Friday, May 6, 2011


Seen on the Red Line to the Loop at about 2:15 p.m.

Steve was born on the outskirts of Memphis, and from the time he had basic motor skills he had been playing the blues. His grandpa was his first guitar teacher. Throughout his life, Steve had developed a theory: the older you get, the easier the blues become. When his grandpa passed, the painful lyrics of the songs he had been taught became real for the first time.

His family was always poor, and when he was twelve his father was sent to prison for stealing food for their family to eat. Higher education certainly wasn't an option, so Steve got a job at a gas station. He was constantly surrounded by people who hated their jobs and their lives. He knew countless miserable and mistreated women, sucked into marriage and motherhood too early. During these years, Steve's blues songs became significantly better. He frequently performed at dive bars in the area, and he even recorded one song, which was sometimes played by the local radio station.

He met Martha at one of his shows. She was from Chicago, and she was unlike any woman that Steve had ever met. They started talking after his gig, and they spent a lot of time together during her trip. When she returned to Chicago, Steve followed. After all, he could still play the blues there. Martha was impressed by his persistence, and they were soon married; she died in childbirth a few years later. Steve continued to play the blues, and now his songs were infused not only with loss, but also with the feelings of neglect created by living in a heartless big city.

He raised Anna, their daughter, by playing gigs and doing whatever work he could find. She was a good kid, but they didn't live in a good area. When she was just fifteen, she was shot in a drive-by.

Now, five years later, Steve looks older than he is. His blues songs have reached their pinnacle; his life is so thoroughly soaked in tragedy that he can't help but write them perfectly. People have been taking notice of him; he has even been offered a recording contract. He's not sure he'll take it. But he always carries his guitar around with him. He's wise enough to know that the inspiration for a good blues song can come at any moment.

I haven't written a depressing one in a while.  And this guy really did look like a blues singer. I'm actually having a pretty good day.  My boss let me leave at 2 p.m. because "the weather is nice." So that's awesome. It means that I actually have time to do laundry for once. I'm pretty excited. I hope you're having an exciting day, too. 


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