Sunday, September 25, 2016

From Sweatboys to Party Girls

What a wonderful past three days!  I hardly know where to begin.  I usually don't do much even living in a city as full of possibilities as Chicago.  Usually, it's because I'm most comfortable with myself, just me, hanging out and enjoying my own company and my own noise or lack thereof.  After a week of the 'wee ones', I enjoy the silence and the solitude.  Or at least a movie that's not animated or music that's not based on a nursery rhyme. 

First, it started Thursday night with Ben and Nikki of the Sweatboys who came to Chicago for a two-day music even with their Chicago mates.  They made enough time in their schedule to stop by my place and have a wonderful dinner and catching up time at my English Pub.  And to personally deliver the new CD from the band.  I even got a promise from Benny Sweat himself that the song we wrote together would be remixed and on a future CD. I'm so honored that the song is still getting enough play at the shows for it to have a place on a CD mix.  First song I've ever written with someone that got performed, and apparently, it's still a crowd favorite.  The night was filled with laughter and it felt like a part of 'home' had walked through my door.  Wasn't sad to see them go, I know I'll see them again.

Then I was supposed to have Friday night and Saturday morning to get my weekend chores done before Sallyforth came to town for an impromptu Chicago mini vacation with me.  She showed up Friday while I was at work and had fun trying to get lost in Chicago and drive around.  Not the plan I had for her and with our gridlock traffic and crazy drivers she quickly understood why.  But she had fun in the end.  The plan was to show her around my city and we must have walked about five miles throughout Saturday.  First, we tried to go to the Willis Tower sky deck but it was very cloudy Saturday morning so we scraped that plan until later if the sun came out, and walked the over two miles to Navy Pier.  Once we were there we walked along the pier and then ate at Jimmy Buffet's Margarita Ville Restaurant, which was perfect since it was almost noon by the time we got there.  And of course, the sun came out by then.  After that, we rode the Ferris wheel so she could get some great shots of the skyline and did some window shopping.  Since the sun had decided to make an appearance and burn off some clouds we decided to head back to Willis tower by bus.  Fortunately, we had tickets already, so our wait time in line was about and hour and a half or two hours, not bad for a Saturday afternoon which is a peak time for them.  The standing around without walking was the hardest.  Reminded me of standing in line for Star Wars tickets back in 1977.  But once we were in the elevator, that travels 18 miles an hour and takes 60 ear popping seconds to get you to the 103 floor of the tower, we were as awestruck as everyone else.  The views of the city all around us were breathtaking.  And walking out onto the ledge, a plexiglass platform that six people can fit into comfortably was harder than you'd think.  Suspended those 1353 feet above the city, and looking down at it, was an overwhelming feeling of flying or falling or both.  But well worth the wait.

I was so excited to finally be seeing it that my entire personality was present.  I chatted up two couples from Wales who I could have listened talk to me for hours and been so happy.  They were on a tour of Chicago and Saint Louis and 'somewhere in the south' then back to the British Isles.  Then I chatted up a sister from another mister, Plaid Hat Girl with a jaunty plaid hat.  Which is going to be our brand for the bar we open up on the sky deck.  It really needs one.  But the final meeting turned out to be Fate.  Two young gay (100% gay, Momma Jill!)  kids from Nashville, one male one female, who are getting married and perhaps moving to Chicago.  Can anyone say new roommates for me?  Taylor-Tylor and Playing With Fire Woman were a delight and we added them to our entourage of adventure.  After the tower, we decided to try the John Hancock tower and bar but after another long walk and train ride to get there the wait was 30 more minutes, and we were tired of waiting.  So we went to Mity Fine the closest bar and rolled the dice.  After more drinks and more incredible conversations we decided that we met for a reason.  The party continued on the street as Sallyforth and I decided to join them on their adventure instead of calling it a night.  And since they were headed to Navy Pier and I'd never been to Navy Pier at night too see my skyline we went with them.   Back to the pier and back to the Ferris wheel and what a beautiful night for pictures. 

Unfortunately, the time had come where we had to part ways as Taylor-Tylor and Playing with Fire Woman were headed to Boystown and we were headed to my place for some well-earned resting of our tired toes and feeding our tummies again.  After twelve hours of outside air and drinks and long walks we slept like logs and now I must try to walk (NO! scream my feet) to the store for groceries and get the weekly laundry done while hoping to write or watch some shows with First Daughter. 

I may need a day off from my days off. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Post a Song, Safe a Life

Somewhere after the big break up (break down) with Mr. Charisma and the big move to Chicago to change my life two months later, I lost my will to listen to my music.  Not just songs that were our songs but all my music.  I was depressed.  And so I blamed it on that feeling.  Even after I was able to claw myself out of the deep dark hole I had willingly plunged myself into (no one forced me to date him) I still found music too painful.  Too many memories that I didn't think were making me depressed but they were.  Memories from husbands, and Mr. Practical and Mr. Hopeful, seemed the most painful.  Memories I just wasn't strong enough to deal with and find a happy memory buried deep within.  Every time I tried I had to stop after one song. Even when set on random. 

Somehow, and I'm not sure how I lived without another thing I loved.  I had movies and TV shows and gaming to fill the void but it really didn't.  I missed music.  But I was afraid if I listened it would all come back.  The what ifs, the sadness that my choices had left me without a partner, the triggers.  And living alone here away from almost every friend and almost all my family didn't feel like the smart choice.  So I just stopped. 

Then an innocent post on facebook from Benny Sweat of the Sweatboys, asked his friends to post videos of the music they are embarrassed they love.  You know, those guilty pleasure bands we all love.  And I sat myself down, much like Winnie the Pooh on his thinking log, and thought, and thought, and thought about it.  Coming to the conclusion that I have excellent taste in music and love all my music, even my guilty pleasure bands or one hit wonders from the 80's.  But see, Benny Sweat is an old wise friend, we even wrote a song together once, and it was a wonderful experience to actually see it performed more than once by the band.   I felt that I should try to answer, but what song....and what band....and should I maybe listen to some music to see.  These thoughts paraded through my mind as I watched my laptop warily from across the internest.

Recently I got First Daughter to watch Rita on Netflix with me, a Danish dramedy about a strong female teacher that I greatly identify with and the theme song is a real toe-tapper that reminds me of ABBA and makes me want to get up and dance. Here's a link for those of you that are curious, and the lyrics are especially important as they always are to me.

So that's it.  I listened.  I posted.  And Benny and his wife and a slew of his friends loved it.  And the floodgates opened.  Joyful tears fell.  And my music program ran on random most of the day,  while I remembered with happiness that I had had a lifetime of experiences attached to music to remember.  I am no longer afraid of my music, and can even find some enjoyment in the songs that were painful.  I have so much music to discover in the last three years.  Feel free to post any of your favorites for me to hear.  I'd appreciate the additions to my memories.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Writing Yourself Out of Depression

Last weekend, after company left, I was very productive with my writing.  Not the play, that has been shelved for a while, as I think about the characters and how to make them draw my audience in, rather than lead them.  And I feel close to something deep, like I'm standing on the edge of an almost  frozen lake no sure how far down it goes and knowing I need to step out onto to see.  It can wait.

What can't wait is my fantasy novel.  I decided to open it up and see where I could go with it over a five day weekend, well two day after company.  And I was able to edit fifteen of the twenty-five chapters.  It's actually closer to a third draft for the first five but.  I'm liking my novel again, and the characters have changed so much since my original thoughts on them as a young woman.  Now that I've lived some myself I can see more motivations for my evil characters to be evil.  I've never believed in the 'disembodied eye of evil'.  I much more enjoy and evil I can understand and relate to.  The fallen priest without his faith, privileged rich suddenly poor, the staunch military man without a war, and of course the sociopath with psychotic tendencies.  Don't get me wrong,  scary monsters and super freaks, (cue Bowie) are great and my novel has it's share, it's just that my monsters are human monsters.  Much harder to spot, and just as blood thirsty.  

With ten chapters left, I hope I can find the same momentum today.  I certainly didn't find it after chores yesterday.  Which is usually my problem with writing, I love and need to write, but am never focused after working eleven hours a day during the week.  And I not only desire one day to get all the chores done around the house but it's necessary.  Studio living is great if you keep everything in its place.  If you don't it tends to look like a messy dorm room.  That leaves me one day to write and do only what I want to do.  And I deserve that.  So Sunday is my writing day.  I start with my blog and then see where my imagination takes me.  I may never get published and that's ok.  My writing is for me.  And it is one of the best therapy sessions I've found.  In fact after a long week when my emotions may be on edge it is very relaxing and a great anti-depressant to get out of my own head and make my mind jump into the world I've created.  Rare times I've found the strength to dive deeply into my own past hurts to fuel a character with desires or motivations or experiences both joyous and terrifying.  And once on the page, when you know you've gone back there to that sad or frustrating past episode, and you read it during the editing process it can be the most cathartic experience.  Like a two-way mirror opening up to that place where you are there, and yet safely not there. 

Makes me wonder how many other writers take from their own life to find a character, hardly ever themselves, to explore and write about.  Nightmares and dreams are also helpful.  And with that thought, I'd hate to have Stephen Kings experiences and dreams to pull from.  YIKES.  I adore him as a writer but scary thought. 

Now that the first cup of coffee has made its way into my brain and begun to percolate my thoughts, I find the need to visit my world much more interesting than staying here. 

Cheers. . .for now. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Be Your Own Reporter

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a Star Trek episode that went horribly wrong.  Like one of those classic episodes where they go back in time and fall in love with a woman that they have to let die or millions of others will die.  Or the one where the society got tainted by a book left behind and became one of the worst examples of society.  Like now. 

I'm afraid for my future.  And the future of everyone I know.  I remember my mom saying she was afraid for her grandkids, and the world we were leaving them.  But I think it's getting worse much quicker for my generation.  I think we're not just worried about the world we are leaving for our grandkids but for our kids and ourselves.

I see a lot of things on social media which I never know if I should believe, so I look them up, and they end up being true.  Then I wonder why it isn't all over the news and the most important thing we are talking about and I realize the news is run by four individuals that own the four big entertainment conglomerates.  And they own all the stations and newspapers.   And they are in the 1% and back politicians or the government and the government doesn't want the people to panic so they keep us entertained with news that they think will divide us as a people instead of us focusing our rage on them.

New stories that rile us up.  Like the swimmer rapist only serving three months and out for good behavior, proving he's the best of men.  A good guy rapists.  Or the senseless deaths that started the BLM and BLM movement.  See they are the same.  I know its suppose to make it appear insignificant for the movement to say 'all lives matter' so now we have to list them all separately so we don't appear to be either a bigot or stupid.  Because each is saying all lives already except the movements chosen life.  Just like we can get behind a woman being physically abused by her husband, and we mean all people that are being physically abused, men, too.  But aren't we sweeping the problem under the carpet to not mention abusive woman when we don't stop talking about the abusive men?  Aren't we forgetting that in the end that what we really are fighting against is equality?  What is dividing us from focusing our attention on terrorists and wars and my favorite, global warming? That one is becoming so bad weather is changing and cities are flooding so consistently that the maps of Louisiana are wrong now.  They have permanently lost a lot of coastal land area.  Florida is next.  And then Manhattan.  When are we as a people going to start to love each other no matter who we want to sleep with or what color our skin is?     

I know humans don't need any help in hating each other, but I believe our media should not help us hate each other.  I know their job is to report the news unbiasedly.  But they don't do that.  They all have a different agenda.  One of the smartest shows I watched about this was The Newsroom.  It was smart and showed how unpopular an honest newsroom would be.  

We can make a difference.  We just need to ban together as a people and stop listening to raving politicians who only want the free ticket we gave politicians.  That endless retirement and healthcare money.  They get paid for not doing a damn thing to help us and for hurting us more and more.  We elect them and the machine is broken.  It's time for more than a change.  It's time for a revolution.  A political and financial revolution that saves our middle class and protects our lower class, which is most of us now.  I know more people including myself that are living at the poverty level or below.  And most of them are college educated people with jobs.  Hard working people that have full-time jobs and still can't make a decent living and save for their retirement.  We need to focus more inwardly and let the world take care of itself, while we try to mend the mess we have made at home.  We need to be helping each other instead of listening to our media and being afraid of each other.  See the best slaves don't know they are slaves.  And we are doing a bang up job of letting our government force us into a silent workforce.  And as much as I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana, if they can keep us drugged while working and passive as well....well that's a dream come true for a real tyrant isn't?