Path of Totality – my long-lost novel

Posted in Creativity and Chaos on August 16, 2017 by coyotescribe

Inside the umbrage of the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse, I would like to point out that America’s last great eclipse was thirty-eight years ago, its path crossing the Pacific Northwest on February 26, 1979. That event is the catalyst for an extraordinary and otherworldly reunion that occurs under a Montana sky at the moment of totality. Thus why I titled my novel “Path of Totality.” Twenty-one chapters written, ten chapters to go. I think it might be time to work on it again, even though I’m about to take songs into the studio to make a singer-songwriter album. Everything seems to be happening at once.

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As part of my celebration of this astronomical ecliptic event, I am including a short blurb about my novel and posting the first 3-1/2 pages to introduce my main character, and bring him back into the light.

Short synopsisIn 1978, a wounded Vietnam Vet/Ojibwe Indian, on a path of self-destruction, is reunited with a childhood friend, a Caucasian girl. They had known each other for only eight short days during a momentous summer in 1962. Their reunion is conjured by two older women living an otherworldly existence in the hallowed lands of Montana, one of whom was a famous movie star thought to have left this earth long ago…

PART I
The Boy in the Photograph

Chapter One

Sunday, August 13, 1978

From inside the old ‘66 Chevy Impala you could hear the tires whirring over blacktop along Southern Minnesota’s Highway 14. Not because the windows were rolled down, but because there were rust holes in the floorboard behind the front seat. John turned up the volume to the 8-track player already cranking out Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watch Tower.” He wanted to drown out the whirring in his head that was something else entirely: choppers over jungle.

He turned south on 22 to bypass Mankato’s neurotic city traffic and avoid a lot of gear shifting. His leg was acting up again. He had trained his left foot to toggle between the clutch and brake pedal, but frequent stops and starts wore down his mental focus, and his patience. Eventually he’d have to cut over to westbound 60, which would take him to the godforsaken town he was headed for near the Iowa border. He peered through horn-rimmed sunglasses at the map sprawled over the seat beside him. The upholstery underneath split itself in shreds like post-harvest cornstalks. The wind whisked through side-opened window vents and tousled his wild Indian hair, loosening more and more of it from the leather tie that had been his half-assed attempt to feign civilized.

The Chevy slammed over a bump, and the glove box unhinged itself. “Shut your fuckin’…” John slammed the glove box cover three times before it latched and stayed closed, but it had already spilled its guts onto the floor, adding to the crinkled-up cigarette packs and Burger Chef wrappers. He was used to the stupid unhinged mechanism, and he’d had his fair share of bumps in the road. Just couldn’t handle sudden movements of any kind, no matter how familiar. He was the one that was unhinged, despite how long it had been since his tour in Vietnam.

John knew that Americans were discarding their memories of the war as fast as popsicles melt in the jungle. And while everyone forgot, more and more Vets were crossing their line of demarcation, a decade’s passing since their time of service, since they had come home from Vietnam to this foreign country. Some of the older vets at the VA hospital described it as some kind of mystical anniversary, consecrated by a runaway locomotive crashing into a long-abandoned station, moving faster than a speeding bullet. It’s as if no time has passed, no time at all. And there was nothing anyone could do about it. And there was damn sure no light at the end of the tunnel. Demarcation Day was the day you realized to the core, it was never gonna get any better.

Today was John’s twenty-ninth birthday. Of little consequence now, because last Monday he had crossed over the line, and it was like getting wounded all over again. His runaway locomotive had rolled in right on schedule: ten years to the day since his return from Vietnam. No lights, no cameras, no pats on the back, no nothing. Just nothing, and nothing more, ten years of nothing. Birthdays didn’t mean shit. And this fucking trip, he didn’t much care if he was coming or going.

He pulled a cigarette out of his shirt pocket, shoved it into his mouth, pushed in the lighter below the dash, then glanced back at the map. He traced the red line he had drawn to his destination, while paying little attention to his driving. John was dressed up, at least for him, a wrinkled beige shirt and a polyester tie that hung loose around his neck. A moth-eaten wool suit jacket was draped over the front seat, out of style and out of season. He suddenly yanked his tie through his collar, and twisted it around his hand like a boxer’s wrap. He fisted the map, punched a hole in it. He would never travel this road again, so what the fuck? He tossed the map and his tie on the floor with the rest of the junk just as the lighter popped out. He lit his cigarette on the tiny hotplate. Whatever doubts he had about leaving his buddies to travel this far into unknown territory was alleviated only by the slim chance he might be getting some money.

He almost hadn’t noticed the typewritten note on the Veterans Administration Hospital bulletin board. His policy was to read just the hand-written scraps of paper, because those were from vets, mostly advertising vehicles for sale. John was hoping to find a small trailer and an electric coffee maker for a good price. When he received his latest government check, he got the idea to expand the hideaway where he and four other vets were living to include a kitchen with electricity, so he could make real coffee for his buddies, and not the instant kind anymore. But there were no trailers or coffeemakers for sale.

The note had caught his eye, way up in the right-hand corner, his name in bold print: Looking for John Goodsky, please contact regarding inheritance. A phone number just below it. The lawyer refused to give him any information over the phone, other than the deceased had left him a package.

A warm wind howled through the narrow window vents and buffeted his face. The smell of earth was changing. The city to the north had infiltrated the air, John’s senses attuned to it. He was all-too aware that his prescription sunglasses didn’t hide the American Indian that flowed in his blood. He glimpsed his legacy each time he happened to see himself in the rearview mirror. His strong wide mouth, full lips like his mother’s, and straight nose, all visible below the shadow of the brown frames he wore, a dead giveaway. Above the dark lenses his forehead creased with the ceaseless strain of too many memories, the Vietnam giveaway.

There was a mixture of white blood in him, but it was Ojibwe that claimed half of who he was. What he kept hidden to the outside world was the unusual color of his eyes, a charcoal-brown, like the dark fur of a timber wolf his mother used to say. She had told him, one day he would allow someone to look into them, and it would be that person’s spirit who would cause his eyes to spill the sap of maple trees in the lost woodlands of his people. He had let someone look inside once, when he was a boy, after his mother died, but he wouldn’t let himself remember, protecting that memory from what he had become.

John looked at his weathered hands. They gripped the steering wheel so tight the reddish tone of his skin drained out of his knuckles. Though he was only twenty-nine today, he, John Goodsky, was lifetimes old. He pushed in the cigarette lighter again.

* * *

Copyright 2010 Tysa Goodrich

 

 

 

 

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Why Did You Leave Me All Alone?

Posted in Creativity and Chaos on January 22, 2015 by coyotescribe

(From The Story Surrounding the Song series)

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The song was written in 1980. I have rerecorded this demo of it in 2015:

Below is a partial chapter taken from my memoir about life on the road as a female rock keyboardist, singer, songwriter.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME ALL ALONE?
(chapter excerpt from “What A Fool Believes” – a rock-n-roll memoir)

August 1980

I sat at the kitchen table under the yellow wall phone, waiting for Sandy to answer. The overhead fluorescent light spilled colorless halos over the tile floor, flickering morse code warnings.

“Sandy?”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m leaving him, packing everything and getting the hell out of here.”

“Okay,” she said. I could tell she was trying to sit up in bed. “Are you sure? It’s one o’clock in the morning.”

“I can’t stay here another minute. He’s not home yet, and I don’t have a clue as to when he’s gonna show up.”

I had been thinking about it all evening, sitting there, taking bites from my macaroni and cheese dinner, being taunted by a mouse who peered at me from under the stove. As if I should get up and do something about it. I was fighting myself, turning it over and over in my head what had happened last weekend, when he left me waiting all night, waiting for him to come home from his gig.

It had been one of the cooler nights last week, providing relief against the daytime summer broil, which stubbornly refused to exit the wood-frame house we just moved into. I sat out on the front porch, with a view of the soap factory across the street. I smoked cigarettes to alleviate the scent of perfumey soap scum, which permeated my “off the road” existence.

The old Blue Max band was gone. Him and me were all that was left. He just started doing a single act because our duo tour had fried itself to a crisp. The last gig we played, in Cleveland, was at the Harley Hotel. During those six weeks I managed to skim enough money off the overhead to abet my own escape, because even then I was having really bad feelings.

Last Friday night out on the porch, smelling soap, had been the crowning glory. I ended up writing a really great song. Maybe I could get a record deal. That very thought was how I had kept myself from going crazy, pouring all my insanity into music and lyrics.

It wasn’t until 5 A.M. that I finally heard the prattle of his Volkswagen fade into the misty silence before it zoomed around the corner. What kind of a fool does he take me for, telling me he got drunk and passed out in his car? Yeah, passed out with his pants down. I pictured the whole thing with a vividness, like thirty-five millimeters feeding through a film projector. And now, one week later, the images were stuck in my head as this night began rolling into the wee hours.

When I hung up the phone with Sandy, I moved like a ricocheting pinball through the house, pulling the rest of my clothes from drawers and the laundry baskets, gathering my music books and songwriting journals, kitchenware, anything I considered to be mine. My body electric fueled a roaring bonfire of fury. I couldn’t get my own song out of my head. It had become the culmination of two years on the road working with him. I should’ve never broken the cardinal rule of touring rock-n-roll bands, especially when I was the only female musician.

The song was my refuge, my way out. It was worthy of itself, because it told the truth. It was a hard-driving Abba-like rock-n-roll freight train of anger. There’s a line in it that basically summed up my weak existence: I didn’t have the nerve for losing you.

It flowed out in one of those endless streams of creativity, amidst a freak out, sitting on that rickety porch with my guitar, pumping out lyrics: I waited all night, burned the porch light, but you kept me in the dark. I had kept myself in the dark for too long. I needed to shine a light on the situation. My light. My song. My coping mechanism.

I threw my bulging suitcase into the trunk of my 1970 Plymouth Valiant. I squeezed as much of my equipment into the back seat as I could, but I had to leave my Rhodes piano and speakers behind. He would have to ship them to me. I wasn’t going to wait up for him one more night. I was out of here. And I wasn’t coming back. Not this time. Not like the other times.

I was high. Not on weed, just on adrenalin. I was being lifted out of hell. I scooted into the driver’s seat, took one last dreary look at the pale green porch, and slammed the passenger door. I was tightly wedged between the door handle and the mountainous stack of books and clothing on the front seat.

“Fuck you,” I railed out loud, flipping the bird to the house, then at the soap factory. I lit a cigarette and drove away, leaving Ohio for good.

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Star Struck (a touring musician UFO story)

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8, 2014 by coyotescribe

Nothing on earth could have prepared us for what happened following a Christmas party we played on the night of December 16, 1978. Back then, and even now, most of what I’d be telling you about would be the gig itself, because everyone always wanted to know: What’s it like standing up there on stage playing rock-n-roll music? But it was after the gig was over when three of us in the band found ourselves in the midst of an otherworldly encounter that transposed our chronic anonymity into a star-filled unveiling.

But first, because there were so many inquiries into our lowly existence as rock-n-roll musicians, I will make a brief reference to the elusive routines of our working Top-40 band. We, along with a slew of other undistinguished musicians, made our money by covering the songs of FAMOUS musicians. We cranked out our gallant renditions from small stages inside clubs and hotel lounges across America, where music fans came to hear live performances of their favorite hit songs.

People from our audiences often said to us, “You make it look so easy.” It wasn’t easy. It never just happened, unless you practiced: practice alone, practice together, practice alone againwe called this woodsheddingand then take a couple of nights to crash-and-burn a new song onstage, facing humiliation before it finally sinks into the groove of, “Oh yeah, it’s pretty easy.” Eventually that song becomes a part of the band, and we, its immortal conduit. A side note here: One onstage train wreck is equal to three hours of rehearsal. Still, for us, making money playing other people’s music was a whole lot better than selling shoes. Even with the late night equipment tear-downs, truck loading, and pot-laced road trips that spawned the strange and irreverent things that went on inside this odd kind of familial musical mix, we were thrilled to be Top-40 musicians. It was our stepping stone to the dream.

We had driven up I-70 from Dayton, Ohio in the one-ton white Ford band truck, loaded with our equipment. The Christmas party was a one-nighter on the outskirts of Columbus, a raucous affair held inside a gymnasium-sized old barn decorated like a holiday block party, with strings of colored lights hanging between lampposts, snowmen and support beams. Sawdust everywhere.

Our band was called Blue Max. We were a Steely-Dan-kicking, lean-mean top-40 machine: guitar, bass, drums, and me, the chick keyboard player—an anomaly in 1978. Larry was our sound man. We needed him for more reasons than just mixing our vocals. Mostly we needed his crazy comedic shit to keep us all sane. We toured all over the Midwest, East Coast and Southeastern states. It wasn’t a glamorous life—Rolling Stone magazine wouldn’t have needed to know our activities from gig to gig—but we constantly reminded ourselves we didn’t slide shoehorns between stinking feet and stiff shoe leather.

We arrived at the gig and unloaded our gear onto the stage, doing our usual head-butting. We had this new silver backdrop that was now part of our standard set-up routine, another piece of equipment that had to be set-up, hooked-up, or hung-up. Our blue-and-gold 5-foot cloth replica of the German WWI flying medal lay inside the folds of the metallic curtain as we unwrapped it. Our Blue Max logo looked impressive hanging over the silver drape, especially when we centered it right above Terry’s drums. But tonight we had an obstacle: a moose head. Our backdrop had to be collared under the neck of the barn’s mascot, who peered out over the crowd from smack-dab in the middle of the backstage wall. We decked him out with boughs of holly, adjusted his silver bib, while the Blue Max was relegated to the no-fly zone behind my keyboards.

We wailed that night, and the crowd went ballistic for rock-n-roll. For our encore, we featured Gary on Alvin Lee’s monstrous 12-minute Woodstock rendition of, “I’m Goin’ Home.” It packs more punch than a runaway locomotive. Gary arched back so far during the guitar solos he looked like he was crouching under a lowering limbo stick. No one wanted us to stop. Whenever people felt that good listening to the band, the music always soared, rebellious and untethered. As loud as we were, it didn’t matter that we couldn’t hear each other; we’d been together long enough to know each other’s rhythms and patterns. Sometimes, something just happens in a moment of a song, or a solo—or on those rare occasions, through the course of an entire night—that can’t be explained. It’s kind of like a needle slipping into the groove on a record. There’s nothing you can do to get out of it, unless you willfully knock yourself across the vinyl. The music just turns underneath you. That’s how easy it had been that night.

Those who followed our band hoped-upon-hope to catch our rising star, while we fantasized about a life of fame that would one day be. They would come to watch, listen, drink and dance, as we the musicians (front-lit by stage lights, back-silhouetted by a silver, metallic 90-percent-reflective backdrop) stood upon beer-soaked stages, inspiring crowds for grueling four-and-a-half-hour-balls-to-the-wall nightshifts. We never lost sight of the dream, and we thrived on the sheer amplitude by which the magic of our music condensed into one glorious stampede. “We were the shits, man,” as Steve, our bass player, would say.

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Wind-socked by the buzz in our ears, we tried to think of new ways to enhance equipment teardown, starting with a joint outside. A celebration smoke. Like so many other times, we reminisced about the night’s music and the crazy shit that happens to us on the road. We were packed up and out on the highway by three in the morning. Saturday had relinquished its claim on the night, while Sunday took over the wee mysterious early-morning hours. Larry was behind the wheel of the truck. Gary and I rode with him. I sat in the middle.

It happened somewhere between Springfield and Dayton, sometime between 3:30 and 4:00am. I-70 was virtually devoid of traffic. We saw oncoming headlights of another vehicle maybe once every five minutes. The whir of the tires had silenced us to non-verbal communication, though we were all awake. We knew that about each other. Gary and I knew we didn’t have to keep up the conversation to help Larry stay conscious behind the wheel, and Larry knew we were okay enough that he didn’t need to play court jester to keep us on a smooth track. Gary and I had broken the cardinal rule of touring musicians: Don’t get involved with anyone in the band.

It was a cold night. Snow was thick on the ground. Yet the roads had been cleared by muffler exhaust and the reeling rubber tires of holiday traffic. We played no music on the radio, as our ears required a much-needed rest. Our thoughts were internal, and seemed to be connected somehow, like the silent panoply of stars in the clear black winter sky.

Out there in the night, a star brightened above the southern horizon. What had once seemed like a pinpoint of an especially brilliant star now grew larger. Not a word was said. The three of us waited, staring at the light. Nothing unusual of course, maybe a tower off in the distance, a helicopter with its search light on, a plane maybe. We waited.

It moved closer, with such precision I could already feel an intention behind the expanding light in the sky. I finally broke the silence, and asked, “What IS that?”

Gary replied curiously, “I don’t know.”

We watched. It seemed to be coming our direction, but we couldn’t be sure.

Larry joked, “Hey, why don’t I flash the brights and see if it’ll come right to us.” Then he proceeded to stomp on the high-beam button a few times, flashing our brights at the glowing object. There was no one on the road at that point, just our loaded truck racing along at 70-miles-per-hour.

That was the last funny remark Larry made that night. The object distinctly changed course after he performed his mock summoning ritual. It moved steadily and slowly towards us. We stared in wide-eyed wonder, still asking ourselves the question.

“What IS that?” said Gary.

I continued our circular conversation, “I don’t know.”

Dumbfounded, Larry kept driving. He leaned against the steering wheel, trying to keep his eyes on the road as well as the approaching light. He was scared, I think. But gradually his awe overtook apprehension, until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He slowed down and pulled off to the side of the expressway. We just sat there with the truck idling, the three of us watching this thing move closer and closer toward us, unwavering. We couldn’t yet decipher whether we were imagining it—that maybe we had all gone off our rockersor that this whole thing was really happening right before our very eyes, and we weren’t making it up at all.

It just kept getting brighter, brilliantly white, almost blinding as we stared into it. Then suddenly the craft beamed long monoliths of light to the ground. We thought maybe we were seeing aircraft landing lights. But then, a split second later, the lights seemed to be vacuumed back up into the object.

Larry said, “What was that!?”

Gary and I didn’t answer him, because we had already opened the passenger door and were now scooting off the high vinyl seat. We landed in a pile of snow along the highway, in our stocking feet. We had taken off our shoes earlier to warm our frozen toes by the truck’s blasting floor furnace. But now we stood shoeless, unaware that our feet were slowly being numbed by the stinging prickles of snow.

Larry turned off the engine and the headlights, but he stayed in the truck. Outside, Gary and I were captivated by how black and still the night was. In contrast, the rock-n-roll buzz in our ears shouted inside our heads. Not a sound was coming from the approaching craft. We waited for the bright light to come nearer, hearing nothing out there except the muffled snow-covered terrain of Ohio farmlandscut fields of corn that made hollow whisking sounds whenever a momentary shift of a cold breeze lightly tapped broken cornstalks. Arbors of trees separated adjacent fields and stood like silent sentinels guarding against clamorous intrusions. The winter freeze had left only a memory of the warm breath of earth, whose occupants were supposed to be fast asleep right now.

Larry had slipped out of the driver’s seat, and now stood with us in silence. I felt the pull of something. I think we all did. This night we were bonded together by a linked experience, producing in each of us an opening to new possibilities of what lies beyond. We felt our connection to it, to them, in fact, whoever they were. I could feel their curiosity. And at once I felt at peace. I was lifted by an inexplicable exuberance. A multitude of goose bumps electrified my whole body. The icy winter night fired my internal passion.

We watched the vessel’s bright white light blend into a soft blue. And as it moved over us, everything around us seemed to grow even more still. The world hushed to a dead silence. Time stood frozen. The backs of our heads were resting between our shoulder blades, our eyes looking straight up, our mouths agape. We saw four red lights beaming in a trapezoidal pattern from underneath a smooth metallic surface. It was hard to sense the outline of the craft, but I could tell it was at least as large as a small commercial plane. Below it, I could make out a circle around the red lights, and what looked like a diamond-shaped frame around that. As I found out later, Gary saw it as a long oval-shaped design, with the red lights located inside a circular indentation. He committed to memory what was for him the most significant moment in his life.

The craft was not more than a hundred feet directly above us now. I held the hand of my soul as the hope of the possible made me giggle out loud, and I reached up towards the glimmering red lights and called out, “Hello!” It paused. We held our breath. And a timeless wink was transmitted from this unearthly vessel. Then it started to drift away in a completely new direction, veering off to the northwest. It moved away from us with the same preciseness as it had approached.

We watched for as long as we could as it moved further into the distance, until it blended into the fabric of stars. Then we became aware of our frozen feet. We reluctantly climbed back into the truck and closed the doors. Larry pulled back out onto the empty highway. A kinetic silenceaccompanied by the hum of the floor heater and the tires’ steady rumblefell over the truck cab as we drove the rest of the way down I-70 to Dayton. From that moment, there would be what came after, and what had been before, and perhaps much of what I remember about the before and after will fade from me, but nothing would ever be the samenot after, and maybe, not even before.

Written by Tysa Goodrich

For our dear friend, Larry

Did I Really Need This Much Adventure?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2014 by coyotescribe

Its’ been so long since I’ve blogged that I’m not sure where to begin. So, I start by marking time:

Apr 26, 2011 – My ex-husband takes off for Mexico, while I begin the journey of building a new life. I wanted to be single… and so, there I was.

Three months later – I empty my savings account and hire movers. I drive myself and our two cats (of which I now have custody) in my VW Jetta, with crystals and other essentials for safe transport across the country to Cincinnati. I wasn’t making ends meet in California with two part-time music jobs.

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Why Cincinnati? Because it was a place where I had lived briefly with my boyfriend in 1972 after I ran away from home. There was something I needed to retrieve of myself, a very wounded adolescent. I was going back to get her. After that, I had no idea where I was going.
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Aug 29, 2011 – My first encounter with a departed spirit in French Park. She was a young slave girl who was murdered in those woods during the 1840s. French Park was my personal refuge from healing, and now I was being called to be the healer.
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DAY 1 at the hidden bench, journal entry:
Wonder why this bench is here? It scared me at first, the remoteness of it, but I’m starting to settle into the energy. It’s possible that there may be a negative imprint here – seems like a lot of activity, nonetheless. We’re working together.

What?

Posted in Creativity and Chaos with tags , , , , on December 30, 2011 by coyotescribe

In my last post, I excused myself from blog duty because I wasn’t in California anymore… and inside that shotgun-shell of a decree was a loaded statement.

I’m now busy writing about the past five months, about the move to Cincinnati, my soul retrieval work, reuniting with a younger me who had not been along for the ride in 39 years. So when that inner adolescent finally woke up after my constant urging, not only did she come back to life, she also told me she wanted to go home. How could I say no? It’s my home, too.

So back to California I/we drove, an elegant trip until the last day, when I entered California during some of the worst wind conditions to ever hit the desert. Suffice it to say, I made it in one piece despite my brake failure coming down the Mojave Freeway into Los Angeles.

I had to be towed in.

So… I’m writing the story for publication… and not as a big-ass blog post.

And… I’m not in Ohio anymore.

This was my Christmas gift, a hike in Topanga State Park:

Happy New Year… may it be enchanting.

A Writer Gone Missing

Posted in Creativity and Chaos on October 15, 2011 by coyotescribe

This time I have a good excuse for the extended eight-month sabbatical from blog duty. A lifetime has passed, and I’m not in California anymore.
(With me, change seems to happen fast… which will soon make my previous statement about not being in California untrue… to be updated…) 

Thanks to twitter I was able to at least tweet every now and then to keep my throngs of readers apprised of my so-declared writing life with its unforeseen curveballs that strike me out repeatedly despite my dreams to lob moon-like trajectories into left field. I illuminated flash-blurbs that told whole stories from Motel 6’s while driving across the country in the middle of a freak-out because I was responsible for the lives of my two cats during the August dead heat to destiny. Tweets like: Day 2 – Grants, NM; Day 3 – Amarillo, TX; Day 4 – about to leave for Tulsa, OK. Saw gun warehouse just off expressway yesterday. Only in TX.Having a gun ain’t gonna do me any good unless I decide to rob a bank. I was running out of money fast, because somewhere on that highway there was also a shiny new semi truck devouring dollars as it rolled oodles of my stuff—which included a 52-inch upright piano—on down the road. C-notes were being burned as fuel to haul my gypsy-ass caravan back to Ohio.

I could’ve stayed in California and continued working two music jobs that didn’t cover my expenses—and look for a third job to the tune of never getting a chance to write again—but instead I emptied my savings account (no turning back) and moved myself and new dreams to Cincinnati, a city that I had never lived in before, within a state that was, however, very familiar.

Since leaving the west coast on August 4th, a rumbling question has taunted me with a certain regularity amid my daily enterprises. It became especially outspoken upon my arrival in Cincinnati to complete-and-utter unknown. WHAT WAS I THINKING? It isn’t logical. No way in hell is it logical. From heaven to the murky depths, I just listened to a few whispers and let the voice guide me twenty-two hundred miles east.

Now, after two months in Cincy, I’m starting to recognize and acknowledge just how courageous I am, especially in light of… well… Let’s just say I’m in the same situation as Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams when Timothy Busfield admonishes him by saying, “It’s time to put away your little fantasies and come down to earth,” which led to an argument about whether the baseball men were real, and then another reality check for Costner’s character, who needed to sell his farm because he had no money, and a “stack of bills to choke a pig.” Well, that’s where I am right now. What am I going to do? Am I going to face facts and get real?… Or…

Am I going to keep building it? And who’s coming? Is it crazy of me to want to be invited out there beyond that field, so I’ll be able to write about it?

And whose pain am I healing?

Mine. It’s what I came here to do. There’s an adolescent girl inside me who has needed to come home for a long time. And I need her as much as she needs me. She’s the bridge between the eternal dreams of my youth, and the timeless dreams of my future. Somehow I know, though I don’t fully understand the mystery of it, these dreams restore each other, especially when I infuse a revitalized hope along their avenue of connection. I’ve figured out that this is a big key to living a passion-filled life.

A dream did come true for me since my arrival to the Queen City. In fact, it was a dream that I originally voiced in my online media resume at mediabistro.com. The questionnaire section asked to describe my dream assignment. This was my answer: Similar to Carrie Bradshaw’s view on the world from her New York apartment: writing about women and sex (including older and married women), and infusing my column with the mysterious, the metaphysical, and the serendipitous effects of New York.

Well, I’m not in New York yet, but I’m now writing a Sex and the City-type column for Ms. Cincinnati magazine, its premiere issue to be in the stands by end of November, just in time for the holiday season. I’m the magazine’s new Sex and Cincy columnist.

This idea of eternal dreams can be so inspiring, and empowering. Don’t we need that unbridled energy of our youth, without trying to go back and relive it? This is a paradox I will be exploring in my column in future issues, because it’s an important subject. Maturing women have the capacity to feel their passion more than ever. Wisdom and the rebirth of innocence give the sensuous life a dimension that as a younger woman I would’ve never imagined possible.

So, with that said, I am saving further discussion about this subject for my column. Cincinnati has been my womb of healing, and I am grateful to her for taking me in.


Moving Into Total Autonomy: Personal Belonging

Posted in Creativity and Chaos on February 24, 2011 by coyotescribe

I wrote the first ramblings of this post in the middle of the night, in the blank pages of a 2009 appointment calendar I retrieved from the trash can of a former employer. I couldn’t just let an unused spiral-bound go to waste, not when I could scribble my cindery words upon its clean pages, as I burned the midnight oil.

I’ve got to start exercising that muscle again: forced wake-ups from somnambulistic states. So I can write stuff down when words momentarily waft through my brain—those incoherent thoughts I would rather dismiss than disturb my sleep over, thoughts that tempt me to rationalize as unintelligible, as if I were still smoking pot, like during the time when I was on the road and writing songs at four in the morning, songs that in the light-of-a-sobering-day seemed a little scattered. In my twenties, I had no other way to access my creative recesses, and I knew I wouldn’t survive without the access. But since it’s been over two decades since I‘ve tasted weed, with one exception I will fail to mention, I think permanent brain fog is not the issue here. And I need these transcendental interjections from the other side.

A lot has been going on. Following my three-month affair with Santa Barbara, trying to stay financially afloat in a sea of diamonds, I moved back to Thousand Oaks, back into the apartment I once shared with now my soon-to-be-ex-husband, Dale, to my considerable relief, and gratitude for my soul-level friend. Two weeks later I landed a part-time job as choir director/accompanist for a Unitarian church just four miles away. The apartment becomes mine in April when Dale leaves his day gig, moves out, and takes his true work to Mexico.

Even during the interviewing process, I could hardly believe what a good match this new job seemed to be: my strengths as a musician and their particular needs in a musical director. And, I had no idea how much fun “a job” could be.

All that’s happening seems to whisper that maybe I’m on the right track, and that the course correction via Santa Barbara was just another step in putting the pieces together of personal belonging—where I fit, inside of me. I initiated this spiritual work in Santa Barbara, where my survival was threatened for the first time in many years. It seemed I didn’t belong anywhere… except while hiking the secret Montecito trail, up to the bench that had been waiting for me that very first day. You need a place to journal, to process the fear? Here it is:

I took my last hike up the trail on January 14th, two days before I moved out of Santa Barbara. Despite not having any outward signs of a journey well-travelled in the confines of an old dream (See Dreams, Interrupted, Part I), something truly magical happened each time I hiked the secret trail. On this last day, a new hawk appeared on a bare branch atop an old oak tree. I tried to find her with my camera, but she was practically invisible. I thought maybe she was calling from the other realm. But I did catch a glimpse of her, a smaller-sized hawk. She was in the midst of disappearing the moment I clicked the shutter button.

Once I reached the top of the trail, I sat on the stone bench overlooking the Padaro Lane coastal waters. I realized I possessed a whole different perspective than all the other times I had sat here. In two days, the Santa Barbara adventure would be coming to an end, and my energy was already withdrawing. Except here in this place, where I needed to say goodbye. I felt so much at peace, even passive, and reflective. I lay on the bench and went to sleep, basking in the sun. And something happened in the midst of a dream.

There’s much more significance to the view from this SB hilltop that shall remain personal, and mysterious, but some of it is being incorporated into a superhero story I’ve been brewing over the past year. I’ve been recording my thoughts, jotting down plot ideas, story concepts, and biographical information about the main character, Bird Woman, and her arch enemy, Cro-man.

But Bird Woman has another enemy, the United States government. This 100-word sketch depicts a climactic scene in the story:

She stepped to the edge of the precipice, remembering the last words her mother had said to her before government scientists took her away: “Don’t ever show the humans your feathers.” But now they were coming after her. It was fly or die, and maybe she would die anyway. She needed to be brave. She heard the voices of the detachment. Her body responded. She leapt from the cliff and spread her arms. The wind pushed against her, embraced her, until her wings unfurled. She soared below the cliffs and moved into the protective shadows of the great stone monoliths.

Back to reality. I have two months to get myself “financially viable” (a term borrowed from the movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas), meaning able to fully support myself. I’m in pursuit of a second part-time job, and it’s been a frickin’ education (to be included in the sequel). If it were up to the dreams I dream, I’d find a way to get paid for finishing my novel. But…

How do I round out this blog post?

To be continued as…

Moving Into Total Autonomy: Power & Responsibility