My dad’s bigger boat, a Lightning with a 27′ mast, wasn’t ready for sailing yet so we took the little 12-footer. It was a buoyant little beast, capable of carrying four adults: Brett and I and our dad, and our friend Paul. Paul loved sailing and as a result was rooked into a boatload of unnecessary adventures. He spent a lot of his time with us wet.
We always packed food because sailing made us hungry. It’s only a mile across San Diego Bay from the boat ramp where we launched so we sailed over to Silver Strand State Park to have lunch on the beach.
I was at the tiller because Dad wanted to be the first one to step ashore. I realized as we were approaching the shore that the bottom inclined so gradually the rudder was going to hit ground before the bow touched the sand.
I said, “We’re running aground.”
I said it again. “We’re running aground.”
I said, “Hey, we’re running–”
… more … “Pintles and Gudgeons and the Man Overboard Drill”
My father was of the impression you didn’t have to meet trouble halfway; it was more than glad to make the entire trip. Some guy recommends stepping into an icy shower every morning in order to train yourself not to flinch so life won’t be so hard. My father would have said stop jumping into icy showers and maybe your life wouldn’t be so hard.
… more … “Ducking the Flinch; or, Are Parachutes Necessary?”
Like Hemingway said, just sit at your typewriter and bleed.
I’ve written 5 songs in the past couple weeks, as part of two songwriting challenges.
I’m emotionally exhausted. Even the fun songs are emotional effort, but the ones that dredge up the past or make me look inside my dead father’s brain are like digging a grave with your own bones.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
- Into Town — A desperately lonely song; nothing at all like my father would have been if he were the one alive and alone instead of my mother.
- I ♥ You — A totally silly diatribe, to balance it.
- Good Pair of Jeans — Another fun one, because Poppies refused to come out.
- Upside Down Smile — A jazzy number for my Best Beloved, which also helped Poppies ruminate in my unconscious.
- Poppies — Finally, Poppies, which just might be my father talking to me again.
My dad’s been dead almost 30 years. Missing him a lot today. Probably not at all related to the fact that I’m a few days older than he was when he died.
I tell this story when I perform my song Into the Sunset but I’ve never written it down until now. … more … “Shoulda Been a Cowboy”