As hard as I’ve tried to get back into writing fiction – taking a class from the Las Vegas chapter of RWA and reading No Plot, No Problem – to motivate myself to join NaNoWriMo for the month of November, I just can’t do it. I’m too far gone when it comes to music these days and I’m dreaming of upgrading my studio.
I’m feeling like myself again
Getting in touch with an old friend
One who changed the world around her
One who knew when to stand and when to demur
I’m driving my red Impala girl
1963 in a 70s gas-conserving world
Do I trade it for another
Politically-correct more practical model?
I’m feeling like myself again
Learning new things about who I am
Not just a writer but a poet
My musical ear so strong, I just didn’t know it
We learn about ourselves living life every day
But some things we can only know by knowing our family
Adoption, divorce, embryos, single mothers, and step fathers
Deprive us of a piece of ourselves that really matters
I’m feeling more like myself today
Yesterday we made our third trip to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival – this time with brother Bob. Little did we know that it also happened to be Columbus Day and the park was packed, especially for a weekday. Ugh!
Still, we had a blast sharing some of our favorite booths with family – the last time was back in 2010.
We started off with the Festival Center, tracking down the Chocolate display, including scenes from Coco, made entirely with chocolate. It was quite impressive!
Then we moved on to France for our favorite beignet with Hazelnut Creme with a glass of champagne – fabulous way to start the day.
Of course, we had to introduce Bob to the Ireland booth, then we chose the paella from Spain, Belgium, and Bob chose some items at India and Africa. We then finished up with my favorite Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles in China – amazing! Rich got a Kung Fu Punch, and while refreshing, was too sweet for me.
On our last stop for the day, we entered the Mexico Pavilion for some much-needed air-conditioning and to see the Dia de Los Muertos exhibit from Cocol One of the exhibits showed time passing, lighting up the scene and then returning to darkness, revealing the dead family members reunited with their family. Really cool!
It was hot and crowded by then and Bob had some plans of his own to do some park hopping before returning to Epcot for some evening noshing, so we called it a day and let Bob continue on his way.
We’ve had such fun playing tourist with family but now it’s time to get back to work. Let’s see what I’m inspired to work on most – my music or my writing.
Tropical air breathing
Lifts me when I’m grieving
The death certificate arriving
Reminds me I’m alive and thriving
Those around me ignoring
Dismissing me like that floors me
I was here before them
Who I am is without shame
Their secrets they hide
Until the day they died
They dumped on me
Instead of taking responsibility
Emotions overcome my brain
Their reactions are so lame
Where do I take this grief inside
Do what I always do, blog it online
Attack, deny like mixing a song
Delay, if need be, anything to not be wrong
Like the phoenix rising from the dust
I stand tall and in God I trust
“All my kids play the drums,” my father said during the early days of discovery after we made our first adult contact. (My father was serving in the Naval Air Force overseas when I was born and before he returned home, my mother had broken up with him via a “Dear John” letter and married somebody else.)
Anyway, back to the drums. This was quite an illuminating moment for me because drums had always been my “guilty secret.” I mean, what kind of nice girl loves the music to the “Stripper” as played on that Gillette commercial? lol! Me, that’s who. I could never understand this draw to the drums until that moment.
I’d discovered my family’s whereabouts through the Internet before social media existed. The first contact was with one of my father’s brothers. He was the one who said, “Welcome to the family. Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.”
I’d always loved music, sang in the school choir, even soloed, had taken piano lessons, become quite bored with the scales, my step dad taught me a few chords on the guitar, and the school music teacher insisted I take some kind of instrument because I had such a great “ear.” I chose the violin – ick! If only I’d known the drums were my instrument – lol! Or at least beats as this former Disco queen is discovering all kinds of EDM.
According to my mother, I died the day she was called to school to speak to a counselor in my junior year of high school after moving from sunny Southern California to the gloomy, rainy, dreary grey skies of Oregon. She yanked me out of school, scaring me half out of my mind. I asked, “What’s wrong?”
She said, “Somebody died!”
My heart thundered in my ears as my fear escalated. I asked, “Who?”
“You!” she said with force in that dramatic way of hers when she wanted to control a situation.
The truth is, my English teacher and I had had a misunderstanding about the due dates of a particular project. I thought I was supposed to hand in the paper at the end, but, according to her, I hadn’t been handing in my weekly papers. I had no idea it was supposed to be weekly. How I could have misunderstood that, I’ll never know, because I was an “A” Honor Roll student. This was a new progressive school, unlike any I’d known before, with study periods sprinkled throughout the day in various study nooks. It made sense to me that the project was due at the end of the term – like my science paper.
The situation escalated when the school counselor called my mother in to meet with him. Mind you, none of this was known to me until the day my mother yanked me out of school, declaring my death. The counselor supposedly said, “When a student changes this much in a short amount of time, they’re usually on drugs.”
Drugs? Now I was supposed to be on drugs due to a misunderstanding? Drugs were the last thing on my mind. This was the late ’60s/early ’70s when adults were hyper watchful and suspicious about kids taking drugs. Of course, I only have my mother’s word for this conversation. As I would discover much, much later in life, it was difficult to know the truth about anything because she lied even when there was no reason to lie.
But she might be right about that moment being the day I died, because, honestly, I think I died as soon as she’d decided to leave our beautiful new home in Orange County, California where I had the best year of my life. As editor-in-chief of the school yearbook in the first graduating class, I had many privileges such as being the first editor and naming the yearbook, singing in the choir, and even featured as a soloist in the spring program. Life was looking pretty rosy in that moment.
Not only did we leave this beautiful home, friends, and family and school, but we moved to Oregon and lived in an old 1930s farm house where the kids’ bedrooms were all upstairs where there was no heat. My small container of water I kept for my eye liner froze over. That’s how cold it was.
Not to mention our enrollment in her mother’s religious cult (Jehovah’s Witnesses) where we gave up birthdays, Christmas, in fact, all holidays had to go plus that door-to-door pushing JW magazines with the threat of total destruction at Armageddon, thereby, avoiding “bad associations” (“worldly” friends at school) and the places they hung out (the choir, and all school activities beyond the required). And then there were the male chauvinistic elders who policed our behavior. Eventually, I was totally indoctrinated.
But God had plans to turn things around for me. Fast forward twenty-five years when I met a lovely Christian man at work and we both converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church in Cupertino, California and experienced the most amazing Sacramental Orthodox wedding.
When I informed my mother of this decision, she called me at work (again, for the most dramatic effect), and said she’d called to “Say good-bye.” As a Jehovah’s Witness, she officially would have to “shun” me. Of course, she admitted later that she never really believed in the religion and didn’t consider herself spiritual at all. I concluded it was more of a crutch, a tool to control, than it was any deeply held religious beliefs.
From that moment on, I set out on a journey to find the truth about so many things, including my biological father, which led to discovering the type of person my mother really was. Looking back, I see that, not only did she deprive me of my father and the rest of that side of the family who all lived within thirty minutes of our home, but then she took me completely away from the place I called home, leaving behind everything that was important to me.
Much later I would discover there’s a name for mothers like that and the daughters who must endure their cruelty. They’re called “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.” or DONM. We hear the word “narcissist” tossed around lightly on social media these days but this is something far more than what we might think. One book I recommend is “Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistc Mothers.”
Soon after I met my father, I wrote about meeting my father for the first time and the lessons learned in Myths of the Fatherless but often my fiction has a similar theme. One work in progress is called “She’s Not That Good.” I’m also working on an album I’m calling, “Fathers and Other Strangers.”
So my real life didn’t end at all back then, but the real life I was supposed to live just began.
I think I might have told the story of how I wrote Palm Fever cruising into Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but I had some fun with it now that It will soon be available on iTunes and other digital distributors – the date TBA.
Anyway, here’s a small clip I made for it:
Not sure how much more poetry I’ll be writing this month. Even yesterday’s poem was more song lyric than poem. Besides, I’m rushing to get all of my evaluations done from NSAI before this year’s membership expires next month. So I’m pretty much focusing on songs, not poems or novels.
So I’m listening to The Long Way and had to laugh out loud at the line “Your hand-me-down ’99 Impala.” Not only would that be in the category of “who cares” when it comes to classic cars you would mention in a song, but there is no such thing as a ’99 Impala – Chevy took a hiatus from making them from 1997-2000. And notice in the video, they’re driving a ’63 Impala – that’s a classic worth mentioning and I had one.
I’m so annoyed by some people today just making things up. Dude, how hard is it to check your facts on the internet? Facts don’t seem to matter to them.
But I do have hope. The idea behind writing this song was of “… having a real conversation because we don’t have these anymore…” paraphrasing what Brett Eldridge said when Matt Rogers brought this idea to him in their first songwriting session (Taste of Country). Kudos to them for realizing this and doing their part to, maybe, turn this thing around. (And for those getting wise to Facebook and other social media.)
Technology should be our servant, not our master.
I don’t know how to say what I mean
Whenever I’m around you
I feel myself blush and my cheeks grow hot
Whenever I’m near you
I can’t eat my salad when we meet for lunch
Sitting across from you
I dream of you late at night
I can’t keep my eyes off you when you’re in sight
Is this love?
Is this a crush?
Are we friends?
Time speeds by when we’re together
Be still my beating heart
Time slows to a painful crawl like an LA freeway
Whenever we’re apart
No more questions, now I know
These are the thoughts of a woman in love