Friday, August 19, 2022

It happened in a small town . . .

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

KEITH, SALLY, MARK, BIRDIE, WILLIE . . . SUZANNE is a book about a teenage boy written by a grown woman. That sounds strange, and it was. It is. Writing KSMBWS was surreal and intense and emotional . . . but isn't that why we write? I totally put myself into this kid's (Keith Day) shoes--acne, angst and all--second-handedly as an intuitive scribe to his every thought and impulse. The things he goes through, says, does--every bad decision he makes--they're all a bit crazy, and things I would never wish on my son, but see . . . it's the kids I knew growing up and part of me as well. I was a teenager once . . . (or was I?).

It will be free for kindle download starting tomorrow, Saturday the 20th. And as always, no pressure to download or comment. This is just me hawking my wares.

One complaint: I have various writing names and books released on Amazon and can't get any money from them for any one of my accounts. Someone's bank card was on my pay section, and I fixed it, but it keeps happening. Amazon won't help. Hence, the freeness. My only payment is to write and hopefully have people love what I do, because money will never be a part of this process. I truly enjoy writing and that's my payment.

Thank you.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Monday, Monday . . .

This morning I broke my new (cheap) glasses and also am out of canvasses. So, not painting for a while and it doesn't matter because I can't see! 


I was just remembering--topic change-about how the virus and how it stole my taste and smell. Did it happen to you? Those sense have never completely come back and things that used to smell one way now smell the other, like garlic for instance: garlic now smells like rust. Strange. I've learned to live with this impediment but for a while when everything reeked like rotten meat, I wanted to cry. Afflicted too, my son tried all the internet remedies with me but the only thing that truly worked was time and acceptance.

The first week of losing taste and smell were the worst. What a strange phenomenon to not even know if there was a fire. I smelled nothing. One time after walking by a fancy candle--the kind you get at the mall via those pushy salesgirls--I stuck it to my once-sensitive nose, and complained, "Come on! I know you have scent!" It was all very frustrating. 

Coffee used to be a pleasant smell but now has a funky taste and odor. Chips can be gross, and meat has lost its appeal. What about you? What has your experience been? 

I realized one day that there's no distinction between actual taste anymore. Things are sweet, sour, salty or hot. But the actual flavor it gone. What a shame. 



Sunday, August 14, 2022

Newest painting and my aspiration

 Here is the latest painting in-progress and after. I know it's done (?) when things get to the OCD stage. Time to walk away . . . 





My deepest wish is that this painting ends up in Liverpool for display in some way. We can all wish and dream and sometimes dreams come true. 

Thanks for stopping by. Peace.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

painting

I'm putting together a collection of John through each era. Mostly I've been working in a digital format but lately have expanded to acrylic. Never really know if anything will turn out halfway decent, and my oh my I am not a perfect artist. My goal is a large-scale work with lots of detail, though that might kill me. It's worth a try though.

Here are two of John and an ocean piece so you know I am not ap one-trick pony. In fact, one dream is to do a big Constable-ish landscape. 


How it started  . . . 


Is it done yet? 

1965

My son walked by and said, "Mom, I know you'll say this isn't any good, but I like it."




Monday, August 8, 2022

That Place . . .





The 1966 LOOK article in which John stands at a precipice of change--after the LSD incident, before Strawberry Fields--is the reason I wrote NOTHING TO GET HUNG ABOUT.

After reading the above (which is posted below) something became very clear to me: in the years 1965-67 John Lennon was stuck in a chrysalis and the war, drugs, fame, money and an unhealed childhood had all caused him to go in search of the (his) truth. Personally, I feel he was suicidal and didn't know what to do; drugs took him to a happier place but eventually began to suck his lifeforce. People are mad, furious even, that he changed and that The Beatles broke up, but he did and they did and there's nothing we can do about it.

What fascinates me is the journey. His entire life was a road of change he willingly took--even taking on different personas along the way to fit each incarnation. Long hair, short hair, glasses, moustache, beard: perhaps he was hiding at times, but always he came back to the (his) truth. 

In the spring of '65, he, George and their wives (respective) attended a dinner party in London held by a dentist to the 'stars.' This dentist spiked their coffee with Leary's famous lysergic acid diethylamideFurious at the onset of an hours-long trip they'd never been warned of or even asked for, John raged but soon came to peace with the trip--and doing so became the prince of psychedelia, sometimes on accident. George Harrison loved it as well, until a journey to San Fransisco's summer of love proved his fears that continued useage might turn them all into looney nothings, hence the cleansing with the Maharishi who promised them enlightenment that would last.

The thing about John was that, controversial as it may be, LSD saved his life. He was at a breaking point around the time of HELP! (they made a bloody movie out of it!), and it was essential he got out of his self-destructive, egoistic mindset. By the time Maureen Cleave interviewed him at his posh home in Kent, he was overweight, overwrought, confused, complacent and turning into post-army Elvis. He knew he had to change, and LSD helped him do that. It turned him on to his higher self and purpose; in this alternative world he saw he wasn't the only human on earth, that the rest of us were faltering too, and he could see we were all one. 

Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about . . . 

In college days amid the Liverpool Institute of Art, he, Stu Sutcliffe, Bill Harry and Rod Murray sat at a round table discussing Man Ray, Duchamp and the Dada movement. Nothing was real and it was a big fuck you to society to be disconnected in such a way. Laugh it off, shove it in their face.

They called themselves The Dissenters. 

John was always meant for change. And he was meant to write "Strawberry Fields Forever." In an early clip you can hear him working the opening strains to the song--around the "Hard Day's Night" era. And who knows how long before that? It wasn't until LSD him turned him inward that it came to full idealization. 

Then there was the Jesus comment, hence Maureen Cleave. She wasn't supposed to print it, but she did. The Brits took no notice; John was known to spout off acerbic claims, which he might backtrack or push even harder, but he wasn't soft-spoken adn this was fact. It was months later in America that his words (we're bigger than Jesus!) bled into wounds of the religious right.  A progressive magazine printed his comments out of context in August, but it was a DJ who fanned the flames on air, and hence record burnings and KKK. John was forced to apologize, but the dye was set. The American tour took a dangerous turn and the band decided to call it quits. 

Brian Epstein, beloved manager, now had nothing to do. And that worried John.

To be honest, each member of The Beatles each had their own new space to deal with--the kind that makes you feel claustrophobic. Sometimes being faced with yourself is the hardest thing to do. John escaped the paranoia by going off to Spain where he starred in Richard Lester's 'How I Won the War.' But he did have a Beatle assignment to keep him busy off set: he was told to write a retrospective. He'd already written "In My Life" but this was to be a whimsical recollection of people, places, things that he'd known in Liverpool.

Alone in his hotel room with some hash and a sunburst acoustic he worked out the music and lyrics for Strawberry Fields, and in doing so changed music forever. Producer George Martin said it was like Mozart--one of John's first serious works. Of course, to John that was blasphemous because all he was wanted to do was say things in the most simplistic, yet Alice in Wonderland, way he could. He went far inside his psyche and pulled out everything.

"Penny Lane" was Paul's contribution, a bright, airy pornographic song (though no one talks about that. 

When the videos aired in America on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, the audience of mostly teenagers with flips, bouffants and JC Penney suits turned their noses up at how much their beloved Beatles had changed. "They're so old," one girl complained, and Dick Clark visibly cringed. What changed opinion, as it always does, is the brave boy who smiled sanguinely into the camera and said that the songs, new look and Beatles were, "Far out." In England it would have been Julia Lennon's birthday had she not been run over by a drunk, off-duty police officer almost a decade before.

The American Bandstand clips excite me because they're that perfect time-travel experience I often seek like the Jack Finney junkie I am. Here's the world before, and three minutes later. The change is magnanimous. I also love how these kids are transported to the English countryside at dusk, the eternal Autumn; hues of purple and salmon, the crackling of leaves underfoot and the great oak to epitomize US. You and me, he and her and them. In John's simple, beautiful way. 

It's a long way from Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . 

No one I think is in my tree . . . John's psychology. Does anyone know my truth, or me theirs? We're all alone, but are we? It doesn't matter.

There's The Dissenters again. Nothing is real . . . It's all x-rays of tits and metal pins, all shite and a big con. If you take it face value, that's on you. Not me.

Fuck the wind!

But those teenagers in their seats, their perfect hair and frosty lipstick--they sat in a darkened theater watching old Victoria; the walrus moustaches and weary-eyed parlor games. My God, it gets me. 




As a child, John would walk by the Strawberry Fields orphanage, hands running along the wrought iron, feeling deeply that he was one of them. An orphan, a waif. Nearby, the Irish Sea lapped at the docks and that was one possible future, like his father Alf.

Every time I hear "Strawberry Fields Forever," I am taken back to that place as well--that beautiful place of his childhood: the sea, the sounds of the children laughing beyond the gates, the smells of Woolton, the crisp leaves. And I see his fingers entwined in the metal, and his eyes looking in.

We all have that one place we go to. Lucky for us we all get to see his.



From LOOK magazine, December 1966:

Whoever would have dreamed that beneath that mop lurked a Renaissance man? Yet there, shorn, sits John Lennon, champion minstrel, literary Beatle, coarse truthsayer, who turned Christendom on with one wildly misunderstood gibe at cant. Now, face white, tunic red, playing wounded in a field of weeds, this pop-rock De Vinci is proposing to act for real. Relaxed to all appearances, he is all knots inside.

"I was just a bundle of nerves the first day. I couldn't hardly speak I was so nervous. My first speech was in a forest, on patrol. I was suppose to say, 'My heart's not in it any more' and it wasn't. I went home and said to myself, 'Either you're not going to be like that, or you're going to give up.'"

As he casts his weak brown eyes at the camera, the entire movie company jockeys for a glimpse. "I don't mind talking to the camera - it's people that throw me."

Sure enough, he blows his lines. He waggles his head in shame. "Sorry about that." But under the low-key coaxing of Director Dick Lester, Beatle John becomes Private Gripweed, a complex British orderly, in an unorthodox new film, How I Won The War.

Lennon on his own - rich for life at 26, yet poor still in what men of all seasons crave - full knowledge of himself. Beatling by itself, he has found, is not enough. "I feel I want to be them all - painter, writer, actor, singer, player, musician. I want to try them all, and I'm lucky enough to be able to. I want to see which one turns me on. This is for me, this film, because apart from wanting to do it because of what it stands for, I want to see what I'll be like when I've done it."

They stood silently in the deserted German square that Sunday morning, three young British actors costumed like the soldiers who had taken the town 22 years before. Then the one whose notorious locks had recently been chopped short observed, "I haven't seen so much fresh air together for about four years."

For John Lennon, the Beatles' leader, it had been one swift crazy ride to the top. But now, there were distortions, and he had recoiled. Grownups were twisting a Beatles' kids' song into an LSD trip - an ingenious lament that he and Beatle Paul McCartney had polished off one wild night was, current rumor had it, actually the synopsis of an opera so bitter it could not be sung. A passing remark about religious hypocrisy had made Lennon a devil or a saint, depending on your tastes. Others might enjoy them, but to Lennon, who is nothing if not honest, the distortions had become a threat.

"I don't want people taking things from me that aren't really me. They make you something that they want to make you, that isn't really you. They come and talk to find answers, but they're their answers, not us. We're not Beatles to each other, you know. It's a joke to us. If we're going out the door of the hotel, we say, 'Right! Beatle John! Beatle George now! Come on, let's go!' We don't put on a false front or anything. But we just know that leaving the door, we turn into Beatles because everybody looking at us sees the Beatles. We're not the Beatles at all. We're just us."

"But we made it, and we asked for it to an extent, and that's how it's going to be. That's why George is in India (studying the sitar,) and I'm here. Because we're a bit tired of going out the door, and the only way to soften the blow is just to spread it a bit."

In that kind of mood, a Dick Lester set was just the therapy for Lennon. Each man is the kind who makes the New Theologians jump. To them, the individual is more thrill than threat - a unique being who should be taken for what he is. Lester, who directed both Beatle films, gratefully recalls his first meeting with the group, when the movies were just an idea. "They allowed me to be what I damn well pleased. I didn't have to put on an act for them, and they didn't put one on for me."

This is what a Lester set is like: Once more, they are in a deserted German square, now, with all the paraphernalia of movie-making, with British 'soldiers,' Lennon among them, ready to comb the streets, with German 'soldiers' lying in wait. "Quiet please!" an assistant shouts - just as a little boy walks into the scene. Apoplectic, the assistant rushes forward and shoves the child aside. Lester, whose normal weapon is humor, flushes. "Don't push!" he commands.

Once again, they are ready to shoot - and once again, the child intrudes. For 15 seconds, Lester eyes the man silently. Then, "Boo," he calls, and "Boo" the cast joins in.

For Lester, a director makes no statement against violence by having thousands die. To him, each death must matter - and in his new film, each does. Such were the ideas that captured Lennon, despite his doubts about himself.

He did not doubt alone. How I Won The War is staffed with seasoned British actors, all trained in repertory, all well-known at home and all suspicious. But none is today.

Samples:

"We expected someone a bit kinky, bitchy, arrogant. He is none of those things. He's completely natural."

"You're not working with another actor, you're working with an OBE, a multimillionaire - in sterling, not dollars - whose every word will be reported in the world press. The miracle is that he's so normal. I could wrap him up dialectically in two minutes, intellectually, in three. But he's got a certain inborn, prenatal talent. I have my talent, which I think is considerable, but it doesn't compare in his field."

"I don't think he does anything with a conscious thought of trying to impress. He's remarkably free. He does not act the part."

"We talk about him all the time. All of us feel the same thing. We find it difficult to be as normal with him as he is with us."

Lennon's lack of pretense astonished the actors. "He's someone who just tries anything," one of them marveled. "No stand-in, no special treatment, no chair for him."

During a break for tea one raw morning, Lennon queued with the rest. When his turn arrived, his heart's desire was gone. "You don't have to be a star to get a cheese sandwich," he mused. "You just have to be first."

They like his humor too. That same morning, a German mother pushed her three-year-old son up to the Beatle, clutching his autograph book in his hand. "Sign it!" she demanded. Lennon did as bidden, telling the boy, "Yes, sir, you put us where we are today." On location in Spain one afternoon, the script required Lennon to drive a troop carrier along the beach. Accelerating too fast, he spun the wheels; the rear of the carrier sank. As his crestfallen director approached the cab, Lennon peered sheepishly over his glasses and gave him a limp salute.

Lennon is not on; he is simply original. "America used to be the big youth place in everybody's imagination. America had teenagers and everywhere else just had people." He recognizes his own impact on the changes since then, but he refuses to concede that youth today is all that different - particularly youth in England.

The last generation might have been just like today's young adults, he maintains, had it not had to fight the war.
"If they said, 'Fight the war now,' my age group would fight the war. Not that they'd want to. There might be a bit more trouble gettin' them in line - because I'd be up there shouting, 'Don't do it!'"

"It just so happens that some groups playing in England are making people talk about England, but nothing else is going on. Pop music gets through to all people all over the world, that's the main thing. In that respect, youth might be together a bit. The Commie youth might be the same as us, and we all know that, basically, they probably are. This kind of music and all the scene is helping. But there's more talk about it than is actually happening. You know, swinging this, and all that. Everybody can go around in England with long hair a bit, and boys can wear flowered trousers and flowered shirts and things like that, but there's still the same old nonsense going on. It's just that we're all dressed up a bit different."

"The class thing is just as snobby as it ever was. People like us can break through a little - but only a little. Once, we went into this restaurant and nearly got thrown out for looking like we looked until they saw who it was. 'What do you want? What do you want?' the headwaiter said, 'We've come to bloody eat, that's what we want,' we said. The owner spotted us and said, 'Ah, a table sir, over here, sir.' It just took me back to when I was 19, and I couldn't get anywhere without being stared at or remarked about. It's only since I've been a Beatle that people have said, 'Oh, wonderful, come in, come in,' and I've forgotten a bit about what they're really thinking. They see the shining star, but when there's no glow about you, they only see the clothes and the haircut again."

"We weren't as open and as truthful when we didn't have the power to be. We had to take it easy. We had to shorten our hair to leave Liverpool and get jobs in London. We had to wear suits to get on TV. We had to compromise. We had to get hooked, as well, to get in and then sort of get a bit of power and say, 'This is what we're like.' We had to falsify a bit, even if we didn't realize it at the time."

If Lennon is compulsive about anything today, it's about truth as he sees it. But he protests when he's labeled a cynic.

"I'm not a cynic. They're getting my character out of some of things I write or say. They can't do that. I hate tags. I'm slightly cynical, but I'm not a cynic. One can be wry one day and cynical the next and ironic the next. I'm a cynic about most things that are taken for granted. I'm cynical about society, politics, newspapers, government. But I'm not cynical about life, love, goodness, death. That's why I really don't want to be labeled a cynic."

It is in the context of the young man who recoils at distortion that his now-famous remark should be viewed. "I said it. I said we were more popular than Jesus, which is a fact." What he could not explain then was why.

He does not feel that one need accept the divinity of Jesus - he, personally, does not - in order to profit from his words. A frequent reader of ancient history as well as philosophy (his current lists includes a book on Indian thought and Nikos Kazantzakis's 'Report Greco'), he contends that man has mishandled Christ's words throughout the centuries.

"I believe Jesus was right, Buddha was right, and all of those people like that are right. They're all saying the same thing - and I believe it. I believe what Jesus actually said - the basic things he laid down about love and goodness - and not what people say he said."

Christianity has suffered, he believes, not only because Christians have distorted Christ's words but because they concern themselves with structures and numbers and fail to listen to their vows. They 'mutter' and 'hum' their prayers, but pay no attention to the words. "They don't seem to be able to be concerned without having all the scene about, with statues and buildings and things."

"If Jesus being more popular means... more control, I don't want that. I'd sooner they'd all follow us even if it's just to dance and sing for the rest of their lives. If they took more interest in what Jesus - or any of them - said, if they did that, we'd all be there with them."

Would he call himself a religious person? "I wouldn't really. I am in the respect that I believe in goodness and all those things." and if being religious meant being 'concerned,' as Paul Tillich the late Protestant theologian, once put it? "Well, I am then. I'm concerned alright. I'm concerned with people."

At the age when most men are just beginning to adjust to the world, John Lennon has already nudged it a bit. The hysteria that surrounds him can no longer disguise the presence of a mind. His ideas are still rough, but his instincts are good and his talent, extraordinary. You may love him, you may loath him, but this you should know: As performer, composer, writer or talker, he'll be around for a long, long time.




Friday, August 5, 2022

Voting in Kansas

For months they've threatened the abortion ban over us in Kansas. One of the last states to remain legal, the Supreme Court's ban and the fact that we are largely a red state (GOP-Tr*mp) put a fear in many that we'd lose our rights as well. VOTE YES! VOTE NO! These signs littered front yards all over town as an almost silent war. I remember when they announced the ban, it was a Saturday and the feeling of being considered non-human, less-than and no longer a true American went through my body like waves of heaviness. Shackles and chains. More than anything, I dreaded telling my daughter that her entire future was at risk. In the grocery store, you could feel it: a strike, a low. I can't explain it properly, but most of the women that day mirrored the heaviness of suffocation with their own pale expressions. It was palpable.

Abortion has never been about babies--it's about control. Last year I connected rape mentality with pro-life, and then slowly watched my connection come true as that part of society fell apart. Even up until last week I was hearing things like how men should keep their 'women" from self-pleasuring. Just insanity. Most men don't want this--they want healthy, loving relationships with women who are valued. 

This summer my small town has been a battle zone of option, the pro-life crowd salivating at finally taking away the rights of others, and the pro-choice crowd got busy debating everyone online. Even up until this Tuesday, I was battling folks on twitter so they would understand you'll never take away abortion, only the safe ones, the legal ones. Then, I went to my assigned place and voted.

It was a nearby church, and they had pro-life signs out front--not good. Because you can't have any kind of political affiliations near the voting area, they moved to the back, which gave me a bad feeling. When I went in, masked, they printed off two voting slips. The guy said, "Whoops. You don't want two of these, do you?" He was joking, and I semi-joked back: "No. I don't actually, actually."

Yikes.

A female clerk led me to the touch screen voting machine and then explained what to do after the ballot printed out. She left and I voted. But there were people behind who could see my screen--I know this because they stood at a coffee table set up only a few feet away, close enough for me to hear them talking--so I used my purse to help block the screen. 

Then, a clerk yelled out, "Don't forget to get your sticker!"

Didn't need a sticker but since everyone in the world gets one why not me? Out in the lobby I waited for the lady with the stickers to notice me. It took her awhile because she was chatting up two men. This is when I began to think my mask had set me apart. Everyone there was older, and though I'm not a teenager they were older than me and of the Tr*mp generation. No one had a mask on. The lady finically turned and said, "Oh, I guess you want one."

Double Yikes. 

The rift in American politics and society has gotten increasingly divisive. Which was probably the point. United we stand, divided we fall . . . Sure P*tin loves how this planned out. 

My mask made me the pro-choice poster child when I went in to vote. It screamed, "PRO_CHOICE, DEMOCRAT, LIBERAL!" Yep. Pretty much. But I've also had every version of the virus and it ain't fun being sick. 

Politics aside, my daughter is a brilliant young woman and deserves to be treated as such. When they announced that the ban had not passed and that abortion rights, which are really women's rights, were safe, she was the first one I texted. How happy I was to tell her the news, and so proud of my state Kansas! Our votes send a huge message to the country that we don't accept old ideologies of discrimination.





Tuesday, August 2, 2022

From time to time . . .




It was third grade when my mother handed me an old watch with brown leather straps. The rounded white backdrop had been yellowed with age, and the dial shook a bit inside the cage of glass. 

"It belonged to your grandfather," she said, "and he wanted you to have it."

Strange item to bequeath to a girl, but after she gave it to me, I strapped the watch onto my small wrist and wore it everywhere. School, recess, grocery store trips with Mother, walks and bike rides around our small town. Nights while watching TV, I'd hold the face to the glowing screen as a means of reflection--both my face and the television would merge with a swirl of Victorian numbers. 

Grandfather grew up in Vinita, OK. amid stories of the Younger Brothers a hint of Dodge City, which wasn't too far away. He was co-editor of the high school newspaper, played on the football team, and made money rounding up horses in town. Yes, horses. That's why when WWI started, he was sent to the cavalry. To France he went, and there managed the horses and injured soldiers along the field. He even stayed for a while after the war to round up attractive French girls and had memorized specific phrases to lure them. Even better if they had wine and smokes. Doesn't seem he was too keen on going back to Vinita because apparently, he and his father--a heavy-drinking travelling sign painter--did not get along. 

So, he hopped a train to Kansas City and worked in law.

There's one story I love and it's when young Cyril wrote to the Trump of Kansas City--Tom Pendergast--for a tax job at the state capital. Lucky for him he was refused, because a few years on tax fraud send Pendergast to jail. But that's not to say Grandfather didn't benefit from TP's under-the-table generosity. It was the Great Depression, and not only was Grandfather aided in securing a foreclosed home but was also helped financially from time-to-time (from what I've heard) so that he, his wife and four girls could stay housed when many others found themselves out in the streets. I don't judge him for taking help, and especially knowing that not everything was perfect and beautiful. Ramona, their middle child, died of the flu and left the family in a season of grief.

Grandfather would stand rigid at the fireplace every evening and stare at her picture on the mantel. 

Cyril went on to become a judge in KC, such a stark difference to the place he came and the path he'd travelled. My thoughts of him are of a tall, sharp-tongued man who always wore a fedora. I remember him driving us down a gravel road in his old Pontiac before he died; the windows open so that hot air blew in, and every other word he said was sh*t, d*mn or h*ll.

We went to a funeral home one dark evening in Kansas City and my pale freckled face with wide eyes merged into glass at his still frame. All I could think was, when would he open his eyes? I thought he was sleeping. The man I knew had been so animated and lively. Someone gave me a piece of gum and it took my thoughts to a happier, more settled place. 

His watch, a strange treasure for a child, ticked like a heartbeat when I held it to my ear. That is, until I wound the dial too tight and something cracked inside. Truly, I felt sick. I was up in Mother's bedroom sitting on her queen-sized bed while she sat downstairs watching the nightly news, and it broke. 

Knowing I'd ruined the one thing left of Grandfather broke me, and I cried. The next day, the watch was hidden in a box and put away so never again would I have to think about what I'd done. 

Sometimes I wish Mother hadn't given it to me, or that Grandfather hadn't left it to me. Perhaps it would still be around and running. But like time, it faded into the unknown. Looking back, it was a moment captured like a Kodak picture. The sound, the feel, the detail--those stay with you forever. Every day that passes is a yesterday. We have many of them--and not all remain so clear. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Memories of a golden child




I remember writing about a boy named Jamie who traipsed across the overgrown backyards I lived in which existed among the small-town suburbia of eastern Kansas; Jamie, naked to all, ran up to a waiting ice cream truck just in time to produce an invisible quarter from his invisible pants to a very real man who sat behind the wheel of a rambling, multi-color truck. I still smell the diesel and can see in my mind's eye aluminum soda tabs stuck amongst the gravely, grasshopper ditch. 

"Is this a joke?" the man asked, and Jamie's shoulders fell. Perhaps the shoulders on all of us children that day fell too, still caught we were in the shock of seeing someone in their birthday suit, yet like balloons all of us were filled with high hopes that his plan would work: a manifestation of the impossible. What replaced that hope was greed, because none of us were willing to give up our own real quarters to cover his blatant discrepancy. I suppose that would have been socialism and would have set us up for disappointment the rest of our days. 

No, we learned a real lesson. And yet, why not? If only for once . . .

There's one more memory of golden Jamie that's stored inside my brain, and it's not nearly as whimsical. It was a boring, Saturday afternoon when a rumor went round that Jamie had committed some stupid kid crime such as talking back or cussing, and believe me, a few of us were quite guilty of the latter, and with shock and fear we listened to the story that his father had a metal bar and was going after him in the basement of their house. We surrounded the foundation and a few of us bravely stationed ourselves at low windows--the kind with overgrown weeds and sticky cobwebs. Indeed, at such close proximity, his father's yelling could be heard, and it held a very threatening tone. I was truly scared. 

That toe-headed angel who'd run through the grass with sunlight bathing him was in big trouble--the kind no child ever wants to face. My heart understood. Recently at home, I myself had been part of a silent prison of similar proportions--though no one spoke about it. My father spanked us every day for the sin of touching his bible. I wasn't allowed to watch TV, dance or talk. I even stopped using the bathroom out of fear of making myself known--my life had been a silent morgue-like existence. Luckily, Mother divorced, and things changed for the better. But now, the waves of memory came back to me through Jamie's cries. I believe in every child there is a commune of victimhood. To be little and pliant. To hope and have hope crushed. 

Finally, a neighboring adult was brought in, and Jamie's father--a small, ferret-like, sick-looking man--was confronted. It stopped the assault. But then what happened? I'll never know. They moved. That's what happened. Things changed. Time erased. The new school year began, and all of that summer was exchanged for new experiences. Second grade brought in a love of reading, and also an escapism through afterschool latchkey TV--which I had once been denied.

But one thing I have not forgotten: those moments I sat crouched at a low, basement window, ankles ravaged by chiggers and mosquitoes, the grass brushing against my face as I peered helplessly through dusted, diluted glass, and Jamie's cries somewhere deep inside. 

I prefer to remember the ice cream man.

Friday, July 29, 2022

A little skin . . .

In an effort to get more viewers to my channel, I thought it was time to go ahead and unleash the smut. Here is an erotic movie from Victorian days, and when I tell you to get your smelling salts . . . The moment she takes off her corset and plops in the chair to show her ankles, whew. You might get a little dizzy. You've been warned.




Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Me making a fool of myself, as usual

I thought losing my sweet Henry would get better over time but to be honest it's only gotten worse. That little guy left a rift in my heart that can never be replaced. The song "Tight Connection to My Heart" by Bob Dylan is perfect sentiment--we had such a close connection that is impossible to explain. 



Perhaps to fill the gap or keep my mind off him, I am recording each chapter of my book--and thoroughly embarrassing myself in the process. But what do I care, really? It's fun. And if anyone one, just one person, get enjoyment by listening to it, then that's all I need. I'll be happy. 



Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Free today: A Summer Read


 Nothing to Get Hung About is free today for Kindle. If you like John Lennon, The Beatles or the 60s in general, then give it a read.

I had so many amazing experiences writing this book, and since my creativity is tied to intuition many of those experiences included psychic hits. So many times I wouldn't know a word or important bit of information relevant to the story, and John would intuitively send it to me. He'd frequently align music on the station I listened to match the exact scene I was writing--for instance--while writing about the band's first recording at EMI with George Martin, the song "Love Me Do" came on, but it wasn't just Love Me Do, no, it was the demo they'd recorded that very day--the day and moment I was currently penning. When I tell you my mouth dropped open in shock . . . 

Another time, I needed to know what brand of cigarettes John smoked before The Beatles became famous--the word Woodbine came to mind. No, I thought, that's the name of a film company. Not wanting to be wrong, but also highly skeptical, I decided to look it up, and sure enough Woodbine was the name of the cigarette John smoked before starting the more popular American Marlboro. 

Another time, I was about ready to take the kids out for a pre-Thanksgiving evening on the town (nothing fancy) when a knowledge that John's mother Julia was the meaning behind the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" hit me like, well, like a ton of bricks. He used to walk by the iron gates of the children's orphanage frequently, yet could never get in. The orphanage became a physical representation of his Julia, whom he could never truly belong to or be with in any concrete way. As this knowledge hit me, tears filled my eyes. The kids came in, saw my expression and said, "What happened?" 

"Nothing," I said, unable to explain. Because honestly, how do you explain this phenomenon to anyone, much less your kids?

Julia was the place he spoke about in the song, the place he wanted to be. She was the epitome that nothing was real and nothing to get hung about--though it had taken him a long time to come to that conclusion. For most of John's life, she existed as some ethereal entity he could only imagine but not see. I could feel her in every word of the song--as well as his deep longing and need for understanding in a world that shunned sensitivity and pain. Then another fact came, the first airing of "Strawberry Fields Forever" in the US on American Bandstand happened on Julia's birthday--she would have been 53. 

I could go on and on about the synchronicities experienced while writing Nothing to Get Hung About, including a lot about manager Brian Epstein who originally held a minor role in the story. So often I'd get in my car and the music for Carmen would start up--images of Spain and Toreadors would rush to my brain; words and scenes between Brian and John soon became central to the story, and I'd have to hurry through that day's errands in order to get back home and write them before they dissipated into the magic air, whence they came. It became clear that John's evolution on this Earthly plane included Brain. Like Julia, he represented unrequited love--the deepest love of all. A love which requires sacrifice and pain. 

It was a joy whiting Nothing to Get Hung About. I hope you will read and enjoy it, and if you do, please consider leaving a review. 

You can also hear the audio, theatric version of the book on YouTube. MY accents aren't perfect, but it's been fun getting to play all the parts!

Many Thanks!


It happened in a small town . . .

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash KEITH, SALLY, MARK, BIRDIE, WILLIE . . . SUZANNE is a book about a teenage boy written by a grown woman. ...