A Word Or Two Among Friends (tf)

I write all the time. Songs. Plays. This blog. I keep a handwritten journal. I scribble notes everywhere. Some of what I come up with is good. Over the last 13 years I’ve released 9 records of self-penned songs.  I’m quite proud of them all. But for every one of the 100 or so songs I’ve put on record, there’s 2 or 3 or 10 I incinerated…..and then buried the ashes so as to not poison the atmosphere with toxins.

I’ve lost track of how many plays I’ve written. I’ve been fortunate to have perhaps 10 of them produced, which is always a thrill. Two are currently out and about right now….playing to an assortment of bemused passers-by and empty chairs. It ain’t Broadway but it’ll do. Sometimes I even get paid. The last royalty check I received I used to buy guitar strings and then me and my daughter spent the rest on a lunch at Burger King.

Some of the plays have been good. Some not so good. What’s clear is that the amount of dramatic drivel I’ve come up with could fill presidential libraries. One must have thick skin in this business. Frequently you’re your own worst critic. I’ve flogged myself mercilessly over the years. I go back over scripts buried in my drawer and plead with myself….”please tell me you didn’t write such ghastly swill!”

The ghastly swill was mine.

I can only be thankful I was and remain bright enough to keep such things in the drawer. They will never get out.

I enjoy writing these little blurbs. No pressure. Stevens choses the topics. I just riff on what he’s already done. We keep things short and punchy and don’t use big words, mostly because we don’t know many. Both of us have read and/or seen  Shakespeare’s works and walked away like we were hit in the skull by the same lead pipe. Stevens likes to torture himself by reading Poe and then complaining that he’s got no idea what the guy is getting at. I avoid this by not reading Poe.

My daily journals would be completely incomprehensible to anybody except me, which is exactly the way I want it in case I die and somebody finds them and wants to read what dirt I’m dishing on my foes. All I can say is good luck and happy deciphering. The pages also contain ideas I’ve had concerning new plays and new songs, some of which make me wonder what I was under the influence of when I jotted them down.  But still, a private journal allows you to be delightfully uncensored and unselfconscious. Some of my best writing is in these little pocket-sized confessionals.

And so it is with words. And being hungry for them. And always searching for that perfect combination to string together….the kind that keeps people interested enough to read the next line. And then the next. And then to the bottom of the page.  And maybe, somehow, someway, the words make a difference to someone, somewhere. If any for the moment it takes to read them.

So this is our little sandbox. It’s where we try to shape the grains into something worthy of not passing by without at least a sideways glance. It’s where me and Stevens can clear our heads and think…..”what 500 words will we choose today? What can we build to stand just long enough until an even bigger wave washes it away?”

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on March 11, 2011.

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