Two Wheels and the Truth

Guinea Bastard Outtakes 1: Under Pressure

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Scribbling that Turned into Something

Scribbling that Turned into Something

Most anything I write that I’m fortunate to get published or be asked to read at a writer’s night starts off as a rough draft in a black notebook that I carry around with me. Most of the notebook is nonsense. There are sketches, ideas, observations, writing exercises, plenty of misspellings, and even the occasional shopping list. But sometimes the writings turn into something usable. To complement my first collection of personal essays, Guinea Bastard (available now from me directly or on, I thought I’d share some of the scribbling┬áin the notebook that turned into something in the collection. The following, from mid-2015, didn’t become anything directly, but I certainly┬ásalvaged some ideas from it for the book’s introduction. I’ve transcribed it below with minimal editing. Immediately after this in the notebook, there is a short essay that appears to be from the perspective of a spider captured in a Tupperware container and released outside. It’s titled, “Was there Pesto in this?”

Everybody remembers the bass line from Queen’s “Under Pressure.” It’s what Vanilla Ice stole. But the snap/clap combination is equally as memorable. In addition to air bass, I bet it’s the thing that most people do when hearing the song. Brian May is rumored to have made a snap judgement of “Ice Ice Baby” when he first heard it in a nightclub, dismissing it a not very good and not worth a copyright infringement case. That changed as soon as the song became popular. I’m sure his snaps turned into a claps when the first check arrived. I was about nine-years-old when “Under Pressure” came out, as a bonus track on Queen’s Greatest Hits album, but I was old enough to understand its meaning. I was under a lot of pressure at the time. There were these water bugs that used to climb up the furnace pipe into my bedroom at night that I couldn’t kill fast enough. There were stray cats in the neighborhood and I couldn’t gather them all up and take them home. My sister used to talk to her boyfriend late at night on the phone outside my room, and it was up to me to keep an ear out for my father. Talk about pressure.



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