What’s on my desk and what I’m working on…
Serving as my desk of late is the entire stretch of dash board of my white 1998 Dodge Ram touring van. After I climb in and shake out of my Parka, I take a look around and get out the trusty lap top. Another day at the office. On my desk (or "dash" or "dask" as it were) are a number of artifacts: A speeding ticket from Wyoming. A sun bleached hotel reservation. An empty box of Whole Food soy beans, a man handled and dog eared road atlas with a few key cities torn out for some reason (why would someone tear out Bloomington, Indiana? Maybe it was never here? A cruel way to go!), empty coffee cups, an un-labeled cassette,CD comps from my long distance sage Gary Phillips and a John Gregory Dunne novel, True Confessions that has been there for at least two tours, (maybe three) and has yet to be cracked. Unlike the Soy Beans, which never had a chance, I think the date of expiration might have passed on Mr. Dunne but I'm still not in the slightest hurry to throw his book away nor do I have any real recollection off how it got there in the first place. What else have we got? We've got a hand held cassette tape recorder (a songwriters best friend—indispensable); A tangle of devices that are supposed to make our lives easier—we've got cables and chargers and things that plug into things and things that refuse to plug into anything, but we keep them around fearing that if we threw anything away it would be the one thing that plugs into the one thing that we need to do the thing that we need to do.
What I'm working on now for better or worse is a kind of ongoing project, my mental health. The drive from Philadelphia (where I just officially finished a little ten day tour by dropping off my band mates at the airport) to West Virginia where I'm headed should give me some time (seven hours or so according to my math)—to spend with my internal dialogue and give myself a check-up-from-the-neck-up and work out some issues. But that's not the kind of work we're talking about is it? If I could get one thought to sit still long enough to tame, I might make a list of songs that I intend to play tomorrow on the Mountain Stage radio show. I'm booked to perform backed by the house band and they really would like to know what songs to chart out. That decision can wait.
What am I working on? And at this point, I'm mostly working on keeping my eyes on the road. But, I can tell you what I'm not working on. I'm not working parking cars, I'm not working delivering Readers Digest, I'm not mowing lawns in Orange County or washing dishes in Contra Costa county. I'm not hanging drywall or climbing a ladder or selling flowers on the street, or collecting Coke bottles. All of these things, you guessed it, I have done with varying degrees of success. Truth is I'd take the flower stand gig back in a heartbeat. The drive this morning is breathtakingly gorgeous. (Okay, so I'm prone to exaggeration. It's my job.) It's the first week of February and it's as crisp and clear a morning as I've even seen. The only real evidence of the harshest of winters are the patches of snow softy melting on the side of the road. I'm grateful I have a gig. Any gig. And as little tread as I've got left on my tires, I still love the moving around bit. The traveling. Mornings like this to a California boy are downright exotic. Where were we? I don't know.... The mind wanders.... My friend Jim Roll asked me to write a short paragraph on what's on my desk and what I'm working on and said, he could probably get me a free magazine out of the deal. This has been my little spiel. I think I'd better cut my self of right about now.