Enjoying the passage of time
Reestablishing the discipline to write every day is hard. It’s hot here again, and when that July sun hits the Sacramento pavement and heats up the town like a hash-brown griddle, it’s damned hard to avoid sliding into siesta mode. Even where I live, among the trees of the midtown urban forest north of J Street, the heat still can drive a person of mostly delicate and summer-averse Northern European bloodlines like yours truly into a state resembling comatose. I’ve already crashed hard both days this weekend, and tomorrow probably won’t be an exception to that.
No, sirree: I’m not getting much done. Hell, I’m barely taking care of errands. Don’t feel a whole lot like playing guitar, feel even less inclined to sing, don’t know what else to say except that I’m grateful that summer is finally here, and let’s hear if for three-day weekends, if only for another day to sleep in.
But, of course, I can’t sleep in. I’ve become biologically programmed to wake up early, and even if that wasn’t true, I’ve been making commitments to other people to get rolling before I’d be inclined to wake up on my weekends lately. So I’m up and at ’em, as my mum used to say before I’d grumble that cartoons on the couch would be a whole lot cooler than doing chores, which may account for the hard crashes into naptime later in the day. And if you awaken at the right time, you’ll be in the middle of a sweet dream like I was this morning, with a beautiful lady I can’t place except that she seemed like a composite of several women I’ve loved (and don’t worry; it was just nicely lovey-huggy-smoochy affectionate stuff rather than the doggy-style athleticism accompanied by popping basslines and ninth-chord guitar vamps and high-hat, be-sure-to-aim-for-the-tramp-stamp-right-when-the-bass-drum-kicks-in-hard malarkey that you probably figured I was talking about) instead of, oh, monster drooling cockroaches and giant assassin bugs with trocar-like proboscii chasing me along baseboards and under couches. Yes, I have vivid and weird dreams sometimes.
Actually, what I should tell you is that I’ve turned into a big old pussyboy. I lopped all my hair off, grew a scraggly hillbilly crank-cooker beard, and I’ve become obsessed with playing guitar like James Taylor, who orchestrates his songs, not with simple finger-picked patterns, but with very clever arrangements that are a lot more difficult than they appear to be. So now I’m just this middle-aged white man with a butch haircut and a beard who sings the kind of songs that the old me would El Kabong somebody who sang simpering acoustic-guitar mellow-out tunes, or at least hector him into getting really drunk and busting out the John Denver.
Anyhoo, I try and try and try to learn this stuff, but my progress is almost glacial and the heat isn’t helping and maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll keep at it until I can be some kind of folk-song bard who gets invited to play coffeehouses. Which is an illusion. If I were 25, maybe. But the four walls of my crackerbox apartment are the most consistent audience I’m likely to get. And I am all right with that. —Jackson Griffith