A cropped version of a photo by James Cridland (CC)

Demagogues love to tell you what the American people want, knowing they represent only a segment of the American people. And when the demagoguery works and the wrong person gets elected, it’s important he or she understands they still only represent a segment of the people. We in the other America are watching and we’re not going anywhere. When you say you’re working for all Americans, know that many of us are expecting (and demanding) exactly that.

I’ve no shortage of screens around me, each holding worlds of information and ideas with the potential to capture moments of my own creativity. I’ve surely got the tools I need to make a difference in the world but they’re dark at the moment waiting for my next move. One needs to look in a window to see what’s on the other side.

my wonderful problem

When it’s just me and my guitar, I can improvise some really cool stuff, especially the blues. The joy of creating a song spontaneously makes the words flow out of me in one-off moments of expression like a river disappearing at the horizon. But if I do something in advance intending to capture the music and words, it’s a whole different story. I sit there hesitating and nothing comes out. Maybe I’m just really not that good at planning my creativity. It happens on its own and it seems I’m never quite ready to capture it. One thing precludes the other for me but fortunately, it’s the act of expression that turns me on.

But if I don’t share my creative works with others, there’s no feedback or interaction and the value is greatly diminished. I need to get better at capturing my ideas if sharing is the goal. Doing what I do in a quiet void is like being behind one of those dark windows – no one else will see what’s on the other side unless I start using some of these tools more.

Selling cannot be the goal. If it were, there would be nothing of value for others to see. Creating superficial ideas intended for profit is something I’m just not interested in. I’d rather just stay in the void and keep it real.

so here I am

For now, I’m self-medicating my need to be creative by making and singing my songs in this quiet place. What it does for me is why I do it but activating a few of those dark screens soon is a real good idea.

in a quiet moment
hear my own heart beating
and I wonder what’s wrong
wonder what’s wrong

we’re never done
with the damage done
so long ago
try to let it go

prisoner of regret
just can’t forget
scars over time
dance in his mind

in a quiet moment
hear my own heart beating
and I’m feeling fine
feeling fine

things change

with time
things change
in a moment

just you and me now
remembering how it was
never lost with time

everything’s changed
so different now, so strange
love lives in the mind

we found a flower
dying in the morning sun
turned it into wine

Originally, we weren’t planning on going. We were always too busy to do much of anything anymore, or, at least, it seemed that way. Brushing off the daily grind to have some fun enjoying what you really like to do seems so difficult at times, but some things remind you how important it is to hold on to the good stuff. Something inside told me that we should do it – make the time and go!

So, I thought I was just going to a Clapton concert. I had never seen him and this was my chance. I started playing guitar in college and Clapton was one of my earliest inspirations. I’ve always had this thing for the blues and he played it so well. We did go, excited on the way that we were gonna see the man. As it turned out, Clapton was just a part of the experience that affected me so.

It’s Saturday evening at Alpine Valley and the bill includes Eric Clapton, Jeff Healey and a guy named Stevie Ray Vaughan. I had all kinds of Clapton stuff in my vinyl collection and had recently bought a Jeff Healey CD which was pretty good. I know I had heard a song on the radio that Stevie Ray Vaughan did but I just wasn’t real familiar with him. I figure if he’s playing on the same bill as Clapton, he must be good. The band that Clapton had together for the concert was great. They did some of his classics, and some of the newer stuff and it was all great. I felt so thankful to be there.

Jeff Healey was damn good too. The way he played the guitar was unique, sitting with it on his lap with both hands above it. He fingered the chords like he was playing a piano or something.

But what really affected me in a big way that night was that guy named Stevie Ray. He played a bunch a stuff with Clapton’s band and I couldn’t believe how good this guy was. Then, when he played voodoo chile all on his own up there, it transformed me. Watching the closeup of his long fingers attacking the guitar on the big screen made me cry like a baby. It wasn’t the lightning speed that got to me – it was the way he was digging his fingers into every note he played. He made every note scream like no other guitarist I’ve seen. Not Clapton – not B.B. King – not even Jimi himself – nobody, as great as they are, had affected me so with their blues style. Mouth open, eyes glazed, I watched his every move, wondering where he had been all my life. My thankfulness for being there was soon replaced by a truly spiritual notion that I was part of a feeling that would never be duplicated. As I watched Stevie Ray, I knew I was there for a reason.

On the following night Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a tragic accident. To this day, I feel so lucky that I saw him. No matter what I’m doing, if I hear his familiar sound on the radio, I have to stop and give myself to his magic. My own guitar playing (and my love for it) was greatly affected by having seen him that night and I’ll always appreciate that I had the chance. Just as with other great musicians who died young, it’s so sad that we’ll never see the place he was on the way to with his music. Thanks Stevie!