I was a huge Elton John fan growing up. It started with the first “Greatest Hits” record and songs like “Bennie and the Jets” and “Rocket Man.” Then there was “Captain Fantastic” and “Rock of the Westies” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” I loved his music. I still think “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” is one of the greatest albums of all time.
A year or two ago, I dug into some of the older albums that I’d never really listened to and I found “My Father’s Gun” from “Tumbleweed Connection.” Something about the song really affected me emotionally. It’s an amazing tune. The strings, the background vocals, the way it crescendos… It’s one of Elton’s all-time greats.At first, I thought my emotional reaction to the song was because I really dig the music. But lately, I’ve wondered if there was something more to it, more than just, “Hey, this great!”
At first, I thought my emotional reaction to the song was because I really dig the music. But lately, I’ve wondered if there was something more to it, more than just, “Hey, this great!”Here’s my theory.
Here’s my theory.I’m a sucker for the old days, for the sites and sounds from my youth. And I always get a rush when I hear an old song or, say, see an old movie from growing up. But rarely do I get to experience the sensation of discovering something for the first time like I did back then.
I’m a sucker for the old days, for the sites and sounds from my youth. And I always get a rush when I hear an old song or, say, see an old movie from growing up. But rarely do I get to experience the sensation of discovering something for the first time like I did back then.Does that make sense? Probably not.
Does that make sense? Probably not.
When I first discovered Elton John, there was a rush I got every time I heard a new song that I loved. I haven’t been able to do that in forever. Until I heard “My Father’s Gun.”
I can’t recommend this exercise strongly enough: Go back to someone you listened to as a kid, someone you loved. Then find some of that artist’s work you’re not familiar with. It’s amazing.
It’s as close as you’ll ever get to a time machine.
Do any of you three know anything about getting, like, really healthy? Man oh man, I am broken. I’ve got the gout, I don’t sleep much, my back always hurts, my legs always hurt, I’m always sleepy, my teeth are in pain, I’m cranky, I have gas.
I am broken.
I’ve had a physical the last two years and my doctor has told me the same thing both times: “You need to lose weight.” Then she gives me a list of vitamins I need to start taking and tells me to get the hell out of her office.
So what I need is to lose weight. And what I want is a common sense diet. Or maybe an app. Or both. An app in support of a common sense approach to diet and weight loss. That would probably be best. Should I buy a Fitbit?
While we’re here, have any of you tried eating a Japanese diet or the French diet? I admire both cultures and I think it would be sweet to pretend like I was living there. Of course, then I’d step outside and some guy in a 50-foot tall truck would blow through the stop sign in front of my house and I would remember, “Oh yeah. I’m in Flower Mound.”
Okay, well, if any of you three have any recommendations, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting over here. Expanding.
I may have some big news about my playwriting career. Stay tuned!
Turns out last night’s… show? Experience? Whatever it was with that happened last night with George Saunders, it did a number on me. I can’t tell you which number, specifically.
First, the Scottish Rite Temple here in Dallas is pretty amazing. Ornate, odd, and Egyptian. It was a great place to hear a writer who often deals in weirdness.
Second, since Saunders’s book, Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel, is something of a multi-character piece, multiple actors read from the novel. So now, of course, I can’t wait to start reading the book.
But it was the Q&A that blew me away. Saunders was always gracious. He complimented people on their questions and responded to every one thoroughly and without hesitation. And his answers to matters of craft were like a masterclass on storytelling. So many new things to try, I couldn’t wait to get home and get started.
Through it all, Mr. Saunders seemed… delighted. In everything. The questions, the audience’s response, the performance, life… Everything. After the Q&A, Jenn, our friend, Clay, and I went downstairs where Mr. Saunders signed books. The line was long. A couple hundred people, perhaps? We were toward the end. But when we got up to the table, we found Mr. Saunders still in great spirits, still exceedingly grateful, still delighted.
On the way home, I had a slight to moderate epiphany: I’m angry. Like, in general, I’m an angry person. I’m not sure the source of the anger1, but I know it’s there and I know it doesn’t take much for the anger to bubble to the surface. When Mr. Saunders talked about his characters, he said he loved all of them deeply. And I got to thinking about my anger, about how I could never approach many of my antagonists with complete, unconditional love until I let go of some of this anger.
So how do I do that? This, of course, is for both of you readers, but it’s also the question I’m going to ask myself as I travel down life’s highway. Which reminds me, a lot of my anger is the result of traffic and driving and cars. No duh, huh?
Per yesterday’s question: Did Mr. Saunders’s “performance” meet expectations? I should say so.
I’m giddy. Almost to the point of giggling. Though not really since giggling and laughing and guffawing — it’s all too much. Still, I’m stoked. And giddy.
I get to see my favorite author speak tonight. Geoerge Saunders. Like, in person. It’s kind of a weird thing, seeing an author speak since speaking isn’t what authors do. They write. Still, I haven’t had a bad experience yet seeing writers whose work I enjoy. With the exception of the time I, a somewhat misguided child, made my mom take me to see William F. Buckley speak. Sheesh. Never again!
But I’m pretty sure Saunders will not disappoint. Though I’m not entirely sure what I expect to get out of it. That sounds a bit ungrateful, but I don’t mean it to be. And maybe that’s why I’ve enjoyed seeing all of the other writers – I had no idea what to expect and I got far more than I could have asked for.
One thing I would like to walk away with is a renewed sense of purpose for my own writing. A little jolt to the system, if you will. It’s happened before and it actually worked for a while. Maybe this one will last a little longer.