Blogging has been a little spotty lately and my apologies to the two of you who keep up with my adventures—life has been pressing in on all fronts and the creative urge that leads to writing fell out of my pocket and I believe is lodged between the pillows on my couch. I found my pocket knife there the other day as well.
I visited my friend Stephen Rydell last Saturday. He owns Rydell Music out on Highway 105 and is a great musician and an all around interesting fellow. The reason for my visit was to find some inspiration directly relating to my guitar playing or lach thereof.
Sandi and I had been at a church a couple of weeks ago where praise and worship was led by Jonathon Helser, one of my favorites. During the song service I saw him change capos on his guitar several times and at one point he even had two hooked up and was playing a really nice song.
So, I went to Stephen’s and told him I was in pursuit of musical inspiration and that maybe a new fangled capo might be in order. After messing around with a couple, I bought what is commonly called a “cut capo” and once I reached home, I proceeded to play the guitar for several hours. Not bad for a long shot.
What the cut capo does is simply cover only three of the six guitar strings and when placed on the second fret, allows the guitarist to play in an open tuning without having to re-tune the guitar’s strings. The difference in the sound between regular and open tuning is like night and day. Open tuning gives all your songs that airy, celtic feel because the capo creates what is called a drone effect. Much of what you hear played today in contemporary Christian music is played with a cut capo.
Anyway, that has been a real blessing—finding a whole new way to enjoy playing the guitar.
On other fronts, I purchased a book of poetry written by Octavio Paz simply entitled “The Collected Poems”. Paz is a Mexican and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Laureate in literature. He passed away in 1997 but is considered by many to be one of the greatest modern poets.
His poetry is not for everyone, but once again, I read poetry to give myself that little extra push creatively. In his poen entitled “Last Dawn” Paz writes:
Your hair is lost in the forest,
your feet touching mine.
Asleep you are bigger than the night,
but your dream fits within this room.
How much we are who are so little!
Outside a taxi passes
with its load of ghosts.
The river that runs by
Will tomorrow be another day?
For some, that might just be enough poetry to last a life time, but I certainly hope not. I am afraid that poetry is a lost art in America. I have seen the poetry shelves in the local bookstores dwindle down to almost nothing. It’s not even worth the time to call and see if they have any poetry by authors I have recently discovered and want to read. I called one the other day to see if they had a book by Langston Hughes, the great black american poet. The girl on the phone knew who I was talking about and said that she would be glad to order a book for me but that there really wasn’t much call for that type of thing around here.
I told her the story of my bookselling career in one of the largest bookstores in East Lansing, Michigan. We were before the internet and Borders and Barnes and Noble. We prided ourselves in the fact that we had books on our shelves that maybe would only sell one or two copies a year. You could almost always find what you wanted in that bookstore. Yes, it costs money to warehouse an item that only replaces itself once a year—but for that one person who finds what he or she wants at the very moment that it is time to find it, the value is very great.
But it is “bottom line” time is America and I guess with the internet, a local business has to remain profitable and this leads to them only stocking what they can make money on—the best sellers and the books that are used in classes at the university and so on.
I asked the girl how many copies of “Lord of the Flies” she had sold and suprisingly was told that it still was a best seller along with those other cult classics such as “1984” and “Brave New World”. So my guess is that teachers are still using those books in literature classes and if you are interested, they are in stock locally. LOL
So—as you can see—it has been just a regular sort of week in the mountains of North Carolina for me. I, along with you, am waiting for Spring to come back so I can get on with planting a garden. Our lily leaves are looking a little tattered, having barely survived the recent influx of sub-freezing temps that came our way. Hopefully we will still get some blueberries and my spinach and lettuce will start to grow again.
It’s supposed to rain the rest of the day—so for now I will close and maybe go pick up my guitar and get ready for tonight’s meeting and tomorrow’s church.
Enjoy your ride!