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Thoughts On The Road...


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On the laptop... The laptop (no name yet) travels with me wherever I go these days, just like the cell phone. I have become appallingly 21st Century. Perhaps the pleasure of owning a 23-year-old froofrooless truck is compensation.

The Wild Goose was fun; the crowd there got “Crosses by the Roadside” (prefaced with apologies for playing ‘em a serious song), Derek Hines’ “I Want to Come Back as a Stripper Pole” and–as a surprise for Gene Burnett–his “Things Are Getting Better Now That Things Are Getting Worse,” which has become such a hit with our band. All with the incomparable George Clark on blues harp. Host Frankie Hernandez’ comment–“I’d like to write a song good enough for Joe Wrabek to cover it”–is, I think, one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received.

I seem to be getting a reputation as a writer. I don’t think it’s deserved–it’s tempting to echo one of the Roman “Silver Age” writers (I think it was Sallust) and say, “Look, if you think my stuff is good, it means the quality of Roman literature has really declined.” Still, it does feel good when somebody acts like a compliment from me on their writing is special, when people are anxious for me to musicate something they’ve written–heck, when they just miss my stuff when I’m not there.

Of course, all that is mostly within a small circle of friends–but they are mostly good writers, and I highly respect their opinions. I would like to enlarge that “small” if I can. I don’t think commercial success as important as I did 20 years ago (maybe because I no longer respect the opinions of a lot of the people who control the music industry), but I would like to prove, I think, that I can play their game, too. (And reach more people, of course. That’s hard to do exclusively on one’s own.) Beyond that... I overheard one college student at the Wild Goose defending his choice of a career path–as a magician: “I don’t need to make a fortune at it. I just want to make a living at it.” Me too.

“Crosses” is a sad song, but I noticed the audience listened to every word. Sunday was Sharma’s memorial service in Longview, roughly 400 miles away from where I am. I hope it went well.

The fish hatchery job interview went well (most of my job interviews have); in this case, they’re only interviewing 11 people instead of the 50 to 100 that have become de rigeur for state jobs since the economy fell apart. I may know in a couple of weeks. I also heard about another city-manager job (also in southern Oregon) that might be going vacant because the city manager is being hired away.

The gig at the Insomnia Coffee Co. is official–it’ll be Saturday, Oct. 24, time for me to do some promoting. Audition at another coffeehouse en route home, this one in southwest Portland (close to the home of a couple of friends of mine). They pay their musicians–not much, but it’s nice to see someone taking seriously the Biblical admonition: “The laborer is worth his hire.” That one’s a 3-hour show; it’ll use up just about everything good I’ve written.

For the Insomnia gig, I will definitely need the Big Yellow Tip Bucket, which is still in the trunk of the Officially Totalled Thunderbird. (I talked to the towing company, and they’ll save it for me to pick up.) It’ll be a long trip home, with a lot of stops.

Joe

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