No, not years…chemo treatments, as of this past Thursday. Still holding up well, putting on weight, sporting a pretty healthy head of (very gray) hair and staying busy. My only complaint about chemo, and I’ve probably mentioned this before, is that I can never sleep the night of treatment. My doctor said the steroids in the drug cocktail probably have something to do with it (haven’t improved my athletic skills any…). I get a rather unpleasant heartburn-y feeling that worsens when I lie down, and there is occasionally some nausea. So I just don’t sleep. I read, listen to music, try to find some good movies on TCM, noodle on the guitar.
This time I lucked out. AMC was showing a string of Breaking Bad episodes. I really like that show and I lost track of it after leaving Nashville, so it was great to watch four 2010 episodes that kind of got me back in the loop. Gotta love ol’ Walt, the world’s most soulful and self-examining meth cooker. Brilliant show, scripts, casting, sheer thematic audaciousness. It plunges with scary believabilty into dark areas beyond where any show has gone before. Even edgier than Dexter in my opinion. I just don’t believe that character, a serial killer who has conditioned himself to only target “bad guys” for his gory adventures. Yeah, right.
Speaking of writers, I’ve made a new friend, although one I’ve yet to meet in person or even lay Skype eyes on, Cathie Pelletier, with whom I became acquainted in a rather circuitous manner involving a mutual acquaintance. She lives in a small town across the Maine border, really not that far from here, after having spent 30 years in Nashville writing songs, poems and eventually novels. Cathie’s become rather celebrated in the literary world, writing under her own name and also as K.C. McKinnon. She’s been the recipient of several awards, hefty advances, and even got to write a screenplay from her first novel…which unfortunately, 15 years later, has never entered production. She tells me the movie business makes the music business look like a party! Only the tough-skinned need apply.
But for all her literary success, Cathie is especially fascinated with songs and songwriters. She sent an e-mail asking me to critique some of her songs, with an eye to perhaps co-writing down the road. Having since heard one song and scrutinized another lyric, I’m anxious to work with her. Maggie got a couple of her novels from the library and I started reading one, The Funeral Makers, in the wee hours of Friday after the Breaking Bad marathon ended. When I told her we had a copy of that book she said, “Please burn it and I’ll pay the library.” After enjoying several chapters I will assuredly do no such thing. Her work is both funny and dark, anecdotal and filled with feisty dialogue…all qualities that lend themselves handily to her lyric writing. We talked on the phone the other day and the conversation went on for hours, much of it trading Nashville stories. It amazes me more by the day what a small world this is.
I should run along, but I do need to add a sad note, by way of an RIP to bass player Pete King who was a well-loved career musician, best known for playing bass with Rik Reese and Neon Highway. Rik and Pete were were like brothers, having shared music together for nearly 20 years. Pete was memorable for his black jeans and spurred boots, and his metronomic body language while playing. He rode a Harley which he adored. After completing a successful and exhilerating gig at the Cavendish Music Festival on P.E.I, Pete said a casual goodbye to his friends and bandmates, saying he wanted to make an early getaway. In the wee hours of the morning, July 11th, Pete’s motorcycle collided with a moose. He was killed instantly. I guess if you look at the whole picture…the heady aftermath of a successful gig, a gathering of friends, riding his beloved Harley, instant death…I guess there’s a sort of poetry in all of that, in dying in the very fullness of how he lived.
But that makes it no less sad. So long Pete. I didn’t get to know you well but you were clearly a gentle and loyal soul. One of the good guys.