Seminally yours…

According to my dictionary widget, “Seminal” means “(of a work, event, moment, or figure) strongly influencing later developments.” Now, I’ve no idea where I came up with that word when suggesting to Jen the Twisted Mix-Tap Tuesday prompt for this week, but… Oh wait, actually I do. I heard it way back when, during the days when I used to listen desperately to the radio, in the hopes of finding through it a new life. I heard it from DJ’s who were hell-bent on impressing their audience with the use of big words. An audience, mind you, that wouldn’t recognize a big word even if it jumped out of the dictionary and gave them a right-good drubbing. But we didn’t care, the words sounded cool anyway, and provided us fodder to name all of the imaginary bands to come that never quite did.

But I digress. Or as my college professor recently said, “I regress.”

Seriously.

Anywho, below you’ll find (5) lil’ ditties that made me who I am today – or in other words – had I never heard these, I would most likely be happily married, successful, and sitting around combing my pounds and pounds of luxurious hair while sampling a steak right now, instead of writing this post late at night while shoving chips and vodka into my soup cooler instead.

But alas, I did hear these songs. And as a result – well, much like the ghost in the machine – “‘ere I am, Jack…”

Too cliché to start off with? Maybe, but this truly was the song that first got me off my duffless duff, and on my way. Or at least it alerted me that it could be done – some sort of Grand Journey – once and if the good Lord allowed me to hit the golden age of 18. This song had so much impact in fact, that it was the first and only one I considered using to start off my musical autobiography with…

OK, I had no real idea what this song was about at the time, but to me it meant (2) things – 1) I would forever more see myself as much more of a Punk than a Head, and 2) I now knew that there were others who longed like I did. There were others who held themselves to standards normally frowned upon by the “popular.” There was – at long last – the possibility of tribe at least somewhere out there…

And it was Tribe that I would find. Tribe that I thought I would never lose. Even though I eventually did. At least for a spell…

Fast forward quite a number of years, and we can find a troy who is now a father, a husband, a self-perceived failure and a man on the edge of a breakdown. A breakdown I eventually muscled through (and to a certain extent, still am) all by my lonesome, or so I thought. Leave it to the boys of Therapy? to come to my aid in embracing that particular darkness…

And leave it to the boys of Pearl Jam – plus an unexpected groundswell of previously forgotten and new tribe, all of whom came rushing to my salvation – to pull me back out. Much like the rubber band that has been my life, there is Someone Up There who seemingly likes me, and that Someone never allows me to stick around in the gloomy spaces for too long, before “snapping” me back into The Real.

And yes, that brings us to your bonus track for this week…

This track, while seemingly a counter-balance to the cliché that started this post, is not. No, this song has been with me throughout my journey. Spurring me on to cross every bridge that has snuck up upon me along the way. That’s what life is after all, right? A series of bridges that we can either cross or not. Regardless of our choice, isn’t it nice to have a song in your heart to help you along on your travels? All the better still, if they’re musical milestones that will guide along your way…

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PS: As life doesn’t stop when our generational interest in music does, this bonus-bonus track is brought to you by an old man who refuses to totally give up, and one of his dearest friends, who said that this makes her think of him. My incoming New Life is now coming up on a rough patch wherein there is much to do, and little time with which to do it in. As such, I apologize if I’m not around here as often as I would like, kids. My hope is that until we hook up again, you will all stay…

Bad Old World

Where some see doors, others hear voices. And just as doors can be either opened or closed, voices too, can be listened too or ignored. And in either scenario, every once in a great while, a person can have that glimpse backward, one just long enough as to realize that they will never return to the bad old world…

That was where this week’s Friday Fictioneer prompt took me, and here is the hundred plus words that resulted from that train of thought. I hope you enjoy…

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Copyright – Rich Voza

Justin… I can’t stand it anymore, the jumble-fuzzy goin’ on up in me ‘ead. It’s too noisy, a right muffled-roar cacophony, it is.

C’mon, you’ve gotta get yerself outta there, is what.

Outta where?

Outta your ‘ead, is what. You’ve a bad case of listening too much to yer own voices, mate, n’ not nearly enough to others.

What others?

Yer friends. Yer tribe. Yer voices of reason. Y’know, all them blokes what tells you how nice n’ good n’ beautiful on the inside you is.

Oh… But they’re just being nice.

Right they are! And why’dya think they’d be doing that, then?

Hmmm. Supposin’ it’s maybe they be taking a shine to me?

The real You, they do!

Justin… Are they right in doin’ so?

I suppose you’ll never know, not until you do likewise.

•••

(yes, you’ll have to listen to the song to see how the story ends.)

Briefly…

The words I want to write, I shouldn’t. So the words I want to write, I won’t. But the words I want to write, are the only words available just now in my little head, and they steadfastly refuse to allow any new visitors to come in until they’ve had their say.

And that, my friends, leaves me in a bit of a pickle.

Now mind you, I normally quite like pickles, especially if their refrigerated and crispy-dill (mmmmm, pickles…), but in this instance, I am none to fond. Honestly, I feel as if writers block is an easier ailment, as it is with that, then at least you know that there is nothing to say. A mental ghost town so to speak, where normally words and ideas are busily bustling about their day.

So whatever this thing is called (literate-logjam? post-pickled?), I was very glad when Leeroy came along with a 100 Word Song that I could have some fun with. While not a particularly huge fan of The Cure, this choice provides plenty of play space, and we even get to break with the 100 Word Rule (for this week only…!) and use a “wrong number” word count instead.

All good signs, so I’m going off on a bit of a diversionary and unbeaten path for a spell here, hoping that in doing so, I – as RuPaul has so famously said – “don’t fuck it up.”

Here is this week’s 100 Word Song.

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“Is there room in your life for one more trip to the moon?”

What?

I said…

No, I heard you. What did you mean by that?

Oh, nothing.

I was just wondering if that was what he sang just now, and if so, what it meant…

Got me.

Got me too.

Hey, do most of our conversations go like this?

They totally do.

They do.

I like that, though.

I do too.

So, what do you think it means?

That we talk like this?

No Silly! The lyric!

Umm, I’m thinking that it means he wants to go to the moon again with you.

Would you?

Would I go?

Yeah.

Maybe not with him, but sure. There’s always room for another trip.

That was pretty cool, what you did just there.

Bringing the conversation full circle.

Yeah, I know. I do “pretty cool” all the time.

•••

David’s White Coat.

You might think that it should be The Clash, but it won’t.

Or possibly Judas Priest is the one band you think I’ll address today, but they’re not the winners either.

Surely you all know me well enough to know that it couldn’t possibly be Bobby Darin, as I do so loathe going with the over-the-top obvious in these matters.

And to those who know the inner me very well as well, perhaps you think The Bolshoi will be the band who rates my five, but even these lovely lads will be passed up for today.

And they will be likewise treated, as even more important than they, New Model Army has for many a year led my heart’s fray.

First formed in 1980, and still recording and touring till this day, these boys out of Yorkshire, England first captured me in 1988, with my unplanned purchase of their self-named EP tape (one of the many such bands that I came to love, after purchasing their album based SOLELY upon the artwork) – an EP tape that awoke my melodic and social senses with an immediate kick to the mental stones, partially due to their message of bleached lab coats gone mad…

David, my dearest friend and mentor during my stay in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at a little USMC air station called New River, chose this very song to last-dance to when he was leaving, discharge papers in-hand. And while that experience burned into my memory cells, it would prove to be a different N.M.A. song altogether that highlighted the “Tribe” that I had found for the first time ever, during those stormy days of my youngish life…

Appearing on their “Thunder & Consolation” album – a disc that would forever change the way I looked at people, “Vagabonds” was only bested by the following little ditty. A song of no consequence, unless of course, you listened to the lyrics…

Like many bands in my life, these boys and I parted ways at some point, though neither one of us will ever truly know why. And it wasn’t until we reconnected that these avowed witches were able to (once again) help to explain to me my avowed Christian beliefs, all while talking to me about “me…”

Once we reconnected, I went on a mad flourish (yes, complete with wrists a’ flailing, if you please) to catch up on all their efforts that I had missed out on while being absent. And as a result, your bonus track for today comes before track #5…

But alas, track #5 must ALWAYS come, and in the case of New Model Army, and in relation to a 44-year-old post-punk punk, the following provides strange consolation to an oldish man getting ready himself to be reborn…

Since 1988, they’ve spoken to me, consoled me and urged me on. I’m quite certain they never knew that they did so, but I’d like to thank them for the favor none the less. New Model Army – you should check them out.

•••

Jen, God bless ya for starting Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, and God bless ya even more for providing us with the “favorite band” prompt for this week.

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Happy Feet

She is an inspiring artist, and a wonderful sport. I love her vision, and have longed to use more than one of her pieces as prompts. With one of her more recent works I blurted out my desire, and instead of politely ignoring me (as she should have), she actually invited me instead to go ahead and do as I wished. Dear Elena, I truly hope I don’t disappoint you with the following…

Copyright - Elena Caravela

Copyright – Elena Caravela

The shoes are key.

You see, it’s the shoes that always point forward, never back.

And my friend, if you’ve even one that points in the yesterday direction, then I should think it high time that you invest in a new pair!

No, it’s the shoes that point forward. Ever looking towards the horizon. Ever hoping for the next step instead of the last, scary monsters and super creeps be damned.

Be they jaunty or clunky, tight tipped or broad-nosed, dirty or clean, new or old, they carry you on your journey. They are – if you’ll pardon the deplorable, yet necessary pun – with you every step of the blessed (or damned, as the case may be) way.

For you see, while the shoes may point the direction, tis you who decides how they’ll get you to where they’re going. Tis you who decides whether they’ll bounce or thud, whether they’ll crisply cut the low air, or drag along the concrete sulkily. Tis you who decides whether they will move with purpose and speed, lounge along casually with a certain ease of mind, or trawl dead-weighted from moment to moment in sullen despair.

You see, whether you turn to the left or turn to the right is not the thing. The thing is in the very fashion with which you make that turn, and in the passion with which you tarry forth.

And best of all, tis you who decides that, my friend – YOU!

As for yours truly, I had decided several epiphanies back to slap the smile on my face, and screw my best hat – yes, the flouncy one – securely to my noggin just prior to heading out my mind’s door.

True, the rain still comes, and the weather must still be weathered. But I’ve come to learn that it’s not so much the rain that stops me, as it is these very drops of salty wetness that serve to create me – making me who I am and who I might someday be.

The smudges these sky-fallen tears leave are worn with pride, not embarrassment. And much like the shoes that are charged with moving both them and my own good self along, on our way forward we all march gaily to the ‘morrow!

•••

I hope you come along too.

And yes, I am ending today with this…