• Tag Archives Music
  • Rock & Roll Excellence ~ Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Time for another post on an exceptional Classic Rock/Southern Rock/Blues band.

    I finally went through my CD travel holder and removed all the Springsteen CDs. I thought I was safe.

    I had been enjoying other favorite bands in the car, and except for the occasional unexpected song on the radio, which I hear for approximately 5 seconds until my husband turns the station, I had managed to put him out of my mind.

    But then I made the mistake of attempting to access music stored on my phone. I was making a video of my grandkids, and the app allows people to use their own music. (It never works. Never. I should not have even bothered trying).

    Sigh. All my music appeared on the screen. Too many Springsteen songs to count are in my phone, which is why I use my iPod shuffle when running. It is loaded with Springsteen’s music, too, but it’s very easy to shuffle, and I barely notice when I’m running. I just hit the button until I get to a different artist.

    So…another chore awaits me–getting all that music off my phone, and replacing it.

    When I get smacked in the face with Springsteen, I always think about other great artists to get his music out of my mind, so I decided to write a post on Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that seems to be the polar opposite of Mr. Springsteen and the E Streeters.

     

    Lynyrd Skynyrd are down to earth, and love America, God and freedom of expression. They are truly an example of Rock & Roll Excellence.

     

    My husband went to one of the last concerts Lynyrd Skynyrd performed with Ronnie Van Zant.. The show was on June 11, 1977 at the old JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.

    My husband was 17 years old, and I hadn’t yet met him. He told me it was a great show. I believe Skynyrd opened for Peter Frampton, whom I idolized back then. Tom wasn’t overly fond of Frampton, though–he went to see Skynyrd.

    The following October, a plane carrying the band to a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana crashed outside Gillsburg Mississippi. The pilots, the road manager, and three band members were killed in the crash. The rest of the band was seriously injured, but they survived.

    Ronnie Van Zant, lead singer, songwriter and founding member of the band, was one of those killed. After the crash, the group disbanded. They reunited 10 years later, with Van Zant’s brother, Johnny, taking his place as vocalist.

    (I saw Skynyrd perform with Johnny Van Zant seven years ago. It was a great show. Still I wish I could have seen them before the plane crash.)

     

    Street Survavors

     

    Pictured above is the album Street Survivors, released three days before the October 20th plane crash.

    My husband bought the album on the left back in 1977,  and has kept it all these years. He found the one on the right recently on eBay, and has never played it.

    The right hand cover was the original, but was replaced out of respect for the survivors, since two members pictured engulfed in flames had perished in the crash. It’s quite a shock to see the flames and know that they died right after the record was released.

     

    All right… now to some fun stuff.

     

    One of my favorite songs is Sweet Home Alabama. It’s the best song for parties and dancing and just having a good time.

     

    Watch the above if you like. I love the lyrics, especially when Van Zant disses Neil Young, whom I have always regarded as a smarmy Leftist tool who doesn’t appreciate America.

     

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    Skynyrd has a large and diverse catalogue. There are ballads, some Country-sounding songs, Rock and Blues. I love the background singers. I have many favorite songs, including some that may be unfamiliar to casual listeners.

    Free Bird is a work of art, but it isn’t among my favorites, some of which include: Coming Home, White Dove,  Down South Jukin, Gimme Three Steps, Saturday Night Special, and Tuesday’s Gone.

    The song Ain’t too Proud to Pray, from The Complete Muscle Shoals album, written and sung by Ricky Medlock, is a beautiful song about an encounter with Christ.

     

    I heard the voice and saw the face
    And I know he was there
    The robe it floated around my bed
    And I felt no pain

    You can talk about the help you need
    He’s a friend indeed
    Just open your heart and live again
    And he’ll set you free

    Well, he took them away
    All the troubles and the pain
    Whoa, you can call me a fool
    But I know he was there
    Yes, I know he was there

    The night I had, has long since gone
    But the memories stay
    And now Mr. Trouble when you come my way
    I’m not too proud to pray

     

    IMG_0285
    Our collection of Skynyrd CDs. We also have vinyl, cassette and 8 track tapes.

     

    The Seasons is another favorite.

     

     

    Last but not least, is Simple Man. I have loved this song for years.

     

    Mama told me when I was young
    “Come sit beside me, my only son
    And listen closely to what I say
    And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

    “Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
    Troubles will come and they will pass
    You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
    And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

    “And be a simple kind of man
    Oh, be something you love and understand
    Baby be a simple kind of man
    Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

    “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
    All that you need is in your soul
    And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
    All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

    “And be a simple kind of man
    Oh, be something you love and understand
    Baby be a simple kind of man
    Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

     

    Seems like good advice, and timeless. I usually play this song on Mother’s Day.

    I have been slacking off on my vow to search out newer artists, and find that I still rely on old favorites, however, my friend Marina told me of this cover of Simple Man, by Shinedown.

    I think they did a phenomenal cover. Here it is.

     

     

    My other favorite Rock & Blues band is the Allman Brothers Band. I’m not writing a post on them, but wanted to mention the band. Duane Allman, (deceased) was a talented guitarist. My husband has top 10 list, and Allman is on it.

    Following is a guitar solo by Allman. The song isIn Memory of Elizabeth Reed, (Instrumental). YouTube is a godsend for me–I can find rare performances and enjoy them. I stumbled across this and bookmarked it.

     

     

    I love the above music, which brings back memories of happier times. Music is a gift from God. Find your favorites, and spend time listening every day.

    Related Posts:

    Rock & Roll Excellence ~ Led Zeppelin

    Drunks and the Music they thought the Enjoyed throughout the Years

    Dear Republican Hating Musicians: Get Over Yourselves


  • I Wish You Peace

    During this time of terrible stress and division leading up to the most important election of our lives, many Americans are struggling to find peace.

    Especially people like me, who suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. Some days are so ridden with anxiety that I have great difficulty keeping myself calm. Today seems to be one of those days.

    This morning I got up early to go running and pray the Rosary, two things that usually set a positive foundation for the day. But now, at 7 pm, I find that I’m stressed out again.

    However, there are certain things that I have found to keep the anxiety at bay, even if they don’t always work, and so, I decided to write a list here in this post.

    To keep my anxiety levels as low as possible, here’s what I do.

    1) Reading Scripture and Prayer. This is a practice that helps immensely. I have quite a few apps installed on my phone, including Laudate, a Catholic resource with daily Mass readings, reflections and prayers. I also have the Bible app. This is of great help, because you can search for verses by typing in words, like peace, fear, love, trust, etc. There is always a verse at my fingertips to comfort me.

     

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    2) Turn off the TV. Yes, I mean really. This includes cable news. No TV, unless it’s for a quality program, movie or other entertainment.

    3) Silence. Most of the time my house is quiet, and when I’m working I sit next to the window, where all can hear are the sounds of birds, cicadas, the wind, and other peaceful country sounds.

    4) Limit news intake. I do not watch any mainstream news, and only listen to one program on talk radio. That’s it. Too much news/talk and debate is stressful. There are ways to keep informed without listening or watching news all day long.

    5) Be careful of social media. This is difficult for me, since I love being online, but too much of it hurts my health, since the trends are managed by leftists who try to demoralize people like me — we who do not want Hillary Clinton elected president.

    *note* When on Facebook, if the constant doom and gloom are too much for you, or you are a reluctant Trump supporter, and are voting AGAINST Hillary, please, do yourself a favor, and unfollow your Never Trump contacts.

    It is much too stressful to see the constant threads of name calling, scorn and derision. It’s very unfortunate that we are where we are, but it can’t be helped. It seems the differences are irreconcilable.

    If your friends constantly share nasty memes that deride the person running against Hillary (and/or the people who have chosen to vote for him, either as their first choice or as a last resort, like I am) please don’t feel that you must see it.

    If you see articles that cast aspersions on you or your family, perhaps suggesting that your conscience is in need of an overhaul, or that you are dumber than a box of hammers, you are not obligated to keep it coming through your newsfeed.

    The unfollow button is there for a reason. Use it, and don’t look back until after the election, when it may be safe to see what your friends are saying.

    6) Unfollow all clickbait sites, or other sites that cause stress. Yes. Just unfollow. Find some quality news that is as unbiased as possible, and weed out the crap.

    7) Stay off twitter trends. Do not look at trends. Twitter is in the tank for Hillary. They manage trends to make her look good, hiding her many crimes, her health problems, and other important news, while at the same time pushing the Republican candidate to the top of trends if he happens to say one wrong word.

    So, if you like twitter, just visit the accounts of friends, and of people who you trust to share the truth. Then leave.

    8) Exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Find some sort of activity, whether it be walking, running, a workout, the gym, or even sitting and lifting your arms up and down. Anything at all to get the stress off.

    Getting outside each day is very important too, even for just fifteen or twenty minutes.

     

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    9). Hug your family and spend time with them.

    10). Hug your pet.

    11) Try to find at least one thing to laugh about every day.

     

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    12) Read a good book. This is a must. Reading is an escape. Use it.

    13) Music. This one is one of my mainstays. Listen to the music you love every day, and get lost in it for awhile.

    14) Get plenty of sleep. This can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day, so hit the hay early every night.

    I have been using the disciplines above for some time, though I do at times backslide in some of them. These tricks do work to limit stress, and God knows everyone is suffering at least a little right now.

    Following is a song that is one of my favorites. It happened to come up on my playlist this morning, and has been in my head all day.

     

     

     

    I wish you peace, when times are hard
    The light to guide you through the dark
    And when storms are high and your dreams are low

    I wish you the strength to let love grow on,
    I wish you the strength to let love flow…

     

    So, in closing… I wish you peace.

     

     


  • Review ~ The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (CD/Blu-ray) by Bruce Springsteen

    I rarely review anything other than books. However, I wanted to review The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (CD/Blu-ray) (Audio CD) for the simple reason that Bruce Springsteen is my favorite artist, despite being my polar opposite in ideology.

    I simply adore the man’s music. And, at times, the man himself. I don’t want to get into the particulars. Part of it is explained below, and the rest? Well, let’s just say that I don’t feel comfortable among his “biggest” fans after being run off of a comments thread by some of them in 2012, because I disagreed with their interpretation of the events of 9/11/12, in Benghazi, Libya.

    There’s very little common ground between me (a person who will look at facts no matter where they point me) and certain people very far Left of center, who won’t. Unless, perhaps, some of the people who called me a liar, a right wing nut job, and then insinuated that I (and by association, my family) are unworthy to take a ride on the train to the Land of Hope and Dreams have seen the proof. No point in rehashing this. Hillary Clinton lied and covered up the events of the attack. It’s proven beyond a doubt now. Perhaps some folks will take the evidence into account, but others simply won’t. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat Party nominee for President of the United States. People can vote for her or not, as they choose.

    None of this affects my love of Springsteen’s music. There’s just something I’m drawn to. Perhaps it’s the similarity of the characters in the title track of The River to myself and my husband. Maybe it’s the deep down feeling in my gut when I listen to lyrics that describe hard work, prayer, love, heartbreak and fighting to hang on to what you’ve earned. This is what I hear when listening to The Boss.

    So, despite online abuse from Leftists, and my tendency to stay away from Springsteen forums, I still love the artist and his music. Think of it this way. What’s your choice in reading material? Let’s say you’re a lover of Science Fiction, Fantasy and, perhaps Thrillers. You love these genres. What happens when you pick up a Harlequin Romance?

    This is what happens to me when I become disgusted at a foolish remark or a downright insulting one from the Boss, and vow that I will listen to more Country music, because the artists don’t usually insult my sensibilities like Bruce does sometimes. Example: Springsteen made a statement endorsing Barack Obama in 2012, stating a woman’s reproductive rights, etc. In other words, he endorsed abortion on demand. This statement was on Springsteen’s official FB page accompanied by a photo. In the photo, Bruce was wearing a Miraculous Medal. (You know… that medal depicting Mary, Mother of Jesus? A mainstay of Catholics? You know, those Catholics… the ones whose catechism states that abortion is murder? That medal.)

    So… I just compartmentalize this seemingly mind bending hypocrisy, and pray that the medal is something that will help Mr. Springsteen at some point. Then I pop in another Springsteen CD, and get lost in the music. I do listen to other genres, and even some Country Music, but… it’s just not my favorite. My favorite is Classic Rock, mainly Springsteen. However, when reviewing a product, I must be honest. See below.

    The Ties That Bind Boxed Set

    Following is my review. (4 stars on Amazon). The boxed set is pictured above.

    My husband gave me The River boxed set for Christmas. I’m really enjoying it, for the most part. I love the music, and The River is my 3rd favorite Springsteen album, after DOTEOT and BTR. I really am not much of a collector, and certainly don’t own every song Springsteen ever released, so I’m positive I will love all the songs included. I love Bruce’s voice, his enthusiasm, his obvious love for the E Streeters, and the energy of each performance. His music has gotten me through numerous hard times. He’s easily my favorite artist, and this comes from someone who has listened to all the Classic Rock greats since the mid 1970s.

    I enjoyed looking through the pictures, and the notebook. I like looking at Bruce’s beautiful, artistic handwriting. Handwriting tells so much about a person. I really enjoy seeing the creative process of this artist.

    The Tempe concert is terrific. I’ve only been to 3 shows, all in Philly, 2 of which were during the Wrecking Ball Tour. I seriously doubt any more shows are in my future, so I will watch this Tempe DVD often. My only issue, and folks can agree or disagree as they so choose, is that I was blindsided while watching the concert. Mr. Springsteen has always felt the need to share his political views with his paying audience. I understand that, and accept it. But I must admit that to me, it’s a turn off. I’ve never understood the need for any artist to alienate parts of their audience. The fact that I heard him say to the students in Arizona that he considered the election results of the previous evening “frightening” wasn’t a great moment. More than half the country felt otherwise, and some of them were probably in the audience. I have always found this behavior rude, and I’m entitled to my opinion.

    I had to shut off the TV. I made a note of exactly where in the show this statement occurred, so I can FF through next time. This is the only reason I’m not giving this collection 5 stars. For me, a 5 star review is reserved for material that doesn’t broadside me with insults. Other than this I love the collection, and I would recommend it to people like me, who haven’t seen shows in double digits and don’t own a lot of rare songs.

     

    You may also enjoy:


    I may be Old, but I got to see all the Cool Bands.

    Rock & Roll Fantasy

    Drunks and the Music they thought they Enjoyed throughout the Years


  • Photo-Blog ~ Running as Therapy and Inspiration

    I began running 7 years ago. It’s therapy for me, and also a source of inspiration for my writing. Yesterday’s run was exceptionally beautiful, so here it is, captured in photos.

    When I began running 7 years ago, I usually went to nearby parks and ran laps. This was because I was a beginner, and I needed to develop stamina. But running the same laps over and over quickly became boring, no matter how pretty the parks were. I needed a change and a challenge, so I began running in White Clay Creek Preserve, 5 minutes from my home by car. Actually, I can, and have, run to the park from my home. This occurred while I was training for the Delaware Half-Marathon, when I had to run 8, 9 and10 milers on weekends.But I’m training this year. I’m too busy writing the last book in The Storms Series to train, though once the book is published (I’m shooting for May), I may decide to train for a fall race.

    The linked article has the history and a map of the area. The park is huge, and encompasses acres of Pennsylvania and Delaware. There is quite a bit of history. I grew up in the area, and sometimes I take it for granted. However, it must have been hiding in the back of my mind, since the park is featured in the Storms Series.

    Yesterday’s run began at parking lot one, the closest to my house. I clipped on my old iPod shuffle and began running on the Penn-Del trail, listening to Bruce Springsteen. The trail runs along an old railroad bed. The trains stopped running back in the 1940s. To my left was the White Clay, running slowly, and to my right was a swampy place, with cattails and other stalky grasses. Beaver are building a dam here. Again, it’s strange the way this park figures into my writing. The railroad bed and the beaver are mentioned in book 2 of my series, The Notice.

    About half a mile down, the trail takes a turn to the left, leaving the swamp behind, and continues next to the White Clay. For the next mile or so I ran along the trail, stopping at intervals to take photos.

    White Clay Creek Preserve creekbank White Clay Creek, Pennsylvania Fall in Pennsylvania Landenberg, PA

    IMO, this Fall has been exceptionally beautiful. The foliage is bright and clean and colorful, without a hint of drabness. 

    Running next to the creek is soothing and therapeutic. The iPod’s volume is on low, so the running water filters through, along with the sounds of birds, squirrels and the leaves crunching under my feet. It smells good there. I lose myself in visions of scenes I want to write. The music also inspires. If I get tired I shuffle the iPod until Santana begins playing, making me run faster. (IMO, no running playlist is complete without Santana’s Jingo).

    Finally I emerged from the trail onto Sharpless Road, an isolated country lane. Nearby is London Tract Meeting House, also known as Ticking Tomb Church, because of the legend of the  Ticking Tomb. Please click the link for the legend, and a possible connection to “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. The area was  the home of Native Americans of the Lenni Lenape tribe until it was sold to William Penn in 1683. (The church and the plaque commemorating the sale of the Indian lands to Billy Penn is featured in another scene in The Notice).

    Once on Sharpless Road I turned right, away from the church. I hadn’t run up the following hill since last spring, so I decided to try it.

    uphill

    I didn’t make it. I slacked all summer long, and I didn’t have the stamina to run to the top, so I power walked. My goal is to run up this hill the way I used to by the end of the month.

    Here’s the view from the top. It’s always worth the pain of the hill.

    Landenberg, PA

    I continued on this isolated road, one of the prettiest in Landenberg. Cornfields were here until recently.

    Country Cornfield

    Landenberg, PA

    At the bottom of the first hill two hunters had parked. Deer hunting is permitted in the park, both archery and shotgun. My husband still gets his hunting license every year, however, he doesn’t go out like he used to. When my children were young I felt like a single mom at times, due to his habit of spending every late afternoon deer hunting. He’s a pretty good shot with bow and arrow. We always eat the deer he shoots.

    These days there seems to be an outcry against hunting, and sometimes, hunters. It’s rather frustrating. I’ve seen comments online referring to people like my husband, son and brother-in-law as “rednecks.” People seem to believe the hunters are dangerous. Um… excuse me? This is country life. If you don’t like country ways, move back to where you came from. In the seven years that I’ve been running regularly in the park, never once have I been scared by a hunter. Not once. I’ve seen plenty of hunters of course, but I’ve never felt threatened in the least. The only people who have ever frightened me are dog owners who ignore the leash rule. I was even bitten once by an unleashed dog. Unlike some dog owners who seem to think rules are for other people, the hunters are considerate of others. I trust the hunters much more than the dog owners.

    After passing the spot where the hunters had left their trucks, I came to the smaller hill on Sharpless Rd, and began running up it.

    Landenberg, PA

    This is one of my favorite stretches of road, since this is the place where the idea for the book that would ultimately become a trilogy came to me while running in July of 2009.

    While running along after praying the Rosary I was at a loss as to what would become of America. I felt terrible sense of fear and dread at the thought of Socialized medicine and other such threats to freedom. Again, this was in July, and the fields were full of corn.

    White Clay Creek, Landenberg, PA

    It was here that the idea exploded, just as I crested the hill. The tops of the corn blades were visible through the trees at the top of the bank, and by the time I was on the other side of the hill the idea was firmly planted in my mind. I went home that day and began writing about a young pregnant woman hiding in the corn, and my life was never the same.

    Sharpless Rd. Landenberg, PA

    Above are more fields which will, most likely, be sprouting corn next April. Then I came to the end of Sharpless Road and turned right.

    The Flats,Broad Run Rd., Landenberg, PA

    The Flats, Broad Run Rd.

    Above is the last stretch of road, nicknamed The Flats. I have a vague memory of hearing that it was once used for drag racing, way back when.

    Of course, like so many landmarks near my home, the Flats also made it into the Storms Series. By the time I got there I was feeling tired but also renewed. Like I said, running is therapeutic, especially with so much beauty to gaze upon while doing it. And it’s also inspiring. The combination of running, music and the White Clay Creek just do it for me. I feel like the words will come bubbling to the top when I sit down with my laptop.

    My run ended back at parking lot one, below. I’ll be going back tomorrow for more therapy and inspiration.

    White Clay4


  • 15 Favorite Classic Rock Halloween Songs

    If you’re a habitual reader of this blog, you may know that I’m a Classic Rock fan. I thought it would be fun to choose some favorite songs that put me in a dark or spooky mood.

    I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I both adore Classic Rock. He’s been a serious fan since the early 1970s, and I’m not far behind him.

    Agents Of Fortune
    Blue Oyster Cult, Agents Of Fortune

     

    The above photo was taken this morning. The pictured album, Blue Oyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune, was purchased by my husband when he was 17, and kept carefully through all the years since then. So of course we both have our favorite spooky or dark songs. I’m going to list them here, in order of my preference.

    Disclaimer: I am not a particular fan of Ozzy Osbourn, or the group Black Sabbath, though I was as a teen. But their music fits the Halloween theme, and I do admit the group was talented, so one of their songs is included.

    Disclaimer 2: When it comes to music, I care zero for politics. There are songs here from both ends of the political spectrum and some in between. For my own peace of mind, music must be separated from the antics of the artists unless, of course, they commit actual treason. And I know of no American artist that has actually been treasonous, unless draft dodging is considered treason. With regard to the Vietnam conflict, my opinion is simply this: I have more love, respect and gratitude to the GIs who went than I can possibly express in words.

    Not all of the songs listed have traditional Halloween style horror themes. Some are just extremely sad, and others are my own personal vision of horrors that others may not even consider worth thinking about. So, here goes:

    15. Sympathy For The Devil ~ The Rolling Stones

    The above lyrics explain everything.

     

    14. Riders On The Storm ~ The Doors

    My thoughts on Jim Morrison: A very sad and disturbed individual. I make zero judgements; perhaps he was suffering from depression. His end was sad, but not unexpected. His drug use killed him, like so many other talents.

     

    13. Welcome To My Nightmare ~ Alice Cooper

     

    I like the title track to this album, though the album itself is rather disturbing.

     

    12. The Wizard ~ Black Sabbath

    One of Black Sabbath’s better songs. Reminds me of a ghost train, and the lyrics aren’t ghoulish.

    Misty morning,clouds in the sky
    without warning, the wizard walks by
    casting his shadow,weaving his spell
    funny clothes,twinkling bells
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

    Evil powers disappear
    demons worry when the wizard is near
    he turns tears into joy
    everyone’s happy when the wizard walks by
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

    Sun is shining,clouds have gone by
    all the people,give a happy sigh
    he has passed by,given his sign
    left all the people,feeling so fine
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

     

    11. Stranglehold ~ Ted Nugent

    The name says it all…

     

    Mother Should I Trust The Government

     

    10. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald ~ Gordon Lightfoot

    Sad and eerie true story. How must those men have felt? May they rest in eternal peace.

    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
    The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
    When the skies of November turn gloomy
    With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
    Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
    That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
    When the gales of November came early

    The ship was the pride of the American side
    Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
    As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
    With a crew and good captain well seasoned
    Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
    When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
    Then later that night when the ship’s bell rang
    Could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?

    The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
    When the wave broke over the railing
    And every man knew, as the captain did too
    ‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’
    The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
    When the gales of November came slashin’
    When afternoon came it was freezing rain
    In the face of a hurricane west wind

    When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck
    Sayin’ “Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya”
    At seven PM a main hatchway caved in
    He said, “Fellas, it’s been good to know ya”
    The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
    And the good ship and crew was in peril
    And later that night when his lights went out of sight
    Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    Does anyone know where the love of God goes
    When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
    The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
    If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her
    They might have split up or they might have capsized
    They may have broke deep and took water
    And all that remains is the faces and the names
    Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

    Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
    In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
    Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams
    The islands and bays are for sportsmen
    And farther below, Lake Ontario
    Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
    And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
    With the gales of November remembered

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
    In the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral
    The church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times
    For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
    Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
    When the gales of November come early

     

    Desperado

     

    9. Witchy Woman ~ The Eagles

    Cool, witchy song.

     

    8. Frankenstein ~ Edgar Winter Group

    Great use of organ, synthesizers, guitar, saxophone and percussion in this instrumental.

     

    7. Spooky ~ Atlanta Rhythm Section

    Fun song about love.

     

    6. Hotel California ~ The Eagles

    This is a deep and dark song. I’ve loved it since I was 15 years old. The lyrics are laden with meaning.

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said “We are all just prisoners here of our own device”
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    “Relax, ” said the night man,
    “We are programmed to receive.
    You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave.”

     

    5. Thriller ~ Michael Jackson

    Though not Classic Rock, I couldn’t leave this one out. It brings back memories of better times.

     

    4. I Put A Spell On You ~ Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Simply put, great music. Bluesy and dark toned.

     

    3. Ghost Riders In The Sky ~ Stan Jones ~ Performed by The Outlaws

    Creepy presentation of this song.

     

    2. Rhiannon ~ Fleetwood Mac

    When introducing this song in the video above, Stevie Nicks says: “This is a song about an old Welsh Witch.” According to Celtic legend, the goddess Rhiannon rode a white horse and traveled with three birds that had healing powers. The birds appear in various Celtic symbols.

    “It wasn’t until 1978 that I found out about (Welsh medieval prose tales) Mabinogion and that Branwen and Rhiannon are in there too, and that Rhiannon wasn’t a witch at all; she was a mythological queen. But my story was definitely written about a celestial being, I didn’t know who Rhiannon was, exactly, but I knew she was not of this world.” ~ Stevie Nicks

    This song is from Fleetwood Mac’s album, Rumors, which has been a favorite of mine since its release in 1975. Read more about Rhiannon’s origins in Medieval Welsh mythology here.

     

     

    I don’t look at this as a song about death or as something to be afraid of. But is does bring to mind the Grim Reaper.

    All our times have come
    Here but now they’re gone
    Seasons don’t fear the reaper
    Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain… we can be like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
    We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby I’m your man…

    La la la la la
    La la la la la

    Valentine is done
    Here but now they’re gone
    Romeo and Juliet
    Are together in eternity… Romeo and Juliet
    40, 000 men and women everyday… Like Romeo and Juliet
    40, 000 men and women everyday… Redefine happiness
    Another 40, 000 coming everyday… We can be like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
    We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby I’m your man…

    La la la la la
    La la la la la

    Love of two is one
    Here but now they’re gone
    Came the last night of sadness
    And it was clear she couldn’t go on
    Then the door was open and the wind appeared
    The candles blew and then disappeared
    The curtains flew and then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid
    Come on baby… and she had no fear
    And she ran to him… then they started to fly
    They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are
    She had taken his hand… she had become like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper.

     

    So, you see, death is not to be feared. Seasons don’t fear it; the seasons change, and the leaves, after showing their greatest glory in the fall, die and turn brown on the ground.  But spring always arrives again. It’s a sign of hope, not a sign of fear or death. The wind and the sun and the rain will always return, even if they leave our human sight and perception for a time.

    As a Roman Catholic I put my complete faith in Christ. He, and only He will choose the time I leave this earth. And He, Christ, is Love. So do not fear death, because death in Christ is Everlasting Life.

    As the fun of Halloween turns into the seeming darkness of November, remember this. 

     

    Halloween is the eve of the Feast of All Saints. 

    So here’s one more video, The Litany of The Saints. May all the Saints in Heaven pray for us here on earth.

     

     


  • Title for Book Three Announced!

    The title for book three in the Storms Series has been long in coming.

    I have never found it easy to assign titles or names to projects, large or small.  This has been going on all my life. It was difficult to choose titles for term papers and other schoolwork. It was hard to choose names for my children (in fact, my husband and I simply couldn’t agree on ANY names. We were lucky to have finally compromised, and even luckier that our children, though they may not exactly love their names, at least do not actively hate them).

    I even found it hard to give names to my quilts. And make no mistake, some quilts, such as the Broken Lone Star quilt on my bed, are very difficult to make. The seams must match, the fabrics and their placement must be chosen with care in order to  showcase the various rows that make up the stars, and a quilting design must be chosen to showcase the masterpiece. Most quilters choose names for their quilts and make special labels that are sewn on the back, so their descendants will know who made the quilt, the year, etc. But not me. The Lone Star quilt took me over a year to piece and hand quilt with a fancy feather design, yet it doesn’t have a name. Someday one of my grandkids may inherit it. Maybe whoever it is will give it a name and sew on a label. But I was just too lazy, or maybe I just didn’t care at the time. (I still may name the quilt. It’s not too late).

    Lone Star Quilt

    But books are different, and not only because they can’t exactly be published without a title. I must admit that with the exception of my children and family, my books are what I’m most proud of. I am still marveling that they exist, and that they were created by me, with God’s grace and help, of course. (And the help and support of friends, family and gracious professionals in the independent author/publishing community).

    So the title of book 3 was long in coming. It needed to be just right, in keeping with the themes of the Storms Series and building on the previous two books. But the title finally showed itself, and I am excited. It’s perfect for the final volume in the Storms Series.

    So here it is, everyone. The title of volume three of the Storms of Transformation Series is: Cadáin’s Watch.

    Cadáin is an angel. 

    Readers may remember Cadáin from books one and two, though back then he didn’t have a name. The first time his name appeared was in my blogpost detailing the music that inspired each of my characters.

     

    Above are Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performing The Battle Of Evermore (Led Zeppelin), which inspired the character.

    Also called the Battling Angel, Cadáin makes himself known to Jason with the appearance of flickering, ethereal light, light that always remains just out of Jason’s perception. With the light comes the voice of Cadáin, speaking to Jason in a voice only he can hear, warning him to stay on the right path, the narrow path, the path that will lead him to Christ.

    Meaning of Cadáin.

    As readers know, Catholicism is a big part of the Storms Series. The characters aren’t all Catholic, but the majority are. Prayer is something interwoven, just a part of each day. Jason’s prayers, the formal ones, include the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Michael is a warrior. He is the patron of firefighters, police, and soldiers, among others. Cadáin is under the command of Michael.

     

    St. Michael the Archangel on Horseback
    Icon ~  THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL “VOYEVODA”  by an anonymous Russian icon painter. Public domain image.

    There are different images of the Archangel Michael. Some are not to my taste, simply because they don’t communicate the image of battle in my mind. They show a blond St. Michael driving a sword into Satan, who is always underneath. Of course this is perfectly acceptable, however, I like to think of a more fierce warrior. 

    The name Cadáin can be roughly translated from Gaelic to mean son of a warrior, or little battle.

    1. CADEN: Irish surname transferred to forename use, from McCadden, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Cadáin “son of Cadán,” henc“little battle.” 

    Since the angel is under the command of Michael, (who is a being created to serve God, and who takes orders from God) he must follow Michael’s orders. And Michael follows God’s orders. In the Storms Series there is no attempt to hide spiritual warfare. As I see it, we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare, and I believe battles for the souls of men and women are raging in the heavens as I write this. Cadáin (pronounced KAY-den) has been given orders to keep watch over certain men, namely Jason and his family, friends and others. The angel has a bigger presence in book three. He watches, waits and warns. He is a guardian, but even more than a personal guardian, he is a warrior.

    Archangel Michael Statue, Kiev, Ukraine
    Archangel Michael statue in Kiev, Maidan Nezalezhnosti square. Kiev, Ukraine, Eastern Europe.
    Photo Credit: Mstyslav Chernov

     

    Above is the only photo I could find with a Creative Commons usage that might possibly convey my image of the character Cadáin.

    Even the statue above is not quite my vision of the character. But readers will form their own vision of Cadáin, a being who chooses, always, to do the will of God. The angels in my books do exactly what God commands, unlike human beings who sometimes defy Him, whether we mean to or not.

    A fierce and protective warrior is what I’m imagining. A sword wielding guardian, a sentinel, a being who keeps watch, and a warrior. The first  draft of Cadáin’s Watch is halfway written. It has an element of fantasy more pronounced than the previous two books, in the character of the Battling Angel. Stay tuned.

     

    St-Michael-the-Archangel-framed


  • Writing A Book. (Or Bleeding At Your Keyboard).

    Sometimes writing a book really can make you feel like you’re bleeding. Today I wrote a scene for book three that I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading – the scene where Jason reunites with his long lost father, Michael Sean. I’m very happy with the scene. It’s slightly less than two pages long, as I don’t want to bog down readers or bore them with a bunch of details that mean nothing.

    But this scene also had to convey the deep feelings of two very complex men. Writing it took a lot out of me. I was nervous for the past few days, worrying that I could never make readers feel what I want them to feel. The flashback scenes in book two, where Jason and his father say goodbye, were some of the favorites of readers. I heard from more than one person that the scenes brought them to tears. I want the reunion to make readers feel the same, and the thought of them being shortchanged hovered over me all morning.

     

    In my previous blogpost having to do with the music that inspired the Storms Series, each character has a song.  Jason and his father Michael Sean’s songs are the ones that fit the characters the best. However, there’s a different song, one that wasn’t included in that post. I listened to the above song, Adam Raised A Cain, from Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town album many times while writing my first two novels. In fact, this song was referred to in book one, in a scene where Jason was trying to push memories of his father away. It’s a dark song, and brooding, the way Jason is at times, and since I picture my Michael Sean character as the older Springsteen in the video above, I think that this is their song.

    Writing A Book. (Or Bleeding At Your Keyboard).

    I think I did the reunion justice. I myself cried as I read what I had written, but in a good way. So I’ll go on from here knowing I did the best I could.


  • Rock and Roll Fantasy

    Music is extremely important to me. I have blogged about this before. Music inspires me every day.

    For the past six months, I’ve been compiling a list of songs to describe the characters in my books. It hasn’t been an easy task. I love music so much, and listen to so many different artists while writing, that several songs came to mind for each character. It was hard to narrow it down.

    My genre is Classic Rock, heavy on the Springsteen, so naturally, Springsteen dominates the following list. I listened to his album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, almost every day during the formation of my first book. I also listened to other Springsteen works, but DOTEOT was, and remains, my favorite. This is due to the undeniable fact that the stories that come through the songs describe characters who fight to hang on to what they have.

    This is a major theme in The Storms Series, and, to an extent, America at this time. Americans are flailing. There’s no denying this. Each day another freedom comes under attack. Sometimes it’s the freedom to worship according to he tenets of one’s Faith. Other times it’s the freedom to speak the truth. Still other times the freedom to defend one’s self and one’s family comes under attack.

    It’s very difficult to absorb everything. DOTEOT tells tales of running, fleeing, dreaming of a Promised Land. It speaks of work and prayer. Human weakness is acknowledged. One of the songs, (Candy’s Room) tells the story of a boy who is in love with a prostitute. The overall theme seems to be that of trying to emerge from smothering darkness. It seems, to me, that the characters in DOTEOT never emerge from the darkness, try as they might.

     

    From “Badlands”

    Poor man wanna be rich,
    rich man wanna be king,
    And a king ain’t satisfied,
    till he rules everything,
    I wanna go out tonight,
    I wanna find out what I got

    I believe in the love that you gave me,
    I believe in the hope that can save me,
    I believe in the faith
    and I pray, that someday it may raise me,
    Above these badlands

    Badlands, you gotta live it everyday,
    Let the broken hearts stand
    As the price you’ve gotta pay,
    We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood,
    and these badlands start treating us good.For the ones who had a notion,
    A notion deep inside,
    That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive
    I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me
    I wanna find one place,
    I wanna spit in the face of these Badlands, you gotta live it everyday,
    Let the broken hearts stand
    As the price you’ve gotta pay,
    We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood,
    and these badlands start treating us good.

    These lyrics speak volumes. I could go on, but I can’t really explain what I mean in words. It’s simply an overall theme of struggle.

    Since The Storms Series tells of ordinary Americans from the Vietnam era up through the present and into the future, there are songs from each era. Not all are Classic Rock. There are also examples of Bluegrass, Pop, Blues, Gospel, Alternative and Opera. Each was chosen carefully to describe my perception of a given character.

    Following is the list. When possible, I will embed videos. If I happened to have attended a live performance, I will link to the video of the song.  In certain instances I will link to live performances that I find speak to me, and in others I will link to the studio version of the songs.

    These songs will not be arranged chronologically. Rather, I will begin with Jason’s song and move on from there. I plan to get my husband to compile these songs as a playlist soon.

    You’re born with nothing,
    and better off that way,
    Soon as you’ve got something they send
    someone to try and take it away,
    You can ride this road ’till dawn,
    without another human being in sight,
    Just kids wasted on
    something in the night.
    I was lucky enough to be at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for the concert above, where Springsteen and the E Streeters performed a mini Darkness concert. Five songs from the album were played. I was in the nosebleeds. (H/T Somewhere In Jersey 75).
    Michelle ~ The Scarlet Tide  ~ Written by Elvis Costello and Henry Burnett. Performed by Alison Krauss.
    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice When he wants every thing
    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride
    Man goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again
    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride
    Michelle & Jason’s songThe FeverBruce Springsteen

     

    The above video is one of my favorite performances of the Fever. I wish I could have been there.

    Baby Boy Wallace ~ ParadiseBruce Springsteen, The Rising
    The Rising was released in 2002. The songs are reflections on the 9-11 attacks. The entire album is compelling, but this song in particular makes me ache. According to what I could find online, it’s the story of a Middle Eastern suicide bomber who blows himself up, hoping to find “Paradise.” It also speaks of a Virginia widow whose husband was killed in the Pentagon. The song speaks of victims. The fictional Baby Wallace never received a name. He was an innocent victim, as are the millions of children who die each year in abortions. These children are most assuredly in Paradise right now.

    Nicole & Brad’s song Black Dog ~ Led Zeppelin, 1971. Performed by Alison Krauss & Robert Plant.
    Michael Sean ~ It’s Hard to be a Saint in the CityBruce Springsteen, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, 1973

    With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
    Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
    When I strut down the street I could hear its heartbeat
    The sisters fell back and said “Don’t that man look pretty”
    The cripple on the corner cried out “Nickels for your pity”
    Them gasoline boys downtown sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city.
     Michael Sean, Jason’s long lost father, was an Irish Catholic boy from a blue collar family. Though the character earned a college degree, he has a murky past, some of which may come to light in book three. At any rate, he’s no saint, and this song fits him. Again, I was privileged to be In Philly for the above performance. (H/T Biggboss Rivertunes).
    Eileen Gold Dust Woman ~ Fleetwood Mac, Rumors, 1977

     

    Eileen, Jason’s witch of a mother, was the most difficult character to assign a song. Nothing really fits her, including Gold Dust Woman. However, I chose this song for the simple reason that the Miss Gulch instrumental from The Wizard Of Oz would not really fit into this playlist. The above video was taken last fall. I was in the nosebleeds that night, and my video didn’t turn out well. The entire concert was absolutely phenomenal. (H/T Jim Powers).

     

    The Old Man Gloria ~ Van Morrison, 1964

     

     

    I chose the above video because it features scenes from The Outsiders. I liked the movie as well as the song.

     

    Marie Davis Someday We’ll Be TogetherDiana Ross and The Supremes

    Aunt Rosie I’ll Be Around ~ The Spinners, 1972

    The Sophomore (Jill) Candy’s RoomBruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

    In Candy’s room

    there are pictures of her heroes on the wall

    But to get to Candy’s room

    you gotta walk the darkness of Candy’s hall.

    Reese ~ Gimme Back My Bullets ~ Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1976

    Jeremy The Stranger ~ Billy Joel, 1977

    Johnny Hotel California ~ The Eagles, 1976

     

     

    My husband and I were lucky enough to be in the audience at Wells Fargo Center on 7/16/13. We had great seats. The Eagles were phenomenal. If you get a chance to see them, do it. (H/T Salvatore Bellamo).

    Cindy Baby Mine ~ Alison Krauss

    Junior The Man Who Sold The World ~ David Bowie, 1971. Performed by Nirvana.

     

     

    Jamie It’s Not My Time ~ 3 Doors Down, 2008

    CJ Midnight RiderAllman Brothers Band, 1970

     

     

    Mrs. CJ Jessica Allman Brothers Band, 1973

    Bella Only The Good Die Young ~ Billy Joel, The Stranger, 1977

     

     

    Patty Ode To Billy Joe ~ Bobbie Gentry, 1967

     

     

    Adela Down In The River To Pray ~ Traditional Hymn of the South. Origin Unknown. Sung by Alison Krauss.

     

     

    Clydie  ~ Wayfaring Stranger ~ Traditional Folk Song. Origin Unknown. Sung by Jack White.

     

     

    Brian No Quarter ~ Led Zeppelin, Houses Of The Holy, 1973

    Melanie Ironic ~ Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill, 1995

     

     

    Mark Long Train Running ~ The Doobie Brothers, The Captain and Me, 1973

     

     

    The Doobies are another band I’ve had the privilege of seeing, live. Go if you get the chance.

    Sandy Summer Breeze ~ Seals & Crofts, Summer Breeze, 1972

     

     

    The above song is one of my all time favorites. I never get tired of it. The character Sandy, though minor, is one with whom I identify strongly, which is one reason I chose this song. Summer is my favorite season.

    There are three priests in the Storms Series — Father Gallucio, the town priest who counsels the main characters, and James and Richard O’Neill, brothers who aid them in their rebellion against the government, i.e. “The Sharks” and the “new way of doing business.” Following are their songs.

    Father Gallucio ~ Con Te Partirò  Performed by Andrea Bocelli.

     

     

    Father Richard O’Neill ~ The Weight ~ The Band, Music From Big Pink, 1968 (RIP Levon Helm).

     

     

    Father James O’Neill ~ The Promised Land ~ Bruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

     

     

    I was in the back of Wells Fargo Center that night. I had no video camera. (H/T TapeheadToo) It was sad to see the E Streeters without Clarence Clemons, but Clarence’s nephew, Jake Clemons, did a superb job on the saxophone.

     

    The Battling Angel (Cadáin) ~ The Battle Of Evermore ~ Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971

     

     

    The above song and album was a favorite of my cousin. We listened to it over and over in the summer of ’76. She had tickets to see Zeppelin in Philly in 1977, however the show was cancelled because of the death of Robert Plant’s child.

     

    The Sharks ~ Pigs, Three Different Ones ~ PinkFloyd, Animals, 1977

     

     

    According to Wikipedia, the above album was based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a critique of Stalinism. This makes sense. However, Wikipedia also states that the members of Pink Floyd intended Animals to be a critique of Capitalism  (i.e. Capitalist pigs). Whatever. The album makes me think of Communism, and that’s why I picked Pigs, Three Different Ones to represent the Sharks, although the song Dogs, from the same album, would have worked just as well.

    I will never forget the first time I heard the song, Dogs. My sister and I were hanging out at her boyfriend’s house after school. Tom, my boyfriend (and the man whom I eventually married and have spent the past 35 years with) and I were sitting on the couch listening to WYSP FM out of Philadelphia. (Or maybe it was WMMR). Anyway, the song gave me the creeps. Tom had already purchased the album; he was (and still is) on top of most Classic Rock news. The entire album is a strange piece of art in my op. Still, I was fascinated by it.
    (Sometime after that day, my sister’s boyfriend was killed in a car accident on the back road to West Chester. He was sixteen years old.)

    But Pigs is the song that describes the Sharks in the Storms series. The Sharks are those pigs at the top, those who micromanage every last detail of every American’s life. They are a brutal group of government thugs, who lie, steal, cheat, threaten and intimidate average Americans. They certainly put me in mind of the pigs in Animal Farm, those who stole the milk and set themselves above the rest of the animals on the farm. Incidentally, Orwell’s book is mentioned in the first chapter of Tears of Paradox, when Michelle tells readers that the book has been banned by the Sharks.

    Town ~ Darkness On The Edge Of Town ~ Bruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

     

     

    The town in the Storms Series is never named. I wanted it to represent small town America as a whole, though there are references to beaches, boardwalks, and other towns and cities in my area of the country.

     

    Tears Of Paradox Factory ~ Bruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

     

     

    I chose this song to represent Tears because Jason and most of the rest of the characters are blue-collar working men. Jason is also searching for his father. In this version of Factory Springsteen speaks of his own father, for whom he wrote the song. He tells of his father’s struggles to get to work on time at the factory. Springsteen’s father was stymied by unreliable junk cars. (He also went deaf as a result of working in a factory).

    Jason, Michelle, Brad, CJ, Reese, the old man, Bella and the rest of the Storms characters only want to work, practice their faith, and raise families. They don’t ask for anything other than what every American is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. It shouldn’t be too much to ask, yet nowadays it is. Ordinary people have lost employment because of Government interference, and the jobs don’t seem to be coming back. Average Americans are being harassed by their government and forced to pay for things that go against their religious conscience. I’m not really concerned that my words will offend certain Americans, those who agree with the policies being shoved down our throats. Anyone who has read my books (or even reviews on Amazon) knows my stance on these issues. I refuse to apologize for my beliefs, and if this post turns people off… oh well.

    I’ll admit that I’ve been turned off for the past ten years or so. I’m at a loss as to why other Americans would choose to force their beliefs on me and mine, but for some reason, that’s what has happened. The fundamental transformation of America is going along exactly as planned. It’s difficult to make heads or tails of what has happened, how it happened, why it happened or why so many Americans either want it to happen or don’t really care what happens. I just don’t understand it.

    Since Bruce Springsteen’s music dominates this post, (and at times, my head) I must admit that I don’t understand what happened to him, either. With a few exceptions such as Born in the USA, the music he writes seems to champion and sympathize with ordinary Americans. DOTEOT speaks of work, work, work. It also speaks of  doing the right thing, trying to keep what you’ve earned, prayer, and similar themes. It doesn’t speak of giving what you’ve worked hard for to other people, leaving yourself and your own family worried and scared and wanting. It doesn’t speak of a collective, or crappy government healthcare, or being a subject of an overpowering totalitarian government.

    Yet Mr. Springsteen, for whatever reason, has chosen to embrace an ideology that is driving Americans directly toward these things and others. Springsteen was instrumental in helping propel our current president into office. I can’t begin to understand it. There’s no way to understand it, so I’ll just keep listening to the music, which has gotten me through numerous hard times. I usually don’t speak about my love of  Springsteen’s music to my family, (except for my husband). They can’t really stand the man, and I certainly don’t blame them. After Obama was reelected, my brother-in-law lost his job, and had a terrible time finding another one. After he finally found employment, his wife, my sister, who had worked in the corporate world for 25 years, lost her job, too. Their income was drastically reduced. One daughter was in college, the other a senior in high school.

    My sister was unable to find another job in her field. She’s currently working in a job for which she’s extremely overqualified, and which pays about 1/3 of what she previously earned. Real people are being hurt by the current “sharks.”  It’s pretty pathetic, actually. But the kings of Classic Rock, many of whom are featured in this post, seem to be perfectly okay with it. Fifty years ago they began their protest. They wanted to change the world. They spoke truth to power. They stood up to “The Man.” They wrote songs about Nixon and Vietnam and peace and love and flowers.

    What the hell happened to them? Today they march in lockstep with those who have their boot planted firmly on our necks. With a few exceptions, they, themselves, have become “The Man.”

     

    I’ll close with my pick for book two in my series, The Notice ~ My City Of Ruins ~ Bruce Springsteen, The Rising, 2002.

     

    It’s fitting. American cities are being destroyed, and lives are in ruins.

    There’s a blood red circle

    On the cold dark ground
    And the rain is falling down
    The church door’s thrown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone
    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet bells of mercy
    Drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    Like scattered leaves,
    The boarded up windows,
    The empty streets
    While my brother’s down on his knees
    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    What I wish is that the current sharks would back off and leave us alone. But the human spirit and quest for freedom will never be extinguished. Eventually, Americans will wake up. And then they will do what “The Boss” advises in this song. They will pray. And then they will Rise Up.


  • Thanks, Readers

    This week three great things happened with regard to my writing.

    First, my 20 year old niece finished reading The Notice, and told me the end made her cry. (In a good way). Here’s a screen shot of  our back and forth texts:

    11006453_1164886873537370_2995655905847841072_n

    Second, a longtime twitter friend, who is also an author, finished reading Tears Of Paradox. She also gave me great feedback, saying that my writing gave insight into the lives of practicing Catholics. Reading her review was the highlight of my day yesterday.

    Third, this morning at Mass, I ran into a lady who has read both Tears Of Paradox and The Notice. She told me she absolutely loved book two, and could not put it down until she finished. Hearing feedback like this makes all the hard work worth it.

    I am so grateful to the folks who enjoy my work. Almost everyone asks me this question: “Will Jason and his father finally meet in book three?” The answer is: Yes, they will. I truly hope I can do this reunion justice.

    I have done lots of research and planned many plot lines for book three. I don’t know the title yet. Titles are very difficult for me. I have written less than a chapter so far, but I plan to hit it hard over the summer. I am not the fastest writer, but I am a thorough one.

    In the meantime, if you are a reader who has enjoyed my work, please tell a friend. I’ll sign off with the following video. Click here, please, to watch and listen to the man who inspired much of my work. You Tube does not allow certain videos to be embedded.

    This song is part of my inspiration for Michael Sean, Jason’s father, This particular version is from a bootleg which was released with Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town boxed set. My husband gave it to me as a gift a few years ago. This 1978 show must have been magical for people lucky enough to have been there.

    Here are the lyrics:

    “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”

    I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
    I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
    I could walk like Brando right into the sun
    Then dance just like a Casanova
    With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
    Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
    When I strut down the street I could feel it’s heartbeat
    The sisters fell back and said “Don’t that man look pretty”
    The cripple on the corner cried out “Nickels for your pity”
    Them gasoline boys downtown sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city
    I was the king if the alley, mama I could talk some trash
    I was the prince of the paupers crowned downtown at the beggar’s bash
    I was the pimp’s main prophet I kept everythning cool
    Just a backstreet gambler with the luck to lose
    And when the heat came down it was left on the ground
    The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street
    Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat
    I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
    It’s so hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the street
    And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
    As the tracks clack out the rhythm their eyes fixed straightahead
    They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
    But it’s too hot in these tunnels you can get hit up by the heat
    You get up to get out at your next stop but they push you
    Back down in your seat
    Your heart starts beatin’ faster as you struggle to your feet
    You’re outa that hole and back up on the street
    And them South Side sisters sure look pretty
    The cripple on the corner cries out “Nickels for your pity”
    And them downtown boys they sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city.

    Lately, the title of this song describes me, trying to live my life and be a good person. Being a follower of Christ is difficult at this time, with all the unrest in America and the world. Times are hard all over. It’s so hard to be a saint in the city that is this world. But just the same, we have salvation, if only we stay with Him.

    all-things-work-together-for-those-who-love-god-all-we-have-to-do-is-love-and-live-for-god-he-is-with-us-and-promises-he-will-give-good-to-us-and-has-a-plan


  • Baltimore

    I was glued to the TV last night, watching another American city self destruct. I don’t know the answers, and I’m waiting for the results of the investigation of Freddy Gray’s death. To judge anyone except the people who are supposed to be leading Maryland at this point would be wrong, and unfair. IMO, the mayor and Governor were and are derelict in their duty, but it’s much too late to change the results.

    Larger issues are in play, anyway. Has anyone noticed a pattern? How many more American cities will be destroyed before things change?

    quote-for-peace-is-not-mere-absence-of-war-but-is-a-virtue-that-springs-from-a-state-of-mind-a-baruch-spinoza-175778

    The above quote is profound. America, at this point in time, has retreated from anything remotely resembling the word “war.” We have retreated from even admitting we have enemies. So… the war is over!

    Where the hell is the peace? Where? Is there peace in the Middle East? In Western Europe? In Eastern Europe? In South America? In Mexico? In the United States of America? Where is the peaceful state of mind? Where is the benevolent attitude, and the confidence that justice is being pursued? I look around, but I don’t see it. All I see is a number of ugly incidents which seem to be battles in some sort of war masquerading as “Peace.”

    Last night another American city was looted and burned. People’s homes, jobs and businesses were trashed. I think I may have written a blogpost on this same scenario during the Ferguson Riots. It seems to be getting closer to my neck of the woods. Right now I’m wondering which city will be next.

    The following song from Barry McGuire has been on my mind a lot lately. Click here to listen.

    “Eve Of Destruction”

    The eastern world it is exploding
    Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
    You don’t believe in war but whats that gun you’re totin’?
    And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
    Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
    If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
    There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
    Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating
    I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
    I can’t twist the truth it knows no regulation
    Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
    And marches alone can’t bring integration
    When human respect is disintegratin’
    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
    You may leave here for four days in space
    But when you return it’s the same old place
    The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace
    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me
    Over and over and over and over again my friend
    You don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction
    Mmm, no, no, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    This was written in the 1960s. It’s one of those anti-Vietnam hippie songs that blame “the man” for everything going wrong in the world. The people who protested the Vietnam conflict said they were going to change the world.

    Well, who’s in charge now? Them. The same people who dissed American values back then are the ones running America now. So why all the conflict? Why all the riots? What the hell happened?

    IMO, they happened. The peace is always just out of reach, like one of those merry-go-round rings I could never reach as a child. Talking heads speak of justice and peace, but a few hours later we see destruction and flames. It’s no wonder ordinary people feel that we’re on the Eve Of Destruction.

    However, there is a wild card. Click here to see what one mom did to combat the absence of peace America is caught up in. She’s mother of the year as far as I’m concerned.

    As for Baltimore, at this point in time, we who have no power can only pray for the innocent victims, and pray that such a thing doesn’t erupt in another American city before the time comes to walk into the voting booth again.

    I’ve only visited Baltimore once or twice. I thought the Inner Harbor was a lovely place. It’s awful that the people who live in Baltimore are afraid and mourning their town. It’s another tragedy in this “peaceful” world.

    In honor of Baltimore, click here for  another piece of poetry in music.

    My City Of Ruins

    There’s a blood red circle
    on the cold dark ground
    and the rain is falling down
    The church doors blown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet veils of mercy
    drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    like scattered leaves
    The boarded up windows
    The hustlers and thieves
    While my brother’s down on his knees

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Now there’s tears on the pillow
    darling where we slept
    and you took my heart when you left
    without your sweet kiss
    my soul is lost, my friend
    Now tell me how do I begin again?

    My city’s in ruins
    My city’s in ruins

    Now with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Come on rise up….
    Bruce Springsteen
    Prayers for Baltimore, America and Peace in the World.