A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cherry River (Soundtrack of My Life)

Have you ever searched for something only to find it when you weren't looking for it?

       This post is a continuation of sorts from my previous post so you might want to start there if you didn't read it--it's short.   The following post will likely be short as well.

Cherry River

        In 1975 I ran away with the circus--or actually it was a stage magic show.  That would be my lifestyle for the most part for the next 15 years.  There were a few diversionary periods that involved a first marriage, having a kid, getting divorced, being depressed for a while, meeting a new woman and getting married again and having three more kids.  Throughout it all I was working on first a magic show and then a theatrical stage production for over a decade.

        That's not this story though since what I'll be relating is not so much a story as it has to do with the incidents that are interspersed throughout our lives, how we feel about our life incidents, and how they can affect us later.  And maybe in the end what I'll be telling will only appear to relate to any of these things other than only the most remote ways.   An impressionistic memoir perhaps?  Or merely thoughts passing from my mind's memory to your computer screen.

          Spending so much time on the road meant my record collection sat at my parents' house gathering dust.   Now I would be spending much of my time in my vehicle or in motel rooms.  The music medium of choice during this period was no longer vinyl, but now it was cassette tape.  Hours were often passed on the road so that meant I was continually building a cassette tape collection.  If there was time that needed to be killed in towns that were new to me then I mass murdered minutes in record stores wherever I happened to be.  

          I would peruse the cassette bins searching for albums that I might have recently read about or for new releases by old favorite artists.   Sometimes when I'd get to the G section I might think about my old favorite group The Good Rats with little expectancy of actually finding anything by the group.  I was certain that they had disbanded, but it never hurt to look anyway.

           Another record store section I always checked out was the cut out bins.  Since many of my favorite vinyl albums had been discovered in the cut-outs, I was always ready for a bargain price spent on some new-to-me discovery or some old favorite that I was happy to add to my tape collection.   Typically I would come away from my searches with a few selections to while away future travelling time.  Besides, I always had money to blow when I was working on the road.  To me, new music seemed vital to my sanity in a sense.

          It was in 1985 I think it was and, if I remember correctly, I was in Louisiana--Lafayette I believe--when in a mall music store cut-out cassette bin I found a treasure trove that I had never expected to find.  There were something like five different Good Rats releases from 1975 until more recent dates.  I was elated with my find and bought them all along with some other interesting albums.   Upon later listening I discovered that The Good Rats were even better than that first vinyl album by them that I had purchased in the University of Tennessee student center bookstore.  Now The Good Rats were officially one of my number one favorite rock and roll groups.

         The first cassette that I listened to was the 1979 release Birth Comes to Us All.   The song that really hit me and stuck with me was "Cherry River"--a song that in some strange way tapped into everything my road life represented to me.   It's a druggie song from the way I interpret it, but in the more metaphorical sense the song symbolized the hypnotic effect of constant travel and my continual quest for the next perfect experience.   I could especially relate to the image of driving outside of Butte, Montana listening to Johnnie Ray.   Not that I had any Johnnie Ray cassettes, but I had plenty of music that represented all eras of recorded music and beyond back into the eras of classical music.  A Johnnie Ray cassette could have easily fit into my eclectic collection.

         Listening to Johnnie Ray at night on a winding road outside of someplace like Butte, Montana epitomized so much of road life.  Sometimes weary after having put many miles behind us, waiting to get to the next motel or wherever we were heading at the time.  In retrospect it all does seem like some kind of crazy drug-induced dream experience.  So much remembered with even more forgotten. They were the good years, or some of the best at least.  Or maybe they were just vastly different and strange in a life that has been mostly good.

        I can't complain.  I feel as though at some time--or times--in my past I have drunk deeply from the Cherry River of imagination and reality and memory and contemplation of more miles to one day be traveled.  I want more.   More than I can ever drink in one lifetime.  More than any life can hold.  The river of experience and life is worth the search that it takes to find it.

          Have you ever searched for something for a long, long time and then found it later on when you weren't even looking for it?     What is one big experience that you would like to relive?   What one thing that you haven't done yet are you still looking forward to doing eventually?

In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series.    Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now.   I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Anybody Got the Time (Soundtrack of My Life)

        Once spent, time is a commodity that can never be replaced.  I've squandered more than a few precious hours in my life with television or other similarly idle pursuits.  Agreed that rest and relaxation are important--a necessity--to each of us so I won't condemn all the idle time that I've spent.   Still though, I could have done better in the past.  And likely I will waste more time in the future.  That's the nature of life for most of us.

Anybody Got the Time

          In the fall of 1969 I entered college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville as a shy young man after having spent the previous twelve years as a shy guy in public schools.  I always had friends so I can't necessarily say that I was lonely even though I spent a lot of time being alone--that was often by choice.  After entering puberty the one thing that I probably wanted most was a girlfriend.

         Being in college didn't change my love life to much extent and any dating that I did do had no relationship to anyone I knew at the university.   Since I didn't live on campus, but instead still lived at home with my parents, it was almost as though I lived two separate lives--one in the daytime as a student and one in the evenings with my friends, most of whom were not going to school or not going to school where I was going.

         My friends at the university were not many and at such a large school as I was attending it was very rare that I even saw anyone that I knew as a friend during the daytime hours.  I might see some of them on the hour-long ride to and from school where we might engage in conversation, but those were for the most part bus friends whom I rarely encountered in any other setting.   To put it plainly, I had essentially no social life at college.

          However this is not the real story that I wanted to tell here.   What I wanted to tell about is how I spent my free time during the school day when I wasn't in class.  I spent a lot of time in the undergraduate library reading books and magazines or occasionally studying or listening to music.  I was especially passionate about music during those years.  When I wasn't listening to music I was looking for new music that I could buy or plan on buying at some later time.  My wish list was long, but money for music was not in great abundance.

         The library was free.  Spending time there was well within my monetary budget while time spent there studying was better than time spent watching television and the passing parade of people at the student center.  My hours at the library were a cerebral adventure especially when I got sidetracked exploring things that were interesting to me.

        For example in early 1970 I found a classical music magazine on the shelves.  What drew me to that magazine is unclear since I was neither an audiophile nor a buyer of new releases in classical music.  I did buy a fair amount of classical music albums, but they tended to be older releases I found in the cut-out bins.  Whatever it was that made me pick up this magazine, I began to read through it and discovered a section where rock and pop albums were being reviewed for the first time.  I suppose they were trying to expand their readership.  Unsuccessfully I would guess judging from their odd album picks--in other words, unknown artists that would probably never get mentioned in the mainstream rock music magazines.

         One album review that caught my eyes was the debut album by a New York group called the Good Rats.  I immediately recalled having seen this album in the record section of the university center book store--a place where I spent a good amount of free time.  The album sounded interesting enough for me to actually go to the book store and spring for the full price of a new album.  After I took the album home and gave it a listen I was pleased that I had gotten it.  Perhaps the album wasn't the most unique music in my collection, but it held a place in my heart.  Maybe it was because I read about the album in that classical music magazine at the library.

           The magazine had taken a chance on reviewing a genre other than classical and jazz so I had taken a chance on purchasing an album based on that review.   Over the next few years the album received many spins on my turntable.  Even if none of my friends seemed to notice the album, I liked it and that was what mattered most to me.

           For a while I watched the record bins for a new Good Rats album release, but I never ran across any more after that first one.  Eventually I stopped thinking about the group.    When I happen to see the first album in my collection I'd ponder whatever happened to the group, but I figured they had disbanded and faded away.

            That was until years later...

 (to be continued next week...)

        In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series.    Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now.   I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween Memories (from Tossing It Out)

The following post originally appeared at Tossing It Out on October 29th, 2009...

Halloween Memories

Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        Halloween undoubtedly evokes many different memories for different people. Some of you may have special memories from your own childhood or perhaps memories from when your own children celebrated Halloween. Maybe there is a special person or place that you will think of when you think of Halloween. Today I'm going to share some of my memories.

        The most recent memories certainly have to do with my previous job managing a warehouse for a Halloween wholesale distributor that this year closed the regional operation where I was located. Having been there for nearly 20 years, it felt like home to me. When my daughters were young, I would pick them up from school and sometimes bring them to the warehouse. Once they had finished their homework I would let them pull orders. It was like a game to them and they enjoyed it. But it was also training. When they were in high school they all were on the payroll at one time or another and were my most valuable employees. I enjoyed working with my daughters.

        Later, after my daughters moved away, the company started downsizing partly due to heightened efficiency but also due to diminished business at our location. But we were still busy at Halloween. Often leaving the house well before sunrise, I would stop by a 24 hour donut shop for some pastries and a large coffee and go to my office to prepare things for when the employees would arrive. I particularly liked that peaceful time of solitude, having my coffee and donuts and organizing the orders. When I finished the prep work, then I would usually go back into the frigid warehouse and pull several orders to get the packers started when they arrived. Alone in a big empty warehouse for me is a special time for thought and introspection.

        In the last few days before Halloween, work would slow down for the distributers like us. This is when the retail stores kick into high gear. We would have special orders to be shipped by air-- 3 day, 2 day, and then next day. We might have a few local last minute pick ups. But mostly it was time to wind down, reorganize the warehouse, and come to work later and go home at the regular time. When Halloween came it was like a holiday for us. I'd treat my employees to a pizza party and Halloween goodies and let everyone leave early. Then I would leave early so I could get ready for the trick-or-treaters.

      One memorable Halloween was in 1979. My wife, two year old son and I were touring with a stage production at the time. On tour with us was one of my good friends, his wife and their daughter who was about to turn three. We were not performing that night -- Halloween was typically not a good night for the show--and travelling a goodly distance that day from someplace in Texas to Lafayette, LA. As it started to get dark we decided to pull into the next town we came to along I-10 and take the kids trick-or-treating. The town was a quaint place called Jennings, LA. We stopped in the parking lot of a small shopping center and dressed the kids in makeshift costumes. We then drove to a fine neighborhood of older stately homes. We took our children door to door to give them their first experience with trick-or-treat. I don't think they really understood what was going on, but it didn't take long for them to get caught up in the spirit of the event. After we had completed our round of the street where we had stopped, we got back into the van and continued on to Lafayette to our motel. I'm sure that neither of our kids remember that night, but for me it was kind of special to drop into a place where I had never been before and feel like we were part of the community just as though we were back home.

       And home is what I really think of when I think of Halloween now. Aside from the years when I was on the road at Halloween, most Halloween nights I have been at home. In the parts of the U.S. where the air has started turning cooler and night comes sooner, Halloween has a special feel that means another year is drawing closer to an end. The autumn palette of changing leaves, big orange pumpkins ready for carving, and the smell of wood fires and leaves burning evokes a certain sadness that will soon be replaced by the warmth and excitement of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween, like all of the holidays, has lost much of the old fashioned simplicity and has become industrial, has become big business. It may be good for the economic climate so far as business goes, but not so much for the economy of the heart and soul. Sometimes it seems as we become more wealthy in what we own, we become poorer in who we are.

       Make the best of what you have. And have a good time.

       What are you going to do this Halloween? What are you going to be?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Yard Work I Never Had to Do

         It's time for the leaves to change though here in California you wouldn't notice much.

English: Roller at Cockington A lawn roller le...
 Roller at Cockington A lawn roller leans against an oak tree at the side of 49773. Keywords: Cockington Court, autumn leaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        In my lifetime I've put many a mile behind me while pushing a lawnmower.  We had a huge lawn when we lived in Tennessee and since I was a teenager when we moved there, the job of mowing that lawn fell upon me.   After I moved away from home my parents bought a riding lawnmower, but I guess they figured that since I was young and healthy I would be just fine pushing a lawnmower for a few hours on a hot summer day.   That story changed when they didn't have me to push the mower.  I'm not sure why my younger brothers didn't have to push a mower, but apparently my father ended up mowing much of the time and that was enough to inspire him to buy a riding mower.

          One job that I never had to do was rake leaves.  There weren't any leaves back then in the late sixties and early seventies when I was living there.  In the years after I moved away the trees in the yard grew bigger.  Hence in fall there were leaves on the ground and somebody must have had to rake them up.   Since I've rarely been in Tennessee during the fall since I left my parents' house, I haven't seen much in the way of fallen leaves.

            That is until late fall of 2014 after my mother died.   I stayed at my mother's house for a while in order to help get affairs settled.  As a matter of fact I was there nearly a month in November and December.  Since the young man who cut grass during the summer when the grass was growing didn't come during the winter, someone need to rake up the leaves that had accumulated in the yard. There was a leaf blower at the house, but I couldn't get it to work.  So I found a rake and began raking.  In that large yard raking was a formidable task.

             I raked once while I was there and because it was so late in fall and there were no more leaves in the trees to fall onto the ground, that was the one and only time I had to rake.  Raking was easier than pushing the mower on a hot day.  Still I'm glad that I didn't have to do any raking back then.  I would have done it if I had been given the chore, but thankfully the chore didn't exist when I lived there.

            Let's face it--I'm not a fan of yard work.  Even now I have somebody come over to cut my lawn where I live now.  Not that it's a big job--our lawn is about the same size as our living room and that's not especially big.  Our lawn guy has a blower and all the other lawn care tools to keep a well-manicured lawn for us.   I don't need to buy tools or exert any effort.   A few bucks twice a month is worth it to me.

            Mowing the lawn when I lived with my parents was fine.  It not only didn't kill me, it was also good exercise and a time to escape into my own mind while I walked in circles for a few hours.  Mowing was my job after all.   Raking leaves was the yard work I never had to do.

            What kinds of household chores did you have to do when you were younger?  Do you currently have a yard that you keep up yourself?     Have you ever jumped into a pile of leaves?


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Of Footballs and Falling Leaves

Front of a yellow school bus.
Front of a yellow school bus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        After summer is abruptly interrupted by the start of another school year, an almost imperceptible change occurs as students go to classes and daylight hours grow too short for lingering outside.   Besides, there is homework to be done and the new television season to sample.  Tree leaves turn from green to a myriad splash of yellows, reds, oranges, and eventually, brown.  Another summer gone as fall signals the end of another year.

         But first comes football season.   As in small towns all across America, Everett High School in Maryville, Tennessee is all about football.   The cheerleaders lead the student body in pep rallies during home room period.  It's all about the game on Friday night for most of the students.  Well, except for the non-sports-minded students like me.  I never got into football or any sports for that matter.  It just wasn't my thing.

          My sister thought that I should go to the games and become more involved.  Maybe find a girlfriend.  I would have liked that too, but going to the football game didn't seem like the way that I would have wanted to do it.

          When we hear that there is an away game scheduled in Cleveland, Tennessee some 80 miles away, I figure maybe this would be a time to go to a game.  I've got a friend living in Cleveland whom I can meet up with.  I call to make arrangements to meet up with him.  He's glad to hear this and so am I.  Secretly I'm hoping to see a girl who I had met over the summer when I stayed in Cleveland for a couple of weeks with my friend.

           On the Friday of the game, my sister and I are dropped off at the school by my mother in order to join the others who will be taking the bus ride to Cleveland.   It's one of the yellow school buses that take students to and from school every day.  Now a caravan of yellow buses will be taking a small army of Everett High students to the rival team's field.

          There's not much I can remember about the night other than I met up with my friend.  There was a crispness in the air with a faint smell of burning leaves wafting about.  An enticing aroma of popcorn and hot dogs emanated from  the refreshment stand.  We get snacks and hang out around the bleachers.  I hardly watch the game and neither does my friend since like me he doesn't seem to be much into football.  Maybe that's why we feel a kinship.  After the game we said our good-byes and parted ways.

        It's a lonely bus ride home.  I don't really have any friends who have gone to the game.  I sit by the window gazing out at the darkened landscape passing by.  I didn't see the girl I had hoped I would see at the game.  And truth be told I hadn't really expected to see her.  She probably had no idea that she'd even met me back in the summer.

        My mind starts wandering as I wish I had a girl to sit with on the bus ride home.  As I often do when I'm lost in my own thoughts, I begin composing a song in my head and my imaginary voice begins to sing,  "It's so lonely in the back of the bus."  That's the only line in the song for now but I sing it over and over in my head.  Not a bad song I think to myself.

          I don't remember much more about that night except that song which I can still sing those repeated lines, "It's so lonely in the back of the bus...It's so lonely in the back of the bus."  In fact that's the only football game I remember going to.  Never a home game.  No more football games after that.

         Did you go to the sporting events at your school?   Did you ever ride the bus to the away games?    What is your favorite fall high school memory?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

School Days

English: A pic i took during my last days at s...
A pic i took during my last days at school (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         When September comes I invariably think about school.  It's not just the store back-to-school specials or seeing the kids hitting the sidewalks with their backpacks or even my teacher wife returning to work after her summer vacation.   After all I spent a goodly part of my first 18 years attending school.  The cycle of years has ingrained that innate sense of the school season arriving.

         Now September seems to fly faster than I can grasp, like a playground merry-go-round that is revolving in child time leaving an older less agile me unable to jump onto it.   These days I am more content to watch the darn thing spinning than actually ride.  Still, ride I do.   My mind and body feel slower but the time keeps getting ahead of me just dragging me along with it.

          But when I was a child and then later a teen, September seemed like a thousand months.  At least while the month was passing.    There was so much to do and so much to absorb.  New faces in the classroom, some who might become friends.   New teachers and new curricula.  Homework and tests.  In high school there were the football games that I never attended but was well aware were going on because everyone else seemed interested and the evidence was everywhere in the hallways and around the campus.    Days grew shorter and nights became cooler.

           Soon September was over and I had adapted into the routine of another school year.  With the arrival of fall came the burst of color of the turning leaves.   November was on its way and that heralded the coming of Christmas with another long vacation.   Still, before we allow October to get away there is one more thing that was especially important in my life during grade school...

            Halloween was coming!

            And now with September nearly gone, once again I'm about to arrive at October.  This year, as in the past seven years, Halloween doesn't mean that much to me.  Oh sure, there are the advertisements about seasonal costume shops popping up here and there.   There are the special candy displays in the stores.   I've been seeing Halloween decorations in various yards and business establishments.  None of it matters now--not like it once did...

...to be continued

           Do you still associate September with the start of school?    What was your favorite time of  the school season?    How involved were you in school activities?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

January 23-30, 1978 (Soundtrack of My Life)

       It's often said that life is strange, but compared to what?

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory (1931...
Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory (1931), Museum of Modern Art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       Time can be a very precise measurement of the present, but it is often inaccurate when looking at the past.   Memories can meld together or get placed out of chronological order.  The memory can be an unreliable narrator regarding past events as it conveniently discards the unpleasant while exaggerating the importance of relatively insignificant events.   In the following post I question my memory in regards to a song that is among my favorites.

         In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series. Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now. I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info. For my current back to the past post, I'm using the song "January 23-30, 1978" by Steve Forbert as my inspiration. If you like you can listen as you read the story that follows...

"January 23-30, 1978"

          What seems to be a somewhat odd title for a song actually is a time period described by the narrator of a song story by Steve Forbert.   While this date range can fit easily into my own life, there is no special significance to my knowledge that would be applicable in my personal history.  During that January week in 1978 I was getting ready to set out on tour with The World of Fantasy Players with my wife and our six month old baby.  I would have celebrated my birthday sometime that week since it comes on January 30th, but I can't recall any special thing that happened in connection with that event.

         But it's not anything about the song title that impacts me--it's the content of the lyrics, the events Forbert describes.   This song seems so akin to my own life experience that the story told within those lyrics touches the heart of my memory and reminds me of things that I too have lived through.  With a few changes this could be my song--a snippet of my own life history.  I am stirred within each time I hear this song as it has become part of my own life soundtrack.

         After I'd essentially moved away from my hometown in Tennessee to run away with a magic show in 1975, my visits home became fewer as time went on and my show biz life meant more time on the road away from home.  As each year passed I became less close to my old circle of friends thus less aware of what their lives were like.  Old friends were getting married, starting families, and embarking upon careers or other endeavors.  When I would go back to stay with my parents for short visits I would try to hang out with friends and catch up with their lives.  The fact was though that we were growing apart, they in their small town world and me traipsing about the country.

          Now some nearly 40 years later my memory is faulty about when I first heard the Forbert song.  Somehow I came to associate first noticing this song in early 1980 when I was separated from my wife and staying with my parents in Tennessee.  I had taken a job driving for the limousine shuttle service at the Knoxville Airport.  My shift started early so I would drive to work at about 4 AM.

            In my hazy memory I seem to recall driving through Alcoa, the town where the airport is located, early one icy cold morning and listening to my cassette copy of Steve Forbert's Jackrabbit Slim album.  When "January 23-30, 1978" came on the lyrics really hit me as describing how my visits home had started to feel.   I got a sense that soon I would be gone to another town and living a life far away from my home that held so many fond memories for me.

          However, thinking back I'm not sure I had that cassette copy until a few years after the date that stood in my memory.  Perhaps my listening to this song driving through Alcoa early one morning reminded me of driving to my airport limousine job and all of the other events of my life.   Maybe it was another visit.   It's kind of crazy how mixed up my memory is about this minor incident in my life.  From the standpoint of the scope of my entire life, hearing this song at some specific but some unknown time shouldn't have meant that much and yet that drive and that song at that moment vividly stands out in my memory.

        I'm reminded of that famous Salvador Dali painting "Persistence of Memory"--you know the one with the melting watches on the surreal landscape.  That depiction of time flowing and melding into the wholeness of everything is symbolic of the fluidity of all that I've been and where I've ended up in my life, a life where the past is not perfectly cataloged.  Not my life at least.  My mind seems to pick out certain things to remember even if they are not in the correct order.

        It doesn't really matter that much I suppose.   I understand what memory is telling me.   And yet I could be misinterpreting things as a matter of convenience.  

         What I do know is this:  There was a time when I was younger, when responsibility was a debate that I held within myself and consequences primarily affected only me.  We were all young, my friends and I, and then we moved on to other things and other people and other lives.  In other words we grew up--or pretended to.  

           Rarely do we capture the magic of the past in our tangible everyday lives.  Oh, sometimes we might get together with old friends for a few fleeting hours and everything seems as it once was.   Most of the past is only accessible by memory.  The memory might be spurred by a song such as this song from my own life soundtrack.  A song that might mean little to someone else, but something vast, strange, and maybe even unknowable to my mind.    A mystery that is really no mystery at all when I think about it, but a mystery nonetheless.

           Do you have a song that is attached to a memory so strongly that it haunts you when you hear it?    Did you drift away from most of your old friends from youth?    Do you have a disconnect with certain memories where you are no longer certain of when exactly they occurred?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Back on the Job

Arlee at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park
(summer of 2015)

         The bad thing about vacations is that they have to end.  But of course if they never ended then they wouldn't be vacations anymore would they?   I'll admit that as our trip was coming to a close I was looking forward to getting back home and back to my usual schedule.  Now that I've had a few weeks back on the job of being at home I'm dreaming about vacation travel again.

          When I was still in school, the end of summer was looked upon with some sadness mixed with the anticipation of entering a new school year.  It was a cycle I came to expect year after year:  Go to school for a few months--with a few nice vacation days during the school year--then be off for the summer.   Things changed once I was in college as I had to work through the summer to pay the rest of the year's schooling.   I still found time to work a lot and have fun nearly every evening.   Who needed sleep back then?   I was in my early 20's and filled with much more energy and stamina than I have now.  

          During a decade of my work years I was fortunate in being able to manage a touring show and be able to have my wife and kids along for the year long tour.  It was a grand life where it was almost like being on vacation and working at the same time.  We were getting paid to travel and had a job that was fun.  This was a dream come true as far as I was concerned.

            Even after I settled down and started a stationary job with somewhat regular work hours, I still was given opportunities to travel.   The travel wasn't like the kind of vacation most people think of, but the trips were treks to visit family.  That's the way it's always been for me.  We try to do a few touristy type of things which makes the trips more vacation-like, but the real mission is to be with our loved ones.

             Maybe one day our circumstance will change.  Perhaps if we lived closer to family we could actually take vacations to destination places rather than going to be with people.  Then again, I don't know whether people we want to spend time with will ever totally be out of the equation.  Relationships are important to maintain if we can manage to do so.

             Did you go on a vacation this past summer?   Are your travel destinations where people you know are or are they more based on place?      What is your dream vacation?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Vacation Time!

         Since I'm on vacation for a few weeks, my plan is to limit my blogging to some extent.   There will be a few posts at Tossing It Out, but on Wrote By Rote I'll likely go dormant until I return home.

         Of course if I really have something big to say or am finding that I have more time for blogging than I had expected, then I might post here and there on this blog.  Don't count on it though.   When I'm not driving for extended periods I'll be enjoying time with my family members.

          Whatever the case may be, have a wonderful summer.    You can expect me back here probably on August 20th or so.  See you then--or whenever I get an urge to post on this site.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Candy Apply Red (Soundtrack of my Life)

          Oh, to be a kid again!  Though that would present the other challenges of adolescence and adulthood.   Would I really want to live my life over again?   Perhaps if I could edit out all the bad parts and just leave in the good.  But then what kind of life would that be?   I've had a pretty darn great life as far as I'm concerned so maybe those bad parts were necessary to appreciate the good parts.  Still, it's fun to think back on the good times.

         In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series. Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now. I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.  For my current back to the past post, I'm using the song "Candy Apple Red" by Robbin Thompson as my inspiration.  If you like you can listen as you read the story that follows...

Candy Apple Red

        When my family moved from San Diego, California to Crown Point in the northwestern corner of Indiana, I was just entering junior high as they called it back then.  Going into seventh grade was a huge transition as now instead of one teacher all day as we had in elementary school, now we had a teacher for each class and we would move around from room to room throughout the day.  It was almost like being in high school except that we were still like little kids in many ways.  I guess that's why they called it junior high school.   We were kids getting ready for those last few years before graduation and then on to college or whatever life was holding in store for us.

         The biggest change about moving to Indiana was the weather.  In San Diego the year round moderate weather made being outdoors a kid lifestyle.   So much time was spent riding bikes, playing games, prowling the neighborhoods, and roaming the still wild canyons that surrounded our neighborhoods.   Maybe there was some kind of law that said that kids had to spend at least eight hours a day outdoors--well it might have seemed like it, but perhaps it was just a natural law.  Not often did I as a kid want to stay cooped up in the house all day when there were so many amazing things to do outside.

          Of course I had my indoor activities that I liked to do sometimes.   We played cards and board games.  We might amuse ourselves making prank phones calls.  It seemed like I watched several movies on television each week in addition to some of my favorite programs.   I spent hours reading--I loved to read back then perhaps more so than I do now.  And there was my stamp collection.  My sister, some friends, and I all collected stamps and that activity could keep us entertained for hours.  Looking back on everything we did back then I'm thinking that days must have been longer back then.  I don't think the Earth was spinning more slowly, but I guess a kid's perception of time sees minutes, hours, and days from a far different perspective than an adult does.

         The relocation to Crown Point didn't alter my desire to be outside and about my environment, but sometimes the weather curtailed such activities.  Those heavy northern Indiana snows were fun to play in for a while, but after a while the cold would become unbearable causing us to seek the warmth and comfort of indoors.  Books, games, stamp collections, and television were still on the agenda,  Then came another interest for me--model building.

          Being older I could do certain things better like reading and following instructions and being more intricately creative.  I was ready to take on the challenge of those boxed models I would find in the variety store.  Initially I was drawn by the allure of the classic monster models made by Aurora.  The selection was limited so soon I had them all.  I had done a pretty decent job assembling and painting these models and displayed them proudly throughout my bedroom.  Eventually I was ready to move on with other model kits, starting first with inexpensive simple airplanes and ships.  Then came car models.

           Those car models presented a very different and new challenge for me.   They were detailed and far more complex than the other models that I had been building.  I began buying car model magazines for tips on creating better models and inspiration.  Actually in the long run those magazines probably discouraged more than inspired me.  Those professional and more experienced builders apparently had not only far more knowledge than I had, but also far greater patience.

           I was particularly impressed and envious of the paint jobs on those car models shown in the magazines.  These builders were putting on multiple coats of paints and coats and buffing them and treating them until they came out with glossy sheens.    My paint jobs were so much less perfect with streaks, bubbles, and, well, to put it bluntly--sloppiness.   I make it sound horrible I suppose.  Actually some of my finished products did look pretty nice and I was proud of them.  At least proud enough to display them in my bedroom.

           None of my work would have won awards at car model shows.  Not like the car models in the magazines.  I was an amateur at building car models and so I remained during my short career as a car model builder.    After a couple of years having those models on display some fiendish impulse within me caused me to burn all of those models to which I devoted so much time and care.   Watching them burn, melt, and vanish into toxic residue fascinated me much to my dismay years later.   I would have liked to have had them after I reached adulthood, but then again it just would have been more stuff for me to store or move like so much other stuff that I have now.

         What were your favorite solitary activities of childhood?   Do you still pursue any of the same interests you had as a  kid?   Did you ever willfully destroy any of the things you owned as a child?...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Friday Night Fights (Soundtrack of my Life)

     Does anyone remember the Friday Night Fights that used to come on television in the 1960's?  Recently there was a network fight broadcast that brought back memories of the old sports series sponsored by Gillette.   There were other events besides fights, but the boxing is what stands out in my memory.  And actually I think for a while the fights on Friday nights was a regular series.  The following post recalls some of the memories stirred by the recent boxing broadcast on television.

     In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series. Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now. I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.   For some background music while you read the post you can listen to this Boston Pops recording of "Look Sharp, Be Sharp" which was the theme song used by Gillette.

Friday Night Fights

       Rarely in my lifetime have I taken much of an interest in sports.   Boxing has sometimes had an almost morbid draw for me--I like movies about boxing--but mostly I've tried to avoid this brutal sport.  Not so with my father.   He enjoyed viewing boxing matches.  When one came on the tube and he was watching, the energy and passion he displayed might make you think he was fighting the match himself.

         Actually I used to sometimes get scared when he was watching boxing because he'd be shouting, throwing air punches, and displaying what appeared to be anger.  But he was like this about all sports.  He was more than just a sedentary audience member--he put himself into the action with commentary and physical acts such as jumping out of his chair and pacing in a tight quick circle in the living room.   His head would shake and his jowls would flap as he roared out acclamations of encouragement or yowls of disgust.  You'd think he had some stake in the event, but he was just another armchair spectator among the millions in living rooms across the nation.

         Back then our house wasn't all that big so my mother, sister, and I couldn't help but be witness to my father's sports fan antics.   We could hear him throughout the house and if I didn't stay in the living room for the entire fight, I would at least have to peek in now and then to see what was happening.  Even though my father could be somewhat scary when he was watching sports, he was always a source of curiosity as well as an odd source of entertainment.  I wasn't as interested in the fights as much as I was my father's reactions to whatever was happening.

         From the opening strains of the Gillette theme song to the events that unfurled during an hour or two on that tiny black and white television set in our small living room, Friday Night Fights are a mainstay in my memories of childhood.  As many memories as I have of this, one might think that the fights were on every Friday night, but they weren't.  But when those fights were on, my father was there.   He loved those fights.   My guess is that he might have wished that his son loved watching those fights as much as he did, but I didn't.  However, my dad was plenty of entertainment while the fights were on.  I do remember that.

         Did you have a father or family member who was a huge sports fan?   Was there a sporting event that was always on in your home on a regular basis?     Do you tend to get highly involved when you are watching a sporting event?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Kazoo Man

          When my family lived in San Diego in the early 1960's, each summer we'd go to the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar.  We always got free admission because either our family was performing our juggling act on one of the entertainment stages or my sister was performing with her dance school.  Either way it meant at least one full day at the fair.

           This was a great fair with plenty of entertainment, a plethora of exhibits, savory food, and a noisy fun carnival midway.  It's proximity to the ocean shore made for comforting breezes and the weather in San Diego was usually delightful anyway.  Fair time was a great time for all, but an especially exciting time for any kid.

          Now over fifty years removed from those days, I don't remember too many specifics about the San Diego Fair, but there is one memory that particularly stands out for me--the kazoo pitchman.  I don't remember ever seeing such a pitchman at any other fair before or since, but my search on the internet revealed that the kazoo pitchman was not uncommon to find at fairs and circuses even decades before I saw the one at this fair.  I've seen plenty of sales people hawking kitchen knives, home gadgets, and novel toys at fairs but for me the kazoo pitchman was something completely different.

          Like any pitchman, the Kazoo Man at the San Diego Fair was a slick talker.  But he did more than give a smooth spiel--he was an entertainer.  He put on a good show and the crowds loved it.  Rather than given a booth in an exhibit hall or some corner on the fairgrounds, the Kazoo Man had his own stage at the heart of the fairgrounds.  Everybody had to pass this spot at some point of the day and when one of the Kazoo Man's presentations began to get underway, people stopped and began to crowd around the small stage.

          Recorded music began to play to alert the passing throng that something was about to happen.  People gathered in anticipation.  Then the Kazoo Man stepped on stage to begin his show.  He was a slight looking fellow with an expansive presence that drew everyone in.  A fast talker, he was funny, he was fascinating.   He explained the quirky little device that he never called a "kazoo", but gave a far more interesting name that I don't remember.  Whatever he called the thing, the crowd wanted to know more.  The Kazoo Man gave them more.

         The Kazoo Man made funny noises with the instrument and then he began to play music.  Beautiful wonderful music.   He imitated all sorts of musical instruments with this tiny thing.  One could almost imagine that he was actually playing a violin as he went through the gestures of drawing his invisible bow across unseen strings.  I had to look closely to see that what I heard happening was only a ruse of pantomime.  The sound was all coming from this silvery little thing in the guy's mouth.

         The more the guy spoke his entertaining patter and played his enchanting music, the more the crowd was allured by whatever this guy was pitching.  And then the closer came to the sales pitch.  We too could have this fabulous little instrument that absolutely anyone could play with no training and no extraordinary skill.  For seventy five cents we could have one of these devices or we could have two for a dollar.

           The crowd pressed in with dollars in hand.  The Kazoo Man grabbed dollar bills and dispensed his wares with skilled efficiency.  I convinced my father to let me get a couple of the instruments and I had no problem getting a dollar from him.  He had been equally taken in by the pitch and had no qualms about his son being able to have one of these amazing things.

           When I had my little devices in hand, I gazed upon them with great curiosity.  They were metallic silver round things that looked not unlike the UFO's I'd seen in the science fiction movies I liked to watch.  The instruments looked futuristic and mysterious.  Almost immediately I recognized that they were merely fancy kazoos that functioned in the same way a piece of wax paper wrapped around a comb did.   I had made those comb kazoos myself and understood the principle of how they worked.  You'd hum through it and make weird sounding vibrating music.  But these were special. The Kazoo Man's kazoos were the equivalent of a professional kazoo if there were such a thing.

          I don't know how long I had those kazoos.   I never was able to get quite the same sounds that I had heard the Kazoo Man perform during his sales pitch.   No doubt that I had fun with my kazoos, but there was also some element of disappointment for me.   However, that show put on by the Kazoo Man was the best part.  I'm not sure how many years he was at the fair, but whenever I was there and saw him giving his show I would stop to watch, mesmerized by everything he said and did.   All of us who bought his products were not buying kazoos as much as we were paying for his entertaining performance.  It was something to remember.

Here's a bit of amusing entertainment from a professional kazoo quartet:

        Have you watched pitch artists at events or on television?   What items have you bought from a pitchman?    Were you satisfied with your purchase?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

When the Music Comes Back to Me (Soundtrack of My Life)

        How many songs do we hear in our lifetimes?   Thousands?  Millions?   Each of us probably hears at least one new song per day if we are out and about or listening to some kind of media.  Often we might not even notice, but the songs are there.

         In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series.    Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now.   I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info. If you like you can listen to this version of "Lover, Come Back to Me" while you read the post.

Evocative Music That Haunts Us

         Of all the many songs we hear in our lifetime, some we like, some we don't, and some are basically background noise like an unnoticed soundtrack of a film.   The music is always there even if only in our heads or some faraway place in memory.  Why are humans so drawn to music?  Or more specifically, why do certain songs tap into some distant hidden place within us?

         Even for those who may claim they don't like music, don't pay attention to it, or willingly resist it--what would the world be like without music.   Think, if you will, of a movie without a musical score or television commercials with no trace of music.  Okay, some do exist, but not many.  Think further of a club or a party with absolutely no music--that might be your preference some times, but most people might find this a bit awkward.  Music is a soundtrack to many things.  Even armies march to music.

          Music can affect us in the moment or take us back into our pasts.   Therein lies what is for me a mystery.  Why do certain songs affect us deeply?  Sometimes the melodies haunt us like ghosts, while sometimes they softly brush past us like a soft kiss of a loved one from another time and place.  A sweetness of sound.   A stirring that is as vital as the sound of our own breathing and our hearts beating.   There are times when a song comes back to me and reminds me of something specific or some vague thing that I can't quite recall.

          Recently when I saw the the film Deep in My Heart, I heard a song that I hadn't heard in many years.  "Lover, Come Back to Me" is a tune that I've heard since childhood.   It's a song that has been recorded by many artists.   The melody is the kind that seems melancholy and poignant even though many of the recordings are done in an uptempo jazzy style.   Even with that happier sound, this melody makes me reminiscent and perhaps a tad sentimental.   To me it's just that kind of a melody.   Maybe it is attached to some specific childhood memory or perhaps it merely evokes some undefinable wistfulness that is attached to a time, a place, or even a person.   Or maybe it is just one of those kinds of songs that causes a gentle swell of passing emotion.  There are songs like that for me.

         I wonder if others feel the same way about certain types of melodies.  There is probably no universal melody that moves all of us in the same way.  Undoubtedly some of the feelings brought about by music are generational, cultural, or based on personal experiences.  What works for me might not work for many people or maybe no one else.  Still these types of evocative melodies and songs are part of my life soundtrack.

          If my life were a movie, I'm sure "Lover, Come Back to Me" could work well in a scene or two.   To me it's a beautiful song and I can't explain exactly why.

           What songs move you deeply?    Do you prefer slow songs or faster songs?   Why do you think our memories are stirred by certain songs?

           If you haven't voted on my most recent Battle of the Bands post I hope you will by visiting Tossing It Out.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Marvin's Records

Vinyl record collection at student-run CKMS st...
Vinyl record collection at student-run CKMS station at the University of Waterloo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        From the title of this post one might expect a story about a store called "Marvin's Records."   My dear friend since high school, Marvin, would love to have owned a record store.  He used to talk about it a lot when we were younger and had more time to dream.  His dream even captivated me.  A record store seemed like a great business to run--selling our favorite things while listening to music all day.  What a dream job that would have been!

         As things turned out, neither one of us ever opened a record store or even worked in one.  I went my way which kept me touring with a stage show for years and then later managing a costume supply company.  Marvin worked a series of jobs mostly in manufacturing industries.  He stayed in Tennessee while my destiny landed me in Los Angeles.  We both married and started families and bought houses to settle down in lives a couple thousand miles from each other--literally worlds apart.  But there was one common bond that remained between us--a love for music.

        In high school, as our friendship developed starting in senior math class where we sat next to each other at the back of the classroom, we began to share our common interest in popular music.  We had both begun collecting records, modestly due to financial constraints, and we'd talk about the music we owned and that which we hoped someday to own.

         As the years went by we both started amassing fair sized collections.   There were some albums that were so essential that we both owned copies.  Then there were the many albums found in cut-out bins or purchased according our individual tastes.  The ones that he had that I didn't--and vice versa--we each took a keen interest in.  Still there are albums of his that I remember listening to that I'd like to hear again but they are difficult to find even on YouTube or Amazon.  Mostly those were the cut-out albums.  I had a good collection of vinyl and Marvin had an equally good collection.  We both took good care of our albums.

          Now I've sold most of my collection and kept my absolute favorites which amounts to maybe 100 to 200 albums.  Trying to downsize you know.  The other day when I was talking to Marvin on the phone, I asked about his record collection.  He said he still had all of his old albums, but, like me, didn't listen to them other than on very rare occasions.   Marvin thought he might decide to start selling them on EBay, but wasn't sure. I know the feeling.  It was hard for me to part with so much of my vinyl.  I still think about some of those albums that got sold.  And I think of Marvin's record collection.  So many hours spent with great music listening.

          If there really were a store called Marvin's Records and my friend Marvin owned it, he could just put his old collection in inventory.  Sure, so much music can be downloaded on a computer or other gadgets that the technology of media storage is evolving to the point where maybe someday there won't be stores that sell recorded music.   However the upside is that vinyl has seen a resurgence and record stores have been opening in many places.  Vinyl still has a lot of fans.

           Maybe there is still hope for Marvin's Records.   Ah, what a great job just listening to music all day while you do the work you do in a record store.   It could happen you know.

            Is there a certain type of store that you've long dreamed of opening?   Have you ever or do you now own a store of any kind?     Do you have a collection of something that you might like to turn into cash?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Just Say No--or Not...

English: Decisions, decisions. The road on the...
 Decisions, decisions. The road on the left is the "Glen Road" running down towards Loch Avich.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Some of my biggest lost opportunities came from me saying "no".   I've had some interesting offers in my life--a few that could have resulted in extraordinary outcomes, but not having taken advantage of those opportunities I will never know how they might have turned out.  Of course, my life having taken the course it has I'm in the place I was meant to be, therefore I harbor no regrets on what I've missed.   One thing I have gained a greater awareness of is that when opportunity knocks, I need to pay close attention to what my acceptance can lead to if I answer the call.

        No regrets is the mantra I live by.  After all, what's the point?   What could have been is apparently not what should have been and I have my present life to attest to that.   If I had not declined certain offers or stubbornly resisted others, I would undoubtedly be in a far different place than I am now.   That place might have been a good place--perhaps a better place than I am at this point in my life--or my place in life might not have gone so well.  Maybe I wouldn't even be here today.

         The word "no" can have great power.  Not only does rejecting an offer close a door to an opportunity, but this action can kill a friendship or prevent a new relationship from flourishing.  Those relationships might have amounted to great benefits or they might have been future difficulties averted by that little word "no".

         A tiny negative word such as "no" can be much bigger than one might think. Saying it is diverting ones course in life to the extent that we head into a very different direction that we might have hoped for ourselves or where others might have wanted us to go.    Sometimes we can go back to reconsider our choice.  Second chances can happen, but more often than not they don't.  Instead, we get different chances and new opportunities to set a course by saying "yes".

         I can't go back in my life to change my course and I'll never really know what might have happened if I had accepted some of the opportunities that came my way at the times they presented themselves.   Even if some of those opportunities came to me now at this stage of my life the outcome would not be the same as it might have been the first time they were offered to me.   The past is a haze of what could have been if I had not said "no".   My present is the result of my acceptance or rejection of my past decisions--or in some cases my indecisiveness.

          The future?   None of us can say for sure.  Hopefully any wisdom gained or lessons learned from  having said no, having said yes, or having delayed an answer until it was too late will guide us in coming up with the right responses to the next time we are given a chance to do something.  Life is short when we are at the point of retrospection.   As I head forward, the one thing I never want to say "no" to is life itself.

           Is there an offer in your past that you sometimes wish you would have said "yes" to?     Do you have a difficult time saying "no" even when doing so would be better for you?    What opportunity would you like for someone to offer you?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Turning Point and Best Promotional Advice

  Have you ever considered why you are where you are today?

English: Cactus at Big Bend National Park in T...
Cactus at Big Bend National Park in Texas
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        A recent post at L.Diane Wolfe's blog Spunk on a Stick asked the following:

                         1 - What was your own personal turning point?

                         2 - What’s your best book promotion advice?

       At Diane's site there were so many good answers and stories from these questions with valuable advice to share. I'd encourage you to visit the post if you didn't see it and read through the answers in the post and in the comments. The post inspired me to the point that I decided to answer these questions to use on my own blog post. 

        The context of the questions originally asked in Diane's post were more in relation to writing and publishing, but they can certainly apply to any of us and with anything we have done in our lives.  I have not published anything yet, but I have lived life and done things.   Maybe my answers are something that you the reader can relate to or maybe they will inspire you to even write your own blog post on the subject.

My Turning Point

       Life is so full of twists and turning points that it can be difficult to pick one specific place on my personal timeline and say, "This is the decisive event that changed me in some significant way."    There are numerous milestones in my life journey that caused me to stop to consider which way to go next.  These would certainly include my educational experiences, jobs that I worked, and people whom I met along my way.  Had any one of those moments not happened it would probably have resulted in significant change in all aspects of my life which makes every milestone important in it's own way.

       But let's just examine one major point that inspired me to look at my future in a different way.  Since I had grown up with a love for travel and a desire to work in the entertainment field, these were like magnets drawing my focus to a pin point rather than a meandering attitude of "What am I going to do with my life?"

         The unlikely lodestar which stirred my imagination was Big Bend National Park.  In 1974 after nearly five years of attending college and working to pay my way through that education, I read an article in my hometown newspaper about this remote park in Texas and became very intrigued.  Soon after reading this article, in an ironic convergence of events, a long-time show biz friend of my parents was passing through town and spent a few days with us while he played some school shows in the area.

         This fellow was an 8 millimeter film buff and had many films of the places he'd been in his touring life.  At that time I had been also playing around with film and since he was showing films related to my two great dreams of travel and show business I joined the older folks in the living room watching as the film images were projected on the wall as the man described what we were watching and the lifestyle he had lived.  Most of the films he showed that evening had been shot in West Texas and included footage shot in Big Bend.   Now I was hooked--I had to go there.

          After that everything happened quickly as I look back on it all.  I convinced my best friend to drive his van to Big Bend during his July vacation from work.  The adventure was like throwing gasoline on a fire. Within a year's time, we drove down to Big Bend twice. The following summer I was offered a job with a touring magic show--an opportunity that I pounced on without giving the idea much thought.

          For the next sixteen years I worked as a manager of a touring production and then another eighteen as a manager of a branch of the costume company that owned the show I had managed.  My dreams of travel and show business were essentially fulfilled for a lifetime of interesting adventure and meeting many fascinating people.

           And to think it all started because I wanted to go to Big Bend National Park and went there.

My Best Promotional Advice

        In my blog posts--primarily ones to be found at my other blog Tossing It Out--I've often referred to promotion and marketing.  My philosophy is that everything we do in life is some form of marketing and promotion, if not for some product  or service, we do it for ourselves.   My best advice is to believe in what we want and what we are trying to "sell" (whether it be ourselves or a product or service) and then go for it.  Determination, research, and the right attitude can get us just about anywhere we want to go in life.   However, it's also important to know when to quit or to be willing to change when what we are doing is not working.  Persistence can take us far, but we should never mistake stubbornness for persistence.

Final Thought

       There's always so much inspiration for blog posts to be found everywhere that I don't know how anyone can run out of ideas for posts.  I might run out of time often, but I never run out of ideas, even if it's variations on ideas I've already used.  Other peoples blog posts can be a great jumping off point for your own post on the same or a related topic.  When you leave a substantive comment on someone else's blog post, consider turning that comment into a blog post on your own site and then link back to the post that got you going.

       My post and the one at Spunk on a Stick was inspired by The Thing That Turned Me anthology from Stay Classy Publications which is set to release on June 30.    In this upcoming release, a diverse group of authors, bloggers, speakers and editors has come together to bring you a unique collection of writings:  The Thing that Turned Me,  an anthology revolving around the people, places and things in our lives that ‘turn’ us, or cause us to change in some way.

        Have you ever written a blog post that was inspired by someone else's post? Have you ever thought about turning points in your own life? Is there anything that you are currently trying to promote?