Posts Tagged ‘Crosby Stills Nash & Young’

Hit those keys 1

Greetings, literature fans. Tomorrow I embark on my annual tour of the Great Cities of the East (Providence through Provincetown). My challenge will be finding an hour to write amid a daily whirlwind of Bielers. Tomorrow will be easy – I’ll be stuck on a plane.

I’m throwing myself a curve, though. I’m going to do all my writing with a pen on real paper. Why am I kicking it old skool? Have I listened to so much Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young lately that I feel compelled to get back to the land and set my soul free? Hell no, that’s not why I go:

1) I want to see if I still remember how to do this.
2) With a computer, I can keep returning to previous chapters and tinker with them. Revision is instant and effortless. I’m hoping that paper will force me to move forward. (I’m glad Steve Jobs is not around to read that last sentence.)
3) I just bought some great notebooks* and colored pens at this place and I’m itching to use them. (Hat tip to Loyal Reader Tilda who motivated me to get over there.)
4) I love my laptop, but it’s a senior laptop now. It’s put on weight and the battery doesn’t recharge.

I’ll have a computer in the lobby in our first motel but not in our second. I’ll try to post while I can. Expect nothing from Tuesday through Saturday. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I kept the Write-a-thon going. (Another hour today.) Thanks, everyone, for following along and for all your comments. You’ve kept my morale sky-high!

* Special D when I brought them home: “What good are notebooks?”


On Company Time 1

I wrote 700 words this week. That is, I kept 700 words. I wrote many more than that. “Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer,” Colette said. “But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”

Good call, Colette, but I have to pick up the pace or I’ll be working on this book on my deathbed. It’s time to embrace the advice of William Stafford: “Lower your standards and keep on writing.” I’m going to try that this week, as I have something coming up that I will reveal either late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Let’s see if I can work myself into a sprint, or at least a forthright trot.

“Be bold, thrust forward, and have the courage to fail. After all, it’s only writing. Nobody is going to die for our mistakes or even lose their teeth.” (Garrison Keillor)

Sunday Bargain Basement Sunday
Today I stepped out of the sunshine to attend the worst estate sale since the invention of capitalism. It was held in what I guess was a former fraternity house, a three-level shitbox that was a mouse’s maze filled with mattresses, mattress boxes, and wooden bureaus. It looked like an alternate-universe version of Sleep Country USA where Spock wears a beard, Uhura wears a knife, and the furniture is covered with generations of condensation rings from red plastic party cups.

Cool jazz all week
No more music reviews for a while. I gotta concentrate, and not on Queens of the Stone Age, who didn’t do much for me today. I will say that I also listened to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Four Way Street. Some of those songs ascend to a higher plane. But there’s something to be said for Crosby, Stills & Nash, which was recorded before they knew they were superstars.

I wonder why only Neil Young was able to change with the times and remain in the forefront of rock? David, Stephen, and Graham, as talented as they are, haven’t moved a millimeter past 1971. Though maybe that’s why they remain beloved while Neil seems unpredictable and not embraceable.

Consumer alert: There’s a string quartet and a bluegrass tribute to Four Way Street.

Box score
– I’ve written 15 days out of 15
– 19.5 total hours
– Current word total: 20,300
– Here’s the Clarion West Write-a-thon
– Here’s my first post on the Write-a-thon
My video has stalled at 148 views. Going viral is harder than it looks!

My sponsors (all hail):
– Karen G. Anderson
– Mitch Katz
– Laurel Sercombe

As always, thanks for following along, even though you won’t win a 20-volume set of the Encyclopedia International, a case of Turtle Wax, or a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat. You don’t even get a lousy copy of our home game!


Nap nap 1

I started building models when I was a kid. At first I built cars and ships, but my sister, who was a tiny Megatron, would play with them and break them. I finally started building planes and spaceships because I could hang them from the ceiling. Some of them survive in my parents’ basement, forever suspended in mid-flight. My system worked!

After a few years of model-building and before I discovered the existence of that mysterious other gender, I tried mixing parts from different kits to make one model. It was fun to spread everything out on a table or on the floor and look for ways to rearrange the pieces. Actually, the fun was in the unexpected combinations, like adding the engines from the starship Enterprise to the wings of Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane. I also did some experimenting with Army tanks and Rat Fink hot rods before switching to aviation.

Today in Write-a-thon World, I spent a lot of time rearranging my notes and some episodes I’d already written. I was fired up by some unexpected combinations. This has always been a good way for me to break out of a stall.

Actually, I have found what I’m writing for
I’m writing about working for a living in a place where your comrades are competent and engaged and your leaders are inspiring. It’s a fantasy novel.

Today in Deborah World
Special D rescued a lost dog named Rudy. Rudy is safely home this evening after his unexpected dinner-time adventure.

Random Pick of the Day
Fred Neil, The Many Sides of Fred Neil (1998)
As always, I am indebted to my loyal readers (all three of ’em). Loyal Readers Laurel and Darwin have entered a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young phase. Their neighbors are either mystified, repelled, or rocking along with them.

Is it time for a re-evaluation? The stars are lining up! CSNY’s brand of folk-rock isn’t at the top of my list, but my readers have rarely steered me wrong, and I can’t deny the band’s signficance. Sure, it’s easy to laugh at these geriatrics. But everyone who stays around in rock for more than a generation becomes laughable. It goes with the territory. Rock is a young person’s game. (The same thing is true of idiot bloggers.)

I hesitated before plunging into the CSNY catalog. I love lots of those songs, but I wasn’t sure I could again face the sticky-sweet “Guinnevere,” or “Love the One You’re With,” which was ruined for me by the Ewoks who sing it at the end of Return of the Jedi, or “Marrakesh Express,” which should’ve been recorded by Muppets. How was I going to do this?

The way I do almost everything: by reading first. I almost immediately discovered something I didn’t know, rescued from the Citizen Kane-like warehouse of things I don’t know: the existence of folk-rocker Fred Neil (1936-2001). Stephen Stills cited him as a major influence. While I worked on my book today I listened to the 36 tracks on The Many Sides of Fred Neil, and wow, am I impressed. These songs, almost all of them from the ’60s, are almost all of them timeless. Add some instruments beyond Neil’s lone guitar and you could almost hear CSNY. On one song, “Look Over Yonder,”  an eight-minute jam in which Neil is essentially jamming with himself, you can hear the foundation of Neil Young’s “Down By the River”/“Cowgirl in the Sand.”

I’m not dissing other doomed male folksingers of the ’60s, but I like Fred Neil better than Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, and Phil Ochs. And those are three interesting guys.

Neil’s biggest success was someone else’s: he wrote “Everybody’s Talkin’ ” (1966), the hit by Harry Nilsson from Midnight Cowboy. This afternoon, almost 50 years later, I finally heard the original. It’s raw, it’s powerful, I played it three times.

I’m ready for “Love the One You’re With.” As the Lone Ranger says to Tonto in their stupid new movie, “Let’s do this.”