Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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Bowling with the Literati

I headed home relatively early, after a very productive day, read some very nice Xmas cards, ate some very nice holiday licorice that came in an envelope in lieu of a card, and then headed to Allen Bowl. Our "we finished nanowrimo month" celebration bowling excursion was to take place. I had arranged the lanes, and arrived a bit early to make sure everything was in place. It was, although the other two folks who came were each a bit late. For a moment, I was certain that I had stepped into one of those Jungian dreams in which one throws a party and nobody comes.

Soon, though, texastornado_91 and sarahverb arrived. I was sorry that Vexis didn't make it, as he originally intended to come, and that mtired had an intervening schedule conflict which kept her from coming. Our smaller crew nonetheless had a really good time.

We got a lane, and began to bowl. I believe that the guy behind the counter took one look at me and instantly assigned us a lane with those bumpers in place so that no ball can be a gutter ball. Perhaps it was my marstokyo "Theater of the Surrealists" t-shirt that convinced him I was less a bowler than a work of art. We bowled two games, and it was very comforting to see we all were of about equal, dubious strength. We then adjourned to the local Mimi's cafe, where we swapped stories about writing, traveling, places we'd like to see, and all those other cool things that people talk about when they are having fun. I had the pumpkin spice pancakes, and any evening with pumpkin spice pancakes is a literary evening indeed.

I'm always impressed by how much people get done in this world. Sarahverb just published her first short story in a magazine, after she finished a novel, couldn't get it published, and then broke off a portion for short story from it and sold it with her first query letter. texastornado_91 showed us these incredible Artist Trading Cards she has done, as she has gotten into in a huge way since she began the novel. A week of her arts and music schedule contains more activity than 6 months of my artistic endeavors--energetic people are so much fun. She told us of her days living in the south Texas Big Bend area, and the scorpions that she would encounter. Sarahverb told us about what it was like to be an exchange student, and later to travel, in New Zealand. She described exotic lizards and tours of Cadbury chocolate factories. I've always wanted to visit New Zealand. But tonight my fantasy travel notion is that I want to go to Monahans, in west Texas, where a huge sparse forest of 3 foot tall oak trees sprawls amid an expanse of sand dunes. I've only seen pictures, but the idea enchants me.

The three of us are in worldly terms quite ordinary people. But it can be so much fun to share stories with people in a mood to share, and I'm so glad we got together. I have little interest in writing or poetry groups in which people critique and seminar. What I want is that "Moment"--that bit of interconnection, that trace of humanity, lurking in the shadows between simple good conversation. I could have lived my life without writing a novel last month, but I hope I never live my life without good conversation.

I finally printed out the forms for getting my CD of music duplicated today, as well as scottm's. I put this project aside for some months, for the odd reason that I have not named all the instrumentals on my CD. Don't ask me why poor Scott's well-named songs should have been delayed for this reason, but I tend to clump things together in my mind. I have not listened to mine lately, but I hope this week to give it a fresh "ear gander" when I finish naming the songs (I thought about offering my 10 year old nephew 10 dollars to do so, on some dada whim, but I did not follow through on that thought). The people for whom I've played it enjoyed its eclectic mix of electric football fields, flanged electric autoharp, raging kazoos, nose flutes, rhythm band percussion and Scott's genuinely talented uke and guitar work. It's a bit as though Leo Kottke got trapped in a room with Harry Partch and forced to write a symphony to be played by the Portsmouth Sinfonia, only a bit sillier. I still am impressed that Scott can actually play notes with the nose flute. My nose flute always sound like a wounded bird.

I've picked up that Harry Partch bio again recently. What an interesting man. A largely self-taught musician who invented his own musical scale and musical instruments, Partch's impact can still be heard in things as disparate as the Residents and bad spy movie soundtracks. He always felt mildly put upon and misunderstood in his life, even though he got a lot of admirers helping him along the way.
It's not easy to plow new ground--the very wonderful traits that made him to innovative also made him so darn prickly.

This Saturday Scott and I hope to record again, but I feel I may be entering my folkie phase this time. Although my karaoke disaster last Friday night (rule: never, never sing songs outside your range, even if your range is only 3 notes) almost cured me of singing, I wonder if it would not be fun to write some comical lyrics and then get Scott to enchant them with his baritone uke. I used to goof around with a ukelele years ago, but it was a tiny one. Scott's bari uke makes these incredible mellow guitarish sounds, and can be quite heavenly.

I read about making a wooden saxophone in the hand-made musical instrument book I bought. This is more sophisticated than my last hand-made instrument--ball bearings in a 20 oz. Diet Coke bottle. Now one would not imagine that a 20 oz. plastic Diet Coke bottle would have so much potential, but that is probably because one did not select the right size buck shot. My shot came from a dying K Mart store, and that indubitably means musical quality.

Now if I could only find my half-read copy of Trollope's "The Duke's Children" novel, I'd feel like a literati indeed. I know I had it in Sacramento, but after that it's all a blur....

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