A Homeless Rob Fleming

Just one of the selfies I took while I was homeless in Denver 2014

If you are one of my most loyal and faithful followers then I must thank you for believing in me and my stories from the road, they are 100% real, they are not some slick (sick?) writers idea of capturing an online audience with the make believe stories from the road as some modern day Kerouac…sadly while I was able to make a living before I became homeless as a blog writer for various legal and medical malpractice blogs and marketing websites, while I was indeed homeless I thought it would be fairly easy to take all of the mostly incoherent notes I had written in paper form and on my laptop which at the time was my only personal possession of value. Sadly my beat up HP laptop was stolen from me May 29th, 2014 after I was beaten and robbed while on my way back to the homeless shelter I was staying in. The only saving grace of my final beating slash robbery while in Denver was I was able to scrounge, beg, and borrow the money I needed to buy a bus ticket to Boyne Falls, Michigan, I would need to wait for my seriously ill and weak mother to drive the five miles from Boyne City to the dark bus stop that Greyhound selected in Boyne Falls. All of my initial stories about my homelessness was everything I had saved in my Google Drive account.

Because I was not only dealing with my homelessness, poor health along with the immense loneliness and fear that seems to grow and overtake nearly every homeless person, I was now trying to cope with another problem. The one problem that was hidden deep inside of me that I didn’t even know I had…Depression!

I truly believe that the only thing that helped me carry on all of these years was my ability to escape the horrid reality of my situation were my nonstop dreams, oh yes, I was and have always been a dreamer, not those grandiose over the top visions of fame fortune and romance that some insane mass murderer might have, my dreams were more or less like sort of fame, kinda sorta fortune, somewhat romance, but the kind of dreams you can live with for a lifetime, not so outrageous or over the top that no one would ever believe, my dreams were simple, rather than horribly screwing up my personal relationship with my first and only “real” girlfriend, in my dream I was able to patch things up with her, and after I had proposed to her she said yes and then love and romance took over…that was one of my biggest dreams I held onto until In 2001 I called her up to see if I had any chance of seeing her, maybe getting back together with her, but because I was so out of touch with her it wasn’t until I had heard the sound of baby making those sweet sounds a baby make when being cuddled by its mother that she had told me she had gotten married the previous year and was the proud and happy mother of a 10-month-old son…I am such a fool and at the time mostly a selfish fucker that I quickly covered up my real reason for calling using a fake 12 step call to make my amends to her for all of the time I had treated her like shit….In case I never mentioned it I was also a typical guy before I was homeless and had screwed up every relationship I was ever in…along with Cassy my first love, and Joan my last…both women to the best of my knowledge have settled down and have wonderful relationships. I must add that I wasn’t a domestic violence scum bag, I just drank and used drugs and cheated on the only two women not with other women, but with drugs and alcohol…I was a shitty boyfriend who loved to drink!

So I’m a dreamer, put a guitar in my hands and I’ll get so close to getting a record deal and then fuck it off  …Put a camera in my hand and as soon as I was able to take photographs on the same level as an entry level professional and I would dig in and pursue this hobby and try to achieve a higher level. Ironically in the 1970’s I had been involved with a local newspaper who had started a high school section within their popular city section called “On Campus” I was one of only about ten or so students who had responded the newspaper call for students who were interested in journalism, and because of my natural outgoing personality and pleasant aggressiveness, the “real” editor of the Daily Signal’s city section Calvin Demming invited me to work with the newspaper and taught me how to write and edit copy for a real city newspaper. I was also introduced to the senior newspaper photographer who taught me how to take quality images as well as how to develop and print my own pictures in one of those cool old school black & white darkrooms. For a 17-year-old dreamer like myself it was just as exciting as a young man’s first time with a woman, only I was able to recreate that “first time” over and over again without embarrassment or shame!

All though my life, I floated from one dream to another…while in college studying music I knew I would never be the next Andres Segovia, maybe it was because I knew I wasn’t a classical prodigy. After all when I had auditioned for entry to the music department at California State University Los Angeles while the other first-year music students played J.S Bach, Mozart or one of the other popular composers as their piece during their audition …I knew I was doing something wrong when I arrived for my music department audition and while this young girl was doing her best version of J.S. Bach’s Bouree for the music department professors responsible for first year admission into the music department and I wasn’t even in the same frame of mind all at… deep down inside of me I knew this wasn’t going to go well….then they called my name, so I walked to the fucking stage sat down with my old dented, faded, and heavily played  but cool 1967 Epiphone Caballero (a real Epiphone, not the bastardised ones made by Gibson) and began playing the only “classical” song I knew…….Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing….

I played it finger style and I played it note for note, it was perfect….

I don’t know what Jimi would have thought of this version, but as I began to sing the song I felt like I was being stared at as if I was in the center of this huge room speaking some foreign language that absolutely no one other than myself understood ……While I played Jimi’s song I felt the silence overtake the entire room……I began to sing….

Well she’s walking through the clouds
With a circus mind
That’s running wild
Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams
And fairly tales…….

That was as far as I was able to get with Jimi’s beautiful song… with the single very sharp clap of her hands, the very quiet female professor cut me off before I was able to go any further….Somehow I knew I wasn’t impressing them….I had sat through about 5 or 6 auditions before mine and even this very nervous young guy who had bashed his way through a very sloppy version of a Barney Kessel or Django Reinhardt instrumental was able to do the entire 6 or 7-minute song before one of the professors asked him to play a few different jazz styles before pronouncing that he would begin his first year at 1d with one of the well-known jazz guitar instructors….

As quickly as I was cut off one of the other professors, the third professor who was a much younger than the other two professors asked me if I had a classical guitar. I quietly said yes I did, and he then said I would start at 1a with Gunnar Eisel. The female professor also spoke as if she were on cue to forget about being a rock star, that I was now officially a student in the Cal State LA music department and we also were in the real world….as I gently put away my old Epiphone acoustic guitar back into its case I could feel every eye of the other students, the music department professors, even the workers who maintained the sound stage where these auditions were taking place….every single one of these people were staring at me and all of them wanted to fucking laugh at me. I could feel it. It ate at me…. It seemed like an eternity as I walked to the end of the doors that lead out of the soundstage back to the backstage hallway. As I made my way out of the stage I heard the snickers and whispers…..this was worse than anything I had ever done…I think….as I also later found out I was scored as 1a in the music department, 1a is the department designation that anyone would receive if they never performed at their audition as long as it was certified by their high school music teacher that they did indeed know how to play the musical instrument they had registered, and while many of the guitarists within the music department at Cal State LA did not like Gunnar Eisel as it turns out Gunnar Eisel is not only a master guitarist in the classical world he would also teach Rick Ruben of the Beastie Boys fame, was private teacher for numerous would renowned flamenco guitarist as well as privately taught one of Paul McCartney Wings lead guitarists and the list of accolades goes on and on….What I also discovered is Gunnar Eisel could play rock N roll not only better than the long hair rock n rollers, but only using his fingers and a very old Yamaha classical guitar he could play faster than say Eddie Van Halen, and yes even my hero Jimi!  lol……

What I discovered studying music under Gunnar Eisel was I would never make it as a formal musician who would go on to either play in an orchestra or teach music in a public school, so with my maestro’s guidance within roughly nine months I switched my major from Music to Performing Arts with a minor in journalism because as long as I was willing, to be honest with myself then I might have a chance to actually play music in a real band…..

I never stopped being a dreamer, as I am sure if you continue reading my work within this blog, the only thing I can promise you is it will all be real and all about me and my life….good, bad or otherwise…..I have been able to see a lot of the world many people would have let them pass them by….I’ll close here. but I’ll be back in a bit with the next chapter of my life as I attempt to find the real Rob Fleming…….

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