"Live from the Cafe" Update, Time Won't Let Me...and a bunch of other things...
Well, here we go with a series of updates...the first actually comes from yesterday, and I'll explain what I saw.
There's this old, strange looking rowhome on Maclay Street in Harrisburg, not far from my house. I go past this house every day, and its history is a long one.
This building became the inspiration as one of the mysterious settings of a story I wrote, "Legend of the Black Swan." A nondescript, abandoned-looking building in a tough part of a city, which the main character seems to have a thing for...what goes on in there...?
Here is a bit of it...
The italicized lyrics are from "Where the Bottles Break," by John Gorka. Interesting, eh? That strange building gave me the setting I was looking for.
The building has been condemned; the notices were just put up. I'm going to check with the mayor's office and see what I can find out.
What of that building? Well, it clearly was a rowhouse, but it was more because the building has a very long back to it. A former colleague of mine says it once was the home of an Irish-American social club, which moved elsewhere.
The awning touts a restaurant/grill, but it hasn't been that in a very long time. A peer inside the window shows what looks like a living room, or what once had been. There's a flight of stairs, and I quite want to look in here.
There is also a mural on the side; if you look at my Facebook you will see it. It has such character, but the owners have done nothing with it, and apparently are letting it go. Too bad; to save that wall would be something. There is nothing that says they could not fix it up, and turn it into apartments, because there's plenty of space for units.
I need to go in there, I need to see if it's safe and I'd have to get permission. I want to see what echoes might come up out of it.
That said...I opened my newsletter from Sunbury Press Books, to find my publisher has moved up the release of "Live from the Cafe." June 6th, by the look of it.
That's good news, because I'll have it for the Summer Reading time, and in plenty of time before I go to New England and do a specific appearance, among other events.
We have two more edits to do, and I'm not sure how it's going to finish out.
The winter weather of the beginning of the week had me at work, and there's plenty of silly video of that. Pretty hard hit for the storm, but we got through it. A lot of work other than that.
I'm feeling the inability, however, to get back to business. I have a new strange affliction which has caused me no way of really getting myself engaged again.
Do not know what to make of it. I have a new idea in my head, but it makes zero sense. Too much that does not appear to be of any real use, unless I can straighten out the reason for it.
Too many ideas lately; none of them fit each other, and on their own they don't work. It's like that joke that falls flat; the idea is good but the telling is off.
Case in point...and this is gonna get me in trouble with someone, I know it: reading "The Girl Who Drank the Moon," by Kelly Barnhill. This is an interesting story, that has cleverly tweaked religion, authoritarianism, resistance to change, etc.
Sacrifice of a baby to a witch to keep her off the back of the believers. But the witch is good, and they suspect that, but those in charge need to be fat and happy and in control, so the lie continues, and the stupid citizens believe it.
A child who knows she's different, and a mistake leads her to understand her powers, etc.
It's a good idea, and Barnhill is a very good storyteller. But this is zooming by me in a blur. I'm like...okay, this is good, this is interesting, but I can't get into this.
So I wonder...am I feeling unable to, because I'm concerned about stealing from her? Or seeing a very good writer on a major platform, where I want to be, doing well with...this?
I don't know yet, for I'm not done with the book. It's good, but as I say I'm not being held by it. That may be my own resistance, so I'm going to stay with it and finish it.
I think 10-14 year olds will like it a lot. If you are a bit older, it might be too whimsical, to much like other things. But I respect Ms. Barnhill's skill, though I wonder how it will finish out.
So there is something else at work on me. I see no free time ahead of me until a few days from now...I have to work to that, and see if I can finally get out of this.
Seasonal? Yes. A feeling of pressure, a money thing that really isn't bad at all, and I'm reminding myself don't fucking worry about it.
I look it over, and think, alright, you got this. You fucking got all this.
Also reading Thich Nhat Hanh's "At Home in the World." Short, one or two-page stories about being adrift. His story is amazing; he and his fellow monks took no side in the Vietnam War, and helped people caught in between. Exiled, he traveled about but eventually settled in France. He was not permitted back to Vietnam for 40 years, but he made it.
The stories are not parables, they are about living in the world, and making your home where you hang your hat. I quite get that. We don't need to be in the dream spot, we can be happy with what we have.
Many of course, are not...and we see that madness manifesting itself. Politics...an old friend and bandmate of my eldest brother recently noted that. Sisco says everything has become politicized, and it is not for good.
It's happened to me...friends are going mad on one another, and families I know are being shredded by this insanity.
I feel we must let it play out. Stop fucking blaming each other, and think, what the fuck are we going to do about it? We each can do something, do it and stop vomiting your shit on everyone else, especially those who in fact are somewhat in agreement with you.
As Americans, and human beings, we must grow up.
End of fucking story.
Now...I digressed. Want to tell you about this...I saw this manga, "Wandering Island" on the shelf at a store a few months back...still there,
and I finally got it.
This is really quite good. Tsuruta has crafted a story of a mysterious island in a long chain of them, and a young woman's quest to deliver a package.
I am quite liking it.
Now...music took another hit...we lost Evan Johns, James Cotton and Chuck Berry, in a matter of days. A great roots-rock guitarist, an architect of rock n' roll, and in between a guy who did all of it. Sideman, bandleader, performer, songwriter...
I saw him in '88 in NH, with TJ Wheeler & the Smokers opening for him. Fantastic show in a tiny little theater.