Friday, April 30, 2010

A Poor Excuse For a Blog Post

But you have to read this.

In the land of Synopsis Delirium

Why are synopses so hard to write? I mean, it's just a book condensed down to a few paragraphs. A few paragraphs . . . right. Ninety-thousand words of action, drama, romance, and dialogue on one page. No wonder I'm ripping my hair out.

Here's what I'm going to do instead of writing myself into circles, I am going to ask myself the following questions. What is the overall theme of this book? Who are the main characters? What is the main event of each chapter? What is the ending? There. Synopsis.

On the lighter side of things, here is a picture of my beautiful little Julia. Her hair is a bit messy, but that's only because she was running around all night taking pictures of her ponies and dolls. That's serious work, folks!

Anyone else out there writing their synopsis or query right now? What tips do you have? Also, do you have a certain song that could be used in a filmed version of your book? Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Completely Forced Post From Friends Who Are Picture Pushers

Talk about peer pressure! This is all you get peeps. Here's my sweet Henry, up on the cat tower. That's an easel in the corner.
Julia put stickers on the window so that Prince Phillip won't miss our house if he should happen to ride by on that white horse of his.

You see, just a nice little neighborhood outside. No red lights, no cops racing by . . .

Henry wants me to just go and write now. Please.

My front porch. See, now I'm getting generous. Some serious ass kissing must be administered later.

This wreath is home to a family of finches who just came back yesterday after I played piano. I was so happy! It's so much fun to watch them hatch.

And that's it . . . or is it? Mwahahahahahahahahahaha.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Look Through Any Window . . . well, except mine

Tom asked to see people's window views. Since mine is a boring neighborhood, I thought I'd show the scene I painted for my kitchen window. It has some serious wear from being rolled up and down every day. And by the way, it was my little joke to cram Rome all together like that.

Interesting Fortune

I usually don't do these things, but I saw a free three-card tarot reading online and this is what it gave me.

Past- Withholding knowledge or sources. A manipulator or fraud. Superficial show of knowledge. One playing the role of haughty queen (me??). Ignorance. Egoism. Waste of talent. Hollow existence.

Present- Fluctuating economic fortune. Balancing act. Tricky launch of new project. Qualms. Risky venture. Timing and dexterity. Shadowy scene and cunning characters. Juggling resources. Thinking on your feet. Agility needed to sail high seas. Uncanny instinct. Crafty business partner. A vague, even peculiar situation that keeps one guessing on their toes. The dance of opposites. Ambiguity.

Future- Hope. Inspiration. Guiding star. Moment of grace and peace. Freedom. Early signs of life taking on new pattern. Freedom after trials. Chance for escape. First sign of dawn. Release. Self-reliance. Clever, inspired ideas. Listening for direction. A quickening. salvation. Empowerment. Destiny. A time of farseeing. Taking steps to save one's self—not giving into resignation. Enlightened idea. Planning. Thaw of the ice. Return of life force. Rejuvenation. Drawing strength from nature.

Wednesday Trip Through Time

Today is going to be a lazy, just-post-a-video day. Here are some clips that will walk you through history, and hopefully, help you to forget all those modern troubles. Put away your cell phone and other gadgets, and try, try to forget that you are sitting at a computer.

Here is an amazing clip filmed by Thomas Edison in New York, 1901. You have to watch it all the way through because something really funny happens!

Here's an old Chevy commercial from the 1940's. Careful! That's Grandma's Present.

This one is really long, so watch it at will. I liked it because it reminded me of all those films we had to watch in grade school. At least every time the reel would flip out and the teacher had to loop it back into the projector. I miss that old whirring sound of the film flipping past the flickering light. Good times.

I gotta give you some 70's. The O'Jays with Love Train. OMG, the dancing in here is priceless—couldn't stop laughing! I actually really love this song. 70's soul music is the best. Groovy!

Years later we have . . . Greenwich VIllage 1981. This is another clip with a funny ending. You'll see.

Have a great Wednesday! Peace.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Rothko suggested by Talli

This is going to be a tough topic for me. Let's start with yesterday, I showed you the beautiful painting by Jenkins. It was abstract, which means each individual will perceive it in their own separate way. Whether or not Jenkins had a certain theme in mind doesn't matter. Part of an artist's life is accepting the fact that once a work is sent out into the world, it is no longer theirs to control.

You cannot control the perceptions of other people.

Now comes the personal part. People perceive me as outgoing and put together. But inside I am still suffering the effects of a childhood where I had to hide everything. I used to hide my friends so my dad would not get mad at me for being outside talking. I used to suppress having to go to the bathroom because I was so afraid he'd come up from reading his bible in the basement and pull out that old leather belt that he used to spank us every day. It probably wasn't until third grade that I finally started to understand that the weird feeling inside my stomach was my body telling me I had to go to the bathroom. And all these years later, it is my emotions I am trying not to hide or suppress. But there is this little girl who is afraid of being called ugly or of being punished just for being alive. I'm actually shaking right now writing about it. I just remembered the time my friend gave me a birthday present and I told her I could not accept it. It was a flute. I still have trouble accepting gifts from people.

I tell you this because you see how on the outside someone can be perceived in one way, but behind the surface there is so much going on. This is why I try to be honest in everything I do, because when I send anything out there, I know it is your turn to perceive what I am, and I want you to be given the most honest product. It is the moment before release that I panic, but once it is out there I feel a sense of happiness that finally, it is free. But I could still be more honest. Here's to trying (raising a glass of Merlot).

Once a writer sends a book out into the world, it will be perceived in a million ways, no matter how straightforward it was written. You have to let it go. Embrace that it will be seen in different ways; embrace letting go.

No matter what your intentions were during writing, or how much you tried to get your point across, or how much you want people to love it, realize that all of that is out of your control. Just write or paint or live the best you can and then release. When you send something out into the world in a positive way, it will come back to you a million times with a million more ripples of the pure intent you put into it. You will receive. This is my mantra today.

I write these things for myself mostly, and I hope I can live by my words. You know, it's funny, I have tried so hard to keep my personal life out of the blog, but the more I tried, the more it seeped in here. These last few months of my life have been, for lack of a better word, hell. I figured all of my friends here would have abandoned me by now, but you guys have always responded in amazing ways. So ironic. And so wonderful.

Thank you for the gift of loving perception. Peace.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flowy Rivers of Color

I love the flowy prime colors of Paul Jenkins's art. He always leaves a little white (or tones of white) space and I think there's just something about that which hits a pleasure center in my brain. Why is that?

One thing I didn't know until last night was that he was born in Kansas City. Yay! There is hope for a midwest escape after all. Someone made it out!

One of my favorite films is An Unmarried Woman, with the wonderful Jill Clayburgh. Set in my favorite year to obsess over, 1979, it features a woman emerging from a decaying marriage in the crazy setting of New York. It shows her struggles to find herself after years of the usual womanly sacrifice to family. She dates, goes out with friends . . . and meets amazing Alan Bates. Yum. She has an awesome apartment in the movie, by the way. Complete fantasy if you ask me—no one is going to be able to afford that apartment working at a little art gallery, puleeeze.

What I loved about the movie is not the fact that she is unmarried, that's sad, it is the whole element of self discovery and vulnerability. I enjoyed how much she put herself out there and the results she harvested through the effort. Plus I love the art. There's one scene in particular where Alan Bates is working on an unframed length of canvas. It's wet, he's tossing colors across, and they run down in streams all over his messed up studio floor. Paul Jenkins's apartment by the way. His art, his studio, set to fiction. So cool. Julia and I have watched this clip a million times.

I think there's another Amy Saia living in New York experiencing all this which I can only fantasize about. I wish she'd write me some damn letters or send me her diary.

"There's something so damn Victorian about you!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just Like a Woman

When I gave birth to Julia, I thought I knew what it would be like, this whole mother thing. But I didn't. I was like a baby myself, struggling to understand how to hold her tiny little body and how to place her oh so delicate mouth so that it would latch onto my breast. The whole process was frustrating, with nurses coming in and out of my room to check this and that. Part of me wanted to scream, "Help! Take her away, I . . . was wrong. Someone else should be doing this!"

When my doctor came in that first night, I asked her what to do. She said in a very simple and calm voice, "Sing." Oh. I could do that.

It was midnight, the halls were dim and quiet and the only words that would form themselves across my lips were, "Nobody feels any pain," an old Dylan song, "tonight, as I stand inside the rain . . ." and I kept going until all the milk was gone and her soft feathery eyelids closed down upon flushed pink cheeks. That's when my whole life changed. It wasn't the victory of labor that brought me past one part of my life into another, it was the knowledge that I could really be a mother, my secret most intimate desire.

I don't think I really understood what it was to be a human or a woman until that night. And I am still so damaged from my former life—it's next to impossible for me to allow another person to get close to me. But I guess none of that matters now. Not really.

Saturday Faves

Just want to share something cool I found the other day. I love art that is thorough, and if you go through this whole online piece, you will see what I mean by the very last picture. That's thorough! This is also an example of turning your joy into something lucrative. Hope you enjoy it.
And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman In Love With A. Lincoln

Hey, Lincoln and I love the same music—The Magic Flute. Although . . . he probably would have shunned this adaption. Oh Smurf!

Here is a beautiful illustration, from where I do not know. Just another rare internet find. I think I was a mermaid in another life . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tornado Day

That's right, it is the time of year when Mother Nature has some fun with us humans. The months of snow and cold and wind weren't enough, and with summer on the way she needs a little action to get her through the humdrum mosquito days of heat and humidity.

A person can feel it in their bones when a storm like this is approaching.

It rained all day yesterday and thunderstorms have brought in the morning. When they cease the heat will build, with the sun shining in some futile attempt to trick the earth's inhabitants that all meteorological action has ended. Wrong. The heat being shot down by the sun is actually building under the stratosphere and will later mix with cold air causing a very unstable environment. The cold and hot will twist and suck and grab at anything it can find—mostly open farmland.

The sound of a tornado siren is embedded in every prairie person's brain, so that even with a TV blasting, or water running in the sink, you hear it. And the chill goes all the way up your legs to your neck. You grab children, documents, pets and head for the basement—if you have one. If you don't, you run to the neighbor's house, or drive down the road to the local shelter.
And you wait.

When it clears, it is as if it was never here. The sun shines again, the grass is a brilliant shade of green and all you are left with is a strange feeling inside that each person holds in their eyes, but can't speak with their tongue.

And the wind at your window, while you lay in sheets sticking with humidity, will whistle a haunting sound, so that you cannot forget.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I've run out of words as of late, but that's okay, it happens. Actually, you should know what this blog has meant to me, being a person of little spoken word. I am terribly shy. Yes. I'm one of those people that doesn't chit chat at all, so if you want fun then you have to hand me a drink. I'm terribly romantic and quiet and always thinking about life and how life works. I'm boring.

Okay, I must not be that boring. My friend Renee did one of those stupid quiz's on Facebook and her answer to, "Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?" was Amy Saia. Actually, that's pretty good. Or it means I'm a freak show. Hey, rent me.

But what I am trying to say is, having a blog forces me to produce words. Every day. If I had zero followers (what a term, huh? Like a cult) then I probably would have slagged off already. But you guys make me want to write. Thank you.

It isn't easy, but it is possible. And any little word, for each and every one of us, is an accomplishment. The words on your blogs, the gift of comments you place on mine, they are all amazing. I personally think I have the coolest cult members here on blogspot.

Rock on blogspot beotches!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Repost Alert- You Sold Me

I posted this a looooong time ago, but since it is my favorite one ever, I've decided to show it again.

In the strange land of reality and make believe I find myself a permanent resident. I like things to be real, yet twisted with an essence of lunacy—the happy kind. Smiling people holding up a bottle of toothpaste; smiling so wide you think a robber is behind them with a six shooter whispering, "Bigger! BIGGER!" And I like catch phrases. Words that aren't cute, but punchy with power forced into each syllable so that when you repeat them, you feel like pop rocks are exploding in your tonsils.

Lately I find myself recalling all those stupid, cheesy songs and images from my youth which told me—on a constant basis—to get my teeth whiter, hair shinier, hands softer, and breath fresher. I could recite them all, almost, if time hadn't crumbled away their perfection like the saltwater on the Titanic's railings. So . . . I turn to youtube. Of course. And there they all are, a bell-ringer from my youth, standing on the street corner echoing my very memories.

"I drink Dr. Pepper and I'm proud, cause I'm part of an original crowd . . . OH . . . He's a pepper, she's a pepper, we're a pepper, they're a pepper, wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?" I wanted to be one so bad. That guy dancing around in his white leisure suit with everyone following made me want to leave home and join immediately. Maybe it's an unsatisfied conscience, but I still love Dr. Pepper. And there never will be a better way to drink it than when it comes out of a frosty, cold, green-tinted glass bottle from Mr. Kuhn's grocery store.

"Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar!" What pressure, what immaturity! Taunting some poor housewife with Mary Tyler Moore hair about how her husband's freshly laundered shirts are less than perfect. No wonder women went out and got jobs. It was easier to work than wash stuff. Plus, talking shirts are a serious sign of mental decay. Time to get out of the house.

I love old car ads, the muscle-ey the better. And candy ads. But cereal ads will always be a permanent part of my youth, with that poor Trix Rabbit never getting to eat any of the products he had to hock. And those Life kids exclaiming, "He likes it! Hey Mickey!" Kellogg's Corn Flakes always had an organic, sunny quality to their commercials. The day was new, the corn had been harvested . . . time to eat a nice, golden bowl of Corn Flakes. But hurry up after you pour the milk because the flakes get soggy in two seconds!!!!!!! We used to eat Grape Nuts a lot, due to Mom always finding ways to keep us healthy. Those things were like gravel, but they tasted okay after half a bag of sugar. My favorite cereal was Lucky Charms. Perfect combination of wholesome wheat, and sugary symbols that asked you to believe in magic people and faraway lands. "I just ate a blue diamond!" "So what, you're still an idiot." My revenge was to sneak down to the kitchen before everyone else had gotten up, and dig into the bottom of the box for that one little prize. Sometimes it was a cool toy like a little car or doll. Most of the time it was just a paper thing that you had to use your brain to put together. It sure made my brother and sister mad when they got up and searched through that box only to find nothing there. Cereal revenge is always the best way to go.

"Ho ho ho, Green Giant!" Was it just me, or was that giant just a little bit frightening? I mean, if I was walking through some fields and saw him standing there with his arms across his chest, I'd freak.

Then there was Charlie Tuna. "Sorry Charlie!" Yeah, sorry we're about to eat you. How does one reply to that? "Oh, it's okay. I hope I taste good."

Mr Wimple had a tough job, always having to make sure no one squeezed his precious Charmin. Kind of annoying, and anal. "Please don't squeeze the Charmin. Please don't squeeze the Charmin!" Okay, how about you go check your stock boys and let me buy some darn toilet paper. That character was similar to the Daylight Donuts guy. "Time to get up and make the Doooonuts." Poor guy. I always felt kind of sorry for him, but the second a glazed donut fell into my hand it all made sense.

So, this was my youth and formation of every thought process I hold dear. It's very possible that in the distant future I will be following my grandchildren around reciting all the jingles and taglines of my childhood, like a nun repeating Hail Mary's. "Here, Charles, have a Coke, and a smile." "Put these in the Glad trash bag over there, they're Glad tough!"

I won't mention how disappointed I am in most modern commercials, you probably already know. There's something hollow about the way they try to sell a product I have to buy anyway. That was the great thing about old ads, they knew we needed it, but they wanted us to LIKE it. It was to be part of our whole existence so that, walking down the street, we couldn't hold in the enthusiasm any longer. "I love Jello!!!!!!"

Sadly, kids these days will remember one thing from today's ads: side effects.

A Little Flower Goes a Long Way

This is one of my favorite films, and Charlie Chaplin is one of my favorite actors/directors ever. I went through a huge silent movie phase with my friend Linda and I at the library desk looking at all the old picture books from the 1920's, going on and on about how much we loved little Charlie Chaplin.

This clip is from City Lights, and is one of the most touching endings ever filmed. You have to understand, she—Virginia—was blind through most of the movie, and he—the little vagabond—would come around and do nice things for her. She fell in love with him, never knowing he was penniless tramp. He found a way to give her enough money for the surgery which would restore her vision, all the while knowing it would mean she would be able to see him and then romance over.


She now has her vision, and does not know the funny little tramp is the man she was in love with. But when she touches his hand, it all reveals itself. I always cry. The depth of her expression; the gift he gave her—a true gift. You'll see.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I remember when I was eighteen and at a crux in my life; exploding with something I couldn't quite speak; slipping into humanity and about to drop dreams like pebbles—I did a U-turn and died my hair black (long hair too, took a lot of dye), and let it all go. People started to see me as a sort of exposition, "Here comes that girl." I was goth before goth was really cool. The reason I tell you this is that as writers and artists, we go through different molting stages, and this was one of my first. I've had others, and am going through one now. It's messy, it hurts, but a person cannot stay in one state forever and to grow you must shed the excess and go for the raw. When you feel you are on your knees, and it's so uncomfortable you want to die, click it in your brain that it is all happening for a reason. Stay on your knees. Let the skin of society shed; all its expectations; its judgement; its phrases and phases; its food; its greed—let it all go. Hold on to the important things but let the rest go.

Monday, April 19, 2010

You Need Some Sugar in That Coffee

Good Morning beautiful people. Did you have a good weekend? Did you eat pancakes . . . see a movie . . . read a good book? Did anyone make sweet love? Okay, okay, that was a bit much, I know. I'll probably erase it later.

I planted some seedlings in the garden, made toffee, listened to music, it was Record Store Day after all! Yesterday I wrote some long overdue emails in a last ditch effort to not lose any more friends. I think it worked!

The lovely, lovely Jennifer Daiker at Unedited has given me a blog and I'd like to pass it on. It's a little bit sugary sweet, I have to say. I think this picture needs some roughing up. Like bullet holes and scorpions.

Formerly known as the blog award killer, I've decided to actually pass it on to a few of the many sweet people who visit pretty much every day. Thank you!

There, I've done it. Enjoy and thank you again for being such great people.

I'm still feeling a little sick from cute bear. Here's some Queen.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Art Class

I always loved art class. In junior high, it was Jeff Riley and I sitting together all semester exchanging jokes and talking about life while executing each project. We were the best in the class and we knew it, and so took our time, living in our own alternate universe of Garbage Pail Kids and Monty Python skits. We never dated, though he did ask me one time and I—thinking he had finally succumbed to all the other boys' taunts and was just making a joke—refused. Our art relationship was ruined after that. And then, in a nice twist of evil fate, Mom sent my sister and I to a high school in the next town my Freshman year. It was the year I like to refer to as "Hell".

I had no friends, couldn't speak—had no reason to speak—I was too tender for the shift. Huge upperclass boys rammed me into my locker, "F-ing Freshman!" I was growing. My jeans were too tight, and all of a sudden, I felt strange. I hadn't gotten a visit from Aunt Flo yet, but weird things were happening to me, and it wouldn't be long. With no one to talk to, and nothing to hold on to, I drifted miserably to the freak crowd; the gay boy, the fat girl, the mute in thick glasses, the angst-filled young man who stared at me with angry eyes every day at lunch. And then me, lonely silent me.

Every morning Cathy had me start up her huge Pontiac. By the time were headed off down the country roads, the whole neighborhood was filled with a thick layer of smoke from the exhaust. We'd ramble off, praying for the car not to die on the railroad tracks again as it had a few times before. Antifreeze dripped down onto my right foot, leaving a little red mark for the whole year.

Art class was my first foray in the school every morning. Plop down my things. Grab my drawing. Hunch. Then The Doors would start to play—our teacher's favorite band. He was a left-over hippie and I hated how he just left us to work with no direction. But then something happened to me, the music seeped in, the alienation caused something to click in my brain and bred an artist's independence necessary for viewpoint. I began to blossom right there in hell, despite all the shoves and taunts and the freak crowd's strange pull. I had something to carry me through.

Aunt Flo came. Cathy's car died. The next year we went back to our old school where Jeff Riley had already made his way through half the stock of female students. I never did find a place to fit in again, like a ghost wandering in someone else's world. But I had art. And The Doors.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Faves

The weather has turned cold again, and the skies are tinged with gray. It's one of those days where a person wants to start running, just like Forrest Gump, and keep running until all the frustration of life is gone. Then, after all the miles have passed, you turn around and say, "What was I trying to escape and why am I here?"

Speaking of Forrest Gump, here's a funny video someone made, summersing the movie. Good stuff.

If you don't like Neil Young, then don't watch this. If you do, then do. Oh God, I love Neil Young so much. I know he looks like an old hawk sometimes, but it's all good, baby. I so hope I can see him play in Louisville this summer. Please, please, universe let me go!

And this is like the coolest thing I have ever seen. I love the whole design here. It gets really trippy at the end, but you gotta love that. It's The Beatles!

I crazy love David Hockney. Here he is with a wall of dachshund paintings. If you have a dachshund, you know the love . . .

Have a great Saturday, beautiful people!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Get Out Yer Vinyl!

I'm double posting, but it's okay. Why? Because tomorrow is Record Store Day! If you have a turntable then go visit your local vinyl slinger and pick up the latest tunes. I have so many records it's not even funny, but even so, I think I'll go have a visit in Lawrence, Ks tomorrow to pre-ruse all that oh so wonderful vinyl. I soooo want my next album to come out in record form! This is the cover (unless I change my mind).

If you don't have a an old record player, don't sweat it. YouTube is the god of people with too much time on their hands, and you, my dear friends, shall benefit from their wasted lives. I give to you, a video of a record being played. Grab that latte and pretend you love me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Statue of Me

Here's a self portrait, with a slight ego boost. I love the Statue of Liberty and used to have vivid dreams of her when I was in my early teens. I could never figure it out, but now realize it must have been my subconscious laying out the plans for my life ahead, "It's gonna be tough girl, you'd better stand tall." Tall, no problem, but it's this damn standing for all these years that has gotten me weary. The men who say cruel things, tell you to come hither, then trap you with their hate. Other women who bring you down, because they still haven't figured out yet that the world is big enough for all of us and there is no you, me or they. We can all have a piece of cake. And frosting too. Miss Liberte' reminds me that I can love despite all of the cruelty abound. The world will never make me hate. If I never sell a book, or a song or anything, I don't care. What does it matter? It doesn't. Only love matters.

Peace, amy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sure there's enough life boats on here . . . and let's go really fast!

It seemed like a great idea, right? Build a gigantic ship with enough watertight compartments to keep any pesky water out and voila! You have a virtually unsinkable vessel. Hey, that's a great selling point: You won't die on our ship. We promise.

But . . . what if it hits an iceberg? No problem. It would have to pierce through more than four compartments to cause any real damage. And that ain't gonna happen.

What if an iceberg does rip through more than five? Pffft. We have wireless operators. If anything bad happens to this glorious ship, they'll call for help. That is, if they're awake and at their stations. Have some wine or something. Geez.

How many lifeboats are there? A lot.

I'm an immigrant. Will I be allowed on the upper decks in the event of—Yeah, yeah. Look, I gotta talk to the chef. It's barley soup and wardolf salad night. See ya when we reach New York!

If I had a time machine, I'd go for a few hours, and roam the ship. I'd stay just long enough to see the ghostly faces lit up by moonlight and buzzing electric lanterns. Men with slicked back hair and haughty expressions, women in corsets and fine delicate skin. I'd go and breathe their last remnants of air before it all happened. I've dreamed it many times. The smell of the saltwater and the expectance in the air. The thick whisky of Fate. And then I'd slip away, quiet, back home to now.

The First-Class Menu As served in the first-class dining saloon of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 14, 1912: First Course: Hors D'Oeuvres or Oysters
Second Course: Consomme Olga or Cream of Barley Soup
Third Course: Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce and Cucumbers
Fourth Course: Filet Mignons Lilli, Saute of Chicken Lyonnaise, or Vegetable Marrow Farci
Fifth Course: Lamb with mint sauce, Roast Duckling with apple sauce, or Sirloin of Beef; green peas, creamed carrots, boiled rice and Parementier & boiled new potatoes.
Sixth Course: Punch Romaine
Seventh Course: Roast squab and cress.
Eighth Course: Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Ninth Course: Pate de Foie Gras, celery.
Tenth Course: Waldorf pudding, Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly, Chocolate and Vanilla Eclairs and French ice cream.

And here's a story of a recent ocean rescue. I guess the moral of the story is, not to name your ship TITANIC.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Beatles Have Been Forgiven

The Catholic church has forgiven The Beatles for their drug use and rock star life-style. A little too late perhaps as a couple members are already in the great beyond; forgiveness long granted I'm sure. People always bring up the Lennon quote, "We're bigger than Jesus now," forgetting that it was taken completely out of context. He never said it as a truth, but as an observation to the chaos he was caught in the middle of.

Now Lennon was no saint, and he admitted for himself as well as the rest of the band many indiscrepancies, but he, as I've said before, put himself on the mend throughout his entire life—always trying to change, to be a better man.

I think the church is trying to miserably change the subject from their own, cough, issues. Their PR person needs some serious spanking.

I ♥ Cars

Do you remember your first? Mine lived almost half an hour. The thing was huge, it had a sunroof and dark red velour for God's sake. It was a piece of junk meant to get me far enough away from the seller's property, but not quite make it home. My second first car was a Chevy Cavalier. I still remember the thrill of driving it alone for the first time. My friends wanted to go to the beach, so I put on my swimsuit, grabbed a towel, took a deep breath and drove to pick everyone up. That first ride down the highway was surreal. Freedom.

It really changed my life, having a car. I needed to have something of my own so bad.

My third car was a Ford. Won't be buying any of those again, even if the Mustang looks sweeet. It used to rattle like an old locomotive coming across a makeshift bridge. Then something weird happened to the accelerator and every time I tried to pull out of a stop it was like I was in the Flintstone's. I swear, I had nightmares forever about that damn thing.

Someone bashed into me at a stoplight and killed the Ford. Mercy killing I guess.

Now, as many of you know, I want a 1972 SS Camaro. When I say want, I mean, oh lord . . . WANT. Last week I saw a new Dodge Challenger though. Oh yeah. No one better drive up to my house in that car if they ain't serious.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cherry Blossom Girl

She walked often, away from the house, down the sidewalk to the park hushed with early evening. Not many people were out then. Weaving in and out of the tree limbs that hung down, laden with fresh leaves, she found a place to sit away from the path. The concrete of the bench was cold.

Here, she could think. Not with the smell of overcooked meat, and greasy potatoes lying stale on a plate chipped with years. Here the air was fresh. Clean.

She thought again of how she could make it another day, just like she had for many days and years. If she could erase each one as it passed, the next one would not seem to suffocate her with its silent coming. She could be ready.

Looking around, she saw the trees had all begun to bloom in the mid-days of spring. The lilacs, the magnolias, the dogwoods, the redbuds, the apples, the cherry trees. They had all moved from dark skeleton, to mother nature's mistress in chiffon. She reached up to touch a delicate blossom. Instantly it began to wilt, its pink tinged petal turning translucent under the heat of her sensitive touch.

Some things were too delicate.

Doomed to live only for a few seconds in the expanse of eternity, unnoticed, prone to death, only for that one moment of exquisite gilded time. She knew what it was to be delicate and unprotected. She too felt the wilting of sensitivity and softness. She knew what it was to bloom and then be touched and die. It happened over and over and yet . . . she still lived; she still loved.

Her fingers traced the stem of the flower. It was tender, green inside, yet strong. It, joined with the trunk, moved all the way down, in rings of age, and layers of bark, through the hard clay into darkness and rock and the upper mantle of the earth. Fearlessly down. So that no matter what—the smell of someone getting high, the pain of another empty bottle hanging from his hands, the curse words, the loneliness, the hunger, the swallowing of everything including the overcooked meat and cold greasy potatoes—all of it cleared away. And even if the blossom seemed weak, it was connected, oh so betrayingly, by a system so strong and vast that the blossom, even when damaged, still survived.

In the harsh cold of winter, and the damaging frost, the sweltering heat, course hands, and a child's curiosity, it still survived. And today, NOW, much like the blossom, didn't have to be so painful. If you saw now as tomorrow or next week or next year, then it would be maybe or I hope or someday. It didn't have to be now.

She let the blossom slide from her palm. A soft fragrance still clung. It stayed, stained on her skin all the way home, through the trees, and along the path, and in through the front door.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Favorites

I think I'll go see a friend play at a "pub" tonight. We usually call them bars in America, but once in a while you see the word "pub" which basically means bar with flair. It's still a bar.

Since today is Saturday, I will hook you up with some videos to make your life fantastically happy and carefree, like Snow White on acid.

I used to listen to a hilarious show called "The Bad Music Hour" and they always had at least one Shatner song to rock my world.

I loved this commercial when I was a kid. My favorite by far.

And for some reason it won't let me embed this one, but you have to see it. You'll want a Whopper afterwards, trust me.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finally Some Progress

Maybe because I released some serious stuff off my chest last night, I was able to sit down and work on the old WIP. For hours I wrote and edited. It was great. A firm believer of butt in chair, I had never abandoned my WIP in this last month of restlessness. But it was painful work and I'm very happy to see things going smooth again. The truth is, being a writer can be tough at times. It's not all just sitting in a chair thinking romantic thoughts. It's hard freaking work. But like anything else, when it's good, it's really really good and fun and romantic and exciting and, it's kind of like a drug, isn't it? I've never really had much patience for drugs, but writing, books, music . . . they all make me high. And so the crash is painful.

Listening to Keane again. Bedshaped. Love them.

Here's a sketch of RPatz for my Twilight friends. I really like him, you know. I like that he reads, and he seems very kind, shy, modest. And he's a musician too! After I saw Twilight last year, I was so enamored—like the rest of the world. Some of his facial expressions and speech remind me of John Lennon. Kind of a crazy picture I know; I was just doing a caricature, messy, not that great. But I think it captures his sort of long neck, poetic essence.

Have a beautiful day! Peace.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thoughts For the End of the Week

Not sure if anyone saw the truth and lies from the creative blogger award. They were down at the bottom of my last post, which was . . . pretty long. Sorry! Ugh, I hate to have you see my truth though, so embarrassing.

Have you ever been in a bad relationship that you knew was wrong but you just kept going until something made you look at yourself and want to change? Have you ever used that relationship in your writing, art, etc?

Happy weekend to everyone!

I love Keane so much. Yesterday, while running errands, I sang every song from Hopes and Fears full blast with the windows open. I can't not sing when I hear them.

Are You There God? It's Me Amy.

Springtime reminds me of all the books I consumed when I was young. Though I'm sure I read tons during the winter, for some reason nothing comes to mind. Perhaps it was the beautiful, soft weather and crisp sunlit days that heightened the experience; book in hand, walking down to the park, or sitting on the back porch.

I remember when all the girls in the neighborhood found out about Judy Blume. Man, that was like a revolution. Whole groups would be huddled together, whispering about the "bra scene" or when Margaret "got her period." What were they talking about? No elaboration was allowed, you simply had to go get your own copy of Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. There weren't any Border's Bookstores or Barnes and Nobles back then, well, not in small town Kansas. But there was a library. And luck was with me, they happened to have one available copy of the cult book I would die to read—if it so came to that.

Blume's books were the extreme of female introspection, something I love. Mother-daughter relationships, boys, coming of age, boobies. Remember when Margaret wanted a bra and she was freaking out while her mom was at the counter paying for it? Or when she discovered that not only did you have to buy Kotex, but you needed a belt as well? That scared the holy living daylights outta me. A belt???

I read the book faster than a coyote on a wounded rabbit. And then, I did the opposite of what all the others girls had done. Instead of going around discussing it, I thought real hard about its meaning. I guess that was the writer in me surfacing early on.

When Forever came out, Mom—who happened to run the local library—banned it from our grasp. Yes, all other residents of Spring Hill could see what was inside that blasted book, just not anyone living at 506 N Franklin. It drove me insane. I heard things about sex and "The Pill." They were even going to make a movie out of it, that's how fantastic it was. I had to resign myself to reading Superfudge again, or Planet of the Frog People, which was actually strangely good in that it was about a whole town being taken over by a species of half-frog, half-human thingy's.

But the best books for spring and summer, by far, were the Lois Duncan novels. Oh. My. God. I loved those books so much. Summer of Fear, I know What you Did Last Summer, Stranger With My Face. Can you say, freaked out? I seriously could not sleep for weeks after reading these books and yet, I could not, for the life of me, stop. She was a true master in paranormal. And, of course, I loved the whole 70's feel they possessed. Did anyone try astral projection after reading these? I did, then stopped when I felt my body vibrating. What if someone jumped in and took over and I was left to hover three inches above my body for the rest of eternity?

I loved Fifteen by Beverly Cleary, a really poignant book about being in a first-time relationship. It was without gimmicks and wasn't written to freak anyone out. It was surprisingly mature, tender and yet held a deepness that touched me. What really got to me, was the fact that the male character was nice. Imagine that? A nice guy. He had manners and was a gentleman in every single way. I love that. Bad boys are cool too, oh yes, but a gentleman is powerful and sexy. It reminds me of that line in Bridget Jones's Diary when she and Mark Darcy have a hot kiss in the snowy street, and she says, "Wait a minute . . . nice boys don't kiss like that." And he's like, "Oh yes they fucking do." Sigh, Mark Darcy . . . Okay, hand me the smelling salts. Too late, I fainted.

Oh yes. My truth from yesterday was the most pathetic one of all: I dated a John Lennon impersonator. He asked me out. I was young and stupid. He cheated
on me. End of story.

Oh! I wanted to say that the Victoria's Secret one was true for my best friend Kelly. Isn't that like the coolest job ever??? And I did try out for Big Brother, using liberalism as my "selling point." Thank God I didn't make it because that was the summer Evil Dick was in the house. The thought makes me shudder.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Two Posts in a Day? Wha?

My wonderful friend Kimberly Franklin has given me the unique opportunity to tell lies about myself and not get into any trouble. Yay! I admit to being an award hogger, like she has kindly admitted about herself as well, so I'll get to this now while it's still steaming.

So, I am to tell six lies about myself and one truth and you wonderful (none of you are psychic, right) people have to figure out which one was the truth. Got it? Here we go.

1. I studied at the New York Fashion Institute and ended up working for Victoria's Secret, designing lingerie.

2. Years ago, I worked at a Newspaper office, writing up articles on local farming news. All my interviews had at least one pig and or cow present in the background.

3. I dated a John Lennon impersonator from a Beatles' Tribute Band.

4. I love to eat at HOOters. God, those chicken wings are sooooo tasty!

5. This summer, I'm going to be on a cool reality show about five liberals and five conservatives living in a house together. It's called, Big Bother.

6. One time, I was eating ice cream and when I got to the middle of the cone saw a golden ticket. I pulled it out, and ran around the park singing, "I've got a golden ticket, I've got a golden ticket . . ." until the cops came and took me away. Man, those were the days.

7. I took one of those stripper pole exercise classes, and my thong got caught on another girl's high heel and they had to extract us using someone's pink Bath and Body Works fingernail clippers.

Okay. I feel so much better now. I guess my job at this point is to issue the award to another blogger friend. The only person I can think of who hasn't done it yet is Talli Roland. Although a new friend, she has already proven to be very sweet and funny and generous with praise! She's also very witty and I enjoy reading her blog. Love her!

Lie, Talli, Lie!

Wait, Wait, Wait . . .

Patience. I must not have possessed much before, but something about sitting at a desk all night or for long stretches of the day has transformed me into a very tranquil person.

Case in point: a year ago I tried playing a game on Wii Sports where you sit very still on the Fit board and stare at a lit candle until a loud Japanese dude yells, "CUT!" I could only ever get past thirty seconds until now, a year later, when I tried it again. I sat and stared at the candle, and sat and stared, and could hear the guy walk in the room then leave–several times—but he never yelled and the game never ended. I think three minutes or so passed by, and the thing finally stopped. I won. Whoa.

All of that probably sounded really strange unless you've seen the actual game.

But the first thing that went through my head after it ended was, "It's the writing." There's something about committing to a draft that has changed my whole being. My focus is the curation of this work and to hell with kids yelling at my side, or the cat scratching at my jeans, or if it's daylight or sundown or what time is it? Writing is so very Zen.

Question: has writing changed the way you focus on things in your life?

Here's a song that has nothing to do with writing, except I like it and have an addiction to embedding things in my posts. Also, I'm addicted to records. But that's it. Oh, and books.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mentor my Muse and Please Tell the Jehovah's to Find My Key

Last week began in a very interesting way. First, I locked myself out of the house. Then the Jehovah's Witnesses showed up. Hey, but the weather was great!

And while I did not get a ton of writing work done, I did think about the whole process and came to the realization that writing every day is what breeds more writing. I think so many of us dream of what it would be like to compose on a full-time basis—but I think writers need a little bit of chaos, and we definitely need deadlines. Unless you're Jack Kerouac and can sit and type up a whole book in a matter of weeks, you probably need some external (as well as internal) motivation beyond just saying, "I want to write."

A writer needs a mentor. For some it may be a family member or best friend, for others it might be their favorite author. I found Birdie Jaworski last year, and aside from having a certain amount in common with her, I was also amazed by her writing style and felt myself using her as a mentor to my immature writer self. I don't want to be Birdie, (okay, I do a little) I'm just glad to have found her.

Everyone has a mentor, whether they know it or not. Artists all have someone they emulate, though in the end a true artist finds their own style. It's a must. Musicians emulate the hell out of each other. I would say that every song on the radio is inspired by someone else's music, but you wouldn't know it because the artist went that extra mile to create their own way of singing or playing it. Beethoven was inspired by Mozart, writing variations on many of his works. God, I hate playing variations though, yuck. Old Ludwig did it to learn from his mentor, and in the end, found his own style. But the inspiration was a driving force, which brings us back to why why create, why we write.

We write because we have something to say, and even if it's a cheesy sci-fi novel, or gooey romance, there is a certain amount of intent behind the work. A reader is very aware of the story with no intent. It's empty and leaves them dissatisfied, like a candy bar with no nougat inside. Imagine chomping down on a Mars bar only to have the chocolate crumble under your teeth . . . not cool. We need to figure out the essential point of what we are trying to say in every project we take on, and then build the story around that point. Think layer cake.

So, this week, while I had so much time to think, I pondered chaos and mentors and intent and just exactly what is is I'm trying to say. I'm going to let it drive me around, until good things happen. Cause they will. Oh honey, you know they will.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lonely Traveler

Harold Freemeyer was the old hermit that used to come in the library for some books and a little chat. He had recently emerged a self-induced thirty-year seclusion brought on by the Vietnam War. His hair was gray, and he wore a long beard, wore army garb, complete with old boots and loaded pack hanging off his back. He was lonely. "Is my book in?" I'd grab it off the shelf. "Oh good, say . . . have you ever seen that movie about the guy who thought he was Jesus?" And off he'd go, talking because finally it felt good to talk.

Life is full of lonely people, walking around searching in confusion, even though we're standing side to side. We reach out, hungry, and draw back, afraid. But life is beautiful, and we are so lucky to be here. The sun shines, and we feel real joy. A child laughs, and everything falls into balance.

Books have always been a companion to me. This whole week I found myself reaching for all my old friends, relishing the words which slowly chiseled me into the person I am today. They're not just paper, or pretty covers, they're people, reaching out; thousands of voices with millions of words. From one time traveling all the way to now, in my hands, comforting me, soothing the restlessness of my soul.

Harold loved his books. But he needed more, so he went where two things existed: words and people—real people. I have to laugh about the night the tornado sirens went off, and he went around handing out hot candy from his pants pockets as we all stood in the back storeroom waiting for it to pass. I love surreal moments like that. Lunacy in lucidity. Loneliness in life.

"Goodnight, Harold." He'd give a wave and hop on his bike, and we knew he'd be back the next day. More life, more stories.

I'm feeling a little Edie Brickell right now, "Shove me into shallow water . . ." But I can't help it, I'm in some sort of weird funk lately. Just ignore this post. The next one will be better.

Do you believe?

Fifty-Five years ago on November 22, 1963, president John Fitzgerald Kennedy rode alongside his wife Jackie in a motorcade through the crowd...