Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘north creek’

Refuge

In Activism, American History, anger, ANTI-WAR, journalism, mourning, new journalism, news media, on tour, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, RADIO, revolution, TOUR, travel, travel writing, truth, War, working class, writing about writing on July 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

…I found in him an expression of the American spirit at its worst. Progress was their obsession. More machines, more efficiency, more capital, more comforts-that was their whole talk. I asked them if they had heard of the millions who were unemployed in America. They ignored the question. I asked them if they realized how empty, restless and miserable the American people were with all their machine-made luxuries and comforts. They were impervious to my sarcasm. What they wanted was success-money, power, a place in the sun. None of them wanted to return to their own country; for some reason they had all of them been obliged to return against their will. They said there was no life for them in their own country. When would life begin? I wanted to know. When they had all the things which Americans had, or Germany, or France. Life was made up of things, of machines mainly, from what I could gather. Life without money was an impossibility: one had to have clothes, a good home, a radio, a car, a tennis racquet, and so on. I told them I had none of those things and that I was happy without them, that I had turned my back on America precisely because these things meant nothing to me. They said I was the strangest American they had ever met. But they liked me. They stuck to me throughout the voyage, plying me with all sorts of questions which I answered in vain. Evenings I would get together with the Greek. We understood one another better, much better, despite his adoration for Germany and the German regime. He too, of course, wanted to go to America some day. Every Greek dreams of going to America and making a nest egg. I didn’t try to dissuade him; I gave him a picture of America as I knew it, as I had seen it and experienced it. That seemed to frighten him a little…
-Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

Well. Hullo there good reader. I’m about as cracked from the earth as can be, despite Confederate flags draped in storefront windows and puerile mugs on the faces of North Creek citizens when I must go into town. I been into town quite a bit this trip, to shop and to drop off Ben in Ticonderoga to catch his train to Canada, but the heft of my days has been spent on my feather down double at 125 in the Hewitt Lake Club. I heard the news of 3 more cops shot dead in Baton Rouge by another unhinged vet this morning, and I can only think that in these dark times paranoia verges strangely close to prescience. It might take the actions of murderous soldiers to wake us up to the fact that we are at war. It’s easy to get wrapped up in hysteria no matter which side you’re on, but you don’t want to find yourself talking politics, or much of anything else, in Trump Country with an Appalachian redneck, 1,800 miles from home. It may be best to go back to bed after coffee and NPR and watch the wind through the trees in your cabin while on working holiday in The America.

Not that the city fares any better. We spent 3 days in Louisville-an antebellum phantom of the urbane and what the bitter end of Big City America looks like. There isn’t anything doing there or anywhere, with death and mayhem and senseless violence on the the TV above the deserted hotel bar. Downtown’s shut down. Starbucks closes at 7. There isn’t even a wind blowing in Hunter Thompson’s hometown, but had we pushed any further beyond the city limits, we might have had to deal with a Duck Dynasty situation not unlike North Creek. At Hewitt tonight they’re listening to the Republican National Convention, but what do Big Politics have to do with it? They mean less to me than they ever did. I’m alone in my cabin, with Henry Miller to read and a feather down bed to lie on and dream my silly, poetic dreams.

It would seem that it’s all a wash, we’ve spiraled down too low and there’s hate and fear entrenched in us. Of course the rut is within, but it’s without, too-the cities are deserted, corporate run neon wastelands and the country’s full of ignorant and vile yahoos, who’re overweight and codependent but think that the enemy is you if you won’t get behind the white man’s imperialist wars abroad and don’t have the backs of a murderous and militant police force here at home. Welcome to The America. Unless you’re a nigger-loving muslim faggot and we never liked you anyway.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all bad, or that the trip this year has only amounted to 3 weeks away from the real work in the War Room back home. I’ve had some reflections this time through the savage land. I’ve been thinking about the only kind of change I can muster and I’m proud to report it back for you good reader, because in fact, all we have is each other.  As the dark takes its deeper turns and we lose another source of light.  I’m sick of heroes…and television and politics and the rich and the poor, sick of Garrison Keillor abridging Hunter Thompson’s “suicide note” (on what would’ve have been his 79th birthday, on Writer’s Almanac this morning) sick of a world that pushes our visionaries to suicide but spends 146 million on The Secret Life of Pets.
What’s new to me is a gratitude, that comes from seeing myself clearly, away from home, away from Hippie Town, out of Eden and out in the backwoods underbelly and urban desolation of America, clearing my lungs of stinking Texas oak and cedar, and finally being able to breathe and hold a note-and I can see myself through the mire. What am I, but a pilgrim seeking refuge? Maybe even Bodhisattva?  Sure, now, you know I can get behind that. I have much to report, much to share-and all of it could somehow conclude nicely with the problem I’ve been having with storytelling and even this blog.

We know how bad it can get. I’ve come to you from the bowels of twisted and dire situations, reported live from the belly of the beast and always sought to come through what Dr. Thompson has called the Wisdom. The Wisdom is like a diamond in the dark.  Wisdom, to paraphrase Richard Hell, makes any situation bearable, any screw or fuckaround worth it. If not the prize or zenith, then a regrouping and a breath, a trust…and that’s where I’m gonna have to leave it, and you, good reader, for now.  There doesn’t seem to be any kind of wisdom or resolution or end to this grim parade of murder and persecution and maudlin effrontery.  It would seem to be fucked which could be Wisdom but won’t really help me now, as I gear up and head back into town to pick up Ben in Ticonderoga.  Out on the highway in The America with an open heart and a 50 pack of Nicorette gum.  Wish me luck.

I was told by a friend
that this great quest would only begin
if I’d stop circling in circles behind my own bars
and spiral on out to the fiery stars
-Mischief Brew, Seeking The Brave

Winter Birds

In austin music scene, Music, music performance, singer-songwriter, song on August 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Love of my Life, let go of my hand
I’m about to be reborn
through the canal, to the other side
Not sure who I’ll be
We lit us furious so madly in love
we burned our thousand suns
Time to cleave the fruit from the rind
destiny

I was 11 when my Father left
my sisters, momma and me
I’m as old now as he was then
you gonna have to set me free

Love and Death are the curious things
but in Life you can be sure
“A ship is but a building until
it leaves the shore”
I have his watch, his old cologne
a polaroid of him waving bye
All the phones hangin off they hooks
sayin Mama don’t you cry’

Does the sun in the sky need love?
Is the moon up there all alone?
How can the man in his cell be more free
than a King up on his throne?

“Born into trouble as the sparks fly upward”
fate trumps mystery
Lookin for home but we’re bound to leave
home will we ever be?
I been singin this roadsong so long
the one my daddy taught us
You been standing by the clothesline since summer
see what them winter birds’ve brought us

Let me go and as you float away
take a look down at your feet
As the Earth drops from view
you realize it’s you who’s set free

(c) 2011 Jim Trainer

Going for the Road #4

In alcoholism, blogging, Jim Trainer, sober, TOUR, travel, travel writing on July 23, 2015 at 4:58 pm

7/20/15, after noon
Ah sobriety. Sartre’s wet dream. Before I go on I should mention that I’m smoking about a pack of cigarettes every 2 days. Which is good, for me. Haha. I bring it up because nicotine is a drug and a fine one at that but is mostly consumed in the most wasteful and deadly way. Yep so high on Camels. Yuck. And a little of the Boss’ G13. Very little. You don’t want me to break down on this mountain all alone, do you? Naw keepin it straight bra. Totes. The only thing for me to do when my underwear is done drying is head into town and park at Stewart’s root beer stand until some college girls say hi. We can cruise together down the killing roads of North Creek-Damn I forgot about these! 28N and 87 as chronicled in Farewell to Armor. I was astounded the memory of writing some of that book up here and what a different, well, boy I was then. So much has changed. And I am still climbing.
A deeply personal post on an already over-personalized blog (redundant). You’ll have to forgive the sensitive stuff. Marijuana. There just ain’t nothing doing up on this mountain, Brother. My sleep is fucked and I got 1 more day on shift before the big lazy. 3 whole days in Minerva with nothing to do. Hold on a second. I’ve got an idea.

Allow me to offer this, a post, as testament to the reason blogs are disrespected, often shagged by established or professional writers. I may be 40 but it ain’t no mystery to me-blogging is the shit. How else can I publish and send out my work to the world with just the click of a button? With no editor and no inclination whatsoever to cater to my audience or even find a target just hit ‘Publish’ and I’m published. It’s pretty fucking amazing and also trite and funny in a tragic way. I’m not innocent. I’ve posted many blogs on here like, well, this one-jagoffs and details of one life in seven billion, and nothing political or insightful to offer to the National Conversation.
And, I’ve been building walls. While some have sought to be a part of the world, make their mark, even make better, I have sought refuge from it and have found a way to work alone for hours a day and talk about what I want to talk about which are my feelings goddamnit and well, why not? Blogs can trump the establishment and big business of news reporting. Blogs can offer a truer voice than some earl grey-and-coattails choad newscaster. Or they can be much like dirty laundry-you look at it but only long enough to think to yourself why won’t he take that shit down? Speaking of which I think my skibbies are done. Sorry about this post. Next one’ll be a real dinger, I promise. I’ve got a hankering for root beer. This town sucks but it’s ok out here in the woods I guess.

Jim Trainer, Blogger
Going For The Throat

Going for the Road #3: The North Creek Blues

In blogging, Jim Trainer, travel, travel writing, Writing on July 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm

7/19/15, 10:29 AM
Minerva, NY

Ain’t much happening in North Creek. Smoking a Marlboro on the sun porch. The wind through the tops of the trees is a warm bliss hissing, something I forgot about living under the barren palms of Texas-trees offer a perfect example of how to be. Suddenly I am so very glad we came, and that’s what the trees are saying. 1,977 miles may not seem like much to an old road dog like me, but I slept in fits, was woke suddenly in the middle of the night remembering the Preacher’s daughter. Remembering that I forgot to wish her a happy birthday, rather, I was swept up by the road, geared and up on my haunches behind the wheel, geeked on Marlboro Reds and gas station salad. I had to get up several times last night to tend to the Boss which means he had even less sleep than I did. I can’t complain, what sleep I did get was deep, and total, and I was able to dream lucidly of her and it made me smile and it made me hard. I was woke by the screeching of the loon. There’s something beautiful and lonesome about her calls. Shrill yet deep, they resound off the lake and through the bowl of the mountains. Her call is able to communicate how vast and empty it is out there and the more you listen to it the more you discover it’s quite mad sounding, and unhinged. A far cry from that glorified pigeon of a mourning dove. The common loon makes the mourning dove sound like an ungrateful toddler. The loon she is old and lonesome and quite insane on a placid sheet of lake at dawn screaming her fucking head off. There’s Izzy.

Between me and the lake I can see the Boss’mother out there throwing a ball for Dakota her little buddy. I am always thrilled to see her and will constantly try to persuade her to smoke a Marlboro with me. She’s 83 with every bit of wry WASP sass she ever had. Makes me think that in her younger days she was a real badass. The kind of trouble you like. She’s a storm of a woman and wise. You can sense her years but would never guess her age. And so, it keeps coming back to the crone, for me. God knows I spent enough time worshipping the maiden, and the mother I never put enough time into, but always tried. The crone she knows about the end of all this. All this glory and impermanence, life’s roaring and fleeting parade. She knows about the masks on all the faces. She’s old enough to know that masks will go slack, and slide down your old bones, to reveal not a face but a presence. Which is all we can offer this life, and all this life can offer us-a moment, fully aware, is perfect. Moments labeled agony will seem to last forever, and we shut ourselves out, we steel ourselves to it and deny it to ourselves, deny ourselves to it. And moments of bliss, when labeled, are gone.
Sadness and mourning need us too, friend, and we must make ourselves available to them.

After leaving the cult of Christianity, the only thing, besides my father’s death to give me pause spiritually was Buddhism. It was as simple and profound as when Bass Player X offered it to me on a roaring autumn day in West Philly. He said he would pray for my dad. A queer thought for an admitted iconoclast and nihilist post punkrocker like me. The dead need us. The dead need our prayers. This spoke to me and quite specifically had me recognize the power of the living, the whole Herman Hesse deal. We live only in each other’s hearts. God is wherever 2 or more of you congregate. If we live only in each other’s hearts than we only die there as well. But we don’t have to. Love is stronger than death.
All you have is your work. And for me, my work is in your heart. And it’s out there in the ether which could explain my lifelong love affair with radio. And I’ve always been hip to the bluesman’s charge-get it out there, out of you, holler it high into the air, conjure and put the bad bitch down. The blues is just a good man feelin bad. And as I told the Boss on the final leg, those blues men of yore will smoke a thousand Dave Grohls and they’ll do it all by themself with a 12 string and a polyrythmnic blueprint of rock and roll and their father’s song. With a country twist. A little country never hurt anyone.

Jim Trainer
Minerva, NY