We have the convergence of Saturday, when I generally write about music, and March 7, which is my birthday. Save for the obvious, there is isn’t much I play every year.
Now there WAS a song I played on March 8, a lot. Have a Good Time from my favorite Paul Simon album.
Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed
My life’s a mess
But I’m having a good time
I’ve been trying to remember what music I have received on my birthday. A couple years back, I received an album of Odetta singing Bob Dylan. A couple of those tracks appear here.
There was an album I got on my 16th birthday called Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Judy Collins. I wrote about it back in 2008, but somehow all the YouTube links got mucked up. So here it is again.
I was thinking about a particular song from the album, The Story of Isaac, written by Leonard Cohen. It’s because my Bible guys have been rereading the book of Genesis. Specifically Genesis 22, when Abraham is tested by God.
In 1977, I was in Charlotte, NC, crashing on my parents’ sofa. What I wanted for my birthday was the album Scheherazade & Other Stories by Renaissance. I played it. Don’t think my family appreciated as much as I did. So it goes.
Anyway, 67 suggests sixes and sevens. Chaos. Or at least that’s how I’ll remember how old I am.
The readings MAY involve the consumption of alcohol
Arthur, who is experiencing that brutal Kiwi winter right now, was the first person to both Tell AND Ask Roger Anything.
TELL: You should write a book!
ASK: What obstacles would you have to overcome, and/or what would you need in place to write a book?
Back around my birthday in March 2019, I thought what I might do in my retirement. Writing a book was not even a consideration. What would I write it about? Me? I wasn’t feeling it.
Then in May, I came around to maybe writing about the house in which my mother grew up. I’d actually floated this to one of my cousins a couple of years ago. She was doing some genealogy about our common ancestors. It was beyond the scope of what she was working on, but I spent a lot of time there myself.
Moreover, my sister Marcia has a LOT of photos that she’s scanned. the pictures are mostly of the exteriors, but also a lot of people over a roughly 60-year span.
There’s another book that I thought about, involving the year I turned 19. A momentous year in my life. The problem is that I’d have to reveal my own shortcomings publicly.
The good news, however, is that I had kept diaries as far back as March 1972, so I have detailed accounts of at least some of what I did. And I mean OVERLY precise. What I ate, and where, et al.
I think I got the idea from my college roommate in my freshman year, a grad student named Ron, who wrote down EVERYTHING he spent, a candy bar or going out to dinner. One day, he spent $1,000 on a car, which really skewed his daily averages.
My diaries, and there are about a dozen of them, continued to about 1986. It’s not the entire period, because several of the journals were destroyed in the flooded basement of the apartment building I was living in c 1997. I genuinely don’t know what I have and what was lost.
At the time, I was quite upset, but now I am somewhat relieved that at least part of my ever-present past has been obliterated. It means, though, that EVENTUALLY, I’m going to read those remaining chicken scratching. Thus, the advantage and the obstacle are the same.
Some of it will be great. Is THAT when I saw that concert! I’ll get to relieve some of the history of FantaCo, the comic book store where I worked in the 1980s.
Some of it will be awful. My, was I petulant? Or unkind! Or oblivious! I’ll probably get to relieve heartbreak that I caused, or received! Oh, boy.
And, ha! now I’ll probably have time to read the damn things. The readings MAY involve the consumption of alcohol.
From that mess of a life, I’ll have to figure out what the STORIES are. 1972, which I remember surprisingly well even without the prompts, has a certain dramatic arc. Other than that year, I’m not at all sure about a narrative. And how do I write about other people I’ve mentioned, many of whom are still around?
Once I DO start writing, if I start writing, I realize that I need to do it when I’m mostly alone, when my wife and daughter are asleep, or downstairs watching some dance show on TV, or off to work/school. I work best in the presence of semi-loud, generally familiar music.
If I had forgotten that I was turning 65, the flood of mail I received from various Medicare insurance companies would surely have tipped me off. Dozens of solicitations, from most vendors multiple times, totaling, and I am not exaggerating here, more than a ream of paper.
The truth is that since I’m not retiring just yet, what I need to do is: NOTHING. Not a thing except to put all that material in the recycling bag or the shredding bag, depending on how much information about me is on that particular sheet.
Speaking of nothing, I’m not going to work today. I started that practice years ago, based on a model of the Albany Housing Authority, where I interned around 1980.
Oh, and I don’t bother blogging on my birthday, either, lazy writer that I am.
Just recently, someone told me there used to be a New York state assemblyman named Roger Green, as if I didn’t know. I started adding my middle initial or name to distinguish myself from him, for he, like so many other state legislators, got into legal and ethical problems.
There was a time I used to write more regularly a blog for the local newspaper. Since I was usually behind in my reading, I’d discover that the paper had excerpted part of my post, not from reading the paper, but from people telling me they saw it.
#1 would have to be Swamp Thing. I know it better from the Moore-Bissette-Totleben period that Wein edited. But I discovered the Wein-Wrightson origins after that.
#2 is probably Storm, which he and Dave Cockrum developed in Giant-Size X-Men #1.
Interesting that you asked the question on the very day there was a Final JEOPARDY! answer about Len Wein.
Only the defending champion, who had been in third place, got the correct answer, which got her the win.
So Wolverine is probably #3.
But I also liked the characters he wrote that he didn’t create, such as Spider-Man in Marvel Team Up.
What do you think of egg salad? (I thought it was gross for years but I’ve recently converted.)
I ALWAYS liked egg salad. You NEED mustard if it’s to be any good.
When I was a kid, I ate it on white bread, or as we called it in those days, bread. As an adult, I developed a preference for it on seeded rye.
I like almost anything with eggs, BTW. When I’m eating out, I often order an omelet, not because I can’t make one myself – I surely can, and have since I was about 10 – but because I usually don’t have the variety of ingredients I’d need to keep fresh on hand.
The painting in the background with the guitar was by our father.
Marcia, the younger sister, in very many ways, has become the keeper of the flame, not only for the history of the nuclear family in which we grew up back in Binghamton, NY in the 1950s and ’60s, but for the extended tribe as well.
It’s logical. She was the only one who moved to Charlotte, NC with the parents. Leslie and I were already ensconced in college, though of us lived down there for brief periods in the late 1970s.
After my father died in 2000, Mom and Marcia took care of Marcia’s daughter Alex and each other, though as time marched on, Marcia and her daughter were tending more to Mom until she died in 2011.
She still is tending to our parents’ memory, as she has access to decades worth of photos and other material.
As all three of her kids knew, my mom LOVED Nat King Cole. She had a whole bunch of 78s of his, but I have no idea whatever became of them. There were some items in my maternal grandmother’s house, the house my grandma and mom grew up in, and where my sisters and I spent a lot of time. The stuff went into storage and ultimately disappeared long ago, including some photographs of mine.
Marcia was musing about my mother back in November, just before Mom’s birthday. Our mother particularly loved Nature Boy and other familiar tunes by Cole. But neither Marcia nor I had heard him perform There Will Never Be Another You. It’s become one of Marcia’s favorite Nat King Cole songs. And I can hear why.
BTW, neither she nor I ever really learned to play the guitar, though Dad and Leslie did. The painting in the background with the guitar was by our father.