Tag: diary

Dear Diary: September 1987

Here’s another journal entry from twenty-five years ago. If you’ve been following along in my previous Diary entries, you already know about my dreams to make it big as a rock star.

For me, college was only a stepping stone towards reaching that goal. As far as I was concerned, as soon as the president of Atlantic Records showed up at my door with a contract for me to sign, I was gone.

Today’s entry deals with one of the best days of 1987 for me: the day I received my very first student loan check. I know what you’re thinking: “How can one of the best days of your life be about taking on a financial obligation?”

The truth is, words can not fully express how happy I was when I received the little white envelope at the Bursar’s office at Penn State. For you see, at the time it was money that I had very little concern or intention of ever having to pay back.

I found this entry particularly nostalgic when I re-read it again (and also a bit prophetic). First, it was written on the very first day of school in Easton; the first day I was no longer a student in the public school system. It reinforced the notion that I was indeed on my on again.

I also found it to be a sign of things to come. In the last paragraph, I mention the need of having someone “help” me when I become a rock star because I’ll waste all of the money I’ll be getting. In reality, I needed that “help” immediately. I wasted quite a bit of the money I received in student loans on such things as concert tickets and guitars. Loans that eventually took me nearly twenty years to pay off. A lesson well-learned.

***

Dear Diary: Well, here I am: Psychology 002 again. I’m really not in the mood for this today. I want my bed. Today, I’m going to once again find out if the refund check came back. (Notice that I didn’t say anything positive like, “I hope it’s here” because whenever I do, it isn’t). So I don’t get to get all worked up for nothing, I’m approaching it with an open mind. If it’s here it’s here, otherwise I just want a sure-fire date of when it will be.

I just thought of something: today is the first day of school in Easton, and the first year I don’t go there anymore. That’s weird to say. Weirder still, I can stay home on a Thursday and Mr. Jones (the principal) won’t call.  And I won’t get lost in Mr. Milisits’ music theory class anymore! I don’t even need a little yellow excuse. Radical Man!!

( a short while later)….

The check is HERE!! It’s out in the car and I think it’s only one of many: $1444! My knees were shaking. All that money at one time is really scary.

I swear, when I make it big as a rocker they’d better keep any cash in the thousands away from me. Sure, I want it, but I’d waste it. All I need is reliable equipment, food, a roof over my head, a car and maybe a couple of hundred to party or for clothes!

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Dear Diary: December 1986

I have to laugh when ever I look back at the journal I kept twenty-five years ago. The red spiral bound notebook now worn and tattered with age still feels like youth when I hold it and delve into its pages. It began its journey originally as a notebook for my music theory class before becoming the repository for my thoughts and dreams. Over the months of my final year in high-school it was covered with stickers that would indicate to anyone who dared view some of my real obsessions:

“Gibson”, “Explorer” and “Guitar” to stand for the electric guitar that I played and “5150” for the Van-Halen album I was listening to and wearing out at the time.

So many years have since passed and it’s amusing to once again read the adventures of the seventeen year old boy trying to find himself during his final year of public education.

This post, with entries written a quarter century ago, deals with me getting ready for the Easton Area High School Concert Choir Christmas show and facing the notion that my life may be falling apart.

I had just recently resigned my position as fry cook at the local McDonald’s and wanted to concentrate solely on my music. A stupid move in retrospect considering that in addition to resigning my burger flipping duties I also sacrificed my only source of income.

My mother had been renting an electric guitar for me to learn on for over a year (one I still have to this day) and I used to spend most of my free time practicing it up in my room after school. At the time, my only real social activity was limited to seeing the 80’s hair bands whenever they came to town to perform. 

Looking back it’s also kind of sad to think about how serious I took the insignificant issues I was going through. But I suppose that when you are seventeen and have only the belief that rock superstardom awaits you every little bump in the road suddenly becomes a major event.  But I am happy to report that at least these entries contain a happy ending as you’ll soon discover.

After reading me vent about my inner turmoil feel free to leave your own comments or, if you were there with me at the time, leave some of your own memories about those days.

12/17/86: Tonight is the choir christmas concert. Who knows, it might work out ok. As for practice: hardly any due to the fact that I have to find a ride to school because of the shitty headlights on my car. It starts at 6:45. I have to be there by then so I’ll leave around a quarter after six to have enough time.

It’s over. I mean I’ve lost all interest it’s so I don’t have the feeling anymore. The spark is gone. I don’t get inspiration anymore. All of my songs I try to write just don’t seem right. The words all come out wrong. You know, my career is dying….and part of me shall die with it.

It’s time I confess my problems. Last night, several things came into focus to really put me down for the count. They are as follows:

1. A very low-grade on my Mythology test.

2. Trouble with seeing Bon Jovi due to headlight failure and it being at night.  The headlights worked perfectly the night before.

3. No money: Probably my biggest problem

4. No interest – It’s been falling for about a week

5. No guitar – though I possess it it’s not mine yet (it’s rented) and I feel I’m losing out somehow.

6. Aggravation – Peer pressure and the like but I’ve been dealing with that for years.

7. Finding a ride to and from the concert tonight.

8. Losing friends rapidly

If I gave it more thought there would be more than eight problems but these are the big ones. It’s over now….done.

12/18/86: Well, my life is still falling. I’ve never felt this way before. Lately I’ve been flipping out on everyone for no reason. Yesterday I discovered my car needs a register or some part to fix the headlights…good luck with that!

One good thing: Last night at the choir concert some girl got me confused with someone else she wanted to hug….but I obliged. Haha… It was funny though. I’m beginning to get myself together both psychologically and musically.

Soon I shall be back on top.

Memoirs: 17 Nov 1986

explorerSetting the scene: From my journal dated November 17, 1986. This entry details my feelings about missing guitar practice after school. I used to beat myself up for not practicing at least three hours a day EVERY day. Feel free to leave a comment below.

As I sit here now it becomes more and more to my advantage to forget about what i think I should do and get to some serious practicing. Usually I’ll practice one day, and hey, I do accomplish all that I want to and more, but the next day I either practice very little or none at all. This really gets me upset when I look back and it seems to happen every day.

Now, as I sit here at 11:45 am on the 17th of November  I am willing to practice. To get home at 2:45 pm, eat something, grab my water container and head up to my room to practice. But the things that flow through my mind…..like just now, I thought of the fact that I do not own my Explorer yet came into my head. (I’m still renting it). Now it discourages me. I don’t understand why.

Also, I’ll miss the Joy of Painting show but as I feel now it doesn’t really matter. You see, all these things can go through one’s mind and either inspire or dishearten them.

Every day I have this uneven balance of inspiration and discouragement. The things which inspire me are: watching my favorite videos and songs and thinking I can play as good or better; or generally talking about the instrument or music (like I did in 3rd period today or in my music classes).

Now for the discouragements: my sibling’s put downs are non-stop; my friend’s wise cracks; my desire to sometimes keep putting off practice until it’s too late; me not owning a good guitar; me not having money; me not wanting a job. All of these attribute to my musical career in either positive or negative feelings.

Well now it’s time to show everyone my real potential. There will be change, a lot of it if necessary. To begin with I’m going to stick with my practice schedule even if it kills me. I want to be in a band by the beginning of 1987. Without proper practice it’s all useless. But as of now there will be a change.

Hopefully for the better.