I’m falling behind in this journal. A great many things have happened and I don’t know how to synthesize them into a compelling narrative. On the level of sheer factuality, I played four open mics in RI, over the 5 days I spent there – two on the final night. I’m thinking that this may end up being an open mic tour more than a house concert tour, which is fine by me… except that it’s much harder to sell CD’s at open mics, and I need to sell CD’s to stay on the road. There was no pressure in RI because I was staying at my mom’s.

I had had the idea that I’d want to get out of RI as soon as possible, but after being there a few days I found myself increasingly curious to re-experience the place as an outsider. The place has a specific and peculiar identity, to go with the specific and peculiar accent. Seeing it this time, after almost 20 years away, I guess I just came to see the obvious reality: that the place is both insular and too deep to be superficially known.

Take these ladies, for example, chatting in the Starbucks I drove to for wifi:

Probably means not much to you. I see my mom’s generation, and all of the values and ideas that shaped that generation, in that place. Not Starbuck’s, but West Warwick, Cranston, Providence, etc.

Then there’s one of the white rappers from The Parlour open mic. I am not a fan of hip hop, but I found these two something like charmingly naive. This guy in particular was so happy to be on stage, spitting his rhymes.. and from what I could tell, he had something like a positive message.

The Parlour

Finally, here’s the piano I grew up playing. It seems to me I’ve learned more on this instrument than any other. Now it’s quite out of tune.

my old piano

This really doesn’t even scratch the surface of my scratching the surface. I’ve got to sleep. Spending the night in Lancaster, PA. Came to understand a strong and quite unexpected link on the drive here today between Hamlet and Hip Hop, which renders the mysterious pirates palpably closer.

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