Monday, January 5, 2009

3 wishes

Cracker w/ Leftover Salmon--"Get Off This" (mp3)
Phish--"Silent In The Morning (live) (mp3)

Amongst all of the great Christmas stuff I downloaded this season was the SNL filler from Steve Martin from about 25 years ago. If you've never heard it, he talked about if he only had one wish, then kept adding, so that all of the children of the world getting together to sing kept getting pushed farther down the list and the month-long orgasm adminstered by Roseanna Arquette and Paulina Porzikova moved higher. Along with total power, revenge, etc.

Like I've said before, I'm not much of a "resolution" kind of guy, but I'm not opposed to setting goals and trying to meet them. That being said, here are my top three for 2009:

1. Get out of town as much as possible. This one isn't much of a reach. At any given moment, I am pondering the next time that I will get to leave. It isn't that I don't like Chattanoooga, not at all, it's just that I enjoy the chance to explore new places or to return to favorite old ones. On the potential list for 2009 are: Gatlinburg, New Orleans, Ohio, Sarasota, Chicago, Maine, Pittsburgh, Korea and who knows what else? I know I won't get to all of those places, but that really doesn't matter. I'll get to some of them. Notice, I'm not picky. I'm as happy with a weekend in Gatlinburg as I am with 5 weeks in Seoul. Maybe not really, but the fact is that Gatlinburg is like no other place in the world and there are 4-5 things worth doing there whenever you can get there. Plus, if you pick the right time, it's cheap.

2. See more live music. I've said this more than once, and many more times to myself: anytime I go to see live music, it takes a colossal effort to get there, I always convince myself on the day that I don't really want to go, and when I finally get there, I'm am always glad that I made the effort. So, it is a very strange phenomenon not to want to go. There is something about aging that makes the concept of revving it up to go out to see a live show an almost overwhelming commitment. I guess it's just too easy to think about being in your warm home, too easy to cancel your desires by thinking about how much work you have or how early you have to get up, too easy to decide that the show won't be good or that it costs too much money. All of those easy insights are almost universally wrong. So I want to make sure that I go to see the shows. A couple of easy calls? Bill Mallonee is coming to John's for a house concert in January and Son Volt is playing Rhythm and Brews on Valentine's Day.

3. Write a novel. It's been 15 years since I wrote a novel (yeah, I know, it's sitting in a drawer). It's time to write another one. In fact, this should be a yearly goal. I have three books of various sorts under my belt--a novel, a writing book, a cookbook--and all three have taught me about myself. The first discovery is that I write quickly. The novel was written in about 3 weeks. The writing book was written during a summer. The cookbook I chipped away at during about 5 months. Which leads to the second discovery: I may not have the discipline to write day after day after day, but I do have the discipline to reach other goals. For example, by setting my writing book at "100 paths to writing" I had little trouble coming up with the individual short chapters, a technique which made the cookbook pretty easy to put together as well. Now, back to the novel, well, it isn't as easy to tell a story that way, but there is a simple fact: if you wrote only 1 page a day for a year, you would indeed have 365 pages by the end of the year. That's something substantial. And that's why I often tell Billy that even in this blog, we have a book of essays waiting to happen. Most of it is already written, you know?

Concerning goals, yeah, yeah, I need to drop about 20 pounds. Here's to hoping I can get there in all of these areas. Off to write page 1!

Both songs are available at Itunes.


John said...

Man, great entry. I had forgotten about 100 Paths to Writing but was blown away by it when you first showed it to me (even tried to convince you to get it published through NCTE). In fact, maybe you should bring copies of three of your favorite chapters tomorrow, in fact, in only about five hours, to the department meeting and save my half organized ass. Oh yeah, Bill is coming in late Feb; too much going on in Jan. You write a novel and I'll be an eager reader. Same goes for you, Billy. And yes, I know that I'm up at four a.m. Seems to happen often lately. Maybe I have sin in my life.

troutking said...

Live music. Out of town. Ryan Adams plays Nashville in March. Just sayin'...