Tribute to a Great Man: 1951 – 2011 (No- Not Mr. Marley)

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The People Who Inform A Life

When you think about the most significant people in your life, the ones who have guided you to that Ah-Ha moment or have stepped in to save you from yourself or others, who comes to mind?  The typical answer would be family- mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, etc… Immediate family members.  But, in this day and age of television and internet and instant connectivity, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for everyone anymore.

My answer to this question would be first my mother- she raised me and guided my morals, so of course she would be number 1 on the list.  Other than that, as people go, my grandmother is a close number 2, but after that there are a series of moments with people that strike me as pivotal, but these are only moments.  For example- the day that my second grade teacher, Mrs. Collazo at Eli Whitney Elementary School in Stratford Connecticut told me that I was a good writer, or the day that my mother’s secretary, who’d lived with us for nearly a decade, told her that I’d taken the car out when I was 15.  There is also the day that I found a used book at a garage sale and wanted to give my elderly neighbors a present, but was chastised because I have given them a copy of Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Sets’- I still don’t see why they were so angry about that one.

The day that my childhood pet seized and died in my arms is tied in my memory with the day that my mother told me she and my step-father of 22 years were getting divorced.  This is closely followed by the day that my ex-step father told me that if I wanted a relationship with him to continue I would need to be the one who put all of the effort into making that happen.  The painful things are of course the most vivid and most easily remembered and I do have to force myself to try and think of the positive moments.

I’m not sure if this is a memory or not, I’m not so clear on my memories before I was about 8 or 9 years old, but I have the image in my head of a day where my brother, mother, step-father, and I went to an apple orchard in Connecticut and picked a ridiculous number of apples.  I can still smell the late 80’s, yuppie leather scent, of my mother’s tan suede jacket and feel the stripes Land’s End cotton turtleneck, that I was wearing under an LL Bean sweater, wrapping around my throat.  My brother was wearing his stone washed denim jacket with the Def Leopard and the Guns and Roses patches on it.  I’m not too sure what about that day keeps the memory so firmly planted in my mind, but it is comforting.  My family, at one point, had been happy and had enjoyed each other.  The second part of that is where I’m a little fuzzy, but I know that later on in that day, my mother and I spent the afternoon making cinnamon applesauce with our haul of apples.  To this day, I get a warm feeling that is so full of love when I smell warm, freshly cooking cinnamon applesauce, but it’s now twinged a little with regret.  That is the reality of age, hind sight is always 20/20, but sometimes it is nicer to live the lie.

More recently, I’ve got so many loving memories that I’m grateful for.  My mother is still a key figure, but my brother and I have gotten much closer and I’ve been able to reconnect with my father, though my ex-step-father is now out of the picture.  My friends have become my family- hell, I’ve moved in with one of them and they were only too happy to help!  How often do you hear people making that offer and truly meaning that they don’t have any stipulations to go along with it?  Mrs. Batty, Deandona, Red, Mango, Ans, et al- I am feeling very sentimental and am sending out lots of love because you are truly the people who have informed the most important parts of my life.

The Beginning: Tearmann Springs

The first name by which they were known was the taker of life, the second name, the bringer of life.  An energy that was not created, but simply is.  In the concussion of the big bang they were many, but now they are spread across the vast expanse of the ever growing universe.  Some have found their home, upon this blue planet, to which they rode on meteors and comets- landing in a plume of fire and rock and melting into the newly forming sphere, finding little nooks and crevices from which to watch the evolution of the tiny organisms that surrounded them.  Slowly, at first, as if viewing a Petri Dish growing bacteria, Man evolved from Protozoa to Algae to Plants to Animals before their sight, their energy seeping into all that surrounded them on the young planet.  The Energies saw that the new creatures made choices that either ensured their survival or their demise and they took a greater interest in these beings.

The planet continued to evolve and they grew more attached to each grain of sand and drop of water within its atmosphere until those that had once come from across the universe no longer remembered anything other than the planet and the home within its’ crust that had surrounded and bonded with it.  Though small creatures at first, with the melding of the Energies and the planet, evolved more complex life, spurred by its own life and tied to its own survival, for the Energies were not immortal, they simply were.  They could not be created and they could not be destroyed, but they could be changed irrevocably severing them from the comfort of their new home.

These new creatures came to be known as Man.  Man was the only being that concerned the Energies for the other life on the planet instinctually heard their calls and knew that the balance of all things was crucial, but Man, it could not hear or did not listen.  At first, these creatures did not harm the planet and a few were even able to hear the Energies calls to maintain the balance, but then they multiplied.  The more Man spread across the world, the less they listened until the Energies could take no more.  They came together in one great thought to call out to Man, to plead with them to stop, to change their path before all was destroyed, but the Energies were no longer strong enough.  So much of their strength had seeped into the planet that they could no longer leave had they wanted to.  But, man did hear them- only a few at first and with each new generation came more with open hearts and open minds.

The Energies found that Man, with all of their flaws had the capacity to change and grow just as the simple creatures had at the beginning.  They fell in love with man and found that they could see into this simple creature’s heart and know its mind.  Some of the Energies, tucked in their deep, safe homes even dared to make claims to certain Men above all of the other Energies.  And so began the call of the Source, for as Man was being watched, they too were seeing that the Energies existed and ruled the world around them.  Early on, they’d been mistaken for Gods, but as more generations grew more attuned to their Source, these men and women, these witches, also grew more bonded to each other.

The hearts of Man are not always pure and they have discovered that to merge one Source with its brother would make them stronger and now, there are men who desire to merge all of the Energies into one so that they and only they would wield the power.  These are dark days, but remember- the Source sees what is in the hearts of Men and there are those who will fight to maintain the balance of the world.

Redemption?

I’ve awoken in a very introspective mood this morning and as I sat, cigarette in hand, watching the forest in my new back yard glisten in the morning sunlight.  I began to ponder the idea of redemption.  Maybe it was just that ‘Nostradamus 2012’ was playing on the history channel as I sipped my coffee.  I pose the age old question to you- can a person be redeemed?  What qualifies as an act in need of redemption?

This idea always gets wrapped up in the saying that you shouldn’t regret what you’ve done because it has led you to who you are at that moment, but it’s human nature to regret.  I also agree with the saying that if you can find a person without regrets, then you will find a person who has not lived.  What is it that would qualify me for redemption for my past wrongs and is there something that I’ve done which was so wrong that I’d need an incredible amount of forgiveness?

We moved around a bit as I was growing up and I will say that I was an awkward, fat and angry child who didn’t feel secure anywhere.  So, of course I lashed out and I’m sure that I was just unforgivably mean to a lot of people.  That being said, I never intentionally hurt anyone.  I’ve always been a big mouth with a delayed edit button (I have made GREAT strides with correcting that) and I will say something that just comes out very wrong or very hurtful to others, when the intention was nothing of the sort.  It was actually pointed out to me by a dear friend that the majority of the most important relationships of my current life began with immense hatred on their end.  My sister from another mother, Mrs. Batty, despised me for nearly 3 months when we first met because I was that person in the back of the classroom who couldn’t hold back laughter as she, the over-achiever, showed up for her first day of college in a portable classroom with the LOUDEST hiccups I’d ever heard.  It was funny, and we laugh about it now, but it took a while for her to warm up to me.

A former co-worker of mine couldn’t stand me when we first started working together, not only because she started as my boss, but because I am the kind of employee who always has ideas, for better or worse.  She was irritated by me for months!  Then, she got to know me and understand that I had no agenda, except to do my job to the best of my ability.  I suspect that there was a realization that I was also no threat to her current position and that helped her to warm up just a bit more.

In the same respect, many of the relationships that I’ve had that started out with rainbows and flowers and happy-happy, have turned out to be some of the worst of my life.  A former college room mate who decided that it was a fantastic idea to sleep with my guy and then tell me to get over it- that one didn’t work out so well.  The girl from elementary school in New Jersey who was my best friend at the time telling me that I had no right to comment about messed up lives because I was the one who had no friends- you can see where this is going.

The idea of redemption might also speak more truly to fighting for what we want.  There is a level of dishonor implied when you think about something you’ve done wrong and to be redeemed, you must try, must fight, to raise your status to good instead of bad.  The act of apologizing is one of the few things that every person can do if they feel this way.  There are many apologies that I know I need to make, but they somehow seem pointless.  I would be apologizing to the children of my mothers old boss for being a raging bitch the last time I saw them when I was 15.  Regardless of why, and I promise there is always a reason, just not one that matters to others, I was rude and it was unfair.  This is probably why Catholics have confession- to unburden themselves from the mean and petty things along with the egregiously wrong things that they’ve done.  I almost don’t want to be forgive.  It somehow seems to condone an act or behavior that I don’t want to continue.  To feel forgiven would mean that if I repeat the action, I could brush off the consequences and that does seem wrong to me.  Forgiveness does not mean that it has been forgotten.

Either way, this is probably one of my more useless digressions.  I shall continue to crochet the afghan I’m making for my new roomies and listen to their chocolate lab snore on the couch next to me as the day continues to be beautiful and I think happy thoughts 🙂

Haters Gonna Hate

The Brother and Sister Team

Piper "aka Houdini" and Leo

So, it’s been an interesting day.  First- one of my cats decided to pull a Houdini and disappeared, second- in my attempt to lure her out I spent WAY too much time surfing the internet.  I really should apologize to one guy for reading through his entire blog and posting random (semi-mean, but meant jokingly) comments on his posts.  Though, I don’t feel too bad as it’s a celebrity blog and I highly doubt that he’ll even read them and or care/notice my little snarks.  My new roommate was being bored as I regaled her with the contents of my day and pointed out that I was being a hater to that guy.  I admit- I kinda was, but I also fully admit that I’m a fan and as already mentioned don’t think he’ll be in anyway effected by my dorkiness.

BUT!  As these comments tend to do- it got me thinking, what is the difference between a negative person (ie- haters) and a realistic person?  Is there a difference?  I’ve always viewed these as two different things, but there have been many moments where I felt that I was being a realist and my mother called me a pessimist.  Is it truly projecting negativity if you have solid evidence that you will fail at something?  When the main component is not self-doubt or fear is it negative to say, well, I don’t think that I have a very good chance at succeeding in that venture?

My illustrious experiences (ok, so I’m only 30, but!) have led me to the conclusion that I am a champion at failure.  I don’t just fail- I do it with flair 😉  Alternately, I have been told that being too open about your own flaws and weaknesses is also not a good thing, but I just can’t bring myself to lie about things like that- it’s a little pointless.  I have, however, learned the very hard lesson that for the most part- people in the real world don’t actually care what you have to say- they want to hear how you will advance their point of view.  There are exceptions to this, but I will generalize on that statement (and you know who you are…).

That’s one reason why I love my cats.  They will tell you when they want something, they will leave you alone if they don’t, as long as you clean the litter box you won’t have any issues with that (and yes there are always exceptions), but they will tell you when they want affection and they will make clear when they do not- they are complex, but they are ever so much simpler than people.  I don’t think that I have any great insight into this one tonight, but I wanted to get it down before I’d forgotten.

The Lost Son of Tearmann Springs

The echo of 300,000 screaming fans filled the hallway as Trent made his way to the dressing room.  The crush of people always amazed him, but after 10 years of touring and recording, he’d resigned himself to the realities of fame- people will always want more of you than you are willing to give.  The assistant that the venue had assigned him opened the door and a blond woman wearing tight leather pants with a mesh tank top stood, smiling from ear to ear.

“Trent?  Hi, my name is Jeanine- I’m with Rolling Stone,” she said.

“Didn’t Bill call you and say no interviews?” he asked.

“Yes, he did, but-,” he held up a hand to stop her.

“Then what about that was unclear?” he had turned to face her, his piercing blue eyes locked onto hers.  She shrank back a bit, but held her ground.

“I thought that you might reconsider if I showed up personally.  Our readers want to know more about you- about growing up in Louisiana and the band’s future and about your fans.  We should really get you on the cover soon, before the human pyramid stunt that those kids pulled off in Paris is old news,” Trent sighed, he had already seen the outcome of this interview.  His profile would increase by 100 percent and he would then be on Sam Hain’s radar.  The moment he’d worked toward since he’d left the God-forsaken town of Tearmann Springs and he couldn’t take it.  His movie career had been put on hold for the same reason- had he taken that A-List role, Sam Hain would have known.  He silently cursed the nagging loyalty that he still felt toward his home town, even now, long after his parents had passed.

“Jeanine- it’s not going to happen,” he said, softly and with a million dollar smile that he knew from experience would charm the panties off of any woman, “Call Bill and we can reschedule, but I have somewhere to be.”

The eager assistant, who’d been standing in the door watching this scene unfold, ushered the reporter from the room.  A couple of minutes passed before the door opened once more.  Trent could see in the mirror that this was the one person he’d wanted to see for months, whose presence was not a good thing.

“Shawn,” he nodded into the mirror and continued to wipe his face.

“Trent,” Shawn replied, “How are things?”

“What do you want, Donovan?” Trent asked.

“You know very well why I’m here.  How could you release that album?  I thought that we’d come to an agreement about this 6 months ago,” he was now sitting on the couch across from the vanity and speaking to Trent’s reflection, “Why do you want to expose us so badly?”

“Expose what?  Tearmann Springs?  That backward town lives in a self-imposed exile that is ridiculous!” Trent’s face was flushed with anger, “Every time I seem to have something incredible happening, why is it that you show up and tell me that I can’t- what the hell should I care if you don’t want me to write any songs about my visions?  They are mine and they’re good songs!”

“Are you not concerned about your own safety?  You have millions of obsessed teenagers following you around the world.  Do you not think that maybe you’re putting more than just creative energy into your songs?  Do you ever wonder what will happen if the magic goes wrong?  You could end up tied to a chair by some insane girl or boy who feels that you and they have a true connection,” Shawn asked.

“That only happened once, Shawn, and the cops found me.  The girl was fine- the Crone out in Phoenix was able to cleanse her and she went back to her life,” Trent said, “Why are you so sure that Sam Hain is looking for me?  I’ve never had any dealings with them and I’m sure that they’ve got plenty of seer’s on staff- they don’t need me.  Anyway, I’ve done what you and Amelia have asked.  All of my bio information still says that I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with an entire life that I didn’t live.  Nobody will know that I’m lying.”

“I know that you’re lying.  Your songs are getting too specific, Trent.  We don’t want to ask you to give up your life, but if they realize who you are and what you can do, then you’ve just given them a map of the battlefield and we need that as a tactical advantage,” Shawn replied.

“What are you talking about?  If my songs are your only tactical advantage, then you should think of surrendering now.  Why are you even seriously thinking about this?  A magical war in the 21st Century- it sounds like the plot of a bad fantasy novel,” Trent spun to look Shawn directly in the face, “What is this really about?”

“I wouldn’t want you to worry your pretty face about it- it may give you wrinkles,” Shawn replied, “What did that guy on the talk show say- ‘the most beautiful man’ he’d ever met?”

“Screw you.  Get out,” Trent said.

“Okay.  Here’s the deal, Trent- You know that you always have a home in Tearmann Springs, but if you want to stay out of this battle, then you need to lower your profile.  Maybe it’s time to take a hiatus from Music and Films- Go to an Ashram, the New Delhi Area has a few that are sympathetic to our beliefs in anonymity.  Whatever you do, don’t make enough noise to attract Sam Hains attention or that little prophecy you had 20 years ago will be coming true,” Shawn stood to leave.

“You know damned well that the prophecy is the reason that I can’t come home, Donovan.  It was a vision of Riordan McCluskey slitting my throat as a human sacrifice in Tearmann Springs.  I’m not going back, so we can be sure that it won’t happen,” Trent wasn’t as sure of his own reasoning as he’d wanted to sound.

“They have their ways, just be careful,” Shawn said, nodding as he closed the dressing room door.  Trent turned back to the mirror and stared at his own face.  He’d run from his own death so long ago that it hadn’t dawned on him how he might have been running straight toward it the entire time.

To read part 2- click here!