Birth of the Blues

One of the items on my 70 by 70 list is to stay at Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club for a weekend. Located at 0 Blues Alley in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the club celebrates the birthplace of the Delta Blues. With people like John Lee Hooker and Willie Brown as its native-borns, Clarksdale has a vibrant history, and the club is located beside the Delta Blues Museum.

Upstairs, the Delta Cotton Company has several rooms that are decorated in a retro style. If I stayed there, I'd choose the Good Midling room, not because it's the most expensive (none of the rooms are particularly expensive, actually), but because I like the colors and the fact that it overlooks the front of the building. The club itself naturally has live Blues Wednesday-Saturday nights, a full bar, and a great menu. I think it has great vibes, too!

Of course, right now is not a good time to us to go, what with the Mississippi KKK having issued a call-to-arms against people like Nettl and myself, but someday, maybe. Mr.Freeman certainly wouldn't mind, so I doubt his establish would either. It's just those men in hoods that's kind of off putting.


Our First Real Snow

It was a good, low key weekend. I'm actually sort of enjoying the bi-polar personality the weather has taken on this winter. Saturday was like a spring day; it was in the 70's and the sun shone in a crystal blue sky. When we woke up on Sunday morning, however, there were several inches of snow on the ground and more coming down. I actually like snow, but that's probably because I no longer have to scrape the car windows or commute to a job 20 miles away. Snow's easy to like when you can spend the morning in a warm bed.

None of that for us, though. We'd already made plans to go to Brooklyn's for brunch. That was a very good idea. Strong coffee warmed us as we ordered their famous fried chicken and waffles. I have to tell you, I'd never tried this dish before even though I knew it would be good. Brooklyn's doesn't do anything ordinary, though. This dish was lightly dressed with a cranberry balsamic syrup, candied cranberries, and pralines.

So I move into a new week. With the recent web job completed, I'm free to get back to my book, although I never really left off working on it. The difference is, now I can dedicate all of my time to it. It's coming along nicely.

The photo is of Lowrider, who, when she came to the end of her little brick path, she looked at me like as if she expected me to shovel the snow for her.


Something New

I opened a photoblog/nature journal. It's brand new, so there's not much there, but I remember when this place was new. Please be so kind as to pay a visit, comment, Follow, and do that voodoo that you do so well.

If you want to.


The Chaos Factor

There's an awful lot of talk on the web about manifesting our heart's desire, of turning our dreams into reality. This is a subject I've been interested in since about 1977. Back then, it was called creative visualization, and I spent a lot of time practicing it. For nearly as long as I could remember, my dream was to be a rock star. Not a celebrity so much, but a standard of comparison among those I believed to be my peers. For me, fame was about gaining the friendship and respect of others in the business. I ate, drank and breathed this dream without having ever heard of following your bliss, manifestation, The Secret, or any of that. To me, it was about daring to dream, then working my ass off to make it come true. I was a hopeless dreamer, yes, but I also was an indefatigable worker, performing at every opportunity, and creating opportunities for myself where none existed. I was my own business manager/booking agent for many years, and I came awfully close to succeeding any number of times.

When I heard people who'd made it say, "If you really believe, it'll happen," I believed them. Thirty years later, broke, hungry, burned out and disappointed, I gave up that dream. It's easy for those whose dreams have come true to say that anyone can achieve their heart's desire, but for every one of them I suspect there are thousands who have not and will not make it, no matter how much they dream and how hard they work.

Lately, I'm thinking a lot about this, because there's a house Lynette and I are aching to buy (you may have already found the link I tucked away on this page). What I'm wondering is how to balance my feelings of unexplainable optimism with the very real possibility that somebody else could buy it at any moment. On the one hand, I don't want to sabotage the miraculous accomplishment of this dream by dwelling on the odds, but I likewise don't want to be shattered if it does sell to someone else. Mostly, I just don't want to lose hope. Life without hope of something is unbearable for me.

I'm not a believer in fate, which sits on the other end of this see-saw. I don't believe we come here with our destiny set in cosmic concrete. I believe that somewhere in the middle is a fulcrum labeled The Luck Factor. Call it what you will: luck, serendipity,.. I prefer to call it The Chaos Factor.

"Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be, will be..."

Whatever it is, it acts as the balance. While some people of little talent crave the ego stroke, the wealth and the power, and accomplish that almost immediately with only a minimum of work, other people of great talent, who want only to be able to help others and leave the world a better place, slave away for years before succeeding. For some people, it never, ever happens. Them's the breaks.

Of course, finding Nettl was one of these miraculous dreams come true, and that should be enough, I confess, my head hanging low. But before I leave this planet, I'd like to see the accomplishment of just one of my material dreams. It's not a lot to ask, and I'm willing to work my ass off. These days I have a simpler, less arbitrary dreams. To live a certain lifestyle, one that doesn't require fame or wealth. To live with nature in a modest house with the love of my life, and to check out knowing she and my eldest son are provided for. That's it.

And that's a far cry from my earlier dreams of Grammys and gold records, and standing ovations at Madison Square Garden.


He Turned Into a Lady

I dreamed I was at Bob Dylan's house in Malibu, where I occupied a large recliner chair in the living room. I'd been there all day and, although I was with him and a number of other people, listening to music, drinking wine and talking, he didn't acknowledge me. He didn't ignore me, I was just one of the guests, no one important.

He put different albums on the stereo—all vinyl discs—but none of the music really registered on me. It was good background music, the kind that people talk over in small gatherings like this one. It was Dylan's music, of course, and, although I liked most of it, none of it stood out to me as being anything new or any different from anything he'd released over the years. Mostly, I just enjoyed being there, looking out at the Pacific Ocean while listening to Dylan and his friends talking, laughing, and feeling relaxed and mellow.

This went on for what felt like all night. Finally, this morning, right before I woke up, he put on a copy of an album he was about to release, what we used to call an acetate. It was zydeco inspired, unique, all Dylan, and it was amazing. One song in particular possessed my attention, one in a minor key. I told everyone to be quiet and listen, that this was something special, and we listened.

Toward the end of the recording Dylan stood up to leave the room and he came over to where I sat, took my hand in his, and walked behind me around the chair. When I looked up at him again, he'd turned into a Lady, refined, elegant, generous. I kissed his (her) hand in gratitude and the exchange of feelings between us was so tender, I was deeply moved. I felt as if he/she had bestowed on a me a pure and significant blessing.

The music is still in my head, and that's blessing enough.