I am a terrible procrastinator and this blog seems to be the most affected by my crippling ailment (and much to my brother’s chagrin). I can’t tell you how often I get a text that simply says “posting soon?” from the Elder J. I know he just wants our blog to succeed and I know we started this blog to stay better in touch while having an intellectual project to work on as team, but I often want to text back and say something witty like “how about I post my foot up your ass?”
Of course I never do because I know my big brother just wants us to have the best possible blog that we are capable of writing.
The overarching problem is my lifelong struggle with procrastination but there are many legitimate excuses wrapped up in the big issue here. My brother and I lead completely different lifestyles. He is married, has almost no social life and has two kids. I am single, have a very active social life and have an older golden retriever. He works on publishing his books/articles and I work on Southern Rock covers with my bar band . He works all week teaching college students and I work all week landscaping. On the weekends, I’m either working on my lawn/garden, doing things with friends, or playing with the band. The Elder is taking care of his kids, writing for this blog or in his field or maybe trying to make the rare moment alone with his wife.
So we are both busy, albeit in very different ways. I think my brother needs to make more time for his social life and he thinks I need to tone mine down so I can write more. I agree I need to focus on writing more frequently because I enjoy doing it and I think sometimes other people do too. So he is right in that regard and I pledge to.
When it comes down to it, I write for my brother more than anyone else so I do feel very bad when I slack off because I think he takes it personally and I feel like I’m letting him down. Then I start feeling mildly anxious which just needlessly stresses me out. Its not uncommon for me to sit down to the computer, pick some writing music and then sort of zone out for a minute. Then, I start to get overwhelmed and just chose to weed my garden or play bass or any other thing I have to do instead of the writing I should be doing.
It seems strange to me to have so many things to do after really not doing a bunch with my free time for much of my young life, however, this is not something to complain about. Here is a musical representation of some of my excuses for procrastination and maybe through these tunes, I could figure out how to force myself not to laze out and get some writing done!
1. “On the Hunt” -Lynard Skynard
Here is a song that is extremely bad ass and probably my favorite by the band except for maybe “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe”. Before I delve into why this feeds my procrastination in writing, I want to just clear some things up. I notice in the video I include here there are a lot of Confederate flags and shit like that. Ronnie Van Zandt, the late lead singer of the band, would roll in his fucking grave if he knew this.
Contrary to popular belief, the band is not a racist band that clings to centuries-old ignorant beliefs. In fact, when the record companies tried to market them as such in the seventies by hanging Confederate banners up at shows, the band reacted by pulling them down before they played. The band nowadays releases albums called God and Guns which does not help their public image and would also certainly piss off the late lead singer. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to love where you are from and these boys should certainly love their home in the South. But, the negativity involved is not needed or welcome.
That being said, the band I am currently playing in does a cover of this song and we must have played it five hundred times to get it right. It’s not terribly easy or hard but it is one of the band’s best songs in my opinion and definitely one that is not covered very often in my biker bar hopping experience. When we played this song out at the bar I have mentioned in other posts such as the Dive Bar Playlist and the Hurricane Irene playlist, a member of a local biker gang came up to me and I thought I was going to get hit. He put his hand on my shoulder and said “Shit, you never hear that song, you boys rock!”. After checking my drawers, I said thank you and felt some satisfaction from our hours of practice. What does this have to do with procrastination? I spend a lot of time playing music and this is one area I do not want to decrease my involvement. Plus, shit, Skynard rules!
2.”Houses of the Holy” Led Zeppelin
I wrote a whole entry about gardening a few months back and my brother did as well so I don’t want to get too far into it so as not to belabor the fact that I like to garden. No one makes me do it and as I talk about in the aforementioned post, it really is my grieving process for my father. Furthermore, everyone should try to grow their own food so maybe they can cultivate an understanding of their own connection to the land and what they consume.
I will get off my soapbox for a minute and also say that I have a giant lawn and I spend at least four hours a week mowing it. These hippies I know trounce on me for this as not only am I burning fossil fuels that pollute the air, I am also cultivating grass that doesn’t feed anyone. Fuck that, my Dad took a giant dirt field and turned it into a lawn through his sweat and tears and I will care for it as long as it’s under my watch. So, this is another activities I’m doing that keeps me from my writing. What does Zeppelin have to do with it? Listen to the words!
3. “Working Man” Rush
I do in fact work at four different jobs. I landscape, substitute teach, bar tend and work on a local organic farm when I have time. I don’t have to do all of these jobs, but I don’t have a job in my field so I try to learn as much as I can about other fields. Landscaping is my primary job in the summer and it is not an easy task. Some days, I’ll be on my feet doing stuff for nine hours in at least 80 degree weather and an hour commute both ways.
One can imagine how motivated I am to write when I finally get home and walk the dog and all my daily tasks to keep up with in the thirty-year old house my brother and I grew up in. Wah wah right, the Elder J has two small children and a myriad of his own tasks yet still seems to get a bunch of writing done for the blog. I know one thing for sure and that is that he hates the Canadian power trio Rush, whom I happen to love. So here ya go brother, check out the ill intro!
4.”Lazy” Deep Purple
To be honest, I just got into Deep Purple and have no idea how it took so long. They are sort of a hybrid of the heavy rock of Black Sabbath and the progginess of Yes to me and they are literally blowing my mind right now. I found their album, Made In Japan, in my stacks vinyl and after their most famous song “Smoke on the Water”, comes this gem about being lazy. I am not actually lazy, most of the time anyway. Or at least I try not to be .
One of the major points of this piece is to show my brother and you the reader that my lack of frequent posts is not due to laziness, rather that I’m super busy. Do I sometimes spend too much time learning picking techniques on my bass or pulling weeds in my garden or even the occasional hour or two spent watching something weird on the History Channel? Well yes certainly, but I am not lazy.
Deep Purple is going to be big for me and I will certainly be sharing more as I learn about them. The guitar and organ duo just murders me and it’s clear that Roger Glover is one of the heaviest bassists ever. Lastly, how can a band that spawned “Smoke on the Water”, the first song for nearly ever novice guitar player, not be awesome? This is a killer cut from the 1972 tour I was listening to, although not in Japan.
5. “A Change is Gonna Come”-Sam Cooke
So how do I end this? Well I read back over my work and saw that all my bands were hard rock white dudes and from the 1970′s so I knew I needed something different. I wanted something about change and that had an uplifting tone because let’s face it, even after all my excuses, I simply just need to step it up and write more. I’d like to be posting at least twice a week instead of one and more short shots like my brother’s On The Radio posts.
Sam Cooke is obviously one of the greatest singers ever and if you aren’t familiar with him, stop everything you are doing and get into it. His life was cut tragically short by the ignorance/gunshot of a hotel manager mired in racism. He wrote this song as a sort of “Blowing in the Wind” for the African-American people after suffering the loss of his young son and being turned away at a whites only hotel. The power of this song is mammoth and although my main man Otis Redding does a transcendent cover of it, the original is certainly the best.
After reading what I just wrote, I feel bad that this was the song I’d blast at the end of parties in college when everyone was wasted, but I will admit that I don’t feel guilty. If Mr. Cooke is only remembered for this song, then his legacy should stand forever. Lastly, I will make my change happen and I hope that this post has explained my position. Also, it can be used by my brother as evidence when I slack off.