starting over

starting over

that was the name of one of those 80’s movies. kind of cute movie starring jill clayburg & burt reynolds.

movie poster had her biting his ear, i think.  & this blog post has absolutely nothing to do with that.

i have some great news.

if you’re thinking i’m going to say the painting juliana audio book is ready — hell, no.  i was hoping christmas. nope. end of school? not yet.

bummer, right?

imagine me in the recording booth.  it is a blast! i mean, who could read juliana but me?

when i flub a word or hate the way i say a line — the wrong inflection in my voice, or whatever — well, i find myself saying this a lot:

“CUT!”

after listening to the recordings, there’d still be edits to make.  i’m not sure what was wrong with me, but one day, i’m telling you, i sounded like a complete bitch, which clearly wouldn’t work.

when i had to re-record the entire chapter, I reminded myself of what my dad would say:

it was easy, martha, everybody would be doing it.

but, why’s it taking so long, you wonder?

well, there’s my producer. his name’s nacho. short for ignacio, & i promise he wouldn’t mind me throwing him under the bus.

nacho is so freaking busy, it’s ridiculous.

he plays in 3 bands. heavy metal, brown grass (like blue grass, but trashier) & punk, or, maybe it’s cool jazz — i forget.

he’s worth it because he does incredible work & he’s a genius.

no, i mean, the real kind.

just when i thought we were about to pick up the pace, he got a job as the night desk clerk @ a marriott in town.

i love him to death, but i was like, seriously?

deep, calm, cleansing yoga breath.

if it was easy, martha, everybody would be doing it, I remind myself.

things happen for a reason, so chill out, i say under my breath.

good things are worth waiting for, but ……

aaaaaaa-aaaaaackkkkkkkkkk!

so, back to the name of this blog post — I’M STARTING OVER, RIGHT?

relax. not the audio book! merciful heavens, no!

i’ve started a new book.  

that’s right — a new FREAKING  BOOK, like the real-deal, hardback. 

the kind you can hold in your hands with pages made of paper that just smell so damn good.

i’m tired of people saying, martha, are you working on anything new? & me saying, oh, yeah — totally, when i’m primarily writing the book in my head.

or, wasting time doing a blog post.

don’t take it personally. I love talking to you, but blogging does make me feel guilty.

when the book-words really start flowing, like they did yesterday,  i kind of think of it like throwing up.

i know that sounds gross, but when it happens, i can’t write fast enough.

i also write in longhand. on a yellow pad.

archaic? maybe, but there’s something about that process of the words traveling from my brain, down my neck, shoulder, my arm, until they reach the pencil in my fingers that works for me.

there’s a woman i’m working with. some brainy phd psychologist who’s helping me with some research on night terrors for the book.

(that’s part of what the book’s about.     ssssshhhhhhh!)

anyway, i was writing her this email, & the ricocheting ideas — well, my head was like a pinball machine.

so, that’s all. just wanted to share & just let you know it’s coming great.

i’ll work as fast as i can.

TTFN —     ta-ta for now!

marching saints

marching saints

i read the newspaper every morning. sit in bed next to my dog bitsey & sip hot coffee. the crazy stuff in there blows my mind. did you know there was this man who lived with his mom in this teeny-tiny town, came home to find her dead of natural causes, then went around town with a rifle & killed 6 of his cousins?

like the bates hotel meets american sniper or something…

i also saw an article about the “brisket bandit ” who loads his grocery basket full of beef in the HEB meat department while his old lady waits out front in a yellow, souped-up buick le sabre. there was also one about someone’s jumbo meat-smoker being ripped-off. wonder if anyone made the connection but me.

i read the obits every morning, too. some of them tear your heart out, & maybe it sounds backwards, but some of them make me feel happy — like the ones where a woman lived to be 100 & her photo is of her at age 19. i really love those —  whether they chose the photo themselves, or someone else chose it for them, either way, it’s how they’ll be remembered & i think that’s nice.

maybe that’s why i tuck them away inside my bedside drawer. when i look at them someday, let’s just say that i look forward to remembering them when i do.

you know those obits that are 9 miles long & take up 3 columns that include a huge list of the person’s career & education accomplishments? this might  be strange to mention, but it always goes through my mind how difficult & time-consuming they must’ve been to write. the ones that list the prominent social clubs & country clubs a person belonged to always make me cringe.

hey, maybe it’s just me, but do you think it’s weird when people put happy birthday messages to their deceased loved ones in the obits? as if that’s where the person’s going to be looking, or something?

lots of people write their own obits. i bet you’ve known someone like that. completely obsessed with it — & i’m not saying that’s a bad thing. they just want to leave a precise record of the important things they did while they were on earth.

i wonder if right before they took their last breath, they’d scratch it all out & start over. to tell the things that were really important.

i remember when my father died. i drove down the highway as fast as i could. found my mother & my dad’s sister sitting at the kitchen table working on his piece for the newspaper.

i gave it a look. very short. i remember thinking, that’s all my dad’s worth — a short couple of paragraphs, when there’s so much more to say about this man i worshipped?  i spoke up, & said, don’t you want to put something in there about him that’s personal? who answered, my mom or my aunt, i really can’t recall, but, “people who really knew him already know those things,” is what i heard.

i didn’t like that answer much, but maybe when it’s my time to bury my husband or my brother, God forbid, i’ll have a different perspective than i did that day, i don’t know, but i remember telling my mother something really important. something my dad had told me years & years before.

“what do you want your funeral to be like, daddy?” strange question, i guess, but i really wanted to know.

there was a friend of his who had one of those big, beautiful baritone voices. mike sargent, was his name. my dad said he wanted the man to sing, “when the saints go marching in.”

i think that’s really beautiful, don’t you?

mr. sargent predeceased my dad, so, to close the service, the whole congregation belted it out  instead.

Oh when the Saints go marching in
When the Saints go marching in
O Lord, I want to be in that number
When the Saints go marching in

the organist was really getting into it — cranking it up & adlibbing some jazzy riffs.

what an incredible send-off for my dad. zippy & upbeat. the tears became tears of joy.

if i know my dad, & i do, he was smiling. & laughing, too, i’ll bet.

how in the world did i get off on all of that? i’m writing about the brisket bandit, & next thing you know, i’m writing about a funeral.

doesn’t matter, i guess. but, if you want to steal my dad’s idea, go right ahead.

me, i’ve already put in my order — it’s what i want my friends & family to be singing at mine.

TTFN    ta-ta for now.

eat, pray, love & kahil gibran

eat, pray, love & kahil gibran

“you don’t need a man, liz,” he says. “you need a champion.”

a line spoken by that hot actor with the bedroom eyes, dimples & accent — think his name is javier bardem.

i’ve resisted watching eat, pray, love since it came out, & resisted reading the book, too, by elizabeth gilbert. it was like 8 years ago, right? something like that. i think it’s because i had a pretty good idea what it was about.

i don’t watch movies as much as i used to — not by a long shot. & i need to work on that. you can learn a lot from movies, not to mention books.

this liz woman seems to be julia roberts.

&, I’m not even watching the movie now, anyway, even though it’s on the tv — says at the bottom of the screen, “26 minutes left.”  below that, it says, “a woman comes to the realization that she is not happy. so after a divorce, she sets out on a journey across the world, during which she falls in love.”

same old familiar story, right? unhappy, divorce, expensive vacation, love.

hey, wait a minute… where’s the eat & pray? oh, yeah — coming in with only 26, now 24 minutes left, they must’ve done that already.

okay, here comes love. it would seem that now they’re falling in it. julia has that weepy, sideways look in her eyes. javier is watching her with an “i’ve got love on my mind” expression.

gracious. he just popped something like “girl from ipanema” on the hi-fi. now it’s the dance, the seduction, followed by,

the closed door.

change of scene. more dialogue: “love is scary. dangerous.” it’s the woman who’s treating julia for a bladder infection.

“we’ve only spent 2 minutes apart for the past 2 weeks,” julia says.

“too much happiness. too much pleasure. you make yourself sick,” the wise woman says…. “be careful, or you lose yourself.”

i know what she’s talking about. i know. you might, too, if you’ve ever been in love.

you spend so much time together – it’s just so fun — intoxicating — it’s all you want to do. you don’t want to be apart.

but javier lives in bali. julia lives in new york. when he proposes they try finding a life in the middle, she freaks out.

“you’re afraid to love again,” he says. “do you love me, or do you love me not?  look me in the eyes & tell me. i know you feel the same way i do. why can’t you say it back? you’re terrified?”

julia retorts in tearful exasperation, “i don’t know why you can’t understand this. i found something & i can’t give it up.”

“the balance you think you found is meditation & prayer,” he says back. “listen. balance, my darling, is not letting anybody love you less than you love yourself.”

“don’t say darling to me again, or i’m going to lose it,” she cries angrily. “i don’t need to love you to prove that I love myself.”

“don’t run away from me,” he pleads. “you’re running away from all of the great possibilities of your own life.”

but, she does.

she puts his photo in her travel bag & zips it up.

before she heads home, she visits her medicine man, ketut.  “you healed me ketut. i wouldn’t have come back to myself.”

taking her hand,  he looks at her knowingly. “you love your new boyfriend.”

“i ended it,” she says.

“don’t understand why you do that.”

she shakes her head. “i couldn’t keep my balance.”

“listen to ketut,” he says. “sometimes, to lose your balance for love is part of living a balanced life.”

she smiles.

the movie’s almost over. but, we’ve seen enough of them to know she never makes it to the airport.

in the meantime, julia gives a voice-over about “the physics of the quest.”

         “if you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.

          or so i’ve come to believe.”

that’s one kick-ass speech, don’t you think?

julia didn’t come up with it spontaneously — elizabeth gilbert put those words in her  mouth & she’s a damn good writer. plus, she’s definitely onto something.

julia meets javier on the boat dock. of course she came back.

they kiss, they smile. they speed in a fast boat across the ocean, breeze in their hair, sparkle on their eyes, into the sunset.

when I got married, the priest took from the teachings of kahil gibran. tonight, i turn to these words in my mind– i believe they speak to this “balance” from eat, pray, love.

see what you think. it’s from gibran’s “on marriage.”

“Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

i’m happy i got to catch the last 26 minutes of the movie tonight. what an amazing gift.

i also love javier’s line, the 1st line i caught from the movie, because it’s so meaningful to me. it says a lot.

“you don’t need a man, liz,” he says. “you need a champion.”

that’s love. & believe me, i’m grateful.

truly grateful. & blessed.

TTFN

passion

passion

i love it, don’t you?

simply intoxicating — there’s nothing better.

just so exciting. all-consuming. it makes you feel alive.

feeding that passion is the best reason in the world to crawl out of bed in the morning, & you never have to wonder what you’re going to do with yourself all day again.

but, to not have passion? a burning passion? i tried that already, so no thanks.

“what do you want to be when you grow up?”

ask a child & they’ll tell you right away, no problem — because the sky’s the limit.

me, i wanted to be a movie star. not an actress, a movie star– there’s a big difference.

i remember what my family said. all sarcastic. “martha thinks she’s such a glamour puss.” like it was stupid — & i thought i was so cool & awesome.

i remember thinking, “well, what’s wrong with that?”

&, it kind of hurt, really. yes, it did.

what happened?

what happens to a lot of us, i guess. feeling like we can’t do it. that it’s unattainable, whatever it is.

buying into beliefs we let people put on us.

i knew there was something about me. i was the funny kid. maybe it came from being the youngest of 4 children, desperate for attention, but it doesn’t matter. i made people laugh, & i knew not everybody could do that.

anyway, we get out in the world & lose our self confidence, our ability to trust ourselves, & even the feeling that we’re worthy of having it at all. besides, following a passion is indulgent — a useless idea we picked up somewhere along the line.

not only that — following a passion can take really hard work, you know. & it could be we’re just a little lazy.

just thought i’d throw that in…

still, i had a way with words & i knew i could communicate. down deep inside, i knew it.

so, think about it — what about you?

maybe you know what happens when you shove things down. end up with someone else’s dream. spending your time living someone else’s life when that’s really their job — not yours.

passion defines us. it’s who we are.

do you still remember what you said you wanted to be when you grew up?

have you ever felt like something’s wrong — something you can’t put your finger on, exactly —  just that there’s an empty, disjointed sensation you just can’t shake. like you’re not fully experiencing life. & it’s beginning to feel uncomfortable…

it’s like when your stomach is hanging over your jeans. they just don’t fit anymore. maybe they never did in the 1st place. they’ve finally gotten so tight that they suddenly split up the back when you bend over.

that’s probably an awful analogy, but i think you know where i’m going with this.

so, what happens?

there’s a person i know who i’ve been thinking a lot about lately.  one of my favorite people in the world & they’re going through a hard time.  i’ve known this person forever. my whole life, really, & in many of my earliest memories, this person is there.

had looks, & a killer personality. not only that, he was smart –like brilliant-smart, in every subject. smarter than i am by a mile, & i kind of hate those people, know what i mean?

still, with so many things going for him, my friend’s jeans split up the back. maybe it was cut-offs & not jeans he was wearing, but that’s not important. what popped out was an inner-feeling, i guess. just a distorted, scary picture of himself. not real.

what popped out was a damn lie.

i’d tell you if i knew the true reason —  I’m not a mind reader, but like i said- i’ve known this person a very long time, & i think he bought into some people’s ideas that were neither fair nor true, & rather than proving them all wrong & following his passion anyway, when the opportunity came to take the easy way out, he took it.

but easy became a habit & what came next was not a pretty picture. sapped self-worth, a loss of confidence & some really lousy choices. in his words, “it’s a pretty shitty deal.”

but, then, maybe i’m completely wrong about my friend. i mean, what do i know? i wasn’t exactly leading the passion parade myself.

i had this desperate, gnawing fear that wouldn’t leave me alone. i’d see myself as an old woman sitting in my rocker on my front porch looking out at the stars. just kicking myself. so disappointed in myself, because my potential was nowhere.

when i’d had every opportunity to change my life every step of the way.

i was about 40 when my wheels came flying off. to tell you the truth, i basically lost my shit. time was running out & i had no idea how to stop it.

& it only gets worse when you have kids of your own, you know?

i had a notion earlier today. something every kid should learn in school. i mean required, serious, no-kidding classes, early-on where they’re taught to follow their passion & hold on tight.

i finally got help.

yep, from one of those paid professionals who you can tell your deepest secrets to.

mine was a man. a kind man. not a lot older than i was really, but he seemed much older — an old soul, that’s what he was..

twice a week for an hour & a half, i’d be crying on his same blue-striped, velour sofa. i felt like i was crazy, & there’s probably something to that..

there was a breakthrough one day.

with one question, just a string of words, the man saved my life.

it wasn’t groundbreaking or earth-shattering. nothing anybody on the street couldn’t have asked just as easily, but it must’ve been the right time. his question was simple:

“what’s the thing in your life you want to do more than anything?””

“write a book.”

the words tumbled from my lips, free-falling from the cobwebs of my troubled mind.

his follow-up question — what he said next truly startled me. probably shouldn’t have, but i’m telling you, it truly did.

he tilted his head & looked at me intently. again, a question just so simple:

“why don’t you?”

seriously, i mean, really – think about it. unless they’re shoveling dirt on your casket, it’s never too late.

it’s not.

as  began writing this, i realized something. that little girl who wanted to be a movie star — it occurred to me that’s still who i am. maybe not what i originally had in mind, but i am going to star in a movie. rather, my words are.

i can’t see it yet, or even what it looks like, & i don’t know how, & i don’t know when — i just know that they are.

so, about that word passion…..

what do you think it means?

i just happen to have my dictionary right here on my desk. can’t live without it. random house dictionary of the english language

the unabridged edition

pas-sion (pash’en), n. 1. any emotion or feeling, as love, desire, anger, hate, feat, grief, joy, hope, etc., esp when of a powerful or compelling nature.

here’s another definition – i personally think it fits:

6. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything, i.e: a passion for music.

a few entries down the page, my finger stops on another word. a sad word.

pass-ion-less (pash’en lis) adj.  not feeling or moved by passion; cold or unemotional; calm or detached.

i’m telling you, with his two simple questions, that man saved my life.

what’s your passion?

i hope you’re one of those fortunate, fulfilled people with their fires still red-hot & blazing.

& what about those kids of yours? they don’t have to be your blood-kids – maybe someone else you can motivate. look around you — people are everywhere.

in case you’re concerned about the old friend of mine, don’t be. i was there in the very beginning & you don’t know him like I do. he can move heaven & earth.

we all know that for smoldering coals of passion, all it takes is a little fanning to kindle a flame.

TTFN

#100dayshappy

#100dayshappy

as if I don’t do enough social media without taking this on, too. i saw a post on twitter. maybe it was twitter. either that or Google+. the person who posted about #100dayshappy was a total stranger, so it couldn’t have been facebook — you get in big trouble on there for trying to friend peeps you don’t know.

it’s not important how I know that.

so, anyway, this #100dayshappy is a thing — a challenge, really — that for 100 days, you’re supposed to post a photo of something that made you happy that day. doesn’t sound too hard, right? go on their site — 100 Days of Happiness Challenge, i think it’s called — not too hard to find. site says the #1 excuse people make for not taking the challenge is that it’ll take too much time. but who doesn’t have time to be HAPPY, they want to know?

well, i probably usually don’t. i mean, like hardly ever. well, maybe sometimes, that is if i’m not too busy on social media. hmmm-m. but perhaps this could actually HELP my social media situation. a “kill 2 birds,” type-thing. sounds great, i said…

i’m IN!

day #1

pushing my cart through the grocery store when i saw these. perfect, right? stop & smell the roses… i was off to a GREAT start.

0rose

day #2

cruising down the road with my 90-year-old aunt in san angelo, texas. not the kind of thing you see every day. or at least i don’t.

0jesus

day #3

driving to houston for a book signing. i never, & i mean NEVER go on a road trip – changing zip codes qualifies – without eating at least 4 of these. reason being, they make me happy.

0reece

day #4

i was thinking about taking the photos a lot. kind of freakishly, now. @ maudie’s, the tex-mex place around the corner from my house, people were beginning to whisper, why is that fruitcake taking a selfie of the trash can? i was beginning to wonder myself.

0q

day #5

maybe i was having more fun than i thought. seemed like i was going out to dinner a lot, anyway. i ate there 2 nights in a row.

0maud

day #6

wheeling into downtown austin past the iconic changeable letters sign @ el arroyo restaurant on 5th street. had to get this! go spurs!

0spurs

day #7

it had been a whole week now – i was really getting into it. come on -who couldn’t NOT snap a photo of this jaunty mannequin in the men’s department @ nordstrom’s?

0man

day #8

just when this new happiness thing was becoming a habit, i went & blew it. almost midnight & i had no photo for that day. i got lucky taking the dog outside to do her business…. this was on the porch. whew!

0frog

day #9

i have to admit, this one is kind of cheating. i got a Two-fer on Throwback Thursday on FB.

this is from my birthday party in 8th grade. yes, that’s me raising my hand in the middle.

0party

day #10

this is definitely cheating — this picture was already on my computer, but when you’re as busy as i am — well, there ain’t no shame in my game.

wonder woman

day #11

cheating again, but if you’re going to cheat, at least do a good job. Colbert approved!

& btw, i’m in love with Stephen Colbert

colbert nailed it

day #12

enough was enough. i had to get back on the program & have a real-live, non-computer photo.

but, hot damn – when i looked on amazon & saw my reviews for my novel Painting Juliana, it made me very happy, indeed. hell, YES it did! right on, sista!

00am

day #13

driving down south congress avenue i snapped this out my sunroof. my favorite view in all of austin. see the state capitol like a mirage at the end of the tunnel?

i’m back in the game.

capitol2

okay – look on the sidebar — i think that’s days #14 & 15.

see the cool vintage truck & the bright, shiny penny in my hand?

day #16

@ the dessert counter @ central market. yes – i ate 2 cupcakes. pink ones.

cupcakes

day #17

ewwwwww! it’s my brother’s NASTY pal from junior high school, randy loika.

i died laughing when i sent my brother the screen shot.

0loika

so, my friends. want to take the challenge with me? maybe this will help you decide…

& you can do your happy dance!

day #19

here’s the man, pharrell williams singing, “happy”

ttfn

the makeup artist

the makeup artist

a good friend of mine is one – a makeup artist. she’s got a resume long as your arm – movies, mini-series, politicians on tv, all of that cool stuff, & she knows dishy gossip galore … celebs tell you a lot while you’re an inch from their face, knowing that you’re in charge of whether they look hellish or heavenly in front of the camera & they better not piss you off.

anyway, maybe i’m weird, but it’s just that another meaning for the term “makeup artist” popped into my head when my friend & i were @ dinner last week.

wait a minute — you’re wanting to know if she’s done johnny depp, right? dunno. i’ll ask her & get back with you.

his makeup. get your mind out of the gutter.

so, anyway — i was thinking that, couldn’t a makeup artist be someone who’s realllly good at making up after a fight?

like, within my dysfunctional family of origin, here’s how it works. the only way you know someone’s mad at you is when you get the silent treatment. the quiet game. whatever you want to call it, the phone doesn’t ring.

until, one day…

hello?
that’s me.

how are you?
pretend that’s my sister.
chipper tone.
it’s been 3 months since we’ve spoken —
highly unusual because we talk all the time.

i’m good
me again.
neutral tone.
notice how I didn’t say something snarky like,
“oh, so we’re talking now?”
that would be poor form.

well, that’s good.
my sister again.
see how she doesn’t say, “i’ve been being a shit-turd,”
or, heaven forbid, “i was wrong?”

guess what?
still her.

you’re absolutely NOT gonna believe it.
it’s her breathless, secret-confidential-gossipy, voice.
the one i just love.

tell me.
hear the smile in my voice?
— it’s as if we simply set the phone down for a minute
& we’re picking up the same conversation we’ve had a million times before.
& my sister & i are buds again.

she’s the makeup artist.

& it’s kind of messed-up, don’t you think? but, that’s how it’s always been done. especially the part where there’s no, “i’m sorry.” but, maybe that’s okay. i mean, we were taught to never tell a lie. if george washington would’ve chopped down the cherry tree in our front yard, you wouldn’t want to be on the premises, trust me.

but, how about addressing the problem, talking things out — you know, like a constructive, grown-up conversation? oh, hell no! nowadays, parents say, “use your words,” which i find totally annoying & i want to pinch their ninny little heads off… but, you see, no one in my family is confrontational. what we had was more like a hit & run protocol. probably sounds strange, but then, maybe it doesn’t — you decide.

&, something else — in all these years, it’s always my sister who initiates these makeup calls. she’s kind of a hot-head, & i’m what you’d call the roll-over type, but you probably figured that out already, but here’s the thing — when we’re finally talking again, neither of us wants to spoil it. bringing up the reason we haven’t been talking opens the possibility of another 3-month silent period, so where’s the sense in that? besides, saying ugly words to each other is off limits — it’s our sister-code. ugly words, we reserve those for our mother. not the really bad ones we’d whisper to each other in our bathroom when we were growing up — i mean, come on — it’s kind of lousy to say things like that about a white-haired, 5-foot-tall octogenarian.

anyway, i’d like to say my sister calls when it finally gets to the point where she misses me more than she’s mad at me, which sounds all warm & fuzzy, but deep down, i know the true reason.

without me around, it’d be just her & our mom.

god, i love my sister.

you’re wondering something, aren’t you? who’s older? it might surprise you.

let’s see if you guess right in the comments below.

what is art?

what is art?

essential.

it made me cry tonight. like with tears rolling down my cheeks.

that’s the thing about art — it makes you feel.

because art is an interactive experience.

that probably sounds heavy, i know, but you didn’t see the dance performance i did tonight. think how staring at a magnificent painting can make you feel, reading an incredible piece of literature or listening to a symphony & maybe you’ll understand.

it was modern dance — the kind that some people would say, that’s not dance, just because it’s not conventional. the dancers were male and female, different shapes, sizes, & colors, but none of that mattered. it was the dramatic emotion they were able to convey that was important. with just the dynamic movement of their bodies set to music, the dancers were able to make me understand things i never had before.

the art was that powerful.

i’ll never forget the night i went to a concert — it was a beatles cover-band, so i thought i knew what to expect — a little “eleanor rigby” & “love me do,” but it was so much more. the music lit me up in such a way that i couldn’t wait to get home & write. i set my computer keys on fire that night, & the story ideas & word combinations were so exciting — well, i didn’t come up with them all by myself.

have you ever seen ballet performed to hard rock? i have, & it changes the experience entirely, in a way that’s damn cool. it’s the unexpected that makes you consider things in a whole new way. & that’s good.

so, yes — art is an interactive experience that inspires the expression of the human soul.

no kidding.

TTFN

larger than life

larger than life

a dear friend of mine was having a special birthday — you know one of the dreadful birthdays with a zero at the end?

i was lucky enough to be invited to the party.

the hostess asked everyone to bring a story of their favorite memory of the birthday boy, because it’s a shame that people usually only do that at funerals. totally rotten timing for the corpse, not to mention a being a tad anti-climatic.

& this story — you weren’t just supposed to jot something down on a napkin — you were supposed to like think about it & actually print it out. then @ the party, everyone took turns reading the stories while the birthday boy tried guessing whose was whose.

this took a while — I hang out with a bunch of writer-ly types, some of whom are rather VERBOSE, and you know who you are…

anyway — my friend is a super cool-cat. one of those guys all the women want & all the men want to BE? you know the type — they kind of make you vomit a little bit because they’re so damn awesome, but not this guy. several people, myself included, mentioned the fact that not only is he tall, dark & handsome with perfect hair, no less – but he was also his high school valedictorian, lead singer & guitarist in a punk rock band — I mean a groundbreaking performer, used to play at raul’s on the drag & even LA (how rockin’ is THAT?), an accomplished, best-selling novelist & historian, oh – & a kick-ass lyricist, bass player & showman. plus, he’s funny as hell & that humor comes out in everything he does. & i probably left half-a-dozen things out.

& he’s a loving & devoted husband & father. couldn’t leave that part out, because that’s the most important thing of all.

so, anyway — one day, he up & decides he wants to become an artist. like a month later, & i’m seriously not kidding, he’s showing in a gallery on south congress avenue. not too shabby. next thing, he becomes a blues-man. changes his whole musical schtick, pulls out the standing bass — you know one of those huge things, like a 10-foot-tall guitar – & starts composing & yowling like muddy waters or something. if muddy waters was like somebody you could actually stand listening to. you know what I mean.

many of the stories said my friend is a master of reinventing himself.

yeah, that’s right, everybody nodded & said.

then, another story said something profound. or, at least it was to me.

that my friend wasn’t reinventing himself, he was simply calling upon parts of himself that were there inside him all along.

it makes it sound sort of easy, doesn’t it?

easy enough for anyone to do it, right?

i guess in the back of my mind i was thinking…. hmmm. i’ve always wanted to be a potter. not a stoner. i mean like throwing pots. ceramics, okay? i seriously imagine myself doing it. sounds like fun, you know? wouldn’t have to get all artistic — lopsided pots can look kinda cool, in an avant garde sort of way….

you’ve got something like that in mind for yourself, i’ll bet.

come on, yes you do.

i don’t mean self-improvement especially. more like self-enhancement. making yourself larger than life.

or, how about larger inside your life?

just a little something to think about.

because i sure am.

TTFN

casino a-go-go

casino a-go-go

gambling makes no sense, but these places are packed, i’m telling you.

i’ve heard they pump casinos with oxygen to cause subtle mind control.

i looked it up to see if that’s true. the answers were mixed. a couple of sites say no, but ask.com says they do it to keep people awake so they won’t wander off to bed in the early hours of the morning.

even if it’s not true, SOMETHING’S going on & it’s working.

here’s what happens: you sit down at the slot machines — the one-armed-bandits. you load in your dinero & keep pulling down the handle even though you’re losing your ass. but, I’ve just GOT to win, you think. I’ve already lost so much that it’s only fair.

now, repeat after me: nothing @ the casinos is fair.

i mean, come on! everything is rigged. how could they afford to have a million tuxedoed blackjack dealers & scantily-clad cocktail waitresses swarming the place, otherwise, not to mention those rows and rows of flashing slot machines?

here was my personal low-point of the weekend.

oh, sorry — i was @ a schmancy casino in lake charles, louisiana & i forgot to tell you that part.

i plopped down in front of “pharaoh’s fortune.” there was another machine called “kitty glitter” — like kitty litter, get it? a little casino humor there.

& about those scantily-cocktail waitresses. you have to feel sorry for them, forced to dress like a bunch of hookers in head-to-toe gold sequins with 4 inches of cleavage & their belly buttons hanging out, because they’re really sweet people & they don’t deserve that. i became BFF’s with a few of them while i was losing my ass, but I’m getting ahead of myself, here.

i finally won $200 with one pull of the handle. old pharaoh threw me a bone.

woo-hoo, i thought, but like a total doofus, instead of taking my golden tokens to the money cage, cashing in & calling it a night, i kept going until i lost every cent.

so, why is that considered fun?

must be the risk. like jumping out of an airplane.

or maybe it’s not oxygen that’s pumped into the air, but stupid-elixir.

or it could be plain old peer pressure — you are surrounded by masses of idiots, after all.

and, we sure had a good time.

TTFN

maudie’s & goodwill

maudie’s & goodwill

about 5 seconds from my house. I go there a lot. kinda like a “norm!” @ cheers moment sometimes, but you still don’t care if you’re wearing mascara or not. it’s just that kind of place. they’ve got this blistering-hot hot sauce — in case you think i’m a wenie, i won a jalapeno eating contest in college, so i know what i’m talking about… food’s great, too, but that’s not the best thing. it’s the people. the staff.

they’re all so damn happy. tonight, i asked the hostess how she was doing. it’s so fun being here, she said. i just love my job so much it’s not even like coming to work. now, seriously, how many people do you know who say that & mean it? they’ve had the same people working there since beans were new, & that’s saying something.

this is the place where clinton came two weeks ago, if anybody saw my FB post. they said he was a hoot, posing for everybody’s selfies. of all the nights for me to stay home eating a bowl of cereal…. damnit, janet!

here’s the other thing — there’s a goodwill a coupla doors down. people call it the gucci goodwill (GGW to people “in the know”) because all the donations are from the neighborhood — not like i’m some ritzy socialite (as if) but somebody’s bringing in some pretty cool stuff. not the women’s dept. — you can forget it on that — but the men’s? now, you’re going to think this sounds totally gross & i guess it is, wearing somebody else’s shoes — but someone i know got a pair of real-live alligator dress shoes. i guess they were dead-live. no wait, real-dead. whatever, they were slick.

sometimes you can score some pretty awesome albums, too. they always seem to have the same helen reddy’s “i am woman, hear me roar” — don’t know why somebody hasn’t snapped that one up. & a little anne murray “snow bird” — also still there. they had the partridge family & i was so pissed when it was scratched to hell. i got wayne newton’s “red roses for a blue lady.” come on — i hadn’t heard that since my mom played it on the hi-fi, & old wayne still rocks it.

all right, i’m going to let you in on a secret, so don’t tell everybody — you cool?  okay, it’s the auction. most of it you wouldn’t touch with a 12 foot pole, but darlin’, i’ve scored some good shit. 

imagine someone who cleans out their grandma’s house after she kicks off. ew, what’s THIS, i can just hear them saying….  it’s a fine-as-hell oil painting, you idiot. so here i was a couple of weeks ago. grabbed myself up a couple of bullfighting paintings. & no, they weren’t velvet &, no, elvis wasn’t the matador. the technique, the brushstrokes…  absolutely killer. got myself a nifty little iron chair with a tufted seat for my vanity. a waterford bowl. i’m telling you, the GGW doesn’t suck.

i also hang out at estate sales. you can really score at those. gotta get there early, though.

oh, & did i tell you i got some incredible hartman luggage? coolest yellow lamp…  i think i might have a problem.

so, back to maudie’s. i absolutely recommend the tacos al pastor & the chicken flaquitos, or taquitos or flautitos – i never can remember what they’re called, oh — & the avocado tomatillo sauce.

did you notice i didn’t mention when the auction IS?  as my mother used to say, you don’t have to tell everything you know.

TTFN

 

 

 

 

The Final Curtain

MUSINGS: Author - Books - The World

carpentercenterfreedomdance

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

How do we feed the world's starving

We feed billions of people in need, this is how.

Charles Dowdy

Husband, father, broadcaster

Living my life as a Empath.

Highly Sensitive Empath

The Seashell Girl...

my name is Pam and i am a shellunatic

write meg!

Another take on writing, reading, loving -- and eating

Dysfunctional Literacy

Just because you CAN read Moby Dick doesn't mean you should.

BookPeople's Blog

Austin's largest independent bookstore since 1970 - 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Eleventh Stack

A books, movies, and more blog from the staff at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main.

The Password is Swordfish

Ruminations on Film, Life, and the Unimportant Things In Between

Mr. Library Dude

Blogging about libraries, technology, teaching, and more

Bennythomas's Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Bri Bruce Productions

Design | Publishing | Photography | Art

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Reading on a Rainy Day

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Bibliotica

...because books are portable magic.

A Bookish Affair

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Broken Teepee

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Dwell in Possibility

Book Reviews for Inquiring Minds

Wall-to-Wall Books

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Mom in Love with Fiction

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

cupcake's book cupboard

... because there is no such thing as too many books ...

Bert's Book Review Blog

Just another book junkie giving his two cents on the written word.

Breitbart News

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Layers of Thought

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Peppermint Ph.D. Reading...Writing...Recovery

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

The Pulpwood Queen's Book Club

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Stuart Sheldon

Art ~ Humor ~ Life

Frank The Movie Watcher, Book Lover, Pop Culture Fan

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

FN Dish – Food Network Blog

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Social Triggers

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Marie Forleo

....... and, i'm the woman for the job

Mollytopia

Fabulously Refined/Wildy Inappropriate