Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lightning Strikes Twice--Catching Harmonicas

Well, it's done...sort of. I finally finished the first draft of my novel on Sunday. I goofed off on Saturday and didn't write a thing, and so Sera and I canceled our "weekly" canoe trip on the Wekiwa River Sunday so I could get it done. I ended up with two different epilogues and couldn't decide which one to go with. In the end I decided it was best to finally start the rewrite...that vainglorious rewrite...and by the time I reach the end I should have a better idea of which direction the book is heading. Though the rewrite will take some doing as the first draft reads like shit. It's all disjointed, out of sequence, etc. Most of it is written poorly as my goal was just to get to the end without stopping. This is probably why I was so frustrated with writing it; I knew it read terribly but if I stopped and belabored over it I'd never get to the end. Now I'm going to take a few days off from the book and possibly begin the rewrite over the weekend.

And now for something completely different:
On a cold, wet Thanksgiving Eve in 1998 Sera and I went to see Blues Traveler in Atlantic City. At the end of the show frontman John Popper tosses his half dozen show harmonicas into the crowd. He looked my way and tossed me one, but I reached for the secret too soon and it glanced off my thumb. It was always an amusing little anecdote to tell people the past several years.

Flash forward to Sunday night, Blues Traveler live, at the House of Blues in Orlando. I told Sera that I knew, absolutely knew, that John Popper would be throwing another harmonica my way. We arrived early and got to the front row. It was an amazing concert--especially when you're that close. During the whole show I eagerly awaited the moment when John would toss us his harmonicas. When it came time and the audience was screaming, I yelled, "over here, John!" He looked my way and tossed it directly to me. There was no one in my way as I was in the front row. And then I don't know what happened. I grabbed it, and dropped it. It went right over the security barrier. A bunch of us hung around after the show trying to convince security to find it. Finally one guard picked it up and handed it to the guy next to me! What did I learn from this? It's really fucking hard to catch a harmonica!!!! This bothered me so much that I had a fitful sleep that night--lots of dreams of me getting another chance for the catch, of John personally handing me a harmonica. When I got up for work on Monday, groggy and grumpy, I was more upset with the fact that I let such a trivial matter bother me so much. There's so much more important stuff to dwell on in life, so why oh why was this bothering me? I really don't know. But in the end I went to the Blues Traveler website and put a post up about my harmonically challenged inadequacies. And a bunch of people responded saying they've all had their share of problems catching that harmonica. Its taken most of them several shows (one guy 47!) to finally land that elusive instrument. Maybe the harmonica is a metaphor for something in my life. Any ideas? In any case, one of my goals is now to meet John Popper and tell him this story--and get him to hand me a harmonica.

At least if I manage to meet Kira Salak in January it's highly unlikely that she'll be tossing any harmonicas at me.


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