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….