Monday, February 28, 2011


I can picture so clearly in my mind a trusted companion from long ago that listened to whatever I had to say and held my secrets close, and still to this day is available for me to reminisce with whenever I want to revisit those days of endless wonder - my first notebook.

It's a battleship gray, double pocket folder affair that is covered with scribbles (mostly lightning bolts - flashes of inspiration?) and has two layers of yellow cracking tape along the spine because of being so packed with the rambling of a young curious mind. The paper inside as varied as the thoughts: construction paper, napkins, backs of junk mail letters, company stationary from several places, and every kind of notebook paper imaginable. Sometimes I pull out the old vault and open it up reverently, remembering the hopeful dreams of the youth that coursed through me. Then I read the stream of consciousness type drivel I was fond of writing at that time and I laugh my ass off. What was I thinking?

But we have to start somewhere right? I honestly cannot for the life of me remember what prompted me to start, but I remember carrying a notebook with me at all times before I was out of high school. My really good friend Joe (guitar playing fool) heard me read one of my poems in class or something and before we knew it we were writing songs. Joe used to jot a line once in a while and I have in this old notebook one of the greatest examples of drunken redundancy ever recorded on paper. I've kept it all these years (just about 30) because it always makes me laugh, thanks Joe.

The happier I am the more I laugh. The more I laugh the happier I get. The happier I get the more I laugh. I laugh a lot when I'm happy, so while I'm laughing I get happier. I like to drink when I'm laughing and being happy. I sit down happy as can be. I order a drink and laugh. I'm happy because the bartender is now laughing at me being happy. I smile because it's always been a habit since I find myself happy when ordering a drink. I laugh at the way I smile because I am happy to order that drink. That drink makes me happy to make me happy to smile and then laugh because I am so happy to be laughing. Thanks to that drink I'm laughing and happier than I was before that drink.

If that doesn't convince people to drink in moderation I don't know what will. I also found one of my old favorites that inspired me to start writing, it is attributed to Anonymous.

Look To This Day

Look to this day.
For it is life,
the very life of life.
In its brief course lies all
the realities and verities of existence,
the bliss of growth,
the splendor of action,
the glory of power...
For yesterday is but a dream
and tomorrow is only a vision,
but today, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream
of happiness.
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

Wow it sure has been great going through some memories again. I love words and being creative. I can remember playing scrabble with my Mom and her Mom and her Mom's husband Frank, they all read voraciously, and helped me learn to love language at a very early age. Frank could do the Times Union Crossword puzzle (did it everyday) in about 10-15 minutes, he was quite an amazing person. My grandmother Abbey, who always smoked Kools and drank only gingerale, used to admonish me for my dark poems, she'd say "Nobody will ever want to read that stuff, it's too depressing." Well I fear she was right but I am what I am. But Abbey was also very supportive, and she used to give me clippings of places to send material (mostly which I did a few times. Most everything just got stuck in this notebook though, including a poem Abbey wrote that I'd like to end this article with. She said to me, "When you get famous you can show this to people and tell them this is where you get your talent from." Then she laughed with a twinkle in her eye. Well thanks for believing in me Gram, I doubt I'll ever be well known but you're going out to a global audience and hopefully Mom's with you at rest now.

Thoughts - Abbey Burby 1970

The lightning flashed, the storm raged
The man felt as if he was caged
He looked outside and what did he see
But a rainbow - oh ecstasy.

It was all colors from yellow to pink
It surely makes one stop and think
Life is this way, dark dreary and sad
Until goodness drives away the bad.

Put out your hand to someone in need
Put a smile on your face and plant the seed
Of future happiness, trust and joy
For every young girl and boy.

Brothers and sisters we all are
Whatever our color - whether near or far
Reach for tomorrow everyone, everywhere
For a big wonderful world without care.

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