Showing posts from March, 2011

Limbo Polka

I'm mostly in songwriting mode these days, capitalizing on this time of being accepted by a publisher. I did receive good word the other day that they were thoroughly impressed with my revisions. Yay! I should get word later this month . . . which is today, haha, I know they meant later in April. I'm actually glad for the lapse while things are decided. I got some songs to write.
What's up in your world lovelies? Is the weather nice? Any plants sprouting? Seen any good movies? Read any good books? Tell me, do.

To Sing

It was an overcast July day. Lawn mowers were buzzing outside; flies were fluttering shadowed against my north-facing window, the one with green floral curtains mother had made and kept and laundered and pressed and hung. I was in my room, hiding I suppose, because I was scared of a commitment I'd made for that evening. A local fair in my hometown. The place which had bred me, tore me, wielded me against my own sword of self-hatered and doubt. A scar sat on my wrist from a day when I'd tried to release the blood that kept me breathing in and out, it stared back at me like a glossy ribbon as I sat on the bed. A book of Tennyson sat on my knee, and my guitar, that cheap old guitar with cheap old strings, sat behind me, rested against a pillow.
I'd been listening to Bob Dylan all day, been drawing, been thinking. What did it mean to go back to this place I'd run from? Why was I gonna go play guitar for folks I only had regret for, that had made me feel ugly and scared my …


Sunday was bible day at our house. Dad was a member of some cult-church where you shoved religion down kids' throats all Sabbath and then got drunk. Marshall was pretty good about taking in all the information. Cathy not quite as good. Me, horrible. I'd hear names: Peter, Paul, Octavio, Gaius . . . but really I was in some other world where cats played in pretty little fields of flowers. Where castles sparkled in the glow of day. Ice-cream and music, babbling brooks and—"Amy! Can you tell me what Ahab did in that last section?" I'd start to cry. I never was able to give a proper answer, and was shaking in my patent-leather shoes over getting the belt.
Mom used this time to do some laundry. I'd sneak-a-peek over my right shoulder and catch her coming up from the basement, arms loaded. I'd try to send a telepathic message, "Can't you make him stop?" "No, he'll come after me." It was true. You didn't raise your voice to Dad unl…


Today the weather has gone cloudy again, with no hope for sun. It's like spring got word that bad times were coming and she just up and packed her bags for someplace where no clouds, no drizzle, no shearing winds exist. I don't blame her for leaving, only I wish she'd left a note saying where she was gonna go. And if she'd ever come back.


Dr. Paul's office was in the back of the library. He showed up late day, a few days a week, so I often went back there to escape, sit on the leather examining table and stare at the black and white polio vaccination poster, as well as the Snow White poster with all seven dwarfs telling me to eat well and attend regular check-ups. Dr. Paul was a gentle man with sandy blonde hair, sort of like a cloned John Denver. He even wore those hip circular gold-rimmed glasses. He was a young country doctor in crisp white shirts and pressed slacks. When he arrived I'd quietly slip away somewhere else.
Out back of the building was a huge wall cooling system with a waterfall of water running down slats and grids. The alley extended to a neighborhood fence, and beyond that, Victorian houses with pointed roofs and lavender shingles.
One morning my mother arrived at the library only to find the back door had been busted open. Broken glass lay shattered everywhere, shards with blood-stained tips…

Remember . . .

Yesterday I received a book I won last week from Talli Roland and Theresa Milstein. It's fabulous and thank you big time! Go check out these girls' fab blogs if you can. Great, great gals.
Well, now it's warm but cloudy. Perfect reading weather really. A person could sit outside on a nice lawn chair or bench and just spend the whole day flipping through page after page of romance, thriller, sci-fi, western, or maybe all three. Sometimes I think about when I was a child and used to spend all my hours sitting at the long wooden table at the tiny library my mother worked at. She'd keep the front glass door propped open and a mild breeze would wander in. A front shop window showed people walking by, cars moving past, life in motion, country life, small town 1970's. I'd sit there all day reading whatever I could find, then maybe take a break to swat at some flies (that was my duty). If I could beg a quarter off Mom, I'd walk across the street to the soda dispen…

Let's do the twist

I hope everyone is having a beautiful Sunday. Yesterday we had storms, but not too serious. They say spring this year will be quite active, which in Kansas, means tornadoes. It's sick, but I actually get a little euphoric over the thought of giant cyclones rampaging across the earth, picking up houses and cows and old Ford pickups. There's gotta be a name for it, like, Thrillitus, or Twisterflu. We can't help it. It's so damn flat here, and winter is so long. Most folks fall to alcohol, sex and firecrackers, but for sane folks like me, it's all about natural occurrences, or rather, Mother Nature's PMS. Maybe the next time a tornado goes past, I'll toss up a huge bottle of Pamprin to see if that helps. Well, she knows how to get it anyway. She just knocks on your front door with a little hail, then pirouettes in all fancy-like, helps herself to some gypsum and fake panelling. Before you know it, she's ripped open your medicine cabinet and fled off with e…


In the small town where I grew up there really wasn't much to do in the form of entertainment, unless it was summer and baseball was in full swing. There was the pool of course, and we certainly did spend a lot of time there. Also, there was Dairy Ann, a local restaurant located on the main road (all half mile of it) which catered to truckers in for a quick lunch and convo. With fifty cents and time to kill, we'd sit in the booths and listen to the talk; watch as slices of pie were scooped out of countertop displays. The world was all dust outside, dust and a sun bleaching everything white. What to do next? Go to the park? Go to the library? Go buy candy at the supermarket? No. Then what then? Sometimes we'd drift to the graveyard, because death and green grass were alluring pulls. High up on the hill, gravestones overlooked the prairies of eastern Kansas. Gravestones with names and dates so long ago; civil wars and sickness, fires, childbirth, all faded now. It was cold t…

Goffin and Saia? Nah! Well . . . .

I'm currently in songwriting mode, which is akin to penning literary only in a tighter, more condensed style. I get to let loose a little, but not really. I get to free my mind, but extract only the best. I get to write crazy poetic phrases, but they have to rhyme and end with the same meter. So . . . it's fun, but nail-biting.
Sometimes I have the music first, sometimes not. I think most of my songs are music first because there's something about having a prewritten lyric that speaks of paint-by-number to me—if that makes any sense. Although I did write one last night just to see if I still had it in me, and low and behold, a magical, ramblin' train of words painted itself and now I have a complete set of lyrics that are actually pretty darn good.
By the way, I ordered a Rick Nelson record last week and was so excited that it would be showing up in a few days' time. Nothing. The seller is about three hours away from me—I could have driven over there and gotten it …


There's something special about spring flowers, perhaps because they are with us for such a short amount of time. Fruit and pea blossoms are included in the list, of course. Who can deny the beauty of a cherry tree, flocked in white? Or an apple tree, lightly scented. Then you have lilacs which carry the magic spell of making winter seem short lived and far away. My mother used to make us sneak over to the neighbor's yard, because, as children, we were short enough to crouch on the east side of their bush and clip away, bunches of sweet smelling purple dropping into our lifted shirts like sachets.
Less fragrant are tulips and daffodils. With vibrant colors and waxy petals, these flowers are almost like some creation by Lewis Caroll that Alice would find and take a chomp out of.
Then come the pansies. Soft and sweet, hardy through the still frosty nights with pastel Monet colors and little faces like children looking up to their mother: the sun.
But these will all fade, when th…


The world is in a crazy state right now, but there is peace in the valley. Peace where no one can see. Peace in your thoughts. Peace in your actions. No matter how the earth thrashes and bucks, we each have our own place of healing. Sometimes mine is music, sometimes it's in writing, sometimes it's in art. Sometimes I find peace in the earth—ironically enough—the smell of warm dirt, of sweet grass, of birds chirping, of dogs swishing their tails. I find peace in a record rotating with a needle digging deep. I find peace in a cup of tea. I find peace in the early morning, when life is vibrating at a slow and steady rhythm. I wish peace for everyone, no matter when, no matter where.

The days of fastidious fasting

So it was Ash Wednesday yesterday, and in case you didn't know, I was raised Catholic. My mother, who can do without any other ceremonial deed in her life, was very strict about this holy day. The orders were issued at dawn, "No tv. No snacks between meals. No meat!" And we would be going to church that evening, no exceptions.
You never know how much you love watching tv until it is revoked, like a carpet being yanked out beneath your feet. No tv? No reruns of I love Lucy, Laverne & Shirley, The Brady Bunch, Starsky & Hutch, Gilligan's Island?? Shiver. Ouch. Cold turkey, we stumbled around the house, once in a while picking up a Reader's Digest condensed book, or an out-of-date Good Housekeeping. I always had my own slew of books ready for consumption, but somehow during a forced famishment, even they lacked their usual gleam.
As far as food went, no snacks between meals was about as cruel for a child as telling them to go out and sing broadway to their…

Priority Mail

I sent the manuscript off yesterday. And this is what was playing on the radio on the drive to the post office. No joke. At first I didn't notice, and then a slow smile grew all across my face. Ironic.

Pieces of a Saturday

I finished my revisions and am just going over everything again before mailing the book off. The sparkly little thing is in fate's hands now.
It has been a tough couple of weeks with the kids being sick, and me suffering migraines for a few days straight. It's certainly not easy being a human sometimes. I'm just glad to have something to work on so the future will be a better place.
This week I had to go to a meeting for Julia, one of many she's had the last few years. It was tough. She's not talking to her classmates at school, she's not doing her work, she can't seem to focus. But when she comes home she's fine. There's just always been this filter in her senses that has trouble allowing the outside world in. It all gets scattered. I've thought many, many times that she was memorizing everything, and so it takes her longer to process all the stuff we toss out at first glance. Again, it was a rough meeting and I broke down, but that's …