it’s the beginning of the month and i had every intention of posting a new edition of my newsletter today. sitting at the keyboard most of the day, staring at this white screen unable to summon any words… let alone thoughts that make any sense when put in sequence.
i am gutted.
lost. i want to get to work, but i need to allow myself time to grieve for this wonderful experiment that unfortunately failed.
Booktrope basically gave me the opportunity to become a writer. what i mean is, i played with words most of my life as a side note. i never once expected or even thought of myself as an author. i performed and composed music, until eventually that music became songs with lyrics. some rhymed, some didn’t (which mightily pissed off more than one singer.)
books and poetry were a part of my life since childhood. there were books forever at my bedside and on tables regardless if they were school assignments. jots of a line here and a phrase there hidden on bent cornered inside covers of paperbacks brought me to the songs we eventually sang on stage in the various formations of my bands.
once the music was taken away from me, i disappeared. i crawled into a deep hole intent on damaging myself beyond repair. on the shove off the cliff suggestion of my wife, i started writing to stay creative. some of those small stories became a blog. i never expected anyone to read it other than myself, a few friends and former band mates.
Booktrope took notice of one of those short stories, expressed an interest and it eventually grew into my first novel, “the Key to everything”. one could make the suggestion that i could have done it myself. i could have found confidence inside to realize the story, find an editor, cover artist and self-publish on my own. sure. easy to say. not so easy to do for someone who never dreamed of it as a possibility in the first place.
this chapter has ended. finality. period at the end of the sentence. THE END. i am fighting to remain peaceful and positive though that is against my nature. i flip/flop from wanting to scream and throw my laptop against a wall one minute…the next i’m looking at my three published books on the shelf and smiling at all of the unexpected and wonderful things that have occurred over the past six years of my life.
none of the new friends i’ve made would be here if it weren’t for the opportunity provided by this subversive little publishing experiment. i wouldn’t be a member of ARIA (the Association of Rhode Island Authors) and know all of these terrific people i’ve come to consider a family of sorts. all of the horror writer communities i am now proud to be a part of. the independent authors who are always so supportive and fun to plot world domination with. the artists and editors and not to mention the readers! (i heard that someone even went so far as to get a tattoo of something from one of my books)
i spent my entire life making music and never sold more than a handful of records to friends and family. but now, people around the world have bought and read my books! imagine someone in Germany reading about my demonic squirrels. a Spaniard or two has visited my strange hospital room where a pregnant woman waits to give birth to something unspeakable… people in the United Kingdom are looking at the storm brewing sky hoping the sound in the distance is not Beethoven…
while struggling inside to figure out the next steps…i am deeply honored to have been chosen to begin this journey in the first place.
thanks for reading.
p.s. these two songs have been running through my head every since the news landed on friday…
came home from the younger minion playing a double header (1 loss, 1 win), turned on the old interwebs to find a note concerning the demise of my publisher. as of may 31, all three of my books will be pulled. i am going to take the weekend to decompress and most likely have a glass or two of good bourbon before i begin building evil schemes to re-release tK2e, ACoW & tIoN back to the wild. i don’t know how it’s going to look or when it will return to life. i only know that it will.
i never intended to be an author. i was always going to be a musician. it wasn’t until about six years ago when the attention of an unexpected old friend pulled me toward this new adventure that i realized how much i love it. in that time i have released three books, published a handful of short stories and articles in magazines and through other publishing houses. i’ve made many new friends, who i hope will remain in my life for a long time to come. readers have entered the circle as well through the stories. some became internet friends and others have turned into sounding boards for projects i would never have dreamed of otherwise.
i want to take this short post to sincerely thank everyone in the Booktrope family for all of their hard work, dedication and support of not only my work, but for the many other writers and artists who strove to pave a bold new path in the publishing world.
i can’t quite see what’s around the corner yet. though, there is a light pulling into the unknown. i look forward to seeing what it illuminates for me… and you if you’re up for the ride…
My head is always drumming. I can’t remember a time when the beats weren’t there. Speech patterns are instantaneously interpreted and mapped out on the mind drumkit. The rise and fall of pitch moves up and down the toms and cymbals for accent. Quarter, half, dotted eighth notes are written down on the flowing pages of imaginary scoring sheets. A lifetime’s worth of rhythm stored in the file folders behind my mind.
I took my first drum lesson at the age of ten. I remember it so clearly… Going through a nearly hidden doorway in the wall of guitars and basses, passing by a glass counter top displaying sticks, metronomes, pedals, pads and music books until finally entering the tiny, sound proofed room in the back of Action Drum & Guitar that would become my second home. Walls covered with posters and torn out pages from music magazines. Photos of famous drummers and percussionists lit up by colorful stage lights, sweat dripping from foreheads lined with concentration and the strain of athletic effort. Growing familiar with their names and faces over the years, my record/cassette/cd collections filled by their discographies.
Thin as a rail, all of eighteen or nineteen years old, my teacher seemed an experienced adult filled with sage advice about not only how to hold a drumstick, but how to talk to girls and be the ever elusive and desirable “cool”. My small blue notebook filled quickly with rudiments and patterns appearing similar to hieroglyphics to the untrained eye…
Single Stroke Roll = RLRL RLRL
Double Stroke Roll = RRLL RRLL
Paradiddle = RLRR LRLL
Flamadiddle = lRLRR rLRLL
I became an initiate into an ancient and powerful brotherhood. Historically, tribes only allowed Kings to play certain rhythms. Drums were the first instrument. Drums mimicked the heartbeat. The rhythm of all life existing around the world. Village boundaries were defined by how far away the drum could be heard. Drums played an integral stone in the architecture of human history.
Signed, sealed, delivered I was all in. Though I haven’t been able to play my drums for a few years now, I am still in. I always will be. When I close my eyes to sleep, my first dreams are of playing drums. I sit at the kit meditating on life and the groove of it all. Similar in many ways to being an alcoholic, once a drummer…always a drummer. Fortunately this particular addiction is not life threatening.
There is no moderation to the way my mind accesses this way of being. Everything stems from and returns to the drum. The tempo of walking. Footfalls in the snow. Teeth chewing. Breathing in and out. Keys typing on the keyboard. All of these are patterns. All of these patterns have rhythm. All of these rhythms are drumming.
People live their lives in rhythms. They quite literally “walk to the beat of their own drum”. Some rhythms complement each other while others fall out of sync. Have you ever had a conversation with some one new and nothing you or they said seemed to fall in place? Then you meet someone else and every word flows smooth as dancing. Those rhythms are what create friendships, even romance.
I have an application installed on my laptop to create the sounds of an old typewriter when I type so I can hear each rhythm the words/sentences/paragraphs/stories create. Every story is a unique and wonderful set of grooves to my ears. I feel their dance. When they don’t work, I stumble and fall along with them.
Most of my closest friends are musicians. Many of them drummers. Trained or not, professional or hobbyist, we all speak the same language that pulses beneath the words we actually say. There is a knowledge there that brings us together. Birds of a feather… We, as humans, enjoy the company of people who understand the world in similar ways to ourselves.
Now, in the virtual world of Facebook and Twitter, the friendships I have found are mostly lovers of the written word. Poets, novelists, readers in addition to those of us who enjoy geeking out on our various types of fandom. While the rhythms of our conversations are heard one-sided while I’m reading the posts or stories they write, there is a definite shared background that can be felt like a musical groove.
I used to be able to associate people with certain types of grooves. My Algebra 2 teacher in high school always made me hear a disjointed, a-rhythmical pattern in my head. But sitting in English class, I’d be tapping my pen on the desk so much, Mr. Scheff took them away from me nearly every day.
I often wondered if other people heard or felt people in specific ways like I did. The memory of the smell of lilacs or the light blue tint from a stained glass window in a church during winter. I can still play some of those people rhythms on the table with my hands. Others are gone. Lost in the back of my mind behind far more important things like Saturday morning TV show theme songs and commercial jingles.
Whether I am performing or not anymore, the drumming is always there. I have a feeling it will play under the tinnitus in my ears until everything else goes away. I don’t view that as a negative. It’s rather comforting in fact. I love the drums. I love rhythm. It pulled me in as a little kid and hasn’t let get yet… and I don’t want it to.