Summer Wrap Up- The Musical Burial

Today is the day of the "totality" eclipse. I happened to be around and was asked to lunch by my son- an event nearly as rare as the eclipse itself- so I took the offer. We ate and he showed me how to reverse the camera on my phone to safely take a picture after scolding me for looking into the sun. I took a couple shots, we parted and I took the dogs out to experience the eclipse as well. They were not into it and I was 258 miles from maximum impact, so we made due with a walk.

Looks like a picture of the sun to me.

So here I come back to my computer. Back to writing. Back to reality? Maybe. I am looking at the inevitable end of summer. Yay. Not yay. I'm not sure. I journey back to the beginning of this blog and think about what I was doing and why. I was writing about things which inspired me. Why? There was no clear why. I was doing it for some kind of self-therapy, maybe even introspection. As I found subjects of interest, I would blog about them. It was fun and interesting and I won't say pointless but I think it has been an interesting discussion all along. 

Where have I been since the launch of Gender in Fiction? Great question. 

Buried in music. In a good way. This spring we auditioned students for a "show band" to put together a set and perform at a bunch of shows. It was a lot of work and a lot of rehearsals, a lot of great music and a bunch of shows. All of the performances were packed in from June until last Thursday. During the course of it all, we tried to add new material and perfect the existing. On top of this, the group I play and sing in (The Roadhouse) had several commitments to perform as well which kind of kept me trying to be as good as I could while adding new material and perfecting existing too. This whole thing was very eye-opening. Some of the student Show Band gigs allowed us to get involved in some high profile shows, a couple of which were a haul from the school at different types of venues than our kids (and I) were accustomed to. Kind of exciting and exhausting. We also hosted a touring group for a performance in the midst of it all. It is so encouraging and exciting to see young people with a passion for music having a chance to perform in front of a crowd that includes their peers. It truly was inspiring.

Students I coach at performances this summer.

The Roadhouse at a gig in June.

Earlier this spring The Roadhouse needed a drummer. Things happened, I talked to a bunch of people and nothing was working out quite right. An old friend (Jeff Groll) from my youth put something on Facebook for my birthday. He and I were in bands together all through school but had not spoken since 1985 when we graduated. We got talking and next thing I know- he's drumming for us and it's like we never parted. Our musical chemistry came back in very short order and we have been catching up personally along the way. It turns out our paths had been crossing for a very long time but we never knew it till now. We both enlisted in the Army a few years apart he was a tank mechanic and I was a tanker, both fairly uncommon jobs. We were stationed at two forts at overlapping times in Georgia and Kentucky and never knew it. Then we went on to Michigan State University at the same time and never knew it. You get the idea. Pretty bizarre but we are back playing music and remaking our friendship. Good stuff.

Jeff is the skinny one.

Another aspect of the musical burial began at the beginning of the summer as well. I found myself writing songs with another person in another set of near unexplainable circumstance. We had some help here and there with chord progressions essentially but the writing has been just the two of us. We have about a dozen songs put together for an upcoming record so far. We have done some scratch track recording, almost what I would consider a rough draft in my fiction. But... I strongly feel some of these songs are going to be good. Actively doing something collaborative in this way is nothing like I have experienced. Collaborating in fiction I do all the time. I send some email back and forth and my friends help me out. Being in the same proximity as the whole thing is hatched is quite a different interaction. The oddest thing about it all is this- I had not written songs since I was really young. Yes, I am writing all the time, but writing songs was a dead thing. I write a book here and there, blog posts fairly often- but there is something more visceral and immediately gratifying about writing and singing a song with an acoustic guitar and piano that resides in a different world from writing fiction. I never saw this train coming until it ran me over. The experience is so different from novel writing I could barely explain it. It has been a very interesting diversion and has definitely allowed my mind to expand in a different direction from the norm.

Something else of interest, I finally finished putting together our recording studio. The aforementioned project prompted its completion. Yes, this happened this summer too. It could still use a little of this and that, but it is up and running and has even been used a few times. The whole sound isolation thing is a study of its own. I can keep the sound in quite well, but keeping other noise out as they say- not so much.

So what about that whole novel writing thing? Hopefully, it gets better as my mind grows more in an artistic direction. Sounds good anyhow. Harbinger of Calamity, the sequel to Firetok, is essentially done. During the musical avalanche, I did finish the book. A couple minor formatting things were very recently fixed and now it is ready to go. My plan is to read it one more time, or not, and launch it later this fall. This is the same book I once thought would launch in the winter of 2016. Enough said. Let everyone get settled back into their non-summer routine, including myself, then let her go.

The time has come. So that's what has been going on here. I'd love to hear from you and thanks for reading.