Glacial Progress is Still Progress…or Butchering the Classics

So July is, mercifully, over. I knew it was going to be one of those months, given that I’d be wrapping up the End of the Pavement festival and participating in JAW. I did not know I’d being going half-mad and buying a guitar, but these things happen. The good news, for me–maybe not for the world at large–is I’m writing again. It just seemed like a few lines scribbled here or there, but I took stock today and realized I’ve written 40 pages on a new play, tentatively entitled “A Great Fear of Falling”; plus I started work on another, for the moment to remain secret, project.

The lonesome guitar strangling continues apace, but I’m happy to say that I’ve practiced every single day since I bought the damned thing, mastered a number of chords (even if I haven’t mastered changing smoothly from one to another), and last night I very tentatively played the lead line into the Stones’ “No Expectations.” That was satisfying. I love that blues-slide shit. It’ll even be more satisfying when I can actually play it.

Less satisfying but fun was playing perhaps the worst version of the Stones “Respectable” ever put forth. If you can imagine “Respectable” with psychedelic phase shifting played to a country beat…well, please don’t. But at least I hit all the chords and it actually sounded like the song, even if the song was never meant to sound that way.

That’s originality, right? Innit? Hello? I’m having much better luck playing the blues, which is what I bought the thing for to begin with. This week’s addition of an effects pedal has greatly broadened the palette of sounds with which I have to play, and I can now make godawful screeching noises that could paralyze cats and cause sparrows to stiffen and fall from the trees.

Like I said: progress.

About Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian. View all posts by Steve Patterson

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