“I’ve been here blogging for a while. I usually teach theology, but couldn’t help but notice most of the blogs I enjoy reading myself are more of a personal blog…”
Ironic, but I do know that blogging is actually supposed to be about sharing a little, or a large part of your life with total strangers. Some of my favorites seem to share almost everything. So this is my attempt to blog about me. It’s an experiment with me looking out of one window, and into another we call the internet.
I have made many friends on social sites from all around the world. I can watch the news, complete with lies about things in the middle east, and what they want me to hear about the middle east…then when it’s over have a conversation with friends I’ve made that actually live in the middle east. The contrast is amazing. As of yet I haven’t really involved myself in the interactions of the other writers in this community, until recently when I commented on a blog. Then it dawned on me…
“I have more in common with these people, than most of the ones I interact with on the net, and haven’t made any friends here yet”. I hope to change that in the months to come, and also hope to meet some more cyber-friends here at WordPress. One thing’s for sure…
…good writers have good stories.
Writers really don’t just dream up these stories out of the blue, even when they do dream one up out of the blue. Each story, fiction or fact, reflects the road the writer has been on, and the things they have observed; be it extraordinary, or their uncanny ability to see ordinary things we take for granted in extraordinary ways. I think the latter is true for most of us. Writing is an art, and that’s what I want to talk about in my first “me” blog. Art.
Where to start? I have always been artistic, as for as far back as I can remember. One of the hardest things for any artist, be it writer, painter, musician, poet, or philosopher…is getting people to understand that when you’re staring out a window… you’re working.
I do that a lot =) This probably has gotten some of the best artist in trouble at one time or another. I know it did me. When I was in elementary school, I would be scolded for doodling & daydreaming, while the rest of the class learned that the sun was ninety three million miles away from the earth. I can remember thinking things, while the background music from the game show Jeopardy played in my head… This was fine, until I finally got fed up and let the thoughts about distances between planets leak out of my mouth…
“Really? Just how the hell do you know that? This may be a dumb question, but why do I need to know that? Do I need to know how much gas I’m going to need to get to the sun?” What really freaked me out later was learning that they really did know how far it was. But at that time, it was not on my ‘to-do’ list.
One day, one of the teachers that wasn’t completely convinced I was a total waste of space, got one of my doodles out of the trash; straitened it out…and sent it to the National Scholastic Art Awards program. It won first place in the state, then went on to win the National competition in New York. After that it went around the world, and found it’s final resting place at the Smithsonian. They kept he original, and sent back a slide. This was 1967, and transformed me from being the best candidate for “most likely to drop out”, to a trophy of achievement for the superior scholastic teaching abilities of the school. I was suddenly a “product of their making”. And now… I needed “nurturing to bring out my artistic excellence”. But hey, now I actually liked going to school.
I won five consecutive full paid art scholarships after that, including one from a school in Canada that was willing to pay me for my attendance; just from a linoleum block print of my back yard, complete with rabbit cage and chain link fence. Who would’ve thunk it? Short story-long, I did receive some really good art instruction. But the doodles were far more fun than doing that as a “have to do” thing. Meanwhile, I was becoming more immersed in band class. The curse of the artist… Diversity. I really loved music. I mean I had it bad. After fighting my way to the front row of a Grand Funk Railroad concert in 1972, I knew from that moment on that I wanted to play music. I was twelve years old.
As fate would have it, I fell into a gold mine once again, and after only a few years of playing music in local bands, (and mostly garages), the bassist for Bo Diddley came to my house. I had absolutely no clue who Bo Diddley even was, and just knew the bassist as my cousin Ronnie. I knew he played music professionally, but you know how those older peeps are…and their music…yuk =) I was into Black Sabbath. Who the hell was Bo Diddley?
There was a fairly major Southern Rock band at the time called The Marshall Tucker Band, and it seemed their drummer was in jail, or drunk, or both…can’t remember; but Ronnie wanted to know if I wanted to go along on a tour that started in DC. And the tour started yesterday, which meant…now. They were in a pinch for a sit in drummer, so off I went. I was fifteen years old. It was 1975, and everybody…I mean everybody was getting stoned. So hey…’the drummer that’s sitting in until “whenever” needed to be tested’. A few joints latter, I was in DC, on tour with the Marshall Tucker Band at fifteen years old…and absolutely lovin’ every minute of it.
But ahhh, it seems the twist and turns that fate plays on your roads never, ever take a break. Fate is a somewhat ‘not-so-funny-at-times’ thing, and as fate would have it, after our very first show, Toy Caldwell, and my cousin decided to get high, and overdosed. Toy died, and Ronnie was on life support. This only took me a few minutes to write, but it seemed like that summer was ten years long. This was not the end of my musical “tour of duty”, it was only the beginning of it. I would go on to play bigger shows, and do crazier things. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t followed the many that dropped off along the way, like Toy. He was the first of what seemed to be almost every other person I would ever meet that were there one day, and gone the next. That’s one crazy road to travel, and a hellova thing to get used to, but I did end up with some stories to tell.
Did I mention this was the long story short? I’ll pick up where I left off in the next post. I hope to get to know some of you. I went on to play with some well known bands, recorded some music, wrote some songs…did things that really, when I think about it, make for some pretty good stories. I’ve seen some things, and done some things, as I know you all have. It’s my hope to trade some these stories with you. I’ll pick up where this leaves off next time. Please feel free to leave me a comment. My name is Mark, btw. Until next time, Peace all =)