A Fool is a Tool

 

 

Fiesta self-portrait. Julien in studio.Another one of my first “Dusty Stables” songs that would have been lost to the sands of time if James hadn’t pulled up the lyrics on his computer the other day…

This may be the only song I’ve ever written that is intended to convey a positive message…

well, I guess it is not so much a positive message as a desperate question…

I wrote this song after having to declare bankruptcy from making a series of outrageous purchases, ranging from $500 garbage cans to $5000 shirts in an effort to achieve financial stability via the law of attraction. Really, I think I had suffered a financial break with reality when I got married and had to assume my husband’s six-figure debt, something that seemed soul crushing given my $20,000 yearly income. Not to mention that he wanted Porsche’s and caviar and fine dining experiences and it seemed that his spirit would leave this earth if I could not find a way to provide them…

I suppose I could be grateful that my desperation drove me towards the purple end of the insanity spectrum (fantastical thinking) rather than the red and black end of crime and violence.

I remember having to go to court to declare bankruptcy… I was so scared and my legs were shaking… it seemed impossible to go through with it. But in the end the judge was a light & cheery man who just said, “Oh you’re an artist. Well, great! You’re free to go. Keep up the good work!” It felt like he was congratulating me. Sometimes I really love California.

 

Download MP3: A Fool Is a Tool

 

Town Widow

 

Woman in coat in front of cityscape. Charcoal.Ok, I had to take a break for a few days, because it was becoming too painful to revisit my earliest songs… sometimes they bring up memories that are too much to bear. Anyway, this is another one of my first songs which were all about my love for Dusty Stables. How could I have been in love with someone who had the same hair color as me? How could I have been in love with a tall skinny guy*? Looking back, none of it makes sense.

 

Download MP3: Town Widow

 

*No offense… it is just that I perceive tall skinny men as being dreamers** and less likely to enjoy moving heavy crates from place to place. I may be wrong.

**Not that there is anything wrong with being a dreamer, but when you’ve spent the last six months trying to grow wings (literally), a dreamer shouldn’t be what you’re looking for.

 

F-ck this sh-t!

 

Tom Cruise is: Lovely! The Rose of Sharon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay… I am going to have to turn this blog around… I can’t pretend to be Mitt Romney any longer…  I am cracking under the pressure… from now on, I have to be true to myself…

 

By the time I get to you

 

Woman in cornflower blue sundress in front of cityscape.This is another song from the Odyssey… I think it is from Penelope’s perspective, although I don’t know too much about it. It is one of those songs I wrote and then shoved in a drawer… all I remember is that I wrote it while taking out the garbage in Nashville and the skies were so blue, and in my imagination I was surrounded by stark white mountains capped by the puffiest clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: Something bout Words

Something bout Words

 

Nude woman with wavy hair in fur coat by pool.I just found this song the other day. I don’t really remember writing it, and I’m not sure I ever sung it. Like so many of the songs I wrote in the past, it now seems shockingly crude to me, although ten years ago, I would have felt differently. Words that seemed wholesome and commonplace when I was married to Hugh Heffner, now stand out like gigantic monsters when I’m married to Ned Flanders.

Still, I like it, and don’t think it’s really crude, as long as you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t think words themselves really can be crude. To me, words are hollow containers, packed with meaning by the speaker and also the listener.

In the south, people always pack their cruelest messages inside the sweetest words, share affection through teasing, and give praise in a way that sounds like an insult (this allows the praise to be accepted without the receiver feeling like a narcissist.)  Therefore, it is hard for me to judge a word by it’s surface meaning.

That is why I feel disturbed by some of the hate speech controversies that have been sweeping the nation recently (Donald Sterling, Don Jones, Robert Copeland, Maurice Price etc.) I feel it would be a horrible mistake to set a precedent of punishing people for their words. If we really want to make the world a safer place, we have to look beneath the surface of things and resist knee-jerk reactions to predictable provocations.

But it would never do us any good to suppress people’s words.

For example, if someone makes racist comments because they are a racist, at least their words are letting us know where they stand so we can react accordingly. If a man makes sexist comments, that could be a useful clue that you don’t want to marry him. Unfortunately, the most dangerous predators probably don’t go around saying dumb things. But when someone does reveal their hand, we can be grateful for the info.

Other times, offensive words may be a cry for help. They may express an immature person’s need for love and attention, or a desire to feel powerful. They may be the ramblings of a mind that has come unhinged and is spouting notions it heard in the past. They may be the bilous expressions of a pain and agony that has become unbearable. In these cases, I feel we can forgive people for their clumsy attempts to get their needs met, and respond to the underlying message, just as we would with a child who is misbehaving to win affection.

One way or another, words are messengers, and as the saying goes, you never kill the messenger!

Download MP3: Something bout Words

You Built a Tower

 

Hispanic man with emerald green backgroundAt the time I wrote this song I was obsessed with the color green. After all, green is the color of money, and money was something I desperately needed. Mostly, I needed money so that my husband would stop being depressed. I needed him to stop being depressed so that I could take a break from trying to make him happy.

So, I painted everything in my apartment green and filled it with plants. Every bit of wall space was filled with a picture of a saint in a green frame, since I figured saints would be lucky. Everyday I burned rosemary, sage, parsley and thyme to fill our home with their scent. To me they represented the four archangels, Rosemary for Auriel, Sage for Gabriel, Parsley for Raphael, and for Michael, Thyme.

*

When I think of green people, I think of people who are smooth and accomplished, while perhaps a little on the fake side. They hide their true self in order to get ahead and take advantage of opportunities. Just like plants, they are flexible, changeable, and eager to grow in any direction. They conform to the norms of society for the advantages and ease it brings them.

I had the notion that if my husband became more green, more willing to fit in and go with the human flow, that it would ease his troubles, both emotionally and financially. After all, it is hard to get a job when you are crying and wearing a batman costume. So I tried to change him, to get him to reign in his personality and emotions.

For starters, I had him change up his wardrobe and exchange football jerseys (which had the side effect of exposing large puffs of chest hair) for the more contained polo shirt. I tried to get him to wear socks and close-toed shoes. We compromised on socks inside of sandals. Every morning, I forced him- as best I could- to sit with a cup of coffee (which he didn’t drink) and pretend to read a newspaper. I felt that coffee and newspapers would both be civilizing influences. He wanted to get his news from the computer, but I felt the dry scratchiness of the newsprint itself  would somehow soak up the black bile that was troubling him. I also insisted he wear glasses. He didn’t need them, but luckily we were able to find some ladies reading glasses that were practically clear. I felt spectacles would lead to a more organized mind.

I also convinced him to trade in his meals of “animal style” burgers and meats dripping in dark sauces, for something more mental and crisp, like a turkey sandwich with a side of chips and a Sprite.

Download MP3: You Built a Tower

Black Black Hell

 

Cheetah mom with baby cheetahs at sunset.Another song from the Odyssey… Odysseus travels to Hades to seek guidance for his journey. Hell is a place we all visit at some point. Perhaps by visiting Hell while still alive we don’t have to go there when we die.

What is Hell? Hell is a place so black we can only look backwards.

A place where the light of the future has been extinguished by the shadows of the past. Suddenly we are engulfed by everything we had forgotten- lost opportunities, suppressed humiliations, mistakes we can never erase. We realize that what we thought was behind us- our past- was actually closer to us than our present- standing between us and the present like an atmosphere, a cover of clouds, and in Hell these clouds thicken and swallow us up. We are confronted with the ways we have hurt others and the ways we have hurt ourselves. We come face to face with the dark sides of those we loved, the ways they betrayed us, the love that existed only in words but not deeds. We see the ways we were overpowered by life and shaped by forces beyond our control. We realize we cannot change the past- not because it is behind us (it is not behind us at all!)-but because we never could have changed it. We did our best, but it was not enough. Our will was just a tiny candle in the big wide world, barely illuminating our own hand and bound for extinction.

Some dreams were fulfilled, but still they were hollow. Some goals were achieved, but still they led nowhere. Best friends slipped away, one by one, like sunsets. Ideals that seemed so tangible turned out to only be concepts. Right and wrong, success and failure, struggles and surrenders… in the end it all led to the same place… nowhere.

Welcome to Hell.

Download MP3: Black Black Hell

Dragonlance

 

Nude Lady holding blue and lavender cross flag on lavender background.A friend asked me if I could write a song for him to sing to his lady-friend, and this is what I wrote… although it should actually be sung as a duet with a chorus of dwarfs chiming in.

It is called Dragonlance, because he was the type of guy that collects dragon figurines, Magic the Gathering cards, and things of that ilk. I love people who are into that stuff- they seem so innocent and pure- but I can’t relate to it myself. The whole fantasy genre is anathemic to me. I can’t bring myself to watch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. How can I get excited about something that isn’t real? I would rather have some french fries with ketchup.

Of course I do like dwarfs, but to me they aren’t a fantasy.

 

 

Download MP3: Dragonlance

Black Man

 

Black man flying over two shadowy figures and one saint, near a river, surrounded by flowers.I hope I don’t get sued for writing a song called “Black Man,” but the truth is I believe there are beings in every color of the rainbow who live side by side with us humans. And of these vividly colored peoples, the one I think about most frequently is the famous “Black Man,” a jet black figure about 33% larger than a regular person. I think these colored beings might show up in our lives to compensate for our weaknesses. The black man seems strong and protective to me, though also opaque and aloof. But after all he’s part of another world, and “their ways are not our ways.”

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: Black Man