Treat Blvd., the imagery reminded, was where IT kicked in…
Peaches En Randalia #31
Jambands.com completes its first decade of service to the heady, hippie, and musically experimental masses right about now, and I also remembered a personal milestone. Ten years ago, on August 19, 1998, I began my first novel with a rather obscure little sentence that led to a paragraph, then to a page, and onwards, until I amassed 330 pages.
The two temporal touchstonesthis site, and the commencement of my first novelare unrelated, but they do share a common theme. In 1995, a friend of mine urged me to go back to college as each journey of a hundred, or a thousand, or a million miles, requires that first step, on the path to that first mile. (A million?) He was right, and when I look back on the ten-year history of Jambands.com led by Site Editor, Dean Budnick, and including only two additional full-time ten-year veterans that I can recallthe legendary Phish Timer, ZZZYX himself, David Steinberg, and the equally famous Jesse Jarnow, who has become one of the leading freelance writers on the New York cultural and political scene, and beyondthey have built this site with the help of many, many talented writers, technicians, publicists, managers, fans, and the very musicians that we know and love. I look at the past work on this site, and see many miles walked by many souls, and Im honored to be a part of the journey Jambands.com has taken.
I have been along for the ride for nearly four years, while being a reader/fan for nearly ten years. I still rememberummmTHAT sci-fi story submitted by THAT extremely talented college kid in Ohio; although I read it again recently, and was humbled by the ease of his language, and literary skills at such an early age. (Bastard.) My fan-like affiliation with Mr. Budnick goes back even farther, but that is probably the story of many witty rmpers and snarky lurkers (yours truly) back in the day. A recent addition to the JB.com team within the last five years was Mike Greenhaus, and it goes without saying (which Ive said before on this site, already) that Mike sees and hears everything, and REMEMBERS IT ALL, TOO. He is also talented beyond his years. (Bastard.)
Anyway1998. Around the time that Budnick, et al were walking forwards into the Great Unknown with this site, I was taking a crack at a first novel. I unwisely promised a small group of readers that I would produce copy every day for them to read. Hence, I wrote the tome in three months to reach a rather satisfying conclusion, and my readers were pleased, and suggested that I continue with another novel. (Bastards.)
And like this site, I took that second step and continued to grow within the boundaries of my resourcesstretching and expanding at times, but never forgetting that initial core audience of enthusiastic readers. I salute this site, and I thank Mr. Budnick and his crew (perhaps, again, but gratitude is sometimes in small supplies these days in our world), while looking back at those heady, wild days of the fall of 1998. I, of course, was a young man without any responsibilies (read: small children) in that fantastic year. (Bastard.)
And, ohin case youre wonderingI wrote the first novel while living in my humble little one-bedroom apartment on Treat Blvd. while looking out at a parking lot, and listening to early Bob Dylan ad nauseum on headphones to keep the gears rolling along. Treat Blvd. is located next to a Bay Area Rapid Transit stationone of the best mass transportation systems in America, no lessand in a city called Concord, but really ensconced within the city limits of Walnut Creek, California, and a mere 30-minutes outside of the Great City that Owned America at that point in the 1990sSan Francisco. Ah, the glorious era of dotcoms, and their foolish promises, excessively salaried employees, and trippy venture capital companies with ZERO revenue. Yes, I too survived, and Im here to tell thee of the crazy experiences of working for a graphic design firm where you could drink alcohol at ones desk. Wait for it..(Bastard.)
After my initial three-month debut novel feat, I went on to write my second novel every weekend over a 16-month period with a one-month break in the middle of the process during 1999 and 2000. I have taken seven years to write my third novel. Go figure. Perhaps, I need to return to that Treat Blvd. state of mind. My kids, of course, have shown me what life is really all about, and have helped me get my quiet time to write when they arent completely remodeling the interior of our house, one room at a time, with things that arent meant to be tools. (Lovable Little Bastards.) In the end, I enjoy working here, and hope to check back in at the 20-year mark to send cheers to Budnick, Steinberg, Jarnow, Greenhaus, et al, and toast the recent completion of my third novel.
- Randy Ray stores his work at www.rmrcompany.blogspot.com. He realizes that he actually made sense in this months Peaches, and will return to obscurity next month.