Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 goals

The New Year is coming closer, maybe our last (depending on what you've read on the internet). I'm still in a Christmas spirit, but I am looking forward to making a fresh start with both personal and professional goals.

I already do well exercising, but I could kick that up a notch. I'd like to go meat-free more often, and learn the art of that type of cuisine. Drink more water. Read more. Finish a collection of art for a small show--would be my first ever. Take ballet. Start a daily journal.

Get a regular gig. Can be small and obscure--I like obscure. But it has to be regular because I'm not good at lining up gigs. I'm too shy and too much of a homebody. I would rather be around my kids every second of the day and night, but I HAVE TO GET GIGS or the music will fade away.

I'm going to dye my hair like Florence Welch. That bitch (I love her ) has my hair. Haha, she's so lovely. We're both really tall, and she has the guts to wear stilletos. I'm going to grow a pair and buy some heels too. And some vintage dresses. From now on I'm 1940's (with a hippie stuck inside).

Write tons, get more shorts published. Finish another book.

Love more, forgive more, fight for myself more, work hard, love my children, help them with their studies. Be kind, rewind. Peace.

What goals are you setting up for yourself for the coming year?

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Carol

I am a HUGE Christmas Carol junkie. Every year I watch or listen to many tellings and never tire of doing so. My favorite is the Alastair Sim version. It is gritty and gothic, and Sim is fantastic in the way he leaves all abandon to portray a man so haunted by the daggers of his own doings that he cannot crawl one more inch into life without regret or hatred, or change. Sim also captures so perfectly Scrooge on Christmas morning when the miser is taught to love Christmas, dancing around in his nightgown with giggles and wild hair.

Why do I love this story so much? One essential reason could be that it's a ghost story and I've always been fascinated with the paranormal. But it's also a tale of human reformation and that's something else I have also been fascinated with. Many nights I've lain awake thinking of the human condition, and all its sadness, and wondered how each of us would find a way to true knowing.

This radio version below with the late, great Orson Wells is one I caught before going to Midnight Mass one Friday so very long ago. I haven't listened to it since that night and just found it on YouTube. Enjoy, on this night before the night before Christmas. Listen with a cup of hot cider or some wine--and since we'll be listening together, we can share. Remember, don't be a Scrooge. Oh! That reminds me, I love the Albert Finney musical version too. Just caught it the other day and it's on later tonight, so guess what I'll be doing?

My Christmas card to you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I had a bit of good (great) news yesterday. A story I sent will be published! I'm so happy--it's my Christmas present for sure. I always get a gift out of the blue, and this is definitely it. It's for the new, shiny Vine Leaves Literary Journal which I believe comes out in January. I feel very lucky to be a part of the first lineup of writers. The funny thing is, I waited until the last minute to submit because I didn't think I had anything, but then I remembered a certain piece and sent it in real quick. Gotta love that. Anyway, I'll let you know when the first issue is released.

There's another story I sent in yesterday to a different journal, and I'm hoping it will get published as well. But two in a row would be way too generous for the universe. Or maybe not. I'll let the universe handle that.

Took the kids shopping. We went all over the place, with a nice break for lunch. They never acted bad, really. I'm proud of them. And I was kind of amazed how well I handled the whole day without losing it. The fact is, we had fun. No, it's not always fantastic being a parent, but I really do enjoy being with my kiddos. They're lovely little people and I am blessed. Do you hear that Santa? That's an official recommendation. Don't be stingy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's the time for the season

It's time for Christmas Break! The kids will be home for almost three weeks. I don't think I ever had that much time off when I was a kid! Regardless, I'm very happy to have them with me all day, every day. Though Julia is the messiest human on earth, and Liam clings to me like an octopus, it's okay, because I love having my family near me. I'd homeschool, but the fact is I would make a horrible teacher so that option is out. Plus I need writing time. But you know what? I learned that I actually write more with them around than when they're gone. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone I told you that!

You ask--has Amy finished all her shopping? Why yes I have! Er, no. No, I haven't. But it's okay. I'll go out there tonight and kick some shopping gluteus maximus. Just a few more things and I'm done . . .

We already made a gingerbread house yesterday. No kits, either. I always start from scratch, making the dough and cutting out pieces I drafted myself. Then the kids can have at it, decorating with tons of candy and frosting. The poor thing is in pieces right now, though, because a naughty cousin pushed the sides in. It's the same naughty cousin that does the same naughty thing every Christmas Break!

The dangerous thing about these breaks--the salesmen come out in force. And just at a time when I'm waiting for the delivery man to drop off packages! So I, or the kids, run to open the door only to get stuck in a memorized dialogue with someone that won't take no for an answer. Never, EVER, let a vacuum salesmen into your house. They will not leave.

No snow yet. I don't want to lure it in like last year because it took forever to leave (like the vacuum salesmen), but I would like just a little bit of snow. Or a lot. But only for Christmas. And New Years. And maybe some in January.

Friday, December 16, 2011

For Molly

This is for our dear friend Molly who has been having some rough times lately. If you know Molly, then you know she has a great spirit and is a lovely person in so many ways--too many to count!

Molly, and everyone, you might like this. I know it's kind of strange to match up Natalie Cole and Andrea Bocelli, but it works so well. Merry Christmas, my friend. You're such a beautiful, sweet person to know!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Almost every afternoon I take a walk with Henry. Afterwards I try to write. Sometimes I write a lot and it's beautiful. Sometimes I can't write at all, and I feel hopeless. Sometimes I feel like a ghost. The children come home and I become distracted by their talk and messes--and that is good. One thing I've found myself doing is drawing faces of women. Not women I know, just random lines until something appears. Their expressions surprise me--I never know what kind of characteristics they'll extend until the last line. When I see each completed piece it's like I know them and they know me. But somehow we're all strangers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can't Beat Free

A few years ago I wrote a Christmas story and posted it on this blog, and I've always wanted to put it out as a short story e-book. So . . . I finally did it. There was some slight editing involved, but it's very close to the original. Best of all it's free. The formatting was difficult--I had to download a manual and still didn't get it quite right. But, who the heck cares anyway? Well, let's just call it my practice story : ) It's what's in the story that counts anyway.

BTW, I did the front cover myself. I was going to have Julia make the card for me, but she wouldn't so I had to pretend to be a kid and do it myself last night. Kind of fun. Can't believe Julia wouldn't do art on demand. BAH! Who does she think she is, anyway?

Okay, enjoy. If you do read it, thank you and Merry Christmas! Don't worry if you don't have a Kindle. You can download it as PDF as well as a few other non-Kindle readers. Here's the link:

Monday, December 12, 2011

John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café

Thursday was the 31st anniversary of John Lennon's murder. Not a day to be happy about. But it has become a nice day to honor the man for all the music and the ideas he left behind. I usually write something, but I didn't feel like it. For once, I wanted to read what other people had to say instead of spewing how I felt. How I feel is obvious: his death makes me mad, sad, heartbroken. Such a waste of a beautiful life.
While reading articles online, I found out about a book titled John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café. I read the sample and thought, "This is how I want to spend the rest of the evening." It was such a great concept. Instead of dying, John Lennon passes straight into a parallel reality where only a young Amy Parisi can see him. It draws her away from the suicidal thoughts she's been having, taking her on a trip that will challenge the ideals and ways in which she lives her life. She quits her job, ends an unhealthy relationship, and starts acting by intuition. She starts believing. And the more she allows herself to believe, the more her parallel reality comes to life, including her visions of John.

What is most striking about this book is the way author William Hammett utilizes the voice and presence of John Lennon as a catalyst for not only Amy's life, but the others who slowly become interwoven into the circle of real-life mysticism. He mixes true facts with fictionalized phrases that sound so much like John that I often found myself smiling and laughing as I read. Sometimes it didn't exactly sound like John, but it sounded like the John who was in the book and who had taken the journey, so it makes sense, and I really appreciated the way in which Mr. Hammett captured that.

It's hard to explain what this book is, and what it means. I am, of course, a huge Lennon fan. I knew all the facts peppered throughout the pages. But I kept asking myself if a non-Beatle, non-Lennon fan would enjoy reading it, and I think the answer is yes. John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café is about so much more than just a music idol, it is about something deeper. How we live our lives, how we let things slip, how we fail by allowing ourselves to accept instead of change, how we pass by our dreams because they're too 'dreamy,' how we allow our fellow humans to fade and die instead of shouting and fighting (do not go gentle into that good night). There were moments that I was so touched by what William Hammett was saying. Every character had a meaning, they weren't there just to accent the MC. He developed each person as if he truly cared about them as one would a child. And most importantly, he cared about those who would read the book, and how they would feel, and what they would come away with. It was truly touching.

I read in an interview where Mr. Hammett explained some of the synchronicity he experienced while writing John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café. Things like repeated names, and affirmations of scenes or details by way of strange phone calls or doctor's office magazines left open at just the right spot. I had a few moments of synchronicity while reading Mr. Hammett's book. One came when, near the end, crowds begin to gather in many of New York's parks and public places. Guardsmen and police come to break the crowds apart. It was eerily similar to what's happening today with the Occupy Movement. The sad thing is, William Hammett's police are a lot nicer than our real-life police. But anyway, reading those scenes gave me chills. Sometimes you wonder if an author knows the depth of what they are writing, and who it will affect. Or rather, how it could affect if people allowed themselves to be receptive. It's a message of hope. Hope Machine. I love that so much. Again, it's not just about John Lennon. There's so much about humanity in this book. Our potential. Our beauty.

My other moment of synchronicity came when someone hands the main character a note. I won't relay what it said, or the meaning it carried. But I felt a direct connection to my life.

Thanks for your beautiful book William Hammett. I read it in just a few days, and I'm going to read it again. And again.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flickering of Lights

My father used to run reels at the local movie theater. It wasn't one of those mega, multi-movie places like they have now. It was just a simple, one room auditorium with red velvet curtain and little lights along the floor. No special seating, no special effects. Just one movie at a time. We'd go Sunday after church to see Disney movies.

Life, under the lights of a huge flashing screen with full color and stereo sound, is a lot better than what it usually is. It's cleaner. It's more vibrant. It's happier. There's music to come in and rouse your emotions. For kisses, or homecomings, or deaths. When danger is lurking the music gives you good warning, enough to cover your eyes in time. Life is rarely like that. None of us know when danger, or heartbreak, is coming. It just comes.

One night my mother needed my father to take care of me for a few hours, so she took me to the movie theater and drove away. Dad and I went into a secret door and up a flight of stairs. He led me into a room full of boxes; I saw candy that I wanted but would never ask for. We walked past a large machine that was metal and robotic. It had two prongs with reels like bicycle rims--one empty, one full. I watched as he fed tape from the full one through the machine so it joined with the empty one. Then he took me to a seat in front of a small window and the room went black.

A clicking noise came from the machine. Like a train, it clicked faster and faster until something caught and filled a light beam with color. That beam shot through the small square of glass all the way to a movie screen below. Leaning close, I could see people down there. The backs of their heads bobbled while their bodies shifted. It was strange being so high above them. It was as if I didn't exist, as if I were part of the movie being sent down. If I didn't move, didn't make a sound, I could pretend I was in that movie.

For almost two hours I existed in light beams and the rhythmic ticking of cinematic suspension of disbelief.

But no movie lasts forever. Movies end, and after the credits are done scrolling, it all shuts down. The machine goes immobile, the house lights blaze. In no time, I was being led down the stairs and out the special door to my mother at the front curb. It was dark, and way past bedtime.

Happy Blechdays!

photo credit: arbyreed Mucus Containment System via photopin (license) Have you had it yet? You'd know if you'd had. I don&#...