Here’s a little book that defies categorization.
Stories and poems and reflections. Fragments of thought and bursts of creativity, carefully curated to fit together. Oh yes, it fits together. There’s another clue for you all.
Is it a manifesto about how to live a life of peace in a turbulent world? a cry for sanity in an insane world? a chuckle among friends? an oddball collection of diverse thoughts and fables around more or less a common theme? a serious attempt to step up and say something even if no one cares to listen? a frivolous jumble published on a sudden whim? a ponderous, jubilant shout from a man trapped in a world he never made?
Why yes. Yes, it is.
It’s probably my most personal book, in that it has several essays about What I Believe and Where I’m Going as I enter Act IV of the four-act play that is my life.
I imagine it could be seen as a political book; after all, it begins with the Zero Aggression Principle by which you can tell if someone is a real libertarian, in the opinion of most real libertarians (although there really are no such people).
It’s an optimistic book, in that the first bit I wrote in the collection is about defying the purveyors of doom and gloom and recognizing you have the power to rejoice day by day.
It’s a collage of prose poetry, in that the second bit I wrote is the short little blog post that gives the book its name:
How to Play a Blue Guitar
The way you play a blue guitar is the same as the way you play any guitar.
Essentially, one guitar plays the same as another: It’s built with the same workings, potential melodies and chords, hopes, and dreams as any other color guitar.
Kind of like people.
The book is seasoned with several of my short stories, including arguably my most well-known piece “Wildflower Man,” along with “Rick and Ilsa” and “Some Days You Eat the Pelican” and “Live Forever!” and my personal favorite among my flash-fic efforts, “The Accountant.”
Basically How to Play a Blue Guitar is a collection of blog posts that I mixed and matched and remixed and rematched, until one day I read through it and realized, in a complete inversion of J. Alfred Prufrock, “OMG! This is what I meant; this is it, all.” And so I rushed it off to Kobo and Kindle and the print-on-demand shops at Lulu and IngramSpark and Amazon before I had a chance to second-guess myself. (I even left two or three typos alone lest I be tempted to “fix” anything else.)