Chronicles in Ordinary Time 103: Bravery of a Different Sort


Tonight I watched William H. Macy’s brilliant directorial debut, Rudderless.

An excellent story, a surprising perspective on violence in America. Can’t say too much more without giving the story away; but on the exterior, it’s about the forming of a garage band, and the human need to express ourselves through music. The movie is especially poignant in that it stars Anton Yelchin, who would die a year or so later, this year, in an automobile accident. He plays a 21-year old young man who feels that he’s messed up most of his life.

Music plays through most of my life; primarily interrupted by stories on the tube. Music plays in the office while I sleep; don’t know how much I hear. Music soothes my soul and music inspires me; music reminds me of the person I want to be.

When I see a movie like Rudderless, I immediately want to find an image in my files to use as an illustration for one of these memoirs. I then am reminded of the thousands of images I haven’t yet created. So I pull one together from older images.

One of the quotations [or near quotations] from the movie is, “no one writes music like that unless they want it to be heard…” I think of all of the stories I’ve heard about songwriters, stories about being musicians, and I think about the musicians I hear each Sunday, dedicated to their craft and bringing inspiration to an audience. I don’t thank you often enough, should you happen to be reading these words.

Bravery of a different sort; having the courage to stand before an audience, and perform from your heart. I believe that a certain amount of bravery is required for an artist to display their talents before the world.

There’s a rebuilt, antique, Civil War era piano sitting in our living room, one of my impulsive investments during the brief period where I was studying piano. I rarely made time to practice—practice time took away from illustration-time. I finally realized that if I wanted to perform on the piano at the level I wanted, I’d have to give up my illustration dreams—there wasn’t room for both in my life. And I haven’t had the heart to sell the piano. There are times when my soul wants to make music; playing music becomes a substitute. Gordon Lightfoot has been a featured performer in my life for the last 40 years; one of the ‘last troubadours’ as he has often been billed.

Billy Crudup is the lead performer in Rudderless, performs his own music. He apparently learned to play guitar while performing in Almost Famous, and has never stopped.

One of the co-stars of Rudderless; for the guitar geeks…

Les Paul Custom Guitar



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