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Archive for the ‘Songs’ Category

We know that amateurs wait for inspiration. It’s only the salty sailors who sail in still air, trusting intuition and determination will keep them moving. And it’s because of this that they are the ones who will collect the skylines and scores, the sights and successes, while the others sit in wait, stagnating and stale.

 

I’ve been an amateur as of late. No time. No spunk to hunt for treasure. No snap for anything but my own sorrows and slumps.

 

Then the strangest thing happened. Putting the sheets back on the bed is not one of my most favorite tasks, so to make it slightly less painless, I play mind-numbing T.V. while hoisting my five hundred pound mattress up chest-high so I’m able to wrap the fitted sheet snugly around the base—assurance that I will only have to perform this incredible feat once until the next wash.

 

This day, the mind-numbing T.V. of choice happened to be a Katy Perry documentary called Part of Me. Katy’s music, although catchy and quirky has never been on my A-list, but as I heaved and huffed, the show began to seep its way into my awareness.

After all, it resonated with me on several levels. You may know I’m a Make-up Artist by trade and I admit to a degree of fangirlyness when it comes to celeb styling and Katy’s make-up is always impeccable. So, for me to learn that she plucked her Make-up Artist, Todd Delano, out of retail obscurity…well, it tweaked a heartstring.

katy-perry-0

 

And, she’s a Writer. Much of her material leaks hot off the pages of her personal diary—raw thoughts and emotion slowly simmered into song. I related to her strict upbringing and her struggles with money. Her passion to create and her desire to become what she’d always dreamed of being. I admired her capacity to think outside most everything she’d been taught since a young age, her talent at turning those things inside out and her ability to maintain her relationship with her family despite this turn of their truths.

 

No, Katy Perry’s music may not have been on my A-list, but her rite of passage now is.

 

We are capable of relating to anything. Compassion and understanding are components of our genetic make-up. Sadly, some of us bury them, but in the beginning, there they were. We were born with them. Whether you’re waiting for inspiration or it simply rings the bell while you’re doing the laundry, stop and let it in. Sometimes we just need to sit down and go beyond the cover to actually read the story inside.

 

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Man, nursery rhymes are messed up.

Words can hurt, but they can also make us incredibly happy…euphoric in fact, when chosen wisely, used correctly and placed strategically.

But what if we only had a thousand? A thousand words to get to our point, a thousand words to evoke and enthrall, a thousand words to sell our very being, or a thousand words to make them believe?

We’d choose wisely, that’s what.

Write, write, write. The more letters littering the page the better is what a lot of us start out thinking and sometimes, it feels good to watch that word count rising. We feel like we’re getting somewhere, hitting a target…reaching a goal. But sometimes, we lose sight of what our goal was in the first place, or rather what it should have been. Was it to hit two hundred thousand words or to write with a flow and fervor of unquestionable quality?

One is not the same as the other.

I watched “A Thousand Words” a couple of weeks ago. My kids chose it and convinced me to sit and watch with them. I was cleaning up from one trip and packing for another, so I was reluctant and realizing it wasn’t the drama I wanted it to be after seeing Eddie Murphy’s face, I complained even further. (It seems I’m not a huge fan of silly when I have serious business to take care of)

But I soon quieted. It appeared Mr. Murphy was to play a literary agent and that’s all it took to draw me in. For me, the movie could’ve been about nothing else and I may have even secretly wished it were. As it turned out, there was a moral to the story.

He portrayed a fast and fancy agent that didn’t read. He was able of course, but simply chose not to. He went after big clients with the “it” factor; clients that would bring in mega money using a whole bunch of words saying a whole bunch of nothing. You know…the Hiltons and Kardashians of the world. (You can throw stones now)

Eddie’s career is put on hold when he is given a symbolic hourglass of time left on earth. How fast the sand falls is up to him; each word a grain and there are only, you guessed it, a thousand of them.

It takes him a while, but in the end, he learns to think before speaking, pick wisely…choose meaning.

It made me think of times when all I wanted to do was fill an entire notebook with scrawl; the more the merrier. Heck, I probably even dreamed of filling two notebooks. That was my goal – quality far from the forefront of my thoughts.

So, whether it takes a fast-draining hourglass, a leaf-losing tree or a badly reviewed movie starring Eddie Murphy, I’m grateful I have persuasive kids to make me to sit down and learn that sometimes silly can be real serious.

Word.

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There was a time I was sure my holidays would include twenty-first floor, plush hotel rooms, clinking crystal glasses, Saks and Tiffany’s, white linen, azure water and yachts off the coast.

But, since being a slick, single city chick wasn’t in my cards, another kind of holiday eased into my delusions; cookouts, critters, damp pillows, stained beach chairs and smoke riddled hair.

It’s another world, this roughing it. Electricity vanished, flush toilets a distant memory, don’t even mention showers and forget about cell service. Packing up almost everything you own to go live in the forest could be considered a tad indicative of on setting insanity. It could be perceived as an adventure one could do without. Weak at heart beware. Material girls stay home. Roughing it is, no doubt, rough.

Everything we do here is ten times the work it is at home; the dishes are dirtier after we wash them, we’ve been wearing the same shorts for a week, our legs are coated in a semi-permanent sheath of sunscreen and dust.

But then voices echo in the trees, laughter ascends into the balloon blue sky, fast-moving spokes whir past, an icy beer meets a fiery sunset and that one marshmallow gets toasted to crisp yet gooey perfection.

Friends have bonded, kids have played, the old-fashioned get dirty kinda play, the stars have aligned symbolically and physically and there’s nothing but time to appreciate every little gratuity.

It is another world; a tousled, less embellished one than we’re used to, but one that allows a cider while flipping flapjacks, an all day read and a whole lot of not being perfect and I’ll be honest, it fills you up, like a red Solo cup…so join the party.

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I am overly emotional today, so I feel that a post with an Adele reference is in order.

Don’t worry – we can still get along. I’m sure we can agree that the woman’s got pipes, regardless of how we may feel about her personally.

So, yes…Adele. She’s got pipes, but it doesn’t end there. The girl’s got guts. She has the backbone it takes to write down her deepest, most private thoughts and feelings and send them off into the universe for all to enjoy…and judge. Oh, guts I tell you.

I’ve probably listened to way too much of her and don’t lie; you have too. We’ve all done the Rolling in the Deep” sixty times in one day, thing. I won’t force concordance; I will simply overlook any denial. (If I weren’t such a professional, I might insert a winky face here with a dash of LOL)

I stumbled upon a snippet of her ‘live in concert’ last night as I was heading to the dinner table. Of course I’ve seen it before, but last night, this particular part stopped me in my tracks.

There she was, black dress, sixties hair, lashed to the extreme, (lovely, but extreme) the spotlight drifting down in waves, powdering her with stardust. Either that, or she was about to be hoovered up into the mother ship, although in Adele’s case, I’m pretty sure it was stardust.

However, I digress. This particular part halted me. She was singing Someone Like You. Yes, a torrid, gut-wrenching song at the best of times, but towards the end, she stopped and let the crowd sing. Now, I know she wrote this song out of heartache and heartbreak, so melancholy is an expected response, however, considering she’s sung it a bazillion times, one can only assume the wound has, at the very least, scabbed over.

No…her emotion seemed to stem from the crowd singing her song; more specifically, the crowd knowing her words. Words she probably wrote on soggy, tear-stained scraps at 3am, alone in the bleak of her grotty little flat, while she contemplated quietly slitting her wrists. But there it was; her painful story dripping off the tongues of strangers, emblazoned onto their hearts and now suspended in the rafters of the Royal Albert Hall.

(It all goes down here. Stick around till the end for the good stuff)

And, it made me think. It would be extraordinary to have people know us that way or, at least that version of us. We can give them all or we can give them bits, we can give them realities or we can give them adaptations. Whatever we’re serving, they want it. They wanna sit at our table and watch us eat, stand there as we have coffee in our robes and brush our teeth. They want to walk in our shoes. They crave our pain and desire our joy. It’s ours to give. We can hand it over. It just takes an iron gut.

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Dewy flush adorned our cheeks as we shuffled and bumped in the tiny powder room, vying for equal mirror time. I didn’t stand a chance of course, being at least a foot shorter than her, but that didn’t stop me from trying.

Dead or Alive shrieked from the boom box sitting on the rug just outside the open door while combs, sprays, powders, shadows and glosses riddled the small bathroom countertop, trembling to the beat.

Frankly, I didn’t need the mirror. I’d long since learned to mirrorlessly cake color and coif hair on buses, in backseats and down early morning deserted school hallways. Although it stemmed from faithlessness in my natural façade, it was a skill I was quite proud of and one that had come in handy many a time.

Eventually relenting, I sat on the toilet lid, hot vapors from the curling iron tickling my ear. I paused, cementing the curl with a spritz of Final Net as the spool of chocolate strands melted with heat. Shaking the iron gently, I loosened it from the hair, leaving behind a perfect sausage roll. Prepping the next coil, I tilted my chin to watch Jess, a master at her own ritual.

She used a fascinating, self-taught technique to apply liner, slicking it on as thick as she could get it, creating inch wide circles around her top and bottom lids. Taking a damp Q-tip, she’d swipe away the excess, leaving perfectly precise strokes behind to cocoon her diminutive eyes.

You spin me right round, baby, right round…” Jess’ tall, thin frame bobbed to the music; her off-key crooning making me laugh.

All I know is that to me, you look like you’re lots of fun. Open up your lovin’ arms. Watch out, here I come!” Although I couldn’t resist joining in, I barely finished the last line, giggles overtaking me.

“Quit showing off!” She complained, half serious. “You’re always stealing my songs.”

They’re hardly your songs”, I chided. “Unless you’re holding out on me and jammin’ with Pete Burns behind my back.”

“Do you think he’ll be there?” She asked, squinting at the mirror., fluffing her naturally curly, blonde hair.

Pete Burns? I highly doubt it.” I teased. “Slightly rich taste for a good old North Side dance.”

“You know who I mean!” Her eyes widened, peeps of white speckling the muddy liner.  Do you think he’ll show?”

“Dunno…don’t care.” I sighed, hoping I sounded undoubtable.

The gymnasium was magically murky apart from the twinkle lights. They nodded and dipped as we walked under the archway and into the dance. The ceiling was flocked with pearly white balloons, their inflated heads and dangling strings reminding me of spermatozoa, compliments of elementary Sex-Ed.

Jess!” I turned to smirk about the balloons, but she was gone, running after Sharon who looked ready to burst with the latest breaking news on the dance shenanigans.

I started to follow her, but froze. I could see him, his head swinging back and forth in front of the stage. That was it…I was stuck, breathless.

I watched him through the packs of gyrating teens, spinning girl after girl.

Jess kept coming back, begging me to dance to all our favorites. My legs twitched, knowing I should be out there having fun, but my eyes were cemented, unable to break away from his chestnut hair and tanned skin.

Come on,” Jess whined. “The next song is the last and it’ll be a slow one. At least dance this one with me!”

I looked at her sparkly, ever-happy face and felt terrible. I’d been a total let down; the opposite of a best friend.

“Okay, I’m sorry,” I surrendered. “I don’t know why I’m wasting our night anyway.” Irritated with myself, I chiseled my stare, breaking it free.

Managing to conceal my dismay, I smiled and laughed as we bounced to Quiet Riot, my mind fleeting to the sperm-like balloons once again, as Jess hollered out; “Cum on feel the noise…”

As the song ended, Bradley Buchner hurried over to scoop her for the last number of the night.

“I’ll wait for you outside, Jess. It’s too hot in here,” I turned, but her nose was nuzzled in the crook of Bradley’s neck and Mrs. H was already hurrying over to separate them as I slunk away.

I punched the metal bar on the orange wooden door and my heart plunged into the pit of my stomach when I saw him sitting there on the steps. I wanted to slither back into the school, but he’d already heard me coming.

“Hey,” he said. “Where did you come from?”

“The gym. It was, uh, too hot in there. I needed some air.”

“You were in the gym?” he looked surprised.

“Um, yeah.” I said, looking down at my satin dress and patent pumps. Where did he think I’d been?

“Oh, yeah, I guess,” he looked away quickly. “It’s just that I was kind of keeping an eye out for you. I didn’t see you once.”

I had been hiding in the shadows, watching him all night, sabotaging my own chances of dancing with the boy I’d had a crush on for two years.

We sat silent on the cool concrete steps. Bonnie Tyler‘s echoey billows escaping the gym, drifting through the empty halls and out the door I’d left unguarded. Stars faintly twinkling behind the drooping, greyish white haze in the sky; the scene a ghost of the party inside.

I’d hidden; afraid he’d hurt me, but in the end, I’d taken care of that myself.

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I soared through my grade two piano exam with flying colors and dropped it the day the certificate arrived in the mail, never plunking another key.

I stem from a long line of Irish singers and entertainers and there are times I can belt one out like an angel, although, the next note from my mouth could send you running for the hills. Clearly, I didn’t join the clan, despite the fortitude of flatteries flowing from my mum.

I grew up listening to my parents’ Beatles, The Police, Clapton, Joplin, Dylan, Richards, Hook and Van Morrison; the tunes blaring from the four foot tall floor speakers as I toiled through chores; the melodies making the tasks somewhat less agonizing.

Overjoyed to induct their longstanding turntable atop my dainty dresser at twelve, my age and stage soon drew me away from their vinyls and bewitched me with pop radio, spurring endless calls to the local station to request Bryan AdamsHeaven.

Sleepy Saturday mornings saw my Dad and I devouring syrup soaked pancakes, butter-smothered toast and bacon, savory omelets with sizzling sausage all the while gorging on Celine Dion, The Rankins, Air Supply, Rita McNeil and Enya. Okay, it was a transitional time.

I cruised the strip with cavorting companions, consuming Sheena Easton, Pat Benatar, Whitney Houston, Van Halen, The Bangles and later, Queen, Yaz, The Cult, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, HoJo and Erasure.

I saw Purple Rain eight times and wished I could rock a Raspberry Beret

I ate pizza, painted my nails and tied lace ribbon in my hair while memorizing the lyrics to Crazy For You

My heart shattered, along with millions of other teens, as I croaked out Total Eclipse of the Heart alongside Bonnie Tyler, tears watering down my Coca-Cola float

As a young adult I guzzled U2, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Sinead O’Connor, Jewel and the Eurythmics while harboring some kind of twisted half crush on Michael Jackson.

Despite my ambiguous relationship with instrumentals, I’m an absolute sucker for a rock ‘em, sock ‘em voice. I don’t always have to fall in love with the song, the genre doesn’t always have to be up my alley and I don’t even have to like the singer.

Something about the voice can convert me. If it prickles my skin, stirs superfluous surges, ravages my mood or awakens my senses, I’m in, and I’ve never seemed to give a busted string what song everyone else is singing.

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There are those who were latchkey kids, kids who didn’t have the ‘right’ clothes, were bullied at school, friendless…kids that endured self-indulgent, monstrous parents.

Some who had it rough. Like, real rough. Dirt poor, beaten, sexually abused, neglected, starved…abandoned.

There are folks who were never shown an ounce of love. Not nurtured, not praised, not cared for, not raised.

There’s the temptation to think; if only we had…which brings us to the people who had a solid upbringing, unconditional love…money galore and chose to piss it all away on material possessions and self-abuse…early ending lives. Spoiled and severely unhappy, lonely, effed up, tragic humans.

Then there are individuals whose success, fame and wealth seem to lead to a balanced and gratified existence. An existence suffused with paying it forward.

The world is full of different kinds of people with different principles, morals and motives. What makes us what we are? What makes us what we become?

At the risk of a cliché, life is what we make of it. It really is. We can let our journey make us, break us, drag down or define us, but the path we walk is our choice and every day is a new dawn because the rest is still Unwritten

“I am unwritten

Can’t read my mind

I’m undefined

I’m just beginning

Pen’s in my hand

Ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you could not find

Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten” (Natasha Beddingfield)

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