Tag Archives: cancer

I Want a Miracle: making a difference

Just when you think your own problems suck, life has this crazy way of giving you a good kick in the pants. I probably should just say me. Life has a crazy way of giving me a good kick in the pants. The kick was much needed, and probably well-deserved.

I have really cut back on reading Twitter lately. I know that for many, it’s the way they catch their news and sound off on politics. I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable by the tone of incessant anger on Twitter, so I’ve just stopped reading. I do spend a few moments catching up each morning, but that’s about it. I’m happier that way, but I also miss things on occasion.

The other day as I scrolling through, a tweet caught my eye that I hadn’t seen before. Dom had retweeted something from Fred Rister about an upcoming documentary, as well as a song, “I Want a Miracle”.

First of all, I am betting that some of you are asking, “Who’s Fred Rister?” Have you ever heard of the song, “I Gotta Feeling?” by the Black Eyed Peas?  What about David Guetta?  (If neither of these ring a bell…you need to spend a little QT with Google, Spotify, and maybe even some YouTube.) Fred Rister is a record producer, and he is also a business and writing partner with David Guetta.

I found myself clicking on the video link in the tweet, which took me to a trailer for a documentary on Fred Rister. From listening to what his peers have to say about him, he is not only well-respected, but very loved in the music world. I didn’t know this, but he has cancer. From the way the documentary sounds – he doesn’t have much time left. He is writing, composing and recording “I Want a Miracle” and donating all the proceeds to the Kidney Cancer Association. Mr. Rister wants to see this project through to the end, and I have to applaud him for that. If I were in his shoes, I suspect I’d want to bury my head and hide. He’s far braver than I could ever hope to be.

I’ve watched and listened to the trailer several times now. I don’t know why, really. Granted, “I Gotta Feeling” could probably make anybody dance, including me. I know a little about EDM, primarily because my son Gavin loves it, and of course…there’s Duran Duran, who is responsible for a great many dance remixes out there, and I believe they were and ARE still trailblazers.

And in this case, there’s Dom’s involvement…oh, did I not mention that??  Dom actually plays on “I Want a Miracle”, and if you listen to even the short bits that are included in the background of the trailer, he’s easy to pick out! A few weeks back, Dom tweeted about being in the studio with Fred Rister. I saw the tweet, and as is typical, I marveled at how many people Dom seems to know in the industry. Let’s just say that if he wanted, he could probably leave Duran Duran tomorrow and not be out of a work for a single day. It’s impressive, and so few fans actually see and know that about Dom, assuming that the band is all he has going on. Not so, my friends. Not so.

Even better than knowing he played on the trailer, and the part that really stuck with me, I guess is witnessing the love and respect that Dom and Fred Rister seem to have for one another. Like anyone else on Twitter, I’m just an outsider with my nose pressed to the glass.

Dom retweeted the link to the documentary with these words, “To the bravest person I have ever met, Fred Rister, who continues to fight his cancer with such strength and positivity. I’m so happy to have played on this track. Looking forward to the full length documentary.”

Fred responded, saying “Thank you so much man… I think exactly the same about you, and when you played guitar on “I Want A Miracle “ it was awesome 😱 I allways have our studio session in my mind… Love”.

I mean, come on now! When I read that, I had to go investigate and see what it was all about. Sure, it could have all been play-up in order to draw attention to the release of the song (March 16), but I am not quite that cynical.

So the purpose of my blog today is two-fold: one, I want to everyone reading to buy Fred Rister’s “I Want a Miracle” on Friday. It’s not just about the love for music, although “I Want A Miracle” has a great message, hook and it’s totally danceable with a certain recognizable guitar in its depths… Even better, it is idea that we could do something beneficial and worthwhile. Two, of course I want to support Dom’s work. I do admire his work ethic, talent, and overall sense of gratitude, and yeah – I’ll probably want to punch you in the face if you call me a fangirl or groupie. The truth is, the guy does a TERRIBLE JOB of promoting and marketing himself. So I here I am, doing my (extremely little) bit. I hope it makes a difference on all counts.

If there’s anything our readers should know about me, is that beyond  the music, I love a great story. That’s probably the avid reader and writer in me. I also don’t like being the person “out front”. I would much rather be in the back, unnoticed, just doing my bit to make things work. Yeah, I write this blog four . I occasionally will do videos and host gatherings. I also like being the mom, taking care of people, and just making everything work seamlessly without a lot of fanfare. However, I’m no fool. The Daily Duranie isn’t going to change anybody’s life. It’s not going to suddenly propel anyone’s career—least of all my own—but it might just sell a few more copies of a song and make people feel good about being a fan of something.

That works for me.

-R

Sometimes You Have No Choice: Tragically Hip’s Final Curtain

I’m back from vacation, and I can’t even believe I’m already thinking about school for my kids. I don’t know about anyone else, but this was truly the shortest summer ever! I start ordering school curriculum this week, and our first parent meeting is on Friday.  Goodbye carefree days!

College application time begins for Gavin. He is a senior, and forgive me as I stumble over those words. As with my daughter Heather, I fluctuate between joy and sorrow. The time went by so fast. Yet, I’m also ready to let him use his wings and fly on his own. I can see that he needs to do some of the hard work to finish growing on his own without my constant guidance, and I’m ready for that.

Heather, my oldest, left with the rest of her things last night. It is time for her to settle in to apartment living. Today she begins her sophomore year in college. I know I’m going to blink and she’ll be graduating. Not ready.

Our vacation was wonderful. Two weeks spent in Arches National Park in Utah and then up to Yellowstone National Park. We did everything from hiking and horseback riding, to taking a boat tour and seeing a rodeo. (my first one)  I focused on family.  Writing and Duran Duran would wait.  Of course, that worked until my darling husband and brother-in-law mentioned “Hungry Like the Wolf”,  every day.  (Can’t get away even if I try!)  We arrived back at home on Saturday night, in time to read about Tragically Hip’s last concert.

In full disclosure, I don’t know much about Tragically Hip. I recognize the name, but that’s about it. They weren’t huge in America, but I suspect that if I listened to a song, I’d probably recognize it. I’m funny that way. Names don’t stick, but music does. In any case, all I knew was that the band was giving a final concert, and it seemed to me that all of Canada was going to stop and watch. And they did. But why?

Gord Downie, the lead singer of Tragically Hip, is dying from brain cancer. His prognosis is the absolute worst, and yet this guy decides to spend his last days doing what he loves. It’s almost a “fuck you anyway” to the cancer, along with a warm final embrace to the country he loves. You see, it wasn’t just ONE show as a good-bye. No, he’s been touring the country with his band. It was just this final show that was televised in town centers and on televisions, preempting the Olympics, and even had the PM in attendance.  It seems to me, as just an ordinary American, that for just one night, Canada was wrapped-up in fandom.

And I loved reading that.

Maybe fandom isn’t really much of a story. And maybe if I personally had my own juicy secrets to share it’d be more interesting, but you know, there’s this other side to it all that fascinates the hell out of me and I’m compelled to share. And maybe, just maybe, that fascination is happening to you too, dear reader.

An entire country put aside their lives to rejoice in the music and career of a band, along with the outstandingly well-used life of one man for just one night. It made me wonder if that could ever happen here, in the states.

Sadly, I found myself doubting. Do we even have artists we consider to be national treasures on quite that scale? Bruce Springsteen?  Madonna?  What about Michael Jackson? Prince? Sure, they’ve passed – but what about beforehand? Did we really think enough to love or embrace them before destiny came to call? I don’t know. I see America as such a throw-away society at times.

We hug really tightly (sometimes much too tightly), and then we cast aside in favor of the next big thing. Can anyone really see the US doing something similar for any performing artist out there?  Let’s face it, even if you can imagine an artist of that caliber, can you imagine preempting a sporting event in favor of performing arts of any kind?? And, if you can get past all of that in your head, can you see a vision of your town coming out to watch a broadcast of such a thing in your town center?

The Olympic Torch came through my town when I was about 13.  My family packed chairs and sat on Arrow Highway to see it go past. My entire neighborhood, if not quite all of the Charter Oak area, was there. And then there was Hands Across America. I remember standing and holding hands with strangers along the same street, but for the life of me I can’t remember why, or how I felt doing it.

I guess that’s the difference. Those events, while marked in my memory, have no reasoning or emotion earmarked with them. Fandom, on the other hand, is all about emotion.  All of Canada shared in those emotions with Tragically Hip this past weekend. Maybe there’s something to be learned here.

Remarkably sad. Incredibly uplifted. Hopeful. All things I feel when reading about that concert…and all things that music really gives. I am left remembering words that Simon said each night while introducing “Save a Prayer”— those of us who have hope cannot give in to the evil around us. He is right, whether that evil is a disease we cannot control, or potential violence that threatens us each day.

Peace.

-R

 

It Means So Much to Me

When we started this blog, I didn’t really know what would happen or how it would fit into my life.  I guess I figured that it would be a tiny piece of my life for a little while and then it would be done.  Well, obviously, that isn’t true.  Yet, beyond that, there have been other unforeseen consequences to blogging.  One of those things is how often I have found writing necessary to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of my life.  Writing has become a big piece to my processing. In many cases, I publish these thoughts here on the blog but there are other times that I don’t.

So, what has been on my mind?  My mother has been, actually.  I know what a lot of you are thinking.  Mother’s Day isn’t for another week in the U.S.  That’s true.  Yet, I want to take the time to celebrate her now.  Here’s the deal.  I haven’t been lucky in the financial department.  I certainly haven’t always been lucky in the social or romantic part of life but I was EXTREMELY lucky when it came to mothers.  Truly, I don’t even know where to start when it comes to my mother.  First, she has always been there for everyone she knows and cares about.  This past week, Rhonda wrote about a blog for my birthday (which meant the world to me!) in which she mentioned how I sacrifice myself to help others.  I learned this from my mother.  She would do anything for me, my siblings or my dad.  She would even do anything for the people I care about.  If Rhonda needed someone, for example, my mom would be there, without question and without any hesitation.  What does this look like?  It means hours on the phone, if that is what I needed.  It means trying to help me with any problem I might have from big ones involving my job to helping me pick out an outfit for a particular function.  When I jumped into political campaigns, she jumped with me, asking how she could help.  Her help was never-ending and definitely worked to help make ME look good.  I felt very lucky when I could take her to the White House Holiday Party in December of 2011.  It was the least I could do.  No, my mom has always been super supportive of me, all that I do and all that I am into.

Rhonda and I have often talked about the stigma surrounding fandom, about how others who aren’t fans judge and criticize fans’ interests and activities.  We have talked about how many people experience this negativity within their own families and with people closest to them.  Again, I lucked out.  My mom has always been supportive of my fandom.  Always.  I remember once when I was really sick with some stomach virus as a kid watching MTV for hours in the middle of the night.  Did my mom complain?  Nope.  She enjoyed the 3 am airing of Save a Prayer as much as I did.  When I started putting up posters on my bedroom walls, she didn’t tell me to take them down.  She gave me pointers on how to put them up to make them look the best they could.  This is probably why she has been known to sing along to Notorious or Hungry Like the Wolf when those songs play in my car.  It is also probably why when my dad asks who my favorite is again for the literally the 25,000th time, my mom points out John Taylor.  When I declare that I’m going on tour to the southeast or to the UK, my mom just asks when I need to be driven and picked up at the airport and when I will be bringing my cat over for them to cat-sit.  I was encouraged to start our manuscript on the nature of fandom for her and was helped with some of the little details of Durandemonium, the convention we planned in 2013.  She was with me every step of the way.

I want her to be with me every step of the way for the rest of 2015 and the rest of the decade and a few decades after that.  She means the absolute world to me, which is why hearing last week that she has breast cancer has been like someone reached into my heart and began to shred it slowly and painfully.  I literally ache with worry and I have cried more in the last week than I have in the last 10 years.  Right now, thankfully, the prognosis is good with surgery and treatment.  I’m holding on to that, for dear life.  It is what is keeping me sane, what is keeping me together.  I am trying to do everything that people say to do in this situation.  I’m trying to take it one day at a time.  I’m trying to be positive and take care of myself so that I can better be there for her.  Some days and some times, I am more successful in that than others.

Interestingly enough, I have already found myself changing in terms of what I’m focusing on and what my priorities are.   My job is such that I could literally spend 12-14 hours a day doing work and still not get it all done.  I’m done with being stressed about getting my work done.  I’ll get things done when they get done but the work isn’t my focus.  It isn’t what is most important to me.  Thus, if I want to spend time with my parents or with other loved one, I’m going to do that and not feel guilty that I am not getting grading done.  Do I feel the same way about this blog or working on the book?  Interestingly enough, no.  I don’t.  I’m MORE determined than ever to get that book of ours done and out for the public to read.  I am looking forward to seeing my mom not only read the dedication I will include to her but the book itself.  I know that she wants me to get this done for me, for Rhonda.  It means something to me, which means that it means something to her.  What about touring?  Obviously, if she needs me to be here for her, I’ll be here.  (Note:  My mother would totally push me to go.  While she sacrifices so much for me, she never wants me to sacrifice for her.  Of course, it really wouldn’t be a sacrifice to me.)  That said, I know now that life really is precious and really is short.  What does this mean?  It means that if I want to try to get back to the UK to tour, I will do what I can to do that.  I can’t wait for tomorrow or the next tour.  I really have to embrace the “All You Need Is Now” philosophy.  Will my participation with the blog change?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Just know that if I’m not doing the birthday messages, the daily poll or very many posts, it isn’t because I don’t want to.  I am just needed somewhere else.

The next few months won’t be the easiest of my life but I know that supporting my mom and the rest of the family will be worth it.  After all, she deserve all of that and more from me since she has given so much to so many.

-A