This is what I have been working for (I hesitate to admit) the past year or so…
It started when I went into the basement last winter to see if I still had an ‘off-the-air’ tape recording I made in 1966 of Arlo Guthrie performing “Alice’s Restaurant” – a year before the record [Spotify] was released.
When I opened the big Rubbermaid tub where I thought I’d find the old reel-to-reel recording, I also found the journals that I started keeping in the spring of 1969 – a record of my last months in high school and my first year of college (though not, really) at the end of a very tumultuous decade.
The timing was providential. For a while, my personal guru (OK, my therapist for the past 20+ years) had been encouraging to “tell your own story…” And there was the beginnings of it, in a set of three-ring, loose-leaf binders.
So that’s what I have been doing… spending as much time as I can transcribing those journals into a word-processor-on-steroids called ‘Scrivener‘ and slicing and dicing and massaging and compiling and trying to come up with a story.
A few months ago I published (to Medium.com) a few installments that were drawn from the notes I made during and after two days and nights at a little music festival in the summer of 1969 called “Woodstock.” (Actually, it was called ‘The Aquarian Exposition’, and it didn’t really happen in Woodstock, but, hey, who’s counting?) Read the resulting account starting here:
Last week I added several new installments, what I imagine will be the first three chapters once this enterprise finds it way in to some kind ‘book*’ form:
Preface: A 60-Something Looks Back At The 60s
Chapter 1: Suspension – In which I get sent to the principal’s office – with about two dozen of my classmates
Chapter 2: Admission – Destiny fulfilled, I get in to a college.
There are some other links on the home page for the project, TimeCapsule1969.com
In addition to the initial incarnation as a ‘book’ of some kind, I also keep imagining this project manifesting as some kind of stage show, with readings from the book and performances of some of the music that provided the soundtrack of the period.
With that in mind, as I’ve worked on this project I’ve been compiling and listening to a Spotify-based playlist of some of the music I listened to during the period I’m writing about. A lot of these are the songs I figured out when I was learning how to play guitar (starting in 1966); a lot of them I can still play, and those are the songs I’d perform along with readings from ‘the book.’
Whether you’re a refugee from that period or curious millennial, I think you’ll find a lot to listen to in this playlist:
I have been adding new tracks to this list on a fairly regular basis. At present it’s almost 150 songs and more than 9 hours. If you are a Spotify subscriber, subscribe to the list and you’ll be notified when I find new things to add to it.
And if you’re interested in following this work as it unfolds, use the form in the sidebar to the right of this post to subscribe to my “Weekly Digest.
I am publishing the material that I’ve got so far for the sake of soliciting some feedback, to see if any of my stories resonate with a potential readership. It’s really easy for me to think the worst of my own work, so if anybody finds it worth the time and effort, it would kick my ass a little to know that’s the case.
Now then, where was I?
Oh yeah, just arriving at the George Washington University in September 1969… hmmm… who’s that pretty red-head…