Wednesday, March 18, 2015

late at night i head straight west from my house and to the park, where i walk five times around, about three miles, at a reasonable pace. there are usually very few people out there, but because i do it late at night, there's an occasional car that is parked up against the park to get some privacy, and of course i walk up right by them and disrupt that. it's not intentional. it's a park, and i believe they should be allowed to do whatever they want and enjoy the wide open grasses just like i do. i saw the fox the other night; he cuts across the northwest corner, and stays away from people, and he's been gone for a while, haven't seen him in about a year. maybe it's the spring weather; it's already getting hot here, and it's not only warmed up, but also dried out, allowing a lot of weeds to bloom like crazy.

my band had its usual jam at the coffee shop last night; this was on saint patrick's day, but i never heard the word 'irish' spoken even once, and we just played right on through with our usual bluegrass. i actually sang my first song, and i was very nervous, but it came out all right, and when i messed up the rhythm they kind of caught up and adjusted, which was good. my plan is to sing more and more, and they have totally agreed to this, but it's taken all my nerve to even get started. finally also i got out an old music stand from my cello days, in the 1960's, and it's good, it makes me feel connected to every piece of music i've ever played. but to get back to the irish part, i was actually sorry about that, that there wasn't an irish song at least, or that i didn't have an irish band even. a lot of fun to be had, playing irish, but i was having a lot of fun with bluegrass, so it all worked out. we have a regular audience; they come for the bluegrass. a few other stragglers chance in and listen. my own sons come down and listen to a few songs, though one, the nine-year-old, prefers to hang around in the front of the coffee shop, pretending like he's being unattended, which, in a way, he is. he does come and check with me regularly; he even recorded a set of three songs which i now have to figure out how to get down off my phone. but in his heart, he wants to be out with the grownups, living the coffee-house life.

i'm somewhat mired in my writing these days; having gotten well over what i needed to have a 1000-poem book, i shut down and stopped writing poetry altogether; i compiled my quaker plays and began to write another, about conscientious objectors in world war two, but got held up again, this time because i'm about to go to new mexico, and then to toronto the following week. it occurred to me today, before i leave for new mexico, that i should just make sure to get some rest, before i do anything else. so that's what i'm doing. the warm sunny texas march beats down on an easygoing town (students are gone), and i'm having trouble getting out of my chair.

the story of the conscientious objectors is interesting, because of the times they lived in. i grew up hearing about the great war, and i don't remember anyone ever questioning it, or saying that the best response to it would be not fighting. they felt like the world was devolving into racial hatred and an enormous collective imperative to kill, and when we finally dropped the bomb, killing thousands, the nation was caught up in joyous celebration that they didn't share. their stubborn refusal to kill made them targets of everyone, but they stuck to their guns, so to speak, and that's what the story is about. it'll be the last of about a dozen plays, although i may keep on writing them. i am kind of scrambling for ways to stay quaker, besides lurking on quaker sites and occasionally commenting.

and, when i'm mired, as i am now, facebook takes up more and more of my time. you get online, and manually you control which friends you visit, what you read or watch or do, it's like a folk festival or a huge party. if for a single minute a person becomes boring to you, or god forbid says something you disagree with, you simply click away and go somewhere else. people post music; some of my friends keep me up on liberal or conservative articles dealing with politics or world events. i can have it if i want it. i can make my social life political, religious, new age, academic, or full of cartoon puns. it doesn't get much better, and it goes on forever, or could anyway.

but if i really want to sink and mire and give away time, nothing beats the bog, which i've always said, is one of the three best things about the internet (google, boggle, and blogger)...every night, thirty to sixty people in one place, coming up with words out of a square of twenty five letters. i'm usually lucky to get in the top half. join me sometime! I'm on late, generally.

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