Archive for the Creativity and Chaos Category

A Crazy Four Months

Posted in Creativity and Chaos with tags on July 14, 2020 by coyotescribe

I couldn’t have imagined working this fervently on a novel, the one I started in 2008 and shelved in 2011. I’m sharing some of the fun with a sampling of vintage photos and postcards relevant to the storyline, which had numerous incarnations dating back to the early 2000s—versions that weren’t right. But now I’m rounding the bend to the finish line. Each chapter takes time to get right, and each chapter is a victory. Loose ends are flowing back into the main plot, ball bearings are rolling into their round slots. The whole thing is way too epic for my expertise. But still, I can’t get enough. Amid chaos of COVID, creativity has burgeoned. There’s no going back.

Link to novel research page with vintage images

1970s-Lyndale Motel-wcT

The Poet Boundary Dweller

Posted in Creativity and Chaos, Working magic with tags on June 11, 2020 by coyotescribe

Is it bad that I labor over sentences before I can move on in my writing? I don’t think so. My boundary dweller is the poet, not the painter. The painter pours out words. I labor. It has to sound right. Because, for me, somewhere in the midst of the quagmire, I find the flow and discover little gems, sometimes unbeknownst to me and only to my characters. These little gems are setups (or upsets), and happen through the efficiency of magic. And I desire to make them happen in no less than once every couple of paragraphs—gems that fuel mystery, or gems that are just plain awe-striking. Maybe this is why it has taken me over ten years to write twenty-eight chapters. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel: in my novel, and in my life.

Point Dume-mystery

I will write about the four boundary dwellers later. I just had to post this, along with a very cool photo I took back in 2004, when the idea for my novel was beginning to brew, and years of research initiated.

p.s. Be sure to read my previous essay about navigating self-doubt… … … if you’d like.

Three Understandings for Navigating Self-Doubt

Posted in Creativity and Chaos, Working magic on June 9, 2020 by coyotescribe

Self-doubt is essential to any creative process. Every accomplished artist experiences it, as does anyone who dares to chart a new course in their life, in any form. It takes courage, because when you create art, or create realities, you enter the unknown. If the process of creation were seven steps, self-doubt would be number four, the most determined. If you cannot move through self-doubt, you won’t be able to proceed to the last three steps, and you’ll likely start over again and again, or just give up. Conversely, if you try to skip over that step, you will be hard-pressed to reach the goal line without massive struggle, or find fulfillment even if you do manage to get there.

Creative Process-wildcoyotes

Humorous but revelatory look at the creative process

Here are three understandings to help you navigate your self-doubt:

1st understanding: Self-doubt is not self-punishment or self-flagellation (humorous diagram aside). This is an important distinction. If you’re beating yourself up and calling it self-doubt, know that this is self-destructive behavior, and at best, fake humility. Pride and humility need to be in balance. Always move toward being your own best friend. Engage in the practice of loving self, which includes forgiving yourself when you screw up. Without self-forgiveness, you’ll repeat your mistakes and won’t change.

2nd understanding: There are layers to responsibility in the creation of anything new in your life. The “rah-rah—it’s all good” or “it’s all shit” mantras will disconnect you from your soul and spirit. Don’t let the light blind you to the presence of self-doubt, or the dark keep you mired in it. Always seek to balance between the light (spirit) and the substance (soul).


3rd understanding: Creativity waxes and wanes, and sometimes it can get lost, which can trigger heavy doses of self-doubt. When this happens, you need to push in the clutch and change it up. Pause is essential to retrieve lost creativity. If you’re too busy to pause, that’s when you need it the most. Time is an illusion. It does not have to be your slave master. Use meditation to step out of space-time. Take your self-doubt into your meditation, ask for help in lifting it. Controlling it doesn’t work. Trying to be perfect absolutely doesn’t work. Perfection is brittle and static, and leaves no room for creativity.

A final caveat—your negative ego:

Your negative ego can have a field day with your self-doubt. One thing you can count on: it always lies. So, don’t give it to your ego. Whether you acknowledge your self-doubt, or ignore it, one of the most destructive games your negative ego will play is delusions of grandeur, and delusions of insignificance. Both are a lie, and both will take you down. Your positive ego is supposed to just deliver information from your physical reality. But we, somewhere in our growing up years, shamed it into taking over interpretation of our reality. Make sure you are the one in charge. Harness your negative ego and give it a back seat.

p.s. Do you think I had any self-doubt in the writing of this post? You bet!


Posted in Creativity and Chaos, Working magic on June 1, 2020 by coyotescribe

Day 78. Throughout this pandemic—adding to it our current crisis, the murder of a black man by a smug-faced white policeman, followed by riots and curfews that suppress peaceful protests (which is the right of every American citizen), disrupted by opportunistic thugs—and a president who has provoked violence and hatred, who doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself, I’ve been doing what I can on a personal level to heal, to work magic with crystals, to pray and meditate, help my clients navigate their pain, owning my own crap—my rage, my entitlement–accepting and forgiving.

And every day, during this whole shitstorm—me not sleeping, too much histamine in my system, breakouts of eczema, 100,00+ people dying, my cat in a health crisis, waking up at noon, up all night, house clothes worn out, an album release on hold because it just costs too much, helicopters overhead, sirens passing by—every day…  Every day I ask myself the same question: “What can I do?” And the voices of my soul and higher self always reply with the same answer: “Work on your novel.”

Today, with the curfew now set at 5pm in Los Angeles, I stayed home and completed Chapter Twenty-Eight. The boys from Vietnam made me cry—it’s a pivotal moment in my novel, which is a healing journey through the crosswinds of space-time, and a story I can’t get enough of. I love my characters. They are real. And they love me back by revealing who they are. If I’m strong enough to listen, to get out of the way, they tell me how to mine their story. Despite the unending research required to write a character that is not only a Vietnam vet, but also half Ojibwe Indian, during a time (1978) when Americans had pretty much discarded the horrors of that war and moved on to other things, I feel up to the task. The piecing together of the last part of the novel during this pandemic is what I do to help, a way I can love my country.

1950s-Windy Acres Cafe-wcTInterestingly enough, much of the story takes place in southern Minnesota, including references to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. The photo I’m posting is where an important scene takes place in Chapter Twenty-Eight, near Cannon Falls, MN. To find out a little more about my novel, you can visit

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, maybe fifteen 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.

1979-Feb26-LIFE-The Moment of Totality

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, at the brink of self-destruction, is mysteriously reunited with a childhood friend, a Caucasian girl. They had known each other for eight short days during a momentous summer in 1962. Their reunion ignites an adventure of healing through the crosswinds of space-time, with the help of two older women living an otherworldly existence in the hallowed lands of Montana.

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 on the seat beside him. The upholstery underneath had 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 flew open.

“Shut your fuckin’…” John leaned over and pushed 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 Vietnam.

Americans were discarding their memories of the war as fast as they could. 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’d drawn to his destination, 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 the 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 the 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 VA 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 at a good price. When he received his latest government check, he got the idea to expand the hideaway where he and four other vets lived to include a kitchen with electricity, so he could make real coffee for them, 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 John’s 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 full wide mouth 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 accumulated sap of maple trees in the lost woodlands of his people. He had let someone look into them 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 had drained from his knuckles. Though he was only twenty-nine today, he, John Goodsky, was lifetimes old. He pushed in the cigarette lighter again.

* * *

Copyright 2020 Tysa Goodrich

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)


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.

(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.


“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.



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

In my last post, I recused 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 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

Dreams, Interrupted (Part II)

Posted in Creativity and Chaos on January 9, 2011 by coyotescribe

Unravelling the music…

I couldn’t just leave it all hanging out there like that, flapping in the wind—not for too long. Dreams, Interrupted has to have some kind of second act. It’s pretty bad when someone finds their way to your blog because they typed the words ‘life in hell online’ into Google’s search engine. Despite my trippy doo-dahs about how life just went down in a flame-throwing blaze, part of me knows there was something deeper going on—a bigger picture, a forest beyond the smoldering tree trunks in my immediate vicinity.

Okay. So I tend to maneuver the extremes. But I needed to know. How else could I have, without leaping from the precipice and moving to Santa Barbara to see how it fits? Yeah, my wings flailed against a determined headwind until it spun me around in what seemed like an about-face. But that’s not it, you see. I’m not going back, I’m moving forward. I’ve just had a minor course correction.

A little backstory about the music:

It was in Santa Barbara where I first landed, in 1983, with rock-star dreams intact. I drove that long trek from the Midwest to California carrying all my worldly possessions, consisting mostly of music equipment. I had been touring for the past six years all over the eastern half of the United States and Canada as a multi-keyboardist, singer/songwriter.

Once I got to SB, I searched out other musicians. An all-girl band was forming, and I was asked to join. However, we did not survive our first rehearsal. The guy who had donated his spacious home to us was under surveillance. In the middle of setup—while we were thinking how lucky we were to have such a cool rehearsal space up in the hills overlooking the city—a battalion of Santa Barbara S.W.A.T. guys crashed through the sliding-glass door pointing automatic weapons at us and yelling Get down! (Too bad they weren’t talking about the music).

I was in the middle of attaching the legs to the underbelly of my Rhodes Piano. I ducked behind 73 keys, hammers and tines encased in plastic.

All four girls—a drummer, bass player, guitar player, and keyboard player—were directed to the kitchen and handcuffed to patio chairs while being questioned as to our knowledge of the $150,000 worth of hallucinogenic mushrooms at all stages of growth in the guy’s garage.

The short of it: it was the biggest drug bust in Santa Barbara’s history. The police thought we were there to transport the loot, especially in my window van, with its pink India-print curtains for hiding the evidence. But the only thing in my van that night was my grandmother’s cedar chest filled with my clothes, which were ransacked.

* * *

When I moved to Santa Barbara again twenty-seven years later, in October 2010, one of the people paying me to write web content gave me a contact number for a female musician in town, saying he thought she and I would get along. Jill Avery, bass player and painter extraordinaire, listened intently as I explained over the phone my brief history with Santa Barbara. When I started down the long tale of woe regarding a first rehearsal with an all-girl band, she stopped me mid-sentence, saying, “I know where you’re going.”

She was there! She was one of the musicians handcuffed to a patio chair that night. As it turned out, she had a whole other perspective on the event. She stirred my memory of her, the girl who just kept talking, asking questions, getting permission to go to the bathroom, etc. When she and I compared notes, we realized we had a whopping-good musician story to tell. The best of it is: we are connected, and we reconnected. If it were only this one thing that Santa Barbara offered me in return for my short stay here (this second time around), it has been worth it. Because finding a soul-level female friend is priceless.

And… Did I say I would never play live again?

After having gone through the whirlwind, I feel a sense of peace, and hope, and I’m grateful for my own courage. Where I stood at the moment of my perceived collapse, is where I had to forgive myself—for making a big mistake. But now, as I step beyond this process, I see how the forces of that mysterious night within me were participating, in that night where resides my ghost, my duende, that aspect of soul who often appears as an objector. He can be relentless, and he/she can initiate a dismantlement of old dreams. Because, you see, the duende holds secrets to destiny, and to where one’s passions truly lie.

In the middle of packing and moving back to Thousand Oaks, I was asked to open for SoulAviv in Santa Barbara the first Friday in February, at the one venue I performed last month that felt like home—Cambridge Drive Community Church. With all the rubble I was sifting through after December’s fallout, I had failed to acknowledge my first gig in December, which turned out to be a starry starry night of success: my first time out performing my own songs solo in fifteen years. I was nervous, but the sacred space inside the church sanctuary soothed me, and I was able to connect with the audience, and give a little of myself to them.

My duende reminded me not to forget about that. And so did Roy Donkin, pastor of the church. I was honored to receive his invitation, and I knew immediately that it was right for me to accept.  I’ll be warming up the crowd for SoulAviv with a half-hour set of my original songs.  Now in preparation.

My performance schedule has been updated.

Did I not say in my last post that I was going to limit my future ramblings to 500 words? Oops…