Up in the Bay Area

September 25, 2012

Wednesday Night, Morro Bay campground

 

I am sitting at a campground in the dark. The fellow campers are all in bed. Around me is a symphony of night bugs. Above the celestial bodies are smiling, I am deep in the forest so they shine unimpeded.

 

I have writing withdrawal. For the last three weeks I have been working on the book somewhere between 3 to 5 hours a day, no blog, but plenty of words. I am basically writing a book based on the blog that started in 2010, when I left Vancouver.

 

But today I am half way through a road trip to Santa Cruz, in the Bay area. I have radio shows and live performances from Thursday until Tuesday with Monday off. A Facebook friend organized all this for me. Sight unseen. Seraphim was made aware of my existence via Sam at Go Guitars. He rides motorcycles and was looking to purchase a travel guitar and the connection was kind of obvious. When he realized that I was going to be in the area he organized these shows and now I am on my way there.

 

How I love my bike. Arkadaş, the strong, willful, slightly arrogant but always true hearted. Today we conquered desert highways, mountain roads, all in crippling heat. We mastered switchbacks, sped on massive straightaways. Tomorrow we will see the coast for the first time together. Weird how a machine can mean so much.

The scenery was incredible. At one point the sand hills took my breath away, so amazing. I was trying to find a name for that beige color, beige being way too bland a name to fit what I was seeing. After that “Petroleum Highway.” materialized itself. Yes, a highway that runs between hills crowded with oil rigs. Like giant birds pecking at the ground incessantly. Oh, our thirst for the stuff. Then I was in these rolling hills of gold and gradually more and more trees appeared. It was breathtaking, that was the 58 West. Up 101 for a tiny bit, then West again on the 41 and I landed at this campground. Right now my neighbor in the tent is snoring enthusiastically.

Well, that is it for tonight. I will work on my set lists for the shows coming up and then will lay down, watch the stars until I fall asleep.

 

<<<>>>

 

 

 

Thursday

 

Ouch. My air mattress gave out. I woke up in the middle of the night on the hard surface of the picnic table, the air was mostly gone. I filled it up again, crawled back in the sleeping bag and slept until morning.

 

I woke up as the campground was stirring, smells of bacon and firewood. I opened my eyes and looked to the right and there were my two neighbors just staring at me…

 

“Good morning.” said the woman. They are both just sitting at their table facing my camp site, it was just kind of weird. I grumbled a morning greeting and immediately proceeded to tear up camp and pack the bike. I had slept with my leathers on as it had been quite cold. Within 30 minutes everything was packed, I meditated for about 30 minutes, got up put my helmet on and hit the road.

 

It was a short ride to the ocean, crisp air, winds, beautiful views. Up the coastal highway 1 we went. I had to make it to Felton for about 3 PM. And that meant that I had to be just covering ground, no sight seeing. The coast highway is quite amazing. I had the road to myself for a while and it was glorious. Then got stuck behind various terrified drivers, which made things slow and frustrating as I had to shift constantly between second and third, revving the engine high driving between 25 to 35 MPH. It was tiring.

 

I made it to Santa Cruz, my whole body kind of shimmering from the lack of sleep.

 

The first stop was at KSCO, Santa Cruz, the station has been there for eons, old enough to have seen full big bands broadcast live, there were these old microphones, the scalloped walls for sound. Beautiful spot.

 

Later I had a show at cafe Cuesta in La Honda, a quaint place at the junction of mountain roads very popular with cyclists and motorcyclists.

 

I played a solo show that was incredibly well received. I performed anything and everything from french to english to jazz to rock tunes and everyone was just drinking it in.

 

 

Friday

 

Radio show today at KKUP, in San Jose with David Stafford. It was a really great experience. I find myself really tired from the last two days.

I got a bit of a problem. The Go Guitar is all out of whack. It had received a truss rod adjustment in mid August and gradually it seemed that everything got way out, the intonation is just awful.

 

Seraphim generously offered me to play his Go Guitar which he had ordered to be just like mine. It is a relief as it sounds and plays perfectly. It would otherwise had been a real issue.

 

 

Saturday

 

Forrest is joining me today. We are playing at Neto’s in Santa Clara. The place has a massive stage with lights and all the goodies. We are treated to a meal of Neto’s special sausages.

We had a great show, but there wasn’t much of an audience, but we think that we have good video and photos from our friends who were there, which makes it all worth it as Forrest and I don’t have that sort of footage available and to book shows now most people want to see live video.

 

 

Sunday

 

Early morning radio show. Urgh…. I got about 4 hours of sleep. We get there, get treated with a bit of a dismissive attitude. Oh yeah? I thought… we started to play (all these radio shows are about playing live) and Forrest and I just NAIL IT. Everyone’s jaws were on the floor. Mission accomplished.

Sunday night, show at the Ugly Mug. A cool little coffee shop in Santa Cruz. Again we just put the pedal to the metal and gave everything we had. It was really great. We’re exhausted but we feel good.

 

Monday

 

Day off. I’m so tired, I can barely think. I went to work on the book for a couple of hours. Then we took the Go Guitar to a luthier up the road, he says he can help. I’ll get it back at one tomorrow. Cross your fingers. Then I went to a manicure place. Yeah, I am getting some acrylic nails as I have worn out my natural ones to the flesh, almost to the blood, that is how intense the playing was!

 

We go to this place with a whole group of little Chinese ladies. Interesting experience. I now have a clawed hand, I hope I like the result!

 

Then it was out for dinner and coffee, great conversation as night came.

 

Tomorrow it will be an open mic performance at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Wow, Berkeley California, I had jazz guitar books from Berkeley and who has not heard about the school of music here… If we are lucky, if we play great, if the stars align, maybe we can score an actual booking at this venue.

 

But when it’s all said and done the best stuff is that we are playing again Forrest and I and that the magic is still there. And magic is so very important.

Into the great beyond.

September 7, 2012

haven”t blogged in a while, but I have certainly been writing.

I started on the book. 2 weeks ago I saw it. In my mind, the page layout, the chapters, the book exerpted from this blog,  it called me so I started. I had three days by myself and I was determined to get a significant start and I did.

What a process, go back in time and relive the events, moments, highs and lows. I am now on chapter 8, well if it’s going  that fast it is because everything is basically written an my job is to add what was missing, cut what is not needed and rewrite some bits.

It’s my work right now and I want to get it done.  I feel there is a timeline somewhere in the ether that demands that I work hard at it.  So I do.

Besides that?  The deal with Go Guitars fell through and that was a disappointment. I was really looking forward to represent the company, I really believe in the instrument and I had been preparing for this, learning music and polishing my classical chops to perform on the nylon string Go guitar. That was also a possibility of visa. A way in. Not anymore.

 

So life goes. I’m not upset. Things never are accidental so if this happens then it’s the way it must be.

I stay in the house where my soul sister lived. Sometimes it grabs me powerfully, we always had so much fun.  But it is also a balm to be in her space. She was such an artist and she speaks through all the books, the artwork, the things that she created, chose, all that is here.

 

One day I was looking at the books on the shelves and they called to me.

The first books I read were Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine’s stories. They instantly grabbed me and I read them all in a few days. Those instantly inspired me.  I saw in my mind, the shaping of something that was just on the edge of awareness, something I want to write, a series of poems, images and music, 7 or 8 of them.   I got sketches, I’m working on the poems here and there.

 

Then, another day I looked on the shelves in the living room. This one called me very strongly:

“The Prophet” Khalil Gibran.

 

I had seen that name before. I started to read. Within a few pages I know this is something I must read. This is the words I need. Right now. The words to help me understand Love. Lost love. Pain. Joy. Life and the immense gifts it offers if one is willing to take all of it in, to accept the teachings.

 

 

These days I constantly I find myself astounded, looking around me, feeling the air, seeing the sun, among loving souls, sharing a meal or a something to drink, sharing good words, jokes or the deepest conversations.  I feel I’ve been given jewels.  They are beyond beautiful and sometimes beyond what anyone could imagine, such gifts.

 

 

It’s been otherworldly.

Last week end we had an important errand to run. It was the ascribed day to scatter Melanie’s ashes over the Pacific. It is something I had never done. I wanted to be there, would be honored to be there and yet I had no idea how one does that.

The plan was to get to the beach at sunset.

We drove the 10 towards the ocean. The sun was straight ahead of us. Cars zooming, we are on a mission.

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived at the destination. Found a parking spot, but had no change for the meter. No one would give us change unless we sat and ate a meal in their establishments. I had one quarter. 12 minutes. I was a bit concerned but then realized Ozzy was putting  a spell on the car.

“We’ll be fine.” He said.

“All right.” I replied.

We walk to the pier. There are dums beating, parties getting started, the whole place is full of life. Melanie would have approved.

 

I feel the wind. I wonder how you release ashes without covering yourself with them. In all the movies I ever saw, people end up wearing them.

 

The air is impossibly alive, fresh from the great beyond, out in the  Westward seas. The sound of the crashing waves.   The sky is orange, the ocean is a deep blue with diamond sparkles. Melanie would approve.

 

Quicker than I ever thought possible Ozzy has the ashes taking the push of gravity and heading into the great blue yonder. He figured a way to let them go from underneath the railing. No one is even aware of what is going on. Then the wreath of white flowers and branches was released. We watched.

 

The ashes are visible in the water, making shapes, flower petals float around and the wreath is there, life preserver for the great unknown waters of the afterlife. It was simple. Poetic. Powerful.

 

 

We drove back towards the east. On the left we can see an endless line of plane’s headlights aligning into a ribbon towards LAX as we course the 10. The moon is on our right. The night is gorgeous. The important errand has been accomplished.

All is well.  I could write more, I could say and tell all sorts of things.  But I don’t really know how to express the depth of what is going on right now.  A lot is going on.  To go from lost to found, from turmoil to peace, To  feel the calling of the Gods.  To be touched to the core by life.  To see the unfolding of a greater plan and knowing that much more is to come, that now is a time to prepare and a time for immense gratitude for all that comes my way, all that happened.  There were and there are no accidents.

I am immensely grateful.

 

I am on purpose.  On my path.  The Gods are with me.