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Chasing a Ghost Pt. II

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chasing a Ghost Pt. II

Our private detective work finally paid off.  My buddy Shawn from Connecticut helped me track down my dead father's best friend.  I mean, best friend when he was alive.  Not now, of course.  'Cause he' dead.  This isn't about actual ghosts. Though I keep seeing the trailer for a new TV show.  Three roommates, a vampire, a werewolf, and...that's right, a ghost.  All living together.  Whacky.  Two men, one woman.  Sort of like Three's Company but somehow even lamer.  Are there really that many people who watch shows about vampires and ghosts?  Who the fuck sits down, makes the time and watches this stuff?  It's only on my TV, these trailers, because it's on the OnDemand commercials, which run whenever Holden's shows, most of which are only 24 minutes long, play out.  And the TV is only on because I've got to get the kid turning left.  Y'know, 'cause of his (slightly) flat head.

I knew Shawn when I was sixteen.  We stayed friends until a girl got between us. Which is what happens when you're 16.  He was was part of a small group, call it a precursor to the Boys of Belvedere, not so much in artistry as in camaraderie. Y'know, the "boys."  I'd never been a terribly social person, and my friendships tended to be singular, here and there.  And they followed a pattern, not unlike they do now.  Always very intense.  Like we'd meet and be BEST friends for the next months; we'd do every thing together, become inseparable.  This, even when I was in the first grade.  And they'd really like me, almost have a fascination with me; and even that young I knew they liked me too much.  Then something would happen...just some...thing.  A little triggering event.  Then we wouldn't be friends anymore.  Like we burned through a lifetime of friendship in one month's time. Like I said, still happens now.  Weird.

It was Shawn, Bob, and Bill.  I know we were friends over at least one winter, because I recall one particular night, even wrote a song about it (with a title worse than "Electric Sun," so bad, in fact, I will never admit to that title), which was a terrible song, like most songs written by most 16-year-olds (unless you are Taylor Swift.  Who is awesome), basically chronicling my taking a shower getting ready to go out on the town, the "town" being rinky-dink farming community without much to do, which may be why I wrote a song about taking a shower.

The moments your mind chooses to glom onto fascinate.  Like this shower I'm talking about.  I've taken thousands upon thousands of showers, most unremarkable, but I recall this one because it's a bookmark.  I'm 16.  I'm hanging out with the boys, which means driving around in cars looking for girls; it's a punctuation, a stop sign, a measuring stick.  Growing up I was always strangely aware of time's markers, leaving one stage behind, onto another, aware of the arc, not unlike a story, I suppose.

I don't remember when I got into that fight with Shawn, or by choosing the girl, I lost the boys (the mandate of "bros before..." well, y'know, that starts at an early age).  But we hadn't been friends that long.  I really think it was only over that winter.  Then the girls leaves.  And that's that.

I saw Shawn again, a few months ago.  Came out to see me and the wife and the kid.  It was nice.  It's always nice to see someone who knew you when you were young.  I forget I was at one time.

Anyway, Shawn has access to databases and he helped me track down one of my father's friends.  So I now have access to my father's life.  Very important for the new memoir.

Not much, but it's a start.


Writing about "the writing process" is tantamount to my covering "Rocket Man" with the Wandering Jews, for which I served time in rock 'n' roll jail.  Not sure what jail they have for writers.  I am pretty sure you don't need one, since writing itself is pretty solitary confinement.  But this blog is, essentially, an exercise.  Call it "on-the-job" learning, as I try to eliminate a disconnect between my person and writing persona, see what flies with an audience.  I'm trying to bridge a gap, eliminate any discrepancies in voice and translation.  In short, I am trying to be more authentic. So this search for my father, and that's what this new memoir really is, is very much tied to "the writing process."  So, you see, there is no way around it.


At February 16, 2011 at 2:54 PM , OpenID a12592fc-3a1f-11e0-a552-000bcdcb471e said...

Kind of funny the things you throw away when you are young. We'll have to compare notes about how that went down. I bet we have completely different recollections of what happened. I remember it being fall, not winter, because it was the start of wrestling season. I do remember "breaking up" with Liz, because I was a jerk. An arrogant 17 year old punk. I still liked her and figured I could get her back in a day or two. I don't remember how you ended up with her. I think you were playing the nice guy role by giving her a shoulder to cry on. I remember seeing you guys together at a dance like a week later. I was upset and pissed. I actually jogged/walked to my Mom's house in Southington, something like 15 miles away. It was the Friday after Thanksgiving. I remember this because wrestling practice started the next Monday and I thought the run would be a good way to start getting in shape for the season. I left my car a few blocks away at Bob's house and ran home. What an idiot. 25 years later, the girl doesn't matter (we struggled to remember her name when I was out there), but the friendship does.
As far as helping you track down Bob, no problem. That's only the start. Annie and Lenny are next! Although tracking down an Annie James with not much else to go on, is proving to be challenging!

At February 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM , Blogger Cynthia said...

Man, where did that last post go? It was such a good one. It showed everyone what type of person you are! Very professional.

At February 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Shawn, I am pretty sure it was winter. I seem to remember my mom and the snow and me, you, Bill, and Bob hanging in the kitchen. But I could be wrong. My memory is so spotty; I conflate a lot of shit.

@Cynthia, yeah, I deleted it (and a couple others). It certainly is not my intention to be "unprofessional," since the whole point of having a blog is to enhance a "marketing platform." But I appreciate the feedback (even if you don't like the blog). Every reader helps!


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