This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Maybe Kinda Sorta ( #IWSG )

If you haven't voted on my most recent Battle of the Bands then I invite you to visit here and let your preference be known.   And now on with my August posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group...

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

The co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

August 5 question - Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

           Back when I was in high school and college I kept a dream journal.  I kept it partly as a sort of self-analysis or something, but I also enjoyed the surrealism of the dream world.  Being prone to writing as it was, I began to make stories out of some of the dreams.  At other times the dreams might inspire a song or a poem.  I guess I could say my exercise in journaling inspired writing in other forms that were in a sense like a bonus--something I hadn't planned on doing.

         In my more recent years, distanced from those school years by some five decades, I'm finding that as I am inspired to write songs, certain songs call for me to write a story that helps me visualize the songs better.  And more and more I'm less drawn to fiction as my thoughts turn more to memoir.

        Maybe in a way I've gone full circle from where I started in my writing interest.  These days I crave more reality as real life around me seems to become increasingly more unreal.  Who needs fiction when the real world has become so wildly crazy?  No wonder I'm looking back.

         If "2020" had been written as a novel years ago, would you have believed it?    Has this year been more inspirational to you, more distracting, or more something else?   Where do we go from here in your estimation?  


Saturday, August 1, 2020

I'm a Man ( #BOTB )

These days I seem to have a lot going against me according to certain opinions--I'm white, I'm older, I'm American, and I'm a man.  So if anyone has a problem with that then that's their problem and not mine.  I am who I am and I'm okay with that.  Why shouldn't I be?  

Ten years ago I was 30 pounds heavier than I am today, I still had a mustache and had recently become a grandpa--Now I have 7 grandkids!  Hard to believe!

Battle of the Bands

        Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

The Yardbirds  "I'm a Man"  (1966)

       This song was originally written and recorded by Bo Diddley, but many of you might be more familiar with the sped up version as performed by The Yardbirds.  Through its history this band helped to catapult the careers of some of rock's most famous guitarists--Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds are one of the most influential groups in rock and roll.  Enjoy this blast from the past...

Spencer Davis Group   "I'm a Man"   (1967)

         Stevie Winwood was the singer and co-writer of this song with the title "I'm a Man" which hit the Billboard charts in the U.S. at #10.  Later the band Chicago would cover the song on their first album and charted with their version as well.  I will say that over the years I've grown to like this song better than when it first came out.  That might have been partly due to the Chicago cover.  See what you think of this song in comparison with the others in this Battle...

The Illusion   "Man"  (1970)

        The Illusion was a critically acclaimed band  from Long Island NY.  Unfortunately, even though they managed to release three albums, they never gained much commercial success.  They first caught my attention when I heard their If It's So album played in its entirety on an FM station that I think was broadcasting from Lenoir City TN in 1970. That's when FM stations were pretty cool and did some pretty random stuff.  I was immediately enraptured by the album and bought a copy soon after which I still have in my LP collection.  Apparently the song "Man" was a mondegreen for me as I had always thought the song was saying "I'm a man" in the chorus.  I guess the song listing on the cover didn't register with me.  No matter though as this album is among my favorites in my collection.  See what you think about the song...

Time to Vote!
         You don't have to be a man to vote for your favorite of these three songs because all are welcome to play.  Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 


'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music

Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday August 10th
           This coming Wednesday I'll be presenting my post for Insecure Writer's Support Group so I'll hope you'll stop by for that.  I'm going to post my results for this Battle on a Monday because I never seem to get much response from a Friday post.  For that matter the results posts don't seem to get much attention either.   But I post them anyway because it just seems like the right thing to do.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Is the River Too Wide? ( # BOTB Results)

      Is the river too wide?  Are the waters too deep?  Is it worth it getting to the other side?   Or is it better to fade into oblivious sleep?

There was something I wanted to say, but it's something that has been already said.   Perhaps silence is a better way.   For now thoughts will stay in my head.

...but then of course I still have Twitter and Facebook...

I think there are times when we all need to just scream even if without a sound...

For now I give you--

Battle of the Bands Results

         In my most recent Battle I offered up two songs about crossing expanses of water as performed by the Kentucky duo The Other Years and British singer/songwriter Gaz Brookfield. While Gaz came up with the win in this Battle, the Other Years made a respectable showing.

        After reading my BOTB post some of you might have determined that my favorite in this contest was The Other Years.  After all, this duo was the initial inspiration for this Battle.  I thought Gaz Brookfield's song was pleasant enough with a decent performance, but I didn't find it to be exceptionally unique.  On the other hand, to me the song "Bridges" was more poetic with a deeper thought behind the message. The melody was haunting, evoking memory and contemplation.  I thought the hollow resonance of the recording location added to the feel.  I was captivated by the performance of the song "Bridges" and it has been echoing in my mind for weeks now.  I had to vote for The Other Years in this match-up.

        Then there was this comment from BOTB founder and mentor Stephen T. McCarthy:

     This is going to seem mean but... I'm being honest:
While watching the video of the female duo, I just couldn't shake from my mind the mental image of that boy in the "dueling banjos" scene from the movie 'Deliverance'. Uhm... is that singer his daughter? Sister? Mother? Kissing cousin?

     To which I replied:

STMcC, funny you should say this about Deliverance. In the PBS show I watched, the blond to whom you refer actually plays banjo much of the time and your connection was the first thing that struck me. I think she's kind of like the cute sister of the Deliverance guy--or the daughter.

      If you're not familiar with Deliverance and the Banjo Boy, here are some comparatives:so you can decide for yourself if you agree:

Banjo Boy
Billy Redden "Banjo Boy" from Deliverance
        (If you're missing the reference then you can watch the clip from the movie here)

          More songs from The Other Years featuring Heather Summers on banjo:


        I do see some resemblance, but I also think Heather is beautiful in her appearance as well as her musicality.  Keep on playing your wonderful music, Heather Summers.

Final Vote Tally

The Other Years          5 votes

Gaz Brookfield           8 votes

Next Battle on Saturday August 1

         Maybe I'll have more to say on that day or maybe nothing but music...