Today happens to be the birthday of one of my favorite musicians, Indiana-born and -bred jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. He developed his own unique style — a way of thumbing notes out of his guitar, making use of full-handed harmonic octaves and block chords to create a fat thick sound that became his signature and made his playing immediately recognizable. There are legions of guitarists out there who can play impressively fast streams of notes up and down the guitar neck — but what set Wes apart was his facility for developing melodic ideas. He told stories, took you on a trip, evolving a single string tale into a flourish of thumb-driven arpeggios that seemed to bounce off the neck of his guitar.

  • Post Title: The Words Are Alive
  • Post Date: February 8, 2012

I was a fourteen-year-old ninth grader at Holy Cross Seminary on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. My English teacher, Fr. Corcoran, gave us an assignment to write a paper explicating a poem written by 19th century Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called “The Windhover”… During his short life, Hopkins succeeded in creating for himself a prosody that was totally unique, making up his own words, his own rhythm, his own images — stuff no one else could have written — staked together with alliteration and a rhythmic pace that sprang from the printed page and grabbed my tender sensibilities by the throat.

  • Post Title: Winter Days Always Kill Me
  • Post Date: January 20, 2012

It’s been cold lately, bone-chilling cold. Winter days feel so constricting to me, do they to you? They seem to slow things down, make you turn inward, think a lot, take stock.

Am I going to be able to pay my bills?

Can I stay healthy?

What if it all comes crashing down?

Do I have a plan B?

Am I happy?

See, I hate that. I think happiness is forgetting that you’re not really happy, so I don’t want to waste time considering whether I am or not. To me, the secret of life is cultivating an ignorant bliss. You learn to acknowledge whatever happens to you — briefly — but you don’t own it. You grok it, then cover it with sand as quick as you can and pull yourself right back into the present instant — the wonderment of right now.

Only, I feel like I’m a quart low on wonderment right now.

Then, on the other side of things — if happiness is just a state and you try not to consciously own it, how can you appreciate and enjoy it?

I’ve always loved that Colette quote: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I had realized it sooner.”

So which is it? What’s it going to be? Do I think about it or not?

Winter days always kill me. I just have to wait them out.

Post Title: A Blast of Bukowski

Post Date: December 15, 2011

Good writers have a way of cutting through the crap and reconnecting us with the rhythm of existence.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the work of Charles Bukowski, but I’m going to share a little blast of his vitriol because I think we all could use a good slap in the face right about now.

Yeah, life is rough, but it’s happening right now, and it’s all we’ve got. We need to remind each other to stay focused. Don’t let the system crush you.

So, in that spirit, here’s a little shot of Buk. I’ve cobbled together some quotes and changed a couple of tenses for effect, but they’re all his words:

“Frankly, I am horrified by life, at what a man has to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stay in bed and drink. When you drink the world is still out there, but for the moment it doesn’t have you by the throat.

“At the age of 25 most people are finished. A whole goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminds them most of themselves.

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

  • Address:
  • Author: Chuck Perrin
  • From: Pacific Beach
  • Blogging since: December 2010
  • Post Title: The Thumb
  • Post Date: March 6, 2012

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