Saturday, June 23, 2018


At some point in your life, probably at multiple points, you will find yourself needing to start over from scratch. It may in your control because the moment was reached by a decision you made to change things. I will lose 50 pounds. I will embark on a new career. I will end this marriage. Or it may be on account of circumstances beyond your control that needed to be adapted to and dealt with. I can't believe they downsized me. I was not prepared to wrestle with this illness. I never expected that s/he would leave me.

Regardless of how you reached the moment, what ultimately matters is how you move forward from it. The starting line of a marathon can be an intimidating place to be, but once you've hit your stride it ceases to matter much how much longer you still have to go. You're on your way and appreciating the journey that you know will get you to the desired destination. You will be healthy/employed/mentally and physically sound/ in love/ happy again. You're well on your way and no matter how slow time may seem to pass at times, somehow it still manages to go by in the blink of an eye. What looked impossible yesterday seems achievable today and tomorrow is proudly looked back upon as an accomplishment.

Of no importance to anyone else in the world but myself, in recent days I have become enamored with the idea of starting over from scratch musically. The reason for this is that to my great surprise, vinyl, which somehow had managed not to go away completely [unlike printed books which I intuitively KNEW would and could not be vanquished by e-readers, I figured record albums didn't stand a chance against audio files], was making an improbable comeback. Suddenly it seemed that everywhere I turned I was once again seeing turntables and records. Not too many 45's yet but plenty of 33-1/3's.

When I spotted a turntable in a second hand shop a few weeks back I could not resist buying it. I was ready to make my musical comeback and return to the world of record albums and the large, artistic covers they come packaged in. Never mind that these days if I want to hear a song, just about any song, I just need to call out "Alexa, play ____" and music magically appears. Chalk it up to the nostalgia that accompanies aging beyond a certain date in your life's calendar, or perhaps some other less understandable but equally pressing reason is the culprit.

Unfortunately the used turntable I bought did little more than turn. When it came to generating music, it was a total dud. But as fate would have it, Father's Day was right around the corner and my awesome wife gifted me with a new one. I was back in business!

In between turntables I took a trip to Barnes & Noble (still around, no longer the bully on the book block but a treasured provider, still selling print books along with record albums as their latest product addition) and re-started my record collection. All of the records purchased the first time around are gone baby gone. Either I threw my original acquisitions away as records gave way to CD's gave way to audio files, or else they're stored in one of the many boxes in my attic that I don't feel like combing through. Now that once again after all these years I find myself with a functioning turntable, I need to start over from scratch in building a record collection. And unlike the first time around I intend to put a great deal of thought into each purchase, to acquire nothing but classics that I'll never tire of.  Music I already know will stand the test of time.

A post shared by Roy Pickering (@roylpickering_author) on

What would be my very first phase 2 album purchase? I gave it considerable thought without falling into the trap of overthinking. And it didn't take me long to decide on the masterpiece which would relaunch my album collecting career.

It has been on repeat play since Father's Day but is getting lonely. Time to give Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I some company. I don't know yet what album # 2 of my collection will be, though my head is spinning with ideas. Soon enough the record will be spinning on my turntable, at which point I'll no longer be starting over from scratch. I'll be on the road, taking the journey towards a destination that doesn't much matter what shape it takes. The first step and then the one after that and then the next and the next and the next is what matters. I plan to enjoy every single step and note of the trip.

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