Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

Leave a comment

The Shot


Indeed…heard, felt or seen across the world.

No other two words have such immediate impact, visual recognition or feeling. Regardless if it is photography, sports, physical contact, celebrating, healing, hunting, comfort or commentary, at one time or another, we’ve all experienced The Shot.

In school prior to the 1990’s, actually comfortable in the 50’s and 60’s, nurses in crisp white uniforms took up residence in the gym, and vaccinated the next generation of leaders against many a feared disease. As we lined up waiting our turn for the painful privilege, the three words going in and coming out were the same: “Did it hurt?” Because as we faced the shot, we already knew we would feel. To this day, the response or memory is the same, since we are creatures of comfort and not agony, wanting to be prepared…wanting to feel.

Imagery does the same for us, when we feel the exhilaration of the athlete or hunter who takes the shot, only to then celebrate or crash in defeat. Likewise, the photographer…amateur or not, who captures a moment, wherein we all share the shot as it attaches to our heart, soul, conscience or being. However, sometimes life takes a different direction, and needing to rise above or escape, alcohol or drugs will provide the shot, numbing senses into a place of soft darkness. All that aside, when we turn on the news anymore  it is always a killing or upraising, which also started with the shot – be it bullet or verbal assault. Regardless of the action,  the end result is again the same…physically, emotionally or spiritually we feel.

I find this ongoing human connection a true paradox, since the majority of humanity hides behind phone, computer, tablet or door, doing most of their living vicariously through the technology sector of life, that place where bugs have viruses, don’t need grass or soil, and byte very differently. Nevertheless, we  need to feel, because it is the essence of life and  fuel for our existence…even when it isn’t our own experience.

When the media started to invade our lives it was through radio, and it was an experience or theater of the mind. Listening to worlds of adventure, news, entertainment or music hit the spot, and although G rated, that spot was a climax of experience outside of the normal routine in life, and for many was never forgotten. There were no aliens in War or the Worlds, the Hindenburg was a lifetime away and Fibber McGee’s closet would make us walk around the image – but in the moment…in the spot where we sat…it was our reality and we felt it.

So was it really a shock when we saw the rise of the Selfie? The picture…the shot…the share. By clicking a button, we offer up our soul to the world, so anyone can experience what we feel…and in an equal click, we are either celebrated or rejected, causing us to feel something all together different. Acceptance, which was once discovered on a playground, in an office, in a church or on a front step, is now done primarily in front of a bathroom mirror, hoping for the perfect spot. The reason is simple, we want to feel how we look, how important we are, and how life is around us. Ego and feelings are mutual.

Many rely on the shot from private worlds, sent out with abandonment, a bottle, the media or drugs to amp up our existence, and give us a few minutes of nerve stimulating, heart pounding, tear jerking feeling. Whipping out a microphone on a newscast, or a cell phone in a moment of crisis has become so normal, that without one we doubt the validity of the moment. Why do we need the shot of cheap journalism asking a person in panic, pain or fear how they feel? Just so we can equally experience it? Do we need that instant photo…the shot at a crime scene, bloodbath, war torn panic or injury to validate we have a heart or conscience? Why have we accepted the mail order reality of a scratch and sniff experience, wanting to see dead children, injured animals, multi-million dollar celebrity weddings, live births or disembodied infants, simply to feel what was behind the shot?

When I was a child I got the shot, and yes, it hurt. Today I turn on the news or computer, and again, there is the shot…the image…the moment someone else had to experience, and I am being offered the chance to view it against my own life and yes, it usually hurts. Even though I prefer to walk away, some can’t…or they need a mind numbing feeling from the shot of a different kind…regardless, we’ll both end up feeling something.

Life needs to take a step back, feeling with feet on grass, hands held together with feelings of security, friendship, acceptance and reality…first hand, and not through the shot someone else wanted to share or made. Not all of them are cheap, but the best ones are always felt before they are made, and in time they also make us feel that we matter.

Leave a comment

All by myself

carmenEric Carmen never made a last minute elementary school Halloween Costume, put a homemade holiday meal on the table, or watched as a bowl of cookie dough was inhaled rather than baked. Nevertheless, he will forever be known for his famous single…and a song.

In this me first world, there is a huge difference between being alone on a daily basis and living alone. Those that are alone, generally have made that choice, prefer their independence or have yet to find someone to share their life. Regardless of the reason, they have continued their personal 24 hour, 7 day a week pattern, knowing that the bed will be made or unmade, waiting when it gets dark…no one cares if they drink from the orange juice bottle, and if their home is cleaned it stays that way, or clutter becomes a confident reminder of possession. There is nothing wrong with being alone, frankly it saves on utility bills, justifies ice cream for breakfast and toilet seats are never disrespected. For those who cherish their independence I salute you!

However, for those who live alone, it is much like walking into the last 30 minutes of a great movie, enjoying what you’ve seen, but all the while knowing you need to see what came first, in order to complete the picture. When you have been a part of a family unit, no matter how small albeit dysfunctional, there is a schedule and routine involved, having nothing to do with a Daterunner, Blackberry or org chart. Setting a meal on the table to cheers and jeers, and sometimes not eating because there is only enough for those you love has a very emotional place in life. Staying up late for crisis, talent show, cookie sale, bicycle assembly or removing stains from a game uniform are only a few of the moments of non-silence, which attach to those same hours and days.

There are also interpersonal moments such as hamsters giving birth, dogs or cats disappearing, accidents in bed at 3 am and broken hearts over things we will never understand, let alone justify. Needless to say, when all of that goes silent, due to divorce, death or grown children, living alone becomes a sentence that could be best served in Sing Sing, and again, has nothing to do with Eric Carmen.

Cooking for one slides into cooking for none, and ends up being food over the sink, or worse, sitting in the same spot at the table looking across at nothing. Listening to voices when they are only music or television, and wondering why you ever took hugs for granted can indeed cause insanity. At some point, it also becomes clear that wearing just your shirt and sliding across the floor of the living room is not risky business, but no one’s business…because frankly, you can do whatever you damn well please, and it pleases you like an unmedicated root canal.

In this ever changing technological world of silence, and isolation, don’t just listen, but hear when someone mentions they are the only one at home, and if they say they live alone, there is probably some sadness behind their eyes. Marlo Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore and Batman lived by themselves and did it well, but for those who read The Notebook, smelled ZuZu’s petals, or longingly swore they would never be hungry again, having that other half makes getting up every day the best part of the film

So the next time you are by yourself, offer some popcorn, maybe  a hug or even a kind comment to someone that you know is alone, and who knows…you might both just leave with a new song in your heart.

Stiletto is now on Amazon! Check out a lovable Serial Killer, along with drag, DNA, drama and cover

Leave a comment

Pink and Blue or Gender To You


Music has always played a role in my life, and once upon my hippie journey, Chicago even colored my world. There wasn’t a time my trusty Panasonic yellow cassette recorder, or uniquely shaped, turquoise AM/FM radio wasn’t by my side. There was also a cool 8-track player in my room, one that had removable speakers, and of course the Wildcat hi-fi, which turned 45’s, allowing Steely Dan to reel in the years and Sinatra to visit New York, from a thick 78, that had once been my father’s. The diversity of my musical tastes was and still is, every bit as overloaded as the buffet restaurants where I love to eat. However, in the 60’s and 70’s, life just seemed to have spun better.

When I entered Junior High, my buffet of acquaintances also changed. Students from all around the city now met at one school, far different from the neighborhood clique of our elementary days. We shared everything from arts to dreams…some shared smokes or worse, and others having discovered puberty, shared their tongues. Life had become a festival of discovery, and around that same year, I discovered love was blue.

Elevator music was also very real in those days, and that meant instrumental, dreamy and corny renditions of any song you could imagine, was offered by anyone from Lawrence Welk to Ray Conniff (Google if you must.) One such song, “L’amour est bleu” (“Love Is Blue“) was composed by André Popp, lyrics by Pierre Cour, in 1967. The glory of this syrup-sweet song, were the alternating verses in French, which made me feel like I was more than a bespeckled fourteen year-old girl, a few miles North of Denver, Colorado. I must have listened to it every day, practicing those delicate words, as if they were pink cotton candy, and I refused to let them melt in my mouth. Then I sat next to a new boy in class, and saw his French book.

Jay, was one of those new appetizers on my learning buffet. He had come from a school several miles away, and was a gentle giant. Standing next to me we could have made another person, between my height and his bulk.  Looking through our respective thick glasses, we also saw life in a special way. Our friendship continued, probably due to the fact that we were nerdy outcasts, happily meeting in our Assistant Period, where we delivered movie and film strip projectors from the Audio Visual department. It was then, that I also learned his dream was to build a Harpsichord, and thinking lovingly of Lurch in the Addams Family, it was a perfect fit for Jay’s eclectic aura and size, along with his incredible talent to draw anything.  All that aside, he was still learning French!

One day I mentioned my love of the song, and my inability to accurately pronounce the words. You see, I had taken the verbal street of Spanish, and although el amor es azul may have sounded exotic, it was romance I wanted…and shit, I still do…but I digress. I remember now, how Jay laughed at my request…I’m sure it sounded like some crazy chick thing, which young men don’t get until it is too late. Nevertheless, the following day when I went into class, Jay asked me go with him to the music room. Never before had a room been more appropriately named…not for the instruments it housed, but for the chalkboard it contained…one displaying the phonically written lyrics to Love is Blue.

If that had happened today, like anyone else, I would whip-out my always present cell phone, and take a photo of Jay’s painstakingly perfect work, to save and print later. However, back then, it was a number two pencil and spiral notebook, and I wrote those words as if they were a letter to God. After I finished, Jay sang the song for me in his own oddly feminine voice, pronouncing each word, making sure I had understood his odd, but literal breakdown of sound and syllable. In that moment, I felt beautiful, and prayed to someday get to Paris.  I also loved my friend and his unexpected gesture, one that had gone straight to my heart.

As years passed, we drifted into different classes and circles, and then to High School, where the process of re-assimilation started all over again. That was about the time I lost track of Jay, and traveled to Spain as an exchange student. It was there, in 1977 as I stood in a loud outdated discotheque, that a burly Spaniard, flirtatiously whispered the words to “Michelle” by the Beatles in my ear. Caught off guard, I realized he only spoke Spanish and had apparently taken great pains to memorize the French lyrics of:

Michelle, ma belle
Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble

An ocean and several years apart, suddenly I was with Jay, the sweet boy who had cared enough for his friend to grant an odd adolescent wish. The rest of my trip I didn’t feel as alone, because I knew I had an overweight, somewhat unpopular guardian angel watching over me.

It wasn’t until my five year class reunion, that I learned a very sad, albeit sobering fact. My dear friend Jay, who had colored the lyrical linguistics of my life, and shaded beautiful drawings on my notebooks, had died. I suppose it could have just been one of those marks on the path of maturity we have to make, loosing friends along the way and growing from what we shared.  However, Jay’s untimely passing before we turned twenty-five, before an unseen health crisis of life changing proportions was different…Jay had been gay…and Jay had died from AIDS.

Talking to a mutual friend at the reunion, I learned the horror that had befallen the gentle boy I once loved as a kindred spirit, while we survived the caste system of education. The tears I cried that night, were as fresh and real, as if I had been at his wake. The world lost a remarkable soul, and then, no one knew why…worse yet, they didn’t know all he could have been.

Love is Blue was one of the first MP3 files I burned to a CD, and later transferred into a playlist. I still get emotional listening to the pink cotton candy words, all of which I can still pronounce.  But now, their love is a little more blue, as I also remember a dog eared French book, a blackboard and a heart that knew compassion. It may be decades later, but yes, even then Love Wins.

Thank you Jay for being my champion of life, long before I knew I needed one, and for confirming humanity and compassion for another person is the only way to live, words I will keep in my heart until I die.

Leave a comment

So very, very twisted

twistyEntertainment and the media circus which brings it to town, is nothing to clown around with – and I mean that literally! Growing up in the one-horse driven, antenna TV town of Black and Whiteville, I remember sitting thisclosetothescreen, when Bozo the clown made a full facial close-up (later it would be Mick Jagger, but trust me, that was a completely different story). Now past my fiftieth year, I still can see that head shot vividly.  However, anything else, such as what I was eating, wearing or bodily functions I lost because of it, are thankfully forgotten. In one single, albeit innocent moment I was left scared to death of clowns.

Coulrophobia, the fear of such garishly painted people, with red bulbous noses and big black shoes, is not just my own personal packet of fear. Bumper stickers, cartoons, music groups, you name IT, all prove these white-faced individuals rein not just supreme, but King, over normal fears such as spiders, snakes or the dark. All in all, the clown often represents a very twisted and sinister side of laughter, one which I personally feared would be waiting for me when I’d least expect it, like sagging breasts or crow’s feet…yes, eventually I knew IT would catch up to me!

That was until American Horror Story, and the increasingly twisted inhumanity of America as a whole.

As a writer and someone lost to the Noir and intrigue of mystery, I’ve never enjoyed blood and gore genres of entertainment. Nightmare on streets or under beds, slashing and squirting for the sake of great FX just never made it to my dance card. That being said, when American Horror Story took us to the Freak Show this past season, I had to give pause. Thinking of Tod Browning’s vision, and his pennywise arcades and barkers, both stark in black and white, I bought a ticket, and found the splatter was far less than anticipated, but the matter was so much

Just like the classic Browning film, I found myself attached to characters, more than the limbs they should have been born with. I identified, loved and cared about the struggles they faced, and sadly understood how hearts turned cold, after years of abuse and humiliation. The simple message screaming out, as always was…we are all the same, regardless of the Halloween costume we were born into. Then we met Twisty.

Promotions for this horribly disfigured and homicidal clown made the show a must see for most, just as any vintage sideshow would have hoped, and had me prepared for therapy. That being said, the first episodes did offer brutal murders, happening for no reason, other than Twisty the Clown just wanted to kill…and so he did, as bloody as possible. There was just one small problem for the storyline…the sorrow shown behind the eyes of the clown. No Billboard top fifty with a bullet could have offered lyrics any more poignant…there was damage, and the clown didn’t cause it himself.

For me, that was when entertainment and empathy went for popcorn and changed seats. I knew the look. In the 70’s, growing up as a flat-chested, string bean daughter of a cop, I was rejected by all the cliques. I wasn’t cool enough for the Rah-Rah table; the nerd table let me visit but never accepted me, since there was a distant promise of beauty of my horizon, despite thick glasses and acne. The jock and sport tables also laughed regularly at my expense, whether it was in my polyester issued gym suit, my inability to climb a rope or just the fact I carried a Campus Queen metal lunchbox, complete with thermos. Yes, I had membership…somewhat hunched over…but in good standing, at more than a few freak shows in life.

When you are a card carrying member of the outcast society, you see life differently and hope all the while to make a difference, prove them wrong, and never do to others, the injustice, hurt and pain done to you. That time however, was of course before you could humiliate the face, without being face to face, by holding a cell phone or trolling the Internet, in a nasty world of cameras and intrusion. Suddenly, anyone with a few brain cells has the ability to be a troll under the bridge of compassion.

I am horrified that there is no saturation point,  like those found in a scary film, when someone covers their eyes and screams to stop IT, because of the damage and pain inflicted upon hurting youth and adults, that often take their own lives, due to revenge porn, gender hate, dating site lies and stalking, cyber bullying, Facebook bullies, or twitter rants. Instead of anything being stopped, society just watches day after day, while never ending parades of stupid, featuring fake and beautiful people, marshal in another generation of sheep, those who will never understand there is nothing grand at having an empty soul.

Twisty the Clown may have been created as a demonic force of violence, only to draw in a televised audience share at the Nielsen house, but in truth, he was a beacon of honest reveal for those same viewers if they really watched. His facial appearance and unyielding rage were the result of a botched suicide attempt, one made in the darkest moment of his life, after humiliation as blood sport by those thinking they were better than he was. Yes, I know there is no real Twisty, but that character was real, just like those who face bullies and depression, feeling they will never measure up. The same souls that are the confetti of society, left after the show is over and everyone has walked on them, not noticing or caring, self-absorbed and off to another victim.

The true clowns in our world don’t hide behind greasepaint or colorful ruffles, but instead, are sitting at computer screens, carrying platinum cards, looking for agents, or gathered in groups secure behind job titles, caring only about themselves. They take no responsibility for their actions, oblivious to who they hurt, and because society has evolved into what it is, their show and scary laughter will go on!

As a child a real clown scared me, and as a teen nameless faces hurt me. However, now as an adult I see even more twisted and invisible faces, not from inside a television, as much as from a computer screen, doing more harm than imagined. It is then that I find myself again thinking back to Mr. Jagger, and wonder if there will ever be a time when people stop jumping out at each other in faux entertainment, almost untouchable and stop looking for their pound of Satisfaction.

Leave a comment

Can you see me?

see meCloset doors open and close, mirrors reflect black or white, and all the time the question is the same…or is it? In the past few days and weeks, we have seen a world class athlete expose his intimate secrets and gender identity, as well as a black leader in our sea of society, exposed as Caucasian. Excuse me as I sit down and shake my head for a moment, while brushing off all the twitter and headline backwash that came with the headlines.

In my home and in my heart, I find such personal announcements to be quite sad. After all, they have exactly the same soul as the person who woke up last month, last year or even last week, all that changed, was a little decorative window dressing, and for that alone the world fell off its nut, and they felt a need to explain.

Respecting anything or anyone has long since expired in our culture, and with that has followed compassion and trust. Why is it so damn important in our lives, who is married to who, who wears a bra or a jock strap, buzz cut, Afro or pin curls? The core value of life isn’t connected to some sparkle, shine, shade or flavor on the outside. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you bought something and kept the box, throwing the contents in the trash? Ever craved just a candy bar wrapper? How about settling for a picture of a house instead of some cozy 2 bedroom with a kitchen? When your beloved pet ages do you kick them to the curb? How about a special dinner date with empty plates? The part that makes a difference is the core component…the soul, the meal, the heart, the security and nothing else!

We label and judge everything, forgetting to care or help, and it doesn’t take more than a two minute check on social media or the world as a whole, to see that sad fact. People are showered with celebrity, for no reason other than they have opportunity, money or are attractive, pushing the world further into ignorant pits of self-loathing. How hard is it to understand we are all in life together for a reason, and that together we have the ability to make incredible things happen! Caring for one another should be as easy as breathing, but instead, we work at having selfish and cruel intentions, which never better anyone or anything.

Just like a chain or the DNA we all carry, each link is vital for survival and strength, and I like to think that is also why our hands can hold, and our hearts can open, making them ready to attach others in life. If a person or child is secure and happy, we have no right to judge the social structure where or how they live, and it should never be up for a vote by a government, or be a form of media news. If someone is doing the job they can, or living an honest life, all that should be up to us, is to maybe see if we can offer something to better the process, thus forging another link in humanity.

There has never been a moving van behind a funeral procession. Material things, along with opinions and judgments stay behind after we die. What does remain, however, is who we were, who loved us and the difference we made or tried to make. So the next time you are at the store, reach over and buy a candy bar…but save just the wrapper. Think about what you wasted in time, money and content after you threw the chocolate away, and how stupid it was…then, apply that same principle to your life.

The next time you decide to judge someone for their appearance, social standing or values, especially when they have no impact on you personally, remember two things. One, an empty wrapper and second, the simple fact that when you ask someone where they are…they usually say Here, something as basic as life itself.  Maybe then you will understand all any of us ever have is a simple, but sometimes earthly decorated soul, which lives in the only here and the only now, just wanting acceptance.


Leave a comment

Hey neighbor, can I borrow a cup of sequins?

hey neighborThe average straight person looks forward to Halloween, a time when they dance and prance, crawl or howl, all effectively disguised from the person they know waits in the mirror. There are usually celebrations, a lack of inhibition and a general feeling of good will, since all of the fears and emotions normally keeping us at bay, are finally set ashore, allowing a true acceptance of who we are. It’s a drag it can’t last for more than a day.

Drag on the other hand, is a time honored, and yes, respected, form of exactly the same thing for the gay community. For years, it was the only window allowing a peek into a culture and world most of us would never know, but were curious about. However, Drag is so much more than just a few feathers and a blast of lip syncing music, honoring the true birth of karaoke. Drag in itself, is the heart of self-expression, living under judgment and political frustration.

Putting gas into the tank of the Texaco Star Theater, Uncle Miltie once amused America from inside a small black and white screen, camping up his masculine appearance with frills, lipstick and over-the-top gestures of faux femininity, proving some did like it hot. It was applauded as comedy and we laughed, and for some there was also a hidden hope to someday slip into a dress, draw on lips and express who they were as well. Entertainment and reality had yet to become the one man show they are now, so Drag continued to be fake flamboyant, and over the top, with a large demographic looking down in laughter.

As years and minds attempted to stretch forward, so did the confidence and stability of Drag, and its performing platform became more than glittered shoes. Although not accepted as it should have been, the acknowledgement of being gay was nevertheless, getting a nod in the mainstream, apart from the stage of ridicule. We aren’t there yet, but we have come a long way baby, and the smokin’ hot talent and beauty emerging from the garden has opened many a closed mind.

Television also changed, offering Drag performers at their best, competing, lip syncing and reading the world whenever we desire a refreshing look at reality. No longer hidden behind darkened club curtains, the positive and reaffirming presence found in this self-acceptance has spread across more than a screen in colorful pride, giving each of us something to strive for ourselves. Social media also developed, offering instant clips and quotes, all zipping by on the fly, letting us feel part of the family as they say.

However, as with anything in life, the direction or evolution of Drag also changed, no longer just a bevy of sequins, wigs and tucks, we now see costumed creations of science fiction fear, and Gothic shades in black, that would please any Lily Mister, happily living on Mocking Gay Lane. This darker side of Drag, and the shade it brings, accent not hopes and dreams, but instead, expose the pain where many performers have lived, and now confident, they dismiss  shadows once threatening to consume them, and stereotypes they refuse to fit into.

Likewise, taking a further detour from the Lady Bunny trail we’ve grown to accept and love, intense implications of S&M and lashes far from the eye, are also replacing the over sized bosom and padding, which was once a comfortable norm for those in the audience. I would be remiss; if I didn’t say I find it sad seeing skinny Queens with model perfect make-up, and expensive couture walking the thin line, from in your face to in your heart. I love the Drag Queens that represented the alter egos of uppity old ladies in church, the grandma I wanted, the neighbor I hoped would move in and the sharp tongue saying things I couldn’t, through heavy eye shadow, crystals, glitter and more tulle than heaven could order. However, like the world we live in, it was inevitable darkness would creep into these colors as well.

Lucky for us, there will always be a few Rit dyed in the velvet Queens, still seeing their art as more than self-expression,  using slick satin and intense sparkle to lower walls of resistance, impact political points and prove that dress up is more than a holiday statement or something we relegate to an event. In the end, they will also be the ones who continue to keep club and closet doors open, like rainbows across once stormy skies, confirming there is a place for such beauty and uniqueness, against the harsh landscape of ordinary life.

For them I am eternally grateful, and will continue to bask in their overheated, fast Double entendre, below the belt commentaries and punched out satirical statements, always followed by shady diatribes aimed at our dysfunctional human condition. Anyone can play king, wear leather and take control, but only a select few can be a real queen, knowing that a punch from a softly padded underbelly into society will forever say more than anyone can imagine.

Leave a comment

Makes Some Tracks!


Namaste…and applaud and scream! Last night Denver’s Drag Nation was well protected, not just with local talent, but with three superstars that shot forth from the galaxy of entertainment. All I can say is we all slept better…exhausted or exhilarated you can decide.

The first tall drink of water that got the ball rolling and quenched our thirst for talent, was a Miss with more than a future of Fame, bouncing her attributes and voice like a rubber ball across the stage. What a bombshell to have sandwiched between our own stars, in final shades of peaches and cream sparkle. Indeed, she gave us a harvest of both stage presence and beauty.

However, before a breath could be caught, a powder puff of sparkle and talent exploded in comedic laughter! Ginger Minj may not be a spice herself, but her performance gave the night the flavor it deserved and she served it up! If this compact dynamo of emotion and delight isn’t the next drag superstar I will be shocked! She has the right stuff, and next time her baby got back…well, it better be on our Denver stage!

Bringing all the gals together was our own Nina Flowers, a bloom luckily planted in Colorado, with her roots proud and firm under the rainbow of the LGBT community. Who needs a super hero when we have a shining star like her to bring traveling ladies into the light!

What a night and what an event – Thank you Tracks, thank you to some incredibly beautiful and loving performers ( and hot bartenders)…but most of all, thank you for a city where we can do it all again….same bat place…same bat channel! My newest on the shelf at Amazon


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,151 other followers