They Shoot Ramones, Don’t They?


I walked out of the gas station with my diet dr. pepper. A tall, floppy haired young man, no older than 20, walked in the door I exited. His scraggly appearance was hi-lighted by a black leather jacket and a crisp, black t-shirt that looked like this:

I smiled, then smirked, and spoke to him.

“The Ramones are great. They’re one of my favorite bands.”

I was proud of the kid’s response. Full of anti-social attitude and get away from me creepy older dude snarl, he mumbled incoherently and passed me into the store. The Ramones would be proud of him.

Ramones t-shirts are sold at Target. You can’t open a music book or website and not see The Ramones epic 1976 debut ranked in the top ten of something. That wasn’t the case 35 years ago. When the The Ramones released their record, most people ignored it and them. The only major critic that paid attention was the legendary Lester Bangs. He loved them. People ignored Lester, as well.

Time has been kind to the memory of the four losers from Forest Hills, Queens, New York. I always harken to this example when people talk about criticism.

I’m “this close” to finishing a book. I’m also self publishing some short stories by the end of December. I’m terrifed at the reaction.

Two years ago, when my wife shook her head at my scribbling in notebooks and suggested I resurrect my blogging career, I paced my entire house dozens of times wondering if anyone would care. I’d been divorced. I’d been through therapy. I now live with four strong willed, determined women who know how to push my buttons and get their way. I could handle comments from “strangers” on the internet. Right?

Over the past 11 months, I’ve written every day. Most of what I’ve penciled hasn’t made it to My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. Crazy Robot Stories passed 57 thousand words for Nanowrimo, thus certified or “won”. I’ve got about 67 thousand words en total. Ironing out the ending should make it novel-sized and editor ready. Helene Troy, my wife approved girlfriend, has about 22 thousand words written, with about 15 of it shown. Millicent, the serial poisoner, is a solid 4 thousand word short story sitting with my editor/writer friend Grace http://thegraceofpirates.blogspot.com/ aka @octoberesque . Italian Radio’s 4 thousand words are with Writer’s Digest waiting for a thousand buck cash prize and the adoration of tens. Among those works, I’ve received over 600 comments. Some have been beautiful. Others have been harsh. It’s the rough ones I’ve learned the most. They’ve made me a better writer.

I know I brag about being part robot. I don’t believe if I wasn’t wired this way, I could handle the reviews. Waking up wrong, every day, with these women I live with, gives you rhinoceros skin.

Joey Ramone, The Ramones lead singer and song writer, died 10 and a half years ago, from cancer. Before he died, he gave an interview to Maria Bartriromo of CNBC financial news fame. She asked him if he regretted toiling in obscurity for the first part of his career. He responded profoundly.

“You know, I always wanted to be liked. Now, I just want to be appreciated. I enjoyed my life when I had nothing… and kinda like the idea of just being happy with me. “

I hope, if this writing I’m doing, sees any light of day, I can be as thoughtful as the late great Joey Ramone.

As my comment box asks, Whatdya got?

Today’s song is the first thing anyone ever heard from The Ramones. If you don’t like this, then you’re the problem. Here’s one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard, Blitzkrieg Bop….

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11 responses to “They Shoot Ramones, Don’t They?

  1. I still have some Helene Troy to catch up on I think, but you’ve definitely been busy. I’ve been contemplating publishing a collection of short and scaries, too, so you’re inspiring me.

    You’ve got a good thing going here, Lance. It’s an honor to have you read and critique my writing, and that you like it too? Yeah.

    You get your Joey Ramone moment with me. Definitely appreciated over here. Congratulations on your completion of NaNo and all of the other projects you have going on. Good luck in the Writer’s Digest contest. I always wondered if they were legit. (LOL)

  2. The fact you have so many things in the pipe is awesome. If nothing else you can say “I did it”

    It’s astouding how much actually goes into writing. You don’t just have to write, you have to edit, you have to promote, you have to be a public speaker, you need to know how to “read” (as in perform your work. No one wan’t to hear a rocking adventure in a monotone). I’ve been hearing about all the other stuff in my critique group and it’s a tad intimidating.

    Good luck in getting those stories self published and good luck with the contest. And I’m here if you want anything read :)

  3. I can’t wait for a weekend day when G’s asleep for a few hours and I can read everything you’ve got posted. I’m in total awe of how prolific you are (and that it’s not all crap). I’m very glad the Bobina convinced you to blog again. My Reader is enriched. I’m also glad you can be so open with your readers… That takes bravery of a certain kind. I hope I get to constructively comment on your stuff for years to come! And congrats on NaNoWriMo, I must’ve somehow missed your announcement!!

  4. Brother, I was most likely blasting the ’76 live version of “Blitzkrieg” last night when you posted this. I don’t know what that means but, it darn sure is cool.

    I’m STILL looking for an “I’m not Johnny Ramone” t-shirt .. maybe I’ll find one eventually.

    Oh, your writing! I agree Tara, one day when waiting in line at a book signing, I can tell the guy behind me “Ya, I’ve known him a long time, and ya, he’s always been cutting edge cool .. except for that time ..” and leave it hanging at that.

  5. I think there comes a certain age in everyone’s life when they stop giving a sh!t what people think, and just go about following their muse. Mine was Age 40, when I started blogging, and stopped worrying about making a fool of myself.

    Well… the anti-depressants helped too, but there’s no shame in that.

    Keep writing that book. Don’t let fear hold you back.

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