Last Saturday, I was joined by three excellent musicians to start the audio recording for my upcoming music video, "In Winter." Brenda Fisher played bass, Chrys Ballerano played hand drum and Terri Lukacko played banjo. We had a lot of fun and got some great music recorded. I'm now waiting on the edits to be done, then I'll lay down the vocal tracks. Hopefully, there will also be back-up vocals, flute, guitar and synthesizer added. I wrote the song last winter during my long drives back and forth to work in Albany and Delmar, NY. I was often driving at night, watching the moon and the stars during my travels and looking forward to landing in my nice cozy, warm and loving home. It is a love song, but more than that, it's a song of hopefulness, of looking forward to and facing whatever the future will bring knowing that you are surrounded by love, respect and tenderness.
Throughout the year, I have a few rituals that I’ve developed over time. One of those is to clean and organize my living space for each New Year. Another is to clean and organize my psychic and emotional space by reflecting on the year that’s just gone by and noticing my goals for the coming year. I’ve started the clean-up in my rooms. I’ve set up my writing desk for journaling and am working on creating a place for ongoing projects. I’ve also started reorganizing my work related things. My partner and I have begun doing the same for our communal space as well. All of that has been pretty easy.
The tough part this year is the emotional and psychic space. Although 2015 has been one of the most rewarding and happiest years I’ve had, it’s also been the hardest. Close friends have wondered, on hearing of my latest drama, why I seem to attract so much bad luck – and usually really big things. I think maybe it’s a test to see how much I can take before I break. I know that I’ll never break but, I have to admit, this latest thing is the hardest one so far. Now I’ve been thinking that maybe all of the previous disasters were just training for this one. Who knows? What I do know is that in my life, so far anyway, every sunny sky seems to have a dark cloud, and it doesn’t really matter why. What matters is that I keep going in spite of it all. Hopefully, I’m building up enough karma that the next life will be a breeze. Meanwhile, my love life is wonderful; my work is wonderful; my finances are finally getting back on track; my music is flourishing, and I’m living the life I’ve always dreamed of and never thought was even remotely possible. How could I possibly complain?
Writing in my journal this morning and bemoaning my struggle with my traditional New Year’s memoir, I realized that I’ve been struggling in general with my writing lately, unless I have a specific topic. I stopped journaling on a regular basis about 2 years ago, with very sporadic entries throughout that time, and I love my journal. I had been writing almost every day for many years. I often regret not having kept one in my earlier days, those wild and crazy times with Paul and before him. Now the dates and names have all but disappeared from my memory. Luckily, I still have a few friends from that time who remember bits and pieces. I also have bits and pieces of writings hidden away in random notebooks. And, the more I write, the more I seem to remember.
I started trying to journal regularly in 1990 when I was pregnant for the third time, 11½ years after the birth of my second child. I managed to write off and on through the tough times of adjusting to having a baby again and the end of my 20 year marriage. I have to admit though, having the baby was the easy part. In 1994, I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and my writing took off. One of the first things she recommends is writing three pages every day first thing in the morning. Her technique is to just write stream of consciousness, no editing at all and no rereading what you’ve written. I love going back and reading my thoughts from those times now.
For some bizarre reason, although the crises of 1990 inspired me to start journaling, as time went on, I often stopped writing during crises. I know that it would have been helpful at the time and again later on when going back to read them after the crisis is over, but it feels like torture to write it while it’s happening. And, I think it’s not just crises that stop my writing, but euphoria, too. This past year has been mostly euphoric, and there are very few entries.
So now my desk is cleared and ready, and I’ve been sitting down to write a little every day, even if it’s just a sentence, to train myself to get back into the routine. And, there have been my memoirs throughout this past two years.
Friends have been telling me for a long time now, “You really need to write a book.” My life has always been eventful, and I rarely talk about the very early years except to my closest friends or partners. I’ve had more than my share of heartache and struggles, not that I’m complaining, but it’s important to notice. It’s been going on for as long as I can remember, even as a child. I sat down a few times to start a book and felt so overwhelmed. There is too much to write. For years, friends have also said, “Wow, they should make your life into a movie.” You know what? A movie would never be able to hold everything. It would need to be a series.
A few years ago, I joined a “healing through memoir” group and started writing short memoir pieces. I realized that was the answer. I no longer feel overwhelmed by the prospect of writing down my stories, if I can write them one at a time. Then the idea for the CD came along with a memoir for each song. I’ve loved doing that and have continued that tradition of writing a song then a memoir to go with it. All writers have slumps, and I’m no exception. That’s what I’m feeling at the beginning of this New Year, and I know that will shift soon. Meanwhile, I am working on a music video of my song “In Winter” that I expect to come out sometime in February. I have wonderful friends joining me in this project and am excited about this new venture and the year ahead. I guess I’d better get busy and write that memoir. :-)