Panorama of San Bernardino

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Music Girl

I just completed a ten best albums challenge on Facebook. Some might not take it so seriously, waking up at two in the morning debating what to post next, but they are not me.

What I realized through the experience is how much music truly defines me. I am humming a Sex Pistols song as I write this.

There are two kinds of people, music people and non music people. My mom and I are both music people although she leans toward Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Elvis and I lean toward The Smiths, The Cure and Buzzcocks.

Both of us start tapping our feet whenever music comes on. Seriously, my mom will just start dancing like a maniac should you play her favorite music loud and long enough (the louder the better because she is a little hard of hearing although she will not admit it). We took a three day cruise once and went dancing at the little bar on the ship that had a cover band. The band played a 50s song (what my mom calls "real rock and roll") and she started twisting so hard I thought she might break a hip.

My dad was a music person too. He loved country. He indoctrinated me by making me listen to Patsy Cline on repeat at a young age and my first concert was Loretta Lynn at nine at the Pomona Fair.

At the bar my dad owned during my teenage years, he would only have country on the jukebox: The Oak Ridge Boys, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and of course, Waylon Jennings. I remember my sisters and I begging him to put the Go-Gos on the jukebox. Dad hemmed and hawed

Then, one day we came in on a weekend to clean the bar and there it was. The little card with "Our Lips Are Sealed" and the B side was "This Town". It was there. Like magic.

"Dad, give me a quarter!" I screamed. My poor dad had to listen to those two songs on repeat that whole day.

I remember my first U2 album ("War"), my favorite 45 (Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself"), my "Grease" soundtrack 8 Track that Dad would play in this pickup truck for me, and the first time I heard a Smiths' song ("This Charming Man").

I can remember every concert from high school, what it felt like, what it smelled like, what I drank. There are too many to count. Pixies, Replacements, The Smiths, Siouxsie, The Church, The Smithereens, X and many more.

If I close my eyes, I can see my Sid Vicious and Bono posters on the wall of my bedroom. Then I can look around and see my Pee Chee folder with the Smiths and Cure in cursive in purple marker. Music triggers memories for me.

Just call me the music girl. Now go listen to your favorite song and hum along.

Friday, April 6, 2018

another day

Up at six a.m., and I think why can’t I ever sleep in? My feet hurt, my back aches, and my stomach is upset. Is this life at forty something? Aches, pains and melancholy?

What happened to joy? What happened to sitting outside and watching the sun rise? Instead, my mornings are punctuated by a list of tasks.

Wake up. Coffee. Let dogs out. Give one shih tzu his joint medicine in a piece of ham. Feed both shih tzus wet food, one by hand. Wash hands. Fill water dispenser on coffee maker and refill water pitcher that distills water. Walk dogs. Grab poop bags. Make sure the dogs poop. Always pick up said poop.

Take dogs home. Give them treats. Fold laundry. Wipe down counters. Take out trash bag which is always full. Go upstairs and take a quick shower and pray I have have clean underwear. Next, get dressed. Make breakfast: peanut butter and butter on toast with banana. Realize there is no banana left. Must go to store on way home. More coffee.

Get in car. Drive to work on 215 South. Vacillate from CNN to New Wave. Settle for Replacements set list on Spotify. Sing aloud in car. Roll down windows. Put music louder. Turn it down. Park and do makeup in car. Sing along to Kiss Me On The Bus.

Try to smile. Remind myself to stop wishing that I had a kid to drop off at school. Cry in car. Fix smudged eyeliner.

Walk to court and face the day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Focus pocus

People often ask me how I find time to write. But for me, writing is a kind of salve to my life. Whenever I am struggling with anxiety, it helps me to write. Whether it’s a mere sentence, an essay or a story, writing is helpful in giving me perspective. In some ways, writing has helped me become a better person, wife and daughter.

I’ve said this before, but the me on the page is at times, the “real” me and at times the me I want or aim to be.

Writing is not easy and you must focus on it to better your craft. This year, I made a pledge to rededicate myself to my writing after a year of frustrating stagnation. And, it worked. Just writing the words down seemed to create a kind of magic, as if the words created the reality. By stating my intent aloud, that I was to be a writer and focus on writing, the universe seemed to hear and respond with great opportunities. Within 4 months, I had an essay accepted to a magazine, I read at AWP (the largest writer’s conference), had two pieces accepted into an anthology and was just accepted to Macando, the most prestigious Chicano writing workshop in the United States.

Now, note that some of these irons were in the fire before I made my statement of intent to focus on my writing, such as the AWP reading and the anthology submissions. But, the Macondo application and the magazine essay were things I applied or pitched to after I made my proclamation.

What I am trying to say is that words do matter, and so do your actions. Taken together, they can create more than you ever dreamed of. Writing is witchcraft in a way and this witchypoo writer is here to stay.