I’ve published another installment of the Primary Project:
Try this for an accompanying soundtrack:
The work continues (however slowly…) on my primary endeavor these days:
The new chapter is called “Enter Jennifer.” It tells the story my arrival at the George Washington University, and my first encounters with “Jennifer” – the girl with whom I would become obsessed for the rest of semester.
As with the other installments, this one is also published via Medium.com.
Find it here: Enter Jennifer
This is what I have been working for (I hesitate to admit) the past year or so…
It started when I went into the basement last winter to see if I still had an ‘off-the-air’ tape recording I made in 1966 of Arlo Guthrie performing “Alice’s Restaurant” – a year before the record [Spotify] was released.
When I opened the big Rubbermaid tub where I thought I’d find the old reel-to-reel recording, I also found the journals that I started keeping in the spring of 1969 – a record of my last months in high school and my first year of college (though not, really) at the end of a very tumultuous decade.
The timing was providential. For a while, my personal guru (OK, my therapist for the past 20+ years) had been encouraging to “tell your own story…” And there was the beginnings of it, in a set of three-ring, loose-leaf binders.
So that’s what I have been doing… spending as much time as I can transcribing those journals into a word-processor-on-steroids called ‘Scrivener‘ and slicing and dicing and massaging and compiling and trying to come up with a story.
A few months ago I published (to Medium.com) a few installments that were drawn from the notes I made during and after two days and nights at a little music festival in the summer of 1969 called “Woodstock.” (Actually, it was called ‘The Aquarian Exposition’, and it didn’t really happen in Woodstock, but, hey, who’s counting?) Read the resulting account starting here:
Last week I added several new installments, what I imagine will be the first three chapters once this enterprise finds it way in to some kind ‘book*’ form:
Preface: A 60-Something Looks Back At The 60s
Chapter 1: Suspension – In which I get sent to the principal’s office – with about two dozen of my classmates
Chapter 2: Admission – Destiny fulfilled, I get in to a college.
There are some other links on the home page for the project, TimeCapsule1969.com
In addition to the initial incarnation as a ‘book’ of some kind, I also keep imagining this project manifesting as some kind of stage show, with readings from the book and performances of some of the music that provided the soundtrack of the period.
With that in mind, as I’ve worked on this project I’ve been compiling and listening to a Spotify-based playlist of some of the music I listened to during the period I’m writing about. A lot of these are the songs I figured out when I was learning how to play guitar (starting in 1966); a lot of them I can still play, and those are the songs I’d perform along with readings from ‘the book.’
Whether you’re a refugee from that period or curious millennial, I think you’ll find a lot to listen to in this playlist:
I have been adding new tracks to this list on a fairly regular basis. At present it’s almost 150 songs and more than 9 hours. If you are a Spotify subscriber, subscribe to the list and you’ll be notified when I find new things to add to it.
And if you’re interested in following this work as it unfolds, use the form in the sidebar to the right of this post to subscribe to my “Weekly Digest.
I am publishing the material that I’ve got so far for the sake of soliciting some feedback, to see if any of my stories resonate with a potential readership. It’s really easy for me to think the worst of my own work, so if anybody finds it worth the time and effort, it would kick my ass a little to know that’s the case.
Now then, where was I?
Oh yeah, just arriving at the George Washington University in September 1969… hmmm… who’s that pretty red-head…
Just posted to Medium.com: one of the early chapters from…
This is a first hand account of my experience at Woodstock, based on notes scribbled at the scene and a more detailed account written shortly after – and then embellished with 45 years of hindsight and retrospection. The entire chapter is about 4,000 words, but for the sake of web-induced, nano-second attention spans, I have broken it down into three shorter installments. Start with:
…and if that holds your attention, follow the links to subsequent installments.
Comments and feedback much appreciated, wherever you care to leave it (in comments here, on Medium.com, Facebook, Twitter, Cuneiform tablets).
And by all means feel free to pass it along… there are surely others outside my immediate sphere of influence who can relate… regardless of their age.
Not sure where to begin this.. so I’ll start with this llink:
….and offer this by way of explanation:
A couple of months ago, I was suddenly inspired to revisit “the archives” – two large Rubbermaid tubs filled with paraphernalia that I started accumulating in the late 1960s… during my senior year in high school, and my first year attempting to go to college.
I don’t remember now exactly what motivated me to dig into those archives, but getting in there has been something of a turning point.
I look at the stuff in that now and realize I sent myself a time capsule from 1969. And in that time capsule are the beginnings of a (partly fictional?) memoir about coming to age at the end of the 1960s. That’s what I’ve been working on for the past couple of months – a book that I started writing 45 years ago. What I’ve posted above is an excerpt…
Two weeks ago I dove into a stack of letters from a girlfriend I met during that period, and the experience was unexpectedly visceral. I tried to capture the essence of that experience in a couple of pages of free-form verse, which I published to Medium.com this morning in the piece I linked above.
In that post I think I found the emotional heart of what I’ve been working on.
Beyond that, probably the less said, the better.