Charlie's Blog: The Song Remains the Same


The Song Remains the Same

The Song Remains The Same is not a great film, but there's no point in making excuses. It's just a reasonably honest statement of where we were at that particular time. It's very difficult for me to watch it now, but I'd like to see it in a year's time just to see how it stands up.

When you create things, they do not always turn out well. Obviously, Zep's concert film was one of those creative failures. I watched it once, and I didn't think it was so awesome. Of course, I have the same opinion of U2's Rattle and Hum. I can't recall a single rock band film that was any good unless you count the satirical Spinal Tap movie. The reason these movies are not so good is because rock stars are not movie stars. I remember when MTV had music videos, and the prediction was that only good looking people would be able to make music in the future. Metallica finally made a video when they said they never would, and we knew they had sold it. Then, Pearl Jam stopped making videos, and that heralded a return to rock and roll integrity.

Rock stars aren't movie stars. The best group when it came to the visual was Pink Floyd. They basically disappeared behind their visual presence which I see as pure genius. The Wall has become a cult classic even if most of the people who watch it are stoned. The lesson in all of these various anecdotes is that musicians should stick with music. I think this lesson applies to other areas beyond music.

I enjoy art and music, but I choose to do neither. Except for playing guitar to the annoyance of others and chopping up pictures with MS Paint, I stick to writing. I thought about writing children's literature, but I feel kid's books need pictures. I can't draw. I am not artistically inclined. Likewise, I am not an actor. I think I am a decent as a public speaker but only because I am basically reading stuff I wrote. I'm not a speaker so much as a reader. I couldn't do podcasting or talk radio.

I see talents and skills as occupying a spectrum. There are things we do really well. There are things we do with average results. Then, there are things we are utterly incompetent on. I don't think you should waste any time or life on things you are really bad at doing. Things you do on average tend to be those things we need to do for survival such as cooking a meal or mowing the lawn. I would include most jobs in this category as well. I have never been the MVP on any job I have ever had. I just show up and do things, and they pay me for it. I believe in having a good work ethic and doing good work. But work ethic is one thing, and talent is another. I don't have any talents beyond writing. even the writing talent might be questionable.

When your talent doesn't pay the bills, you have to question the value in it. I've made my peace with the writing thing. It is a hobby that I will do for the rest of my life, and it won't amount to anything. What has changed for me is the urgency to do it. When you know it doesn't matter, you do it with less enthusiasm. So, I can go a week without blogging, and it doesn't bother me. I have an entire list of story ideas, and I may get to them. But I probably won't. This is because it is a hobby.

I don't know why God made me a writer. So far, it has been one colossal waste. I probably could have become a dentist or something that paid well. But that would have required that I be way duller as a human being. The virtue of blue collar work is that it leaves your brain idle to spend on other things. There are things you do for money and things you do for love. For most people, their jobs are more serious while their leisure is meaningless. For me, life is the opposite. My job is something I do to pay bills, but I take my leisure with greater seriousness. When I tell people what I do in my free time, their eyes glaze over with boredom. Basically, I write, and I read. I don't watch sports. I don't play video games.

It is appropriate that the title for this one is The Song Remains the Same. I feel like I have written this same essay over and over again with my laments at not being Cormac McCarthy. But I think of a life spent merely working to pay bills so I can keep working, the writing thing becomes more appealling again. People who DJ at clubs over the weekend strike me as having more fun than people who simply sit in clubs drinking and waiting for the weekly grind to begin again.

I wrote this stuff las night. It is morning now. The coffee is making in the Chemex which takes forever but is worth the effort. People debate the best method for making coffee. One person told me the French press method was best. I got one, and I thought some grounds would make their way into my cup. I was right. But I find the press useful for travel because the dinky coffee makers in motels can't make decent coffee. But they can make hot water which I use in the press. I have also been known to use a microwave to get the hot water. I will always find a way to get coffee.

I started keeping a journal a couple of days ago. This has something I have done numerous times in the past but failed at doing. It really boils down to handwriting. I can tap at a keyboard all day, but writing in longhand takes an effort for me now. Yet, I feel it is important to write. Handwriting is becoming a lost skill, and I don't want to lose it. So, I am writing with my hand and a pen in a notebook. You wouldn't believe how hard it is. It blows my mind how much atrophy has happened. I am also forcing myself to write in cursive instead of that uppercase printing my old man used to do, and I do now for the sake of legibility. Cursive is how grown ups write. I feel like I am back in kindergarten.

I hear they want to nix the teaching of handwriting in public schools, and I am against this. Their reasoning is that everything is done on computer now. Why learn a needless skill? That's like nixing home ec because they invented the microwave. It is another reason for parents to homeschool their children.

I have a lot of topics on my mind lately. I want to write about the Benedict Option. I also want to write about being an autodidact. I also want to get some reviews on things I have read and watched lately. Then, there are all those great stories I never write. I am past my writing angst of late, and I feel the need to get back to a more workmanlike approach to the writing. This is Charlie's Blue Collar Gospel which is the belief that hard work will save you. I believe God helps people, but He refuses to do it alone. God wants your work. He may or may not crown it with success, but He never crowns laziness. So, I put my shoulder to the load, and I work now. Writing is my unofficial second job. I need to get serious about it.