Joni Mitchell Speaking About Meeting Jimi Hendrix

For the next few months I am going to periodically offer commentary on video clips by famous artists on what it was like to meet Jimi Hendrix and what he meant to them. You can find most of these clips easily enough on YouTube, but there are special ones I want to highlight here at my website because of the special insights they give us into the creative process. Great artists speaking about other great artists provides us with unguarded insights into the life of the creative spirit.
 
Joni Mitchell

Cover of Joni Mitchell

Below is the first clip I want to offer. It starts out with a Joni Mitchell interview and ends with a weird video rendition of “Voodoo Chile.” Note how “Mitch” appears to know Italian. That’s impressive as hell.

Joni and Jimi were both on the rise in the late 1960s when they met. We all know how much Jimi revered the Beatles and Bob Dylan. It’s likely he respected a lot of the other innovators of that era as well. And there were many. Certainly by the time Jimi and Joni met, it was clear that Joni’s ability to mix complex melodies with real poetry (not just lyrics) was worthy of Hendrix’s attention.

Joni says that Jimi recorded her concert using a big reel-to-reel tape recorder and [Read more...]

The Big Woman and the Small Ax: Some Implications of the Amazon-Hachette Book Stand Off

English: Logistic Center Amazon in Bad Hersfel...

Logistic Center Amazon in Bad Hersfeld industrial park “Blaue Liede” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amazon’s truly living up to her name. She’s a Big Badass Woman in the jungle. She thinks she’s learned a lot watching Walmart beat the crap out of their suppliers so she’s doing the same thing.

If you pay attention even a little to the publishing world, you probably know that I’m talking about Amazon’s harsh tactics directed at publishing conglomerate Hachette. Hachette doesn’t want to use the pricing and marketing scheme Amazon is offering. Amazon wants to have ultimate control [Read more...]

On Noise and the Big Box of Questions

The Essential Elvis Presley

Photo credit: Wikipedia

My novel, Beyond the Will of God, is now posted at NoiseTrade.com, an amazing website that lets artists offer their music and books to people for free. You can find all sorts of weird and amazing leading edge work at that site offered by everyone from 17-year-old guitar geniuses to hard-to-categorize 56-year-old psychedelic novelists writing for uncompromising lovers of music and weird ideas.

Beyond the Will of God was published on July 4, 2012. It’s been downloaded over 10,000 times from Amazon and even won the Indie Book-of-the-Month Award at WriteReadRate.com (sadly, now defunct). If you go to the NoiseTrade page for the book you’ll find some excellent quotes by respected reviewers. BWG [Read more...]

The Formality of Occurrence: Chapter One

August 15, 2003

David Charles Biddle at Christmas Time, 1958.

David Charles Biddle at Christmas Time, 1958.

We set off for Richmond, Indiana and the traffic is like a line of cattle cars beginning in Philadelphia streaming all the way to Pittsburgh. I don’t remember the Pennsylvania Turnpike ever being so congested and dense with automobiles and trucks and people and confusion. The rest areas are a mass of humanity and smell of disinfectant, cash, body odor, new plastic, sugar drinks, and fried food. You are risking your life getting off this three hundred mile strip of highway to grab a snack and take a leak. Re-entering the road is like trying to attach your car to an alien freight train doing seventy-five, driven by thousands of desperate engineers.

I don’t know why we are taking this trip, really. We have a name. That is all.

In 1992 the state of Ohio created a process for adoptees born before 1970 to [Read more...]

Wind-Toads at Night: A Very Short Story

Source: Toad Pencil

Source: Toad Pencil

We had a huge cold front come in right around 9:00 last night. The temperature dropped fast from 52-degrees Fahrenheit to 20-degrees Fahrenheit, and by our 10:30 bedtime the wind was blowing hard. Our bedroom wall is northwest facing and somewhat unprotected, with no wind-block trees or shrubs or walls. The property backs onto a college campus with a good five acre field that lets the wind streak across unobstructed whenever weather spins out of the northwest. Our bedroom wall gets pummeled by roaring air, our windows rattle and shake like something is trying to get in.

So I awoke at 12:30 to howling gusts that had to be hitting 50-60 mph. I could not sleep for nearly an hour until Marla woke up too and began immediately to chat with me about the howling wind-toads. She could have been a scientist so matter-of-fact is she about the things she brings up out of sleep.

I said, “Wind toes?” She said, “No. Toads.”

I said, “Really? Toads flying on the wind?” She said, “Nope. Just wind-toads…half wind, half toad.”

I asked if that meant we would have toast in the morning.

She said “Nope. Toads! We’re going to have toads for breakfast but we’re going to have to get the wind part out of them first.” I pointed out it might be easier to get the toads to jump off the wind.

We left it at that and snuggled in the dark with the wind howling like wild toads deep in a forest. But as I drifted into sleep, knowing how much I loved her, I wondered if wind-toads even knew that human beings existed. Maybe they were just doing what they’re supposed to do and would feel bad if they understood that they were scaring a couple of middle aged people out of sleep on a lonely late winter Wednesday night.

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Everything at the Pharmacy Is Wrong, As is Life in General

English: American television news program 60 M...

Reporter Lesley Stahl (Wikipedia)

Last night we watched an extraordinary story on 60 Minutes called “Sex Matters: Drugs Can Affect Sexes Differently” by Lesley Stahl. If you didn’t see it, you need to follow the link at the end of this post to watch it. Everyone who has gone through 7th grade biology in America needs to be aware of the implications of this story.

In a nutshell, it turns out that men and women metabolize drugs differently. Stahl’s story focuses on Ambien the sleep medication. In the past few years researchers have learned that women only need a dose half as strong as men to achieve the same sleep effect. In essence, women have been prescribed overdose quantities of Ambien since it hit the market … because scientists didn’t know any better.

The story also touches on the fact that men and women have different heart disease issues and that a dose of aspirin for men is indeed helpful as a prophylactic, but for women not so much.

What’s important here is that it points to a huge set of research assumptions that have [Read more...]

Advice on Supporting Indie Writers & The Best Indie Book Sites on the Web

I want to report that after two years of indiscriminate book reading on paper and screens, I have come to the conclusion that I like reading on-screen more than paper. I did not start this process as an experiment, but I was aware that I should do everything in my power not to be judgmental on either side of the fence as I read.

There’s the obvious issue of being able to change font sizes (my 56-year-old eyes suck), but in addition: I like the compactness of the reading experience; I seem to be able to scan a story better (that is speed up and slow down the reading process); it’s also awesome to set up a catalog of highlighted text with book apps; and [Read more...]

2013…(The Merman Turns Again): My Undercover Soundtrack

DCBiddle HeadShot MedRez

New headshot. Woo Hoo!

I’ve got a guest post called “Sex, Drugs, Metaphysics, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” over at Roz Morris’s website My Memories of a Future LifeIt’s a quick-read, but provides a tour of some of the recordings that influenced me as I worked directly on my novel Beyond the Will of God.

Roz runs a great shop and offers a feature setup weekly for authors to highlight their musical influences called “The Undercover Soundtrack.” You really ought to subscribe and check out some of the past features. Check out the link list at the beginning of each post. It’s a quick resource of all the links in a post that allows you to quickly follow each track the author refers to in their text. Also, one of the coolest things about Roz’s music site is the list of all the previous references you will find at the very bottom of the page. She’s posted so many great pieces on authors’ musical influences, if you just think of a musician or composer, you’ll likely find multiple links to their work in this massive database.

Roz is also the author of the “how to” book Nail Your Novel. It’s a fabulous resource if you’re struggling through writing a novel or if you know someone else who is (hint: give books by independently published authors for the holidays). I bought Nail Your Novel, first because I thought it was a manual on how to make love to an e-book, but also because the notes [Read more...]

Not the Marriage Plot: On Men Reading Novels in the 21st Century

Here’s what I think about at some point of every day:

What is going on in this world that would lead so many men far, far away from reading modern literary novels?

I’ve written here at this blog and in other places around the Internet about my overall concern for literary fiction. A helluva lot of intelligent people want nothing to do with it anymore. Before the Internet took hold (about 18 years ago), I thought that somehow it was just the little world I lived in here in [Read more...]

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