I am VERY pleased to be able to share the first review of the book with you. It comes from a long time friend of the site and I am deeply flattered by her thoughts. I hope you will enjoy!
The Evolution of Linda by Linda Dark Horse and Neil Collins is a sensitive and engaging journey into the life of a young Lakota woman as she explores and discovers herself.
From her longing to belong as a teenager, through her conflicts about her budding sexuality, through heartbreaking losses and overwhelming joy, we join Linda in her internal dynamic and the interaction with the significant others along to way. The authors have brilliantly interwoven her repressed memories into her struggle to deal with the tragedies that life presents in the present. She calls upon her deep and abiding historical culture to guide her through the labyrinth of her current conflict between her spiritual faith and her intense impulse to act out her frustrations.
Her memories, her history, her relentless love of her early roots are interwoven into the adventure that becomes her story. More than this, the universality of her thoughts, feelings, interactions with loved ones speaks to us all. A good read.
Dr. Miriam Berkman, PsyD
I don’t often post guest editorials, this being my personal journal, but today I feel moved to do so. Please join me in welcoming my writing partner, Neil Collins to the journal… -Linda-
*RIP- Ivory Queen of R&B- Teena Marie
To tell the truth, the first time I heard Teena Marie on the radio I didn’t really like her. The song was Lovergirl and the year was 1979 or 80, and I was very much into New Wave and Soft Punk, and the hook filled funky groove wasn’t on my palette of “acceptably odd” music. I liken it to a quote from the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus in which Richard Dreyfuss explains his first encounter with the music of John Coletrain, “I listened to the whole album, and I just didn’t get it. So I listened to it, over and over, until finally, I got it…!”
For me the “Got it” moment was a few weeks later when I was watching Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert on TV. To be frank, I hated Don Kirshner too, but he always had some top notch bands on, and The Cars had been featured not long before. But that night the featured performer was a tiny little girl with a huge guitar and an attitude to match; Teena Marie. I recall thinking her guitar was a bass, because she was so small that it looked so big hanging from her shoulder.
Well the band kicked off and the little girl with the big guitar launched into her anthemic hit. She danced and whaled and played her guitar with such fire, passion, energy and power that I was spellbound. Her husky and sensual vocals perfectly meshed with the syncopated rhythm of the music as she proclaimed “I just want to be your lovergirl! I just want to rock your world!”
I really don’t know what it was, specifically, that struck me about the song. It was amazingly intricate, funky and groove filled, but that wasn’t it. The lyrics were sharp and tight, but those alone wouldn’t have done it. She was cute and enthusiastic… but even to my 16 year old brain that wasn’t all there was. It was like a perfect storm of musical, sexual, cosmic energy exploding in my soul…
Maybe it was that this was the first time I had heard a woman singing about her sexuality so openly. Guys had been doing it for generations; swearing their love and longing for the girl, but I hadn’t heard it coming back before. Certainly not in such an open and honest way! And there is another thing; She was neither being explicit or slutty in her proclamation. She was a woman in all her power and emotion, retaining her self respect and modesty while exuberantly establishing, “Don’t think that I don’t know what I’m feeling for you, cuz I got a vibe the first time that I saw you!” (Don’t even write me saying Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby”, not even close!)
I read today that Sunday she was found dead in her Pasadena home, and I will admit that I cried. Not near so much as I did, though, when I went to youtube and played Lovergirl several times… And I’ve been thinking about that all day; why it struck me so deeply that she was gone.
Maybe because, at 54, she was only seven short years older than me. Maybe because she had made such an impact into my adolescent emotions. Maybe because, in a very real way, she represented an icon of the power and strength of a woman in an era when no one really had yet figured out what that was supposed to mean. More likely it was all those things, and more.
All I know is that I hope there is a “Rock and Roll Heaven”, where that little girl with the big guitar and the giant spirit is throwing it back with Stevie Ray, Jimi, Janice, Marvin, Lady Day and the others gone before her. Back here, we can listen and try to get it, and miss her. In our hearts, you will always rock our worlds, Lovergirl…
If you blinked, you might have missed it…
Something very significant happened on Wednesday, something important and emotionally volatile. Something so steeped in personal and party passion that it cannot be brought up in a public arena without siring those on either side to raise voices. Something our elected officials would have us believe could undermine the very core of our nation. And I’ll bet you never even heard about it.
Oh, I know you’ve heard abut this issue, for years past remembrance. More than likely you have a strong opinion one way or the other. But in spite of all this, the mater has been mentioned by the media once or twice and is now an echo long forgotten.
On Wednesday, December 15th, the House of Representatives, on a vote of 250 to 175 voted to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the US Military. “Don’t ask-Don’t tell”, the infamous band-aid covering the ban, put in place when President Bill Clinton didn’t have the stomach to actually do away with the policy, is on its way to the Senate for a second vote…
I find myself in the very unusual position of being in agreement with the likes of Congressman Barney Frank, Joe Lieberman, et all… as well and Dr. Laura! If ever politics made strange bed-fellows, this is it!
And where, exactly, is it we stand? Well, I can never be sure of the politics of the left, but I can assure you that both Dr. Laura and I firmly and resolutely stand demanding the end of the ban on homosexual men and women in service! She’s blogged about it, and I have too, and now, more than ever, I say it loud and proud!
If a man or woman is willing to set aside their personal liberties, put on the uniform of this country, take up arms and put their life on the line, I say “THANK YOU!” I frankly do not care one bit whether the person they kiss good-bye upon deployment has the same genitals or not. If they are willing to go and defend this nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to take an oath to do so, even at the cost of their very lives, then who are we to say “You can’t because you love the wrong person”?
When the Pentagon study was released a couple weeks ago, the results were surprising. Much more for their lack of controversy than their findings, I might add. More than 70% of those service members polled said that the repeal would have little or no long term impact on the military and its mission. Apparently, today’s soldier, sailor, airman and Marine have little worry about their bunk-mate maybe looking at them in the showers. More than 2/3 aren’t concerned about Joe or Jane “batting for the other team”, as long as they do their jobs and have their back (so to speak).
But why no hoopla? Why no outpouring of emotion on either side of the aisle? I think that those supporting the repeal are guardedly optimistic, and don’t want to wake the neighbors. I also think those who seek to keep Don’t ask-Don’t tell see the light at the end of the tunnel, and have begun to resign themselves to the coming tide.
As for me, I’m just damned glad that, as bad as things are in this world today, proud, loyal Americans of all races, origins, religions, and sexual orientation, are standing guard over our liberties and our freedom. To all our men and women in uniform, we salute you and support you!
It’s a commitment thing…
I’m a big fan of Dr. Drew Pinsky. Loveline, Celebrity Rehab, Sober House. Not for the celebrity “reality” garbage, but for the actual human element. I have a deep part of me that identifies with those struggling through addiction and recovery. I’ve never been an addict myself, but there is something in my psyche that feels a connection and understanding for the process.
I’ve been listening to Loveline for years, and have learned more from the nightly call-in show than years of psychology and sociology classes. Daily interaction with people on the street and years of undercover narcotics work never taught me what Dr. Drew’s insight and experience have revealed. His 20 plus years of talking to people calling to ask about their sexuality, relationships, addictions, and every other kind of issues have given him a laser like ability to focus in on exactly what the real problem is.
I was listening tonight, after having watched the first two episodes of the new season of Celeb-Rehab. The show always bothers me a little since you are literally watching people’s lives being stripped to the core and, hopefully, put back together. I watch because I want to see the process and I celebrate when some of them make it and do well. The radio show, on the other hand, is fast and direct, and runs the ups and downs like a rollercoaster.
Tonight though, a call struck me very close to home. A young woman called in seeking advice; she recently married the father of her two children and now that she’s there, she can’t figure out how to stop being bisexual. Yeah, that’s what she said, she wants to figure out how to stop being bi…
Of course, Dr. Drew went to exactly where I did, the problem isn’t her sexuality, it’s her fear of closeness and commitment. He began probing her history asking about her trauma and chaos, and, as usual, she said that there were no major problems and she had a great childhood. Well, except for the abandonment of her birth family, adoption, molestation, etc… And how do I stop being bi.
Drew repeated that it has nothing to do with being bi or straight, but that she is trying to destroy the relationship. No, no, no, she insisted, she isn’t trying to wreck the marriage; she even suggested inviting a girl in for a threesome… And Drew and I said in unison, “Which is your way of destroying your relationship!”
I don’t know how many times I have heard things like this. People with their brains twisted over the concept of bisexuality that they think it means they have to have sex with multiple people or cannot be monogamous. Some people who know that I’m bisexual ask me about that. “Wow, do you still sleep with girls too?” It really makes me a little nuts.
Would these people act that way towards a straight person? “Hey, you’re married now, do you still sleep with other guys/girls?” They can accept that a person attracted to only one sex can commit and be faithful, but if that person is attracted to both sexes, somehow they are genetically unable to be with just one person? Isn’t that like assuming that a straight woman must seek out and engage other men besides her husband, because she’s hetero after all and a woman’s gotta have it! Or that a gay man must be on the hunt, since he’s gay…
Just like the caller, the reality is that commitment is commitment, regardless of the other attractions a person experiences. My best Girlfriend is also bi, and we were a couple for quite a while. I still love her deeply and yes, I am still attracted to her. I’m married as is she, and neither of us venture outside those commitments. My husband, Eddy, is as straight as they get, and I can assure you, he likes to see beautiful naked women; but he brings his love home, to me only. Neither of us are trying to make excuses for going outside to satisfy any attraction, hetero or bisexual.
When a person claims they cannot stay faithful because they’re gay, bi, or straight, it’s a lie. The truth is they just want to be somewhere else with someone else. It may be conscious or it may not, but for whatever reason, they are trying to blow it up. The point, as Dr. Drew told the caller, is to deal with the real reason, not try to blame it on a label.
Traditions, new and old…
As I was walking out to my car Monday I was stuck by the wonderful crisp coolness of the air. It’s been raining here in LA and the air was clean and clear, with just the hint of winter. For an instant I was transported to my “happy place”. The land of fond memories and familiarity.
Enjoying a good cigar on the patio Tuesday evening, wearing a coarsely woven Mexican pullover to keep warm, I thought how much colder it seemed than I can recall. At least, in terms of a place where snow is several hours away. My toes and fingers were chilled and numbed by the time I went inside. I like the cold, but is it possible I have lived in the warm so long that I’m losing my tolerance for the chill? I do so hope not, since I relish my cool evenings on the patio!
At any rate, it seems that winter is truly upon us; and I’m glad it is! So many times I have lamented that it just never gets wintery in California, and I like that I can feel it this year. I’m not thinking about shoveling the drive or swapping out the snow tires, but more about the mindset that comes with the feelings. Yes, the happy place.
It’s sunny and clear outside my study window. I have some Christmas music on, and the house is full of wonderful smells as Eddy works his kitchen magic. The Godsons and their parents will be over shortly, filling the normally quiet rooms with noise and a bit of chaos. I can hardly wait!
I’m initiating the boys this year into my tradition. They’re 15 and 13 now, and I think it’s long past time that they began taking part in the annual ritual of cleaning the hunting rifles. I think I must have been 7 or 8 when Daddy first allowed me to help him, and I was 10 when I took my first deer, requiring that I clean my own rifle. I think these city boys are long overdue in becoming part of the family and the responsibility.
Now they have been shooting with us for quite a while, and doing the requisite cleaning afterwards, but the rifles are something different. These four haven’t spilt blood, or even been shot, in many years. They represent something far more than the mere tools of survival; they are monuments to lives past and the meaning they hold. Grandaddy and Daddy passed the meaning on to me, as did their fathers and mothers before them; and I am, in turn, passing them on to the next generation.
Four rifles; Grandaddy’s, Daddy’s, Richard’s and mine. We’ll put on some Christmas music, put the work table up, break out the Hoppe’s #9 and carefully clean and inspect each one. I’ll talk to the boys about the hours stalking through the Black Hills, of listening and learning from the wisdom of men whose hunts had taught them so much. I’ll tell them a little about the history and story behind each of the rifles; where they came from and how they came to be favorites of each hunter. We’ll sip hot cocoa and I’ll watch the sparkle in their eyes, wondering if it’s the same as in mine all those years ago. And I’ll know that it is…
Today marks another earmark; this is the sixth anniversary of my beginning this journal. I’ve shared a number of stories and thoughts, but I seem to always come back to this; I love my crazy life and all the crazy people in it! Up days or down, I think I’ve got it pretty good. I’m going to hold onto that throughout the day.
As always, I want to send my greatest thanks to the soldiers and police who are out there today and all year round, putting all on the line so that we can enjoy our freedoms another year. We will not forget what you have done and do for us every day.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends here.
Some of my closer friends know I like to write reviews. Book reviews, product reviews, movies, and even adult DVD’s… I post them on various websites where I shop, a few “social” sites, places like that. I suppose it has something to do with my enjoyment of giving people my opinion; I opened the gate in high school and I haven’t been able to close it since.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing; after all, most of them invited me. Shortly after the purchase arrives, an email shows up bidding “Join our review team!”, so I do. And it’s a good thing I do too, as so many of the other postings are sophomoric at best! (Sophomore, from the Latin: Educated Fool) They truly need the input of someone capable of offering a clear and articulate view; I’m providing a service!
One of the online vendors I frequent is Thompson Cigars, probably the biggest mail order cigar company around. I shop them because their prices are unbeatable, despite their lackluster customer service. Generally if a company treats me badly or as if my purchase is unimportant to them, I vote with my feet and take my business where it is appreciated. However, I’m also cheap, and I stay with Thompson because they sell the brands and types I want for about 50% less than I can find them anywhere else… And so I endure slow handling, a website that would have been considered poor 10 years ago, and zero online support.
I also wait until they offer a special with free shipping before I place an order; like I said, I’m cheap!
They ran such a special not long ago, on a brand of cigars I had never tried, although I had been hearing about for years. Named for the legendary Gurkha warriors of Nepal, and based upon the tradition of cigars made under the rule of the British Empire in that region, the brand is steeped in a colorful tradition. The TV series Saving Grace even featured a box of Gurkha Grand Reserves that Earl the angel brought Grace. A divine recommendation? I figured I should find out.
I ordered a pack of 10 Gurkha Legend Maduro in the Churchill size (7.5” 52 ring gage), awaited shipping, and with great anticipation, settled in to try them. I have since written my review and it is posted on the Thompson site: Gurkha Legend Maduro, and the text is posted below.
**I had long anticipated trying the Gurkha brand, having heard so many great things. I saw a special on the Legend Maduro and ordered the 10 pack to test drive. The flavor and richness are comparable to many of my favorite brands, and on par with most of them. I was disappointed that they weren’t any better than brands costing much less, but fully satisfied in their bold and heady spice notes and full bodied smoke.
**I was also surprised to find that the Gurkha Legend Maduros I receive all burned very unevenly, a few even leaving a thick, unburned section on one side. The wrapper tended to come loose about mid-way through the smoke, and I had to turn them very often to try and even it out a bit (worked on some, not on most).
**Overall, I did thoroughly enjoy these cigars, despite the minor issues. I cannot recommend them over the CAO Brasília or 601 Maduro which are less costly, but if you find the Gurkhas on sale at a comparable price, do give them a try.**
I have still got my sites set on some of the more exclusive offerings from Gurkha, but will need something to get me past the regular prices ranging into the hundreds. For now, I’ll stick to my stand-by favorites.
I’ve always done it that way…
People resist change, all change, even change for the better. It’s just human nature, and it’s universal. In business, one of the hardest things to overcome is the “We’ve always done it this way” excuse.
That’s often why people will keep on doing things that they know haven’t worked, or that always end up leaving them miserable. They become comfortable, even “happy” staying miserable with the familiar.
As a cop, I used to hear it a lot; you answer a domestic dispute call at a place you’ve been to a dozen times before, the woman is beaten and bloody, and you ask her why she stays. The answer, “If I leave him, I’ll be all alone.” In my mind I think, “Sure, but you’ll stop getting your face pounded in, and alone is better than abused…”
Sure, I know that there are a lot of other reasons abused people stay, and it’s not all about change, but it is mostly about not changing. And that makes my point pretty well.
The point is that sometimes we are faced with the need to change something, and we know in our brains that the change is a good idea and might even fix a problem, but still we resist. This is how we’ve always done it, after all. I’m like that.
My close friends know that I enjoy a fine cigar. It’s a taste I picked up from Grandaddy, and Daddy as well. Nearly a ritual, of sorts, the men would sit in Daddy’s study after dinner, talking and smoking their cigars. And one night I was invited to join them, “sitting council” as Grandaddy called it. It was my 17th birthday, and the image is still as clear in my mind as that night. Grandaddy handed me one of his cigars, clipped the end, and offered me a light from his battered old Zippo.
I still have that Zippo, as well as a slightly less ancient one that Daddy left to me. And for more than 20 years I have used one or the other to light my cigars. When I used to smoke cigarettes, I used my own Zippo, or a disposable butane lighter in my undercover days, but since Daddy passed, I have used either of those old Zippos exclusively.
Zippo lighters are cantankerous contraptions. They require frequent refills with a foul smelling fluid that seems to evaporate even when they’re not used much. The wicks need routine trimming and eventual replacement, as do the flints. The fuel has gotten better over the years, and doesn’t smell much anymore, but it still has some odor. The parts are tiny and prone to rolling off the table and getting lost in the carpet when you have to take them apart. But the cranky things are like a symbol of better times and simpler ways.
Not too long ago, I was reading a cigar magazine and I came across something that said you should never light a cigar with any sort of a fuel lighter, most especially, a liquid fueled one. “Any cigar smoker who knows anything”, the writer said, “uses only a wooden match, and makes sure to let the sulfur burn away first…” I was thunderstruck! He continued, revealing that the fuel would cause the fine cigar to be ruined, flavoring it with the taste of the fuel itself!
I did a quick mental back-check. Had I been tasting some sort of bitterness in my expensive, carefully selected and meticulously stored indulgences? Had my second favorite vice been subjected to taint by my adherence to a tradition that was universally avoided by those more knowledgeable than myself?
Without a second’s hesitation, I set the old Zippo on my desk and left it to be nothing more than a memory. I took out the box of wooden kitchen matches and for the last few months, whenever I imbibed, I did so with the proper and correct wooden matches.
That is, until tonight… Call it a rebellious streak, call it resistance to change, call it curiosity; I’ve been eyeballing that clanky old dinosaur for a while. And then last night I was watching the latest episode of Blue Bloods on the DVR. Tom Selleck, noted cigar aficionado, went out on his back porch and lit up a fine cigar with his Zippo. If it’s good enough for Tom, who am I to say no?
And so tonight before I went out to the patio, I fueled up old faithful. It took several strikes to get it going, and I made sure to allow the flame to go a bit to burn off any residue, and then I lit up a Macanudo Maduro that had been seasoning in Daddy’s old humidor. It took light much easier than with the matches, and I snapped the lighter shut with that familiar and comforting clank that lets anyone in earshot know a Zippo has been closed.
I took a deep draw and let it linger just a bit. Then another, and several more. I rolled the smoke around my tongue, looking for anything unpleasant or misplaced. I found only the satisfying and heady spice of a world class cigar.
I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes, change isn’t the best thing. Sometimes there are good reasons to do things the way you have always done them. Sure, sometimes things do need to be updated or corrected, but not everything does. I invite you to consider that the next time you’re walking down the street in a hurry to something important, grabbing a quick coffee at Starbucks, walking from the front door and into the office… Do you remember a time when people said hello and smiled at people they passed? Maybe it’s time to fuel up the old smile and take it out for a while. I’m willing to bet that it won’t be as bad as they say…
What where you born to do…?
Not long ago I was at a local guitar mega-retail-outlet with a friend, just browsing. On one of the overhead video monitors they were showing a guitar technique video featuring Eric Johnson. For those unfamiliar, Eric Johnson is the greatest guitar player no one has ever heard of. Well, at least no one who isn’t a dedicated fan of obscure guitar legends.
My friend mentioned that Johnson has exceptionally long fingers, as if he was born for the express purpose of being a guitar player. His ability is clearly enhanced by his long, agile fingers. I commented that he is far better suited to life as a guitar god than a butcher.
The conversation moved to other legends of guitar, such as Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and how they seemed born to do what they did; that they, more than the rest of us, had a natural predisposition to transform emotion into music through their talents.
It got me thinking about those of us not so gifted in that arena, but still with a sort of “calling”, if you will, to do some particular vocation. Teachers, mathematicians, scientists, engineers, cops, etc… Do each of us have some god-given thing we’re born to do?
Now, I don’t believe in fate or predestination, but what about the possibility that our individual talents and passions point us to one or two avenues where we are just naturally most happy and fulfilled?
Eddie Van Halen started out trying to play the drums, but turned to guitar. Had he not taken it all the way, I don’t think I could see him as a contented insurance salesman back in Pasadena. I’m guessing he’d be playing in local bars at any given opportunity.
Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a cop. It was my sole focus and life’s goal. I spent my school years working toward that end, and after college, I made it my reality.
When I was shot and they told me I could no longer be a cop, I felt as if my purpose in life had been taken away. It was like I was no longer allowed to do what I was put here to do.
It took a while, but I do think I found my second calling in my work; writing and “problem solving”. In a way, it’s not so far from what I set out to do before.
I know that my hubby, Eddy, was made to be a leader and chameleon like. He’s able to become a trusted confidant to most anyone he meets within moments. It’s this quality that enabled him to accomplish the things he did undercover, and now as a Detective. He has skills and natural abilities that make him perfect for the job he has sought out. Or did that job seek him?
In the dark days when I worked undercover, I found myself becoming less and less of who I wanted to be, and more and more like the people I was out there to take down. I didn’t like who I was when I worked, and when I wasn’t working, I never really could peel off the façade. Eddy could, and did, and when it was time to stop doing it, he set it aside and moved on. The skill set is still there and used daily, but in very different ways.
Over the years I’ve known Neil, we have discussed vocations and relative levels of job satisfaction. In all that time he’s never changed his answer to the question of “What would you do if money were no issue?”. He simply replies, “I’d write, teach shooting and build guitars.” I know that he’s quite good at all of those things, but I also know he’d been leaving something out. He confided in me that 25 years ago he let someone, with good intentions but no grasp of his true heart, talk him out of his true passion, the thing he keeps going back to in some form or other. All his life he’s wanted to be a cop.
Oh, he’s tried a few times, but there was always that voice in the back of his head telling him “You can’t do this!” And so he’d quit and move on; but always gravitate not far off. After years away from it, he went back into security work, but always felt like he was climbing onto a Yamaha that looks like a Harley, but really isn’t one. He’s refocusing now and putting his full effort into doing what he really believes he was meant to do.
And me, well, I’m thinking that I was meant to put my life on paper. To get my story out there for all to see, and maybe for someone to be moved by. That’s what I was born to do. What about you?
If you can't do more than 100%...
Neil sent me something a bit ago that I felt needed to be posted. No, I didn't come up with this, but if you can't steal great quotes from friends, who can you steal them from?
The question is posed: If 100% is all there is, how can anyone “give 110%”?
If 100% represents the average output, then it is a simple matter for anyone above average to exceed 100%.
If 100% is the maximum “Safe rated output”, then pressing past 100% is possible, though generally not recommended for extended periods.
If 100% is a conservative limit set by lawyers and accountants so nothing bad ever happens and the people posting the rating don’t get sued, then producing more than 100% is not only possible, but sustainable.
If 100% represents what you’ve already accomplished, what you know full well you can do, then limiting yourself to merely 100% is selling yourself short.
If we each limit ourselves to our personal best, our 100%, then no one will ever do better and no great discoveries will be found. The moon remains out of reach, as do dreams. Our limits become our gods and there is nothing new on the horizon to strive for. Last year I did 100% of my work, 100% of my best, 100% of all that was demanded of me. Last year was a bad year, but I gave it 100%. This year I intend to give considerably more than the 100% I did last year; in the end though, it will be 100% of this year, and so I will strive to make this year’s 100% far beyond last years. I’m looking for 150%...
Well said! -Linda-
It’s been five years now since I posted my first journal entry here. Funny how in some ways it seems so much longer, and yet in others so much shorter. This year has whizzed by at break-neck speed, as it seemed the one before it had. Time goes so fast anymore, that I hardly know what’s happened and then it’s Thanksgiving all over again!
I’ve noticed too, that the media, advertisers, and people in general, seem to have forgotten Thanksgiving. I hear far more about the date making the start of sales, Black Friday, consumer driven indexes of economic wellness… Of course the Food Network has presented a month’s worth of programming on how to prepare the feast, but everywhere else the point seems to be just about when the sales begin.
It’s a symptom of the way we are being shaped to think in general. Consume, consume, consume! Spend, spend, spend! The government is throwing money at everything and telling us to do the same and it will all be fine. And in the madness, we lose sight of pretty much everything that really is important; family, home, integrity, real values. We’re told to never be content with what we have. To keep reaching beyond our grasp to gain what we don’t need and pay for it with money we don’t have, and then accessorizing just a little more…
Once upon a time in this country we had less and enjoyed it more, because we had worked hard to get what we had, and that made it valuable to us. We enhanced our family time by taking time to be together. Now we try to squeeze in a few moments of “Quality time”, because we’re way too busy trying to juggle chainsaws and bowling balls to keep up our elevated lifestyles.
I know, I know… I’m part of it too. I spend too much time working and not nearly enough enjoying the fruits of my labors, let alone family and friends. And that’s why I so look forward to Thanksgiving each year. I make myself put on the brakes, shut off the phones and set my watch back 30 years. I really don’t care about the sales, the football games, or any of the flash and glitter that distracts me every other day. Thanksgiving Day isn’t a marker pointing to some other more important event; it’s the day we stop and refocus on what really matters, and what really doesn’t.
A thought just bounced into my head. This is going to sound strange, but in light of the state of our world, I encourage everyone NOT to go volunteer at a mission or shelter today. I mean, if that’s something you do as part of your regular days, then please, continue. But if, as is so often the case, you were thinking of braking the trend and serving others today, then don’t. Seriously! Take today and actually spend it with your family! Stop the wheel, forget impressing others, and go home. Then, once you’ve done that, go volunteer to serve the homeless next Tuesday, after the once a year types have all gone home!
As for me, well, I’ll be doing my volunteering and not telling anyone when or where, just like always. Today I’ll be slowing it down and letting good old home grown traditions live again. I’ll clean the hunting rifles, as each year. I’ll help Eddy cook, and then we’ll go spoil the Godsons. We’ll toss a football around the yard and they’ll pretend not to want to hang out with us old people. This is what maters. The rest will wait.
Rainy days and Mondays… or Tuesdays…
I don’t know what it is about rainy days that make me feel introspective. Maybe it’s the homey sense of security and warmth I remember from my childhood. Maybe it’s the way the colors deepen and the richness of the natural world get accented while even the concrete and asphalt take on a more natural hue. Maybe it’s just the idea of sitting by the fire sipping hot cocoa, tea, or rum drinks.
Whatever the connection, I know that rainy days do take me to that place. I may curse and swear while enduring the streets and freeways filled with people who can’t drive when it’s clear and dry, now either panicking or speeding recklessly past the more timid. But once I get to where I’m going, even if that’s the office, I feel a calm and peace that usually doesn’t find a foothold here in LA.
Rainy days are one of the few times I feel ok slowing my pace and letting seeming urgencies take a moment to cool and not rattle the whole day. The little fires that tend to clear my desk while I feverishly try to put them all out; well, they can just wait a minute.
And I breathe deeper too. Slower and with more intent. Food tastes better, because rather than stuffing it down as fast as I can, I slow down and savor the actual flavors. Staggers the mind!
So, rather than getting all wound up in the fears and worries of “Storm Watch 2009”, settle back a little and just breathe. Sip something tasty and let it warm you. Cuddle up with someone you love and listen to the sound of the rain on the roof or windows. Let tomorrows worries wait till tomorrow… Who knows, they might just work themselves out!
Battles we can win…!
Maybe it’s a by-product of getting older (I’m not, but everyone else is…), but everywhere I look friends or family of friends are falling ill or battling some life threatening condition. Personally, I’ve had quite enough death and dying, but the fact remains that the reaper is still at his work, and, to my eyes at least, picking up the pace…
While it’s true that no one gets out of here alive, none of us need lay down and just accept the inevitable. “Do not go gentle into that goodnight… Rage, rage against the dying of the light…” as Dylan Thomas so eloquently told us.
And so it is that we arrive again in the month of October; Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The irony of the passing time brings us right back, each year faster than the last. And once again, I stand with my fist raised to the heavens and scream, “Not one more to be lost!”
The thing is, that while we cannot ever conquer death, we can, through education, awareness, and diligence, beat the bastard into submission for a time! Which is why I fight on, and why I must tell a tale of heroic courage and victory!
Kim is the daughter of a friend of a friend. She’s bright, vibrant, articulate. A mother to her 18 month old daughter and a loving wife to her husband. If this weren’t enough, she’s also a warrior, and most importantly, a victor in the war against women’s cancer!
No long after her daughter’s birth, Kim was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. At a time when she should have been devoting her energies to her new family, her time and energies were robbed from her grasp. But instead of whining and lamenting her bad luck, Kim got angry. Together with her family and her doctors, she fought back. She fought back violently and valiantly.
Her fight has left her scared and injured, costing her much, but she never gave up! Her flesh is marked, but her heart is strong and her will undaunted! Kim endured the surgeries, the chemo, the sickness and pain, and today she stands strong!
So I offer this story to encourage each and every person out there to rage! Rage against the dying of the light! For every mother, sister, daughter, lover, friend; and for all those who love them! Get your breast exams, your mammograms, your pap smears. Get the HPV vaccine, and vaccinate your children! Talk to your daughters, tell your friends, remind your mothers… There is no reason in America, 2009 that any woman should discover it too late.
A few days ago I watched a film I had been anticipating for a very long time. The title is simply “Gia”, and stars Angelina Jolie in the role that won her a Golden Globe back in 1998. What I hadn’t anticipated was how deeply I would be moved by the film.
The story is true; it’s the tragic memoir of Gia Carangi, who has been called the first “Supermodel”. I have problems with that title; what it does or doesn’t mean, and how is one model “super” while others are not. What I do know is that Gia hit the world of modeling like a sledge hammer in 1977, at the delicate age of 17. Within two years she was addicted to heroin, and by 1986 she was dead.
What propelled Gia to the forefront of the jaundiced and unforgiving fashion image kingdom was also what eventually undid her. She had attitude; she was angry, flippant, damaged, and beautiful. Her dark looks and dark heart made her stand apart from the typical blonde and brainless style that came before her.
She was a Punk Rocker, cleaned up and dressed up in designer labels. And as that industry does, they tapped into her energy and drained her dry while she ate up every bit of the process. She partied, ran around, and dared to fall in love with a woman. She smoked heroin, eventually working her way up to shooting it. In a way, she invented Heroin Chic.
She did try to kick a couple of times. First was with a methadone program which she didn’t finish. Her domestic instability and personal insecurity sent her quickly back to the world she’d created, despite how badly she wanted to have a “normal” life and home. At least, as “normal” as a Lesbian couple could have it in 1981.
Back in front of the cameras, though, she was only marginally able to function. What she earned working went in her arm, and the shoots were fewer and farther between. She hit rock bottom once again, and checked into an inpatient rehab. Not one of the modern versions of Club Med-icated, it was an old-fashioned, people off the streets, down and dirty rehab.
In the film there is a poignant scene I will not soon forget. During one of the groups Gia is sitting as the woman across from her vents, “I sat in my room back in Ohio looking at your pictures in those magazines, thinking that this is what I was supposed to look like! No one ever told me that no one really looks like that! You don’t even really look like that!”
She did make it through that program. At least, she did get herself clean. Unfortunately, she’d already done more damage than she could ever undo. One night she collapsed in her apartment and was rushed to the hospital with a serious infection. Without a word spoken, I looked at the film depiction and knew what the diagnosis would be when they showed her in an isolation room surrounded by doctors and nurses in bio-hazard suits. Early 1980’s… They weren’t quite sure how AIDS was spread.
The Gia Carangi Foundation was set up in her memory to educate and put a face to the reality of AIDS. Pay the site a visit and do what you can to help. Rent the DVD, get out a box of tissues, and watch her story with someone you love. And never, never forget…
Why can’t I sleep…?
I’m a night owl by nature. I tend to stay up late, around 2 or so, get up late, maybe 9 or 10; and that’s worked for me for many years. But lately I’ve had a bit of a problem.
Eddy’s schedule tends toward the late shifts; PM’s as they call them, and that’s worked out fine for us. I have flexibility at my work to set my own hours for the most part. And, my crazy boss likes to set up evening meetings so we don’t lose “work time”… Neither of these things has been a problem… Until recently.
About a week and a half ago, Eddy got called in late on an important case. He’d already been home for a while and we were in the midst of an intimate moment when the call came. He had no choice but to go back to work, and so I made the best of things at home and just stayed up doing other work until he returned and we could properly wrap up our “us time”.
Of course, the case continued, and so I found myself doing the all-nighter several times over the following days. I shifted my schedule to match his, so we could have our time together. I do this as I can, because the demands on his time are immovable while mine are not. As a result, I found myself staying up until 6, 8, even 10 am, and then sleeping till 2 or even 6 pm. (Eddy has been getting far less sleep though).
The problem is, now that I’ve been doing this a while, I can’t seem to get to sleep at any sort of a normal hour. I’ve even gone as far as staying up 29 hours trying to get my circadian rhythms back… That ended up with me going to bed at 10 pm, waking at 3:30 am, and not being able to get back to sleep at all until after 9 am. It sucks! I really am tired, but I simply cannot sleep!
I went to bed at 4 this morning. It’s 7 now and I’m up, writing, because I can’t sleep. I want to sleep. I NEED to sleep. I’m tired and I can’t think straight, and I really do hope I can break this cycle…
No, you didn’t misread the subject line; I really did mean to say exactly what I did. My newest guilty pleasure is a form of entertainment I hadn’t even encountered just a few short weeks ago. It plays on the Food Network, and among my close circle of friends it’s referred to as, simply, food porn.
The show I’m referring to is actually called, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, and is made up of multiple segments (Yeah, I know), featuring various famous TV foodies talking about some dish they happened upon that put them into culinary bliss.
I’ll back up for a second. Have you ever had a “food O”? That rapturous, other worldly, sensory overload that occurs when you taste something so indescribably satisfying that you can only compare it to an orgasm? Have you ever seen a dish, either being prepared or as served, that inspired that same sort of reaction…? Imagine a 30 minute show dedicated to exactly that, and you’re starting to get the idea.
My close friends know that my beloved, Eddy, is the executive chef at our house. I’m quite content to be the sous chef, but it’s his kitchen and I have learned the hard way to respect it. The study is mine, as is the video collection, but the kitchen is sovereign territory.
Well, as you can guess, Eddy loves the multitude of competitive cooking shows that are on these days. And, as is wont to happen, I’ve been swept up in the tide as well. I couldn’t tell you who won the quickfire challenge on episode 7 of Top Chef, season 3 (Eddy can), but I do enjoy the flow of the shows while I watch them and I enjoy talking about who I think will take it this week or next.
Like any other slippery slope though, I seem to have crossed a line. We were watching The Next Food Network Star, and when it ended, along came the food porn. It was innocent enough; several chefs I recognized from other shows, doing what they do, talking food…
Before long we were breathing deeply, sighing and moaning with delight at the vicarious epicurean pleasures being paraded before our eyes. Mouths began to water, eyes narrowed, and that dreamy, lightheadedness took over. Before the second commercial break I was hooked; an addict without any hope of recovery!
I’m not going to make that lame excuse that others make, that I can stop anytime I want, I just don’t want to… The fact is it’s not true, I know it, and I don’t care! I find myself watching two, three, even more episodes in a row and looking for more on the DVR! I sit slumped on the couch, dry mouthed and dizzy, and I want another! I want my food porn, and I will hurt you if you try to keep me from it!
So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t shown up for work or answered my phone for a while, this is it. Just thought you should know.
Eulogy to an icon…
Thursday morning the world lost a great Hollywood icon; Farrah Fawcett succumbed after a three year battle with cancer. I know you probably thought I was referring to someone else, but I wish to devote this posting to remembering a person of great personal integrity, character, and strength, and only one of the big names who passed Thursday qualifies.
Farrah was a model and featured in a number of commercials, as well as several appearances in various TV series’ in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. Her turning point came after a part on the Six Million Dollar Man, staring Lee Majors, whom she later married. Shortly after that her agent was approached by Pro Arts Inc. to do a poster shoot. The resulting product was the quintessential image of feminine sexuality of the era; her red one-piece bathing suit shot that has since sold as many as 12 million copies.
Her beauty was on everyone’s mind, and the wall of every teenaged boy (and many girls), paving the way for her best known role, as one of Charlie’s Angels, alongside Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith in 1976. Touted as a “jiggle” show with little writing and lots of eye candy, I see Charlie’s Angeles as something much more, and her portrayal of Jill Munroe a milestone.
Prior to this time it was virtually unheard of for anyone but a hard, rugged, tough as nails man to play a private investigator. In fact, real female police officers (no longer policemen) were still wearing skirts as uniforms in many places! Even Angie Dickenson’s Pepper Anderson (Police Woman) had to be backed up by and often bailed out by her male partners! But the Angels (all graduates of the LAPD academy), broke the mold and threw open the doors for women to be both sexy and tough PI’s as well!
Sure, it was mostly about the T&A, but, like all evolutions, it was a beginning. Farrah’s Jill Munroe was a self-assured, independent woman. She broke down the barrier that, over time, made way for women like Director/Producer Drew Barrymore to become a force to be reckoned with. It’s no coincidence that Drew wanted to bring Charlie’s Angels to the big screen!
Farrah’s natural and un-augmented looks defined a generation and every girl wanted to look like her. But still, much of the world saw her as “the sexy one” and not “the smart one”. Her acting was hamstrung by poor scripts and limited opportunities; but despite the fact she left the show after only one season, she is forever remembered as the girl from Charlie’s Angeles.
In 1983 Farrah replaced Susan Sarandon in the Off-Broadway production of Extremities. Her portrayal of a victim of a rape attempt turning the tables on her attacker not only won her critical acclaim, but showed that she was capable of deeply moving, intense dramatic acting. The following year she did a made-for-TV movie, The Burning Bed, shinning a spotlight into the horror of domestic violence, and earned an Emmy nomination. She then brought Extremities to the big screen and won a Golden Globe as best actress. Not too shabby for “the sexy one on the jiggle show”.
Her work brought strong and vital women to the public eye in ways that they had rarely been seen before, pushing wider the door she opened a decade earlier. She changed the ideas of what a beautiful woman could do, and forever redefined the way women would be portrayed in popular media. She helped make tough the new sexy, and never lost her grace and dignity.
The tragedy of losing this dynamic woman is made all the more so in it’s needlessness. Farrah died of a rare cancer that is little spoken about; anal cancer. It’s not as “sexy” and dramatic as breast cancer, and I doubt there will be many people marching to stop anal cancer. But the irony is that anal cancer, while on the rise, is nearly always treatable if detected early. It’s generally caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), just like cervical cancer, and it can be prevented almost entirely through the Gardacil vaccine.
Farrah’s cancer went undetected, and by the time it was diagnosed it had spread to her liver. She fought, like the strong and courageous woman she was and often portrayed. She even documented her fight in a TV movie, Farrah’s Story, letting her battle become an education for any who might learn from her life. And it’s in her death that she has made her most vital and poignant role a lesson for all of us.
Unfortunately, a mentally ill pedophile who made popular records and videos died the same day, and Farrah’s story has been pushed to page 6. I’ll ask you to pass this story on, so that we can all become educated by her example and her courage. Get your annual exams, vaccinate your children and yourselves against HPV, and tell everyone you know about her fight!
Finally! Mass Media Publication!
I’m so excited that I’m jumping up and down, dancing and shouting! (All of this makes it very hard to type, so pardon any errors)
I have just gotten word that as of a couple hours ago the eBook version of The Evolution of Linda is officially available for purchase on Amazon Kindle and through MobiPocket for download to Kindle devices and to PDA’s and all other devices respectively! Of course, you can still purchase the eBook here on our site, where you get the very best eBook version, but now the whole wide web can get at it too!
YAAAAAAAAAAAH! Did I mention I’m excited?!
Ok, calming a bit. This is like my birthday, Christmas, Gopher day, and anything involving chocolate all rolled into one! My book! My story! My life… This is fantastic beyond words!
I think I need a cigarette… Ok, go buy the book, then go tell all your friends to buy it too… I gotta sit down…
Women on top…!
I remember growing up, seeing TV ad’s for cigarettes targeted at women which proclaimed, “You’ve come a long way baby!” They touted the elegance of “liberated women” who could openly smoke in public. And, of course, we were encouraged to smoke their brand, which by implication was the tool of our new found status.
That was 40-some-odd years ago. Since that time, women have made some very real strides into the more relevant arenas of social and economic independence. The NAEM still perpetuates the idea of a “glass ceiling” and a male dominated world in which woman must work twice as hard to be equal to men. This, in spite of the evidence to say that we (women) have managed to do quite well for ourselves. In business, in politics, in media… Virtually everywhere! In the words of Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live during the presidential campaign, “Women have arrived at a place where we can now vote for whoever Oprah tells us to!”
Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that truly wise women have known for generations that, if it is a “man’s world” it’s only because we let them think they’re in charge. The fragile male ego being what it is, a woman can bring a man to his knees literally or figuratively, with little more than a look; but I’m getting off my point…
Forbes’ Magazine’s annual Celebrity 100 is out, and I find the top ten list to be very interesting.
For more than a decade, Oprah Winfrey has been, inarguably, the most powerful woman in America. All jokes aside, she did pick our president. However, she is no longer #1 on the Forbes’ list of the most powerful and influential media personalities. This year, despite $275 million in earnings, Oprah drops to the number two position behind… Angelina Jolie! (The rankings are not in terms of earnings alone, but in media exposure as well.)
Did you see it? Take another look and ponder it a moment… That’s right, the top four of the big ten are all women; three of which are so well known that they’re on a first name basis with America. Move down the list a little further. Past Tiger, The Boss, and Spielberg… and you have, yet another woman!
Ok, I’m first to admit that I have no idea what last year’s rankings were like. For that matter, any year previous. But I do know that in 2009, five of the top ten most powerful and influential celebrities are women! (Two of which are on my “list”).
So, even if the Commander In Chief isn’t a woman, it’s clear the true “leaders” of this country are! What so many of us have known for a very long time is becoming clear to all. The men have the power, as long as the ladies let them think so!
The pulls of a dilemma…
We’ve been putting a lot of energy and thought into the book lately. It’s incredibly exciting that we can finally offer The Evolution of Linda to the public as an eBook, but what I really want is to have it available as a traditional, old fashioned, hard bound book!
So far we’ve had no luck securing an agent, which must be done before any traditional publishing house will consider anything. We’ve sent out stacks of query letters, most all of which have garnered form-letter rejections. The industry is in a very difficult phase with the burgeoning electronic media world taking over so much of what used to be ink on paper. On top of that, there are only three mega-publishers who own all the smaller publishers, and the sales end is likewise monopolized. In order of market share, there is Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Walmart… And the great Wally-World wants no one else to challenge their presence.
The world of self-publication is wide open and there are an easy half dozen houses offering Print On Demand (POD) services, and even one or two who still offer to print and stock the book for a period. Anyone can do this if they will spend the money, because the publisher bears no cost, and their cut of everything is taken up front. They have zero risk, but neither do they market or promote the work; that’s up to the authors.
Another dilemma with self-publication is that you can go with hardcover or paperback, or both, whatever you want to pay for. But is it worth it to pay for hardcovers when most folks will just buy the paperback? I want to offer both, as I think some folks like a fancy copy on their shelves (autographed, of course!). And, of course, since we’d be printing in the tens instead of thousands, the cost per copy is much higher.
So my conundrum is which way to go… Do I keep up the traditional battle and hope it won’t take another four years to sell it? (We finished the edits in 2005!) Or, do I bite the bullet and lay down the cold, hard, cash and see what happens?
Or, is there a third option? Perhaps, we could offer a presale, allowing those interested to pay for a limited edition signed hardcover while making the paperback available through Amazon and B&N… Would my closest “fans” pay $50 for such a work, and if so, could we find enough of them to cover the costs?
I’ve asked for your feedback in the past, and gotten a little. Today I’m asking again. Hey fans! What do you guys think? Let us know, email@example.com. I really need to hear from some folks, ok?
Running up the coast…
I’ve been so busy with day to day urgencies and putting out “fires” that couldn’t wait even a second that I had been forgetting to take any serious “me” time. A good friend even went so far as to tell me to take some “mental vacations”, just to get my head out of the turmoil for a bit.
Well, Saturday was my birthday, and I managed to indulge myself a little.
Those who know me well will confirm that I do tend to make time for my birthday. I think it’s because Momma and Daddy always saw to it that it was my special day to just be celebrated. And so, Eddy didn’t have too much trouble convincing me that we were going to get away. No excuses would be accepted, no protests would be heard.
Friday is normally my day for mindlessly finishing up the week’s “must do” work. Not this time; Eddy called my boss to advise him my cell phone had been confiscated and that I would be prohibited any computer access other than 30 minutes to update Facebook on Saturday. He also advised him that I would be back at the office promptly on Tuesday, so he could just pretend I didn’t exist all day Monday… Have I mentioned lately how much I love my man?
A driving trip up the California coast is one of my favorite things, and I have dozens of places I love to visit. For that reason, we took our time, not rushing it, trying to time it out so we ended up in the right place at the right time.
I often lament that when driving up, we hit the tiny town of Buellton too early or too late to stop at Pea Soup Anderson’s for a meal, and we determined this would not be the case this time! There’s really not anything in Buellton, which is more of a stop on the way to other places. Anderson’s, however, is a worthy destination in and of itself. Every meal is started with an “all you can eat” bowl of their famous pea soup, though I caution the uninitiated that the soup is so hearty that a single bowl can put most people into a food-coma long before the main course arrives!
We also made the side trip into Solvang, a small, Danish themed tourist trap filled with windmills and pastry shops. It’s worth a short trip and some time wandering through, particularly if you’ve not been in a while. Fortunately, I was stuffed with pea soup, so the allure of sweet, sticky, glazed enticements were easier to avoid. We did pick up a few items to take along, but didn’t partake on site.
We stayed in Pismo Beach at the hotel where Eddy first proposed to me, low these many years ago. It sits on a high cliff side overlooking the ocean and has beach access for romantic walks at sunset. Yeah, we did that too! After sunset, we backtracked to Nipomo for dinner at Jacko’s Steakhouse, having suitably recovered from lunch.
Saturday called for brunch at The Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo, followed by spending most of the day exploring the town. Again, careful planning was brought into play, making it possible to have dinner at Margie’s Diner before heading back to the hotel for some hottubbing and digesting, etc… I was allowed to reply to a couple friendly, non work related text messages…
Sunday in Pismo is a great time for discovering one of the local restaurants, of which there are many wonderful possibilities. More time wandering, holding hands, and, of course, not checking any emails! Frankly, I needed the walking too; those muscles MUST be stretched and such!
This morning we did brunch at Marie Calendar’s before loading up and heading back. Once more, timing being essential, we managed to arrive at Tito’s Tacos just as the tummies began to rumble and the lines weren’t too long!
I seriously have to remember how much I need this sort of diversion. And I need it a lot more than once a year! What’s the point of working hard if you don’t ever let yourself play? Even a mental vacation now and then is mandatory, just to stay sane; but we all need some time to just not be there, from time to time.
Once burned, twice shy…
There is an awful lot going on in the world lately. An understatement, I know. And, as is my nature, I have some strong opinions about most of it. And yet, I haven’t been posting any of them lately.
The reason is very simple, and in its own way, very complex… After my year spent in the persona of a political candidate, I am so reticent to make any fore back into that mindset. I hated having to filter my thoughts for public consumption, and yet, I thrived on making my voice part of that mind numbing cacophony. But I also found myself pulled down in a place where the very worst of the world were my focus all the time, and I still find myself wrestling with those thoughts.
Any who know me will attest that I’m an overarchingly positive person. I’m no blind optimist; the one who steps in a bear trap and imagines it’s Disneyland. Neither am I the sort who sees doom and gloom through every window. I see the glass as neither half empty nor half full. Instead I look at it as completely full; part water, part air, some trace minerals, etc… I call this being a realist (with credit to Neil who first gave me this illustration) rather than an optimist or a pessimist. And in my world, that’s served me well.
But this new experience left me stung. Sure, I talk about things with friends. I give my thoughts and opinions to those I care to invest the energies with. And yet, I find the specter of posting these same thoughts here untenable. I simply cannot make myself put these things out there.
It’s not that I’m fearful of it; god knows I fear ridicule less than most and relish the opportunity to defend my point of view. Instead, I find I shy away because it brings back the overwhelming emotions of despair that spin doctors have been using to direct public sentiment with ever increasing forcefulness. I hate the feelings, and so I shy away…
But I want to get past this, and so I have to push myself to confront the emotions and make them my servants again instead of my master. And this I will do… Oh yes, I will do it…
I oughta be in pictures…!
I have to tell you, my head is spinning! The big NAB show in Vegas is in a week and a half, I’m going nuts trying to figure out how to get the book in print, and, well, you’ve seen the evening news… In the midst of all that, a very exciting piece of news has just hit my desk. Neil has begun work on the screenplay of The Evolution of Linda!
I’m so excited to imagine all the dreams and visions up there on the big screen! All the work and struggles, transformed magically into cinematic spectacular! For so long this has been nothing but a distant and intangible fantasy, but the possibility suddenly is a real and substantive thing that I can almost feel in my hands!
Ok, I know you think I must be tripping, but take a little side trip with me… Let’s go back seven years to the spring of 2002, when the idea of writing my life in a book was just forming into something more than a reoccurring suggestion from close friends. When I actually sat down and asked myself if I could take all the great and terrible things I’ve seen and pour them out into the world for all to examine. It started as a terrifying concept, staggering in proportion and unbearably painful to relive.
Then came the three years of putting it all on paper, collaborating with Neil, reviewing the outlines and fleshed out chapters. We put our hearts and souls into it, and then when it was done, we decided we had shared too openly and too graphically for our target audience… And so we did a major rewrite! The book was fully finished, now a PG13 instead of an NC17, and we began trying to find an agent and sell it.
We’ve been out there for nearly four years now, looking for ways to get The Evolution of Linda into the hands of the public. It’s been as hard, if not harder, than even writing it in the first place. From time to time, I hear from friends who ask, “Why not adapt it for film? It may sell more readily as a screenplay anyway.”
I’ll admit, I have been daydreaming for years about turning it into a movie. We’ve even made a list of who should play all the various roles… But to actually see the pages forming has brought reality to the dream!
I don’t know yet how it’s going to work, but I am very encouraged! Now if only we can get the book in front of Oprah… Hey, anyone out there know Oprah? How about Drew Barrymore? Anyone… Anyone…
What’s wrong with today…?
I really don’t know what’s wrong today, but I feel so out of sorts. I’m listless, lethargic, lazy. I’m not hungry, horny, or sleepy, but I feel weary to the bone. Nothing seems to stir my mood and I can’t lay in bed another minute…
Just sitting down to write this is laborious, and the music is un-soothing. I thought about going out to the patio to try and relax with a good cigar, but even that seems more like a hassle than it’s worth.
The morning started out gray, but the sun is starting to poke its head out from behind the clouds. Why don’t I feel any sunnier?
Things that I used to do with relish seem like hurdles to be overcome; obstacles and trials and irritants. A picture is flashing into my mind; the scene from Pink Floyd’s The Wall where Pinky is sitting, slumped in his chair, staring at the TV across the room and unable to move himself. I’ve been here before and I don’t like it, not at all.
I have to change something, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what or how. I once loved my job, but now it seems like drudgery just to think about it. And yet I can’t imagine not doing it…
I see things in the news that I want to comment on, but then I remember how I spent all of the last year trying to convince the country of my point of view and I get very tired all over again. It was supposed to be satire, entertainment that made people think; running for president. I think it may well have been the dumbest thing I ever did; and I’ve done some pretty dumb things in my life. In many ways, I wish I could take the whole last year back and do it over…
In my mind, I know things aren’t as bleak as they are portrayed in the news. And yet, I can’t get passed this feeling that today is an insurmountable problem. I know I’ll get over it, but right now, there’s just something wrong with today.
I’ve often observed that when things seem like they’re just about to click into place, obstacles appear, seemingly from nowhere, leaving the fates snickering at our folly. I know that sounds a little more negative than I usually allow myself to get, but I’m flat out frustrated, and it’s tainting my otherwise jovial disposition.
Regular readers know that we’ve been trying for some time now to upload The Evolution of Linda to Amazon’s Kindle eBook listings. It seemed like a simple, trouble free way to get the book out there, even if only a few dedicated geeks and cyber gadget-heads would be able to download it. The website that Amazon provides is pretty straightforward… or so it seems at first blush.
The thing is, once you have created an account, loaded your banking info, and created the background info for the book, you must then upload the document into Kindle’s conversion tool. And that’s when the wheels fall off! The conversion tool takes any and every type of file you give it and destroys all formatting, typefaces, page breaks, even the centering is gone! It makes the manuscript we spent years working on look like a high school term paper (a very long one), and I will not allow my work to be shown in this way.
So, we decided to just try and sell the eBook directly through this website. The upside is we have much less overhead, only the Pay-Pal commission and the monthly cost of a third party interface that allows the book to be downloaded as soon as payment is accepted. The downside is, well, we don’t have nearly the traffic of Amazon! That, and we have to pay the monthly service charge whether we sell anything or not…
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m cheep. I won’t spend a plug nickel unless I know I’m getting my nickels worth or more. So I’ve been hesitant to subscribe to the service, wondering if we’ll break even or end up spending hundreds to move a few copies. Frustrated.
On the self publishing front, I’m facing much the same dilemma. I can have the book in print, available for order on all the big websites, in as little as a few weeks. The trouble is there is a huge initial cash outlay, and the wholesale cost per book is the same or more than the retail cover price of a commercially produced book.
Part of me is saying, “Do it! Spend the money and get it out there! If you build it, they will come!” I fantasize the book ending up on Oprah’s desk and the phone ringing off the hook with traditional houses wanting to pick us up as the next addition to her book club. And then my rational mind slaps me and I know a book by an unknown author with a cover price of $14.95 sitting next to Sue Grafton or Tony Hillerman’s books at $7.99 will not be snatched up quickly. Frustrated.
I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know I WILL GET THIS BOOK AVAILABLE, even if I have to peddle each copy myself! Keep checking here for updates and to see when the eBook is downloadable.
I know it’s taken a while, but we’re once again updating the site. The toll of the whole Presidential run, while both fun and educational, is that I let myself get totally burned out. I engaged in a well meaning pursuit, only to find myself become someone I had gotten into the game to oppose! No wonder so few good people want to run, it really screws with your mind and values…
So, I’m back to just being me now… I’ll speak my mind without worry it might cost me votes! As Audrey would say, “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke!”
We’ve had some trouble with our webhost, and are working to fix those, but the pages will be fresh and new in a few short weeks. In the mean time, I’ll open my world up to you on a weekly/bi-weekly basis and get back to what this site was put here for! That is, talking up relationships, my opinions, and all the rest that comes with a tour through Red’s world! If that means sex, then so be it. If it’s political, I am beholden to no one, so fasten your safety belts!