Thursday, April 15, 2010

Benjamin and Me


Lately, it seems as though I have something in common with Benjamin Franklin. No, I don’t share his sage wisdom… and I CERTAINLY don’t have his knack for making money from the written word.

What we do have in common, however, is the fact that we both started memoirs. The key word is “started”. Franklin’s memoirs, not published until after his death, are considered a milestone in American literature. My memoirs, I fear, aren’t destined for such a hallowed reception, but I started ‘em nevertheless and they will burden me until I either finish them or croak. And although I currently seem to be in fairly good health for my age, I still don’t know which of these will happen first.

The good Dr. Franklin had, I must admit, much better source material for his memoirs, being a celebrated printer, philanthropist, inventor, Founding Father, diplomat, etc., etc., etc. In my case, the analogous literary work is merely the memoirs of my years with the loud Flint punk band the Guilty Bystanders. I certainly have no illusions that my writing is anywhere near the quality of Franklin’s, but our authorship does share at least one common trait: procrastination. Franklin began his memoirs thinking nobody other than perhaps his son or close friends would ever actually read it. He completed the first part in 1771 and set it aside. Then, however, the manuscript started making the rounds and against all expectations people seemed to enjoy it and they started asking him when he would continue working on it. Well, in the early 1780’s he started writing a second section. After which his friends asked for even more. In the late 1780’s, he wrote a third section and he was working on a fourth part at the time of his death in 1790. So, in short, Franklin procrastinated on & off for 19 years working on memoirs that were never completed.

And me? My unfinished work has been nagging at the back of my mind every so often. And every so often, people have asked me when I would write more. I didn’t really have an answer. But I suppose the fact that I have a bit more free time than I used to should be something of which I should take advantage.

And so, if my word means anything, I pledge to begin doing some more writing of the Guilty Bystander saga… at least my version of it. I don’t claim that my version of events is definitive, objective or even necessarily very accurate… but if there are some people out there who are actually interested in my continuing the tale, I shall do my best to comply.

I have no idea how long this next installment may take, but I suppose if it’s worth doing, I should try to reduce its suckage quotient as much as I am able. If, therefore, my regular postings are a bit sparser for awhile, that will likely be why. When the next installment is completed, you blog folks will be the first to know. But please be patient… the fact that the first Guilty Bystanders song to ever get airplay was entitled “Apathy Song” wasn’t a coincidence!

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