remember have been about dogs. A few nights ago, I dreamed about a summer morning in Seattle in 1993 or ’94. There was a park we used to take Emma to, on the ridge overlooking a beach called Golden Gardens. For lack of a better name, we called this park Upper Golden. There was a wide field and a forest with trails and great views of Puget Sound.

Golden Gardens
The view from Upper Golden on an old postcard mailed before WWI.

This dream was more like a recalled memory or a replay than a dream. There was no plot and no dialog, except for barking. There were several dozen owners and dogs there. I couldn’t remember any of the owners’ names, but I knew some of the dogs’ names. (People at dog parks call out dog names, not people names.)

A light brown lab named Mocha chased a stick with utter single-mindedness. Emma and some other small dogs chased Mocha. They did that all the time but they never caught her. Mocha never acknowledged their existence, in my dream or in the real world. There was a dalmation named Ruby whom Emma always tried to herd. She must’ve thought Ruby was a cow. There was an old corgi named Casey who belonged to a garrulous old guy. Casey looked like an overstuffed footstool and didn’t move much faster. Both Casey and the garrulous old guy had been hit by a train years before. I think they both had steel plates in their heads.

(A year before this morning I was dreaming of, when Emma was a puppy, she tried to take something from Casey. The ancient corgi lifted one lip slightly, uttered a short “Errr” as if he were the King of England, and Emma dropped to the ground, her ears flattened against her head.)

The dogs played. The people chatted. Someone brought out water bowls and the dogs had a drink. People and dogs left, other people and dogs arrived. That was probably the whole experience that summer morning. That was the whole dream.

Emma on TV
Emma was ready for her close-up the day King-5 TV came to Upper Golden.

The odd thing to me, given how vividly I recall that experience, is that all of those dogs who brought so much life to that grassy field are now gone. Long gone. Other generations of dogs play on that field, and the people from back then who haven’t moved away or moved on or moved to wherever it is the dogs go when they die, and new people who never met Ruby or Mocha or Casey or Emma, throw sticks and balls and frisbees and laugh at canine capers that have been going on since forever but always seem new when it’s your dog doing them.

Eventually we’ll get another dog and fill the first 12 inches above the floor and then we’ll be the new people at the park and we’ll restart this wonderful cycle. My dream was a gift, a painless trip back in time. I just wish I could’ve really gone back to 1993 and given myself a two-word message: “search engines.”

Lining up my next project
Thanks to my Seriously Loyal Readers (see comments to yesterday’s post), I now have the following list of bands with numbers in their names. I have the feeling some of these are spoofs, but with the Write-a-thon still on I don’t have time to check your work against Allmusic.com. Whether you’re conning me or not, this is going to be fun!

I’ve written about these:
One Direction
2 Live Crew
3 Doors Down
Three Dog Night
Bobby Fuller Four
Dave Clark Five

These are still to come:
Less Than Zero
.38 Special
Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
2 Tribes
Amon Duul II
Boyz II Men
World War III
Classics IV
4 Non Blondes
The Four Horsemen
The Four Seasons
The Four Tops
The 5th Dimension
The Jackson 5
Maroon 5
Five Man Electrical Band
Five for Fighting
The Five Satins
Ben Folds Five
We Five
Six By Seven
Temperance Seven
7 Seconds
Nine Inch Nails
Ten Years After
East 17
Heaven 17
Matchbox Twenty
The B-52s
The Old 97s
Haircut 100
101 Strings
Galaxie 500
Area Code 615
1000 Homo DJs
1910 Fruitgum Company
10,000 Maniacs

If you can think of any more, let me know! I’ll be back tomorrow night for the Write-a-thon wrap-up, if I’m still conscious.


  1. Verlierer says:

    As you’ll soon find out DEV2.0 is not a Devo reunion, but something possibly much worse. A Disney kids cover band. The members of Devo not only approved, but directed the videos.

  2. Thank you for allowing us all to join you during the ups and down of your Write-a-thon.

    What ever progress you may have made on your novel during the last six weeks, do you realised that you’ve given us all sight of the first draft was fine short story in this blog?

    Thanks again, Steve

  3. Amon Duul II!

    Can’t wait to hear your comments on that bunch.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      This is like Devo 2.0 (another reader suggestion) — the reunion of Amon Duul. There’s an umlaut over each u, BTW, which ties them with Husker Du in that department. OK, Krautrock here I come!

  4. Terry Cobb says:

    I don’t know how you can make me cry and laugh in one post. You are one hell of a writer. Maybe your dreams of dogs and dog parks is the cosmos telling you to GET A DOG!

  5. Verlierer says:

    A few more from the cassette era:

    Two Nice Girls
    Devo 2.0
    2 Unlimited
    3 Mustaphas 3
    Timbuk 3
    Loudon Wainwright III (?)
    the Three O’Clock
    Third Eye Blind
    Four Men & a Dog
    Four Bitchin’ Babes
    Gang of Four
    the Four Aces
    the Four Freshmen
    the 5 Jones Boys
    Apollonia 6
    Sixpence None the Richer
    Crazy 8’s
    Napoleon XIV
    Level 42
    Black 47
    Apollo 100

    I know some of these are obscure, but I do own them, not that justifies anything.

    I know this doesn’t qualify, but the Midnight Oil album “10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1” is just fun to say.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Note to my readers: When Verlierer talks about the cassette era, he’s not kidding. He has a willful of cassettes. Though I can’t confirm that he has any way to play them.

      I’ll add “10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1″ to my list when I do songs with numbers in their names.

  6. lindajordaneichner says:

    Lovely image of old and new dogs in the dog park. I suppose that’s how all our lives work too. So many new people who don’t, won’t or can’t remember those who came before. Lots of lives drifting into nothingness and perhaps that’s the way it should be. Perhaps its more important to live your life fully than to be remembered for posterity.

  7. Accused of Lurking says:

    “Roundin’ third and headed for home
    It’s a brown-eyed handsome man.
    Anyone can understand the way I feel.”

    “He’s taking a pretty big lead out there
    Almost daring them to pick him off
    The pitcher glances over, winds-up and it’s bunted
    Bunted down the third base line
    The suicide squeeze is on
    Here he comes, squeeze play, it’s gonna be close
    Here’s the throw, here’s the play at the plate
    Holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it”

    • There were two men down
      And the score was tied
      In the bottom of the eight
      When the pitcher died

      And they laid his spikes
      On the pitcher’s mound
      And his uniform was torn
      And his number was left on the ground

      Then the night turned cold
      Colder than the moon
      The stars were white as bones
      The stadium was old
      Older than the screams
      Older than these teams

      There were three men down
      And the season lost
      And the tarpaulin was rolled
      Upon the winter frost

      • Run-DMSteve says:

        You quote Paul Simon, Accused of Lurking quotes Meat Loaf. My readers are a literate bunch. These lyrics remind me of a baseball poem called “Like the Year Richie Scheinbloom Went O-for-64,” about the down-on-their-luck renters living in a broken-down house. “The porch rail wheezes, claims it’s got one more good year.” The final line: “Everyone who’s ever lived here has been traded.”

      • There also the brilliantly atmospheric short story by Stuart Dybek, “Death of a Right Fielder” that has similar ‘feel’.

      • Run-DMSteve says:

        It gives me no end of pleasure that the biggest baseball fan reading this blog is English.

        Thanks for the recommendation!

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