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Saturday, March 30, 2013

FEELING MY WAY TO THE BLUE GUITAR








         I was driving down a hill into the town on my small red bicycle.

it`s  a woman`s bike, but it`s small and  light and it`s fast off the 

mark. It would cost me a fortune to get it`s equivalent in a shop that 

sells racing bikes.

        I`m told I look silly riding it. I`m six 

feet and about 230 pounds, so I suppose I do look odd

on that little red bike with no crossbar.

"It`s good for my ego", I`m thinking . If some kind of humility is the 

goal.  Maybe looking ridiculous every once in a while will help.

       Peeling down the big hill, seeing the lakes beyond the small

city,  at that speed trying not to have a mystical experience.


        A poem`s been in my head these last few days,

 a poem by Wallace  Stevens. It goes something like,    



"Things exactly as they are 
  You can play on the blue guitar."



       So I`m zipping into town, sun shining on my face.  After 

February, which has been a month of utter and ignominious  

darkness, worse than usual, the sun feels great on my face.

I`m  smacking  my lips thinking of the three bottles of sherry I was 

going to be able to buy at the liquor store,with the twenty dollars I 

had left.

        I was coasting straight down Cassels Street directly,

 when I got this feeling. I`ve learned not to ignore this feeling, when 

it comes, which is not often....it`s  usually significant.
       
 I got the sense that I was to turn left and go into the small

forgotten mall at the bottom of the hill.
       
       So I did.
       
       There at the edge of the mall, I see an old dusty looking

small used furniture shop. I get off the bike and walk over

and peer into the window.  The front window was full of oddities, 

oddities I appreciate like old Export A tobacco tins, old pliars and 

ancient metal files.

        I opened the shops door, walked in and said hello.  A woman 

showed up out of the back. We said a few words, nothing about 

music...

        She said, " Here,  I`ve got something to show you. " 

She walked through a door that led down into the basement, 

leaving me in her shop with all her valuables.

         She re-emerged from the basement after a few minutes.

She was carrying an expensive-looking guitar case She set it down

gently on the glass counter.

          She opened the case for me and said,  "Take a look at this."

          And there it was before me, a blue guitar.

            So I picked it up and held it above my head. It was damn 

nearly as light as an old Martin. I looked at the neck . The neck was  

was straight and the steel strings were beautifully close to the 

fretboard.

            It takes a lot of strength for a guitar neck to hold the stress

of tightly wound steel strings.  So steel string guitars are often quite

heavy to lift. This one was light as a feather. This is a very good sign
             

           We bargained a bit, but I`m really not that good at it.  I was 

broke and not in the mood to buy a guitar. Whatever the price

it was going to cut dangerously into next week`supplies.
              
But I knew it would be a bad thing, a spiritual letdown in the

universe, if I didn`t follow this feeling that destiny had taken

a hand in the life of those around me


        The shop-woman`s name was Pauline.

Pauline and I made a deal, and she was kind to me, letting me

have it for half the asking price.
              
         She said, `The asking price for this make of guitar

would normally be three or four times this price,  musicians tell 

me. I don`t normally sell guitars. I sell furniture. But I had a funny 

feeling about this one, so I set it aside.`

        She said, "Perhaps because it`s blue.  I knew someone would be 

coming for it. I just didn`t know who."


 

Living alone for the last few years I`ve done some thinking.

Trying to write these books, and taking myself too seriously, I 

 had been a selfish prick for the last considerable while. Don`t

get me wrong, you`ve go to be extremely selfish, arrogant and 

determined just to get to the typewriter .But I`d carried it to an 

extreme.

             I`d also been deeply suspicious about women for many years 

and that did not help the overall situation. 

               I`d turned into a hermit, and something in me wouldn let 

me even walk to the post office. To mail a book to my

reputable publisher who has been waiting for... for over a year.

And the book was finished! There was nothing more to be done.

             I just can`t seem to do anything anyone expects of me. I 

can`t seem to follow orders.I won`t even obey the orders I give 

myself! Go figure.
                  
              This is very odd, and more than a tad disturbing.
               
              I decided I was going to something do for someone else

every once in a while.  So the blue guitar I was buying as a gift for my 

little daughter. "Happy Easter," I was thinking. I looked up. The wind 

was high, the sky was blue.

                Just like the guitar.

               Somewhere I could hear the angels singing.
        
               
                                             *