Inspiration – Dedicated to Gordon Downie

Anyone who may have read this blog occassionally will by now have realized that I haven’t updated since Moses was a child.  I’ve been extremely underinspired and disillusioned with the prospect of writing.

I’ve seen a meme that says that a writer MUST write.  It’s not about selling books or appealing to the public / audience.  It’s about a deep seated need to put words down and tell a story.  Isn’t that a nice little platitude for the digital millenium.

We all know that in the real world one must invest their time in a productive manner.  I have a deep seated need to be creative.  So if I’m not going to get the kind of personal satisfaction from writing, then I have many other outlets for that need.  Formost is playing the guitar, at which I’m not too bad, and cooking which if you were to take a look at my ever expanding mid-section, you would realize is one of my great passions.

So I’ve been working on my personal repertoire of solo acoustic songs and dreaming of doing some gigs around town.  That’s going great.

I have two novels in the works and without a doubt I will finish them in the short to mid-term future.  Whether they will get the kind of attention I feel my earlier work deserved is anyone’s best guess.  I’ve dropped out of all the facebook writing pages – reading again and again how so and so is making a 6 figure income by outsourcing the writing of his books is beyond depressing.  Obviously I am not in the same league as much of my competition.

But then along comes a defining moment that really inspires.  In this instance I am talking about this weekend’s final Tragically Hip concert which I was lucky enough to see via CBC music’s Youtube page.  The concert was broadcast on CBC radio, television and via web LIVE and without commercials this past August 20th.

If you aren’t familiar with The Tragically Hip, they are a Canadian group that have been sweethearts of the Northern music scene for over 30 years.  They are one of if not the DEFINITIVE Canadian bands of all time.

For me, they are peers.  When I was a working musician back in the 80’s, the Hip were just making it big.  They come from Kingston, Ontario, an even smaller pissant town than my own so they set the bar.  If they could do it, why couldn’t anyone else?

This year it was announced that their singer, Gordon Downie, had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  I assume this means Cancer.  I haven’t read all the technical reports but the “C” word has been in play in all the media.  The group had just finished recording a new album and with the doctor’s go ahead, decided to do a final tour.  Saturday’s concert was the last stop, back in their hometown of Kingston.

To say the least, it was a hugely emotional finale to a great career.  Even as I write these words I’m choked up.  I’ve had my own battles with Cancer – beat it twice and I hope I never have to deal with it again.

I imagine it’s redundant to mention that Mr. Downie’s battle and his decision to keep making music has been a tremendous inspiration to many people, myself included.

If you have never heard the Tragically Hip, I suggest you check them out.

Thanks to Gordon Downie and the band for 30 years of great tunes and parties.  I was lucky enough to see them twice in concert.  Sorry I didn’t see them more.

David Gordon Burke
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