Two lines

Two days and 17 years ago I was at a Rick Springfield concert but until today I hadn’t found my journal from that year so I had no memory of it; it wasn’t until I noticed the anniversary date on somebody’s Facebook post that I realized I had been at that particular concert.

Today I realized that my notebook from that year wasn’t with my earlier ones because I had recently moved so it was part of my current life (current at the time) rather than my past and was in a different place.

I found the notebook and since past RS shows had resulted in at least a page of details about the show (or long blog posts, after 2014), I couldn’t wait to see what I had written about it.

I quickly turned through the pages to find the date: 5/5. There were only two lines: a mention of the concert, who I went with and where it was. Two lines, no details.

The pages before and after were filled with heartbreak and dating drama, which reminded me of that relationship from so long ago that so consumed me. It also appears that I was recording my dreams that year, as many entries are fragments of dreams, probably written right after I woke up.

There were also lots of entries of  lyrics – some of them with melodies I remembered; the lyrics remind me how I was feeling at that time.

For instance, this one:
You climb into his car, you fly to the moon
You think it’s a brand new melody, but it’s just the same old tune
You smile at his stumbling, you’re touched by his thoughtful gaze
You think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime, but it’s just one of those days…

After that 5/5 concert in 2000 (my sixth RS show)  I wouldn’t see RS in concert again until 15 years later. And by the time that concert occurred, I had been writing this blog for eight months, after coming across a TV interview after his novel was released.

Why is it that back in 2000, a RS mention was two lines in a journal and now, in my 40s, I’ve written over 260 posts on a blog about him, a process that provided inspiration to start writing songs again? In this early months of this journey, my goal was to record some of my old songs so they’d exist outside of my head and I’ve only recorded a couple of them so far because I’ve been so busy writing new ones instead. If I would have been so inspired 17 years ago, who knows how many songs I’d have by now or what I would have done with them.

Maybe because sometimes when your head gets clouded with negative things, it’s more difficult to recognize hints of inspiration. Or maybe things are happening the way they are – when they are – for a reason and you can’t look backward, only forward.

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Blogging to inspiration

It’s nearly a year since I first “rediscovered” Rick Springfield, after finding an interview on our local public television station with him discussing the recent release of “Magnificent Vibration.” During the interview I learned that he had also written a memoir and released a few CDs and before I knew it, my teenage RS obsession kicked back into full gear – even though I left my teenage years decades ago.

Not long after I listened to the interview, I discovered that RS himself was due to come to town for a concert about a week later. Unfortunately we were going through a difficult time financially and there was no way I could get tickets. I even tried to think of a clever way to sum up my desire to see the concert in a desperate plea for tickets in a 140-character message to his Twitter account. I don’t remember what it was – it wasn’t clever at all – and, feeling rather ridiculous, I quickly deleted both that and my desperate Facebook post. I now know that he never replies to any FB or Twitter posts from anyone (or at least he doesn’t appear to) and I doubt he even handles his accounts, but that didn’t occur to me at the time. (I’ve noticed other fans occasionally do the same thing before a show, which makes me feel a little better that it’s not just me who felt compelled to do that.)

But anyway, I was surprised how painful it was to know he was only a few miles away and I couldn’t go. But I did spend a lot of time over the next few weeks catching up – lots of Googling, watching YouTube videos, listening to and reading interviews, reading his memoir and his novel, and watching the “Affair of the Heart” documentary about him and his fans. Then I just couldn’t contain it anymore – I had to start writing.

First, I put together a blog focused on “Late, Late at Night,” where I compiled as many videos as I could find, divided by the chapters of the book in which RS wrote about the specific song. I did it simply because I searched for the YouTube videos as I was reading it and thought that maybe somebody else would find it useful.

But that wasn’t enough. I had to examine my obsession further and I didn’t want to irritate my husband, friends or acquaintances by talking about it nonstop. So I started this blog, in hopes that others who felt the same way would come across it in their own RS discovery.

But then it turned into something more. As I pulled out boxes of old journals from the garage – and found my diary from 1982, when this obsession started – I not only found more RS content than I anticipated, but I also realized how much songwriting has been a part of my life since high school.

Three months after I started this blog, tickets went on sale for a concert about four months in the future (it fell on what would have been my mom’s 70th birthday). As a result, the blog kind of morphed from looking backward to review my RS memories (which included meeting him once at a music store in 1999) to looking forward in anticipation. Out of all the places in all the years he’s traveled, we would be in the same vicinity. My mission became to have him see this blog.

Why this is, I cannot say for sure. I guess it’s just a need to connect with a person who has had such a big influence on my life. To just have my own personal “hey, thanks” and not just be one “like” in a Facebook post along with thousands of other fans. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be one of his fans who is able to follow him around to multiple shows throughout the year, scoring a seat in the first few rows each time. I’m not sure why it seemed that a few words among trillions floating around in cyberspace might have an impact, but I thought I’d try. I only told a handful of people about the blog since I wasn’t sure what would become of it.

Anyway, all the details are in past blog posts, but I was able to meet him at the March show and give him a little piece of paper with this blog address. And then I met him again in April, when I somewhat incoherently mentioned the blog again when I met him after a second show. I couldn’t bring myself to actually ask if he read it and to this day, I have no idea if he has. I’m sure I’ll scour every lyric in his upcoming CD to see if there’s any reference to it, but I’m not holding my breath. (He did, however, appear to me in a dream and mouth the words, “I saw the blog” to me, so that’s something.)

But despite the uncertainty that my mission has been completed – aka RS seeing this blog – something unexpected came out of writing the blog. When I was going through my journals, I remembered many of the melodies that went along with songs written among the journal pages – even the early ones from the 1980s. I remembered how much I enjoyed writing songs and reading those words brought back memories of those times in my life those songs represented – both the good and the bad.

And earlier this year, I started writing songs again. Although I’ve written lines with melodies here and there through the years, it’s been about 14 years since I’ve written full songs on guitar (back before I had kids – when I actually had hours of uninterrupted time to devote to it). My guitar playing is very rusty and the recordings are far from professional but I’m having so much fun. (You can listen to them here, but please don’t judge them too harshly…I realize they need some work.) I have written seven songs so far this year – the lyrics and the melodies – but the music itself is more of a challenge. (RS, you seem to be in a collaborative mood these days – want to take on a new project?)

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue writing this blog – there have been so many times when I felt like I had nothing else to write about but then two days later an idea popped in my head that I had to get out – but I just wanted to say thank you to RS for another year of inspiration. XO.

Distracted driving

One thing that inspires me the most about Rick Springfield is his drive to doing what he loves. He’s already an accomplished musician, songwriter, author and actor. Who knows what he’ll do next? He likely has more music, songs, books and acting gigs in his path and maybe he’ll even discover another passion, like some kind of charity work or ambassadorship. You never know, but he is so talented and driven that he has many options. When he was younger and going through difficult times, he may have never imagined the type of success that would someday become his but he kept persevering and that is so beautiful and inspiring.

Maybe this means I’m on the verge of a midlife crisis but I’ve been feeling very introspective lately, reflecting on where I am and how I got here. And trying to figure out what’s next.

On one hand, I have everything I ever wanted – a wonderful husband, amazing kids, good health and a job I enjoy. On the other hand, one thing that I never emphasized that much is the financial compensation that helps make life a little easier. In my equation of what makes a successful life, I idealistically thought that money wasn’t an important component of it. But now with three kids I’m kind of wishing that my passion would have focused in a different direction than print journalism. True, there wasn’t any clue that the Internet was coming and how that would impact my desired field but why didn’t I pay attention a little earlier?

A few weeks ago, I passed my exit on the freeway because I was deep in thought about something. The following day, I almost did it again. Then when I started thinking about why that was happening, it occurred to me that passing an exit is really a metaphor of life. If you are “driving” through life without paying attention to where you are going, you could end up lost.

And from those thoughts came this:

Distracted driving

I passed my exit
I drove too far
Caught daydreaming
Inside my car

Where are we going?
Are we lost?
Distracted driving
Paying the cost

I’m thinking about where we have been
And I’m wondering if we’ll get back there again

So many roads lead to so many places
How do you know which one to choose?
All of the signs point in different directions
With some you win and some you lose
When the gauge is pointing to empty
It can really overshadow your day
But you just have to find the fuel
So you can continue on your way

I’m thinking about where we have been
And I’m wondering if we’ll find our way again

Around, round, round, round, round
The scenery looks the same
Driving down, down, down the road
Where nobody knows your name

I’m thinking about where we have been
And I’m wondering if we’ll get back home again.

Update: I eventually ended up recording this one. Here it is:

A thoughtless whisper: A commentary on social media madness

Last week I read a recent article in the New York Times about how people’s lives can be destroyed by social media. It was a fascinating – and horrifying – article about how one woman’s tweet and one man’s whisper to a colleague at a conference ruined their lives. In junior high or high school – I don’t remember which but it was a long time ago – I read “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell and got really freaked out by the idea that our world would become like that. But never could I have imagined how it would actually turn out – that “Big Brother” wouldn’t be the only one watching.

A Thoughtless Whisper

A thoughtless whisper
Becomes a worldwide trend
We’ve gone too far
We can’t go back again

Everyone’s a witness
With a camera in hand
Gathering evidence
Against their fellow man

Nineteen eighty-four
Has nothing on the 21st century
Contemporary war
With verbal, viral enemies

What was once a passing thought
Now lives on and travels far
Once it escapes into cyberspace
Hatred attacks and leaves its scar

What was once a private life
Can unravel with a few words
Global venom quickly spreads
Poisoning the universe

Nineteen eighty-four
Has nothing on the 21st century
Contemporary war
With verbal, viral enemies

Little brother’s always watching
Like paparazzi for the masses
Lying broken on the sidewalk
Is a pair of rose-colored glasses.

Update: I finally recorded this song (Oct. 4, 2015):

Flashback to 1999 concert

I noticed a box on the top shelf in the garage marked “Notebooks” and found one of my notebooks from 1999, in which I wrote about the Sunset Station concert in Vegas that year. I went with my best friend from high school, who I will be going to the concert with this year in March.

Here’s what I wrote about the concert:

“Sunset Station around 8. Woman let us in right away, no standing in line. Rainbow wristband, front section.”

[Then I drew a little diagram of the stage, with three areas marked. 1, 2 and “10th row – started here.”]

“After show started, tried 1 but speakers were RIGHT there and it was TOO loud. So went to 2 which was in the middle of stage (aisle). Worked way to front by middle of concert.”

During Human Touch: “For about 2 split seconds, I held both of his hands in mine. Woo!”

“Only pissed off one chick while making my way to the front. She stood stiffly with her elbows in my sides. But woman with big hairspray-smelling long curly hair stood in front of me so I had to lean to the left. Tore a leaf off a bouquet he threw but shared with Beth and another girl who couldn’t reach.

After concert, waited a bit but no “meet and greet” announcement (missed him at Tower Records earlier in day).

In casino, his band was hanging out where we were – near craps tables. Told Beth that my friend Wendy said she knew Dave (guitar player). Had a couple beers so we went up to him and I asked him if he knew her. He said the name sounded familiar. I described her and he mentioned her working with [name of other musician here]. Yep. Then he gave me his phone number to give to her and said I and Beth could also call him. I got the phone number of Rick Springfield’s guitarist! Wow! Tim Pierce played also – his guitarist from the 80s (hadn’t played together in 15 years). Walked by him in the band and said good show.”

Back to today:

What?!! I had the phone number for Rick Springfield’s guitarist?!  Well, I never called and as far as I know, I no longer have the piece of the leaf either. And I guess I should feel bad for moving my way to the front but sorry, I would probably do it again if I had the chance to be that close to the stage and have another two seconds…

Is that wrong?

A note from the past

As I was going through old journals these past few days, I came across this poem, written in May 1988:

For the person in my future
I hope you’re doing well
I hope what I have done
Will help your dreams become fulfilled

To the person I become
I hope you’ll remember me fondly
Remember you were once me
And I felt just as strongly

I hope that my mistakes
Have been of help, my friend
I’m wishing you my luck
To be with you till the end.

————-

It’s strange to think how much has changed since then – not only in my own life but in the world. As I wrote this in a red college-ruled Mead notebook, what would I have thought if somebody would have told me, “‘Twenty-six years from now, this will be on a blog devoted to Rick Springfield and anyone in the world who has access to the Internet will be able to read it.”

I would have had no idea what that meant.

Finding treasure

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been going through many of my journals and its been quite an adventure going back in time and learning about my younger self. I did a lot of writing! I have notebooks filled with different songs that I wrote, dating back to 1984, and I can still remember the tunes to many of them. I can even remember the inspiration for some of them. Some of the earlier ones were inspired by plot lines from “Twilight Zone” episodes, but they got more personal as time went on. I also realized that I’ve dated many musicians or wanna-be rock stars. Perhaps that factor was also influenced by RS?

But last night I came across a HUGE surprise on my journey, tucked in folders of high school essays and college transcripts: Two savings bonds. One was from the year I was born and the other from 1982. I went to cash them in today – several bills are due so very grateful – and they totaled over $300! Pretty amazing. I didn’t even remember that I owned any savings bonds so I’m taking that as a sign from G-d that whatever I’m doing going through my old journals and wanting to do more with them is the right path.

I also found some photos of my mom with the journals. She had always been the person who encouraged me to write throughout the years – including pushing me to join the newspaper staff in high school, when it didn’t seem like a “cool” thing to do – so that was symbolic, too. (The RS concert that I have tickets to is on what would have been her 70th birthday.)

I also found an envelope with these pictures in it:

RS pics

Found these pictures in an envelope with my old journals. The photographs in bottom center are from two of his concerts (not great seats, obviously). I think at least one of those photos was taken with a Kodak disc camera.

More times than I remembered!

I’ve been going through my old journals the past few days and somehow Rick Springfield’s name keeps popping up where I didn’t expect it. Just random mentions here and there and I’ve realized I’ve seen him in concert more than I originally thought!

Here’s what I’ve uncovered so far, pieced together from these journals.

By 1985 (midway through high school) had seen him twice in Phoenix.

Once in 1998 – in Las Vegas

Met him in L.A. at a record store signing in 1999

Saw him in concert twice in 1999, once in Las Vegas and again in Phoenix

2000 – Phoenix

So March will be my seventh show.

I also didn’t realize how dark some of my writing was. I’m guessing it was because writing was a sort of therapy during difficult times but as I’m reading through all of these notebooks, I’m a little surprised at what I’m finding. Maybe I have something else more in common with RS than I thought.

15 years later

After I first moved back to Phoenix, I signed up with a couple of temp agencies while I figured out what I wanted to do next. One was clerical and the other was food service. After working in a corporate environment for four years, the food service jobs were a nice change. Many of these jobs involved selling beer at concerts, which meant I got to listen to live music while I served beer or collected money for the drinks. I got to hear bands that I already liked, such as Dave Matthews Band and Sting (since we had to be there before the show, I even got to hear Sting do his sound check, which was really cool; he was on stage and I watched from rows above in the Mesa Amphitheater). And I saw bands I wouldn’t have seen on my own – such as Black Sabbath, Slayer Primus and other heavy metal bands in OzzFest (after the beer tents closed, we were allowed to stay and watch the band. I stayed to hear Ozzie Osbourne play with Black Sabbath since it felt legendary, but left pretty quickly after people started lighting small fires on the lawn). 

Most of my clerical jobs were pretty boring, although I did meet some nice people. Other food service jobs included working in retirement facilities, sporting events, nursing homes and even in a high school cafeteria. Being in all these new situations created lovely fodder for writing and I’d spend lots of time writing in notebooks about the different people I was meeting. Perhaps to develop into characters for a future screenplay, who knows? 

I also spent those first few months writing songs and performing them at open mics at various coffee shops around town. There were a small group of people that would attend the different open mics – both talented musicians and others who just liked to listen; they were all a supportive bunch. I wrote lots of songs during this time – more like lyrics with melodies accompanied by the few guitar chords I was able to play. 

Flash forward 15 years. 

I’m still in Phoenix – married for nine years and we have three young boys, a dog and a goldfish. I work as an editor and writer at a local community newspaper, which I enjoy very much. (The framed picture of Rick Springfield is still on my bookshelf, my husband doesn’t mind).

Then one day at work, I’m checking the KAET listings to confirm a TV show listing in our calendar and there on the bottom of the home screen is a video of Rick Springfield. Hmmmm.. I make a mental note to check it out at home later that day.

I remember a couple of evenings later (life is kind of chaotic around here…) and make time to watch it. He has a new book? What? A novel?! Then midway through the interview, he mentions his autobiography. What autobiography? Where have I been?!

Time for some Googling. I learned that this autobiography “Late, Late at Night” came out FOUR years ago! (The year my youngest son was born – that time with a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old a newborn are kind of a blur).

I also learned about the documentary made by some of his fans, “Affair of the Heart,” which somehow made me feel a little guilty – here he has two published books that I didn’t even know about and other fans made a whole movie about him. And these fans also go on Rick Springfield cruises, all-inclusive Rick Springfield vacations at resorts and tour around the country to see him in concert. And that’s not even to mention that he’s put out a few albums, with songs I’ve never heard, since I’d last checked in.

Expectations

There was a time when I knew that Rick Springfield and I would be married – only in a way that a 13-year-old can be sure of such things. I had a rich fantasy life during those years.

One year, my friends and I camped out in front of Diamonds department store in Mesa to buy Rick Springfield concert tickets. We weren’t the only ones and our seats weren’t great but I was convinced that he looked  me straight in the eye through my binoculars at least twice. I think I still have the concert T-shirt in a box in the garage.

In ninth grade, I took a guitar class and the girl who sat next to me in class and I would trade posters from our 16, Teen and Tiger Beat magazines – she’d give me her Rick Springfield posters and I’d give her my Eddie Van Halen posters and we’d discuss our plans to meet them.

After I heard that Rick Springfield got married, I stopped thinking of that future. Maybe I was a little disappointed, but hey, I just wanted him to be happy. (Or maybe I just matured a little and realized the impossibility of the scenario.)