After a seemingly interminable series of gray/rainy weekends, things have been gorgeous in Mondoville this weekend, so naturally, I’m in my office gearing up for the coming week. But there’s time for a bit of potpourri along the way, I think.
Because it was so nice yesterday, and because two of my students are on the team, I caught a women’s lacrosse match yesterday at the stadium. (Side note: Mondoville’s colors are scarlet and gray, and our ladies were wearing the latter color yesterday. This led to cheers of “Go, Gray!” I couldn’t help feeling ahead of the game, because I had gone gray years earlier.) The game’s result wasn’t great for us, but it was a lovely afternoon, and I struck up a conversation with the father of one of our players. As it turns out, they happen to be from Maryland (a hotbed for the sport), and we talked a bit about the Spawn’s impending relocation, neighborhoods and towns near campus, and that sort of thing. He also filled me in on some aspects of the game I didn’t understand — the sport is still relatively new down here, and isn’t a part of the local culture in the way that football and baseball are. He said they’d be coming back down in April for their daughter’s Senior Day; maybe I’ll see them again then.
There was a men’s game coming up afterward, but I had other plans, as my beloved Kentucky Wildcats had a second-round game in the NCAA basketball tournament against a school about an hour up the road from Mondoville, the Wofford Terriers. So I planned to hunker down in the den to see if once again, my alma mater’s Evil Empire could send another darling/Cinderella story home, as we’ve done on a number of occasions during my years as a fan.
However, there was a problem. We had scheduled an upgrade to our satellite service, and the technician was supposed to come out and switch boxes — right about game time. So I had to change venues. I remembered a TV in the hallway outside the studio where I make music, so I went over, switched it on, and…
… couldn’t change the channel. There was no remote, and I couldn’t find buttons on the set itself. So I went to plan C, and wound up arriving at the campus snack bar about six minutes into the first half. I bought a snack and a drink and got settled in. A few students trickled through, but I pretty much had the place to myself.
And in fact, a few minutes before 5, the snack bar folks started locking the place up for the evening. There was about a minute-forty left in the game, so I asked if I could stick through the conclusion. No problem, and I was able to watch my Cats play spoiler once again. Fortunately, our next game is on Friday, so I should be back in the den for that one.
And in case yesterday wasn’t good enough, yesterday evening I saw that Lawrence Block had excerpted a bit of my story “Rough Mix”, from the forthcoming At Home in The Dark antho, at his blog. As he has done with the other authors, he offered his readers an introduction to me and to my work. He was very kind, talking about my educational work and my music, but then he said, “Warren’s here because he’s first and foremost a writer.”
Yeah, you can go ahead and put that on my headstone — although I hope not to need it anytime soon.
In the intro to the 1975 edition of his early collection Gentleman Junkie, Harlan Ellison (PBUH) talks about having had those stories kindly reviewed by Dorothy Parker. He describes it thus:
Can you imagine what that kind of praise does for a writer who (like Willy Loman) has til then been out there on only a smile and a shoeshine? Ray Bradbury can tell you; he got his from Christopher Isherwood, and it made his reputation. It’s like the first time a girl says yes. It’s like the first time a female realizes she doesn’t have to be some guy’s kitchen slave to lead a fully-realized existence. It’s like Moses getting the tablets.
[…] I was no longer all alone in my opinion of my worth.
I think I get that today. Also, you should buy the book.
But that schoolwork is still waiting for me, so I had best wrap this up. Lothar and the Hand People were a psych band based in Denver, and are best known for being one of the first bands to use both the theremin (which was named Lothar, I’m guessing after Mandrake the Magician‘s servant) and the recently invented Moog synthesizer. They also worked with playwright/actor Sam Shepard (providing background music for his The Unseen Hand.) Their song “Space Hymn” received a fair amount of FM radio play when it came out in 1969, but this track, a cover of a Manfred Mann number (written by Mort Shulman) was the single from their first album in ’68. I can hear elements of the sort of music later known as Krautrock, but that may just be me. This is “Machines.”
See you soon!