Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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February 8, 2016
When we've been wronged it is common to want to get back at whoever or
whatever hurt us. "Veangance is mine!" we want to shout. But revenge
writing can be a dangerous thing.
If your motivation in a memoir or life story is to get back at someone
you run the risk of alienating readers. Rarely do others feel the sting
of betrayal or harm like you do. This doesn't mean it is pointless to
write about wrongs. But we must be careful not to use a poison pen to avenge a wrong. You may just end up poisoning yourself.
Aside from the self damage that resentments can bring you might also
open yourself up to legal liability. Proceed cautiously when writing
and including names of people and places. If you must accuse or set the
record straight it is advisable to have some legal consultation.
I am often uncomfortable working with people who have an axe to grind
in their story. However, if the situation needs to be rectified and I
believe there is credibility to the story I will consider being a
writer or consultant. Just remember there is a difference between a
whistleblower and getting revenge.
Memoirs continue to be highly popular as a genre. Being able to tell
your side of a story and trying to right some wrongs can be cathartic
and if your story is told with some redeeming qualities you are more
likely to connect with readers. Help for completing your first draft of
a memoir is available from Denis Ledoux and The Memoir Network with a new, intensive several weeks class starting March 17. Get more information here.
Beware the Digital Black Hole
February 4, 2016
Our current technology makes it so easy to save and post things to
social media sites, to hard drives, and to other digital sources. We
have digital pictures, audio, video and writing.
But some day the devices that we use may become obsolete. We need to be
cautious about how we are preserving our history in pictures, audio and
print. There is something called bit rot.
It is what happens as old programs used to view digital documentes
became obsolete. Think about past video formats like 8-tracks or for
audio such as cassettes. The DVD's we use now may not always play on
future technology. If you have prized photos don't risk losing them by
just scanning them and posting to Facebook.
A good article that discussed this subject and how you can go about
finding various, even multiple, ways to preserve your photos and other
digital documents is Every picture tells your story: How to organize photos, online at the Detroit Free Press.
Remembering Challenger on the 30th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle Disaster
Lucky to Get Old
January 28, 2016
A TBT (Throwback Thursday) that was sad and tragic. 30 years ago today
I was doing the morning show on Rock 108 KFMG, Albuquerque. We had the
television on in the conference room for the Space Shuttle launch.
Challenger was going to be special, including the first teacher to go
into space, Christa McAuliffe.
the shuttle exploded 73 seconds into the launch, killing all seven
members of the crew, we were all in shock. It was a tough thing to
crack the microphone and inform listeners. I remember spending a good
portion of the day after my airshift in the production room splicing
together a tribute with song excerpts and commentary.
I have always been an avid fan of space exploration, so the tragedy hit
me hard. But it was also a powerful experience to share my grief with
so many radio listeners. Many of them found it cathartic to hear the
tribute I made. It was cathartic to produce it.
Now that I am no longer in radio broadcasting I still find that sharing
exploration and challenging (pun intended as a tribute to the shuttle
and its great crew) frontiers is both gratifying and important in the
classroom where I daily teach 5th graders. I never would have guessed
thirty years ago that today I might have something in common with
See news and a remembrance here.
January 27, 2016
Do you think of old age as people in nursing homes, or bedridden, or
just so slowed down and "broken down" that there isn't much to do
anymore? If so, consider changing your idea of being elderly.
More and more people are recognizing that getting older is a good
thing. You are accumulating wisdom and experiences. You have greater
insight into the important things in life (family, friends, health).
Yes, as you get older you can develop health concerns. The body doesn't
do what it used to do. And more people you know and love die. However,
the privilege of growing old is denied to many people. Even the rock
group the Who and their main songwriter Pete Townshend probably have a
different opinion than the line, "Hope I die before I get old" from
their 1960's song, My Generation.
Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician and theater performer, is traveling the
country trying to change people's attitudes about aging. Read the
thought-provoking article from The Washington Post online here.
Glenn Frey Dies - An Eagle Has Flown
January 19, 2016
It seems not a day has gone by in this young year of 2016 that doesn't
include the sad news of another famous performer dying. The passing of
another voice of my generation, Glenn Frey, a co-founder of the group
the Eagles, happened yesterday. He was only 67. The other celebrity
deaths recently are in a similar age range, late 60's to early 70's. It
does give one pause to hear this news so often, but the truth is we are
all getting older. Still, it is a bit of a shock to hear this on
the heels of the passing of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Lemmy Kilmister
and Natalie Cole (among others).
Although Frey hailed from Detroit, Michigan, he was quintessential
Southern California in the 1970's. He and Don Henley formed the band
that gave us such memorable songs as "Take It Easy" (co-written by
Jackson Browne), "Lyin' Eyes", "Desperado" and "Hotel California".
That's a very small sampling from their excellent song catalog. The
Eagles also included Timothy B. Schmidt and Joe Walsh, who both joined
in a later incarnation and had already enjoyed popularity in their own
groups (Poco and James Gang). Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don
Felder were earlier members and the group is in the Rock n' Roll Hall
Glenn Frey had a successful solo career and also did some acting. He
was by all accounts hard working and a caring man. I certainly enjoyed
playing his music on the radio for thirty years.
You can read many excellent obituaries and tributes from various publications. I found what was posted on the Eagles official website to be particularly poignant as they included lyrics from a song Frey co-wrote for the Long Road Out of Eden record. "It's Your World Now" includes the lines, It's
your world now / My race is run / I'm moving on / Like the setting sun
/ No sad goodbyes / No tears allowed / You'll be alright / It's your
Check This Out - The Human Library Organization
January 14, 2016
At most libraries you check out books or other media. In Denmark (and a
few other locations doing something similar) you can "check out a
human" and get their story face-to-face.
This is an interesting concept. You can find out about different people
and life experiences. And unlike a book, you can ask questions. The Human Library Organization (see their Facebook page),
allows people to check out this unique type of "interactive book" for
half an hour. The library uses a card catalog system and you can search
for a variety of stories. Examples include orphans, veterans, Holocaust
survivors, gypsies and even prostitutes. The intent is to promote a
better understanding about the diversity of people.
A Good News Network story explains it well and includes a link to a CBC documentary.
David Bowie and the New Mexico Connection
January 12, 2016
When I awoke to the news Monday morning that David Bowie had passed
away I was again gripped by that strange sensation that happens as you
age. The longer we live the more of the influential people, be they
family, friends or famous, in our lives pass on.
I just turned 60 in December. That makes me a Baby Boomer, and yes, of
course, Bowie's music was part of what I grew up on. He was such a
chameleon and one of my favorite songs by him was "Changes".
He was never one to be retro. He kept reinventing himself and
influencing others with his music through the years. His latest album, Blackstar, was released on January 8, 2016, which also happened to be David Bowie's 69th birthday. The video for the track "Lazarus"
is a bit eerie with Bowie lying in a hospital bed with bandaged eyes
and singing, "Look up here, I'm in Heaven". It's pretty obvious this
record is his goodbye gift to the world. Indications are that Bowie
knew this would be his swansong.
Bowie died just a couple of days after his birthday and he was
fortunate to be surrounded by his family. He had been dealing with
cancer for 18 months, but that was kept pretty quiet. Good for him.
The New Mexico connection with Bowie is two-fold. The very first fan
letter to Bowie from an American was in 1967 from a 14-year old girl
living in New Mexico. Bowie was so excited he immediately typed a
lovely return letter (link). The other connection was the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth,
a sci-fi film starring David Bowie was filmed in New Mexico, on the
eastside of the Sandia Mountains in the old mining town of Madrid. I
live in Albuquerque and I've driven through this quaint little town
Bowie was avante garde and multi-talented as a musician and actor. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.
Pure Rock KNAC Began Thirty Years Ago (a Throwback Thursday)
January 7, 2016
My first blog entry of 2016 looks back thirty years ago to the launch
of a legendary Southern California radio station. Long Beach was the
home for the 105.5 FM frequency and a relatively low-power radio
station. KNAC broadcast with 3,000 watts, so it was hard to compete
with big 10,000 and 50,000 stations. A formula was hit on, a risky
proposition that ended up becoming something of a legend. "The little
station with the big attitude", Pure Rock 105.5 KNAC launched on January 8, 1985.
The radio station played hard rock and heavy metal and found an avid
audience in Southern California. It helped that bands like Motley Crue,
Aerosmith, Van Halen, AC/DC, Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Scorpions, Iron
Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne were all enjoying great popularity. KNAC
played these bands and many
others, including artists that other FM radio stations wouldn't touch.
It wasn't safe and it wasn't conservative. It was loud, proud and
outrageous. Part of KNAC's success was personality in spades. The radio
DJ's were fun and funny and reflected the overall edgy personality of
the radio station.
The station gained fame through a street buzz and underground
credibility. It helped that the artists played on the station showed
their gratitude by talking up KNAC in interviews, wearing t-shirts with
the station logo and basically giving an endorsement that helped spread
the radio station's cool factor.
In my previous life of radio broadcasting I was privileged to be the
program director for KNAC from mid-1987 to the end of 1989. What a
blast to work with so many creative and enthusiastic broadcasters, from
the management of Gary Price and Nicky Randolph to the music and
promotion staff (Ross Goza, Tom Maher, Michael Davis) and some of the
best air talent ever (Thrasher, Long Paul, the late Tawn Mastry, Gonzo
Greg, Dangerous Darren, Philthy Phil, Nasty Neil, Stew Herrera and many
others who contributed to the mix). The record industry also helped by
giving us many opportunities for fun promotions, concert tie-ins and
band interviews. It was a great time for radio.
The station eventually was sold and changed formats, something that
happens a lot in the industry. But a celebration 30 years later is
happening this weekend in Los Angeles. Many KNAC alumni will get
together to celebrate the legend of Pure Rock KNAC. I'm sure many
glasses will be raised in toasts, including some for recently passed
away Lemmy of Motorhead, an avid KNAC fan and true hard rocker. For those about to (and always have been) rock(in), we salute you!
| Hear radio podcast from Thrashpie about the beginning of KNAC |
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