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Albino (part one)

I began writing Albino two million years ago. I had an editor then, who lived a few blocks away. We would meet for breakfast on Avenue A, quietly forking into home fries as we discussed the structure of the story - the economy of objects. A dollar bill was not just a dollar bill in this story, it was connected to thought and action, to music and transformation. This was the story that told me there was a whole book to dig into, mining for diamonds in the backwaters of America, turning over the ugliest rocks to better understand relationships between fathers and sons.

Last week, I stumbled across a call for submissions - not for a journal, but for a podcast where the work of new writers was read aloud. I thought back to a reading I had done of just the first few pages of Albino - a messy hero's journey,  a young man and a guitar, a man with loss and regret, a man that still had something to lose. That reading went well, enough that I felt a strange elation stepping off the stage i…

The end of an epic (finding your way back)



An epic project ends, and I stare at N in the morning suddenly without the latest update to discuss. Nights and weekends for over a month were lost, with everyone staring at the back of my head as I hacked away. V is kicking her feet in the carriage. The sun is splashing around through the leaves and some left over puddles. I shrug my shoulders, standing quietly as we all look at each other for a little while. Kisses on cheeks and they roll off into the neighborhood, to feed stale bits of bread to some ducks, to make their way through a small forest until V takes a nap.

Upstairs, E is still asleep. Her arms stand at odd angles, elbows poking from beneath the covers. I wander the rooms for a little while, listening to the scrape of the soles of my feet on the wood floor. The guitar stands in the corner, more waiting for V to poke at it than for me. But all at once I am tuning it, and the black journal on the table leaps open and there is a good fresh pen and some fragments I scribbled in the middle of one night last winter. Something about love swinging a hammer or maybe not swinging a hammer, which of course sounds forced and foolish either way but most lyrics do that when they stand naked on the page. They cannot share the low mumble they come from, the honest melody, the humble pronunciation.

Sure, let's use the A to the chord that is part of an A, going back and forth. I am prone to verses that use two chords, which is both a good habit and a bad one all at the same time. To add accident to injury, I let the chorus be those same two chords. But that is something many great blues songs do, the delta blues ones especially. Am I writing a blues song? I didn't think so, but maybe all songs are blues songs. Plenty of people have said that. I am trying not to write a Tom Waits song, but that is a losing battle. If it is going to happen, you have to get out of the way, let yourself name some places in it, towns like Unadilla.

E wakes up, passing me on the way to the bathroom. She does not pause, or bat an eye.

"There's a part in this for you." I tell her, when she returns. "This echo part and then harmony on the chorus."
She shrugs her shoulders, and goes to make a bowl of cereal.

This is how I find my way back.










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