Indie Rock, Writing, and Blues – Oh My!

I had a busy day yesterday, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.  I headed off bright and early (well, early, at least…) to my monthly Writers’ Community of Durham Region breakfast meeting.  The WCDR is a 370+-strong writer’s organisation that I’ve been a member of, on and off, for years.  The speaker yesterday was David Bidini, who is a musician, writer, and hockey enthusiast.  David’s a member of the Canadian indie band, The Rheostatics, and On A Cold Road – his 1998 book about their cross-country trip opening for The Tragically Hip – won the 2006 F.G. Bressani award and was a finalist in this year’s Canada Reads competition.  His talk was great – funny, self-deprecating and studded with nuggets of wisdom.

The thing that stuck with me, and got me really thinking, was when David was talking about his writing process.  He said that, when he was writing surrounded by his band mates in their Delta 88 driving across Canada, he “was forced to write anytime, anywhere”.  That got me thinking  and I realised that I used to be a heck of a lot more productive with my writing when I stopped thinking of it as “I have to go up to my writing room, turn on my computer, and write”.  Back when I used to just hand-write on a pad of yellow foolscap (anyone remember that stuff?) I could crank out a lot more in half an hour than I ever do now.  Granted, most of it was crap, but at least it was crap that was on the page, not bottled up inside me.

I also realised something else.  I’ve been talking about writing this blog for months now, and had been agonising over my first post.  Last week I was stuck at the auto shop waiting for the brakes on my car to be fixed and instead of my netbook, I’d brought along a pad of paper and one of my favourite pens.  Well, I had that first post banged out in about forty-five minutes.  That was a real revelation to me and something I’m going to try in the next few weeks, doing first drafts on paper, not computer.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

(Right - Danny B, Left - Brian Gauci)

Energised and inspired, I headed to the other side of the city for a different type of inspiration.  Hubby and I met up with friends and had the pleasure of listening to the incomparable Danny B and Brian Gauci at the Fox and Fiddle in Etobicoke, where they’ll be playing for the next few weeks.  Danny’s a blues man I was introduced to several years back by dear friends of mine, and I love to listen to him sing.  He’s got that gravelly “blues voice” that sounds like he’s been gargling with rocks, and he never fails to bring me to tears with his version of Mr. Bojangles.  Brian, who accompanies Danny, is an amazing guitarist.  I have one of his CDs and I sometimes having it going in the background when I’m writing, especially when I’m toying around with my “hard-boiled PI” idea – it just strikes me as that kind of music.

While we were there, we ran into the lovely Tracy Shreve, who played Beverly Jackson on the Pax TV series Doc (yes, the one with Billy Ray Cyrus).  I love that series, and watching reruns recently on Vision TV has been my guilty escape from job hunting and other things I should be doing, so meeting her was a real pleasure.  She mentioned that she’s be doing some auditioning, so hopefully we’ll see her in something soon.