Hot Air: The Long And Winding Road

It’s going on three years now that Charlotte Zietlow and I have been working on her memoir. Lots of life has happened along the way, sidetracking us for brief periods. Her husband, Paul, died in the spring of 2015 and I caught cancer (or at least was diagnosed with it) six months later. But we’ve stuck through it all.

Dare I suggest we’re entering the end game now? I’m writing my sixth draft of the book. We sit in her sunny back porch on Friday afternoons and I read snippets to her and she tells me either I got it all wrong or I’ve caught her voice perfectly. Then it’s back to rewriting until everything’s right.

Frankly, this has been a labor of love. Charlotte and I are pals now. We joke around together and tell each other secrets. Neither of us is going to make a fortune on this book. In  fact, when all is said and done, both of us will have lost plenty of dough, considering the unpaid hours, weeks, months, and now years we’ve spent pounding this thing out. So what?

The day I see this book displayed in the Book Corner window, I’ll cry like a baby. For sadness: the end of a chunk of our lives. For happiness: Charlotte’s life is finally memorialized, good and proper. For her. For me.

Anyway, here’s a little something I drew up this AM:

Yep, it’s an idea for the cover. Both Charlotte and I prefer simple, straightforward things. I’ve pitched this dummy image over to The Loved One, who’ll draw up an honest-to-gosh, professional cover. She’s a crackerjack graphic artist, you know. Who knows, maybe she’ll nix the whole concept and come up with something better. But it’s a start.

Just as we’re coming near the end.

The Song

Yeah, yesterday was the b-day of my least fave Beatle, Paul McCartney. It gives me yet another chance to eschew using the offensive British appellation: Sir. Many of you won’t agree with me here but I don’t care; the term Sir historically indicates superiority, a sense that there are people better than others. It’s rooted in Britain’s blood lineage caste system.

You can call him Sir. I’ll call him Paul.

Anyway, Paul hated what Phil Spector did as producer of the Beatles’ last studio album, “Let It Be,” on which TL&WR was track number three, side two. Me? I loved the unmistakable Spector sound of it. Considering it’d be the last thing the foursome would do together, Spector’s signature reverb lent it an eerie poignancy.

John Lennon called Paul the best bassist he’d ever heard, even after the band had broken up amid grumbling and backbiting. I don’t hear it — then again, I probably don’t know enough to make an informed observation.

All I know is John and Paul were, if not the best, then certainly in the running for the greatest pop songwriting team ever. And the funny thing is, they needed each other. Alone, their more indulgent sides ascended. Together, they brought each other toward a more sublime center.

Here, then, is a fitting song for today.


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