About 10 years ago, I produced a talent show and closed by singing "Paranoid" with a heavy metal band. I don't know that I've had a greater thrill. I did all my best Ozzy moves: ran around the stage, pumped my fists, did jumping jacks, screamed. All to the roar of the hundreds in attendance. The only thing that came close to that level of excitement was when I visited Sun Studios in Memphis the summer I turned 40 and asked the tour guide if I could grab my guitar and sing "That's All Right" on the spot where Elvis recorded the song 55 years earlier (to the day) after everyone left. A few people came back in from the gift shop and thanked me for channeling the King.
When I was young, I knew I'd always do two things: write and perform.
I've done both regularly since I was a child. My first appearance on
stage was as The Wizard of Oz in a fourth grade play. I was originally
cast as the Scarecrow but then was asked to change roles when the
teachers realized a student who was absent during auditions could sing
and dance considerably better than I could. "Hey, Tommy, you don't have to switch, but ..."
It really didn't matter, though. I just loved the idea of being in
front of a crowd and getting to yell, "I AM OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL!"
I also enjoyed building and painting the scenery. Live theatre became a
lifelong passion of mine. I've done over a hundred shows. From
playing Eugene as a high school sophomore in Grease (yes, I still
couldn't sing or dance any better by then, but I'm not ashamed to admit
that I owned that role - plus, I got to dance with the beautiful junior
who played Patti - a Miss Teen Arizona contestant who later went on to
be a popular local news anchor) to directing a Wild West, Mel
Brooks-inspired adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, I still love the magic and illusion of the stage, although my output has slowed down somewhat as I've gotten older. Fuck it, I'm an artist ("and if you give me a tuba, I'll bring you something out of it"). We just view the world differently. We see all the worlds. I once wrote a story called "Grandma at Her Post" about an old woman who climbs to the roof of her house every night to count the stars and dance with angels. I think that's pretty much what poets and artists do.
I should probably take a moment to explain the purpose of this blog. I'm publishing a novel entitled Crow Creek
this spring and thought it would be fun to provide some background
about my experiences in anticipation of the release. In the
weeks to come, I will also offer insight about the book by discussing
some of the major characters and themes. I plan to launch a Facebook
page and an author's page on Goodreads. You can already follow me on Twitter @TheGodFocker1. Thanks!