Florida

Still Nobody

Living is great. But it’s also tiresome.

I like to dig into my sticky weird soul and I like others to go with me. And even though an industrious and creative project can occupy my deepest-deep and heal my chronic soul-sickness, I know I’m a nobody. And so are you. Humans are the new termites. There’s just too many of us to keep track of anymore.

What will our aardvark be, I wonder? The Russians are human, too, and multiplying, so they are as plentiful and edible as the rest of us. Still, they’re getting out of hand and so, maybe, just maybe, the aardvark will be an antibiotic-resistant bacteria or thoughtless press of a big or little button. We just don’t know yet, so thank goodness for denial.

Can I get an AMEN?

In light of our limitations, why do we make art when life is scary and not nearly as sweet as it could be? There’s so much art around, already made. Ready-made. Factory made. Made to order, even.

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I continue to dig and create because I have to. Yet it’s not a compulsion; it’s a love story. I am in-love with living, as tired as my middle-aged bones are. Music, art and the written word fill me with passion. As I age, I adapt. Am I whittling away my life force with a bad attitude and sour grapes? Or am I giving my goodies the attention they deserve?

These days I find my life force coiled in the blankness of a new document. I tap the keyboard instead of thumping the strings of my Danelectro Longhorn bass that once sustained my younger creative self. Back when brushing my lips against a mic and having my voice grow flowering vines along with Brian, Marissa, Michele and Mel was as romantic as a wild spring sky over Joshua Tree. That was then, this is not then.  

This year, on Valentine’s Day, I decided to send my first-born novel out into the wild blue yonder. I did what I could to set her onto a path where people might find her and love her. I wonder, do you read fiction? Family dramas? Stories set in the 1970s along the Florida Space Coast?

I hope so.

Please buy my book. Please read it. Please tell your friends if you like it. Pretty sure WHAT YOU CARRY is a great choice for book clubs. And remember -- I’m nobody and so are you. It’s freer to be a nobody. Dig into your own stickiness, your own weird soul. I’ve been saying for years that our souls are like sink holes - deep and dark and old - nobody knows how deep they go. And still, they connect like ground water when it finds the river and flows out to a sea as vast as the universe. Enjoy the waves.

Photo by Al Satterwhite

Photo by Al Satterwhite

 

 

 

 

Like a Hurricane

WHAT YOU CARRY is an unpublished novel set along the Florida Space Coast in the late summer and fall of 1976. Hurricane season. The Thompson family is under siege, in untenable relationship to one another, and the threat of weather is only one layer of their overwhelm.

Following Hurricane Matthew’s progress up the Atlantic coastline of Florida these past few days brought back memories from when I lived on the Indian River in Cocoa, Florida. Growing up there, many people worried that Florida would be subsumed, taken over by rising seas, permanently underwater. That it would happen in our lifetime. We were below sea level already, and our front yard often flooded from summer storms.

One stormy memory stands out: the afternoon sky was congested with purple, black and yellow clouds that hung full-to-bursting with the sick of a tropical depression. Thunder boomed in the clouds and lightning bolted nearby. The river churned murky and high, lapping across the road into our front yard. The radio warned a tornado watch was in effect for Brevard County, so Mom and Dad rounded us up, and we took cover in the concrete block garage. I trembled on the garage floor. Over the river, a waterspout whipped into being, and chaotic winds blew it across our yard. Luckily, we were spared. The roar subsided, and Telephone Line played from Dad’s transistor radio.

At least, that’s what I think happened. I was little.  And that’s one reason why my childhood story is fiction and not memoir. Life has become so dream-like. I watch a lot of quality television, and I read stacks of books. I can barely remember what I did last week let alone 40 years ago.

Like a hurricane, life is full of near misses and direct hits. There’s no end to the cleanup. It seems to me this a time that requires even more clean up, more heart, more generosity of spirit, even though it’s hard to be kind under threat.

WHAT YOU CARRY is my attempt to show how the unspoken, self-defeating assumptions that give rise to my thoughts and actions…the neurological trails and edits that were laid down in my stormy childhood...my hope is this novel shows how they historically played out. Writing this manuscript has been a one way to use my goodies, as opposed to my defects. I chose to heal, not hide. No more harm.

Here are Six Organizations that offer relief to the victims of Hurricane Matthew.

If you have a moment, visit the music section of this website for The Bellyacher's versions of several songs that are in the novel, including Telephone Line.