Has anyone ever written anything for you?

EBAY 6 003

Funny how one thing leads to another.

I was out doing errands this morning when a Stevie Nicks song came on the radio. I didn’t get a chance to hear all of it, so I marked my mental “to do” list to go home and to look up the song so that I could see if I wanted to learn how to play it.

I never made it to  the song on the radio because the title of another one of her songs caught my eye, one I’d never before heard—“Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You.”

One of the verses goes like this:

“Has anyone ever given anything to you
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it’s all I ever do
This is your song”

The song isn’t written in what I call a standard format, but it ends with these lines:

“So, if not for me, then
Do it for yourself
If not for me then
Do it for the world”

Of course, I looked up the lyrics and listened to the song. I could barely breathe as the song was so hauntingly beautiful. And, as I always do whenever I hear a song that moves me, I researched it. I can’t verify the facts because I haven’t talked to Stevie herself, but supposedly the liner notes from her TimeSpace explains her inspiration :

Stevie had just finished a gig and then walked into a party at the hotel where she was staying. She saw this guy from across the room and immediately fell in love (something she does not / did not believe possible):

No, it wasn’t Lindsey Buckingham. It was Joe Walsh.

He held out his arms to her, and she walked right into them. Two days later he took her for drive in the mountains of Colorado to a “magical park” where he used to take his little girl. Joe had a special connection with his daughter, a connection that only a parent understands, a connection that can only be experienced, not transformed into words on paper. I suppose Joe felt totally vulnerable and REAL around her because she was so pure, so innocent. Her only complaint in life was that she was too little to reach the water fountain in the park.

This story is sad because this sweet little being he loved so much, the one he could truly connect with, died. I don’t know how. Joe’s heart must have ached for her. In dealing with his grief, he built a fountain for her and all the others too little to reach “it.” And Joe wrote a song for her, titled “Song for Emma.” Here are a few of the words:

“There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the sky
As if someone is watching
Someone hears every word

We are filled with regrets
It was such a short time
But we told Him we loved you
Hoping somehow He heard
We hoped He heard”

As the story goes, Stevie was so moved by what Joe told her on their drive and during the visit to the park that she wrote the song “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” for Joe.

And for this reason, I feel a connection with Joe Walsh and Stevie Nicks. We’re all seeking relief, love, and answers. We look in different places, but we all look. You look. The person in line with you at the grocery story is looking. It doesn’t matter what sins or troubles he or she wears. The person is looking, seeking, needing.

I am a writer of songs. I know that what I write is for myself, not for a commercial market. Writing helps me digest life experiences and gives them meaning in my world.

I am a collector. I don’t collect fine things that cost a lot of money. I collect things that remind me of people and the experiences I’ve encountered.

Today’s journey through song was quite serendipitous for me. Only by chance, or better yet, God’s design, did everything line up at just the right time, just the right moment, so that I would do the research, hear the song, discover the meaning, and remember, the wonderful experience I had talking with Joe Walsh about one of his songs he wrote—inspired by his music hero, Jimi Hendrix.

Isn’t it amazing how we’re all connected in one way or another? The experiences. The songs. The journeys. The inspiration. The meaning our experiences bring to our lives.

There is dire conflict in the media today, such a clash between religion and beliefs and tolerance and intolerance.

God created each one of us and gave us the freedom to choose. We can’t force people to love us, and who would want a relationship with someone forced to love us? Do we expect God to want anything less?

Just because people don’t love us doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Right? You can’t stop love. God still loves people who don’t love Him. So why do we spend all of our time yakking about the sins of somebody else when we’ve got enough troubles of our own? Is God not big enough to handle the situation? He knows why they (we) do what they (we) do.

But what do I know?

God created each one of us, and each one of us has a purpose. We choose our own destiny. But God’s plan is always fulfilled. He orchestrates all lives so beautifully that a grand purpose is accomplished. I can’t explain it. I can’t comprehend it. But I can feel it. And write about it—in a blog , in a book, or in a song.

So thank you, God, that I was able to connect with a couple of human beings through song this morning. We may not think the same way, we may not share the same talent, we may not share the same beliefs, but I know You are pretty proud of them and of me too even when we break Your heart.

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Mo liosta buicéad

journey

This is NOT my typical blog, but my friend Mary has done gone and inspired me to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life.

If you haven’t read Mary Todd’s writing, visit her Facebook page and read her notes. She is a local celebrity. She travels the county on foot, inspiring people, expounding wisdom, collecting pennies and other treasures, and plotting world takeovers. She carries a walking stick with a troll attached. The troll’s name is Martha. Martha is trouble. You have to watch out for Martha.

Mary is my twin of another mother. She says she’s the bad one and I’m the good. But in the words of Shawn Spencer, “I’ve heard it both ways.”

Mary recently shared her Bucket List on Facebook, and I decided to compare hers to mine. Then I realized I don’t have one.

I do now. Thanks, Mary. Readers, whoever you may be, feel free to share your thoughts too. I challenge you to make your own list. Every life should have purpose.

MY BUCKET LIST afraid

  1. Go to Ireland for an extended stay.
  2. Meet Little Richard and tell him about my book.
  3. Have a real conversation with Steven Tyler. (And, no, I DO NOT lust after Steven Tyler nor anyone else for that matter. Sheesh, do I get tired of telling people this.) I happen to think there is a part of Steven Tyler that comprehends a part of the human soul that most people don’t, and I should like to speak with him about this matter. (I understand what this means even if I can’t explain it. God knows.)
  4. Write a minimum of five books, not all YA. All five unfinished books are floating in my brain. I have to get them out.
  5. See at least one of them published.
  6. Open a live music venue.
  7. Run an online vintage, boho, gypsy spirit clothing boutique.
  8. Organize a local writers’ group.
  9. Live healthy inside and out. (I understand what this means even if I can’t explain it. God knows.)
  10. Buy a camper and camp. A lot.
  11. Play guitar as well as I want to. (At least now I know what I need to do to achieve the goal. I finally “get” it. Don’t ask me to play for you now. Wait a little while. THEN I can play for you.)

As Porky Pig would say, “Ble, ble, ble, that’s all folks!”

intuition

Normal is just a setting on the washing machine

shoes

My journalism students start their staff meetings with a staff “check up” to see how everybody is doing. The emotion meter runs the spectrum. High. Low. Explosive. You name it. Typically, one wants to punch something, another is holding back tears, somebody is always hungry. The lone freshman enters the room in shock. Her innocence has once again put through the test. One week she witnessed the first kid her age sporting a beard. Another week she saw a kid her age who’s pregnant– not the same kid, by the way. She was dismayed.

We may be an odd bunch, but we’re TRYING to work together as a team. We’re not perfect. We’re small in number and big on learning respect and tolerance–at least that’s the goal. And not one of us is “right.” (You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I’ve heard from them–and they’re heard from me.) We are so DIFFERENT!

One of my guys summed up our cozy little staff by quoting one of his mom’s favorite sayings: Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.

Ya know, wouldn’t that make a cool title for a book?

And so apropros. I’m sure if you’ve been to this blog at all you’re sick of hearing about my writing whoas, but I am on a quest for publication. I have been for years. I was sidetracked after the death of both of my parents, and I haven’t been able to get rolling again, but I will. My published writer friends tell me to be patient. I’m trying.

Maybe I’ll run into Little Richard. I have a character based on him in one of my books. Maybe he’ll read it. Maybe he’ll like it. Maybe he’ll like it a lot. Maybe he’ll introduce me to an editor who can’t wait to publish it. And my chances of that happening? Ummm hmmmm. Again, I’m not what you’d call “right.”

I’m doing a bit of “remodeling” at my home. While moving things around, I discovered a Beth Moore book I bought quite some time ago, but the timing of me finding it was perfect, serendipitous, if you will. It’s all about insecurity.

I snuggled under a blanket and read, read, read, soaking up all of her wisdom. Wow. Beth Moore feels insecure too? Maybe I’m not so different after all. (And, hey, Friend Who Sent Me a Message Last Night Confessing Your Bout with Insecurity, again the timing is right. I will let you read the book. But you aren’t so different. If fact, you’re pretty normal. We all feel like a fish out of water sometimes.)

I think a lot of us feel insecure with our appearance, our social status, our job performance, our relationships, etc. The list goes on and on.

I love, love, love people, but they terrify me. I’ve interviewed a terrorist, a child prodigy, and millionaires and celebrities. No problem. I feel 85% comfortable doing what I do. I get a tad bit nervous before we talk, but once I get caught up in the conversation, I’m relaxed. I figure it’s a gift to be able to hear another person’s story firsthand.

But when I have to interact with people I know, I come unglued, adults particularly. I’m more relaxed around my students–if I think they like me. But if I think they don’t, I walk on eggshells. Bad.

Adults are scary people. That’s why I think I’ll just stay a kid for the rest of my life.

When I’m in charge (i.e. in teacher mode). I’m a great observer. Like the Crocodile Hunter, I can read the signs of the child creatures. I know when they’re slipping into fight or flight mode. I can USUALLY tell if they like me or don’t.

Not so much with adults. Adult beasts have learned the fine art of wearing a façade. They schmooze, butter up, slap on sarcasm, tell inside jokes, manipulate, seduce, etc. Thank goodness, most of my young students have little experience with these techniques. As a result, we get along pretty well. I am not very good at those “techniques,” so in the great card game of adult human interaction, I never know what card to play with the hand I’ve been dealt.

Nevertheless, I’m still intrigued by people. I watched Midnight in Paris for the 20th time last week, and once again I made a new revelation. The lead character Gil steps back in time to mingle with his literary and art heroes–the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Picasso. Quite interestingly, the movie depicts all of these greats as having their own vulnerabilities, well protected, but present nevertheless. We ALL have them.

I wish I could sit down with a few of these famous faces and just talk–minus the facades, minus the manipulation, minus the arrogance and haughty presentation. I want to understand the real THEM.

If you could pick TEN people to TALK to, who would they be? Why?

I have my ten. Some people might criticize me for not choosing all the great theologians, but you won’t find many “religious” people on this list. I can predict standard religious answers from people who appear perfect but who  hide their flaws, and the most genuine of saints, in my opinion, people like Mother Teresa or Billy Graham, are crystal clear.

My list includes people who are like muddy water. It’s hard to see through these people. My list includes some spiritual people, some eccentrics, and a few prodigals. People like you. People like me. People with flaws. People with potential. People with epiphanies. People with pain.

People are people. Everybody has a story.

Here we go:

Zelda Fitzgerald — She was such a free spirit, but F. Scott kept her roped in (at least that’s what the biographies say). She spent her the last years of her life in an asylum. Why? What drove her to such anguish?

Edgar Allan Poe — Never has a man ever seen so much misery. I want to know about the last days leading up to his death. Did he really have a relationship with God as I’ve read, or did he abandon the faith?

C.S. Lewis — I’d like to know what he thinks about J.K. Rowling, whom so many Christians deem devil-inspired.

Marilyn Monroe — I want to know whom she really loved, if she really loved, and who was responsible for her death.

Little Richard — It seems everyone in my town has met him but me. He seems to have such a kind heart. I want to see if it’s true. I want to tell him about my book!

Steven Tyler — He is maximum drive creativity wrapped in the appearance of  new-found sober sincerity, hopefully not faux. I want to know why he does what he does and what he really believes.

Benjamin Franklin — I could spend weeks talking to him about his rock star life during the colonial period. How did he invent? And where did he get those ideas? I think I know. Did he really lead a dark life in various secret societies?

Stevie Ray Vaughan — I hope to talk to him in heaven. Otherwise, I have a dozen questions about Jimi Hendrix, his guitar heroes, his guitars, and the helicopter crash.

Elvis Presley — I want to ask him about Memphis and his mama.

Rick Bragg — I’ve heard him speak, read all of his books. Maybe he could give me some real advice.

There she is. Now it’s your turn.

WORDS OF WISDOM
It’s wonderful when you can bring sparkle into people’s lives without fading away from your own true color. Keep the hue in you. ~ Dodinsky

The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.  ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Never apologize for showing feeling.  When you do so, you apologize for the truth.  ~ Benjamin Disraeli

MUSIC NOTES
You with the sad eyes / Don’t be discouraged / Oh I realize / Its hard to take courage / In a world full of people / You can lose sight of it all / And the darkness inside you / Can make you feel so small / But I see your true colors / Shining through / I see your true colors / And that’s why I love you / So don’t be afraid to let them show / Your true colors / True colors are beautiful, / Like a rainbow

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPn0KFlbqX8v=J7CPgxNSpwk/

FINAL THOUGHTS

seuss

A Note to My MiniMe

EMILY

I find quotes on the Internet all the time. I never take time to write them down, but bits and pieces of them resonate with me, even if I can’t remember the whole thing. Some of them are just too good not to share.

And since I don’t have daughters or nieces, I’ll dedicate this blog to the daughter of my cousin–not just because of the funny cartoon of us she created and shared on Facebook but also because of her passion for music and writing.

I hope I can inspire her to follow her dreams. My 200th blog post is for Emily.

Dear MiniMe,

f there is anything you should latch onto in this life, it is love. I don’t know a whole lot, but here are a few things I do know.

You are beautiful. God created you just the way your are. You don’t have to mold yourself to be anyone else’s dream girl. So get used to who you are before people try to change you to be who they want you to be. Learn to LOVE YOURSELF. You can’t love anyone else before you love yourself.

Love everyone, even the people who hurt you. And there will be people who hurt you. There are many types of love. Give the right type of love to the right person. Love doesn’t mean you have to change who you are. Sometimes the best way to love someone is to say NO. Some day you’ll become a mom. You’ll have to learn that the word NO keeps you and your children safe. (Remember that the next time your parents say NO.)

Your Great Aunt Ann (my mom) told me never, ever to forget that actions speak louder than words. Many people will make promises, but only a few will live up to them. Keep these words close to your heart every time a cute little boy looks your way. If you want to know if he’s nice, notice how he treats you–not what he says to you.

Some day you will like boys. I don’t know if you think they’re yucky or cool right now. But guard your heart and don’t give it to the first one who asks. You know how I mentioned I like quotes? Here’s the last one I found. It actually came to me as one of my Quotes of the Day sent to me in my email:

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep… wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you’ re just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have YOU… The one who turns to his friends and says, that’s her.”

There is ONE LINE in this quote that really made me take notice. It’s the part about finding the guy who “will stay awake just to watch you sleep.” I know it sounds a little sweet and a little creepy too. But let me tell you why I like this. When your Aunt Ann was so terribly sick, she was very afraid to go to sleep at night. She was afraid to be alone if something happened. My daddy, your Uncle Bud, would stay awake until she fell asleep on the nights she really needed him. He didn’t have to. He wanted to. He loved her that much. He watched her while she slept.

And like she used to tell me, love is not what you say–it’s what you do.

Love God, above all. Love yourself, and love others.

The best way to love others is to be yourself. Be honest. Never lie. Be caring–but don’t let people take advantage of your caring. (Don’t forget. Sometimes the best way to love some people is to tell them NO. Hopefully, they will learn they can’t always get their way by pushing others around.)

And you shouldn’t push others around either. There’s a big word for that–manipulation. It means to trick others. Don’t trick others by pretending to care about them just so you can get them to do something for you. Don’t pretend to care about others to get attention or to make you feel good about yourself.

Love is a verb. (I’m an English teacher. I had to throw that in there.)  Love is what you do,  not what you say.

Your parents and grandparents love you very much. That’s why they do things for you. (Don’t forget to do things for them too.)

Some day you will fall in love, and you will wonder, “Hmm. Does he love me too?” Here is one way to help you know. It comes from another quote I found: “The best possible thing you can get out of a relationship is that you’re with someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself everyday.

Did you get that? The person who loves you will always encourage you to be the best YOU you can be.

I love you, My Little MiniMe.

WORDS OF WISDOM
Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie.  ~ Robert Brault

If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.  If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.  If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.  If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.  But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.  ~ Author Unknown

MUSIC NOTES
When you’re down and troubled / And you need a helping hand / And nothing, nothing is going right / Close your eyes and think of me / And soon I will be there /To brighten up even your darkest night  ~ written by Carole King, performed by James Taylor

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN_HVup9oOg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK0z87WrhGo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE9NGS8Ynvk
(Okay, a couple of these are really Old School, but they still give me warm fuzzies inside and just make me smile.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Love Never fails