John E. Budzinski


Bagpipe John


Many years ago, a work colleague, Ramose, and I sat during lunch talking about nothing in particular. Out of nowhere, he had a plan.

“John, let’s take up the bagpipe.”

I coughed, and ice tea came out of my nose. “Come again.”

“Let’s take up the bagpipe. Let’s learn to play.”

“What are you talking about, Ramose?”

“I saw this class they’re giving at the Woburn Community Center. It’s only a couple hundred dollars..”

“Wait,” I said, pushing away from the table. “You want to take up the bagpipe?”

“Yeah, why not? It’s one night a week for ten weeks.”

“And just why would we want to do this? What do we get out of it?”

“You always say, John, you pride your uniqueness. How many people do you know that play the bagpipe?”

“None! And, Ramose, this is clear! I am not missing out on anything by not knowing bagpipe players.”

“I thought you were adventurous. It’s the on;y reason I eat lunch with you.”

You know, Ramose has a point. Why shouldn’t we go off and do the weirdest and silliest thing that comes to mind? Aside from the fact I am not sure how much we can learn in ten weeks, and when you think about it, how many songs does anyone play on the bagpipes? I can think of two, Scotland the Brave (you may not know the name, but you’ll recognize it immediately when you hear it) and Amazing Grace.

No, I did not take Ramose up on his offer, and as I sit here writing about this forgettable moment in my life, I wish I could have a mulligan. This story falls under the realm of “had I’d only known” moments.

No, I doubt I would have gained much from learning to play the bagpipe, though I know I would have met some strange new characters who’d be fun to know and provide story fodder for my writing. And it would give me a tantalizing blurb for my biographical sketch. Tell me you would not be intrigued seeing “He plays the bagpipe” in the list of my other outstanding skills and qualifications.

Life is full of would-ofs, could-ofs, and should-ofs. I don’t know. I wonder where Ramose is and what is on the Community Center’s list of classes.


Life (and writing) Go On

Jun 12, 2019 by John E. Budzinski

Writing is weird. I have been amid final edits to my book. I have spent time on my website and getting email set up and marketing aspects - lots of back office items

I have neglected a lot, including communicating with my publisher and other contacts. It's been two weeks. I will address that problem tomorrow.

I have to spend some time getting ready for a workshop this coming weekend at the University of Iowa Writers Festival. I need to schedule a few other sessions. I have been invited to two. It would be rude not to attend.

Then, I've started to work on my second book, again. I've already done work on it, including pretty much completing the end. It shows what you can do once you outline and layout a plan. I am learning experience make writers much more productive