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Rock and Roll Fable… Revisited

All humans have a tendency to revisionist history. The reasons we do are vast and personal. We often rewrite history to mask some pain long ago or increase the memory of that pain. Sometimes we do it so that things we wished had happened now appear to have or vice versa.   It all depends on where we stand on the precipice looking back.   The thing I rewrite my history about the most is my writing. Since I’ve been writing in earnest only recently, my perch to my past pen has been that I have never shown anyone my writing before. That’s not exactly true. When I began writing as a teenager, it was only poems, albeit bad ones.   I often heard music when I wrote, but I’m tone deaf and can’t carry a tune, so at times those verses fell somewhere between a poem and a lyric. I never could get the song structure quite correct even after reading the Craft of Songwriting. Many of their lengths were very short and they all stayed firmly in the “poem I will show no one” realm. If I pull back the curtain of my revisionist history, I will see that I did show those poems to another person back then.   I was about 18 at the time and showed them to a guy I was sort of hanging with in 1975. He read a few and said, I think you are suicidal and I think you failed reading comprehension, was my reply. I was stunned by his reaction. I had never entertained a suicidal thought in my young teenage life.   How could my writing be so misconstrued, I thought.   His critique did nothing to inspire any writerly confidence, I can tell you that much. He ended up being the first and only one for several decades that I showed my writing to until the writing slowed to a crawl and prose was added in bits and pieces later on.   Even then I was just as scared of showing that side of my thoughts to anyone. I had gone through an entire marriage without then husband even knowing I wrote.

Today, that revisionist history of mine about showing people my writing in the past got altered a bit again.   I found a piece of prose I wrote somewhere between 1991-92, I think.  It has hand written grammatical corrections by the person I wrote it about. So I suppose one can infer that I actually showed my musician friend the piece I wrote at the time, tongue in cheek, about my frustration with my stint as his agent of sorts briefly back then.   I took the lark upon myself to send out promo packages to record labels for him. He is a singer/songwriter and had two self issued cassettes with his band and a host of other songs   This was the days of a glossy folder and even glossier photograph with a three song cassette stuck to the middle of said folder. There were no CDs yet released; no songs were being dropped, just a letter on my MBI International letterhead and a lot of cold calling to Artists & Repertoire guys at the record labels. I actually got through every now and then. Timing is always everything and it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess. I did this for about a year perhaps, complete with one of the very first cell phones. It was larger than my handbag just about. The idea was, since I had a real job working for Customs on Terminal Island, I would get one of these new fangled cell phones so I could have a business number and I could take it to work with me everyday and not miss a phone call from the record labels. Good idea, huh? Except what I didn’t know when I got the phone was that my interior office had bunker like walls and no windows and back then cell service didn’t penetrate those kinds of walls.  It was a fun foray into the business of music, nevertheless.

I try not to revise my history too much. But we all do it. We all find it annoying and irritating when others do it, especially if we were witnesses to that history now revised. I like most of my history now viewed through a six-decade rear view mirror, even the parts that I didn’t like at the time. They provide a cherished patina and a protection now. So without revising the history at all of this piece of writing from long ago, I give you Rock and Roll Fable in its original form. No corrections, no revisions. History as it ought to be. True for the time.

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