Skip to main content

Featured

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…

no disguise


It wasn't something I had planned on, it just began one Saturday afternoon. Maybe keeping a 100 year old guitar within reach is all it takes, and there is nothing so remarkable or surprising after that happens. There is a sound that comes from it, not just the jangle and the clang of wild strumming - but of lost history, of stories that smell like old books in an attic. There is ancient dust in the cracks of this guitar and I get lost in it. As if birds are flying into the windows, the songs splash out one at a time, each one sadder and lonelier and more full of regret than the next. They are confessions, apologies, conversations with lost souls. I cannot say I write them as much as witness them. 

                       Don't know if I'm good or bad, 
                     just what you tell me.
                     She had a gift for taking things away
                     so please tell me, some precious things.
                     Like when I was a boy, 
                     when I was the new kid.


I am calling this almost-album "a box of letters" right now, but I am sure there is a better name that will replace that. I have demos of nine songs, all recorded within minutes of writing them. I stop sometimes, editing the words, starting again. I put the songs in different sequences to listen to while riding the trolley bus in the afternoon to go to the big market where there is fish and secret imported cheese, wild honey and chopsticks. There is something so foreign about my voice in the headphones, and I barely recognize it. The guitar, that is another story. It can never disguise itself.

Some songs go, and new ones replace them. I toy with some spoken word sections, literally reading letters to old girlfriends written by imaginary men, but then I put those aside. They sound more like a radio play to me now, even with murky instruments bubbling behind them like brain soup. 

The last song in the lineup plays, and then there is silence. I stare at the old people on the bus, a woman with her head wrapped in a scarf stepping into the bright afternoon. It all feels so incredibly overwhelming, and I did not see that coming.

Comments

Popular Posts

best personal blogs
best personal blogs