Robert Gunter

Robert Gunter

Rob Gunter, author/illustrator, is an Operations Manager by day and writes on Man and his universe the rest of the time. Fiction and nonfiction interests range from literary and psychological concerns to art and music to science and public affairs, with completed works including short stories, a novel, a children's picture book, articles, reviews and rock songs.

Believing that in all circumstances, the greatest prize is to be happy, I write as a process of discovery in pursuit of that happiness. It's been my pleasure to find that writing also orders and structures my experience to create happy circumstances - "So let it be written, so let it be done."

I'm an opinionated old goat, and have declared war on ignorance, mediocrity, narcissism and incivility.
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  • Where Ever You Go
    I experienced a strong woman standing her ground and fell in love all over again. The things men think of as courage pale by comparison, and that is why this song tells her, 'I will go with you Where Ever You Go.'
  • Why Not?
    I have done everything I ever wanted to do, to one degree or another (well, I was never a lawyer or some bureaucratic czar over the economy, but I'll let that go); I can only imagine what it would be like to have real unfulfilled aspirations in this song.
  • Alas! Poor Saurus
    I'm terrible company for a present problem: I always take the long view. Thus, the timing and manner of our expiration date accompany me in most considerations. In this song, I wonder which species will end have had a better end, we or the Dinosaur?
  • Behind the Elephant
    It seems to me the biggest obstacle to progress on the serious issues confronting our nation is the messy way we think about them, We aren't willing to take our own lives seriously enough to think logically, clearly or deeply in this song.
  • Dismantled
    Twenty years ago, (I have elsewhere alluded), I literally ran from temptation. Distance, time and experience now give me perspective at least to write a peace offering to the haunting spirit of 1994. This song is about that memory.
  • Hall of Mirrors
    I over-analyze everything, and find the thoughts of young poets, dead philosophers and my family rattle together in my mind with convictions, beliefs and values from all over the globe. This song urges me to .break glass in case of emergency.'
  • Locked Out of Love
    When you can't be with your beloved, or waiting for that call or electronic message, all the world can seem like a prison on lock-down. The fretful, unreasonably impatient longing for the next surge of their positive energy seems eternal in this song.
  • Miss-tery
    My last song abouy dogs was funny. This isn't. Every day I walk up and down the streets named in this lyric, and wonder which of my neighbors are destroying their families with infidelity as I walk by their houses, if 'all men are dogs.'
  • Over the Shoulder
    I have known quite a few people who died too young (very few of them close, thank God). Several of their stories inspired this song about the dangers of reckless driving, particularly for young people,
  • Random
    My mother taught me 'If you're not going to love people, don't get up in the morning. We have enough problems.' The immature flip-side growing up was, it didn't feel special to be her kid - she had 11 Billion in this song. I now know better.
  • Slowly
    The things that matter take time to build. The effort and determination to accomplish them must be renewed every day. This song is about paying those dues.
  • Tell the Tale
    As working parents get about five minutes a day to compare notes on the world we erect between us just to keep us apart. This song is about the frustrating search for the right things to say when put on that spot.
  • Spotlight
    I'm not famous and part of me wants to be. It's the irony explored by this song: recently, just making a phone call made me nervous, yet I sing in front of rooms of strangers and act a fool often publicly. Can I stand to be a known quantity?
  • These Minutes
    My best insights come from euphoria born of caffeine and "joggers' high", though more commonly, I've just walked an hour or so for a coffee. This song is about the dissonance of reality and imagination when writing fiction and fantasy.
  • TTD
    I am entering my busy season on many fronts and feel myself being tyrannized by these lists. This is my second song about the pressure of priorities, more immediate ones this time.
  • Warm Blue Breeze
    I once ran and worked my way up to five miles a day, from circumstances I did not want to be in. I think I will always have dark reflectons one of the few good decisions I ever made: running away from a personal Armadeddon in this song.
  • Worlds Collide
    Some 10 billion years ago, our Earth acquired its unique geologic composition because it is the compound of two smaller planets that collided. i'm recently taken with the idea of being destroyed (but transformed) by love, as in this song.
  • Anger
    It's not direct attacks that really gets me worked up: it's twisting knives, or sand paper on raw wounds from those who know the buttons I not to push. To change that mood, readers, do you see the music reference in the last verse of this song?
  • Coming and Going
    If I look back, there's been no rhyme or reason for my travels, here or there, now or later. I'm certain somewhere, there's an actual written procedure manual for these things... All I know is, "it was time to go, so I went", in this song.
  • Dirty Money
    This is what we all go through, unless we're 'to the Manor born'. Sometimes I'm amazed the human nervous system is capable of enduring work-place tension. This song explains wny I have a love-hate relationship with my money.
  • Golden Rules
    My children make choices that herald all the follies of youth. In saying 'No', I reference two Golden Rules: 'Do as you [should] want done...' Failing that, 'I have the gold, I'll make the rules.' I'm heavy-handed playing this song
  • Fifth of July
    I originally wrote this as 'the 3rd of July', then realized the drinking metaphor was more apropos. Readers, don't worry: caffeine will be my downfall! This song is about waking from my American Dream.
  • Live and Die
    I find myself more and more saying, 'I'm too old for this.' The things I want to accomplish in life (my goals for writing and music, primarily) need to happen before the world agrees unanimously with me. This song is about getting it done.
  • I Haven't
    I'm always tired. I insist, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Ask later... what's the reason I didn't do something? "I was tired." It's probably closer to the truth that I was writing, or singing or both. 'I Haven't' done much else, in this song.
  • Maybe Change?
    When young, I can remember making monumental (one is tempted to say legendary, in my own mind) changes in my life. The older, more set-in-stone me finds it difficult. Do I still have what it takes to improve? I'll find out in this song.
  • Ishmael in the Rigging
    I share the trait of obsessiveness with my son. It makes us both susceptible to fools' crusades and the bad influence of every misguided Ahab. I've learned to step back and evaluate (sometimes), but call us both 'Ishmael' in this song.
  • Monsters of God
    From ancient nightmare monsters to the surviving super-predators of nature, the idea of an animal or entity that preys upon humans has always been, and still is compelling today. In this song, the Monsters of God are alive and well.
  • No Damn Good: A Song About a Late Riser
    I'm due at work at 2:00 a.m. So I'm me unsympathetic to late risers, who live by the 'snooze button' and roll over for the 'five more minutes' that stretch on into afternoon. This song is about the ill-tempered protests of wakers.
  • In Certain Precincts
    A song about the American political mind of apathy, ignorance, over-simplification, selfishness... and also grand visions of freedom, high, world-changing ideals, fairness, morality, generosity and love. This song explores the contradiction in me.
  • The Wings of Anxiety
    In my family, the seagull is seen as a 'dirty bird', and I confess they make me nervous in large numbers. However, I also associate them with the beauty and freedom of flight, which helps me forget the troubles of day-to-day in this song.
  • Passenger Seat
    My first auto crash seemed to be in slow motion. I could see the oncoming car, and adrenalne gave me an eternity to evaluate what was about to happen to me... I just couldn't get out of the way. Neither can the passenger in this song.
  • The Ghosts of San Francisco
    I've read of 'the 13 ghosts of San Francisco'; my in-laws once tuurned down a realtor because 'your open house is haunted', and I'm often reminded about ghost legends of various restaurants, schools and cathedrals. My City is haunted in this song.
  • Summer Nights
    I spent summer nights with a troubled young lady. When I figured myself out, she was still searching for herself and very lost. I hope she found what she was looking for, and is as happy now as I am. This song looks back with the relief of now.
  • Too Late to Shoot Straight
    With my weird schedule, I'm often snoring, snoozing or nodding when life's great moments call for me to be brilliant, urbane, pithy and otherwise at the top of my game. In thus song, It's just too late for me,
  • Something Smooth
    I've gotten old enough to know (if my kids didn't reinforce constantly) that I'm not 'all that'. There are many moments when I wish I could wow everyone in person, hit every marik and zing every line. This song reminds: I don't have to - my wife does.
  • What Comes Next
    This (or that) song aside, I have been warned about "those days," when nothing works and all goes wrong. Momma told me. Even on my best days, I always know the universe will throw me for a loop (perhaps a roller coaster...?)
  • Words Without End
    Sometimes it seems to me (and my observers) that I do nothing but write. I know this isn't true, but like any other pursuit, writing has its ups and downs and its moments when the writer doubts himself, his motives and aspirations, as in this song.
  • Eight-ball
    A song about the life I try to combine with writing, singing, playing music and everything I should be doing instead.
  • Words: A Song About Being Verbal
    Spoken words singled Man out even among social animals as a creature living by scripted myths. Writing sliced that creature in two: we know what we experience, but we understand what we read. This is our duality in this song.
  • You Can't Help It
    We love our gadgets. We hate them when they won't do the impossible for us. In the future, and increasingly so, this will be a very involved love-hate relationship as man and machine approach being one entity - 'the Singularity' of this song.
  • Liberty and Me
    I'm nowadays waking from a recurring dream. Here, I'll sing you a few bars...
  • Bedroom Town
    Did you read about a kid who dreamed of ruling the world - then never left his home town home? Well, except for The City (and I live in the strangest), this story's the same one. This song sees my roots and routes through San Franciscan eyes.
  • Covers
    Ever since 'Greensleeves' was recorded as 'Words and Music', the cover-song has been a part of Rock Music. Performing the work of another artist always mixes motives and feelings: flattery, misappropriation and tradition all figure in this song.
  • Never Enough
    This is a song about the days that try our souls. Between money, work, family, and mood there are some days when insult, injury and insufficiency gang up on us. Add bad luck, poor timing and human limitations and all you try is never enough.
  • Why Do You Ask?
    I love to express myself and to learn from others, but it is often difficult to find a connection and point of reference to begin that process. Sadly, I've rejected people because we could not give each others' messages fair hearing, as in this lyric.
  • Eighteen: A Song About Parental Memories and Regrets
    Of course our children warm our hearts (most of the time, in fact); they also break them. Bracing myself with deep dread, I used to joke with them that they weren't allowed to become teenagers... this song is about how one has anyway.
  • Fail
    Greatness is of private interpretation, I believe: the 'Great' may be undefeated as Alexander (the 'Great,' [what else?] or defeated until 'Great', as Lincoln. My failures are legion, but I still feel great about myself in this song, (great or not).
  • Final Notice
    Modern life is lived in crisis mode. Each of these disasters seems to rear its ugly head when it's time to sit down and pay the bills. Then dizziness, nausea and termporary insanity are inspired by the dryest invoice, as in this bill-payin' song.
  • Golden Boy
    It's almost time for my volunteer teaching gig again (November through March): for eight years, I coach an extracurricular quiz competition in the social sciences. This song is about the distracted and unfocused faces I see anon.
  • The Search
    Increasingly, Americans find themselves dissatisfied or underserved by their employment scenario, and have to go through the painful, arduous but ultimately liberating adventure of Career Transition. This song is about my approach to The Search.
  • Hole in the Wall
    All Man's greatest monuments have walls - it's what we do, building separating barriers to divide, contain and limit ourselves. This song is about those barriers and about overcoming and living without them.
  • Invincible
    If you lived for ever, and all your wishes came true, and you never performed at less than perfection, would any of these things make you any happier? I don't think in any relevant sense they would help me at all, as explained in this song.
  • Over
    The misery of loss is only the flip-side of the joy of love. Every one who does not hide from life knows both. I'm decades 'over' this kind of thing, but this song relates my memories and thoughts on the subject.
  • Shadows on a Wall
    I read somewhere there are really only two emotions: love and fear/hate. To the extent one is driven by the latter, life is a negative function: as you are filled with hate, you become the sum of all you fear. This song warns to choose the other path.
  • Soften the Blow
    This was one of my first songs written on a napkin, late in the Iraq War. It didn't seem right for the times again until the latest crises in Syria. This song relates a thousand years of history and bloodshed to American foreign policy.
  • Serpentine
    Especially in youth, I had many friends with complete disinterest, even no concept of, others' well-being. My batting average improves with age, but you'll all recognize the reptiles masquerading as humans. This song's about sociopaths.
  • Spirit like a Dove
    Inspired by the behavior of the 'doves' at a funeral ceremony, this song explores the dark, weak, unappealing side of Man that makes me wonder whether we're fit subjects for 'saving,' 'enlightenment,' or our other soul-gymnastics.
  • 10,000 Stairs
    I grew up in the Santa Clara Valley, a land of spacious, separated homes, long, broad express ways and seemingly unlimited parking strips (suburbia). It's taken twenty years to reconcile lifestyles with my urban love even as far as this plaintive song.
  • Big Quake
    My second 'just for solo' composition, this song is about my time between sales gigs as a disaster aid worker during the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge, CA Earthquake. I'm thrilled the experience only stayed with me a few months.
  • Law of the Apes
    Like it or not, we are just the latest all-thumbs monkeys to assault this world and each other with our sticks-and-stones. Bio-science and technology will change the rules of that game, but it's still our same old game in this song.
  • Until I'm Holding Her
    This is a traditional love song. If you're living successfully in our modern world, you may have noticed that there's always one more social, professional, school or recreational obligation crowding out the time with your beloved, as I do.
  • Mystery Dream
    My first explicitly solo composition: all prior songs (even the Y!CN rejections!) were written for my band. Forget old memories - who needs them? I'm making new ones with Maria.
  • When I Get Home
    All my life, singers lamented the evils of the road - loneliness, separation, lack of a real place to call one's home and the dissolution of families in their absence. In this song, I live it in reverse - a home-body opposite family's schedule and route.
  • 23-Year Run
    Oh, yes he did! I can't help writing songs about life with the lovely, the talented, the brilliant, the ever-to-be desired Maria. Here's another flash off another facet of my favorite conceptual crystal.
  • Bitter Lessons
    After a life sales and management, as well as past personal relationships, I know both sides of the selfish and unequal relationship, and I have decided life is too short for it in any guise. This song is my send-off to use, abuse and the upper-hand.
  • Canvass
    Old Glory has flown over war, peace, protest, violence and remarkable times, In my City it sometimes flies over hate-crimes that diminish its meaning as in this song.
  • Gallery of the Moment
    I admire countless celebrated figures of the art, music, literature and science worlds. I'd love to flatter myself I'm one of those people and could claim to be 'eccentric,' I'm not. This song reminds me the moment and I are my only gallery.
  • Hey, La-la
    As a musician, I am always fascinated by lyrical refrains - particularly those that used little or no sensible expression, and yet so powerfully express a mood, or an experience perfectly with a sound or a note. This is such an exclamatory song.
  • Just Take Me
    I've become a life-long walker. It seems like every seven years or so, I get the itch to do more, and take up jogging again. As often as thrill or achievement, it's stress or fear I'm running from. This song explores where my feet 'Just Take Me.'
  • If You're with Me
    Someone once asked me, 'Would you ever date such-and-such a person?' I answered, 'I don't date. I mate. I'm already mated for life.' I have always known this about myself. I only enjoy many everyday things as 'mate,' as in this song.
  • Modern World
    Two million years and more our ancestors wandered after scarce food and shelter in nature. Ten thousand years ago we conquered water, crop-grains, animals and our fellow man to build all this. In this song I ask which world is better.
  • Words of Inanna
    'Inanna' was just her first written name. Every culture from the Mesopotamians of ancient Sumer to today has re-imagined her, projected grandiose fantasies of their mothers, wives and temptresses on her, and rewritten her history. So does this song.
  • Sky Writer
    I'm the son of a scientist and a sunday-school teacher. Raised Fundamentalist, I struggle with institutional dogmas and authorities. I'm now uneasily Catholic (naturally). I have no reservations, though, in this song, that His Creation is awesome.
  • Sympathetic Magic
    The ancient fascination with Luna's mood, light and magnetism has inspired a wealth of romantic literature, music and art. Atop the highest hill in my home county, I once heard myself saying, 'I'm a moon worshipper. It's magic,' as in this song.
  • The Man
    Since 1960, mankind has been sending items into space, such as the Pioneer probes, marked with symbolic maps to show any species with the capability to read how to find the source of the space junk. This song is about meeting 'Them'.
  • Meeting My Brother
    The outstanding people with whom I helped defeat last year's 'Special Interest Power Grab' Initiative in my State transformed a second job into a social phenomenon for me. Being with my campaign family is the best of times. Dan is one of the reasons.
  • Blind Silver
    It seems to me that Americans have lost faith in our police, courts, the legal profession and other civil authorities. Do we trust them to protect us? Do we see equity in their decisions? This song expresses that disaffected cynicism.
  • Dead Giveaway
    I grew up somewhere between 'Leave it to Beaver' and 'The Brady Bunch.' Conventional in a world of ambiguity and self-destructive choices, I've often missed the 'tells' of danger in people, as in this song about a lost soul I know.
  • Follow You
    My past (and varied) career as a salesman left me with mixed feelings. I relished the hunt and the gamesmanship of closing, but felt alienated by the materialistic and purely utilitarian relationships. This song expresses that ambivalence.
  • Bigger Battles
    A very wise person often advises, "Bigger battles, Rob." In this song, I don't always agree, but I appreciate the point: so much bitterness, anger and resentment, and for what? Is the 'thrill of the attack' worth the collateral damage?
  • HDTV
    I'm an extrovert, writer and performer. Many of my aspirations point toward the spotlight. However, when I stand apart and consider these things, and especially when I see myself 'in the arena,' as in this song, I have misgivings on fame.
  • I Believe in Everything
    In college, I got obsessively taken with each new idea, as has many another student. Years later I studied comparative mythology and realized every belief and experience has the spark of truth to light divine fire in the mind. This song is about mine.
  • Misto Mephisto
    I'm clearly addicted to good coffee. In this song, the girl who serves it just the way I like it turns out to be quite different than expected. The special ingredient keeps you coming back for more, but it'd be better to avoid Cafe Mephisto.
  • The Never Gonna List
    Even having the time of my life writing, making music, volunteering and socializing, I'm aware every opportunity costs me a different use of that irreplaceable moment. This song is my stubborn insistence on missing nothing.
  • Rescue
    If things look hopeless, I often experience a serene sense that all will turn out fine and the universe will come to my rescue. It's usually true for me, and I have to be careful not to take it for granted. This maritime song illustrates the experience.
  • Start the Next
    Dad was a literal 'rocket scientist.' He thought everyone was smart, and the world's wonders were things everyone could easily grasp just by was looking in different ways. Nature-walking, I hear his patient teaching voice in this song.
  • The Apocalypse of Randolph J
    One of the most dramatic conflicts is that of Man versus himself. For each of us there is a breaking point, a set of circumstances in which we can no longer bear to live. This song describes the actions and reactions in that moment for one man.
  • With You
    This song is my wish the reader never experiences the loss of great love. I almost did. A past road trip became a hospital stay. I took the midnight ride of the soul, thinking I was losing my wife - then she came home. I exulted, and still do.
  • Big Pictures
    The things we want in life comprise our 'vision.' They structure and organize reality into 'Big Pictures' our spirits paint and invite us to step into and inhabit by 'living the dream.' This song is about living on the canvass where it's all too real.
  • Disturbance in the App Store
    A long, strange trip it's been for me the last decade, between operating systems and from technophobia to adventurous blundering on my Mac and iPhone. I used to hate accompanying my early adopter family to the Apple Store as in this lyric.
  • Falling Over
    The realization that things are going wrong always feels to me like falling. Whether the failure foreseen is momentary and measured, or final and apocalyptic, the prospect of falling always brings out a stubborn, desperate flight plan, as in this song.
  • I Turn My Face
    This song reflects my approach to disagreements, particularly with my wife. Before putting on my angry face, I turn inward, or if necessary, go off to think it over. Anger is usually antithetical to my goals, like enjoying Maria's company.
  • I Want To
    In this song, variety is the spice of life. I have always been fascinated by people who are different from me, especially those from places and cultures that seem the most foreign and exotic, so love and Love have been cultural adventures.
  • Meeting My Sister
    I needed the money. I believed in the cause. Canvassing the City to save my State from unrestrained special interest money, I could not have known that my greatest gains on the campaign trail would be deeply personal ones.
  • Tiger Mother, Lion Father: Science and the Little Cats
    The reasons my wife and I are strict, often uncompromising seekers for the A are rooted in our familie(s), in ancient tradition and in journeys of scientific exploration. Our daughter and son carry the expectations of illustrious heritage.
  • A Painting of the End of the World
    Every Tuesday, exactly at noon, emergency alert sirens sound from a City-wide public address system. This is followed by a monotone recording: "If this had been an actual emergency..." My worst Cold War nightmare is relived in this song.
  • Outside a Building in a Car
    It's almost a truism: unless one wants to live alone, waiting for other people is a fact of life. In this song, these are my reflections on the wait when the one you wait for is your loved one.
  • The Queen
    In this song, the Queen is just the latest alias of the object men have sought since time immemorial: the Universal Woman. These are some of my thoughts on Her after years of studying her in the abtract and seeing her in love.
  • Youngblood
    My guitarist and song-writing partner is twenty years my junior. Whatever the success of our collaboration and the band we seek to launch, one day, Matt will create music and remember me as the bassist he used to know. This is about his future.
  • Taking Responsibility for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Part II
    A boy who has difficulty processing and following the requirements of classroom discipline has brought the problem home this summer. We watched in concern while waiting for the diagnostic process. Now, we know what we must do.
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