WEP December 2019 “Footprints” challenge piece

The “footprints” theme for this challenge proved more difficult than I originally thought it would be. Initially, I considered writing a narrative focused on the pursuit of a dangerous monster into the ancient woods it calls home. Telling the tale from the perspective of hunter, as he tracks the creature using the impressions left behind in the snow. Which after I wrote the introduction paragraphs, I realized that it wasn’t a feasible option despite how it catered to the theme. Building on that idea, I pondered transforming it into the story of serial killer fleeing the police. Unfortunately, I ran into the same problems as the previous idea.

Erasing the metaphorical idea board, I starred at blank page uninspired. Managing to discover an idea from a place I overlooked without much thought. My imagination channeling my love of Punk Rock, and its ideologies into something I could shape to fit the theme. Taking inspiration from the songs of various bands and musicians including Beans on Toast, Chuck Ragan, Against Me, Frank Turner, and many more. Telling a tale of a musician who lives on the road and on the stage, acting as a pilgrim of music. Along with taking slight lyrical insight from Frank Turner’s song The Road, which can be listened to below. Underneath that, I humbly present the tale I titled, A Pilgrim of Punk.

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A Pilgrim of Punk

The rain bombarded the bus window, creating a faint melody with each drop that landed against the tinted glass. In silence, I watched from my seat at the passing of the blurred city-scape. Noticing how close we were to the town, I removed my earbuds before casually placing them into my jacket pocket. The screen of my phone brightening as a reaction, allowing me a moment to see it was just past three a.m. Rubbing my thumb and forefinger over my eyes, I glanced around the sparsely full overnight bus. My six fellow passengers strangers following their invisible roads of fate on this gloomy night. All of us would soon depart this bus, leaving behind a ghost of our current selves.

Just before dawn, the Uber pulled into the familiar motel parking lot. The driver popped the trunk before, stepping out to unload the single, worn suitcase that accompanied me when I traveled. In silence, I exited the vehicle with my time-tested guitar bag in hand. I thanked the driver for his assistance in unloading my luggage. I wrapped my hand around the short handle of my duffle bag before, making my way towards the hotel’s front desk after walking through the set of automatic doors. Sitting behind the hotel counter was well-dressed women in a dark red blazer, with the miniaturized version of the hotel logo on the left breast pocket.

She stared up at me through wireframe glasses, asking, “Can I help you, sir?”

I responded, “I’m here to check-in to my room. The reservation is under the name Skibba.”

She nodded and typed the name into the computer that rested in front of her. The blue light from the screen was reflecting into her glasses, casting a brief silence between the two of us. A short ding erupted from unseen speakers, likely built into the monitor.

She said, “I found your reservation, sir,” digging something out from within the desk, handing me an unsealed vanilla envelope, with a few pieces of laminated papers protruding from it. “You are in room number 212. Take the stairs to your left and then turn right. Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?”

I responded, “That should be all for now,” grabbing the envelope and tucking it inside my empty jacket pocket.

The woman nodded, dismissing me with a simple gesture. I walked away before heading up the split-level staircase, following her unneeded directions. I traced the footprints of memory, while I made my way towards my room for some much-needed sleep.

*****

Squashing the dying remains of a cigarette under my boot backstage, a habitual ritual I performed every time before, stepping onto that evening’s stage. I starred out at the audience, aware that I was retracing the footprints of a forgone youth. Grabbing the microphone, I said, “This isn’t the first time I have played this familiar stage,” strumming softly on my guitar. “I see some familiar faces, and some unfamiliar faces here tonight. Hopefully, all you enjoy have enjoyed this evening so far and will continue to,” starting to play the intro for Shackles and putting every fiber of emotion into the song, belting out the lyrics.

I refuse to imprison myself in your shackles.

Instead, I choose to follow my own path traveling the road to unknown places.

Playing overcrowded pubs and undersold stages alike, tracing footsteps that aren’t my own.

Having drinks with strangers in dive bars the world over, understanding that living on the road was the key to my freedom.

Creating new paths in cities familiar and mysterious, traveling the road a pilgrim of music all my own.

Watching the crowd near the stage start to stir, jump, scream, mosh, and dance around, creating a simple, primitive display of musical jubilance. In my several hundred, if not thousands of times playing this song, the meaning of the tune had transformed over time. When I wrote the lyrics for the first time, it was about the horrible terms of the unfair contract and how the legality of it controlled my art and life. Now, it represented something more than that, standing for the roller-coaster, nomadic lifestyle of a musician. I continued to play, moving my fingers about the nickel-plated strings of my guitar without a thought. The individual strings of my guitar acting like an old friend that brought me a constant stream of pleasure and pain. Each chord I played a cathartic release of raw emotion, that metaphorically left me exposed to the world. Yet, I found myself reinvigorated by the relentless energy of the frenzied crowd. That ethereal sustenance a spring of strength I used to perform each night.

Watching the energy of the crowd wax and wane throughout my two-hour set and short encore. My callused fingers playing the last few chords, while the stage lights began to dim, the speakers echoing out the final note of the evening to an exhausted audience. I was carrying my guitar backstage, walking along a well-traveled invisible path. Ready to create more footprints on the endless road that was my lover and life-long friend.

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Word Count: 853 Critique level: Full

Cherished Blogfest: second round of treasured objects

imageIn my first post for the Cherished Blogfest, I talked my love of music. For my second post I’m continuing that theme, but for different reasons. Some of it is the memories that I associate with discovering some of the bands, or memories of who gave me the CDs, or some of the friendships I have developed with people all over the world. Take the Bad Religion cd, Stranger than fiction down in the lower right corner. One of my close friends from high school introduced to the band, and let me borrow his copy of the album. After one listen I fell in love with intelligently written lyrics and the band as a whole. Every album made by the band shares a sense of intelligence with the lyrics. I ended up buying the album for myself, it’s that good. imageThe two albums in the picture to the right of my text, on the left hand side both have a story behind them. Looking back at the first time I heard the band 10 years, (lower left corner) I was with my dad seeing them in concert with Korn and Mudvayne. I recall picking up the album less than a week later, after seeing the band live. The album above it, (Sound of Madness by Shinedown), has a concert ticket in it. My father, my sister and myself went to se them live. While I may not always get along with them, it is still a enjoyable memory. Even the Ramones album was a gift from my mom. It is still one of the best live albums I have ever heard. image Now onto the last picture of CDs. Like all the others these albums share a special place in my heart. Both the Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden albums were gifts from my dad. These albums were released before I was born, but they individually some of my favorite albums.  [Tangent: I actually met (well sort of) one of my closest friends through our mutual love of Iron Maiden and metal music online. After three years of getting to know her, she is one of my closet friends and one of the few who gets a sneak peak of stuff as I write.] The album in the lower left hand corner, Ballads n bullets by In Legend was another gift from my mom. However both albums pictured in the left side of the photo, take a slightly untraditional root for their music. Both use orchestral instruments in their music, giving their metal a neoclassical sound. The mix of albums I choose may seem like an odd combination, or even the genres of the band who made the album my seem strange to some people.  I will admit one of my favorite things about being a metal-head or a punk rocker, is this sense of community or family if you will, that comes with being a fan. While it may not be a tangible thing, I have met several friends that way. Sometimes in person, sometimes over the internet. The friendships may seem strange but I still cherish them. I doubt I will ever meet some of them in person, but I would still call them friends. This post is dedicated to them, and the music that made us friends.

Join the Cherished Blogfest

Join the Cherished Blogfest

Cherished blog-fest: What is my cherished object?

Join the Cherished Blogfest

Join the Cherished Blogfest

Ever since I signed up for the Cherished Blogfest, I was trying to figure what object to pick. After almost three weeks of thinking on what to pick, I realized I was overthinking it.  The object I decided to feature was my iPod. I have owned since my freshman year in college. As a self professed music junkie. I choose the 160gb version in black. ipod classic

It is almost always on, giving my life a soundtrack. After almost five years, it has 39,000 out of the 40,000 songs that can be put on it. Which after five years doesn’t sound as impressive as it could be. I could have purchased the iPod Touch instead but I wanted the storage over anything else. Yet I wouldn’t trade or think of selling it since they no longer make it.

Even though people say I may don’t look like a metal-head, or a punk rocker, or a fan of neoclassical guitar, or a hard rocker. Honestly it is an amusing to see their reactions when they realize that. I will admit music maybe the only thing I love as much as the written word. Hmm…what else can I say? I guess I could reveal some of my favorite bands.

Review of I found my friends:The oral history of Nirvana

I Found My Friends: The Oral History of NirvanaI Found My Friends: The Oral History of Nirvana by Nick Soulsby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book.This takes the idea of oral history, usually used to tell fables and applies to Nirvana. It is well detailed including the early years before Nirvana settled on a name. While focusing heavily on Nirvana, it also talks mentions other bands like the Melvins, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden,Sonic Youth and so many others that were part of the “Grunge” scene. If you like Nirvana, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It also contributes to the history of other lesser known bands with tragic stories, who never grew to the fame of Nirvana. The only thing that could of made this better is if it came with a soundtrack, for all the bands mentioned including Nirvana.My only minor complaint is it doesn’t have excerpts from the point of view of the remaining band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. The only reason I could understand doing this is maybe they were too close or the author wanted not to taint the story by adding blurbs from those who in Nirvana itself.
I received this book via a Goodreads Giveaway.