Sunday, February 28, 2021

So I had a book launch and it went like this...

 



Thanks to all that attended....there were so many! Special thanks to Robin Stratton who hosted, and runs Big Table Publishing----and also my wonderful special guests, poets, Jennifer Martelli and Yuyutsu Sharma

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Jones Woodfin Purcell, December 20, 1955-February 23, 2021

  
 "The most original singer songwriter in his time period"

 -Drummer, |Ed Shockey speaking on Jones Purcell


"Troubled and supremely talented songwriting genius. Coulda and shoulda been more widely recognized, if not for the baggage."

 - Most of the Universe  


Sometimes when I scroll through Netflix or Amazon Prime Movies there are this music documentaries about musicians or bands that should have made it, and for various reasons did not. Jones Purcell, or as he was known, Woody should have one made about him. He was hands down one of the best song writers I've ever encountered, and certainly one of the best I've ever heard. He was brilliant, funny---could play anything, in any style. Here are some of his songs, but these demos or studio versions of his songs do not give them much justice, as I think there was too much to mettle and play with in studio settings---the music was always better live.

The music posted on Sound Cloud is curtesy of DC Harbold, who said, 

"Woody was a complicated brilliant man that I was privileged not only to play with but to call a friend."

So what happened? Baggage? Is that what you call it?

Well, you can't understand what you can't understand.

Those who knew him well knew of his struggle with mental illness, although we didn't really talk about it back then. He self-medicated with alcohol which often caused volatile behavior, and although filling rooms with his various bands, he was banned at various venues for his behavior. He was known for being in the band The MIBs, The Ranchers, Kamikaze Posse, The Jones Purcell Band, Pie Hawkers, nu-MIBS, Cornbred--all forces of music in the 80s-90s Delaware Music scene.



Woody came to the Delaware scene vis South Carolina, brought in by John Baumeister who played with Woody in a band called the Mammals which morphed into the MIBs.

"One Christmas I was visiting my folks in Charleston and found him playing in a place called Captain Harry’s. We went to see him and he started throwing beer bottles at the fireplace and yelling at people. Anyone who knew him would not consider that unusual. So I told him that he should come back with me to Delaware. We had a house in Elkton (the Land Yacht) where he could stay and we could start a new band and just play. This was about 1980/81. So he packed up and came back with me. I was living with Paul Slivka and Jim Hannum among others and so we began the band." 


    He made tight friends until things would happen, usually he would flip out on them and then bridges were burned. Looking back, we had much less understanding of mental health, and even people in need of recovery were not empathized with much. People always returned though, either drawn in by his talent or

personality. I knew him quite well, and although avoided him after some of his angry outbursts, we would always check in with each other. In 1986 he was looking to move somewhere, and I was living in Lexington, Ma., with my parents, so he came up to play -- maybe start a band. We played all week, but he was down, and in his dry, dark, sense of humor, stated, "I was planning on killing myself, but I didn't want to upset your Mom." The only impression he had made on her was a good one. My mom really liked him.

    After that he disappeared for about five years. He moved to Nashville, and didn't really tell anyone. He played, wrote, and worked as a roadie for The True Believers. I was on with my Boston life, by that time but we kept in touch via late night phone calls, and later on social media. Lately he would say or comment, "I'm proud to know you," even when his health began to fail horrible, ending up, in and out of hospitals because of various medical issues, as he needed oxygen now to live, and was having trouble walking.


Sax player Alan Yandziak,

"So sad to hear. He was such a force of nature and one of Delaware s favorite sons. I'm sure everyone's got a story or two to tell, and I'll be sure to raise a glass to a one of a kind talent. He will be missed."

    Yesterday and today there is a lot being said about his music, and life. To say that he suffered through life isn't true or even fair, as he had a huge kind heart when he wasn't fighting off his demons. I never blamed him for having them, though at times I needed to distance myself. Jones, I hope the afterlife treats you like a king, and  I'm proud to have known you. 

There will be no documentary, but there should be.  



 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Gratitude for 2020 reprinted in The 2020 Newsletter as an essay

 
Read it HERE--

but here's the dope:

According to their very cool site: The goal of The 2020 Newsletter project, created by Kristen Tsetsi and Alan Davis, is to gather a cross-section of experiences from as wide a variety of people as possible and to publish them here. Many of those experiences will be compiled in the print and e-anthology The 2020 Newsletter, 100 percent of whose proceeds will be donated to the United Way Covid-19 Community Response And Recovery Fund, helping “communities around the world respond, recover and rebuild to be more equitable and resilient.”

All of this is pretty cool. When I was asked to contribute I thought the introduction to my book 2020 Poems (you can buy it if you want) would be a good addition. The essay has already appeared on my blog, so it's been around---just as I have. 


***************************************

Which brings me to, I've been around so long that I was in a band on the regional Billboard Magazine Top 100 list alongside Prince, Elvis Costello, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevie Nicks


Now with 2020 Poems, I'm on a list with Mary Oliver, Rupi Kaur, Emily Dickenson, Margaret Atwood, Robert Frost and Edgar Allen Poe.



Now that has to be some sort of Trivia question what will never be asked, or if asked, would be only answered correctly by the readers of this blog. Then again, a lot of people HATE trivia.



Friday, January 22, 2021

2020 Poems is a #1 Best Seller on Day One of it's pre-release!

 


I have a Number 1 best-seller on Amazon! So grateful!

My book was released in Kindle form to my Advanced Reader Team and pre-orders put it The Number 1 best-seller on Amazon in five categories for

New releases,
1) Poems About Death,
2) Poems About Nature..
2) Aging Parents/Elder Care,
4) Death,Grief/loss and
5) Alcoholism


Thank you for your purchase!! Awesome to be on lists with Mary Oliver, Rupi Kaur, Emily Dickenson, Margaret Atwood, and Edgar Allen Poe
Paperback is out next week, and Kindle will go up to regular price then too, but I'm super excited.


#1 New Releases in



















Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Podcast Appearance: The Writers Voice with Linda McHenry

 Fun times being on Linda McHenry's podcast The Writer's Word today, recorded last week. I talk about writing in different genres, and disciplines. Also, my new, soon to be released any second book, Poems of 2020

To listen click this link. Don't click the play arrow in the picture as it won't do diddly.




Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Questionnaire for Dry January

If you are doing this, congratulations! Dry January made me reflect on my use before recovery, so here are some questions which I use to be able to answer yes to nearly all of them--well, yes, I wrote this..

1. Did you STOP reading this post because you saw the image, you don’t want to deal with questions about alcohol and how they relate to you? SKIP TO THE BOTTOM THEN
2. Did you resolve to give up drinking or using for Dry January or as a New Year’s Resolution and already feel you have blown it?
3. Are you juggling or not paying bills/eating less/using fewer utilities (turning heat barely on)/ having worrisome debt, but your spending on alcohol remains untouched?
4. Is alcohol or drugs your coping mechanism, but somehow it’s still hard to cope?
5. Are you really, really, really looking forward to February 1 or have you considered dry January to be an impossible task?
6. Are you relieved when you drive past a police officer, who doesn’t pull you over, after a typical day/night of use?
7. Are you tired every morning or have a hangover because of your typical usage?
8. Are your best plans of productivity diminished after your first drink?
9. Do you have a medical condition which would be better if you didn’t drink or use but still drink and use?
10. Do you wait all day for work to end so you can drink asap?
11. Do you wait until the kids are in bed or your spouse/significant other/family is in bed or occupied with something to drink how you want?
12. Are you choosing new friends with one of the variables being whether they drink or not?
13. Are you choosing new romantic relationships with one of the variables being whether they drink or not?
14. Does your use make you dislike yourself?
15. Are you ending up in situations solely because your judgment has been changed?
16. Do you feel any strong emotion about running out or not having alcohol in your home?
17. Do you think people in recovery or either “under the bridge” type low-lifes or “just too damn happy”? aka-You are not “like” them?
-------------------------------------
There is no “if you answered yes to a number (usually 1 or more) of these in this you might be…..” It’s meant for folks to take a look at if what they do represents normal drinking. Thirty days of dryness can start any time, not just January 1, and if you want to and can’t there is help to get you there. If you go 30 days and you are finding it was difficult most days to do so, there is help as well. If you don’t feel better after 30 days, no problem…I’m not telling you what to do. If you’ve read this and think you can do better with your use, you deserve that----nearly everyone I know in recovery now has a better life---even if life is still difficult, the handling of it is not as much so. They are the best people I know, and they are or were just like you.



Thursday, January 7, 2021

New book, "2020 Poems" to be released by Big Table Publishing, in 2021--blurbs by Nick Flynn, Jennifer Martelli, Yuyutsu Sharma

 

“Tell me where to go,” one poem plaintively asks, in this collection written in the midst of a pandemic. Timothy Gager manages to capture the chaos, the confusion, the despair, and the existential strangeness of those (of these) days. By the time this book reaches you, I pray we will be on the other side. If not, then these poems will bring you comfort. If so, then these poems will be a document from a time that will not be believed.
--Nick Flynn, American Poet, Memoirist and Playwright

Timothy Gager’s 2020 is a harsh ride through the dark tunnels of our turbulent times when even the leaves are threatening and the poet stands alone witnessing the tree of his life… an exquisite 2021 New Year treat one can treasure to master misery in more difficult years of the Pandemic ahead.
--Yuyutsu Sharma, Himalayan Poet, Author of Annapurna Poems and A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems

I love that Timothy Gager opens 2020 with a gratitude list. This time-proven Alcoholics Anonymous tool for when “life is difficult” begins a collection of poems that navigates a world damaged by pandemic, cruel politics, ailing and dying parents. Isolation can be lethal for the alcoholic and loneliness is “the handcuff.” As a person in recovery and poet, I was struck by the explosive truths in these poems that confront all of us. 2020 is a collection I’ll return to again and again to be reminded of the strength of words, of love, and to “kiss the ground I once fell on.”
--Jennifer Martelli, author of The Uncanny Valley and My Tarantella


This will be out on Big Table Publishing (Robin Stratton). The cover was created by Matt Siditsky and additional and necessary editing done by Sarah Gordon.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Winter Issue of Wilderness House Literary Review, and here's the fiction

 


The fiction in the Wilderness House Literary Review were difficult to make decisions about. We had so many of them. Check them out, and congratulate Steve Glines for their 60th issue.  As always the full issue can be found HERE

Happy Winter

For all our fiction 2016 to present, check THIS out