Saying Goodbye for Now…

Sometime back around 1981 — at least that date sounds familiar. Anyway, I fell in love. Not with a woman though I’m sure a girl did occupy my thoughts, because quite frankly, I still go weak in the knees at the sight of blue plaid skirts and white button up shirts. It’s a Catholic thing, so don’t try to understand it. Back to what I was saying. I fell in love.

Fell in love with a voice. Yes, it’s possible, so don’t even try to fight  with me over this. Riding home from school, our bus had a radio that pumped out the local station Rock 102. The song that blared sent all the teenagers into fits of Karaoke, way before we knew what that was. The song was Little Red Corvette and I was hooked. That day started a forty year love affair that will probably follow me to my grave.

I can’t really say why the song captured me the way it did. Maybe it was the sexual rebellion the song sparked within me. It could have been the music itself speaking to me on a primal level, or the melodic lyrics that said so many things my brain hadn’t yet fully understood. Whatever the case, Prince Rodgers Nelson became my musical Jedi Master that day. By the time Purple Rain came out at the movies, I’d picked up his back stock of albums and had already conceived several plans to sneak into this R rated slice of heaven. I am pretty certain back then the only reason I clung to my Prince love was his glorification of sex and the dropping of the F Bomb. Teenagers. Go figure?

Then again to be perfectly honest, I had already developed a deep and abiding love for Rhythm and Blues from my parents. Dad loved old school rock in the form of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Big Joe Turner, not to mention Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson. Mom was all 70s funk. Earth Wind and Fire, Ohio Players and the Commodores. Man, I can’t even begin to name all the musical influences I had growing up. It’s no small wonder that when I began to mature in my musical tastes I’d develop strong and definite opinions of my choices.

Looking back I can honestly say Prince was more of a rebellious streak for me. Prince taught me many things on my road to being who I am. Creatively he taught me to take chances. He showed me the value of never accepting good enough and to always push whatever envelope I found myself fitting into. At the time I probably didn’t see him as a mentor. I just saw him as the soundtrack to my life. Purple Rain defined my 80s. Diamond and Pearls my 90s. Musicology my 2000s. I’m still trying to nail down which album is summing up my 20tweens but I’m sure it’ll come to me sooner or later. The point is, Prince is the godfather of my painting and writing for so many reasons he should get a co-writing credit on my books.

But, I don’t think I can stop with just letting him take the blame for my imagination running wild. It would so belittle the impact he had on my growth as a human being. I always find it strange that people assume something about a person based on their color and geographic location. It never occurred to me to hate someone based on either of those things. Being a douchebag gets you on the list automatically. Prince helped cement my view on accepting others based solely on who they are. I have met many people over the years and adopted them fully into my heart. When I see them, I don’t see color. I don’t see religion or lack of the topic. I don’t even see political affiliation or sexual orientation. I see a person who completes my life in some mysterious way that I can’t explain nor see a need to even try. They are, and the fact that they are makes me happy. Not sure that sole credit for the belief rests with Prince, but I’m giving him partial credit. The rest I’m giving to Jesus for giving me a heart open to loving without condition.

This past week and a half has given me a lot to think about. That is often the way when you lose someone close to you. I know I have never met Prince except in my dreams, but he has been a real part of my life nonetheless. Losing him so suddenly like this has left an empty spot I struggle to fill. Not with another person, but with the memories of his music and the times in my life he was with me through the songs he wrote. I think along the way we are given people who influence us whether they know the impact they have on us or not. These people help shape the people we ultimately become. If you think about it that way, maybe the old adage is true. Live the values you speak, because your life is a roadmap for others to follow. I for one don’t want to be the one paving the road to hell for someone else. I have enough trouble keeping myself off that road without worrying about anyone else’s path.

So, as I say goodbye to Prince, I want to express rather inadequately the thanks I wish I could have given him personally in life. Since sadly that option is no longer open to me, I will live my life as he had. A living example of using the talents God gave me to their fullest and giving the world an example worthy of the man who showed me that Purple Rain is not just a song, it’s an ideal to live by.

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Jmo wishing you all

Happy Reading and a life full of that laughter.prince

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2016, I’m back.

It’s been awhile.

I’m not going to lie to you. That is entirely my fault. Quite frankly, I lost it. Not sure what it is, but I definitely left it in the parking lot. It is kind of painful to even think about, let alone purge from my system in this very public format. That said, I feel that is exactly what I need to do to free myself from its hold over me. Or, I could just be narcissistic and need your validation. Either way, here goes.

When I started doing this, I thought I’d know how to begin, but sitting here staring at the screen it’s all blocking up. Kind of sums up my 2015, so why shouldn’t my blog about it go the same way. Seriously though, I’m not writing this to seek your sympathy. I honestly do need to unburden myself of all this garbage that held me down last year. Part of me is hoping that in the process I might help someone else overcome the same stuff I’ve battled.

Where to begin?

2015 will forever be the year my mortality came crashing home. I began the year going to a funeral for a cousin. Not the best way to kick off a New Year. Sadly, my cousin wouldn’t be the only funeral on my plate for the year. It seemed like every three weeks I got news family or friends had passed away. Some pretty rough ones drove me to my knees over the course of the year. I can’t go into them all because I’m afraid it would take all night and my tears might short out my computer.

Still, a couple bear memorializing. My first writing partner, Deb Durham, passed away in a tragic car accident as she tried to help out a friend. Deb taught me so much about what it means to be a writer. She helped me by setting me on the path to become the writer I am today. So, even when my heart wanted to give up and hide under my bed, I didn’t. I just couldn’t, because when I write, a part of her will forever be out in the universe for all to see. What I wouldn’t give to hear her call me Goober one more time with her Texas twang.

Secondly, my good friend and comic book dealer, Clint Thomas passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Aside from feeding my comic addiction, Clint had long been a supportive friend, who would stock my books whenever I had a few to sell. He graciously became a sounding board on occasion, and a character in one of my books. We shared a love not only for comics but for the books we grew up reading. Those books inspired the stories of mine you have read and will continue to enjoy. Clint, himself, inspired so much more. He inspired me to become a writer by pushing me to be one. Clint, one day we will see each other again, and I can’t wait to hear the stories we will share.

Lastly, a week before Christmas, the world lost a shining smile that is warming heaven above. Linda Collins is the sister of my adopted sister of the heart, Susan White, who inspired the character Waterfall Woman in my Love Bites and Bite Marks novels. Linda soon became as close to me as a sister, and became a character in Bite Marks 2.  Now, the rest of my Vampire series will be dedicated to her memory. Because heaven got an angel in her, but she will forever be a muse my heart can’t deny.

I am certain that you can understand the sorrow that weighed heavy upon me. Losing one person is heart wrenching but losing nearly twelve in a year’s time would be enough to drive anyone to their knees. Trust me, I spent a good time on my knees asking why. The answer I got made perfect sense. Because we are all given a time to be born, a time to grow, a time shine, a time to live, and a time to die. But, as long as we keep love around us, our flesh may fade, but our hearts remain in those we leave behind. Sadly, this in no way takes away the pain of loss those of us left behind must deal with. That’s how I spent 2015. Dealing.

Some of that dealing was handling pain. For years I’ve suffered from neuropathy caused by a ruptured disk in my neck and from a birth defect I didn’t even know I had until ten years ago, Arnold Chiari Malformation. For those of you who have never heard of the condition, it is when the tonsils of the brain hang from the base of the skull. As you get older the condition gets worse, and is highlighted by migraines, and numbness in arms and legs. Some other nastier things happen but if you’re interested, I’ll try and remember to leave a link at the bottom, because sadly, this condition goes undiagnosed until it’s too late. A result of this, I am on more meds than I like to admit to being on. A side effect of all these meds is side effects. As my body adapted to the meds, I had been on, I had to adjust to higher doses or new meds altogether. If any of you have ever been on meds, you know they do strange and evil things that they aren’t meant to do.

Part of these side effects stopped my brain from talking to my creativity and hands. I spent a lot of restless nights staring at my laptop with words exploding in my head, but couldn’t get those words out. It drove me insane to see the movie playing but not being able to share the wonder of it with anyone. As 2016 bloomed on the horizon, my doctor and I seemed to have found a balance that is working for my creativity. I’m still not 100% but I’m getting there. Like a wise man or woman once said, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Last year a big part of me gave up. I won’t lie about it. I crawled into my hole and died. This year, I want to live.

I might have lost a lot of good people last year, but God has given me some more, not to replace them, but to complement their impact on my lives. Victor Nunely is just one. He hosts the weekly Comic Hero show on YouTube. Great stuff. Definitely check him out, if you have time. Sabrina Ruffin helped inspire a new character and book series that I hope to explore when I get caught up with my other series that fell to the side of the road last year. Lastly, Claire Chandler recently took over Clint’s Comics and is a hoot. She has made me laugh, and I can see a character with her name all over it. Along with these new voices, I have my old friends and my dear family to keep me on my toes. Let’s not forget God, who never let’s me wander from His defining love.

The point of this ramble is I’m back and if you’ll have me, I plan to be here for as long as you’ll let me come into your lives. Stock up on Oreos, the sugar free ones because apparently I’m a diabetic, too. Told you last year was a rough one, but this year…this year is going to be awesome.

Those links I promised

The Arnold Chiari Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ArnoldChiari-malformation/119461628102885?fref=ts

Victor Nunely’s Comic Hero Channel on You Tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etacPTgZwlk&feature=youtu.be

Claire Chandler, Clint’s Comics, because I need comics.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010923228017

 

Til next time,

Happy Reading!