78 Cartoon

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Big Ideas,Culture

Internet blur

 

A year went by and I wrote nothing here. I tweeted, I Flickr’ed and I Instagrammed. I Facebooked (anonymously) and contributed to the Trooper Facebook page. I did do some writing – fiction and non – but didn’t even consider publishing it here.

I think blogging is done. Not just this blog, but blogging generally. It’s probably been done for at least a couple years but I was so damned busy with other things I didn’t notice. My own fascination with personal blogs ended several years ago. I lost interest as the people I followed re-invented their online focus or just stopped publishing. I understand. Hosting a one-man/woman online salon, where you’re expected to share the things that delight or confound you with some regularity, can easily become less an adventure and more a burden.

Especially in view of the alternatives. Twitter (up until a week ago) insists that you share 140 characters or less. Instagram only requires #hashtags. Sharing a Facebook post that mirrors your views has a similar effect to writing down and publishing those views yourself – but is accomplished by a single click of the share button. And, of course, a picture is worth thousand words.

But there’s still no shortage of words these days. Differentiating useful “content” in the midst of a digital avalanche has become a part-time job for those of us who care about knowledge, facts and truth. Looking back, I can see that I was more and more reluctant to add to that overloaded public discourse with anything less than a well considered contribution. Or maybe that was just an excuse – because writing is hard.

I am still a big fan of this future we get to live in, and I still want to have a home in this online world. I’m looking around out there, trying to grok the next version of this site. I have a few ideas.

It’s been a year since I participated in SA4QE – the international conspiracy that celebrates the naming day of the brilliant Russell Hoban by leaving pieces of yellow paper – presenting quotes from his books – in odd places all over the world. Its also appears to have been a year since I updated this blog/site/thing. So much has changed. I may or may not get to that. In the meantime, here’s what I sent in to the excellent Russell Hoban site (where you should check out the other yellow papers) this year:

The weather here on the west coast of Canada was once again inclement on Russell Hoban’s naming day. I arrived at a grey and windy White Rock Beach with my yellow paper, some tape and a pocket full of tacks. I had a location planned – at a tourist lookout above the beach and pier – but when I arrived at the beach, the first thing I saw was a silent and still man with a briefcase, standing in front of the old train station, contemplating the bay in front of him.

The bronze sculpture is called “Passenger”, but I knew right away that it was the Gom Yawmcher man – and I knew also that he was considering something similar if not identical to the subject of my yellow paper; “If you could even jus see 1 thing clear …”

As I walked toward him, the sun came out. Once I had affixed the paper to his briefcase, it went back behind the clouds.

“If you cud even jus see 1 thing clear the woal of whats in it you cud see every thing clear. But you never wil get to see the woal of any thing youre all ways in the middl of it living it or moving thru it.”

~ Riddley Walker (p. 186)

20160204 - SA4QE Yellow Paper With Gom Yawmcher Man.620

As I have done for several years now, I participated today in an international conspiracy – called, mysteriously, SA4QE – to celebrate the naming day of the brilliant author, Russell Hoban.

All around the world, pieces of yellow paper, bearing quotes from Hoban books, have been left in public places – cafe tables, bookshops, park benches, telephone booths, train stations or anywhere my fellow participants deemed appropriate. Russell Hoban remains one of the most original writers of the twentieth century and one of my very favourites.

Here’s this year’s submission:

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Russell Hoban’s naming day was cold and rainy here in White Rock BC, Canada. The pier was mostly deserted. I walked to the very end and attached this year’s quote to the railing that looks out to the American San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands.

As I walked back, a small smile of a rare kind took over my cold and wet face.

Happy Birthday Russ, and thank you.

 
“Perhaps this world that’s in us, this world that we’re in, was never meant to be fixed and permanent; perhaps it’s only one of a continuous succession of world-ideas passing through the world-mind. And we are, all of us, the passing and impermanent perceivers of it.” 

Russell Hoban ~ From the Novel ‘Fremder’

 
You can check out other submissions as they come in, and learn more about Russell Hoban and SA4QE here.

Trubba not.

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Big Ideas,Creativity,Writing

Russell Hoban photo RussHoban2002byJohnCareylr_zps463e9d84.jpg

I was looking through some collected Russell Hoban quotes, getting ready for SA4QE on Wednesday, and this one hit me – only, for some reason, not for a yellow paper on the pier. So this must be where it was supposed to go.

“If you cud even jus see 1 thing clear the woal of whats in it you cud see every thing clear. But you never wil get to see the woal of any thing youre all ways in the middl of it living it or moving thru it.”

Russell Hoban ~ From the Novel ‘Ridley Walker’

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Big Ideas,Creativity,Writing

 photo NormaMcGuire-May91923-Jan82015SM_zps9d884260.jpg

My mom, Norma Grace McGuire, passed away on January 8th 2015. She was 91. Her endless curiosity and intelligence, relentless tenacity, unwavering loyalty and unconditional love were an inspiration to me, her family, and everyone she met. She taught me and my two brothers to dream fearlessly, to question unflinchingly, and to always try to do the right thing – and to fight for that right thing when necessary.

As well as being an inspirational parent, she was an artist, genealogist, author, blogger, craftsperson, seamstress, activist, photographer, computer enthusiast, scrap-booker, knitter, and quilter. Despite those many activities, the majority of her life was devoted to serving and caring for her family. And despite all of her accomplishments, there was nothing she was more proud of than her husband and her three boys and their families. For all of her tenacity, curiosity, and sense of justice there was nothing that motivated her more than love.

I will continue to love her. She has left behind an empty space that can’t be filled.

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Living

20140926 - The Mayor's Ball Dressing Room - Gogo photo 20140926-TheMayorsBallDressingRoom-Gogo_zpscec485dc.jpg

All of our shows are dramatically different these days. This is a rough account of a random show – random only in the sense that it was the one for which I found myself with the requisite coincidence of time and inclination to write about.

It was grey and raining. For the first time in what seemed like months. It had been and endless summer in White Rock.

I was waiting a few more minutes before heading out for the Surrey Sheraton where I’d park my bags and then meet my Trooper brothers in the lobby for a 2:10 lobby call – to be then driven from there to the venue to sound check.

We were playing the Mayor’s Charity Ball. I googled the show and there was no mention of it online at all. Which lead me to think that ours might be a surprise appearance. Maybe it’s because I don’t like surprises, but I prefer people to know we’re coming and to be ready for us when we walk out onto the stage. It’s a whole different animal when you’re trying to put the party together from scratch.

My plan was to sleep over at the Sheraton despite the fact that it’s only an hour, if that, from home. It’s a luxury, I suppose, but the room was mine for 24 hours and I was considering stopping by a nearby bike shop in the morning to check out e-bikes – a notion that overtook me after reading my friend Peter Cheney’s story in the Globe and Mail about riding one in downtown Toronto.

We are like a band of brothers in most senses. We hug when we meet and catch up quickly in bursts of abbreviated prose and sentence-finishing. Nods and winks and eye-rolls. We pile into the bus or van still talking and laughing. Our driver was Rick. He drove us to Whistler when we played there a few years ago with Loverboy. Smitty remembered him and he seemed pleased. We bonded. Rick told us an unflattering story about a band he wouldn’t name.

Backstage Paul showed us our nice dressing room and our not nice dressing room. The nice dressing room was lit dramatically and contained white retro sofas and sparkly highlights. The other room had unfinished walls and broom closet decor. It was also much smaller. There is a plan in place to use the nice one before the show and the drywalled one after – at which point the good one will be used for our meet-and-greet.

Paul took me aside. The organizer had asked if we could sing a song called Diane, to “surprise” Mayor Diane Watts – who will be celebrating her last Charity Ball as Mayor of Surrey. He told the organizer that we wouldn’t know the song she requested but would probably know the similarly named Ryan Adams song. I told Paul I didn’t know it. He said I must have heard it, and in any case it was easy; Steve had figured it out on guitar in just a few minutes. So I had to say no. I was not going to learn and sing a song I’d never heard to surprise someone. Even if it was a Mayor. Sometimes I hate being that guy.

Out on the stage we faced a purple-tinged, overwrought Marie-Antoinette themed ballroom with flowers and cut glass and flowing fabric hanging from delicately decorated trusses – all balanced precariously at the iffy edge of good taste. Black and white clad staff hustled from table to table tweaking or adding to the already crowded displays. Sound check was just a loud interference for most of them. There were some printed lyrics – probably to a song called Diane – on Smitty’s Marshall.

I eat delivered Beef and Broccoli ( and Beef and Guy Lon if they have it) for dinner just about every night I’m on the road. Sonny’s Noodle House had Guy Lon. I watched the first half of the movie Poetry on my laptop while I ate.

The Mayor’s Ball was a charity event. Our pre-show dressing room – the purple one – was separated from the wealthy Surrey-ites in attendance by only black drapery, so the repetitive drone of the auctioneer couldn’t be ignored. The auction went on and on – well past our starting time. We were dressed for stage, wired up with our in-ear monitors and waiting. It’s a credit to our team that the vibe remained chill and good humoured in the purple room.

The show was a private event, so I’ll limit details of that part of my day to avoid intruding on the partier’s privacy. I will say that her worship the Mayor – and a large coterie of her friends and family – joined us onstage for rousing and crowded versions of Raise a Little Hell and We’re Here For a Good Time. The entire stage, ball gown-clad women and Trooper men, posed for photos, onstage, at the end – rather than our usual bow. After changing clothes and unwiring our in-ears in the dressing room we joined the wealthy and famous VIP guests in the purple room for photos and small talk. All of the people there were very nice and we enjoyed the meet and greet more than we usually might.

On the ride back to the Sheraton we discussed the show. It turns out that, during Raise a Little Hell some of the onstage ladies were attempting conversations with the guys in the band – while they played.

“I’m British you know”
“I can tell by your accent”
“No, really, I’m British”

And my favourite one, from Gogo;

“Will you teach me how to play piano?”

He said it’s the strangest thing anyone has ever said to him on stage.

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Uncategorized

20140704 - Tisdale SK

I’m back at the hotel with my heartburn medicine and my bug juice. I didn’t know I needed the bug juice until I was on my walk to get the Gaviscon. The heartburn is a longer story.

We arrived in Tisdale Saskatchewan Last night around nine. I called the only Chinese food place in town to order my traditional beef and brocolli – but they’d already been closed for an hour. The nice lady there told me all the restaurants in town closed at the same time. I called the front desk to confirm that and Crystal told me there was one place still open. A hotel that made pizzas. So I called.

“Hi, I’d like to order for delivery”
“Sorry, the taxi driver’s not answering his phone”
” … ”

I was hungry so I thought I could walk into town to pick up – so I asked:

“I’m at the Canalta Hotel can you tell me where you are from here?”
“We’re just down past the Subway”
” …”

The girl I was talking to seemed to be losing patience with our call. I could hear how busy the bar was. I thanked her and called back down to the front desk in a now desperate bid for some eleventh hour local restaurant knowledge.

“Oh, I can get Debbie to run over and get that Pizza for ya”

As it turned out, Debbie picked up three pizzas and a 24 of beer for us. You gotta love a small town.

The pizza was delicious, but I should have stopped eating when the heartburn started. My restless night in Tisdale was my own fault. This morning though, I headed out on foot to the Pharmasave on the main drag there. Just down past the Subway.

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Culture,Travel,Trooper

Saskatoon 620 photo 20140501-SaskatoonSK_zps81cb7340.jpg


Trying to find a good book to read is annoying me. And, for reasons unknown to me, that annoyance makes me want to write. I can’t figure it out. I’m not going to try. But I am writing. Something.

Encapsulating the months that have passed since last I wrote is the impossibility that has impeded me. There is no way. I’ve considered sneaking up on an account of it from several different directions – maybe a general metaphoric discussion of the over-riding emotional landscape, for instance. Bullshit and who cares. Maybe some short illuminating scenes that might suggest the general story – No. No one thing, or two things or three is the nub of it. It can neither be distilled nor generalized, and too many people I love are prominent characters in the story arc and I have no right to share their parts, and I won’t.

And I haven’t been unhappy, or sad in a daily way – I’ve had some great times – a lot of them – but I’ve been overwhelmed. There’s just been too much. There’s been too much and it’s come too fast and much of it is part of a new paradigm that I haven’t had the time or energy to get on top of. I badly want (and need) an attitude that covers this new reality, but all my efforts to engineer one have so far failed. Which is, well, a failure … and I’m not fond of those.

So rather than chronicle that inability to make peace with the difficult parts of what I just now realize has been the first four years of “my sixties”, I’ve clammed up. And although I tell myself it’s the recent subscribers to ramcguire.com – people requesting an alert in the unlikely event that something new happens here – that have embarrassed me into stepping up, the truth is I miss it.

So in the spirit of my original blog, I’ll try once again to overcome the inertia of myself while imagining the three or four of you as forgiving and open-minded friends who don’t give a shit what I write but are still encouraging me to do so.

Santa Bag sixtwentytoo photo 20131128-SantaBag-WhiteRock2620_zpsebe0ac56.jpg

It’s November 28th and we’re heading off to Hawaii in a couple days, so … Merry Christmas to all of you. See you in the new year!

[ Permalink ] Filed under: Photography