We Could Be Friends

I was a little put off this morning when I saw on the news that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had gotten married.  I felt a bit slighted for not having been invited.  I practically know Angie.  In fact, I’ve often thought that we really could be friends.  We have similar personalities.  Well, maybe not (probably not) similar but compatible.  Yes, definitely compatible.  It’s like when you meet a person for the first time and you know instantly that you will get along.  I’m very good at that.  Hell, I don’t even have to meet the person.  I can watch them for a few minutes and sometimes even in passing, I know.  So, I know that Angie and I would hit it off.  Of course, I’d only call her Angie after we’d been hanging out for awhile and I’d asked if it was ok to do so.  I understand her smile.  I relate to the sparkle in her eyes.  I get it.  We could be friends.

I’m not sure if I’m just delusional or what but I think this a lot.  It hits me square in the face when I relate to someone.  It’s a heartfelt feeling.  A relation that’s so strong that I have to believe it.  It started one day as a joke though.  I was listening to an artist who I’ve come to love and said “I could be friends with Howie”.  That’s Howie Day I’m referring to.  My partner and I shared a laugh at it.  But it wasn’t long, after I thought about it for a few minutes, that I said “No really, I really could be friends with him.”  She asked what I thought would be in it for him.  “Friendship” I answered.  She laughed again and asked why I assumed he’d just be my friend.  “Because we’re so much alike” I answered.  I don’t just listen to his music, I feel it.  I’m sure lots of people say that and probably about their favorite artists but he just seems down to earth.  We could be friends.

It makes me wonder, if famous weren’t famous, would they be different?  I’m sure they would.  I would guess that they have to put up all sorts of barriers and walls to protect themselves.  That really sucks.  I don’t like being hurt and I’m not famous so I can’t imagine what bad people could do to famous people.  It must be hard to trust anyone.  I’m pretty gullible.  Well, not horribly so.  Like I said, I usually know when someone is bad but sometimes I’m tricked.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and that’s bitten me in the ass a few times but that’s ok.  It’s life.  I wouldn’t go after a famous person just to take advantage of them.  I just want to be friends, provide support, be there as a friend should be.

It’s not every famous person though.  I couldn’t be friends with Cherlize Theron.  She frightens me.  She’s in the same realm as Angelina but on a different scale.  She’s so intense that I would never be comfortable around her.  I couldn’t be friends with Ellen Degeneres.  I love all that she is and does but she’s too hyper and scattered.  I couldn’t handle the constant chatter and lack of focus.  It would be like trying to pet a cat that’s chasing a laser light.  I couldn’t be friends with Sarah Mclachlan or Alanis Morrissette because they’re both too crunchy.  If I want a cheeseburger, I don’t want to hear about GMOs and slaughterhouses and whatever.  I just want a cheeseburger.

I could be friends with Jennifer Lawrence.  She’s quite a bit younger than I am but I love that she’s just herself.  The same is true for Julia Roberts.  She used to be really down to earth and I think she still really has it in her but the people that take advantage of others have forced her into being someone she’s not most of the time.

I’ve met a couple famous people.  I met Rachel Ray at one of her book signings once.  She was very nice.  We could be friends.  I’ve met my idol, Pat Benatar many times.  She’s larger than life to me.  I just stand, paralyzed, every time I meet her.  And then I cry afterwards.  It’s just too much.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t be friends.  It just wouldn’t work.  I want to be comfortable with my friends and not in meltdown mode every time I see them.  I’ve often pictured myself sitting with her and Neil (her husband if for some reason you didn’t know that!) at their kitchen counter in their home having some pasta that Pat just whipped up.  Shooting the breeze.  Hanging out.  She may belt out a song or a few lyrics as she wanders around her kitchen.  Neil accompanying her with his acoustic guitar as he munches on the pasta as well.  But I can’t say that I’d ever get to that point with them.  I got Lisa Marie Presley’s autograph once.  I’m not sure if we could be friends.  I’d like to think we could.  She’s genuine and so appreciates her fans that I think it would work.  I met Whoopi Goldberg once in New York City.  She was so down to earth and likable.  It was a million years ago just as her HBO special was coming out.  She kept saying that she knew my brother but he’d never met her.  It was awesome that she spent time talking to us.  I think Whoopi might be in a different league than I am.  She would want to talk about world events and I don’t know too much about what’s going on.  I have a hard enough time keeping track of myself much less the goings on around the world.  I met Ru Paul.  I love him.  I’m too crazy about him to be his friend.  I’d be giving him googly eyes all the time.  He’s so handsome and so beautiful that I would be forever distracted and not be able to be there for him when he needed me.  I have met Howie a few times after his shows.  I just stand there and then talk a mile a minute about how great he is after I walk away.  I have a starstruck personality I guess.  Hmm, makes me wonder if I really could be friends with them.  I think it would just take time.  They’d probably need some space too in order to figure out that I’m the real deal and not some lunatic looking for something.

My friend said that she would find it hard to be friends with an actor or actress because how would you know when they’re acting – it’s their job.  I would know.  You can tell when someone is being fake.  I’d be crushed if they hurt me like that but I wouldn’t be friends with someone who was capable of that.  It makes me wonder if famous people have non-famous friends.  I wonder if they have friends at all?

There is a flip-side to all of this – possibly.  What if I’m already friends with someone that becomes famous?!  I suppose that’s a different story altogether.  I do happen to know an upcoming superstar.  Her name is Regan Mason Haley.  She played Tracey Atkinson in the National Tour of the Broadway musical Billy Elliot.  We are friends.  But it’s not about becoming friends with someone famous.  It’s about being friends with someone you know you’d get along with, who just so happens to be famous.  For now, I suppose I’ll just make friends as it happens and not worry about it all.

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Is it real?

I’ve been so good about writing – not so much on this blog – but writing none-the-less.  If I have an idea, I jot it down.  If I have an intro, I start it.  I’ve been entering contests galore which is where the majority of my stories have gone.  It’s kind of fun to enter them.  Some have themes and others just have word limits and no other restrictions.  That makes it harder actually, especially when the contests are for fiction.  I think of bizarro things to write about and form them into a story.  Sometimes I can’t come up with anything.  Everything is so real to me that I figure I can’t classify it as fiction but then I see the examples of others and the majority of them seem like non-fiction to me.  That makes me question if what they’re writing about is real or not.  How can writing about real things be classified as fiction?  It’s like that’s not fair.  It just bugs me.  I try and think of something real that’s not or a way to make it fake but just end up going back to real things.  Frustrating.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It seems like everywhere I go these days, I’m being handed a reusable bag.  Similar to plastic bags, I feel that I have to take every one I’m offered and store them away in the house only to go out and get more.  So many places are starting to ban plastic bags which makes the production of reusable bags that much more addictive.  Every company has them, every store, every festival passes them out like candy.  I get the first reusable bag so that I can tote around the 12 other reusable bags I get while walking around.  I have a stack of them in the car.  Another stack in the closet in the house.  They come in varying shapes and sizes, colors and textures.  I was proud of myself yesterday however.  I was at another said festival when I took one bag.  I took it because a woman came up to me and offered it to me, explaining that there was a bottle of water in it along with some coupons.  Who doesn’t want free bottled water and coupons?  I smiled, thanked her and then looked at the bag.  It was from a retailer I despise.  Dilemma.  I secretly wanted the bag because it had WATER IN IT AND COUPONS!  I love coupons.  Hmm, but they were probably coupons to the place I don’t like to shop at.  I didn’t care.   I put the bag up on my shoulder but turned it so that the company name was on the inside facing me.  That way, the few hundred people that were also getting the same bag wouldn’t know that it was from THAT store.  I carried it around all day.  I did put other material in it but I refused all other bags!

Today, I saw that bag sitting on the counter loaded down with all the business cards, handouts, booklets, stickers and such that I’d accumulated all day yesterday.  I lifted the handle to peer inside.  I started pulling out the random items.  A nice reusable water bottle that I disassembled and placed in the sink to wash later.  A wind jacket from a software company – nice.  I proceeded to make piles from the other stuff.  Papers, pamphlets, business cards to the recycle bin, toys to the donation box, plastic things to the recycle bin.

Once I’d emptied the bag, I folded it and added it as well to the donation box.  I don’t need it but I didn’t want to throw it away. Then I wondered how many of them end up in the landfill.  It can’t be as many as plastic bags, right?  I probably have 20 to 30 of the reusable bags in my possession.  That’s probably a similar amount of plastic bags that I used to harbor.  Makes me wonder.

So, with that chore being done, I decide to fix myself some lunch.  No leftovers in the fridge from last night since I didn’t cook because we were at the festival.  I poked my head in the freezer and found a frozen Lean Cuisine.  I popped it in the microwave and grabbed a soda.  It wasn’t bad.  When I was done, I put my can in the recycle container and then looked for the recycle symbol on the bottom of the plastic container.  It was there so I went to the sink to rinse it.  I reached for the handle to turn on the water but stopped just before I reached it.  If we’re in such a drought, should I use the water to rinse my recyclable?  Another dilemma.  What’s worse – no water or filled landfills?  The exhaust from the recycleries must cause poor air quality, right?  I think about these things.  Do the right thing!  Well, what the hell is the right thing?  I cook on the grill so that I don’t heat my house so that I don’t waste electricity running the A/C and then my neighbor complains about that.  Someone, somewhere, is getting their feelings hurt because I’m sitting on the sofa using electricity for my laptop to complain about god knows what.  Ugh.  I rinsed the plastic and tossed it into the recycle bin.  Damned if you do.  Damned if you don’t.

How to help

With the news of Robin Williams’ suicide, I’ve been pondering and reading all of the articles on depression, sharing them when I find a good one or one that makes me shake my head either from relating to it or from the shear irony of it all.  As with most tragedies that affect a large group of people, the “experts” come around spouting on about what people “should” do or signs for loved ones to look out for.  I understand the reasoning behind it and I see the benefit however I wonder what friends and family think of it all.  The person that’s depressed is putting a lot of pressure on them.  It’s not the responsibility of loved ones to take on the onus of finding and providing help for people that have found themselves in a bad way.  I’m not trying to victimize the victim.  Really.  I guess I’m trying to say that loved ones hear.  They see.  They know.  But perhaps they’re just as afraid.  They don’t want to lose their loved one just as much as the person going through the mess wants to act upon it.  The problem is not that people need to pay attention.  They already know.  They just don’t know what to do or how to help.  I bet more than one person that reads this knows someone that is depressed.  I also bet that more than one person that reads this knows someone that has thought about killing themselves.  You can’t drag them to therapy.  You can offer to listen but how many actually talk?  They don’t.  They smile and say they’re ok with tears in their eyes.  I’ve also suggested therapy to relatives.  It’s as easy getting someone to go see a counselor as it is getting an elderly person into a senior community.  Wait, that’s a different discussion altogether!

My point, I suppose, is that none of it is easy.  I mourn the loss of the kids from bullying.  I mourn the loss of Robin and the countless others that succumb to the demons.  I empathize with the partners, parents, spouses, family and friends of them all that couldn’t fix it for them.

Mo’ Money

I went on a job interview yesterday.  It was my first non-tech interview in so many years that I can’t remember.  Maybe twenty-five?  So, yeah, I felt old.  I met a young girl outside and we went in together.  We were two of the 18 total that showed up for a job that’s paying just over the poverty level.  Most were in suits with fresh haircuts and shined shoes.  I wore jeans.  I almost wore shorts.  Who wears a suit for a just above minimum wage job?  Then it hit me that these people were taking this job serious and I wasn’t.  I felt bad.  I wanted to leave but I didn’t.  I took out my reading glasses so I could see the papers that were placed in front of me.  I was relieved that the guy to the left of me did the same.  The newly graduated college kid on my right that I’d walked in with didn’t need reading glasses.  I’d already filled out the application and taken the test to get to that point.  We were given our applications to review to ensure that they were filled out appropriately.  More than half of the room either hadn’t filled it out or didn’t know how.  It was like watching a reality show.  I don’t know if I’ll get a call back or not.  I’m on the fence of whether I’d accept it or not.  I feel like I have an obligation to everyone that knows me to get a food job.  I’ve applied to a few tech companies only because I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do.  I’ve had a couple of companies interested but I usually talk them out of considering me.  Hahaha.  Makes me laugh now thinking about it.  If this job was food related, there would be no question that I’d take it.  I wouldn’t mind starting at minimum wage just for the experience but it doesn’t seem to be happening for me.  Everywhere I turn to try and get into food, I hit a road block.  It’s bizarre actually.  I’m being told that it’s not the right thing to do and as I’ve always done, I’m giving the forces the finger.  A friend would ask me “how’s that working out for you” to which the answer is always “not so great”.

So, I write because I am falling ever more in love with it.  I write little notes to myself incessantly about things to write about.  Thoughts, stories, personal, fiction, non-fiction, whatever.  And we’re still working on my book.  We’re still almost done.  About 10 more chapters to edit.  The cover art is on my floor.  I’ve been photographing it over the weeks trying to get it to fit and look ok on a book.

I got another rejection from a publisher today too.  It’s ok though.  Funny that I think whatever is going to happen is supposed to happen with the book but I don’t think that way about anything else.  I think I tell myself that so I don’t throw the book in the trash.  I keep telling myself that if only my friends and family buy the book, if it’s a complete flop, it’s ok because I did it.  It was a goal.  It is a goal still at this point I suppose.

So, I applied to a couple more (food) jobs today for fun, wrote a query letter to a magazine and have been working on a story for that.  I’m kinda bummed now though.  I was cruising along with the story which has a requirement of 3k to 10k words and I’m at 1600 and some change and it’s coming to an end.  Poop.  Maybe I’ll revisit tomorrow or when the editor is editing.

I wrote on my application for the job yesterday that I’m a writer.  It was the first time I’d called myself that.  I had an eye doctor appointment the other day and the technician asked how long I spent behind the computer.  I said at least eight hours a day.  She looked back down at my paperwork and said “It says here that you’re unemployed”.  I looked at Chris and smiled.  Chris said “She’s writing a book” because I didn’t know what to say and was secretly thinking to myself, so what if I just sit and surf the internet all day.  I started to smile just thinking it and wondering if she’d said that to other deadbeats.  Oh wait, am I deadbeat?  I wanted to crack up for some reason.  The technician said, “Oh, you’re a writer” to which I got a huge smile on my face.  So, I figured I’d give it a shot and put it on my application.  The interviewer said, after looking at my application that said I’ve been a writer for the past year, “You’re unemployed so you can start right away?”  Bubble burst.  I said “Yep”.

But, I came home and am writing.  Writing.  Writing.  It’s what writers do.  I’m starting to like this blogging thing.  It’s like a diary or therapy session with no one listening.  Hahaha.

Music to my ears

I have a whole category just for music because it’s such an influence in my life.  I’ve been thinking over the past few months of a blog post around music but haven’t been able to narrow it down in scope any so I’ve hesitated to write about it.  I attempted a go at it today and found myself going back to when I was a child and the effect that music had on me back then.  It started to form so nicely that I think I’m going to keep it for my next book.  But, I didn’t want that to stop me from writing a little bit about music.  It’s so vast that it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing or even one area to talk about.  The one thing that keeps me wanting to write about music is that I’ve always got it on.  When I’m by myself, especially in the car, I have it cranked.  I feel it, I imagine it, I see it take form in dance moves, I act it out, I sing, I play imaginary instruments.  I think about the intro to some awesome songs.  You know the ones.  The first beat you hear, you know what it is.  That’s when I reach for the volume and turn it up.  Over the months I’ve thought of this post, I’ve come up with some prime examples and just when I think I have the best list, more come on the radio or get played from my iPod.  The latest is Kashmir by Led Zeppelin.  That hypnotic dun, dun, dun at the beginning.  Or AC/DC’s Back in Black that has my head tilting just as the tick, tick, tick, DUNT, dun, dun, dunt kicks in and I go full head banging.  Maybe Fantastic Voyage is more your speed.  I can see myself saaaaailing along the roller skating rink, bouncing up and down on the straight stretch and then cross over, cross over, cross over on the turns just to do it all over again.  Dancing Machine by the Jackson 5 would also qualify.

Perhaps your thing is the slow drawl of country that strings you along on hot, sticky days.  I recently downloaded Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance.  It’s one of those songs I sit and really listen to and wish I could abide to her plea.

I love the music of everything.  At a show, when the orchestra starts to warm up and the lights go down, I get chills.  They pound out the sound while the performers belt out the notes night after night.  There’s nothing like it.  I’ve bought the CD to every Cirque Du Soleil show I’ve ever been to because the music is so haunting and beautiful that it’s a great backdrop for doing other things (like writing).

Music takes me to places that I’ve not been to in years.  It forces me to think about those I’ve lost, ones I miss because we’re miles apart, old flames, growing pains and times past.  They’re apart of my memory just as much as the actual event.

I went to an event a few weeks ago with a friend that I’ve had forever.  Her daughter is a super-star to be.  She was dancing.  I’ve seen her dance before but it’s been a couple years.  I watched her in a room with younger, much younger, and older kids.  I reflected back on a time when I was in my living room with my best friend at the time.  We were about the same age.  We did our own choreography for hours.  Almost thirty years later, I feel as though I could still pound out the same routine the kids in front of me were doing.  I believe that a dancer can see the music.  Whether they’re a dancer professionally or not.  I was jealous and envious but proud to know this kid and grateful to have her mom still in my life.

Speaking of making through life, I can’t leave out the most important genre of them all.  The 80s.  Is 80s music really a genre unto its own?  Hell yes!  I love 80s music more than probably anything.  And it’s not just top 40.  It’s the hair bands, the tail end of disco, electronic and soft rock all in one.  Above them all, Pat Benatar has gotten me through so many jams in my life that I could never repay her.  I’m sure she’s been talking to me over the years through her songs.

I can’t comprehend how some people would rather not have the radio on in the car or listen to talk shows when there’s the opportunity to hear music.  Some people don’t even like it at all.  That’s just completely foreign to me.  Perhaps they’ve never been to a concert or live show.  I don’t know.  I don’t have an answer or any understanding of it, whatsoever.  There’s so much feeling in music that I don’t know how it can be ignored or not included in life.