Monday Keeps Repeating.

Yesterday was a busy day but also kinda like a Monday…It seems like we’ve had a lot of those. Restart..stop…start…stop. Get going…wait wait…hold up.

The Grinch stole like a week and a half or two easy.

I didn’t go home this holiday. I didn’t see too many personal friends. I didn’t even have Joe home. I had a month of working and being alone (not in a bad way) so I was thinking I would get SO much accomplished.

Noooope.

There would be days not planned out perfectly…ok, that’s on me. But some days buses I needed didn’t run at all where I needed them. And anyone who knows me knows I prefer public transport, biking, or walking. And I had Joe take the jeep to work rather than keeping it thinking I wouldn’t need it. LOL on me.

So that sorta set me back.

Second was the rain. A LOT of heavy drench your ass like a drowned rat real quick rain. The kind that didn’t matter if you had an umbrella, a raincoat, rain boots, and transportation to where you were going…you were going to get wet the second you opened a door.

Those days already make you want to stay in the house and warm up with socks and coffee for your work with the music of the rain warming your very soul. But also…there wasn’t a chance of getting around without being drenched. So…it actually set me back a little…only in some ways…since I DO have the great wide web at my fingertips, and a truck load worth of books to read through, not to mention so many essays ready to read, and my Nook, I was set. But in some terms…I was also still set back in doing some of what I needed to do in a location of limited time.

The third set back would be that, along with limited public transportation where I needed to go and when I needed to go there due to the holidays (and Sundays), e’rything else was also closed. Like Libraries, archives for city and history and black history locations I needed to go. And Museums where I was also doing research. So even had I been able to get there…that door would literally have been closed in my face. So…I am still not mad at my choices of public transportation by any means.

For photo’s I wanted to take, when it wasn’t raining, I was able to switch gears for a day or so pretty easily on that. Though for some locations I need I am super crazy behind. Thankfully Joe is on board to help me catch up after he comes home this week.

So then…ok, we make it through holidays and closings due to people being with their families. I can totally live with that. But there is also the government shutdown. This affects some of my research and archive locations among other. And if the Dems back down I will beat some ass because we already know we are only up against the man best known for backing his weak ass down. I mean, there is North Korea, Russia. Saudi Arabia. China. I think we can take him. I feel for those affected and I hope that due to this the Democrats will pick up some loose ends learned by it and create some change for that situation…it is something to put on the list. This shows some things that need change and help. but Trump is going into re-election. He won’t be able to keep the government shut down. The wall isn’t happening. No. And if we give in every financial period and every $5 billion dollars achieved is Trump getting his wall and every time he gets a little he is going to take more of it. Don’t. Give. It.

How about we clean up some Flint water…and by saying that I call out my Democrats to make that happen this year. If we end 2019 without that….I vote everyone out of office.

So…yeah…my only harm of the shut down being slowing down my research is definitely my privilege talking.

And every day keeps feeling like another Monday.

In so may ways.

There are a few other things which slowed me down…or seemed to speed time up…or both.

Yesterday was just. One. Of. Those. Days.

I made it out of my research to see the sunlight again. My eye’s swimming, words smearing, my head exploding. I breathed in the fresh air…raining, grey, but fresh.

I had plans for the rest of the day to hit some on foot research but I was suddenly not in the game. I sought out coffee but stumbled on fresh pressed juices instead. (So I made ONE right move for New Years healthy starts) and afterward I was still not feeling it so I wandered a moment trying to decide on going home. I didn’t want that. But I was in that total I didn’t know what I wanted mood.

I wandered into an antique shop and searched through file cabinets of old documents from closed up offices. Yes…this was my version of NOT researching. I bought a copy of a Maya Angelou book I’d have a copy of ages ago and didn’t now.

I pulled my camera out of it’s bag when the rain stopped turning my glasses into an even more blurred vision of the world and took photos in a garden. My spirits lifted a bit from my slightly grumbly mood…

I stopped to eat some food, realizing that at 4:pm that hadn’t happened at all and aside from a stomach of coffee and juices I was starving. Here I destroyed my smart new year start and eating habits. Lets just say on a rainy day fish and chips sounded way too right.

I  read my copy of another Jezmyn Ward book, of essays collected by many authors. I’ve kept this one in my camera bag a minute reading while waiting for buses and eating when out and about. And no, to the sir who asked, I don’t read while I eat alone to help my awkwardness of eating alone. I read when I am eating alone because I actually want to eat and read alone, thankyouverymuch.

I was triumphant when glancing at the news on my phone and the bartender recognized my uplift in mood…You look super happy” He said…”I am” I beamed. “Women just took a huge chunk of the world over today.” I sat amongst men in suits, one slightly miffed at my earlier rebuff. I bet someone thought “Fucking feminazi”.

Cup your balls, boys. We gonna be grabbing you by them and we women only have that gentle touch when we choose. I don’t think we will choose that coming up. You didn’t vote Hillary for her ball cracking…but instead you got over 100 women ready to do the job. And that is only counting Congress. There are many…many…many state seats and court seats filled as well. Many. Be careful, a women vengeance is fierce. A woman scorned is a force to be reckoned with. Many of us have felt scorned these past two years.

After my food and my delightful bartender, waitress, and chef, I moved on to deciding that my mood was lifting but that it still ultimate boost against all nature (and I do mean nature as she had a hand heavily in my mood). I chose to catch a viewing of Mary Poppins. And that did the trick. I mean the kid at the ticket counter’s genuine smile didn’t hurt. Nor his lack of judgement this early on in the new year to my pack of rolos and popcorn.

I walked out of the theater with a much lighter mood but deciding that I was totally destroying this day of health and feeding all of my “I feel the need to baby myself today” mood I stepped into a wood polished pub and ordered up a coffee and a warm rum bread pudding. I mean, if you are gonna have that day, girl, have that day.

After uberring home in the downpour that began I stayed up too late reading again but with the storm my pets cuddled hard next to me and we were all warm and dry and cozy. Going to sleep late or not, I woke up significantly in a less of a Monday Mood.

 

#IGetToBeGrumpySometimes

 

 

 

Writer On Vacation.

This is pretty much me on vacation. Being a writer never leaves you fully turned off….in a good way. Funny writer on Vacation scene.

Though I iPod language currently (French currently) , anything writers podcasts, etc. Political podcasts (Listening to Bernie at the moment even though I am not a Bernie fan) and TEDtalks as well as other along those lines while biking. Hiking I am more quiet, nature and music if any headphones at all, I always take time to listen to just nature.

Running I am music.

Music is an important part of the day. It does many things to the brain and to the spirit. Running is a good time for music for me, as well as cleaning, and cooking. I don’t write too often to music unless in a particular mood and place as well as focus. And I don’t read to music at all. But I love enjoying different types of music through out my day….typically anything from the 1920’s and jazz at dinner making and eating as well as during conversation going more mellow is always a good one. Running I need motivation and uplift and it’s a time for me to enjoy some fun music, it raises my spirits and helps me push farther.

When hiking I prefer a calm and meditative sound that put’s me into deep thought. I will write entire works in my head while hiking. At times, and even most times, I prefer no music at all and will take in the sound of nature, or the thoughts in my head.

When biking I like to learn, it keeps me from being bored, music and cycling don’t seem to totally mix for me, but the learning and listening really does.

When on “vacation” I don’t really work at all. It’s hard to do in an RV with Joe ready to go do something for the day…and really our days are usually pretty tourist jam packed, this coming trip we even have added our biking together (he found a bike!) and plan on A. Getting fit together, B. Quality time together not involving movies or tv. C. Exploring together by bike. D. Being more physically active this year while having fun (as in not through a gym or class but doing more fun entertaining activities).

I do keep up with emails (somewhat).

And I do end up jotting a notebook full of notes. I also read, catch up on my magazine and journal readings on my nook or in hard copy (I still have to read Texas Monthly hard copy, I have The Atlantic Yoga, wellness, Vegetarian, NYT news, New Yorker, Garden and Gun, and about ten other journals at a time, and about ten other magazines as well as about four newspapers running at a time (some just the Sunday and some daily) I also often have a book going on there, this vacation I will be reading a book started through Google when they began taking care of their employees health in alternative ways, I had come across the info several times but read about it in more depth in my Living Well on the Road by Linden Schaffer, the book this week on my nook I am ready to dive into is by Author Chade-Meng Tan and the book is Search Inside Yourself. I just finished the Linden Schaffer book and will be starting The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington after the Chen-Meng Tan book in those categories.

I’ll also have a novel to read (just finished In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri and Getting Naked for Money by Edie Jarolim and am starting A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and then Peaks on the Horizon by Charlie Carrol). Reading IS a part of being a writer. I defiantly look forward to some lazy hot afternoon time with a book in hand.

I always check out and update a bit on what is going on in the book world everyday, not just vacation but that continues. And I often spend a little time organizing on my laptop as well during vacation. So a little work still always happens.

Perhaps I’ll work/vacation with a Bloody Mary in hand.

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Book Talk: How we choose.

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As part of a writers toolbox (and just the plain reason of books) I must build a collection of readings, with a wide variety. Those in the genre I write, those that teach me, and those that allow for coloring outside the lines, thinking and experience outside my box. To know and understand (or at least seek to) that the world is much larger than me, is to grow that much more in my writing. And hopefully along the way, in my Self.

It is easy to get into a reading rut and not even know what to read outside of it. Standing in the middle of a bookstore during your Outside Of Your Box Mission can go from being a pleasurable thing to an overwhelming one. Even slightly embarrassing.

Today there are a lot of resources on providing ideas outside of the NYT Best Sellers List…or the Oprah Book Club. Websites like BookRiot & GoodReads provide many categorized lists to choose or get ideas from. (Nothing I like better than lists & Books except lists OF books)

My reading list for 2016, a big year on consciously thinking about what I would read ahead of time and not just in random. I not only read to read but read to write, building my writers toolbox IS a part of my job. But I also like to read for the Better Me, business (with years of working in the business and corporate world I love it as well as like to keep abreast of it, however it comes in handy when running my writing as a business rather than a pleasure) I even enjoy the world economics of it. Much of business and finance is the shaping of the world, as well as my life, my writing and my published works.

I read on a line of projects I have in the works or leading up to (as I work on one project there is always another happening) so 2016 reading had a lot involved in relationships of people (couples, friends, parental, so forth) as does Greek Mythology and Angels and Religion.

Once in awhile I simply want a novel that calms, soothes, relaxes, takes me away…much how a simple movie or tv show might do.
The feminist in me as well as the memoir lover brings me a few titles to my list in which also cover a lot in art and music. Even comedy.

And then there is forever the scholar in me, the always asking WHY three year old inside of me, sometimes fulfilling me with knowledge that unexpectedly shapes my life and my view of it. Always searching. Always learning. Seeking knowledge.

There is the traveler of other lands in imagination as well as in physical form. And other lands, other times, and others magic (I loved the Mists of Avalon years ago.)

There was a time way before even aged twenty-five when a dozen books of divorce got me through the emotional wreckage of my own first and young divorce, even if they didn’t help exactly, the seeking for it had.

The Burbank book club that I once organized and brought together many different people, mostly within the film and music business, many in documentary. The insight from others was eye opening.

I remember the summers of around age ten when my best friend/cousin and I would ride our bikes to the library, check out books on a subject and then go match it up, learn with them when walking through the big forestic park with a wide creek running through it. Birds, fish, tree’s and more. We learned how much more there was than the eye could see. Soaking up the knowledge from the books and making them real by seeking out and matching in real existence to the pages of the book. The saving of the ducks nest of eggs didn’t go over real well though.

There was my mothers handing me of Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, opening a whole world to me…the one of becoming a writer. Learning to draw on experience and life. And that not all experiences were wasted.

I now draw from a lot of the lists from websites mentioned above as well as magazines and sites like The Muse , Inc. Magazine  , Entreprenuer Magazine ,Forbes ,LinkedIn  and even from blogs, Twitter, and Instagram. Often I stumble upon something quite…jusr right.

With a year of Presidential elections, the always loved to read about it historian in me, has gone back to read books of and by past Presidents, world history, of wars, and economy and politics, slavery and laws, human rights in AID’s, gay, race, and women, women’s suffrage and more. And I seek at least one counter view of each.

I love reading about health and the human brain in medical and psychology terms. This type of reading has always been one of my ‘weird hobbies, always one to land on the list. Basically if it interests you…find a book about it to add to your list. If it’s something you would like to do, read about it, or about people who do it. If it’s something that affects you, read it, if it’s in the work that you do, read (for a writer this is about actual writing, editing, publishing, publishers, the world market of writing/books/writers/publishers, the how-to, other authors and everybodies say-so, the genre you write in. The books and authors you like and those you don’t to learn from and why you don’t like them. Topics written about in your writing, but also business, business economics, business management, marketing and sales. Even design. I read the 1st of Fifty Shades for a sort of essay on why it was so popular (I also had my years of teenaged experience of sneaking into my mothers old trashy paperback romances to compare to.)
When you read about a company who made a big marketing mistake…don’t scroll past that…stop and read and learn from the bad and the mistakes and the why it didn’t work and even sometimes what people are saying about it.
All things can be taken with a grain of salt, advice most so, but one has to read it all to know what is good and what is worthless. To read open minded is best to understand what to soak in and what to pass over.

I choose my writing more these days by the writers as artists now, since starting a career and path as a writer. And because I am big on supporting local arts and businesses, I make an effort to read local writers, which has been a very pleasant surprise . Somehow the Art of Writing still falls wayside the circle of Art, as a seperate when speaking Of The Arts. I try to be sure it is incuded. And the stumble across authors by Facebook .

I always seek out a walk through libraries on travels and Independnt Bookstores . I stroll through and find certain books on my list, buy one ‘by its cover’ and a few random at all times.

And the NYT BEST Sellers List still has effect.

What are ways that you choose what you read?

Mental Illness in the Arts. Waking for Awareness. Giving a Whisper a Louder Voice.

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Mental Illness and Art have combined long ago and grow stronger in giving a voice to those who suffer from Mental Illness of any kind. That voice is not only for those who hurt from it, but hurt near it as well. In giving a voice to something many people have treated as shameful for a long time it is causing an awareness that it is much more the norm, than it is not. And the voice has created a center stage on the horrible treatments recieved…or the very lack there of. A voice that is created because many children in schools suffer from it. Many people die from it. Many jobs are not being performed because of it. And many jails are full due to it. But also many people who live very normal lives and struggle with it every step of the way. And still have to whisper about it.

Shame should not be a part of the description of Mental Illness any longer. From the child on pills in your classroom to the mother suffering postpartum to the Veteran who has images they can’t get out of their heads to adults who carry tragedies of childhoods  and more. The brain is a weird and most misunderstood thing. We cannot control it as well as it can control us. But through awareness we can learn from it.

One such Mental Illness Awareness in Art is the Journal  The Painted Brain  which published my poem The Sadness (below) this past month. I wrote this a little over a year ago  after a time when someone’s depression reached me very closely.  This was soon after Robin Williams chose such a path of suicide. And this was after seven months being in a jail surrounded by nearly a thousand women in that time out of which maybe only two didn’t have a diagnosed mental illness. This was written while  listening to the music at the end of the movie GRAVITY (Esp Above The Earth by Steven Price .)

This comes knowing that Depression is hard. It is hard when you have it. It is hard when you know/love/are around those who have it. We try. We who stand in the non-depressed shoes don’t understand. But we try everything. We hold them, we cry with them, we watch over them, we care for them, we love them and sometimes their depression not only breaks them, but it breaks us, too.
This is a piece about how depression hurts. Not only does it hurt those who suffer from it, but also those who suffer from loving those with it. It’s hard. It’s hard for both sides. It’s hard feeling as if you’ve failed, with depression, or failed in loving someone with depression. It’s hard to live with when you don’t have the choice. It’s hard to live with when you do.

There are families torn apart when the person with depression chooses to leave this world, often believing in doing so to be ‘doing what is best for them’ that ‘life would be better without them in it.’ Because life has been so hard with them in it sometimes.

But this piece is about the utter suffering that, depression or no, suicide hurts them more. Yes, there is a hurt after suicide. There is an anger. And that gets a voice, too. In doing so, you give mental illness a voice.
I am an advocate of depression and mental illness awareness, care awareness, and families of those who are depressed and suffer mental illness awareness.
I know my writing is a tool of mine in life, not just a luxury or a hobby or a passion. But of awareness. Of conversation. This piece shows that it is not just one thing. One person whom it hurts. It shows an anger that people are afraid to feel, show…to admit.

But also the lack of understanding the depression at all.

It is about the ‘after’ of suicide. To see depression is to see it from all sides. To heal depression and mental illness is to open the eye’s of those who don’t have it, to make them aware.  This piece is about suicide. It is about loving someone who is depressed, loving someone commits suicide. It is about how those left behind feel after someone they love committed suicide.

It is a piece to show the pain on a hope to create the healing. Awareness isn’t only for those who are depressed to talk about, but also those who are not. We can’t expect the broken to be the ones who fix it. Not alone. And in America Mental Illness is something that needs help, from young children to aging adults. From the ‘functioning’ to those I’ve heard the wailing cry of in an isolated jail cell from, to the Veteran with PTSD.

This is only one of many writings and actions of mine now and to come in hopes of bringing awareness and hopefully because of it, healing. I hope that you enjoy the writing, but I hope that it moves you. Teaches you, opens an awareness in you. I truly suggest you turn on the soundtrack to GRAVITY, read this out loud. One day I would like to do this in recording but for now I leave it to be read. And if you didn’t cry, if your chest did not seize, I didn’t do my job.

The Sadness

Sometimes….sometimes there is such a deep sadness in a person and you just can’t reach them. You see the pain in their eye’s but you can’t fix it. You can not take it away. You can not help. But you feel them slipping away, out of your grasp. Slipping away from this very earth. Slipping into the scary quiet of space that is beyond your reach. Into a space with no oxygen, and you feel the need to breathe air for them. You hold your breath on their thoughts and you try to reach out to bring them back, back from a lonely quiet that exists in their minds. To wipe tears away from their eye’s, to embrace them and let them feel your love for them. Hoping that will save them.

But the more that you reach, the more out of reach they become. Until their fingers slowly slip from your grasp. Until their finger tips hover….for just a second… on yours. Before you’ve lost them into their empty, quiet, doom of space and your heart aches… because you try. You try so hard to bring them back to you but you can’t and you feel as if you’ve failed them and your heart breaks with their hurt but you….just..can’t…save them.

And you are standing in an empty field on earth looking up into the sky , imagining them in their space, out there, alone. In their sadness , they have left you alone, torn, your heart broken, and tried. But you failed…

Having given you so much love. Having tried so very hard to save you from slipping so fully away that when you did…that when you left….you took the last that they had in them with you and now they are left standing, bound on earth, alone…without their hearts left to let them go on.

In your hurt, you’ve hurt the person who loved you most. Who gave themselves to save you. And you aren’t there to wipe the single tear from their face or to give them your embrace.

Alone…

Which you fiercely feared most…

Now you are …

And alone, You have left them…

The brightness of the sun will consume them, and you…are still alone. Broken…Breaking…in the darkness of your space.


Other Mental Awareness in the Arts

The Monsters

Painted Brain

Mental Illness in Music

Mental Illness in Writing  and Books that talk opening about it.

 

 

To My Younger Self. Keep Dancing.

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In a  series of To My Younger Self these pictures came across my desk. And along with them, stories and memories, life and lessons.

One always speaks the phrase “If I knew then what I knew now” and we are frustrated when someone doesn’t take our advices, adult or child, even when it is advice given through a lesson already learned and we are trying to save another the trouble, the heartache, the road rash that the part of their journey is about to give them.

Upon my first divorce my best friend of my entire life, and also my cousin told me that she was not surprised. That she had literally seen my groom transform through the wedding itself. That little things that were really big things bugged her through our entire wedding weekend. I had asked why she had not told me, warned me of her thoughts and insight and she replied “but would you have listened?” That question is one I carry with me now.

I could not argue with that question. So though there is much I would tell my younger self, wish often that I could, I would likely not have seen the reason. Followed the advice.Or even heard the words.

An old friend sent me these pictures recently. I was young. I was somewhere under seventeen. Maybe as young as fifteen. That skinny could eat anything in the world and carried the world on her shoulders child. I was pretty much raised in that bar because of my mother. I was there almost every night and would see the next days light before reaching home. Often in our family feuding I never even saw home the next day. As gleefully and free flowing dancing without cares as I looked there, the dancing was one thing that kept me sane through this time of life. I had no choice basically but to be in that bar for all of the problems my family faced and for the way my mother chose to raise me. Don’t get me wrong, it really wasn’t all bad….but much of it was terrible.

Dancing and music was a way I could forget the rest of everything. I danced through my teens and my twenties for the most part, though my twenties were much more settled. And I danced sober. I was always sober, don’t get that mixed up, bar time spent or not…..I saw the unsober around me and swam through the fog of too many washed away lives.

What would I tell that one? Should she listen or not.

That it will get better. That life is easier than this. That the fighting is not the norm. That you are good for not drinking and swimming your life through that direction in the fog. That you will make a lot of mistakes but that you are avoiding many even when it doesn’t feel like it. But that the dancing is the right idea, just keep that up. And that terrible and embarrassing pictures will appear on social media from even before the time of social media’s existence. But the best thing is to just laugh and enjoy. Also that I need to wear that color more. And that I am glad that I am going in that direction with my hair again.

And it’s one life and it’s this life and it’s beautiful

 

In awe of Houston.

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I am off on other travels and experiences, but before doing so I had realized that in my time living back in Texas as an adult, rather than when I did as a child, and my six years on Galveston Island, I had not taken advantage fully of all the the big city of Houston had to offer.

When I first moved here I had been newly from many other travels after having left California. I had spent many days jumping on the metro bus system and letting it take me where it took me. I wandered all over Houston, exploring by myself. And yet I still never saw nearly at all what it had to offer. My favorite place was actually on the bus, people watching. People on the way to work, or tired after their day from it. I also explored the Down Town Houston Library. Bliss. And so very a place to visit. Museum like in its-self. Funny how public libraries are far from only stuffy shelves of books but often places in themselves a tourist attraction (Another reason to keep them open.) And always a place of learning and exploration.

 

I’d worked in Houston but my experience then was much of driving in traffic to and from work. Never something that makes a person fond of a busy city full of millions of people…doing the same thing, at about the same time. I had the chance to see inside a lot of beautiful homes, however, and the bliss of some of the architecture and design had me swooning. I then have spent years wrapped up in Galveston and recently decided to begin exploring Houston again before I left Galveston and Houston. I took my camera with me and foot to pavement or ride around usually as passenger with J as we let ourselves get lost and my camera often to my eye.

Enjoying many foods in Houston has been a fun thing, Galveston is pretty limited and there is much to explore in just the foods of Houston. Anthony Bourdain recently had much to say about Houston and what food cuture here teaches us, in Houstonia Magazine

My favorite go to for crunchy taco’s is still Taco’s A Go-Go, discovered years ago when up here for live music.

Which takes me to discuss the live music available in Houston. Aside from the amazing theaters they offer for music concerts, plays, dances, opera and more, the local live music scene here is hard to beat and not one to pass over.

Ellago Band

Wild Moccasins.

Two Star Symphony

And so many more. You can catch some great ones here.

But I also love the Museum Days and the days exploring the greenways, parks, gardens, and outdoors that this huge wide spread city has to offer. I’ve gone to many, spent hours tiring my feet out walking through them, and have yet to even begin touching on all that is available here.

The history of Houston, economics, and politics have always fascinated me. It is the home-base where my grandparents taught me of such things growing up. The first woman in office for me to ever know and learn about almost intimately was here, and also Houstons first female mayor, Kathryn Witmire. Not only did the decade of my birth bring Houstons first female Mayor, but also the first woman elected into any office in the city of Houston. A city built on oil….a good ol’ boys game. And women have played the game well ever since in creating the city of Houston into what it is today. One that goes far beyond the oil.

It is, a city of opportunity.

The city built on industry has turned into one now in the economy of some of the largest in multiple industries. The arts are hard to rival and between the arts, museums, music from rock to classic, big stage to local, foods, colleges, innovation, and melting pot of it all, this city has a lot to show you. Economy and industry are strong in too many fields to list. The Arts, Medical, Communications, Law, and so many that have nothing at all to do with oil, still a strong economy for us. Houston is a city that will never fold, never fail, never die.

So how could I leave before I had a chance to explore? To become reacquainted? to see the city that my grandparents had moved to? And the largest city near where I was raised during childhood with parents who had a love of museums?

I spent afternoons walking walking the streets, would turn each corner, stare up at the skyscrapers and revel at the architecture of such a new city, such a new place, one that sets perfect example of what can be started from very little or even nothing and beat all odds. And I am in awe.

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A Lady Talks Books: Playing The Bones.

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Type of Book: Novel
Author: Louise Redd

Playing The Bones.

Plume
1997

Why I picked up this book: In my quest for books about music, including fiction, all a part of my reading for pulling an old screenwrite project off the back burner, and it fell into my find of random books (I can’t remember where I got this one), this one somehow fell into my hands, second hand (Might have been Galveston Bookshop)) and signed by the author to it’s original owner, a sign that people really do purge their books. Now granted there are many books out there signed to me….over three thousand burned in a storage unit, another at least thousand went lord knows where from my ex-h, more turned to mush in a broken pipe flooding, and more lost still, though far less than any other time, when I went to “Tahiti,” but I have never actually been able to book purge. I suppose that I do have some floating out there that I lent and never got back (eh hem people.)

Personally I am a spine breaker, dog earer, note maker, marks all through out, and let’s not even talk about the highlighting. So I am usually more embarrassed than not in handing over my books. But each shows my love…each drop of soup or coffee or smear of turmeric or chocolate that the pages contain.

What was I talking about? Oh yes…the novel, Playing the Bones, by Louise Redd. A book about a woman who cheats on her fiancee with a jazz musician (and all the racial stuff that comes in a Texas town of white woman cheating on her white man with a black man stuff, too.) The book takes place in Houston…a delight I hadn’t known until until I began reading it. You could take a tour of H-Town through this book. Any other Houston or Texas placed books you can recommend?

Anyhow….

I’ll admit..the writing is very first novel (seriously I seem to attract these, or is it that honestly after an author survives the first they can’t bring themselves to write the second? We are’t all Stephen King, after all. Or is it that I like their first so much that I can’t bring myself for disappointment that can come in a second?) However, this author does have a second and I already placed my order.

Austin Chronicle  has a great review written up.
And the author is just that….opposite it seems of her character…and that…is hard to pull out of ones ass. We authors do write a character either as we see ourselves or as we wish we were to be, so sometimes being the opposite of our own self isn’t a far stretch for a writer…maybe…however. This brings me back to Stephen King…pondering…pondering.

In one way it’s one of those books written by a white woman who has no clue about the black man. In reading this I wonder if she’s ever even actually met one. Though on the other hand, I have met this exact same man, I swear to gawd. But then again it really hits one way/view/type very head on at the same time. Which is both good…and bad…and just up for grabs of haters, but brings different lines of conversation to the table. Love it or hate it.

She truly gets her own fiancee’s character so nail on the head that you really do know this guy. Sad as that may be.
Her characters relationship with her abusive mother just again fell into my daughter-mother relationship category as well and was…wow. Here, I suggest you read it for yourself.

Weirdly all very different entities:

The relationship in herself as a teacher/woman/therapy.

The relationship with her fiancee.

The relationship with her jazz singing lover.

And the relationship with her mother…

…are so incredibly vastly crisp and clearly different written without a single smudge yet brought together as in blue and yellow make green in this novel that I applaud the author on her abilities that so many authors get lost in.

Texas Monthly   has a fantastic little insight in a write up of the author on what being a writer is really like.

Getting lost in the city through her book really felt like home. Her story of the Rothkel Chapel is hilarious….especially when you know the Rothko Chapel.

Overall it’s a great book about…womanhood. The real life of it and the fucked up we can be, the sabotage of our own lives we often do, and the trying to find the path we belong on and the woman we are. I admit that at first I was all eye rolling on this book. A bit stereotypical, a bit fantasy not in a good way. More than a bit bold. But I ended up hooked to the end and fell fully in love last paragraph.

Explaining the mourn of Prince to my best friends pre-teen.

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HUGE icon of my upbringing and my life…So many songs have so much meaning and memory. You know how you can hear a song and it’s like you are re-living moments of your life? You remember how the light was, how the smell was, how the entire moment was? A lot of those songs hit like that.

Music is one of the worlds most powerful magic’s. Even more powerful than a book or a picture. Songs can make you feel happy or sad and even to crying tears of either or. A lot of memories wrapped up into music for me and Prince has a lot of those songs. Also someone I looked to in my own arts and being your own individual personality. So, it was a bit of a shock. I had just been planning to catch one last concert before he got any older.

I guess my grandmothers death didn’t surprise me, I cried a lot for sure and the smell of Dove soap or the sound of certain songs (Madam Butterfly there or singing of lullabies or the movie The King And I) throw me into a happy feel that also is sad at the same time when it comes to my grandmama.

I cried a LOT for your mom (Darla) , it surpised me, it wasn’t fair, she was too young and she had two young daughters who she wouldn’t get a chance to fight with as teenagers and all the hell she gave her mom she wouldn’t get the worlds payback of. I realized I hadn’t visted her in too long and had let way too much tme go by but that I would never hear her voice again for our long phone calls that never seemed like distance was between us and we picked up where we had left off so easily. She has a distinctive voice and a fun laugh so if I ever hear anyone sound like that I will totally cry just like hearing a Prince song can do for memories in my life.  So Prince might just be some singer to you, but he’s a large part of the soundtrack to my entire life to me. A lot of memories are wrapped up there. It’s like that when you see people mourn for Prince. It’s not about some singer. It’s about their memories like the pages in a photo album of their life.

Life Of A Writer: When you love your work.

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My work time this past six months has been on a 4 week on and 2 week off schedule and this past two weeks off has come to a close. As much as I love my vacation weeks and the fun that they bring….putting down the work and walking away from the desk (with grabbing a snag of it here and there). Days filled with museums and antique shops, bookstores and movies, lazy lounging in bed until dinner time, amazing meals out with cheers given in clinking glasses or cooked at home with music and laughter and kitchen dancing or choices from about 35 food trucks in a tree filled park. Twenty four hour road trips in a car with my love and not killing him,or him me, even after talking politics and views of the Government including the NAVY and Presidential Candidates and more, most of which we often in parts do NOT see eye to eye on, holding hands the entire way. Meeting family and having bottles of home made wine sent off with you and loved ones impulsed to feed feed and feed some more. Even helping in ways that leave your body aching in places you never imagined and not a complaint in the world but laughter over stories of it.
The threat to leave any article of clothing of his I loathe thrown out the window on the side of the Interstate. Seeing a painting by one I admire most, a tree who has lived a hundred years, an alligator longer than I am tall, Art Deco which is my favorite in all from architecture to jewelry. In fact, the largest area of it in all of the world. Vacation times of seeing eleven movies in eleven days in the theater and more money spent on popcorn than on this years clothing so far. Discovering Street Art, Art Galleries, art shows, art communities and artists in several different cities. Sail boats….ohhh the sail boats. The Docks we have walked and the sailboats we have researched. Enjoying music from hipster-eque to Kilt wearing to Latin Rumba to Reggae.
Christmas light touring and trying on funny hats, looking through old albums, walking around historic down towns of an island off the Gulf, the city that grew from oil, a different kind of Hollywood, and among historic art deco of the 1930’s,40’s,50’s. Ordering an Old Fashioned in a swanky bar and the female bartender telling me she is surprised I ordered it as it’s “Such a man’s drink” I tell her “Fitting, since I live in such a man’s world”, and on and on these vacations go….Truly a bliss every time.
But I also love my work and the last few days of each vacation I get geared up to return to my desk, to my work, to my writing and even, sadly, to saying farewell to J in his return to work as well. Our flexible lives have us working this type of schedule and capability. Me even working for that month from different locations from an island to the woods to a land of art deco and Latin music and more as the travels continue. I get a month to fully focus on my work and let it absorb me and this I look forward to, my mind turns to, and my excitement grows for it. In the morning I begin my next month. Today allowed my thoughts to organize. Tomorrow I sink into my work like my body into a dark pool. Like the coolness in the heat of a southern summer, it is my heaven. #AmWriting #Writer #Writing #MyWork #Passion #AWritersLife #Vacationsthatdontend

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Island Living: The Night-Life. Because she asked.

So, an old co-worker of mine from Houston is getting married here on the island and asked me where some good night spot’s for a wedding party would be. I sent her this. Also, when someone asks me anything….this is the type of book-long answer they typically get. Be warned, I come armed with information. Ask my opinion of something? Even worse. And so, I thought I’d share this information. One area of island life, spoken in the words of me to a friend. Without real opinion though, some of that can get ridiculous for a way too long of a read.

“Let me give you a list rundown with some info and you can go on from there depending on what you want. However the most fun is to park…and walk and visit a lot of fun location’s and also you really get more of the Galveston scene this way! The Strand and Down Town are all easy to hit…but all explanations below, including some flow idea.

1. Molly’s/OCB- two bars that open to each other, always end up with a bit of a different atmosphere on one side from the other. Which works since there is good flow. It is Irish Pub, offers two juke boxes, a pool table and a dart board for some fun. Full bar. Good selection and in a good fun spot because it’s on a corner of several options for some hopping so really the best fun for wedding parties(?) Just walk from one to the next. This really keeps things alive. Also this particular one, though it may not seem big, holds a lot of people. I’ve also seen as far as a group event example an unexpected family graduation party of about 25-35 come in and mingle with the already big crowd of regulars. The more the merrier. 2013 Postoffice St. (Across from the Grand) Street parking, free all over down town after 6. There is a paid parking lot a block up toward residential. Be sure to tell your party free parking at 6 because everybody gets confused (I heard it’s just free all the time now again but not sure about the latest since nobody in city council can make up their minds on smoking or parking so this is giving you some for sure info).

2. Two connected as one bars down….right across the street is another Irish Pub, O’Malley’s with a slightly different atmosphere. Also offering juke box, pool table and dart board as well as full bar, it’s smaller for more of that cozy feeling and a favorite of local’s, also serves sandwiches that are AMAZING for late night food. And cheap. Take advantage of fun with photo op’s against the big three stooges pictures on the back wall. (the fun par is too making picture’s a part of your walk-about, as you pass Alley’s and neat spots one can have a lot of fun and make a lot of memories.

3. On the corner from both of those location’s is Club 21…there you get a little swanky but seriously…I’ve had fun on the dance floor in some straight from cleaning a garage wear. We do everything casual island life here but we all are about making our fun happen. But they offer some amazing wine, cocktail selections, a little outdoor space to take a fresh air break and on weekends a fun band and dancing…also a lot of photo op in here with their Hollywood swanky cocktail lounge decor and feel. But really…who’s not up for a little hokey dancing? (Def not the young club scene but songs everybody has heard sort of thing, great too if you have a mixed age crowd) and the fun part? You can move on after just a song or two. I suggest the Chocolate martini here or the Meiomi Pino Nior.

Now we’ve played some pool, had a friendly dart competition, played the worst songs on the juke box you can find. Had some good drinks, took photo’s with the wedding crashing three stooges and danced in a Hollywood swanky place while sipping a delicious martini…it’s on to the next place.

Though you will likely pass by the bars along the way…there are as many as churches here (for anybody staying for penance on Sunday morning), and all are great for a quick stop in but might be a little too the same you just experienced (unless you want pizza at 2:AM, in which case stop at Murphy’s on the way back, located on 22nd Street and between the Down Town/Postoffice area and The Strand, where you are headed next.)

4. Head from Club 21 up 21st Street to the Strand. (Walk out of the door at 21 and turn left) You will pass Market St, then Mechanic St. and then meet the Strand and across the street catty corner slightly to your left will be Stuttgarden. Sometime’s a band…full bar, foods until late as well as an indoor and outdoor area. But the best of large nice and fun outdoor area’s (aside from one other we will be getting to) Again good fun atmosphere and a good spot to stop for a moment…big huge tables outside for your group and even some games and again with the photo’s. For the next set of locations, walk to the street entrance again and go down Strand turning right (facing away from Stuttgarden.)

7. Meet….The Strand. The truest of our Entertainment District. All the way to the opposite end (you left 21st and are now arriving first at Yaga’s if you want to stop in for some more clubbish atmosphere, No cover and fun for a quick dance though typiclly more crazy, crowded and tough to get a drink at the crowded bar.

8. Then on to the clump of venue’s at 24th street and Strand. The real Entertainment District continued. Ok, now you’ve walked enough blocks in high heels you might just hate me and be cursing me for all of it but…we islanders do just that all the time. If need be you can try and find closer parking but with a large party that can be hassle, or impossible altogether around the Strand. Or choose the description out of these all listed that works best for what you are looking for and just go straight to one place, or even just one area. But all in a clump here are enough places to really make up for it! In no particular order, (starting with address of Brew’s Brothers for address reference, 2404 Strand ST. 77550) Brew’s Brother’s. Known as the hispterest of hipster craft beer spot’s (beer/wine only), another late night food spot too…but get a ‘beeramisu’ to split! So good! Next door is Crow’s Catina….known for all the people watching and who care’s dancing usually with some fun but not great and always old covers band. If including in other location’s this one ends up being a good stopping point. Across the street is a country western spot (I think it’s still there) and then next door to that is a popular local spot (I haven’t been there though, even though it’s over a year old) called Patrick’s. Have no idea about them except people like it.

9. Now, if you want to go back to that Irish pub feel, with a LOT bigger space, also two atmosphere’s connected as one through a doorway, pool tables and juke boxes then you’ve got Murphy’s along the way back Down Town toward where you started (but going in a circle/square kind of way to give you options on the way).

10. Continuing back to your starting point (of 21st. and Postoffice) is also a place called The Proletariat. Totally depends on what’s going on that night and the time of event as well for what you will get there. I think it’s just and beer/wine bar.

Now, two other places in all of this area to consider. For earlier in the nigh…Friday ad Saturday offers free jazz in the lobby bar of the Treemont Hotel (look them up for time’s) which is located at 2300 Mechanic St. 77550. Upstairs from the Jazz in good weather is the Rooftop Bar…fun and swanky for the island but feel free to go casual…full bar and an amazing outdoor roof top view of all of Down Town Galveston, comfy chairs and all. I have seen big groups come up there but there may be a mix of sitting/standing room, though this will be wherever you go. Both place’s in the Treemont are for an earlier night, look them up and even call for times but I want to say music isn’t past 10 and the rooftop isn’t open past midnight. Though don’t quote me on that. If you DO start pre-dark hours…hit the rooftop for the most amazing sunset views. Really this might be your starting point for an earlier start and a sunset view over the island. Seriously…it’s way worth it. And again for the picture’s.

Another spot, located at 413 20th St, which is back where I started you in the 21s/Postoffice area, is Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe. Now sometimes there is a show. Sometimes there is only open-mic but Fri/Sat there is always something…timing typically isn’t true bar time and is about 9 to eleven or midnight. Also, sometimes there is a cover charge and sometimes there isn’t, depending on whatever. AND it’s ALL cash only (ATM’s are all around look up prior, there is a BOA, a JSC and a MOODY’s). And you can also look them up before hand to see who is playing…sometime’s they have the BEST and sometimes lord help us. Also sometime’s cover charge is free, sometime’s $6 bucks and sometimes like $30. So it’s a toss up. One other thing is it’s only beer/wine and not a large selection. This is a real cool place as a couple and an island gem but sometimes hard to please a whole crowd with.

And a fun place too (I wonder if they still have the photobooth, if they do AWESOME. and if you need a photobooth at your wedding, I know the hookup) is was 3rd Coast/now Krave (I think they changed their name) Gay Bar, often have Drag Show’s that are amazing, karaoke sometimes (call or look them up for details, I just saw they say they are closed but I see them open all the time), full bar at the corner of Postoffice and 25th Street, 2416 Posoffice (we are a grid so keep that in mind. A-Z, our leter streets also hold a second name such as Market St is D. and 1-3.)

Ok, also I didn’t send you to the Seawall but most can handle your crowd. There are several…one stop shop rather than ability to really walk from one to the next. But parking is a lot easier at all of them. The atmosphere at all of them are going to be beach/surfer. Feel free to check them out online for addresses. Hemingway’s, The Spot (a clump of a lot in one place, like all one building basically, all have different names but just look up The Spot it’s weird but fun), The Float and right behind it Beerfoot.

There would also be Buck’s back in the Down Town area for a country-western dancing place with a big dance floor for it.

Hope this help’s and feel free to ask further question’s but here are some name’s of the location’s you can also look up further and an idea of how an islander would do it. We like to bar-tour. (To be honest we do a lot of bike events and that is an option if you wanted to make a bike-bar night of it, however please use caution in night-riding and use proper bike riding etiquette of course and always always always watch out for the trolley tracks!

Now, if you also need day time island fun idea’s for the group….expect another, even longer, book of a response=)”