Quarantine Diaries – Day 33 (inspiration…or not)

April 17, 2020 Leave a comment

Was talking with my friend Alan Stout earlier today about inspiration. When it hits. How it hits. And why sometimes it doesn’t hit at all.

A lot of us are kinda locked down now, with more time on our hands than ever before. Those of us who write might expect to be churning the stuff out these days. We’ve got time. Solitude. Days are running together. Weekends aren’t a distraction or excuse anymore. There is certainly no lack of things to write about out there. After all, the world has become a fucking Stephen King novel.

So why am I spending so much of my time staring at a blank screen….or a blank piece of paper?

Inspiration has no sense of time or place. It hits in the middle of the night…or during the busiest part of the day. It hits in the car when you can’t write anything down, or in dreams that you can’t recall. It can come in pieces, and you may have no idea how to fit them together. Anything can trigger it. An overheard conversation. A stray phrase. A Wal-Mark check-out line. The wagging of your dog’s tail. Or it can be somebody else’s inspiration. A play. A movie. A book. They can jolt you into becoming more aware, or less lazy. Perhaps more willing to take chances. The saddest story can inspire something joyful, while something light can be laundered into a river of doom. There’s no rules. It’s all about movement. No retreat. No surrender. Keep moving forward. Find the words. And when it starts, don’t stop until the well is stone-dry. DO NOT THINK that you can simply pick up where you left off at another time. You can’t. It’s like throwing a pair of socks in the dryer. You know deep down only one is coming out.

However, much like golf, writing is no fun at all when you’re sucking at it. So there’s that too. But still, as much as I suck at golf, I never regretted the day spent on the course. I may have spent 4+ hours in a near murderous rage of incompetence, but it’s still worth the hours in the sun with pals and the 19th hole beers and banter. And so, I’d rather vomit out 1000 words of gibberish than retire with a blank screen in my head. Bad writing just means the words are in the wrong order. You can always fix ’em later.

At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I hear a great song and it makes me want to write a great song. I see a great play and it makes me want to write a great play. I see a wonderful film and it makes me think of digging up the old screenplay one more time.

But still, that stuff might get you to your desk, but it doesn’t always translate into ready-set-go.

The one time inspiration doesn’t hit is when you’re just sitting there waiting for it. It’s like squeezing a tube of toothpaste too hard and having it glop all over. It has no idea we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. It doesn’t realize that we’re all sitting at home, ready to channel whatever falls from the sky. It could give a fiddler’s fart. It has its timetable, and you have to be prepared to upend yours or it’s just gonna disappear into the ether. Or worse, somebody else is gonna grab it. Cue the shuddering.

Today what inspires me are the folks on the front line of this thing. The ones risking their lives to save others (we’re the “others” in case you need to be reminded). They are everywhere. Caring for the sick, delivering supplies, checking you out at the store. They were doing this before this thing hit, and they’ll be doing it when it passes. If you took them for granted before, stand in line for absolution. You’ll have a chance to redeem yourself. By never taking them for granted again.

So keep at it boys and girls. Find a way. Be virtual. Be vigilant. Notebook by the bed. Phone nearby to capture that melody you found in the shower. Guitar in your lap during that netflix binge….ready to be noodled. Don’t give in. Don’t give up.

Stay home. Stay well.

When it’s over, we’ll all have stories to tell.

In a bit..

–tf

 

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Quarantine Diaries – Day 32

April 16, 2020 Leave a comment

Everyday I wait for news.

And when it comes, it’s never really good. More cases. More dying. More pointless arguments that don’t change either of those things.

Everybody wants this to end. Somehow. People need to get back to work. To earn. They need to pay their rent. Kids need to go back to school. A nation cannot survive with everybody sitting in their homes. It’s nice to get a $1200 check, but for most that’ll cover maybe one month’s rent and a trip to the grocery store. What happens then?

Louise_money-696x464(Our Treasury Secretary is an obscenely rich (worth $300 million) predatory cyborg criminal asshole with the PR skills of a diseased toad. His name is Steven Mnuchin, and he thinks $1200 will last “10 weeks”. Steven Mnuchin is an cruel, evil, fucking monster, which is precisely why he was named Treasury Secretary in the first place. He also married the female version of himself because of course he did. Don’t be like Steven Mnuchin.)

Nothing seems coherent anymore. This state has one set of rules. and that state has another set of rules, and the only thing in common is that residents ignore each with impunity. The federal government is like a punch drunk fighter at this point, lashing out and assigning blame instead of salving wounds and fixing what’s broken. Millions go here and billions go there and in a matter of days it’s all gone and nobody can really explain what the expectations were in the first place. The self-employed have been pretty much ignored. Local businesses have been decimated. You can get this booze but not that booze….and you can get it here but not there. Seventeen million Americans are currently out of work, and that number is rising much faster than positive COVID-19 cases. There’s been a lack of leadership at every level. We’re whipsawed with advice. Don’t wear a mask. Wear a mask. Don’t use gloves. Use gloves. This treatment works. No, it really doesn’t. Only the elderly are affected. Oops….now the young are dying. Facebook is filled with expert epidemiologists who just happened to not go into epidemiology, for whatever reason. But they’re good at sharing memes and calling everybody who doesn’t agree with them derogatory names.

Bodies are piling up. Stacked in hallways. Coffins are being delivered to nursing homes. Everywhere caregivers remain overwhelmed. Underpaid. There’s still not enough tests. There’s not enough supplies. The truth is out there somewhere, wrapped in a bundle of lies.

There’s some sort of plan being readied for opening the nation back up. Somehow. Presumably it will be a place filled with social distancing and masks and people taking your temperature before letting you into buildings. Schools will be forced to cut up large classes…..I’m guessing by some type of staggered schedules. Some kids in online classes on the same day other kids are in the building. Everybody sitting 6 feet apart. Everybody wearing masks. Colleges are already discussing not having in-person classes until 2021. Restaurants and bars….who knows? Do we sit together? Do we wave at each other from across the room? How do we eat and drink with a mask on?

So nothing that’s going to happen is going to resemble what has gone on before. Nothing.

And if we all break out of our homes and half-panic and half-forget and start to pile on each other and kick-start another wave of this thing, the dams that have managed to hold up ’till now might just give way. I don”t see how we can go through the entire cycle all over again without creating a cataclysm.

When the nation’s top infectious disease expert makes a statement like “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you…” you know you ain’t in Kansas anymore. Life as we’ve known it is over.

When we get back out there, awkwardness will rule the day. Forget shaking hands….folks are gonna want to hug it out. We wanna look each other dead in the eye so they can see how much we’ve missed them. And instead we’re gonna have to live with invisible barriers. We’re gonna run up to long quarantined friends and then be jerked back like a dog reaching the limit of an electronic fence.

That’s what this thing has taken from us.

In a bit..

–tf

 

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Quarantine Diaries – Day 29 (RIP Wilkes-Barre flower tent)

April 13, 2020 Leave a comment

It was a nice, quiet day yesterday. Nice dinner with the family. We went on a leisurely socially distancing walk with the dog. Took a family selfie. The weather was charming. It was easy to forget that the news outside our little cocoon remains bad…with no sign of any let up. The virus continues to spread. More and more are dying. And as we get further and further into this, more and more idiots are showing themselves, exposing themselves and potentially others. Some are doing it because Jesus. Others are doing it because Trump. Some because ‘Murica. And the rest are doing it, presumably, because they want us all to die so they can ‘own the libs’.

And since during a Pandemic a nation can only move forward at the speed of its dumbest inhabitants, this means we’re been on a fucking treadmill since this Covid-19 bomb detonated.

So in an effort to remain distracted I sat up late last night watching Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Note to self….

“not a good idea….”

It already feels like we’re living some sort of Hitchcockian (sorry) nightmare. I did not need to see swarms of psychotic birds pecking the eyeballs out of Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Preshette to kick-start my already lumbering anxiety. It was past 1am when I made my way to bed, thankful that we don’t have an old-fashioned chimney that I needed to board up. And super-sensitive to any tapping on the door.

I was awoken mere hours later by what sounded like a freight train outside the bedroom window. Or actually…like thousands of birds trying to claw and peck their way inside.

And then it would be quiet. And I’d hear a few birds singing. Almost mockingly.  And then it would kick off again….and it felt like the house was gonna move. And then there would be a pause. And the birds would sing again. Had Hitchcock invaded my dreams? It was all beyond creepy. Before I looked outside I checked my phone. It told me temps were in the 50s and wind was at 12 mph.

Surely it jests.

Just so you know…..sometimes it’s best to….you know….check for yourself. Technology has a hard time with nightmares.

So I peeled away the blinds…..

Trees were sideways. If they were still standing at all. At least there was no birds waiting to Tippi me.

They were calling for a windy day….but this was scary stuff. It happened last summer here too….a tornado roared up the street and left trees and fences flattened. I thought it was a wild, fluke thing. This stuff doesn’t happen here. So maybe that was the once in a century event that would cover us.

Guess not. Hold my beer. Welcome to Oz.

flower_tentWe did what we could to nail stuff down….watched as a neighbor’s tree came crashing into our fence….and counted our blessings that the much larger tree close-by didn’t come down as well….as it would easily reach our roof. This went out for 4 hours or so….as news of what we happening elsewhere filled facebook feeds. Wilkes-Barre City hall lost its roof. Roofs and trees all over Scranton were gone. Traffic lights were swinging by single wires. Signs snapped in half. Power out everywhere. And perhaps most apocalyptically, the flower tent in Wilkes-Barre did not survive. If you live in NEPA you know what this means.

We’re doomed. That’s what it means. That tent is our survivor barometer, Bubba! We can survive as long as it can!

At the same time, large swaths of the south were being ravaged by tornadoes. Homes were shredded. At least 18 are dead. That’s sure to rise.

Somehow here we would usually compartmentalize things like this. It’s supposed to happen in the south. It’s not supposed to happen here. We conveniently forget that nobody seems to be playing by the old rules anymore. Ironically, the more the world tilts on its axis to favor the rich, the more level the playing field becomes for things like this. Weather and viruses go and thrive where they are allowed to go thrive. Where they are most welcomed. Where we clear the way. You can run but you can’t hide.

All of this pain in the midst of a global pandemic. We can’t check on each other face to face….we can’t comfort each other face to face. We can’t reach out and shake hands and hug and say “we got this…” It’s like we’re being graded on a test we’re not allowed to take.

Not sure if the worst is over or not. Conflicting reports as I type this. Tornado warnings abound, but so far none in Lackawanna county. It appears to be a lull in the storm. Perhaps.

I think it’s OK to be scared. We’re all touched by this, and fear shared can be fear halved if both sides contain the empathy gene. If I know you’ve got your eye on my back while I have my eye on yours, we can both keep looking forward. And when we reach somebody that needs a hand, we can reach down without breaking stride.

Dragging the stupids with us.

Be safe out there.

In a bit..

–tf

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John Prine – 10/10/1946 – 04/07/2020

April 8, 2020 2 comments

We were hoping he could beat this thing. The same way he beat cancer. Twice. There were hopeful signs. His wife was keeping us informed. He was holding on. Fighting. He was our barometer. It wasn’t gonna get him. And that being the case, it wasn’t gonna get us either.

john-prine-1It would not dare take John Prine. This cowardly thing. We’re gonna get through this. And when it’s over we’re all gonna have well deserved illegal smiles. For a long time.

And then the news came the way news travels these days. Facebook. One post. Then another. Then my entire feed lit up. He was gone.

I shook a little. Deep breaths. I went outside to get some air. It was a beautiful night. So quiet. And dark.

There was a full pink moon outside. It had the night to itself. And now this. It seemed to dim as I was looking at it. It knew as well.

I got suddenly furious. With those who still aren’t taking this seriously. With those who could have slowed this thing down and did not. With those still claiming that it’s over-hyped. Media driven. Politically motivated. Whatever. All these assholes blend into one punchable face to me. It’s a monstrous face that is killing people.

John Prine didn’t have to die. That’s what I’m saying. He did not have to die. There was nothing inevitable about this.

I exchanged a few texts with a few friends. Trying to make sense of it all. None of us could. We just didn’t feel like being alone. So we gathered in a Covid-19 sort of way. Nobody saw my tears. And I didn’t see theirs. But there were rivers. I could sense the current rising.

I didn’t know what to do. I found my guitar and sung one of my favorite Prine songs, “Souvenirs”. I got through it. Lots of folks were doing the same. It’s how we pray.

I sat up really late last night. Nursing beers. Trolling through old Prine performances on YouTube. Duets with Steve Goodman and Iris Dement and Bonnie Raitt. And recent 2019 shows where he’d end shows with “Lake Marie” (“you know what blood looks like in a black and white video? Shadows..”)and tear off his guitar to jig across the stage, into the wings as ecstatic crowds raved on. I watched as the tributes rolled in relentlessly on Twitter. Fans. Famous musicians. But then again…”fans” covers them as well. Nobody who worked with Prine wasn’t in awe of him.

I saw, over and over, a lovely man who was beloved. The way it’s supposed to be.

He made the world a better place. Do you?

I finally went to bed. I don’t know what time it was.

I’d written about Prine before on these pages. I’d touched on his extraordinary empathy as a songwriter. His ability to say more in a couplet than other artists say in a career. He was the closest thing to Mark Twain that America has produced since….well….Mark Twain. And through it all, his feet never left the ground. Remarkably unaffected by the extraordinary job he was doing. And the effect it had on others. Everybody said it. And everybody is saying it now. He was always a humble, kind, decent man. A loving husband and father. And one of the greatest songwriters this nation has ever produced.

I’m trying to remember when it started for me. He was 20 years older, so I backed into him. I’m guessing it was my brother who sparked it. Patrick would pass this great stuff on to me. He used to make me mix-tapes. And he’d annotate them. That’s probably where I heard the stuff from “Bruised Orange”. Or “Grandpa Was a Carpenter”. I remember when I first started to learn the guitar I could play “The Frying Pan” and “Sour Grapes”. And then I realized that I could pretty much play them all. The songs were so simple….3 chords…..but insanely memorable. And I started thinking…..”I wonder if I could do that?”

I quickly realized I couldn’t. But that didn’t stop me from trying. Then. Or now.

“The Missing Years” came out in the early 90s and shattered me. I’ve sung “Picture Show” for years. Loved Tom Petty’s harmony on the record.

And the title track. My god. They almost made me a believer. Nobody else in the world could write these lines…

So he grew his hair long and threw away his comb
And headed back to Jerusalem to find Mom, Dad and home
But when he got there the cupboard was bare
Except for an old black man with a fishing rod
He said “Whatcha gonna be when you grow up?”
Jesus said “God”
Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?
I’m a human corkscrew and all my wine is blood
They’re gonna kill me Mama. They don’t like me Bud.
So Jesus went to Heaven and he went there awful quick
All them people killed him and he wasn’t even sick

I remember my wife really loving the “Fair and Square” record. We’d play it in the car all the time. She’d sing along. I don’t think she even noticed she was singing along.

He put out the “John Prine Live” record in 1988. Just him and his guitar in a small California club. As great as the songs are, his stories setting them up equal them. It’s as funny as any stand-up act you’ll ever hear, and it’s probably the record of his that most soaked into my DNA. I still take it on trips. I still reach for it when nothing else will do.

Right now I can’t listen to any of them. I hear them all now, in my head. And my hands are shaking. That’s as close as I can get.

But I have faith. And my faith will be rewarded.

And once again he’ll be part of my soundtrack. And once again I’ll listen and study and laugh and cry and then throw up my hands in awe. But at the same time….proud that I walked the same earth and breathed the same air as John Prine did, for 53 years.

In a bit..

–tf

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Quarantine diaries – day 23 (At Yankee Stadium)

April 7, 2020 Leave a comment

Last few days have been gorgeous weather-wise. Tackled some much needed yard work. The yard looked bleak and scruffy…..and it was almost magic that once we raked it up and shaved it down, it once again looks ready for prime time. The green is always waiting to spring itself on you….even though we doubt it every time.

Spent some time sitting on the back porch….pretending that it wasn’t early April and that we weren’t in the midst of a terrifying global pandemic. When the sun shows up and does what it’s supposed to do it’s easy to suspend reality for hours at a time. Got a few books started, one in each room I hang out in. There’s still some cold Guinness in the garage. I’m working everyday….my kids are safe here with us. Today I moved 2 chairs to the front porch….a great place to watch everybody ignore the stay at home order and say piss off to social distancing. And a great place to drink aforementioned Guinness.

And John Prine is still with us.

Lots have it worse than me. And lots have it worse than you.

Folks are still dying out there. And folk are still risking everything to keep down that number.

Since this all started I haven’t been able to sleep through the night. I’m not napping during the day either….trying to stay busy and active. But while I grow weary when it gets dark…..it seems to come in waves…..and I might doze for an hour or more….and then I wake and might stay awake for 3 hours. I’ll wander into the living room in the deep AM and look for something mindless to watch. Or push through another chapter of the book always close by. If I’m really desperate I’ll hit the treadmill in the basement….and try to wind myself down. I’m sometimes fuzzy on what day it is, and my body seems to behave the same way when it comes to time. Neither of us has ever gone through anything like this before. We’re both learning I guess.

nrbqMusic is a steady companion, but there’s nothing different about that. Prine. The new Pearl Jam. NRBQ’s “At Yankee Station” was recently brought up by a Facebook friend and that’s been getting steady rotation. If NRBQ doesn’t chase away the blues 3 minutes at a time you need stronger medication. It made me think of the early 90s show I saw with my brother Pat….a double bill of Los Lobos and NRBQ, when the Q’s rather large-bellied guitarist Al Anderson watched the Los Lobos set from the side of the stage while eating a huge plate of baked beans. The show ended with both groups tearing through “Shake Rattle and Roll”, Anderson playing a bright pink guitar. NRBQ were all dressed in blue denim farmer jeans and plaid colored straw hats and featured a song consisting of nothing but them spelling bass player’s Joey Spampinato’s last name. Some shows you remember, and others fade away. That one I remember. The stage was absolutely littered with Budweiser cans. It was glorious and life affirming and made us both extremely thirsty. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd more deliriously happy…..and that’s the sort of thing that we need when this thing is over. What music does to us when we’re together. We need to eat baked beans and drink copious amounts of beer and make noises plowing through Big Joe Turner songs.

What say you?

There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes the fucking tunnel is cut through a long deep mountain. Some hopeful news has been coming out of NYC, perhaps this thing is starting to slow down just a bit. Death tolls have been slowly decreasing. But here in PA the overnight numbers continue to increase. More and more testing positive. More and more caught in this invisible net.

There’s so much bad information out there. Some folks mean well, and others are just stump-dumb shits. Tigers are getting tested while people continue to stand in line. Waiting. Scared. In their own heads.

The President is incapable of showing any empathy. He’s incapable of tamping down any worry. When he speaks, he lies. He’s the worst kind of bully. The kind too stupid for reflection.

He needs to fuck off. He’s a clear and present danger.

There’s no way he’d enjoy an NRBQ / Los Lobos double bill. That requires humanity.

In a bit..

–tf

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Quarantine diaries – day 20 (walkabout)

April 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Stayed up late night……watching something or another. I was told today was Saturday, so that works for me. Sleep in if possible, and of course it’s not because everybody is home and everybody sorta wanders around at different times and makes noise and the dog has to be let out and that’s pretty much that as far as sleeping goes. So eventually everybody gathers in the living room and buries their head in their phones. Family time. America, April 2020.

The only decision to make is if supplies are necessary. If so….the trip is planned with military precision. Volunteers? Masks? Which store? Who has the list? Clear the table for the return. Get the Clorox wipes. Scrub everything down. Deep breaths. I’m still unable to wrap my head around the toilet paper thing, this deep into this. Somebody needs to write a book about the peculiar fear Americans have of not being able to wipe their ass 20 times over. Almost everything else is available though if you’re smart about it. If you have a smaller, local store, chances are they’re more stocked than Walmart. So pay the extra dollar and come home with what you need. The Walton family doesn’t need your money. But the one who owns the grocery store a mile from your house sure does. Stop being such a dick. There’s enough for everybody because of the heroic efforts being made by overworked and underpaid people, everywhere and everyday. So be grateful and get only what you need.

Once you’re supplied up….well….it’s time to improvise. Binge watch something. Get off the couch and go for long, solitary runs or walks. Settle in with a good book. Doze. Eat constantly. Try to come up with reasons not to crack a lager. Chase the dog around the house. Consider how long it’s been since you actually showered, and possibly rectify the situation.

I took a 5 mile walkabout this morning…..criss-crossing 3 towns up this way. Quiet. Lots of cars. Few people. Passed one guy who looked like a Tiger King extra. About 6 foot 3 and 120 pounds tops. Dude had a spectacular mullet and was sucking so hard on a cigarette he nearly knocked himself over. I quickly crossed the street and then he did the same….so I crossed back over and I think he realized what was happening and allowed for the social distancing. And then he sorta waved. I felt bad. I don’t know why.

facebook-small-business-grants-coronavirusGot to the main street….and all the small businesses were closed up. Signs in the windows. “Closed until further notice”. That sort of thing. I wondered how many of them would ever open again. A small bar. A day care. A hair salon. A hardware store. A local travel agency. All of them probably hanging on day-to-day under normal circumstances. Now…shuttered. What’s plan B for these folks? What do you do when you realize that the man behind the curtain is a fraud?

I was walking where people usually don’t walk, so the sidewalk would suddenly end and I’d be straddling the road……then crossing when I’d see paths on the other side. Not much money here…..sidewalks are all lumpy and cracked with weeds and broken glass fighting for space. You have to pay attention or you’ll take a header. Not the time to have you head buried in a phone.

Houses are forever years old…..and behind the curtains are folks who can hold their own in a fair fight. But we’re not allowed to face this foe. Not yet anyway. So downtown the boys are itching to get at this thing…but are being held back. You can almost feel it. The few faces I did see were hard. The kind that broker no nonsense. It made me proud to be from here. Again, I don’t know why.

I’d gone in a complete circle, so to get back home required a step ascent. Past our post office and gas station/convenient market and bank and local grocery store……all filled and defiant. Keeping us together. I just don’t want to take any of these things for granted ever again. The work people do. The friends and family I have. The town I live in.

I was feeling the burning in my legs. It felt good. The air. The minor struggle. The weather just right to be comforted by the breeze. And then to the mountaintop. Home. Peering through the front door was my dog…..barking away. My daughter opened the door before I could reach it. And I was in. Safe. Home.

In a bit..

–tf

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Quarantine diaries – day 18

April 2, 2020 Leave a comment

After a while you forget what day it is.

fountain-of-wayne-webLast night the awful news that this virus had taken the enormously gifted songwriter Adam Schlesinger from us. I’ve become afraid to refresh my Facebook feed. There will be more. This thing is creeping ever closer….to everybody. It’s not flat lining. It grows. Everywhere. Every day. Later on, me and some family got together via Facetime and we updated each other on each other. We’re all running in place. We’re all fighting panic with Netflix and old baseball documentaries and knowing our kids are locked inside with us. We’re marveling at the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And trying to figure out how to create homemade masks.

I suspect you are too.

Today is Thursday. I know this because I just checked the bottom right of my computer screen. For the 2nd week in a row my recyclables went out the wrong night. One week a night too early. The next a night too late. I’ve been raiding my makeshift library for stuff to read. I’ve got insane amounts of books here….so I hope my eyes hold out.

Re-reading Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles”. On deck is Roger Angell’s “The Summer Game”, the greatest book about baseball ever written. Middle Middlebrook’s epic “The First Day On the Somme” sits on the left corner of my desk, on top of “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”, one of the most soul crushing reads you can imagine. Not sure my spirit could handle it right now. Another time. I’ve got an inkling that I should pull out David Mccullough’s magisterial “1776” again. Or maybe “Truman”. I find myself wandering into the large closet where my books are stacked to the ceilings. Part of the fun is they are in no order whatsoever, so if you’re looking for something specific you need to eyeball 1000 books, one at a time, and invariably you get distracted and forget what it was you were looking for in the first place. I love when this happens.

I think all music stores should be set up this way.

Speaking of, there’s always music on. Hefty doses of John Prine, a non-believer’s way of praying that he recovers. Last word is that he’s stable. When I think on it, I just listen harder. “In Spite of Ourselves”. Sometimes on repeat. I can’t listen to “Fountain’s of Wayne” today….it would make me cry. If you can, I would suggest their last 2 records. “Traffic and Weather” and “Sky Full of Holes”. Both power pop masterpieces that were pretty much ignored because we are a really really dumb nation with horrible taste in music. And for some reason I’ve been listening over and over to Uncle Tupelo’s “No Depression” a lot. I make sure to turn the thing way up for when “Graveyard Shift” fully kicks in. The Amazon echo I have is really small and not built for what I’m being pushing through it, so if it blows, it blows. Fuck Amazon anyway. What do you thing Woody Guthrie would think about Amazon? Think on that and then shop local once the coast is clear. Lots of folks out there gonna need you help way more than a shithead modern day robber baron like Jeff Bezos.

I’ve written a few new songs. Scratching out new ideas in a tablet…..mixing and matching and trying to keep the unrelenting gloom on the outside from infecting my fingers when scribbling and picking. It’s not easy. Right now I’ve got half a record of the most depressing dirges you’ve ever heard in your life, which is not what the anybody needs right now. On the plus side I’ve got some other stuff that might raise a few roof’s, if we’re ever allowed to play again under one that we don’t live under.

My friend and fellow musician Chuck Gudatis wanted to show his appreciation for the last few live virtual gigs that I did over the last 2 weeks, so the mad bastard dropped a 6 pack of Guinness on my front porch today. My dog caught him red-handed and started going crazy at the front door, but Chuck, ever the social distancer, was stealthy and made his escape. It was only later he sent me a note explaining where the beer came from. For a time I thought I had won some sort of beer lottery. And my kids thought I had found some sort of online beer delivery place.

Nope. I just got some badass friends. Just another NEPA musician doing what they do best. Giving. They don’t make ’em any better. Thank you Chuck! I promise you the beer will go to good use. Immediately.

Wind has been howling today. Even it seems pissed off.

What’s the use of blowing if there ain’t nobody out there to push back?

Stay safe. Stay home. We’re gonna get through this.

In a bit..

–tf

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