Friday, September 19, 2008

Rocking the library

would be sitting on the little stage, having turned the lights on myself, lounge singer. Still trying to be pope, Ratsinger, I guess.

There is a killer gutar player in the audience. I wink at him. "I'm rusty. I'm not as good as I used to be.

Shoots back Fast Eddie: "Which wasn't very."

Of all the careeres I'd had, music seemed to be a constant. But you could get rusty. What is this shiny thing in my hand, with all the strings on it?

I peer back at the really fast guitar player through the smoke.

There is a sudden sense of inferiority.

I blurt out:" What am I doing up here?"

"You're a rock star, you asshole."


Jeez. Fast Eddie calling me a rock star.

I stop fiddling with chords, and break into "I can' get no


New people have come to the foyer of the bar. They seem enthused. They file in.

It's that Stones riff, wheher borrowed or not, cerainly copied by eveyrone. And it's catchy, almost addictive, bringing people to the dance floor..

Fast Eddie unpacks his Fender. He joins me in the riff. Behind me theres a man and wife team ding back-up.

"I can't get no..."

Holy cow. Fast Eddie backing me. But he is picking u the pace. The song is now too fast. He is out "fasting" me.

F*cking competition among Nemarket guitar players. Last time, he knocked off my modem to leave me sputtering in the middle of a G augmented (demented?) seventh.

Stars collide.

I keep up. There is applause.

Eddie almost Hey Rubed me. But it's my gig tonight, not his. I could fire him.

But he was up here doing terrific lead. It would be bad form.

And what the hell. I han'f felt like playing anyway, and I wa soaking up his energy.

Jesus, I think I need another job. Night after night, having cranked oneself up on beer and cigarettes. Bank lady says you look like hell. You should get another job.

I was first of all a writer. What the hell. Writing, music, it's all in the same familly

Beaux arts. But my arts in music weren't so beau.

There was always someone in the audience that could play cleaner and stronger than me.

But I could sing. All the fast guys would say, It's nice to get behind somebody good."

Still, I was getting burned out. Turn from a normal, sort of dull guy into a musical maniac, cranking yourself up on coffee, booze and dope. "You're a rock star, asshole."

Thinking of Curt Cobain and his overdose.


It blows.

I packed up my guitar that evening and called it a night.

I was not Cobain, of course, but I had some idea of what happened.

Gave my soul for rock and roll.

Now a writer. That was something else. You held the guitar without actually playing. And songs and sounds would come out trhough the ether.

I had to go back to being a writer.

Ha. Not so fast. Everyting takes longer, much longer than you think.

And after the scene with the hamhock and bad beer, and the angry landlord, you might come just out with a symphony.

Well, it's been ten years. Ten years probably wasted. All the turtes running along side me were in the same field.
It was becoming clear to me that I might not have been talented enough at this, nor smart enough, or not lucky enough.
Should have maybe stayed with the music. Rejection, it seemed all around.

I made the standard move.

I published the book myself and gave it to a library.

In the mail in the morning, there was something nestled in among the ads.

I opened the letter.

Here is what it said:



Receipt No. L618

Date of Donation. Auguist 11, 2008

Received from Ivan Prokopchuk
54O Timothy Streeet
Newmarket, Ontario L3V 1P9

Eligible amount for gift tax purposes...................19.95
(fair market value of property)

Description of Donation:

Novel--The Black Icon, by Ivan Prokopchuk.

Date receipt issued August 22, 2008

Authorized signature L. Peppiatt, acting C.E.O.

Treasurer, Nemarket Public Library.

Ah what the hell. A publising is a publishing.