Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Something nice to think about while Nashville's Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes sings his beautifully energized songs about character building, character infractions, questioned character, life spilling, life working, spirits blazing, spirits squandered - all of it happening down in the trenches. A bit from Bukowski's short story "The Nickel":
"I went into the men's room and stared in the mirror at my face in disgust. I looked like I knew something, but it was a lie, I was a fake and there's nothing worse in the world than when a man suddenly realizes and admits to himself that he's a phoney, after spending all his time up to then trying to convince himself that he wasn't. I stared at all the sinks and pipes and bowls and I felt like them, worse than them: I'd rather be them.
"I swung out the door and stood there feeling like a hare or a tortoise or somebody needing a good bath, and then I felt her pressing against me like the good part of myself suddenly coming back with a rush. I noticed how green her dress was, and I didn't care what happened next: seeing her again had made it OK…
"…I sat there and watched all the cars leave; I sat there and watched the sun completely disappear; I sat there and watched a man change a flat tire; and then I drove out of there slowly, like an old man, letting it hit me, little by little, and scared to death I'd run somebody over or be unable to stop for a red light. Then I thought about the nickel I'd thrown away and I started to laugh like crazy. I laughed so hard I had to park the car. And when the guy who'd changed his flat passed me and I saw his white blob of a face staring back I had to laugh all over again. I even honked my horn and hollered at him.
"Poor devil: he had no soul."
*Essay originally published February, 2013