Last night, I arrived at “Chateau Fairmonte”, which is a nickname for the home of Kevin “Hotwheels” McGregor, given to the place by his wife.
While I was there I recorded an interview with him.
During the interview, McGregor mentioned that he had read the blog. He said that while he agreed with most of the content, he disagreed that there were every any competition between him and Aaron “Ump” McCollum for power in the band, and I may have misinterpreted the dynamic of their relationship.
As writer Harry Crews once said in an interview, “The only world I know is the one I see.”
Yesterday, I briefly entertained some remorse for posting about my assessment of our inter-band family dysfunction, but one must remember: Without tension, conflict, drama, and chaos, you don’t really have a story to tell. I have no desire to gloss over the issues, or forget that they ever happened.
“No man can walk out on his own story.”
-The Spirit of the West, in the movie Rango.
- Went hiking with Frank & Sharon Labor, the husband and wife bandmates in Labor Party and Battered Suitcases, at the Dreamy Draw Park hiking trail. 1.25 miles.
- Brunch at Aunt Chilada’s in Phoenix. Mexican Eggs Benedict with Spicy Bloody Mary. It was okay. Not great.
- Visit to Mike Bolenbach at Fullwell Studio near the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Mike was the recording studio engineer for all albums made by The Earps, and also mastered the EP released by my Kentucky country/rock band Moonshine Millionaires. His most famous client: Alice Cooper. Approximately 45 minutes of catching up on his newest equipment, took a guided tour of his living room, with its antique analog tape machines, and met his two assistant engineers.
Artic breath coils the mountain,
Rattling the forest’s bones.
Raindrops cling to branches:
Jewelled adornment flung to Earth.
A key message in Taoism is that one must live in harmony with nature, instead of fighting to have power over nature, which is an American thing. Today, Deng Ming-Dao discusses how trees lose their leaves in the winter, enduring storms, but standing through the winter to become adorned with the beauty that spring brings to them. Like the trees, we should stay true to our inner nature. As he says, “It is with this power that they withstand both the vicissitudes and adornment of life, for neither bad fortune nor good fortune will alter what they are.”
As a veteran of several consecutive volatile relationships with bad endings and one who has suffered losses in career and finances, like just about everyone else, the message I took away from the book today is that winter ends, things get good again, then winter comes back, and so on. Whether good things, or bad things are happening doesn’t change your inner nature.
“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying God. It ‘consents,’ so to speak, to God’s creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.”
-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
Some Exercises in Stoic Thinking:
Yesterday, I ended the blog post with a Ryan Holiday quote consisting of questions to ask yourself for the sake of self knowledge.
Have you taken the time to get clarity about who you are and what you stand for? Or are you too busy chasing unimportant things, mimicking the wrong influences, and following disappointing or unfulfilling or nonexistent paths?
Unimportant things I have chased:
- The pursuit of pointless entertainment to escape from boredom.
- Watching too much television.
- Engaging in political debates on social media.
Mimicking the wrong influences:
- Living the hard drinking lifestyle associated with rock n roll.
- Getting involved in endeavors that are not a good fit for me just to get approval from someone else.
- Taking and using bad advice.
- A few bands I’ve been really excited about being involved in have failed.
- Most of my day jobs have been disappointing paths. Dead end. Low pay. Hostile work environments.
- Taking band gigs where I didn’t like the material, the band wasn’t good, or staying in bands long after it was pointless to continue and I should have started something new instead.
- Call center jobs.
- Didn’t pursue my writing aspirations like I feel I should have.
- Should have kept journals and I didn’t.
- Didn’t develop career skills and education.
Tomorrow, I fly home from Phoenix.
Today, I realized that while I live an isolated existence in rural Kentucky with few neighbors or friends, I was, or am, somebody in Phoenix. This is neither bad or good. You can choose your perspective of any situation. You can choose to call it “loneliness” or “solitude”.
I choose to call it solitude.
See ya tomorrow.
Theirs is the forbearance of being true to their inner natures. It is with this power that they withstand both the vicissitudes and adornment of life, for neither bad fortune nor good fortune will alter what they are. We should be the same way . We may have great fortune or bad, but we should patiently bear both. No matter what , we must always be true to our inner selves.