Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Come Monday....

my life starts again.

I've thought about that since I've reached a certain age --- you know, if I'd want to go back and be a kid again. I see what my children (a teenage boy and pre-teen girl) go through and I most emphatically say "NO!" It's not only that, but I'd have to go through all the things I've prayed to God to just get through the first time. Highschool, parents dying, abusive 15 year marriage, divorce, entering the dating world again with offspring for chaparones. Dear Holy Lord. No thank you.

The only advantage would be watching all the body parts that have started a downward descent begin to head north, the fading of wrinkles, the ability to sneeze without worrying if you are wearing a pantyliner and, once again, to jump out of bed on a dime without worrying about throwing your back out. This is just the tip of the iceberg -- and I'm not THAT old. Let's just say I watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and fell in love with George Harrison on the spot. (There has been some discussion between myself and my friend Anne that I fell in love with George because she had immediate dibs on Paul, but we can discuss that later.)

For now, let's discuss blogging. I've heard it's a good creative outlet for those of us wanna-be writers who are intimidated by the actual writing/publishing game. Yes, I write all the time. No, I've never been published. Yes, I'm too afraid to submit anything. I hate the thought of going through everything to just get rejected -- I can just stay home with my kids and get that.

I thought I would just make your day by relating my little trip into the realm of creating a book for publication. It brought out the best in me creatively and ignited my worst fears of failure. It got me in touch with a new dear friend and opened my eyes to some wonderful possibilities. It confirmed that I have friends in my corner that will always hope for my success, no matter what idiot moves I make. It also proved to me that when things look the bleakest, I'll find some way to survive, someway to keep myself occupied.

Hang onto your hats as we take a trip down the path of my convoluted thinking processes trying to write a book about.....Barry Manilow.

No. I'm not kidding.

And I know what you are thinking: Barry Manilow? Damn, she is crazy. But just hang in there. I can explain. Eventually.

Scene: I was extremely out of sorts, to put it mildly, following a divorce from a guy who wasn't really nice to me for most of the 15 years we were married (she said, being PC). It was the first weekend my children, then 4 and 10, were with their father. I was pretty lost, alone, confused and had shut down emotionally from the stress. There isn't much I remember about that time. However, as I did subscribe to the benefits of "retail therapy", I took a trip to a local super-store that had everything from lettuce to 50-inch television sets. Sure, I looked and felt like I had been emotionally tackled by the defense team of the 1985 Chicago Bears, but at least I was moving. I think I had even managed to take a shower and brush my teeth, so I was actually way ahead of some of my other days.

So I wandered around the store. Not looking at anything -- just wandering. The music department called my name and off I went. I spotted a new CD on a front rack. "Here At The Mayflower". I picked it up, curious, as I couldn't decipher the cover art. It was Barry Manilow. Of course. Barry Manilow! He'd been kicked around like a piece of talentless shit for years...but there he was. New CD and all. Well, ok. Ok...the world still worked on some level, I told myself. Barry Manilow was still standing and surviving. Fine. So could I.

I picked up the CD, left my empty cart in the aisle, paid for it and left the store. I went home and looked at it. I placed it unopened by my stereo. It remained there, wrapped in its original cellophane, for a long, long time.

I don't know why I didn't open it. I didn't open that CD for years -- until my life was better, until I was able to function like a normal human being again. Why? I don't know. Another mystery that is me.

After a couple of years of once a week couch time and whining endlessly to my dear, patient girlfriends, I got ME back and the only thing that I wanted to do was write. The only thing I could think of to write about was Barry Manilow. Once again, I don't know why. My psychologist doesn't know why. Manilow was my life raft and there you go. "Mayflower" made me realize once again that Barry Manilow was very talented and I fell in love with him all over again...just like when I was 19 and saw him for the very first time in 1976.

Anyway, I contemplated poor Mr. Manilow for a long time. Not contemplated like in "stalked", or contemplated like in "losing touch with reality", but just as in hey, maybe I could write something about Barry. He wouldn't care. At least I'd be nice, which was a big foot up from most of the crap that has been written about him.

So in July, 2005, I googled Barry Manilow for the first time (and I hope he enjoyed it). I started squirreling and sifting my way through mountains of internet information. I looked to see if other books had been written about him during the years I lost my Manilow-focus and didn’t find much. Mostly just the usual lambasting of his work, looks, fans, tours and personal life in magazine articles and reviews. SOS, different years.

I began contemplating digging up my own information and maybe...you know maybe...seeing if...sort of...I could...maybe...write something about him. I had some serious self confidence issues at the time, which, you'll be happy to know, I've overcome. Mostly. So from August to December, 2005 I thought lots and lots more about writing about Barry Manilow (which to you new writers is called the “exceedingly long contemplation phase”). I think, therefore I am --- but that's it. Nothing gets down on paper. Thinking will only get you to ... thinking some more, unless you take pen to paper and plop some of those thoughts down.

However, I was keeping myself busy. Which, viewing the whole thing in my rear view mirror, was probably the point. I could have taken up needlepoint or yoga or painting or yodeling, but it was Barry Manilow.

And my story isn't done yet.


redcat said...

The more I read your stuff, the more I think you're my illegitimate sister...seriously. I didn't think ANYONE related to things like me...but you do. Awesome post...and I'm waiting on the rest of the story...


Lara Angelina said...

Thanks so much, redcat -- and I've been meaning to talk to you about mom and dad....