Atlanta and Outta Gas

        After I got home I realized I hadn’t reported on our stop in Atlanta, so I thought I’d tell you about that.  At the end of of trip, we met with The Agent, so that will be my next post- much to report on there.

        Atlanta was our first stop.  I arrived a weary dog tired doctor and about outta gas.  After no petrol at two stations, Marfar suggested we circle the wagon and regroup for the night.  Atlanta’s slogan for the month is ‘Too Busy to Hate,’ and we found it right on.  I had heard it was a tough city, but it was all hospitality for us.

        At the Holiday Inn South a young lady named Ayanna greeted us with all kinda Southern charm, and told us where a tanker was due in and we could get gas first thing in the morning.  We didn’t want to burn up fuel, plus we had no idea how to get around, but Ayanna gave us directions where to park and catch the MARTA to downtown.  When in Rome it pays to listen to the Romans.  In Atlanta, MARTA is the way to travel.

        My agent wanted me to make my tour and try not to write too much, but to draw, play music and try to take in events that might stimulate creativity.  He says there aren’t but a few human truths that have stood the test of time, and an artist should work with their medium to try and find them.

        The Agent has started to sound like my wife.  He says when I doctor too long it makes me boring.  Well, the Atlanta High Museum of Art was an inspiration.  When you look at the works of artists from Europe and the early days of the States, you can’t help but realize these folks dug in deep to try to find truth.  My guess is they were starving artists when starving wasn’t cool.  Those truths the Agent talks about have been around a long time before modern commercialism, for sure.

        Maybe I wasn’t starving, but by 2:00 this artist was hungry, and Eddie H. the Café Guy and Rebecca’s home made soup took care of me.  And in Atlanta, if you ask for Co-Cola no one asks if you want the competitor.  They might have been short of gas that weekend, but you can get all the Coca-Cola and sweet tea you want.  I knew I liked Atlanta.

        At lunch I thought some more about my agent’s words.  I wondered how I could ever be an artist. My guess is all those wonderful artists did some powerful suffering.  Me?  I’d never missed a meal, and didn’t want for a blessed thing.  We might not have grown up rich, but we were comfortable, and my Mom took me to the library every week.  Dad saw to it I could have all the education I wanted.  If I hadn’t amounted to something, I’d a had no one to blame but myself.

        Joe DiMaggio once said a rich kid never made it to the majors.  My bet is none of these artists whose art made it to the Atlanta Museum were rich kids.  How was a guy like me gonna go deep and create any kinda art anyone would want to read?  It’s like the Moose once said, “You gotta suffer to play great bluegrass.  And Doc, you ain’t done no suffering.”

        I thought about that.  What are the truths I want to find?  After much reflection I have just now begun to understand why I am compelled to write.  I once went to a songwriter seminar, and someone asked a panelist Paul Craft how he created a good country song.  He said, (paraphrased) “You have to reach way down inside yourself and be sure you were honest and gave it your best.”  I like that.

        All I ever wanted to be was a country doc, and treat people with dignity.  And therein is the conflict in my story.  Those of you outside the doctor world might not understand at first, but you’re gonna get to see it up close.  A guy like me can do some suffering in the modern doctor world.  Like mrschili alluded to, when it became a business guys like me became dinosaurs.  The fact is there’s plenty of suffering that goes on for a modern doc who cares cause the system does it’s best to drive the compassion right outta you.

        But don’t feel sorry for me.  Indie is the one who took it on the chin bad.  They liked to have beat him to death.  And you know what?  It didn’t change Indie one bit.  He remained the same.  And that is what I like about ole Indie.  My guess is that’s what y’all are gonna like about him, too.  Cause Indie, flawed as he is, tells the truth.  An that, through Indie’s story, is what I wanted to find and hope to show.

        I’ll be back soon to tell you all about the agent and the direction of the blog for the next quarter.

Dr. B

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17 Comments on “Atlanta and Outta Gas”

  1. Amber Says:

    You know… it occurs to me something here. And hey it might just be some city girl here talking. But it feels to me like you don’t really have much self confidence.

    I mean… you go with every single direction that your agent wants? I really feel he should be working about what you want. And more as to how you want to take your writing. You should take creative direction from yourself as it comes from your heart and soul.

    I read your stuff nearly every day. Your stories about life as a country doctor, the characters and about playing in a bluegrass band are all charming and about who you are. Don’t compromise that with someone telling you who that should be… You are too good for that.

    Just My humble opinion.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    Your are very perceptive. I have zero training as a writer, and little idea of what I am doing.

    My agent is a good guy, and he likes what I write. My next post will be on our meeting, so stay tuned. I look at the agent like a Coach in golf though. Even though I have some game, to make it the best I can, I like an objective eye to see what they can spot that will take it to the next level. My agent reads my blog, and likes it, but he will tell me when a passage isn’t clear in a heartbeat.

    To reassure you, though, he thinks I am unique and have something to say. He says he wants to be sure I get to say it to the rest of the world via my book.

    We have a ways to go. One more revision over the next quarter, then we’ll see what happens come Jan 2009. Indie has given his blessings, so it is on go. Of course the publishing world, like everything else right now, is in turmoil so my book ain’t high on anyones’s agenda at the moment. But I am compelled to follow the road and see where it takes me. I guess it goes back to the suffering business, but I have no choice.

    Dr. B

  3. Cindy Carter Says:

    Atlanta does have a lot to offer those who come to visit. I used to call it the Emeral City. That is what it looked like to me when we flew into Atlanta.

    But, I have to tell you that this country girl lived in the Atlanta Area for 11 years. I never could call the place home. Too many non-southerners there for my taste. Actually, too many people period!

    When I got the chance to move to Charlotte, I did the “happy dance”. Charlotte is described as a little Atlanta. But, it is still pretty southern.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    I’ve been to Charlotte several times. I love the Open Kitchen there.

    Dr. B

  5. Amber Says:

    Dr. B – Your confidence as a writer should be that you have loyal readers coming here every single day to read your stuff. I always see many people comment on your blog. That says alot to be honest.

    I don’t know.. personal bias maybe. But I believe that you have something unique. Id like you to start trusting your own instincts a bit more. Plus, maybe you should trust your readers with some of these questions.

    Miss Chili with her grammar and stuff… man would she be an amazing editor to catch all of those typos. There are several people on your blog who comment that I could see could be so helpful to you.

    I guess I owe a nickel this time… *tosses in my .5 cents*

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Lord Amber,

    You are a smart lady, ’cause one of things my agent said was he found my readers to be bright and believed I should ask them for feedback on the blog as I do my last revision.

    For example, I did not know the middle name of some of the people I referenced in the book, and he said I need to go back and tidy up some of those details.

    In truth your advice 100% mirrors his, and is again again a vote of confidence for my readers. In turn I guess it is also a vote of confidence for me as a writer, ’cause he finds I have connected with them.

    I guess it is like this. If a fellow thinks he is a smart doctor but no patients come to him, he ain’t worth nothing, and if a fellow thinks he is learning to write, but no one reads what he says, he ain’t doing so good.

    Watch for the next few posts. I trust my readers and plan to go down the road to get published with them. I think we are almost there.

    Dr. B

  7. mrschili Says:

    I don’t buy that one must suffer to be great at anything. I think we take suffering too seriously; it’s NOT, as many would have us believe, our primary lot in life. I think it DOES come down to honesty, though, and love.

    I’m not sure if it relates, but I once heard someone – a nun, maybe, talk about suffering…. OH! WAIT! I DO remember – hang on… yes, here it is; a quote from Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley:

    “Self-hatred seems to me an evil thing in itself rather than an antidote to evil. If we practice self-hatred, the the sacrifice we make of ourselves and our lives is not sacred, for it is then a gift of something we hate rather than something we have nurtured and loved.”

    This, to me, speaks to the “suffering artist” idea. Why would I want to revere something born out of torment and suffering? Doesn’t it make more sense to treasure things that were built with love and care?

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Chili you always have some great thoughts. I saw some suffering along the way, and tried to make some sense out of it and live a life of grace and dignity in spite of it all.

    What my book is about is how to try and live that way while a lot of bad things swirl around you.

    In the end, though, I think grace, dignity and truth did prevail.

    I suppose what I am saying is if a human being never has any trials or tribulations and because of that good fortune they can not empathize with folks who have, they can not do good in art or real life either one.

    Hey folks I gotta tell you too, I agree with Amber. As far as editing and grammar, mrschili is a pro. Always glad to have my friends, mrschili.

    Dr. B

  9. Robert Says:

    I moved from Atlanta to Nashville in March. Glad you had a good experience there, Tom.

    As much as I love that city, I must tell you that I will never move back! Too big, too crowded, too congested.

    Sounds like you have the best of both worlds. You live in the country but travel to big cities. That’s the way to do it.

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Robert,

    Yeah, they used to call North Carolina variety vacationland. We have the mountains, the beach, cities as big as Charlotte and small towns and countryside. Lots of fine golf courses too, and many of them are not that crowded.

    Dr. B

  11. Robert Says:

    Very cool. It’s almost like Scotland!

    I have some friends who live in Asheville and I always enjoy visiting that city. Beautiful.

  12. pandemonic Says:

    Atlanta is a great city. I didn’t spend nearly as much time there as I would have liked.

  13. drtombibey Says:

    Pande,

    If you go back take in the High Museum of Art. If feel sure you would like it.

    Dr. B

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Robert,

    Tiger Woods is building a Cliffs course out there somewhere around Asheville- I think it’ll be out of my league but they say it is gonna be special.

    Dr. B

  15. Amber Says:

    Dr. B Im glad you felt my advice helpful. Im sorta a jack of all trades. Little understanding of MANY things.

    One of the things I have found successful in my own blog is to listen to the opinions of my readers. There have been several really useful pieces of advice. And actually listening to them, I became a better writer all of the way around. This blog has been up only 4 months.. and Im over 40,000 hits.

    Writing is a journey of two people. Both the writer, and the person reading. Both have to connect to make the journey worthwhile.

  16. drtombibey Says:

    It is a human thing ain’t it Amber?

    You are right about blogs. One thing my Agent predicted is I would learn much from my readers. I guess he has been around the blog block a couple times, but he turned out to be right.

    Dr. B

  17. Smitty Neuse River Pres. Says:

    Doc, I am glad that you wrote about the Atlanta experience and the lack of gas. The day you called me and asked about a gas shortage, well it was an odd question.Gas is selling for a large amount and they have more than they can sell now.

    Ok, Doc now get in the game and get this book thing done. The time has come for you to step up to the plate. To paraphrase Ted Williams, God got you to the plate after that you are on your own. Great news about the book. Do I need to contact Conway and let him give your agent a few pointers on how to deal with people chasing him?

    By the way ,preacher and I took care of Conway and two young bucks that could hit it farther that you can point.Preacher got that short game going and I ran a few in on the back.

    The next gig has been set for the Strings in Saltillo, local class reunion. Ok, mom and Dad class reunion, it will be fun.


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