Ed's Blues

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Impossible Dreams


A number of years ago I was in a failing marriage and, as one does, thinking back on my life. I was writing a lot of songs at that time and often used my songs as a way of working through my own thoughts about the world as I see it. Sometimes it is a great way to see how I got from where I was before to where I had come to.

I’ve never been able to walk lockstep with the culture I was in, partly because I grew up in many cultures. Living in America, I realized that the women I’d been attracted to tended not to be the Miss America types—the gorgeous, perfect women. The model wife of that time was someone who inspired praise for qualities such as her appearance and domestic abilities. They were attractive, certainly, but not people I wanted to be in a serious relationship with.

When I was young, in the sixties, I hung out in coffee houses (playing and learning) and most of the women I admired I met there--women who were well read, clever and independent—kick ass women. More than once, however, I found that such women didn’t believe I (or maybe anyone) could care for them as they were. They thought I was in love with a fantasy I had about them. Perhaps that was true to an extent. I certainly was affected by the American Dream in some way, and this song, in its earliest incarnation, was my attempt to resolve the woman of the American Dream with the women I was attracted to. I called it American Dream.


A few years later I started working with Harper John in Hong Kong and we formed The Lapsap Blues Band, which became Indie Kline. We were working on the album WORLDS APART and I suggested doing the song. When Harper John began playing with it, without knowing the background, he suggested that it was bigger than just an American Dream -- it was an Impossible Dream. I decided he was right and the new version of the song really nailed it much better. He made a few other lyrical changes too (and still does), and they have served to keep the song vital.  

He still performs it in concert and here is a video of him doing it live at The Gates.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO5S-hNYOts

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Offering

“A momentary gesture
fleeting as time.
A flower, a smile.
An offering.”



“An offering would be fine,
In keeping with our space in time.
But an offering of a flower with a smile?
Like gleeful golden daffodils?
Beside the lake, beneath the trees.
Ten thousand Buddhas at a glance,
By chance did you see these?”


by Ed Teja and John Pocock 

A book of poetry, photographs and strange insghts
(available in paperback and ebook at  amazoniTunes and Nook

Friday, December 9, 2016

Night Music in Kampuchea

Night Music

Here is video clip from a night concert in Kampot, Cambodia. My friend Harper John thought you'd like to see it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Getting Ready to Go

So I'll be heading to Ecuador at the end of January, making a three week run to check out a new place. My brother Dan is going for the first part of the trip--he has the idea that Ecuador might be a good place to retire in a couple of years. So he's doing the right thing by getting his butt down there to see if it's anything like he thinks it is. (If it isn't, no harm done.)

You never really know about a place until you have boots on the ground. No amount of research will substitute for being there, getting the feel of a place, smelling the air. No travel guide can do it for you. What you want and need at that precise time in your life is unique. Only you can know if you are going meld with a place. Even a trip or two gives a superficial sense of place. That's why wise folks like Andy Graham over on hobo traveler recommend that you do not even consider buying a place until you've lived in the new place at least a year, preferably more. The way things work in your new home will not be like it was at home, not matter where home was. Even the meaning of property rights is different where there are no (or limited) zoning or noise ordinances. In some places they liked to party--loud. Even in pretty, idyllic locales that in your (or my) opinion should be tranquil and relaxed.

Another problem with research is that it can make you overthink a place. For instance, much of the time the US State Department is trigger happy in issuing travel warnings. If you are traveling to the major cities wearing suits and staying in five star hotels they can apply when hanging around with locals at a guest hour is perfectly safe. All places have safe and unsafe areas and times, and trying to guess what those are from a thousand miles or more away is a sucker's game.

Besides, information changes rapidly. When we went to Koh Kong Cambodia, at least half the places in The Lonely Planet Guide (which is a good guide) were out of date. The turnover is high there and many businesses were gone or had changed completely. The guide was still useful, but getting your expectations set too firmly wasn't going to make for a happy trip.

At any rate, I love exploring, and Dan and I will be ranging from Quito to the coast to see what there is to see,

And in the meantime, I have a novel that takes place in Cambodia in the works. I'm intending to get it out next year... I need a fantastic cover for this one.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Identity Crisis?

Caribbean Murder Mystery

or maybe a cozy?

I wrote this story a while ago. It's a short story, basically a mystery, that takes place on a Caribbean island that is remarkably like Carriacou, Grenada, West Indies where we lived for a time. What a coincidence. I've written a number of Caribbean stories and for some reason they seem to have an identity problem. Readers of mysteries don't seem to discover them, and people who like reading adventures in tropical locals don't either. This isn't a hard boiled story, so maybe the cozy readers aren't excited by a story that isn't in a rural village.... I'm not quite sure. What I do know is that the characters are fun and the story is only 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and iBooks


Some kinda stranger is sitting out on the boat of that nice French couple looking all suspicious. Worse, Martha's cast-iron skillet, that special one she loves, has gone missing. She's starting the morning fixing up and it ain't in its place. It gotta have been thieved!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"So What Does That Mean"

As part of my personal development I make it a point to watch intellectually challenging films. The other night we watched KUNG FU PANDA #3, for instance. In it the master asks Po if he knows who he is. He replies "I am the dragon warrior."

The master then asks: "What does that mean?"

See, highbrow stuff. But it got me thinking. We tell people we are doctors, lawyers, race track touts, or even admit to being writers, but we seldom get so far as talking about what that means. A doctor is supposed to be a healer, but a lot of doctors do research or even admin work, not direct healing. A lawyer is... well, I'll stick to pleasant things and skip that one. A writer writes. They are supposed to be creative, but the they are also supposed to write stuff readers enjoy, and that can be a problem. If the writer is responding to an artistic challenge it might not appeal to the reader who enjoyed the last cozy mystery he or she wrote.

Problems.

Generally this doesn't matter much. Social media is destroying conversation. Try and get someone to talk about much of anything beyond the litany of their own medical woes and you learn this quickly. Moreover, my nasty (writerly) habit of asking people what they mean by the words they use has curtailed my social life considerably. People feel challenged or threatened when you ask that, no matter how nicely you put it. (And unfortunately for my social development, I know next to zero about sports.)

Still, even if I can't use this in conversation, it's a question I can beat myself over the head with from time to time. Socrates said the unexamined life wasn't worth living, but I don't suppose he ever suggested that an examined life was easy or more fun.

Just a thought.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Facebook and Noise

(Warning. A mild rant follows. Not suitable for people who don't like re-evaluating things)


I get lots of inquiries from people asking me to follow them on Facebook. Inevitably, if I respond at all it's to say that I don't do Facebook. I tried it once and found the noise level horrific and overwhelming. Little on "my" page had anything to do with me.

And most things didn't actually seem to be ON Facebook anyway but, as with twitter, links to thing somewhere else. Facebook was just the medium for sending me where the person wanted me in the first place. All the political rants that seem to assume I agree with them anyway were nauseating (often worst when I did agree with them). Pictures of people I don't know eating food were not entertaining. (Pictures of food? Give me a break.)

The thing is, life's too short for that nonsense. It was nice to be able to communicate with people, when it worked, but I couldn't be sure people saw my messages unless they specifically answered, and for that, I have email which is nicer, more "me friendly" as it were. Most important, other than going through myriad servers, it is just a communication between myself and another person, one not categorized as a "Facebook Friend"--a strange marketing label if ever there were one.

Very quickly my enthusiasm for checking my Facebook page waned, and shortly after, I deleted it. That was about eight or nine years ago. I don't honestly think I've missed out on anything important in doing that (but how would I know, right?) but I do know it gives me more time, and time is a precious commodity.

Every day it seems that my "friends" on other sites invite me to join them on "the new Facebook"--something I believe the world needs about as much as it needs another Enron. I don't reply. I don't join. It isn't that I am not interested in what other people are doing, but I figure if you want me to know, there are a lot of ways to send me a message about it, and the point of all going to some site every day is rather lost on me. I'd prefer to hear from you in a unique way. I have one or two friends who call me on the phone. What a concept!

I do participate in a few online things that I consider marginal, but only because they are nearly automatic (take zero time from me) and I view them as relatively harmless. Increasingly this chaotic world makes me seek out the relatively harmless (in the wrong hands, nothing is entirely harmless).

If you love Facebook, if it works for you and what you need, I'm glad. It must work for a lot of people or they wouldn't bother (I hope they wouldn't). But I won't be there, and it isn't because I'm not your friend, or don't like you, but because I don't see it as a substitute for whatever it aims to substitute for. The truth is that there is not a global online community. There are online interactions, but not a community. And sticking "global" and "community" together as a single term... well, think about it for a while. If it still makes sense to you, then fine.