Pat Metheny is a jazz guitarist, composer, and all around fantastic musician. If I could do anything in life one tenth as well as he plays guitar, then I’d be ten times better than the thing I’m best at now. His career spans forty-two years. He’s recorded so many albums that his discography page on Wikipedia itself links to additional discography pages. He’s won more Grammy awards than Paul McCartney.
If you’ve never heard of him (or, heck, even if you have) just listen to about a minute of this:
Many years ago, my friend Eric told me a story. He’d run into someone somewhere and they got to talking and somehow Pat Metheny came up in the conversation.
“Pat Metheny!?” the other guy objected in disbelief. “That guy is terrible!”
“Terrible?” Eric replied, somewhat shocked. Sure, no genre of music is universally appealing and everyone hates something. But even if you don’t like it, you can still appreciate its artistic merit. “Why was it terrible?”
“It sucked. It’s like he can’t even play an instrument,” the other guy described.
As the conversation continued, it became apparent that the one (and only one) Pat Metheny song the other guy had ever heard was this one:
It’s called Forward March and it’s the opening track on his album First Circle. The song is (clearly) a joke. The group had some fun in the studio and threw it on there because (in Pat’s words) “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
My April Fool’s joke last week brought my long-time character of Mr. Sanders back to the forefront once again. Like Pat Metheny’s Forward March, I ran the risk of people opening conversations in the future like this:
“Charlie Hills!?” the other guy objected in disbelief. “That guy is terrible!”
Unlike Pat Metheny’s Forward March, I didn’t have a vast body of work and legions of fans who would be able to pick up on it immediately. Still, I thought it was funny. 🙂
But that brings us at last to Charlie fulfilling his promise. My fer realz excerpt is from the novel-to-be that bears the same name as my erstwhile blog on writing. I now present Chapter One of Elsewhither. It’s a bit long (for a blog post). So grab a drink, a lawn bag full of popcorn, and give it a go. Then let me know what you think. And on that last note, there’s just one rule: BE HONEST.
Pretend you’re Simon Cowell and I’m the sad American Idol contestant whose “friends” all told him he could sing but in reality he couldn’t carry a tune with a handle on it. You’re not doing me any favors by “being nice.”
If you like it, say so. But if not, especially say so. It’s the only way I can improve. Don’t worry: I’m a grown up, I can take it. 🙂
Click the above and then feel free to come back here to discuss.