Finishing Up

Although events of the past year have made progress incredibly difficult, I am close to finishing my latest book.

I will be putting The Daily Frail, The Banjo Dojo and my other projects on hold for the next week so that I can focus on getting the final draft to Dear Old Dad for editing.

Away

I am going on a picnic. I’ll be back on Thursday.

In the meantime, be sure to watch and work through the first four episodes of The Banjo Dojo. Remember: practice makes familiar.

When I get back, we will be making announcements about Banjo Dojo weekends and other exciting news. Lots of good stuff is in the works.

Onward!

Patrick and his Dobro 33D

Social Security and the IRS think I am dead.

I was not going to argue this, but Dear Old Dad argued that it could complicate things down the road. So, albeit reluctantly, we are taking steps to remedy the situation . . . but I have to admit that I am enjoying my status as a zombie.

My health after the harrowing Suboxone withdrawal has been steadily improving. Lately I find myself battling my old foe peripheral neuropathy, but I have a good neurologist on the case. Last week on a scale of 1 to 10 – with pain being the worst pain I ever experienced – I was at around 23. Crying time.

Today I am between 7 and 8. So it is improving bit by bit.

There is a lot going on here musically. The Daily Frail is still happening over on Patreon. A few folks are either unnerved or just plain angered by the fact that I am breaking away from using tab. Somebody pointed out that my very popular books used tab and I replied that the books were written long ago and even Picasso was prone to painting over old works to create something new.

Tab never helped me with the guitar, and I used it so rarely with the banjo that I practically had to relearn how to use tab when I wrote my first web-based workshops. On plain paper tab was a useful way to help people visualize the left and right hand mechanics – but we are living in 2019 and the printed page is going the way of the rotary phone. We don’t need to cling to old methods that never really worked. This should be a time of innovation and discovery!

So I am getting myself mentally, physically and musically ready for something new. For the banjo I find myself thinking back to the way I used the teaching methods employed by my karate instructors. There was nothing written in the dojo. I was expected to pay attention, internalize what was presented and then put it into action.

When I was learning music I only met my teachers briefly. Some encounters lasted a few minutes but I left with enough to work on for months. Given my progress over the years it’s safe to say this approach works. My challenge now is to create the same sort of environment on the Internet.

So a new banjo method is on the way. My friend Dobro Libre will be doing similar with the guitar to take some of the workload off of me.

A lot of this new teaching method will fly in the face of a lot of the material out there now – including my old workshops. This is inevitable because change always generate conflict and controversy. The momentary angst will not bother me because I am looking at a larger timeline. Forget somebody being pissy today and look fifty years down the road or beyond.

When I met Tiny back in the 1980’s the fiddler’s picnics in Pennsylvania were filled to capacity. Every time I go back there are less musicians. We lost something at some point. The same happened to karate, going from tough training to a weird sort of day care where seven-year old kids get back belts without throwing a punch.

Keep an eye on frailingbanjo.com for updates on the new lessons, the book in progress and some other cool things we have in the works. I would share more details, but that would spoil the fun.

Right now I am off to do a bit of yard work and then scare the neighbors by practicing Modern Arnis on the heavy bag. Nice to know I can still throw a punch and make an even heavier blow with my sticks. I hope Ed Parker and Remy Presas will be watching my comeback!

Stay tuned!

God bless,
-Patrick

Pain, Pain and More Pain

So far quitting Suboxone has generated only minor side effects. I’m doing pretty good except for one thing – peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where your sensory nerves get damaged and start sending pain signals to your brain.

I am okay during the day, but when I try to sleep the pain jumps in and just kicks my ass all over the room. On a scale of 1 to 10 – with 10 being the worst pain ever – I was at about 15 last night. It got so bad last night that Dear Old Dad handed me a double shot of some seriously good Irish Whiskey. It helped.

I see my doctor on the 27th, but from what I have read there are not many effective treatments for peripheral neuropathy. I am guessing that I will have to learn to live with the pain and/or look for alternative therapies.

I could wring my hands and cry, “oh woe is me”, but that never accomplishes anything. My hands still work and my head is clear. I’ll keep on fighting.

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. We’re taking her to Salisbury for the Chinese Buffet and shopping at the Hobby Lobby – she loves that.

On Monday I turn 49. Dear Old Dad is going to drive me to Assateauge, and then we will pick up the heavy bag and other equipment for the backyard dojo.

The Daily Frail will be back on Tuesday.

Moving From YouTube To Patreon

Starting today, all 788 of our YouTube music workshops have been unlisted. The full playlist will be available on Patreon for $5.00 a month.

Visit https://www.patreon.com/join/Dobro33H? and choose The Costello Video Archive option for $5.00 a month. We will send you a URL to the full playlist.

If you are already paying $5.00 in the Funky Folkies program, contact us for a URL.

Alive! Alive! Alive!

This morning I woke up well before sunrise. I put on the heavy walking boots I have not been able to wear for years and put on my pea coat. I got my camera and stowed one extra lens in my coat pocket. I fed Pooka, quietly slipped out the front door into the cold darkness before dawn to watch the sun rise at Jenkins Creek.

Jenkins Creek is a special place to me for reasons I will not share. I don’t take many people there. Nowadays it is not what it was when I first came to Crisfield, but I still love it there.

I watched the sun rise. I took a few pictures. I pondered on some big decisions. As I turned back towards home a great blue heron I had not seen rose up from the marsh grass in front of me – so close I could feel the air from the beating of its wings. I threw up my hands and danced for joy on the lonely street.

Driving home I started laughing with joy. At the end of a dark grueling journey I am finally coming back to my old self. Back to visiting herons and watching the beginning and the end of each day with joy. Alive! Alive! Alive!