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Elvis Enthusiasts Unite

Updated: 2017-10-15T07:40:25.680-06:00


Reconsidered, by Dainon Moody


width="640" height="360" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>From The Sound of Scampering, available on Amazon.

The Raven (but not That Raven).


My sense of smell is stronger than it probably should be. She smelled like she didn’t much care for deodorant, if she owned any at all. I dismissed this as okay. Curiously, Europeans get a pass on smelling like just rained-on dirt. She spoke at length of a past college thesis, the one that preceded her becoming a professor, it involving the still-mystery that is combustion theory. I knew nothing about any of that, but I took it in, moving things around in my brain to make room, and so glad at this sudden opportunity to learn.When I had the chance to speak, my subjects paled in comparison—what I did for fun, how long I’d lived here—but she let me speak, didn’t try to complete one sentence, seemed to welcome not having to talk herself. I occasionally wondered, mid-sentence, if she understood every word I said. I’d dismiss the notion just as quickly, too, as her listening was intense and rapt and wonderful and rare. So what if she didn’t? Hours into our meeting for the first time and already she was making a fast habit of using my words to hang on; I may as well have been telling tall tales around a campfire. I wanted to prolong that feeling of being listened to so reverently, wanted to stretch these moments out into days. She had hair that was raven, wispy and untamed, no friend of the wind. Her skin appeared to glow, both during the day and, later, without any need of a street lamp. Her eyes unexpectedly drank and spoke at the same time. As an avid researcher—it was practically a hobby—maybe soaking up this night came second nature to her. Was she learning? Observing? She owned an accent that was more Russian spy than Turkish quasi-scientist. Every time she smiled, she regained a few years of her youth. It allowed her face to explode into joy. When she did so, the future was suddenly assured and something had been won, done right. I wonder if my eyes ever told hers all that seemed so impossible to keep hidden. How I wanted to speak to her with my mouth, stop using words.[...]

Thirty-Seven Years Shy, by Dainon Moody.


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this american life: the writer edition.


sometimes you wake up on a Sunday night (third time in four hours) and you have the most clear thought in your head that you dig around for an unused field notes notebook and you quickly scrawl it out so you can remember it later. and, as far as you're able to tell the next day, it's shouting at you in manic, scribbly diagonal lines.

"in the end, I intend to write about all of it. and it will show up in scripts and it will show up in poems and stories and my blog and sometimes on Facebook, too. it'll make it hard to collect it all and put it inside a portfolio, but I will have made my mark, my stain on this world."

you've succeeded at determining your life's mission, see, and, once you're finally able to get back to sleep (if that's what you want to call it at this point), you promptly return to doing other things that also make a world of sense, like a dropping a deodorant stick in your dreams, one that shatters and turns into really big, really gross maggots.  

Help Jay William Henderson Make You Some Songs.


Today’s been one of those rainy, gray ones. In my mind, that makes it the best of days. Instead of falling leaves all the burnt colors of Fall, we’ve daily visits by buckets of raindrops and the occasional surprise clap of thunder. Instead of being clobbered with sunshine with the season switch, I can pretend it’s a sweater’y day in Portland. The air conditioner has eased up and my candle is sending over its best cinnamon-vanilla wafts. On my mind? Pie. I’ve taken a break from the four Frank Sinatra albums I slipped and fell into today (judge if you must) and put on a different kind of soundtrack, Jay William Henderson’s magnificent The SunWill Burn Our Eyes. Not the streaming bandcamp laptop variety, either. There’s no wrestling with tinny speakers here. This is campfire-warm vinyl, the one to match the mellow mood of this space. After all, he’s got a voice that makes more sense in this setting, this season. Ol’ Blue Eyes can wait.I didn’t learn until a few days ago that the singer-songwriter had another album in him. But, without any real fanfare whatsoever, a message was sent out that, yes, he’d some songs he’d conjured up, songs he wanted pretty badly to share. After spending some time in Nashville, he’d returned to Utah, spending days on end writing and singing songs in the desert. Who knew? The long and short of it? He’s trying to raise the requisite funds to get these songs, a whole album of them, to those who would like to hear it. Call me crazy, but I’d imagine there’s plenty out there who’d like to hear it.You see, he’s got a certain kind of world-weariness about him. His songs come out smooth, but not overly so. There’s sun-drenched dust scattered through verses and half empty bottles of easily accessible Bulleit in the shadows. His tales belong to troubadours … cowboys with a past … wearied wanderers. Throw in a harmonica and some chaw and this is the stuff of a forgotten—but loved—Western. “Lonely Man” or “Let The Sail Be Your Guide” will end up on the opening credits of a black-and-white Johnny Depp something-or-other someday, mark my words. Perhaps I get a little to close to over-romanticizing? Eh, that’ll happen.If he raises $6,500 or more in the next 24 days, the album will come out by early next year. If he doesn’t, chances are good that it won’t. Fans are in the driver’s seat on this one, though. He’s about a third of the way there, but there’s no time for standing on the sidelines, folks.    (For what it’s worth, I’d go with the $50 contribution. Not only do you get the new album once it comes out, but you get a double-vinyl copy of his last album, which goes down perfectly with your rainy days, as I said before. And. And! If he goes above and beyond the intended fundraising mark by $3K, a vinyl version of the album will get pressed, and you’ll get that, too, no questions asked! I, for one, am hoping for that last part. Hoping hard and crossing digits.)  You know, I’m a freelance writer. Given the absolute freedom to write whatever I wanted to (and still survive financially), I think I’d like to have a go at just writing about music, telling the stories attached to those who’ve no choice but to create the songs they hear in their heads and hearts. I’d be the observer in the audience, the one in the tour bus trying desperately to fit in with the cooler kids. I say that pretty easily, but I can’t back it up, not entirely.I can’t really be objective about Jay and the music he makes. Ask me why I like it and I couldn’t tell you. I can’t rightly say why I went to countless Band ofAnnuals shows when I was a Salt Lake City downtowner, but I did. I went to last minute coffee house shows when I heard about them and I parked it at his Kilby shows, too. Bought his last album and sent it to friends who owned ears I trusted, because I wanted them to hear what I heard. I can’t say why I like it, but t[...]

Ruminations on Johnny Cash, 10 years later.


I was in my parent’s van and on the way to my grandfather’s funeral when I learned that Johnny Cash had died. We’d just gassed up and I’d grabbed a USA Today before being dealt that blow.I should back up. He’s not really my grandfather, not by blood. And he’s not even my stepdad’s actual father. Grandpa Stan is my stepdad’s stepdad, and we were on our way to Canada to pay our respects. We would attend a funeral in a small chapel, where my adopted grandma wouldn’t have it in her to properly reveal her sadness. Dry tear ducts, you know. She was as broken up as anyone else, but never had the tears to show for it.I recall a kindly man who looked vaguely like Jimmy Durante. He had dimmed eyes and a smile to share; he had a joke or story for you, too, and you would hold off on whatever else you were doing to take it in. Grandpa Stan buoyed you up, whether you liked it or not. And you always did.Still, there wasn’t enough time to get to know him for me to get sad. I hadn’t enough shared conversations. Instead, I had small talk at Christmastime. This a man who had survived a plane crash while in the air force. Shot down in India, with a lifetime of back problems to show for it. Now? He was well liked and hard of hearing. He’d survived right on into his 90s and it was his time to bow out, but not without a certain kind of graciousness. He’d lived a full and storied life.  The news of Johnny Cash, on the other hand, was a surprise punch in my gut. Sure, his June had passed on not long before and, yes, he’d had his health problems, but he wasn’t supposed to die. Hospital visits and bouts with drugs were simply obstacles to step around and look past. He may as well have been a grandpa of mine, one I’d grown up with long enough to miss. I’d filled my head with enough of his tales, enjoyed enough of his concerts for the prisoners. He was the real thing. Genuine. Extraordinary.  Johnny Cash defies easy categorization, which lends to his being larger than life. You could call him outlaw country, but that wouldn’t be quite enough. You could say he dabbled in wordplay, a little like Roger Miller did, too, surprising you into laughter. And then there are his gospel songs that aren’t anything close to being gospel songs; they’re just a man sharing his roots and beliefs. Nobody should cover him. Nobody should try to tackle his catalog in a karaoke bar. And don’t get me started on impersonators. You can’t sing-speak the way he can, no matter how hard you try. You know when life pulls that plug before you’re ready to have a say in the matter, especially when you feel like you should have one? That was one of those instances. My mom’s mom listened to Johnny Cash, too, though again, I don’t think I knew it until after she’d lost her battle with diabetes. I knew we’d shared a common interest when it came to Scrabble and cans of Black Cherry Shasta, but it took my poking around a few of her things before I learned of yet another: unzipping her cassette tape case unveiled a kind of treasure trove. Tape after tape by The Man in Black. I’m not sure she had anything else in there. At the time, I’d only known one of his songs, “A Boy Named Sue.” Who knew he had so many others? Maybe that was a beginning, too. A beginning found in an ending. And that will happen. I regularly give in to dreams and scenarios I’d like to see play out. Whether or not they will come to pass or are based in reality doesn’t seem to matter much. And one of them involves Johnny Cash, the devout man of God that he was, as the only man allowed to dress in black up in those clouds of heaven. My grandpa Stan is there, too, wearing a pair of his trademark sweatpants and slippers, easily earning laughs in exchange for jokes. And my grandmother, she’s there, too, always wondering what she did with her cassette case of Johnny Cash tapes, but she never has to wor[...]

Next Time by Joyce Sutphen


I'll know the names of all of the birds
and flowers, and not only that, I'll
tell you the name of the piano player
I'm hearing right now on the kitchen
radio, but I won't be in the kitchen,

I'll be walking a street in
New York or London, about
to enter a coffee shop where people
are reading or working on their
laptops. They'll look up and smile.

Next time I won't waste my heart
on anger; I won't care about
being right. I'll be willing to be
wrong about everything and to
concentrate on giving myself away.

Next time, I'll rush up to people I love,
look into their eyes, and kiss them, quick.
I'll give everyone a poem I didn't write,
one specially chosen for that person.
They'll hold it up and see a new
world. We'll sing the morning in,

and I will keep in touch with friends,
writing long letters when I wake from
a dream where they appear on the
Orient Express. "Meet me in Istanbul,"
I'll say, and they will.

Star Wars in the 7-11.


I'd only gone into 7-11 to buy a water. The cashier told me that, if I ponied up for the bigger size, it'd be 2 for $2. A steal, I thought, and I quickly acted on her suggestion. Got back to the counter and she commented on my metal bracelet, asked where I'd bought it. My answer: a thrift store. I asked after the tattoo on her forearm, an incredibly detailed rendering of the Millennium Falcon, as yet unfinished, and there to cover up the failed tree rings tattoo just beneath. She told me how her blood type or skin color meant that tattoo had changed colors and she didn't like it anymore. All at once, I felt like I might as well be playing the lead in some unwritten indie film, and this scene was acting itself out pretty well so far. Paid and left. I'd only gone into 7-11 to buy a water.

Jay William Henderson (is a) Lonely Man.


In case you've not yet heard this musician or seen this beautifully orchestrated video he unveiled just a couple days ago, allow me to throw back the curtain for you and help do the secondary honors. It's a curious thing, when images are allowed to match up with the sounds you already like so much; I consider this a success on both accounts. I'd love to see if there are more videos to follow but, even if there aren't, this is worthy of playing and replaying, liking and flat out loving.

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="381" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="600"> JAY WILLIAM HENDERSON // Lonely Man - recorded live at the Pleasure Palace from jd brickmaynard cowboy on Vimeo.

what brilliance sounds like.


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meanwhile, at the salt flats.


meanwhile, at the salt flats // december 2012

2013, a year to discover.


As it’s so many days into the new year, I feel compelled to collect some thoughts in this space, something I used to do much more. If there’s a reason, perhaps it’ll reveal itself at some point. And, if not, that’s okay, too.I left my job of three or so years just over a month ago, so I’ve a little more time on my hands than I once did. It’s funny, though: I left a job where I wrote for a living and, in the space of time since, I’ve done relatively little of the sort. It’s been several weeks well spent visiting family, reconnecting with faces and friends I’ve not seen in years and seeing my world cast in an altogether new light and hue. And, in my quieter moments, it must be said, I’ve wondered at what my future might bring, too.I can’t help but expect good, fulfilling, exciting things to happen this year. I left my job, not because I was entirely unhappy, but because I was in a stagnant place; I didn’t feel like I’d any other choice but to do so. When your gut acts up and says it’s time to push on, you can’t really argue—you feel any kind of fear in the decision and push onward, believing in what’s next. The funny thing is, I felt no fear. I’ve sort of made a life out of not worrying and not fearing and this followed that pattern. Three years is a long time to give yourself to anyone or anything. When the growth has stopped, when there is no longer progress, when you’ve no real goals to aspire towards, you go about finding that new path. That’s where I am, walking to wherever it leads. I see it as a new adventure. I’ve real hope in what’s next. There was a thought I’ve had fairly recently and held to for some time. It was the notion that, even though I’d achieved a fairly lofty level in my career with my most recent position, what if the one that followed surpassed it? There’s no real reason to believe I need to go backwards. What if there’s something bigger in store, something I never would have come across if I’d not made the decision I did? What a fantastic idea!There are no limits. There’s no reason not to think big, shooting clean past the possible as well as the supposed impossible. At this point, I could spend a year writing a book with someone who commissions me to do so. I could sell most of my belongings, packing what's left into a bag and move to Thailand to teach English. I could grab a friend and make a beeline for Spain and never return. And I could fill my working hours as a cupcake maker, opting for the steady and slower life of learning a new trade and skill. (If you’ve suggestions, too, throw them my way, as I’m perhaps more open to receiving them than I ever have been.)As I eke forward and discover along the way, let it be known that, yes, I am listening to more scratchy records than I once did. I’m going on more walks and considering the sights and sounds of what surrounds me as more precious than I once did. I'm writing more letters and reading books in my spare time. In other words, I'm carrying on with my life, as I should. Am I wondering what’s next? In a sense. But I do so by walking towards it, believing it will formulate. The destination is still undecided, but there’s a destination all the same.I’ll get there when I get there, and not a moment too soon.[...]

Sound of Scampering: The Latest.


For the new readers of this little spot on the Web, I wrote and published a collection of poetry recently. And, for readers both new and old, I have a new website to send to point you towards if you'd like to add a copy to your various piles of books. It just launched last night and isn't the sole place you can place an order (either paperback or electronic versions), but it's a pretty title-specific place to do so. Pretty easy to remember, even. With further adieu then, head towards this spot:

And, in closing, should you grab yourself a copy and have anything to say about what you read or experienced (both good or bad), I'd welcome your comments. If you don't want to say two words, hey, that's fine, too. 

Have a great day. As for myself, the sun's shining where I am and I'm warm. Life's grand, it really is.

How to be small.


st. augustine beach // november 2012

Taking the Hands.


Taking the hands of someone you love,
You see they are delicate cages . . .
Tiny birds are singing
In the secluded prairies
And in the deep valleys of the hand.

"Taking the Hands" by Robert Bly, from Silence in the Snowy Fields.

Coming at you from 1857.


there is a light that never goes out Some time ago, this space used to be about experiences I had as a guy who used to dress up like Elvis on occasion and sing telegrams for fistfuls of dollars. That didn’t last all that long. It then became a place where I could share the sights and sounds of the various parts of the world I traveled with my last job, which went on to last for years on end. Now it’s, well, I’m not entirely sure what it’s become. A mixed bag of sorts? Something all new? In the spirit of its beginnings then, here’s a snapshot of that present. Tonight I’m on a rocking chair on second floor wooden porch, enjoying the night air of Fernandina Beach, in the oldest inn still operating in all of Florida (Laurel and Hardy, Henry Ford and the Rockefellers are among past guests). It’s been here since 1857, it really has! There are cicadas that have just piped up. There is a little bar next-door where someone is singing a song about the President (and yet managed to squeeze a great rendition of a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy song in there as well). I’m wondering how long I can get away with just sitting here and soaking up and writing whatever comes to me.Earlier, I rummaged around a couple of antique stores and took myself back in time. Managed to score some pristine vinyl for $2 a record (Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong in that mix). Sang along to some Christmas songs. Put my toes in some surf in St. Augustine. Tasted an altogether new kind of honey. Took a bath in a tub that had claws (you know the ones). If I could have fit all of that on the back of a postcard, I would have. Maybe you’d have received one. Tomorrow, I take myself to Savannah to see how they do Thanksgiving. Why there? Why not? In the past, I’ve constructed long lists of things I’m thankful for. Tonight, I’m keeping it much simpler. Tonight, I’m just letting on that I’ve a grateful heart.[...]

The Sound of Scampering.



I've been a little busy these past six months. There was a personal project I wanted to tackle, once and for all, just because I hadn't tried hard enough to make it happen in the past. It wasn't necessarily easy to do, but few things worth doing are ... and it's beyond gratifying to have seen this through to completion. My heart is light. My level of excitement is a little through the roof at this exact moment (though I'm remarkably composed, so there).

Having said all of that, I'm able to at last share this with all those who might be even moderately interested. I've written and pieced together my first collection of poetry and it's here for you, should you want a copy. It's fifty poems, some new and some old, that I've written and edited over and over again during the past 20 years. 

One final note. You're not necessarily peering into my diary by reading these—while the poetry's largely inspired by true events, it's not nonfiction by any means—but you are hearing my heart and soul. If you scoop yourself up a copy, I sure hope you enjoy it. (An electronic version should be available shortly but, until then, you get a real live book, written by a real live boy.) 

Wordless Wednesday.


Let's stretch out this Monday.


Today is over in less than an hour and it's not enough. I need more. I need hours to shove into this hour. I can't say there's a real reason for me to be up and doing and thinking. I'm plenty tired, it's true. I've talked with those I care for, eaten food I liked, made it to the gym, put in several hours in a row at work, read some, written some more, laughed some belly laughs, caused others and on and on.

I also put some finishing touches on something I would only think about doing for a number of years. There were starts and stops, stops and starts. These past six months, I decided, once and for all, to put those dreams into action. And it unfolded. And, step by sometimes aggravating step, it became more and more of a reality. There's a lot of happiness in that. It satisfies a deep, deep desire of my heart to almost be at that finish line. And, now that the end is finally in sight, what's next? What else lies in store?

For starters, I can finally morph into one of those old men on a rocking chair, out on a porch, talking about the approaching storm, smiling, peering into that great beyond and wondering where the day's gone and how is it they keep getting shorter and I got to get up earlier tomorrow to get more out of it than I did today.



No vanity.


The Next Distraction.


When things went ahead and eked to a slow and a stop (as most things are wont to do), she made sure to say, in some of those last words, “On to the next distraction then.” I suppose that, if she’d actually spoken them out loud, I’d have heard the hurt a little louder and sensed the anger a bit more readily. There’d have been eye windows to peer into and heightened inflections and body language and a myriad of other pieces to go about reading and observing. As it was, we didn’t do things that way very well. Instead, I had to feel what it was she’d written. There was quiet discernment and there was understanding.   It wasn’t the right time to shoot back that she’d been the loveliest sort of distraction I could have hoped for in those six or seven or eight months running, certainly one I’d not expected. We’d been able to live a lot of hours on beaches, set out on Saturday road trips that morphed into long weekends, grown familiar picking up where we’d left off over opposite sides of the table at breakfast and lunch and dinner. She was my ride along when it came to adventures; she’d make them richer than they’d ever have been otherwise. She had the quiet courage to wander along with where my whims would take the two of us. She was the last face I saw before sleeping, the first one I’d see when I woke. She swore a whole lot better and more often than I. She occasionally offered statements revealing how deep her pools of thought were and I’d marvel at the insight. And, in what may have been my altogether favorite attribute, she’d the unique ability to laugh so loudly and so devoid of reservation, I found myself regularly wishing I could match her joy, maybe even capture some of her smiles for later. It wasn’t terribly hard to summon up that laughter and yet, each time it happened, I’d beam like a prizefighter. I’d won. Maybe she’d not been a distraction at all. In fact, attaching her to the word devalued the very person she was to me. She’d been a very lovely and even necessary part of my equation and history. To have learned of her and how to love her and to have felt so much in return are each gifts I’m terribly grateful for, gifts it sometimes took me great lengths of time to accept and even understand. Walls I never knew I’d even had had gone and crumbled around my heart. She’d thrown down a welcome mat and stepped inside.How does one forget all of that? When she said, “On to the next distraction,” I didn’t have it in me to say there wasn’t one. I’d not found a ready replacement. She’d gone and filled up so many memories I’d hold to, starred in so many of my best photos and even trickled now and again into my writing. I was not skipping through a field and scampering towards another. I’m still not. It was over, however. That much is true. If I’m to dig any deeper (there being plenty of danger in that), perhaps I was the distraction, whether she meant it that way or not. I’d gone towards skipping my head on some clouds, opened myself wide in favor of the future. She’d sensed that.[...]

Happy Halloween from the Headless Horseman!


Someone snapped a photo of me working at my cubicle.

This beautiful now.



I'm going down.


In less than 24 hours, I will run a race along with six others I sort of know. This race is six miles long. This "race" is unique in that it includes running through mud, possibly losing shoes, having water balloons thrown at you while you walk across beams, climbing through small tubes, going under barbed wire, jumping into big vats filled with ice, jumping into water from a long way up, swimming for 150 meters, being shocked, going across huge monkey bars over lakes, climbing up walls and fences and jumping over fire. I probably left some stuff out. If I don't make it (and I may not), just know I went out in a pretty amazing kind of way (and hopefully, yes, in a big ball of flames).