Classic rock and writer’s block

20 Jul

This is the Age of the Great Blog Revival. Or at least the Week.

Three of the blogs I follow – Defending Axl RoseEvery Record Tells a Story and Soul Searching at Starbucks – recently posted new content after several days/weeks/months of silence. They inspired me to find out how much I remember about WordPress.

Officially, I put the blog aside a couple of years ago to focus on fiction. I also believed I’d exhausted my organizing principle: how, in the space of a generation, rock music has gone from rebellious teens giving their parents the proverbial finger to a great way for middle-aged suburbanites to bond with their kids. And after five years, my readership numbers were way down. Fewer and fewer people appreciated my humblebragging about being fortunate enough to see Bruce Springsteen, The Killers, Weezer, Nick Cage, Aretha Franklin and Spoon in the space of a year in three different countries (ahem). When I realized that no one – really, no one – cared that I scored spot at the lip of the stage at a Heartless Bastards concert at St. Andrew’s Hall so I could watch Craig Finn flare his nostrils as the opening act, I put the blog on a shelf.

Tom Petty - 2017Then Tom Petty came to town on his 40th anniversary concert tour this week, and the spark was rekindled.

Forty years ago there probably weren’t many musicians who expected to have a career in rock and roll. It was all single by single, show by show. Back then, Tom probably couldn’t have imagined ever being 66 years old, much less singing “American Girl” in the original key at that astronomical age. Yet here he is, still playing with some of the world’s best musical craftsmen he also calls friends, having the time of his life.

That palpable joy is what Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have that most bands don’t. They really dig making music. It doesn’t look like they regret playing “Refugee” for the umpteenth zillionth time, and they bring the same fire they did in the Seventies. Tom’s delight is infectious, his gratitude genuine.

I left the venue wondering, what’s out there that could bring me that much glee?

Writing. Duh.

Therefore, after a couple of years of false starts, a whale of a day job, a lot of negative self-talk and one too many hours spent in YouTube rat holes, I am determined to get back into the habit, produce some pages and care less about what others might think of my crappy first draft.

I even struck a bargain with myself:


I splurged on a baseball tour shirt, paying what we in our family call “loaded old people prices” to bring it home. Then, per my older daughter’s diabolically perfect advice, I handed it over to my younger daughter to keep until I’ve produced at least 40 pages of my next story. It’ll be a tangible reward for getting back into the game. Petty would be proud.

So, here’s to all you artists out there, whether your tool of choice is a Rickenbacker or a blog post. Your dedication is my inspiration. Now,  if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do and stories to tell … and I really want to wear that great shirt before my September birthday. As Tom sings fifty times a summer,

And if she had to die/ trying, she
Had one little promise she was gonna keep

See you on the flip side …


10 Responses to “Classic rock and writer’s block”

  1. Roy Sexton (Reel Roy Reviews) July 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm #

    Welcome back!

    • lpon45 July 22, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

      Why, thank you! Glad to see you’re still posting even with the new job – so wonderful to hear from you!

  2. Jason Wendleton July 20, 2017 at 11:05 pm #

    Today was a very productive day, wasn’t it? I remember seeing Petty back in the mid-90’s and thought he was so old then, I can’t believe he’s still touring. Long may he (and you) run.

    • lpon45 July 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

      I’m sure Tom Petty will give Willie Nelson a run for his money when it comes to touring a long, long time …

  3. pamhoughton July 21, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    Great post, Lisa. And I can totally relate to the negative self-talk! I’ve learned that adjusting my expectations helps. So if I blog and only three people read it, instead of focusing on that number, I TRY and tell myself I did something…I wrote something…I’ve collected my thoughts somewhere and at some point in the future, I can go back and use those thoughts for something larger. We’ll see how long that attitude lasts!

    • lpon45 July 22, 2017 at 4:36 pm #

      That’s so true, Pam: success as a writer takes many forms. I was just thrilled I finally finished a piece after all this time.

  4. Every Record Tells A Story July 21, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you for the shout out!

    There are plenty of times (and they seem to become more frequent) when real life gets in the way of writing. But it is fun, so sometimes it is good to bash something out even if it doesn’t end up on the blog (or wherever) just for the practice. Nearly six years in to blogging I do sometimes question why I do what I do and whether it’s worth it, but then someone makes a comment or I write something I am happy with and it makes it all worthwhile.
    It’a an odd thing to do really, isn’t it?
    Anyway, good luck with the next thing, and congrats on seeing Tom Petty – I saw him a few years ago and he was just great. I’m hoping one day he’ll do a “Wildflowers” tour in a small venue…

    • lpon45 July 22, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks for your reply!

      Not long ago, Tom Petty announced he was working on rereleasing Wildflowers to include the many songs they didn’t use because he decided not to release a double album at the time. That was going to be the reason for this tour, but then someone looked at the calendar and said, “Did you know 2017 is the 40th anniversary of your first album?” and it became a whole different show. I’m still waiting for the unreleased songs and the subsequent shows – and if he’s willing to do a Wildflowers show in a small venue, I might buy a plane ticket to wherever he’s playing.

      • Every Record Tells A Story July 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

        Ah, I wondered why the tour didn’t include much from Wildflowers. I think it must still be in the pipeline though. The rumoured upcoming box set is one of the few reissues I am getting ridiculously excited about, but was supposed to be for the 20th anniversary (maybe it’ll be 25th anniversary now?). Like you, I’ll travel a long way to go to a Wildflowers show. He did say smaller venues would lend themselves better to the music on that record (and the follow up soundtrack album She’s The One). One can only hope…


  1. Heartbroken: Tom Petty, RIP | LP on 45 - October 4, 2017

    […] abruptly without warning, it’s like the air has been sucked out of me. Jeez, I just saw his 40th anniversary concert in July. Even as he’d intimated this could be his and the Heartbreakers’ last large-scale tour, […]

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