HOT BUTTER MUSIC is a collection of essays and short stories I wrote while living as a nomad.
In 2017, I decided to travel around the states in my Jeep for 6-8 months. It was rough but I can’t wait to do it again. Yes, I became that smelly dude who hangs out at Starbucks all day, orders 1 tea and brings in my own sandwiches from the gas station; but I got a lot of work done. I got to read several books that I’ve been meaning to read. I filled my notebook with ideas, sketches, essays and stories. I even wrote, edited and narrated my first documentary film. Yes, I slept in hostels, cheap motels and Walmart parking lots for the most part, but I met some of the most interesting people that I would otherwise never meet.
While in Texas, I sat on a greyhound bus for 10 hours next to a former klansman who had just gotten out of prison that same day. He did over 20 years for attempted murder and was framed for a robbery. It really put things into perspective when you talk to someone who hasn’t seen an iPhone before and have a hard time using a touchscreen. It’s still mindboggling to me that all this time, while I was in highschool through VSU and so on; that man next to me, was sitting inside a cell. It put into perspective the “problems” that I think I have and how I should be more appreciative of everything. Moments like that make me realize that I really have nothing to complain about.
While staying in a motel in New Orleans, I met an 18 year old high school drop out who’s been living in hotels most of her life. She said she makes $500 a week showing her feet on webcams. No nudity, just feet, for a few hours a day. I told her when I was 18, I worked at Bruister’s Ice cream for $7/hour. What a strange and brave new world we live in. She was so cool though and it made me feel old when she said she had no idea who Outkast was.
Living as a nomad really does wonders for your mind and creative spirit. Now I know why writers like Bukowski lived in random motels for months at a time. The interesting people you meet enrichen the characters of your stories and expand your view of the world. There’s something to learn from everyone.
Another interesting person I met in Louisiana was a fellow traveler named Kurt. He’s been roaming around the states for over 10 years and he hitch hikes everywhere. He’s in his mid 50s and could drink a case of Heinekens in one sitting. He was sharp though and had an insane ability to remember things, like the rainman. He speaks several languages and almost every movie I’d mention, he’d remember the director, the writer, what year it came out, what inspired it, etc. Same with jazz tunes.
One day, we went to the local brewery after work and they just happen to have a music trivia contest. We had no plans to play, but said why not, since we’re already there. Between Kurt and I, we ended up getting 28 out of 30 answers right, which was good enough to win three 12 packs of their specialty brews. That was a fun night.
These characters, personalities and memories stay with me. I’ve been writing short stories off and on for almost 3 years now and it’s always been a struggle to come up with interesting characters. But after meeting such colorful people last year, I find that now I don’t have to look too far for inspiration. I find these people showing up in my writing now and I’m finding that it’s more fun to write when you draw inspiration from real life.
Now I see why my favorite writers and artists go on long, random, unplanned roadtrips. You never know who you’re going to meet and such experiences can really fuel your work.
HOT BUTTER MUSIC is now available in paperback and digital edition.
This book is still a work in progress and will always remain that way. My plan is to keep writing, reading and thinking about these issues and ideas. I’ll continue to revise and update this text as much as I can. If you have something to add to the conversation, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I like what you write, I may use it for the next edition. (with your permission)
With this book, I hope to create a platform where we can discuss hot topics and current events in a civil and productive way. I do not care what side you are on. Even if I wholeheartedly disagree with you... if you provide a new and interesting perspective or insight, I will publish it.
I would like this book to eventually become a living record of conversations on today’s hot issues. And I invite you all to chime in, if you feel compelled to do so. I don’t care if you’re a homeless dude reading this or an economics professor...I would like to hear from you and your unique perspective will add substance to the conversation, no matter your background. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to figure stuff out and I hope we can all learn from each other. Thanks for reading.
HOT BUTTER MOVIES
I love writing, but I am also a gallery represented artist/painter and an aspiring filmmaker. While traveling last year, I created my first short film series. I shot everything using my iPhone and iMovie to edit. You can view the first two episodes below.