Writer’s Block…Yes, Nana Had It…

Does anyone really know what “writer’s block” consists of?  I think Johnny Rzeznik summed it up best when he described it as when you think everything you write is crap even though it is not.  We all have these periods where we feel totally uninspired and cannot seem to find our “muse” or hear it when it’s trying to find us…Whatever it is, it does exist.   I have only found one cure for this. You don’t have to buy books to cure it because the books lead you only to one thing to do: KEEP WRITING!  That is right.  Even if you only do this for five minutes a day, just keep writing–even if it is in your own journal.  Sometimes economics preclude buying books anyway.

Sometimes we have a lot going on in our lives–so much that the muse has a hard time getting through to us.  If so, then it’s best to have a lighter schedule and have some “me” time when you can.  I think the big, bad writer’s block bullshit hits us when we have little to no “me” time–or “us” time when it comes to family.  I know people get really hit with it when they are depressed, but sometimes the best cure for the depression is change.  Be open to the idea of it. It may be something subtle–or a whole life-changing experience–but BE OPEN to the idea. Life has a way of changing the road that lies in front of you and it is probably for the best. Perhaps a family visit is in order, too if one hasn’t been home in a while. Sometimes that can wake up a lazy assed muse who is slacking…LOL

I write when I feel like it. Period. I have my days where I write the sappy stuff–which I don’t share because I don’t let folks see that side of me…Why?  Because that side of me is the vulnerable side and I don’t share it much. Then I have days where I totally bitch, rant rave and moan–lacing it with some absurd humor.  When I write music or stories, the rule is the same–I write what I feel and I don’t hold anything back.  It is also the greatest thing on the planet to do it that way because if I am writing a story, I can play God, base a character on someone who pisses me off (usually a bully) and either kill those types off or make them suffer! Gee, sounds like that “Rabbit” character on “Banshee” but I use a pen instead of a knife…Very therapeutic…Non fattening and the suckers who really piss me off keep breathing to get theirs another day when their crap catches up to them!  Watching that happen is the ultimate sort of vindication, I think.

Have you guys seen “Banshee” yet? Well if you’re not into nude scenes, change the channel but the story line totally kicks ass.  Every character on there has a story, a motive, a purpose…I like how they use the .gif shop and website to fill in holes rather than spend too much time on flashback scenes in the series.  It’s pure marketing genius in my book and 2.7 million viewers can’t be wrong. After all, it  is the highest rated series Cinemax has had thus far.  Innovation and ingenuity are key to its success. Plots and such are all original and not borrowed from elsewhere…I love it!

All that I Am–Still Unbroken

Today I found a plastic bowl that one of my boys stained up by using it in the microwave oven…They used something with tomato in it because I could tell by the stain.  I started to throw the thing away, but couldn’t make myself do it.  It elicited a train of though from me that I haven’t had in a long time.

People are quick to toss out things they view as “useless”.  This includes people.  People who may have had things happen to them.  Most know my story so I won’t repeat it, but sharing it has cost me a great deal. People assume that girls who go through what I endured are “damaged” and they want nothing to do with the issue .  There are those who simply wish I wouldn’t talk about it because it disturbs their comfort zone.

Oh well, so be it.  The fact of the matter is that I have decided that I have endured much of the abuse I suffered as a child because some other kid might not have survived it long enough to tell the tale.  If telling my tale helps one child, then the critics and naysayers can all quite frankly kiss my ass.

This “damaged” vessel tells kids that they should never be afraid to keep telling someone until they are listened to.  Period!

I have ended relationships because I could tell that the man I was with had a problem with how I deal with my own issues. Most of them didn’t want to “share me” anymore. They began to isolate me from family and friends and I know exactly what that leads to because my own abusers did the same thing to me as a child–so yes, I know the warning signs and I don’t fall for those lines any longer.

On the other hand, I know that one day another person will cross into my path that will realize that the person I am today is in spite of what happened to me–not because of what happened.  I could have done a 180 and became a totally cruel, sardonic bitch, but I didn’t. I did become a realist.  When a person takes the time to accept me as I am, he will have my heart–and not a minute sooner. He will encourage rather than abase me.  He will lift me up rather than knock me down emotionally.  And he will work alongside me rather than try to constantly control me.  He will let me fly rather than try to put me in his cage. In short, he won’t try to turn me into a creature that I can never be–and I will  return to him that kindness.

By the way, I didn’t toss the bowl since it will come in handy–and besides, it’s less crap for the landfill.  One of these days people will learn that ceramic bowls may break, but they are easier to clean. Once broken, you have to toss them.

That being said, here is one of the most beautiful rock ballads I’ve heard in years.  Johnny Rzeznik (of the Goo Goo Dolls) knows how to craft a lyric…I think it proper to close with this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcTnu3AWk7Q&feature=related

I will never be broken.

There Are Still New Acts Out There…But the Roots ALWAYS Rule!

In an age where most bands are beginning to whine way too much for my liking, I’ve turned to my old country roots and to the music my parents listened to as a kid–lots of standards and old movie songs.  My grandparents always had music playing on the television, whether it was the Grand Ol’ Opry or some religious music shows that aired prior.  Then there was always Hee Haw!  I also heard a lot of Frank Sinatra music, Dean Martin and a few others growing up.

Country, blues and jazz have a rich heritage in this country, but in the youth, they don’t have that same fire running through the veins that leads to what inspired some of the greats to write music as they did in years past.  Hard work and ingenuity are now replaced with the internet and mass production of music on such a scale that it seems to me that the market is becoming too saturated with these services to download a lot of music–and many under-deserving artists keep getting over exposure to the point that people cannot stand to listen to them any longer.  Want a good example of how this can happen?  I’ll give you one using a song released in the 1990’s.  Remember My Heart Will Go On from the Titanic soundtrack?  I do! Boy that song kicked ass, but it got waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy too much airplay and that’s what killed it.

I actually miss going to the market and buying the music I want to buy–actually putting my hands on the albums or the cd’s.  If you can remember all the posters of who you thought were great musicians on your walls, that you clipped from Tiger Beat or 16 magazine, then you know the type of feeling I am referring to.  Now in my pre-teens, I confess that I was into the teen idol stuff.  There wasn’t a single girl in my class who didn’t have a huge crush on one of the Osmond Brothers or David Cassidy.  I was the oddball that loved the Jackson 5 too.  You see, parents tended to buy our music and my dad would not let me get the Jackson 5 stuff until I made my own money.  However, he went into deeper shock when I bought George Harrison‘s “All Things Must Pass” album.

At 13 I began to crave real music.  I began writing real lyrics–and to me George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon were, in the words of young people today, “The shit!” I also love Stevie WonderSongs in the  Key of Life is one of the greatest albums of all time. I hated the world around me and wrote about that for the most part.  I have returned to music after almost 29 years. For a while I stopped because I listened to everyone tell my why I can’t do anything rather than the one voice inside of myself that tells me I can.

What I listen to inspires me, but I cannot sing the music that inspires me to write. I don’t know why.  I’ll listen for hours and never allow a single  note of it to escape my lips…Europe is a whole new world.  The music is different as well. People over there actually enjoy what I enjoy.  I want to share the things with you that made me realize that there is hope for the American music scene yet. One of them is this lady.  Her name is Lara Fabian:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tg_PTY3nI8

Then there is this guy who seemed to pop out of a box from Bulgaria in 2009…It was still another year before I heard him sing, dammit!

http://www.youtube.com/user/ActorBenCross?blend=21&ob=5

I never knew Ben Cross could sing prior to that…Then again, I lived in a f***ing bunker of my own making.  Sometimes I still hide in it too.  In case you are wondering, he is probably best known over here for his work in Chariots of Fire and for playing Sarek in the last Star Trek film.

Now before you start, don’t start slamming older musicians.  The well ran pretty dry as of late and these musicians still have it going on, man…This guy has a resonating light about him and as long as he has that, I support him–PERIOD.  Some of you younger artists should take a few pointers from him because he has a better tone and range than a lot of us do.  IF you don’t believe me, listen to him.  As for me, I’m too much like Pink…I do what the hell I want and write what the hell I want.  When I need a wake up call, I go to the roots–the old music and Ben does it well.

The THIRD thing came from Lauren Cross.  It was a link to THIS station:

http://www.kcrw.com/music/eclectic24

You can also listen to this  KCRW    These stations have a little more to offer than my usual, eardrum bursting fare!  When riding with me, I tend to listen to what your mother warned you about!  If you dare to let me drive and I’ve got Enter Sandman by Metallica playing, be ready to get stopped because I get tickets every damned time!   The same holds true for when I am playing I Want it All by Queen.

Now I do like hearing the old “Nirvana” music and some Goo Goo Dolls.  John Rzeznik knows how to put a lyric together that messes with my head every time and I like that in a songwriter…It just seems to me that the old fire died out when the 90’s went.  Once in a while, you get a band like Arcade Fire or something but they don’t hang around for too long. Sorry but it is true…Of all the Best New Artist winners at the Grammy Awards in the past 10 years, I see that there are 2-3 acts that got it that NOBODY in the mainstream seems to have heard of–Esperanza Spaulding being the latest…They gave it to Nora Jones too (who did NOT deserve it–sorry) when Averil Levigne should have gotten it.  If you look at the list of who has won, you will see that while they do sell records–the mainstream (working class American) listeners don’t care one iota for their music.  People need to realize that the academy votes on this.  I am glad and surprised that Maroon 5 won when they did.  They are GOOD!

I want to share two more songs with you that I love to listen to.  Here is the first one by Shinedown (Second Chance):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H25ORRgLxdA&feature=fvsr

And here is the 2nd one by Hinder (Lips of an Angel):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiSfTyrvJlg&ob=av2e

These two bands aren’t “special” or “great”…Their sound is honest, raw and pure and that is what I look for in any artist regardless of the genre.   That in mind, I want to mention a  new band from Cross Plains, Texas.  I got the pleasure of meeting them in Mingus, TX the other night.  The band is “Bars Lane”.   IF you are a manager, they need one.  Friend them on FB and get in touch with them, but I do believe they are going to make it.  When you hear this, you’ll know why I am mentioning them on this blog.  Their lyrics are honest and they have a lot more besides this one.  Their drummer wrote the song “Blessed” which I featured below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hLAMLQPDOE

If you guys like Cross Canadian Ragweed, you’ll love Bars Lane, too.  It’s that simple.

Here’s a pic and a link to their FB page too:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bars-Lane/129223883807762

They are also on reverbnation.com  as well.   Have a great week–especially all of you in Texas!  Let’s support these guys!