Tag Archives: writing

Sure We Can Make It Till The Evenings

IT IS FINALLY THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR MY YOUNGEST!!

I really can’t remember feeling quite this relieved and/or exuberant about the last day of school. This has been a rough year. Not only did we move, which alone could have created enough havoc, we had to switch schools three times (not counting the time we had to switch regions within a school). This was fifth grade, and while I think we really did get everything covered, I would be lying if I didn’t concede that the year didn’t go as smoothly as years past. She was less-than-interested, and I was less-than-patient a lot of the time. She needed “mom”, and I had to be “teacher” far too many times. These, along with plenty of other reasons, are why we decided to let her decide where to go to school next year. It wasn’t a shock to me when she announced “I’m going to be going to regular middle school”, although it was certainly a surprise when she announced it loudly five minutes into an Open House presentation we attended at the beginning of May.

I’m thrilled to be finished, and had to be half-dragged to the fifth grade finish line. I’m also a little sad because I will miss teaching. Homeschooling gave me the opportunity to relearn subjects I was a little fuzzy on before. Geometry no longer freaks me out. I learned a lot more about world history, particularly the world wars. Biology was far more fun the second time, and I found that yes, I still have a deep dislike for both physics AND algebra II. Teaching really did give me the opportunity to learn, share, and enjoy my children in a way that I never thought possible. Despite what others may say about homeschooling or even charter schools, our experience with the several we were a part of was nothing short of wonderful. Regardless, it is the end of an era for my family, and I’m ready for something new.

Long days are coming up

Amanda and I had a conference call yesterday, as we prepare to get back at writing again. After taking off more than a year, both of us are in a place where we can think clearly enough to write. Well, at least I am. Amanda should get to that point in another couple of weeks (she’s still in the classroom and grading for another week or so!)We’re not really going to work on a new project, instead we are going to be working to finish something we’ve already started. I’m excited to do some reading, research, and writing this summer on a subject I’ve spent nearly 40 years learning about. I think that for Amanda and I, we are ready to put the past in the past, and try something new for marketing this next project. We will see how far we get with it over this summer. Despite working on something that we’ve already started, I feel like it’s a new era for writing, too.

We also talked a lot about this blog and reaching out to potential new readers. I don’t know about other people, but I subscribe to a couple of different YouTube channels, as well as several blogs. My general cycle is that at first, I read or watch everything faithfully as it comes out. That could last for months, if not years. Eventually though, I start noticing that I’m not reading as often. Maybe I’m saving up several days or weeks worth of material. If it’s YouTube, maybe I end up binge watching a few episodes…and then I start picking and choosing the things I want to read or watch most. Inevitably though, I fall behind or stop keeping up altogether, and unsubscribe. The same can happen with this blog, even though Duran Duran is an obsession for many fans. We’ve gotten out of the promotion and marketing habit, and it’s time to renew that process. You might begin to see ads for us on Facebook or maybe even engaging tweets from us this summer.

Staying out and playing

Likewise, we know we need to do meet-ups. That isn’t to say that other people can’t do them well, it is just that Amanda and I enjoy hosting! (even though I am still far more likely to sit and peruse the situation from the bar….) Be on the lookout for Facebook Event pages, because we will be hosting TWO meet-ups while in Vegas. One on Saturday, one on Sunday. Both will be at the sports bar in the Cosmopolitan starting at 5pm and going up until it is time to leave for the show! I happen to know that we’ll have wristbands to hand out, and we are hoping to meet as many people as possible that weekend. Don’t miss it if you’re going to be in Vegas for the shows!!

After the conversation with Amanda, I feel rejuvenated. We all need that kick the pants once in a while, and it was good to trade new ideas and get back into the drivers seat when it comes to writing and this site. Having new goals and tasks to accomplish makes me think less about the time I will lose with my baby, and more about the things I can do while she’s busy making friends and learning at school.

Speaking of her, I am off to go and pick her up from the last day of her learning center classes! Happy Summer!!!

-R

We Write in the Book

I had plans yesterday. I looked forward to these plans, which were to have a Skype session with my partner-in-crime and fellow blogger. Rhonda and I hoped to check up properly with being able to share the happenings in our lives in a way that is far more detailed than what can be shared via email or text. Unfortunately, this gathering of sorts did not happen as Rhonda wasn’t feeling good. Of course, I understood and hope that she is feeling better today. I look forward to getting it rescheduled as we have work to do!

That last sentence makes me laugh. As you all know, it has been a pretty dang busy year for me. I worked pretty substantially for the 2018 fall election. Then, I took three weeks off before I began running a campaign myself for a friend of mine who ran (and won!) a seat on the local school board. In between all that, I managed to somehow teach my 120 students some United States history and Women’s Studies. The last election ended at the beginning of April. I assumed that I would take some time to catch up on all the things I could not do while working two full time jobs before getting to the other things I love and want to do. How is that plan going for me? I have started to get caught up but I’m not finished yet. On top of that, teaching has kept me more than busy due to some events at my school and in my district. Part of me feels like I’m still on the hamster wheel that I lived on for months.

All of that said, the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen. What does that mean? Simple. The end of the school year is coming! Of course, it is not coming quickly enough. I still have five more weeks but the countdown to the end has begun. Beyond a lot of self-talk about how I can and will make it to the end, I’m also starting to think about my summer. Most summers revolve around a project or three. I think this summer will be similar. I have a few projects for work but I also have a list of things I want to get done in my house. For example, I plan on going through campaign materials to get rid of what I don’t need. Beyond the to-do lists around the house and connected to work, I have one other huge task that I would like to tackle. But, I need Rhonda for it. Don’t worry. She is aware of it.

What is this task? I would like to get back to writing. In my birthday blog, Rhonda acknowledged that I tend to feels things with my whole heart and soul. She is not wrong. I have given all of myself to teaching and to the candidates I have helped and I’m proud of that. I made commitments and stuck to it. That said, I know something else about myself. While I can narrow myself to one thing, one issue, one aspect of myself for awhile, eventually I need more. I’m not one dimensional in that way. Yes, I love to organize and strategize around political stuff but I also like to have fun. I like to think about Duran Duran and fandom. I need to have all in my life to be as happy as possible.

Therefore, this summer is the time to turn attention to fandom and writing. As you all may or may not know, we have a number of ideas when it comes to our writing projects. Some of them are further along than others. So, where to start? Do we go with something completely academic like sexism within fandom? It does combine multiple loves for me but…it might be a ton of work. What about something personal like about what we have learned over the years of being Duranies? That could be fun and something we have started but I’m not sure my head is there yet. Hmm…maybe we should go with something more Duran focused. We have a few ideas related solely to Duran. One of them we sort of started, unofficially. We have read some similar books for another idea to help us get started. A third project has actually been outlined. That one would be the shortest of the three.

Rhonda and I talked about writing a bit when we saw each other in February. I suggested the one we have outlined. The reasons for this are simple. First, it is the shortest idea, which might make it pretty dang doable in a summer. Second, I think it is a kick ass idea. Lastly, I love the idea of being focused on Duran Duran. Being so busy with other things has pushed Duran to a back burner. I’m hoping that this would bring them to the front burner, which I would love.

So, I’m hopeful that when Rhonda and I finally get a chance to really talk that we can start thinking about a plan to get some serious writing done.

-A

Shelter of my Heart

There are weeks when I’m pretty sure you’ve heard entirely too much from me. This may be one of them.

Yesterday, I composed a post that wasn’t all that easy to write. Well, I take that back – it actually wasn’t difficult at all for me to write, but I was a little concerned about how some might take it. Writing the words was actually the easy part. It felt wonderful to just put it all out there and be free of the burden. The more uncomfortable portion was knowing that once the words were out there, I really didn’t have any control over how they were read or digested.

Girl, you’re looking beat and cold

Twenty-four hours later, and I realize that I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I’m not suicidal. Please know and understand that. I appreciate the concern, but I can 100% promise that I’m nowhere near that point. Yes, I know how to ask for help. I will just say that contemplating the possibility six months ago, and being truly suicidal are incredibly different things.

Second, writing this blog gives me joy. It is the one escape I had last year, and there were some weeks where it felt like the only bright spot in each day. So the suggestion that I should take a step back or take an extended break, however well-intended, is the wrong advice for me OR Amanda. I appreciate the thought, but in this case, it would do far more harm than good.

In my imagination this is how the message reads

I can understand the confusion though. I did write about the tug-of-war between the pressures of real life, fandom and even blogging. That is true. That tug-of-war does exist. When I’m blogging, working on the website, talking with friends about which B-sides should have really been album tracks, or even planning a trip to Vegas – I know there are other things I should be doing here at home. Like perhaps planning the school day for my youngest. When I’m focusing solely on parenting, being a good partner and that kind of thing, I know I’m ignoring my friends and other things I like, and I start wishing for an escape plan. It’s a juggle, and the key is balancing it all, right? That’s a normal, constant thing for everyone – and 99% of the time, I can do it no problem. Last year though, that was different.

Let me try to explain again. Picture walking up a fairly steep hill. It is a trek you’re used to, and you’re used to carrying a large bag with you. It is heavy and you’ve got to go slow, but you can do it. Truth be told, you like doing it because the scenery is beautiful along the way, but yeah – it’s hard.

Then one day, you’re asked to carry not just one bag, but three. Two bags aren’t awful because you’ve got two hands and you can balance, but three requires a little more finesse. Of course, the added bonus is that the bags are really heavy and filled to the brim. You start off fine, but then some stuff falls out of one of the bags, and as you’re bending over to grab that stuff more falls out of the others. You keep trying to pick stuff up but things keep toppling out of the bags. Eventually, your knee gives out and you fall down completely. That was sort of how I felt last year. I was at my lowest point just before summer, I think.

Reaching out

I felt like writing that post yesterday was important not just for me, but for anybody. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression. I’ve never been quite that “low” before. I do have anxiety from time to time, and I’m high-strung (that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone), but again – last year was different. I think when we envision someone who is struggling, we assume they aren’t functioning. We think that when someone is really depressed, they’re unable to get out of bed, or they’re a shut-in, hiding under blankets or staring blankly at the ceiling fan as it spins in slow circles.

So, I’d write. Sometimes, I’d just barely graze the pile of feelings I had steadily growing in the pit of my stomach, just to see if it stung. “Yep. Still burns a bit. That must mean I’m still alive, right?” I’d quickly go back to vague-posts, because it was far safer. I never really had anyone asking me questions, and to be honest – my husband, engineer-that-he-is, never seemed to notice anything any different. Some people would ask if I was alright, but I always played it off brilliantly (or so I thought). “Yeah, we’re totally fine. Just super busy! It’s really hard getting the house ready to sell. Just look at all of those bins. Crazy, huh?”  

You know you’re in deep when you start believing your own B.S. I’m pretty sure John Taylor said that somewhere in his autobiography. If he didn’t, he should have…and if he did, he’s right! You’d think I was trying to masterfully cover up an addiction. I wasn’t. I was just trying to make sure no one knew how far down in the pit of depression I really was. Feelings. Icky.

Calling Out

But anyway, back to the writing thing. I write. I don’t have any real answers here except that for whatever reason – it is far easier for me to get the words out while typing than while talking. I’m gloriously weird that way. I can’t tell you that I’m really hurting, or that I am considering suicide, or that I’m a numbskull because I once fell in love with a rock star…but I can write about it all day long.

A few people with kind intentions thought that the pressure of Daily Duranie is what dragged me down, so maybe taking a step back would ease the pain. Thankfully, I’m really not depressed anymore. I’m not completely back to normal, primarily because I’m still settling into a new house and town – so things are just weird (but I like it). I’m getting there, though. Even if I were still feeling low, I would want to keep blogging. However, if somebody wants to come clean the house, do my laundry, teach my youngest, run my errands, and deal with my husband…I’m totally open to that, and it seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Hear me now

I hope this clarifies a bit. I’m sorry this isn’t a feel-good story about how Duran Duran saved my life. In some ways though, I suppose they helped. The moments I spent writing this past year brought some much needed sunshine onto my face. While it wasn’t necessarily a song, or toothy-grins from a band I’ve loved since my teen years that brought me back over the edge – the act of writing certainly helped. I can thank Duran Duran for that.

Let us all hope this is the last post I write about depression.

-R


See Me

Yesterday, I wrote a blog asking what is apparently a very strange question  – does the band know their fans? In the undercurrent floated the additional question, “Should they?”

First of all, I could tell it was a Monday because not many replied, even on FB, which is the typical place for such conversations. Some answered that sure they did – for marketing. Fair enough.  Still others seemed to indicate that I had finally lost it. Maybe so.

The point of the question wasn’t really in the answer. To be 100% clear: I am not asking or expecting for the band, or anyone within, to become my best friend. I also was not insinuating that anyone else reading should have those expectations, although I can understand why some may have read my words, taken the path most traveled and arrived at the door for the mental facility seen in Falling Down. It happens, but I don’t think Dr. Le Bon is there ready to do patient intake just yet.

Recently I finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, which is a fantastic book if you’re like me and feel like you’ve got to handle everything yourself. The book was given to me by a dear friend who knows me only too well. In the book, Ms. Palmer explains that as a street performer (she performed as a live statue of a bride), she would make eye contact with her audience, and she would offer them a flower (in exchange for money that they would put in her bucket). It was her way of saying “I see you”.

 

“I was amazed by the intimate moments of prolonged eye contact happening on the busy city sidewalk as traffic whizzed by, as sirens blared, as street vendors hawked their wares and activities thrust flyers at every passerby, as bedraggled transients tried to sell the local homeless community newspaper to rushing commuters…where more than a second or two of a direct, silent gaze between strangers is usually verboten.

My eyes would say: 
Thank you. I see you.
And their eyes would say:
Nobody ever sees me.
Thank you.”

She goes on a page or two later, “I laughed thinking about every single artist I knew – every writer, ever actor, every filmmaker, every crazed motherfucker who had decided to forgo a life of predictable income, upward mobility and simple tax returns, and instead pursued a life in which they made their living trying to somehow turn their dot-connecting brains inside out and show the results to the world – and how, maybe, it all boiled down to one thing: 

BELIEVE ME.
Believe me.
I’m real.

Here’s the thing: all of us come from some place of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, connected. 
Every single one of us wants to be believed.
Artist are often just…louder about it.”

When I read that passage, I found myself nodding vigorously. I’m not saying I’m an artist, of course. But I write these feelings that are in my head and heart. I suppose that makes me a writer? I always pictured being a writer as something so much different from what it is, I guess….. But yes, as I said yesterday, I write with the hope that the words and feelings I plop down here reach someone, somewhere.

I suppose that’s what I was trying to communicate yesterday. I want to be seen and believed by someone. I am real, and no…most of the time I’m not really seen, and I’m certainly not known. For a long time, I was a fan like anyone else reading. I went to shows, I bought records, I would grin wildly when I’d see anything about them on TV or hear them on the radio, and I would talk about them on a message board. At shows I was just another face in the crowd. But somewhere along the line, something changed for me. I wanted something else. I think I wanted to tell my story, which is incredulous. I mean, what makes my story any different?

Nothing. That’s the crazy thing! I’m a mom of three beautiful kids from California – above anything else, they are the reason I keep going each day, and I’m prouder of them than anything I’ve ever done on my own. I don’t really work unless you count teaching, keeping this website running, and writing manuscripts that we hope to get published. I’m not even from the UK. I’ve only traveled there three times and I can only claim to have stood outside a rehearsal space for Duran Duran one time. (Twice if you count the day before when no one was there!) I’ve never once stood outside a radio station waiting for the band to suddenly emerge, although yes – I’ve actually hung out in a hotel lobby when I thought they were there. I’m not very good at band stalking, as it turns out. Up until this past September, I hadn’t ever been to a taping of a TV appearance. In the past I’d tried for tickets to various things, but I’d never won. I have no real band stories to share, or anything that I would necessarily need boast about. I can’t claim anything out of the ordinary, yet I write this blog and for some crazy reason I think it’s worthy of being read, whether we’re talking about members of Duran Duran or anyone else.

The shameless audacity!

I think I got tired of just being in the audience as a nameless floating head in a sea of thousands.I started writing. This blog challenges any of you to see exactly who I am. Not just the jeans I wear, my bottle-blond hair or my green eyes. Not just my opinions, but my heart. See the part of me I pour here on the blog each day. I keep writing. And sometimes, people read.

And maybe, just maybe, someone sees me.

 

-R