As I See It
Something incredible happened this year.
After so many years of the disenfranchised and underserved populations reaching for the promise of self-evident truths and
inalienable rights only to be denied and discouraged; in a world filled with fear, cynicism, bitterness and confusion; one
man stood tall on the strength of his convictions and, with grace under fire, asked us to believe; to look into our own
hearts and find hope again; to look into the eyes of our neighbor and see ourselves.
America listened and as we join hands and take another step in faith on our journey towards healing the wounds of the past,
together we create a new reality, according to the blueprint of our common vision where the needs of the struggling are met,
where new ideas become new solutions, where barriers are removed and dreams at long last are fulfilled. And as the world
watches the dawning of a new day in our nation, and as we continue to work together to restore and rebuild, our hope
will become a new wave that washes upon every shore and the voice of America, with liberty and justice for all, will echo
from every mountain, inviting all citizens of the planet to expand their view of the horizon and see all the earth
as common ground.
[As always, I welcome your comments]
Coming out of hibernation I don't have much to say. . . life is beautiful and I'm just taking it all in and processing.
Here's my latest poem. . .
who i am is what
daily defined and
scrutinized by me
and no matter how
they all try
to place me in a
the labels just
when the surface
through my window
dawn breaks on a
brand new world
this mottled shell
conceals a pearl
by our myopic, apathetic
dust on shelves
we have only to
and it all springs
a blizzard of butterflies
before our eyes
igniting the realization
that we are no longer
explorers in this land
in our hands
we grasp the double-edged
of power and responsibility
whatever we see
it will be
Thankful Kids November 2007
Sometimes we need new eyes to remind us to appreciate
the little things...
I’m thankful for food & water, clothes, myself and
I’m thankful for my teachers. I’m thankful for my mom. I’m thankful for crayons and paper and markers and
pens and pencils. I’m also thankful for alarm clocks, for school, games, colors, my friends and my sisters and all my
I am thankful for all the holidays and the presents
I get. Also I am thankful for electricity so I can watch TV. Plus my faimly. I am also thankful for cartoons and books.
I am thankful for my
turtles, Hawk and Egret. I am also thankful for my hermit crabs, Eagle and Ibis. My last pet is a fish, and I am very thankful
for him, because he came from a fair that I went to two months ago and he is still alive.
I am thankful for God and Jesus. I am also thankful for the
world and family. I am thankful for my books: especially “What Color is Your Underwear?” and my favorite TV show,
“Zoboomafoo.” I am thankful that we are going camping because it is fun.
i am thankful for my pets. i have 4
dogs 2 cats a fish 2 baby alagater and 2 chikens
i am thankful for my friends, and family.
I am also thankful for the firefighters and police for protecting or community. I am also thankful for a great life.
I am thankful for the water and my dog
and ice cream.
toys and GOD
I am thankful for my family because we
care about each other. When we get mad at ecch other we talk to each other so we will feel better. We
help each other out when we get mixed-up. We share things when we need it. We play fair in card games
and more fun things.
The color blue!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am thankful for food, teachers,
paper, trees, books, back packs and my family, clothes, a place to live, clean water, juice, doctors, church, God and everything.
iM THANKFUL FOR MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
AND FOR MY BROTHER EVEN THOUGH HE CAN BE A PEST A LOT AND FOR MY CAT Macy. im thankful that im here today and my family too.
i am thankful for having money
and to not have to live in a city dump. i am also thankful for having a family who cares so much. a couple more things i am
thankful for is for having friends i can play with and to hang around with and another way i am thankful is for having a place
i can learn and being able to eat food and not garbage and if i could i would supply all the needy with whatever they need
like food money and accessories like clothes and jewelry
for my mom
for a home
for my dad
for being able to write and read
for being alive
for being able to
Toys, Mommy, Daddy, my sister, God, my
friend Joey, my Buzz Lightyear, my house, my Grandma, pizza, and tacos.
I am thankful friends, family, and my
8 cats and 1 dog and life and PS2s and food, water, and air.
I am thankful for my mom and dad and
my famle and frends and terkey and fiermen.
I'm thankful that i am not a turkey.
I am thankful for the pilgrims, for without
their suffering we wouldn't have thanksgiving and I would probably be at school right now.
I am thankful for my family, food, and
the money we have to pay the bills. my house that i live in and the car that takes me to school. i am thankful for my school
and my friends. i am thanful for my colths. my life!!!!!!!
IM THANKFAL FOR BEING FEEDED AT TANKGIVNG
I am so thankful right now that I'm alive
and healthy. I have a great family that loves me, and that I love to death. I have awesome friends,
and I live in a country that allows me to think and be whatever I want.
I am thankful for our country and for
soldiers that fight for our protection.
I am thankful for my family, friends,
pets and cheese.
I`m thankful for my grandma for loving
hugging, kissing, tucking me in bed,caring for me and I will always care for her.
I am thankful that my family,
friends, and home were safe from the tornado that hit my town this weekend.
I am thankful for all the birds and turkeys
and other animals running around the planet and wish that people wouldn't eat them.
I am thankful for the Backstreet
Boys. Their music makes me happy. I like being happy.
for me my mom dad and my whole entire
that God has given me and
put me on this earth I thank God for everything that he has done for me and given me.
I am thankful for my family
,my friends, animals, the trees, the fresh air, food,
water, my life, the sun, the moon, the earth, the galaxy
My power rangers and my new puppy
I am thankful for the earth and that
I live in America. I am thankful that I don't have any illness.
My mom and Dad, Baxter the dog, my neighbor
Mr. Kile, his daughter, Jenny who is my friend, Jenny's mom who bakes cookies, Tammy my doll and every new day I wake up to
and my guardian angel who mom says watches over me when she can't.
I am thankful for my snowmobile and pets
and the world and how cool it is!
I'm thankful for my parents, my dog Cody,
my grandma, my whole family, and my whole life ahead of me.
I am thankful for such
nice parents. Otherwise I'd be grounded constantly!
I am thankful for my good health, my
friends, my coach (Mrs. Steph), my family, my faith, all the people in my life, all my gifts from god, for living in a free
country and being on this Earth and most important I am thankful for being me.
I am thankful for our
backyard with the crab apple tree that I can climb into and my swing set.
food shelter love
This month our guest writer is my very own brother...
Out October 2007
Standing in the check-out
line of my local market, I was positioned to see people to the left at the automatic purchasing machines as well as those
my line making direct human
contact. To my surprise, there was little contrast in the behavioral dynamics of the transactions.
The young unsmiling
cashier appeared to be occupied in the thought of wishing she were anywhere else.
She did not greet and received no salutations. Her only verbalization was a monotone, Debit or credit?
Have we lost our human
beingness? This is the miracle of a person in front of you, not a machine. You may have hundreds of names in your personal
rolodex of friends and relatives, but none matter as much as this young lady.
Why?... because they are
not here at this point in time. The only one you can possibly affect, positively or negatively, is her.
Even if you think it proper
protocol for her to greet you first, no supermarket police will arrest you for this indiscretion. Besides, you do not know
the source of her distraction. I do not think she is mentally rediversifying her mutual funds portfolio. She could have just
been derided by a previous buyer. Remember, the customer is always right even when they are crude, cruel, or unstable. Or
perhaps she has a sick child with a new sitter. She might just be tired because this is a trying-to-make-the-ends-meet second
job. We don’t really know, and more importantly, it doesn’t matter.
If this is still too difficult,
ask yourself how you would like your daughter’s workday to go. After all, we are only truly different on the exterior.
Like all manifestations of vegetation from giant redwoods to buttercups have their source in a similar soil, at deeper levels,
we are all the same family.
Sometimes we have to get
our selves out of the way and be more attentive to something other than our egos. One smile may be all she needs to breathe
some life back into her day; likewise, a Good morning, how are you? will not diminish you in any way.
On the contrary, like chopping
wood warms you twice…once when you split… and once when you sit by the fire, acknowledging another’s humanity
is pleasing when words leave lips and when you see a smile and hear the response of a human voice.
one man smiled
I'm on vacation in Massachusetts now but I spent a day or 2
with my niece in NYC. After dropping my bags off at her office in Manhattan, I had a few hours to roam before she was done
with work and kick-boxing class. I decided to just follow my intuition wherever it would lead me ( of course I had to play
Anything New on my mp3 player). I did a little window shopping, almost bought a salad and soon found myself entering Central
Park. No surprise that my instincts would direct me to trees and water. I had gone by the park many times but I had never
been inside! I took my time, meandering past the charcoal artists, admiring the stunning photos on display and walking down
the path with no destination in mind, my only goal - being in the moment. It was a gorgeous day - 78 and sunny. I was listening
to my favorite tunes and feeling completely free, practicing being comfortable in my own skin. I was not anyone's mom, wife
or employee. I was just me - artist, writer, truth-seeker and gateway to all possibilities. My first discovery involved three
large koi fish in the pond. I watched them swim for awhile then walked on, stopping from time to time to sit on a bench to
people-watch. It wasn't at all what I expected from tv and the movies. There were no thugs, no goofy mishaps and no romantic
chance encounters. Instead there were families out for a leisurely stroll, sunbathers lying out on the lawn or on the rocks
overlooking the water, readers perched on bridges, and lovers stealing a moment together in the shadows. I did observe a film
crew recording a scene, a carnival on Wollman's rink and and I think I may have spotted Yoko scribbling in a journal. Eventually
I was led down a cool shady path and found a waterfall, surrounded by trees. It was beautiful. Birds frolicked and splashed
in the water. I perched on a bench and was mesmerized by the scene until space and time dissolved. I became the rocks, the
trees, the birds and the water. I became aware of people passing by and observed each reaction to the waterfall. Some passed
by without even a glance in its direction. Others cast a glance or two as they hurried on their way. Some even stopped for
five full seconds. Occasionally families would pause to pose for a picture. My heart went out to those who slowed their pace
and cast long lingering gazes as if they were being led away on an invisible leash, held prisoner by some unseen master. I
remembered that feeling and thanked God for my freedom.I believe I was in that spot for almost 2 hours. During that time I
played "spot the blue jay," turning away for a few seconds and then searching out the flutter of bright blue plumage. With
my artist's eye, I gazed at the rocks, taking in the rich textures painted with bronze, copper and ebony. Through the eyes
of my ancestors the rocks became the majestic heads of elephants. I searched through all my songs and only played those songs
that reflected the mood - Get Together by the Youngbloods, Blackbird by the Beatles, Gratitude by India Arie, Watching the
River Run, by Loggins & Messina, Dream Again, by Lili Anel, Sacred Ground by Red Thunder and naturally, Happy That by
Jeffrey Gaines. Finally, as the light grew dimmer and the temperature dropped, I knew it was about time to return (I don't
own a watch but I do pretty well relying on my internal clock). As I turned my thoughts toward finding my way back, a man
came by and stopped beside the waterfall. I watched as his eyes lovingly caressed every leaf, every feather, every rock, every
drop of water. He took a deep breath and then exhaled slowly and as he walked away he smiled. He had captured the beauty of
that sacred place and now carried it with him. At last I could leave this spot, knowing that there would be others who recognized
its splendor. On the way back to 55th and 6th I was listening to India sing "I want to go to beautiful" and I smiled because
I'd been there. I wish each of you a smile like that.
This month I just wanted to share this poem with all of
you. I just wrote it so it doesn't have a title yet.
Of all the words that exist in the world
Let us choose kind ones
Let them offer hope and encouragement
Let them speak of peace and of gratitude
Let them form visions of light in the air that we breathe
Our words are our power
Of all the thoughts in the world
Let us choose fruitful ones,
Let them imagine, wonder and revere
Let them be selfless and forgiving
Let them be free of delusion and deceit
Our thoughts become our reality
Of all the actions in the world
Let us choose compassion
Let every being on the earth be relieved of burden
Let every cold heart be warmed
Let every emptiness be filled with the fullness of love
Our time is now
beyond the beginning
I haven't written one of these in awhile. The last time I logged my thoughts here it was early fall. Today is Easter
Sunday. It's also Passover. And if you don't happen to observe either of those , it's early spring and most of us can relate
to that - although it hasn't felt much like spring here on the east coast. Anyhow, all of these events represent transformative
change, promise, rebirth, freedom and trusting in the process.
I'm in a very weird place right now. I've recently survived a metaphysical near-death experience in which I
had to completely release control and go blindly forward, surrendering all to the bevolent force that governs the universe.
So now that I've arrived on the other side of the recent crisis (although not entirely out of the woods) and am settled
into my new digs - now what? The raging storm has passed and I'm safe and well but all that intensity is still hanging on.
I guess I could be experiencing a bit of post-traumatic stress but I am also feeling enormous gratitude just to be alive,
to have all my basic needs met and to have a place to call home.
Still there is a part of me that knows there is a greater purpose in all of this. There are lessons to be learned and
boundries to be guarded - not out of fear this time but from my commitment to preserving the integrity of those things which
I'm thinking now that maybe the whole traumatic episode could have been avoided if only I hadn't allowed myself to be
distracted by trivia, giving in to my lower impulses, indulging my id with mental, spiritual and actual junk
food and slacking off on responsibilities. That was okay in my 20's when I didn't have other people depending on me.
I totally went unconscious and my entire being was on auto-pilot. I can't even recall the past 6 months. It all seems
like some blurry dream that was quite vivid at the time but now all I remember now is that I was wearing a hat.
In spite of all this, or because of it, I decided I needed to comemmorate this time in my life with a celebration. I
invited all my favorite people and most of them showed up. We had a blast.
So now I'm hovering like one of those balloons three days after the party as it loses helium. I'm aware of all those
laws of physics affecting me and am trusting that they will serve to guide me to a safe landing.
One of the bravest things we can ever do as human beings
is to admit that we're afraid.
We are all afraid of something and basically we're all afraid of the same things - death,
failure, bondage, rejection, the unknown. Everything else pretty much fits under one of these
categories. We experience
fear as tension, pressure, contraction, panic, dread...even physical pain but fear is a master of disguise, often showing
up in our lives as guilt, frustration,
anger, hate, crime, depression, addiction, procrastination, judgement, abandonment,
sarcasm, humor, poverty, illness and extreme behavior. Fear is a necessary although uncomfortable sensation.
Fear is the mind's reaction to danger, real or imagined - anything that appears as a threat evokes the
fight or flight
response. Fear is a messenger that tells us there's a choice to be made. But when we are
incapable or unwilling to make
that choice we choose to close the door of consciousness and
turn to one of those avenues of escape listed above - anything
not to feel our inadequacy.
There is one type of fear that we don't often consider but most of us - if not all - have experienced
some point in our lives and that is fear of our own power. Fear of success, happiness, love, freedom and wholeness.
Why is it that when the very things we all so deperately hope for and search for are within our grasp, we hesitate.
so suspicious of anything good. Where is the hidden agenda, where's the deception? We've all been burnt before.
back into the fire? Why risk what we have now for the possibility of something better. We could lose it all.
We hold on
much too long. Often everything in our being is screaming "Go! Yes! Move! Now!" and suddenly we're paralyzed
Soon the moment passes, the ship has sailed and we realize we've missed the opportunity of a lifetime and
may spend the
rest of our lives trying to compensate for the loss.
So how do we get past our animal instinct of fight or flight?
We have to allow ourselves to go beyond, rise above, transcend
our mammal experience and realize that to be human is to
have the choice to rise above our reactions. Unlike our furry and feathered brothers, we can open
the door to a higher
awareness to get a glimpse of the bigger picture and see the real truth behind the illusion.
If only we could just let
go and and break free we could access that blissful state of love, clarity and confidence. There are many ways
get there - meditation, prayer, journaling, inspired reading, creating art, communing with nature, sharing our hearts
with others, giving comfort to those in need. Anything that opens us up and creates that warm expansion of spirit.
When we are willing to change, to surrender the familiar for the unknown then we are ready to take the leap of faith.
Ultimately, no one else can tell us what is true. We have to find
out for ourselves. That is our journey here on earth.
Our mission is to find the truth and put it into action. Each
presents opportunities to transcend fear - in all of it's manifestations. A coward is only a coward until the next
Be a hero today.
Playing Guitar August 2006
got his first guitar when he was 15. He traded in his vintage drum set which he now realizes was worth a lot more than "the
1.99 guitar" the shop owner handed him. He still has it though - that was over 20 years ago. What is this powerful bond we
have with guitars?
I guess I was about 11 when I first picked up a guitar. It belonged to my older brother and even though
I never saw him play it, he would never allow me to touch it. He kept it way in the back of his closet
behind a large sketchbook, a pile of smelly sneakers and his cherished comic book collection.
I never was a kid who liked to follow the rules so one afternoon when he was out I
sneaked into his room and after poking around in his dresser drawers for loose change, I remembered the forbidden instrument.
The fact that it was off-limits made it all the more enticing.
The first strum - though horribly out of tune - was pure magic.
I spent the next hour plucking, picking and sliding. I had no clue what I was doing but I fell in love with the sound.
I had taken keyboard lessons at school and taught myself a few tunes on the recorder but somehow the guitar
was different. Holding it against me I felt strangely powerful, as if I had connected with some mysterious force. As I embraced the smooth, beautiful curves of polished wood, a bond seemed to form between us. It seemed so happy to
be free. But all too soon my brother returned
and I quickly and reluctantly stashed his guitar back in its lonely corner.
was my brother who introduced me to Joni Mitchell and although I didn’t actually “get “ her until years
later, there was something about her sound that totally mesmerized me. I knew that everything she played was authentic and
from the heart. And I knew that she played the guitar like no one else I’d ever heard. This wasn’t just entertainment
– there was love in that music…and pain. The music gave voice to her soul. I thought she was brilliant. I longed
to play like her. I wanted to be her.
Through the years I have sought out and discovered other artists who speak to me – usually there is a guitar
They make it seem so effortless. Legends like Carlos Santana and BB King don't just play the guitar,
the two become one and in that moment nothing exists but the music. Did you know that Lucille actually saved BB's life?
Now that's a loyal instrument. And I recently read that Jimi Hendrix got his first guitar out of the trash. It only
had one string but he’d sit for hours trying to get every sound possible out of that one string – and another
genius was born.
I didn’t become a genius.
I continued my piano lessons for awhile, learned how to read music (sort of) and was able to play
a few piece. I even wrote a song or two but like most teens I lost interest when my social
life picked up. Now my kids
are teens. Where did the time go?
This summer my six-year-old nephew bought his first guitar. He saved up his allowance for months. I went
to visit a few weeks ago and spent most of my time trying to tune the thing. I didn’t know what I was doing but I knew
I could make a more harmonic sound come out of it. Unfortunately one of the pegs refused to stay put so all my efforts were
in vain. I guess the dissatisfaction must have lingered in my subconscious because I
began scanning the net daily for affordable used guitars. Last week I found it.
observed that whenever there’s a pivotal moment in my life a mirror appears, someone who shares so many things in common
with me that it transcends coincidence. Call it synchronicity or serendipity or kismet - it was all of that. Her name was
Liz ( coincidence? ) and although we looked nothing alike she did resemble my lifelong best friend. She was moving to Boston,
not far from the little town where my mom grew up and where I spent all my summers as a kid.
She lived in University City just blocks
away from my old apartment. I met her at 30th Street Station
and as I picked up my guitar for the first time, I felt that same strange force filling me. My entire being was smiling – beaming - and I became giddy with excitement and anticipation.
As I said goodbye and wished my mirror luck, she handed me an electric tuner and a purple pick –
my favorite color. On the way home several people stopped me to ask if I played and to share their guitar
experiences. I was in the club now.
After just ten minutes at home, I popped a string while tuning it and
could hardly wait ‘til the next day to get it replaced. I was hooked.
the guitar shop I was surrounded by guitars and guitarists. Suddenly I belonged to an elite group consisting of rock stars,
songwriters and blues singers.
I practice every day but I must admit it's harder than I thought. I have so much more respect for all those guitarists
out there. I didn't know there was actual pain involved! But last night I got a new wave of inspiration when Jeffrey
gave me one of his picks so now I am determined to see this through. I know I'll never play like Jeff or any of those other
guys who make it look so easy but if I can just learn to play one song I will be ecstatic and if it happens to be one
of mine I can finally check one dream off my list.
Got a guitar story? Send it in and I’ll post it!
Free July 2006
On Thursday night,
Jeffrey presented us with a challenge. As he introduced the song, To Be Free...
I'd like to encourage
you all to take full advantage of that option (freedom); while you can.”
That brief statement resonated
in me and still lingers with me 24 hours later. Did I sell out? Did I trade my freedom for security? The answer is yes.
We did what we were told.
We studied hard, got a job a spouse, a car, a house. Now we can sit back and
enjoy the fruits of our labors, right? The only thing is there seems to be a
whole lot more labor than fruit. These days the work never seems to end. After
putting in 40 hours at the office, we come home to stacks of paperwork and endless phone conversations with Insurance companies,
banks, medical personnel, etc. And after taking care of our kids, pets and cars, we flop down in the chair with the remote,
too tired to do all those things we were planning to do with our free time. But isn’t that
what grown-ups are supposed to do?
To preserve our sanity,
every once in awhile we need to remove ourselves from the endless stream of obligations,
take a deep breath and cast a glance in a new direction.
We wait in the darkness
for something, someone, anything to come and take us away from our ordinary existence, if just for an hour. And suddenly he appears, at the edge of our world, surrounded by the glow of some faraway place. It’s the magic dust from so many days of adventure, of life
celebrating itself. It is the aura
of possibility, imagination, play and wonder. We are enchanted by his charming
smile and intrigued by his stories. He invites us to come out and play but we can only join him if we believe and are willing
to let go of fear and other earthly limitations.
Yes, it’s Peter
Pan, the keeper of dreams, who wins our hearts each time he comes to the window of our lives.
But he’s traded his sword for an acoustic guitar and his green elf suit for a black t-shirt and jeans.
We eagerly take his hand
and fly away, far above it all where everything is so clear and beautiful. Finally, we are free. We experience pure joy and
exhilaration. We laugh, we cry, we trade stories and, in the blink of an eye, it is time to return. There are people and things
that need our attention. We knew it was too good to last. It takes courage to choose freedom and most of us just aren’t brave enough to follow our hearts wherever
they might lead us.
Fortunately, there are
enough of us who still believe in the possibility of the dream and that openness to wonder keeps the magic alive. We believe
and so he exists to keep our dreams alive for us.
And so we will wait by
the window until he comes again to set us free.
Metamorphosis June 2006
My son is graduating this week. Twelve long years in the chrysallis are finally over
and a new adventure awaits him in college. He is entering the next life phase, becoming a brand new creature, trying
his wings for the first time. I celebrate his independence even as I see the approaching storms and know that I
won't be there to pick him up when he falls. It's not my job anymore.
When he walks through that door his life will be his own.
I know he'll be fine but maternal instinct prevails. I totally get that this
is the natural order of things and that independence is the goal we've always been shooting for but I will miss him.
As the day of his departure draws closer I become more
nostalgic. Lately, every time I look at him I see the three-year-old with a sticky popsicle and a towel for a cape who laughs
at all of my jokes and I can't help thinking this may be the last summer we'll all be together as a family.
I must remind myself that life hates stagnation. To be alive is to grow and change continuously.
When we resist, things can get ugly pretty quick. Just try resisting birth pangs.
We can't always see the wisdom beyond the pain of giving up our comfortable existence for
the promise of the great unknown but the universe knows. It happens every day in gardens, forests and oceans all over
the world. It happens in galaxies millions of light years from our own.
Every moment the universe is reinventing itself. Living things are transforming and evolving
all around us.
We get so caught up in how, when and why life happens that we miss the miracle. Life
is! It's all happening right now! It's not a dream. It's not a movie. It's real. We can touch it and taste it
and roll in it.
Yet, here we sit inside the chrysallis. We've overstayed our time in the safety of our paper-thin
shell, trading our hard-won freedom for a false sense of security. Yes, there will be storms but there is a lifetime of adventure
waiting just outside the door.
Be brave little butterfly.
The Empty Stage May 2006
There it is…the
spotlight. Inviting isn’t it? All of us at one point have dreamed of standing there, for just one moment pouring out
our souls, shouting for all the world to hear, “ I EXIST…I MATTER…I
HAVE SOMETHING OF VALUE TO SAY”.
Like so many of us, I
was silenced as a child. I longed to sing, dance and give voice to my experience but all my attempts were discouraged and
so I had to redirect that fountain of creative energy into smaller channels. I began to draw, paint and write. I surrendered
to my imagination and lived vicariously through the adventures of characters in books. I took my camera with me everywhere
in an attempt to capture the intangible essence of the moment. And I sang…in my room behind closed doors when I was
sure no one could hear.
I have always admired
those with the guts to get up in front of a crowd and sing their most intimate thoughts to friends and strangers. Ever since
I first heard Joni Mitchell in my teens, I’ve always known that I missed my calling.
I was determined to encourage
my children and everyone else’s children to be as expressive as they dared to be so I taught theater arts to kids. As
I invited their silenced voices out to play I began to free my own. I rediscovered my playfulness and spontaneity and eventually
accepted several opportunities to speak and recite my poetry publicly.
Now I’ve created
this space. This is my stage. I am grateful for those of you who come to hear what I have to say and I do appreciate hearing
your feedback since I don’t get applause.
And although I still harbor
some envy for people like Jeffrey, who stand confident in the spotlight, I also realize that it is a great responsibility
to be the symbol of everyone’s unfulfilled dreams. Maybe that’s one reason why I want so badly for him to make
it big. I’d feel that in some small way I was part of that.
I do sing now…everyday
in the shower but I no longer care who hears. My family used to complain but they’ve gotten used to it. Surrounded by
all that tile, I sound great! Who knows, someday I may be really brave and try
Living in the light April 2006
a performer, Jeffrey steps onto the stage, under the blinding light and exposes all of his hope and despair before us. He
speaks for the silent…for those of us who lack the boldness to give voice to our fear and desire. He doesn’t claim
to know any more than us; he is our mirror… as we all are to each other.
we realize it or not, we are all living in the light and as much as we might think we are hiding all of our secrets neatly
behind that mask of perfection, we give ourselves away in subtle ways each day. Our external behavior is a reflection of our
internal struggles. Excessive eating, drinking, and shopping reveals some emotional and spiritual imbalance. Escaping for
endless hours into drugs, movies, television and casual sex exposes a lack of real meaning and substance in our lives ( I
guess that covers most of us). We often consider these things acceptable vices and we excuse and rationalize our behavior
rather than admit there is work to be done. Who wants more work? Isn’t life hard enough? Don’t we deserve a little
pleasure to help us cope with the pain?
don’t have all the answers but I know that there comes a point in time when we become aware that we are not where we
need to be. We choose to take the easy way out by numbing ourselves to the pain only to find that the pleasure isn’t
nearly as sweet as it used to be. Isn't it time to be brave and come out of the shadows, deal with the issues, pay off
our debts, open the windows and let in the beautiful sunshine? Not only will we sleep better and be able to face ourselves
in the mirror but
everywhere we go, people are watching us…judging, resenting or admiring what they see in us – the neighbor, the
boss, our friends and especially the children in our lives who are disillusioned each time they see a hero tarnished by greed,
lust, rage or cowardice. Now, who will they turn to for inspiration? You can
be that hero… just pick up your shield and go fight some dragons. You don’t have to be perfect… it just
takes one small act of bravery...go on, take off the mask, be yourself, speak the truth and let the sunshine in.
He that has light within his own clear breast may sit in the centre,
and enjoy bright day: But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts benighted walks under the mid-day sun; himself his own
- John Milton
Back On Track
/ March 2006
to all of us. One minute we’re happy, healthy and carefree, then suddenly the roof falls in, the rug gets pulled out
from under us and we’re flat on our backs wondering what happened. Suddenly
we’ve lost it all – money, health, job,
love… and we never saw it coming. So here we are in the middle of nowhere…where do we begin?
know about you but my first instinct is to panic and shut down. I’m in shock. It’s the end of the world as I knew
it. After a day (or week or month, depending on how big the problem is) I come out of my cave and look around for something
I can grab onto to keep me from sinking any deeper into the muck. It’s never the solution – just a temporary security
begin to begin to take inventory – physically, mentally, and spiritually. I open my journal and look for the root cause.
Eventually, I find that quiet space where I can be completely still and listen to that inner voice… God, the universe,
the higher self, whatever it is that you call that deep intelligence that we all have access to when we need wisdom and guidance.
There I begin to see where my priorities and boundaries are again. Usually, there are things in my life I need to let go of
and other things I need to embrace. Often there is some difficult course of action I’ve been avoiding. Always, always
it’s a matter of awareness. I just wasn’t paying attention.
so many distractions these days that some of us create an entire existence from just the distractions. It’s called a
lifestyle. If we don’t stop from time to time to focus on what is really important in our lives, one day we’ll
wake up to discover those things we care most about are gone.
is becoming increasingly more complicated. If we keep adding people, places and things to our busy schedules, eventually some
things begin to fall through the cracks. It’s like going into the grocery store just to pick up a few things. We walk
right by the carts and baskets and proceed to collect items from the shelves. Soon we’re struggling to hold onto ten
items and we’re miles away from the nearest cart or basket. Don’t we feel silly now? If we keep adding to the
load something’s gotta give. This is stress. We tend to think stress is a bad thing but stress is just information –
“Hello…you’re carrying too much…put something down …get some help…get a basket already!”
isn’t really all that complicated. Once we put everything in the basket we can see what we have clearly and make reasonable
decisions. On some level, we usually know what needs to be done. The hard part is actually doing it. Maybe discipline and
responsibility don’t sound like much fun but when you take care of those necessary things first you can enjoy the party
with a clear conscience.
Ya see, I
know all this but I still have a hard time with the whole “being a grown-up” thing. I guess there’s still
a little teenage rebellion left in me. Okay, okay...I’m putting back the oreos and picking up the broccoli. It’s
I was listening to Right My Wrongs the other day and it brought to mind the subject of
New Year’s resolutions. How life affirming to take personal inventory of our lives and see just where the holes are,
determined to repair them. But It takes guts to take a good long look in the
metaphysical mirror and recognize that with a little effort we could be so much better. Of course, only the bravest and most
determined souls will complete the course but even if we lose momentum along the way, just the act of starting the journey
“on bright new ground” is sometimes enough to bring us to the next level.
Although we may find it easier to just coast through our days, giving just enough to get by, ultimately
it only leaves us empty and seeking out anything to fill the endless void. It has been my experience that when I’m living
by my convictions – honest with myself and others, respectful of all creatures great and small, hardworking, compassionate,
aware, facing my challenges without running, blaming or making excuses – I am fully engaged, in tune with the rhythm
of life, connected by some unseen force to all other living things. There are no holes to fill. I have peace. There is no
need to depend on anyone or anything. I have joy. I am overflowing with love for my fellow man. There is no guilt, no anxiety,
no jealousy. I am free. It’s not always easy to get to that Island in the Sun. Usually I arrive there quite by accident. Suddenly I look around
and everything’s changed and I’m just happy to be alive.
More often I find I’m struggling with all my might to crawl out of some pit I’ve dug
for myself, desperate for just a glimpse of sunlight. Upon further reflection, I realize that there is always a moment, a
turning point when I can choose to be aware and responsible for my actions or ignore the voice of clarity and reason and follow
my id blindly into the house of mirrors, where I can convince myself that the illusions are real. How quickly we forget the
inevitable fall each time we find ourselves at that crossroads.
Jeffrey says he’s not making any resolutions this year. His ambitions are too big to have
them all come true. But I believe there is magic in setting a course for a grand adventure, even if we never reach our destination.
Just for the moment, as we spread the map and make a plan, anything is possible. So go ahead…dream big!
I'm finding it
difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year. In the wake of war and natural disaster, the jingle bells ring hollow
in my ears. I could fake my way through it, put on my best smile and lose myself in the mania of shopping and decorating that
Christmas has become but I'm choosing instead to look for ways to make this time of year more meaningful and find more ways
to connect with family, friends and strangers. I'll start by making a gift for everyone I know and giving to those who are
truly in need. I also plan to spend a few moments each day in silence in order to hear that inner voice that so often gets
drowned out in the flurry of the noise and activity.
So, at this
time, as we all hope for peace on earth, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on the ideals of peace and how we
can bring more peace into our lives. That is the first step to being the peace we want to see in the world... so take 3 minutes
out of your hectic day... take a deep breath...relax your shoulders and just let the words wash over you...
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine
flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will
drop off like autumn leaves.
Better than a thousand hollow
words is one word that brings peace.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
--Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only
be attained through understanding.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is no trust more sacred
than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected,
that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.
Peace can only last where human rights are respected,
where people are fed, and where individuals
and nations are free.
--The XIVth Dalai Lama
Peace is every step.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil
it does is permanent.
--Mohandas K. Gandhi
We look forward to the
time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.
If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom
like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.
--Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace is the respect for the rights of others.
put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind...War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector
enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
--John F. Kennedy
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal...the past
is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
Luther King, Jr.
The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
Peace may sound simple - one beautiful word - but it requires everything we have, every quality,
every strength, every dream, every high ideal.
There is no way to peace.
Peace is the way.
If you want peace, work for justice.
It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe
in it. One must work at it.
This is the way of peace: Overcome evil
with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.
-- Peace Pilgrim
like charity, begins at home.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt
Peace is not an absence of war,
it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
--Martin Luther King,
The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when
they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center
of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
All works of love are works of peace...if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that
we belong to each other.
make me an instrument of thy peace; where there
is hatred, let me sow love;
there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Peace is our gift to each other.
wish you peace.
As a kid, it
seemed the adults in my life always wanted me in when all I wanted was to be out. So I spent a lot of time looking
out the window...at home, church, in the car, at school - what was happening outside was always far more interesting
than anything going on inside. So many years are wasted in classrooms when the best education is
found in the school without walls. The answers to our most profound questions
can usually be found by sitting still and listening.
In the early morning when most of the world
is still asleep you can hear the wind whispering in the trees, water rushing over stones and the songs of birds as they wake
and greet the dawn. If you listen carefully, you can learn each unique voice. Robin, chickadeeand mockingbird are easily
recognizable with their familiar repetitions. Canaries, warblers and nightengales are well known for their talent as musicians.
But there is one bird whose song captures my heart every time. The humble starling pales in comparison to the glory of the
peacock, the strength of the eagle, the majesty of the owl. Perching on the wire above, he flaps his wings and in a burst
of pure joy, pours out the sweetest tribute to the new day. His is not the most beautiful of songs, in fact, it sounds like
random notes strung together without a thought or care, with a few clicks and squawks thrown in for no good reason. The sound
is comical at best, but it is sung from the heart and I challenge you to find a happier, more enthusiastic, more inspirational
singer among all creatures. Funny how the value of common things is overlooked as we seek out the spectacular to arouse our
dulled senses but it is in the quiet moments that truth is revealed through simplicity.
I heard a song once that went like this...
"All God's children got a place in the
choir. Some sing low and some sing higher. Some sing out loud on the telephone wire and some just clap their hands, paws or
anything they got now."
I believe we are here on this earth to find our
own place in the choir. To discover and develop our gifts and to share our own authentic voice with the world.
October 2005My family tree has branches that spread far and wide. From Portugal to Madagascar, from England to Mexico. I grew up
listening to my aunts and uncles speaking spanish and portugese. My father quoted Thoreau, my brother quoted Angela
Davis. My mom listened to Frank and Dino; my dad, Beethoven and Brahms; my brothers, jazz, blues and acid
rock. Throw into the mix the fact that I was born in the sixties, my formative years spent in
a whirlwind of political and social upheaval, and you have a recipe for total confusion. I lived in that state for decades...until
I began to look for the common threads and found that I could weave them all together and create something unique and beautiful
and express that through art.
Over the years I found myself gravitating
towards anyone who shared that vision of finding and making connections where they never existed before in that particular
form. Jeffrey is the latest in a long line of synthesizers I consider kindred spirits. Santana, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison,
David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Walt Whitman, DaVinci, Edison, Einstein, and so many more. These are the brave souls who are intrigued
by possibility and for whom the word limitation has no meaning. Once we step through that door all boundaries are blurred.
Music, art, poetry, science are no longer separate entities but a swirling wind of creative energy fueled by wonder, imagination
and passion. It is this same energy, I believe, that sustains the universe and once we embrace this level of understanding,
words begin to lose their meaning. Everything is everything else. We have no need for comparing and defining. We just enjoy
the ride. In these manic modern times we all find ourselves needing to find ways to organize and compartmentalize our lives
to make sense of it. I propose that we do just the opposite. Just for today, let’s blow all the pieces like dandelion
seeds into the wind and see where they land.
outside the fishbowl
At the Wildflower
Café, Jeffrey started the show by announcing that from now on he was just going to play and let the music do the talking but
a few songs in he reconsidered and shared a few of his musings about life. I can’t speak for the rest of you guys but
I happen to love that part. I can go home and play all the songs (and I do…every day) so when I come out to a live show
I’m looking for something different. Each show is a unique experience…there’s the vibe of the place, the
energy of the crowd, the tone of the music and Jeffrey’s stream-of-consciousness ramblings about anything and everything…from
early childhood memories to stories from the road.
As a visual
artist and a songwriter, Jeffrey is both observer and reporter. He views the world at a slightly skewed angle. With his head
tilted to one side, he takes in every detail, absorbing it all like a sponge. Then he wrings it all out up there on stage,
flooding us with insights and witticisms.
Most of us
live inside the fishbowl, where we go through the motions to survive in our chosen form of captivity. We move in our familiar
patterns of rest and activity, stopping every so often to wonder if there is more to life beyond the boundaries of our reality.
If only we had the courage to risk it all and find out. So many of Jeffrey’s songs speak to this theme and it is a universal
dilemma, security vs. the realization of dreams.
We look for
inspiration from artists, poets and philosophers who live outside the fishbowl where anything can happen. They continue to
remind us that life is a blank canvas and each of us is equipped with a box of bold colors and an assortment of brushes. Some
of us never even open the box. Some make an attempt to create but quit at the first mistake. Others continue to experiment
and gradually acquire the skills and tools to find satisfaction with their creative efforts. Regardless of what the rest of
the world thinks of our finished piece, we have experienced pure freedom in choosing to leave behind the ordinary world and
open the door to limitless imagination.
the fish, with his physical and intellectual limitations, isn’t capable of making that choice. Once inside the fishbowl,
he is at the mercy of his caretakers. We, on the other hand, have only to think beyond the glass and instantly the bowl vanishes
and we find ourselves swimming free in an endless sea of possibility.
artist and writer myself, I spend a great deal of time outside the fishbowl looking in. I am also a parent, teacher
and homeowner, which requires me to function within the confines of society. So I live in two worlds and it is a constant
challenge. But I can’t stay inside the bowl for long before claustrophobia sets in. I know where I belong. Gotta
go now… the ocean is calling.
A few months back at the Tin Angel, Jeffrey joked about the fact that no one
ever comes to his shows dressed like him. Whereas crowds routinely don elaborate costumes to be in sync with their favorite
performers “we just look like we’re waiting for a bus!”
It’s true; the connection isn’t an obvious one. Jeffrey Gaines’
fans represent a cross-section of America. Looking around the room, you are likely to find teen fledgling rockers, some guys
who just came for the beer, married couples, serious music aficionados, a sprinkling of pageant contenders, some guys who
came along to appease their girlfriends and a few gen x-ers who came just to hear “In Your Eyes.” Then there’s the core group of Jeff’s supporters who for some reason connect to this guy and
would follow him anywhere. I’m not saying which category I’m in but considering that I’m spending a gorgeous
Sunday afternoon typing this article, you could probably guess.
I am personally offended at the tasteless choices we are handed in the movies,
television and music industries today. I am just as offended by all of us who are willing to accept those choices and just
live with them. It’s mostly garbage. The media spoon-feeds us mediocrity on a daily basis until we begin to believe
all those small, fragmented, isolating thoughts that reinforce our insecurities, convincing us that we are never enough. They
seep into our consciousness and begin to form our existence. Where is the quality in our lives? There is so much talent out
there – underrated, under promoted and under supported. We just need to care a little bit more.
I once overheard a club manager remark to Jeffrey that he’s never seen
anything like the devotion Jeff’s fans have toward him. We hang around long after the show hoping for a few brief words,
a photo or a JG on our cd cover. Jeffrey is always generous and accommodating.
We come away from the show feeling validated, appreciated and inspired. We
can take all that back into our lives and function from a slightly higher level of awareness as the words and music still
resound in our minds and hearts, reminding us to be bold, to care for each other and to focus our energies on the things that
I wasn’t at all surprised to find that many of Jeffrey’s fans are caring,
compassionate and creative. They are teachers, artists, photographers, caretakers, builders, writers and musicians; people
I’d like to know better. The JG café is a forum for just that kind of interaction. I hope more people will write in
just to say hi. Don’t be shy! I love mail!
Leap of Faith (July 2005)
From time to time we all have to face that moment when we choose to risk it
all to follow our true path, leaving behind what has been comfortable and familiar for so long. Nature shows us that this
is how life adapts and evolves. The tadpole becomes a frog, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. We have given up so much
to preserve our security but now the winds of change are blowing and it is time to move on.
In the past
we may have lingered a while, contemplating all of our options but these are bold times and if we don’t act when we
know we should, we may just miss that window of opportunity and we’ll never know how amazing our lives could be.
In order to keep the flag of hope waving high
in an often hopeless world, we’ve got to step out and stand tall. That’s what Jeffrey has been telling us all
these years and he's right. We can’t let our fears hold us back from becoming who we were meant to be. We have to trust
that there are indeed benevolent forces at work in the universe that will come to our aid once we gather our courage and intentions
and take that leap into the void.
Suddenly, the winds of change become warm thermals and we grow eagle wings. Gliding effortlessly above it all, we can see
farther and clearer than ever before and in our new form we find we can travel to distant and unimaginable lands.
It’s not easy breaking free of all the ties that
bind – home, job, family, friends - there are invisible strings connecting
us to all of that and even though they can’t be seen, those strings bind us tightly to our current existence, like the
reins of a horse, determining the course of our lives.
Naturally, we must take into consideration
our serious obligations to those who truly need us. Caring for young children, aging parents or a disabled spouse may delay
us on our journey to self-fulfillment for a while but a life of true loyalty and selflessness is always rewarded, although
not necessarily in ways that the rest of the world would consider valuable. Then again, the intentions of the heart can sometimes
open doors we never knew existed. Whatever your circumstances, keep your dream alive, practice your craft and refine your
skills. When opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready.
It seems that Jeffrey has reached a crossroads and is lingering in the doorway, surveying the horizon. We have supported him
over the years and he has responded by rising to the occasion with the music and words we all needed to hear but it’s
a new day and it is time for Jeffrey to leave the proverbial nest. We need to show him that same support as he ventures out
into a new way of being, a new direction, whatever that may be and have faith that when the dust settles everything will be
as it should be.
Jeffrey is hard at work on his sixth studio album and isn’t
giving us many clues as to what we should expect. At recent shows, he has hinted at making some changes towards a more alternative
and edgier sound. It appears the time has come to leave the security of his comfortable niche and explore beyond the boundaries
that currently hold him back from greater success. He has always been destined for greatness and it’s only a matter
of time before the rest of the world comes on board.
Hopefully, he won’t venture too far from the quintessential
Jeffrey Gaines that we’ve all grown to love. Hopefully, no matter what form the new music takes on, at it’s core
we will find the provocative, courageous, compelling and liberating words that inspire us ever onward.
For those of you who cringe at the thought
of leaping blindly into thin air from a mountaintop, allow me to offer another, perhaps gentler, metaphor. Every thought,
action or expression that we put out there in the world is a little paper boat in a stream, full of hope and promise as it
sails out of view. If, by chance, it should arrive on a happy shore where it is found and cherished – wonderful, though
it could just as easily get tangled in some vegetation and eventually decompose.
years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream."
-- Mark Twain
Hopefully, with a steady wind and a large stack of paper one of our little boats just may make its way out onto the sea of
possibility, sailing among the big ships and finally come to rest on an island paradise. There, at last, the dream meets reality
and life becomes pure magic.
(At the time of this writing we are celebrating Memorial Day. It seemed
appropriate to reflect on the lives of those who have lived a life of purpose)
The hero theme runs strong in Jeffrey’s lyrics. And it’s
no wonder, he’s an observer and when we stop to take a good look around, there aren’t too many examples of true
heroism to be found, especially if you base your reality on what the media serves up. You’ve got your overpaid athletes
and your diamond-studded rappers but we can do better than that.
There are many definitions for the word hero and, being a purist, I opt for
the one that refers to honor and courage. So where are these brave, noble men
and women? My parents exhibited some of these qualities but they were flawed so I dismissed them as heroes at an early age
and vowed to do just the opposite of everything they ever taught me. Still, somehow, I ended up exactly where they were…
Other definitions of the word have to do with power, ability and impressing
people. I believe we’ve settled for this lesser type of hero due to the fact that the world has become increasingly
superficial and tends to make gods of anyone who has more than us. The popular, rich and good-looking draw our undying devotion
as we flock to catch a glimpse of these new royals. In contrast, the humble, compassionate and honorable seemed to pale in
comparison, nearing extinction as a species…that is, until a few years back when a few off-course planes changed our
If anything good came out of the 9/11 incident it was the long overdue appreciation
of the unsung heroes. Finally, we paid respect to firefighters and police officers and all those brave young men and women
who put their lives on the line to protect our country. We even got a glimpse into the lives of doctors, nurses and those
family members who searched tirelessly for lost loved ones. We all banded together and found the courage to live our lives
Unfortunately, America has amnesia when it comes to principles and character. No, it’s more like mass attention deficit
disorder. A never-ending stream of trivia and sales pitches flashes on like Times Square in our minds and our thoughts are
no longer our own. Thanks to the media, we now know more about the weekly antics of pop divas than our own families.
Since becoming a parent myself, I have seen fit to pardon my parents for
their shortcomings and now consider them both true heroes. Together, they survived abusive alcoholic parents, the depression,
war, poverty, discrimination, segregation, assimilation and raising a large family during the turbulent sixties. We may have
been dysfunctional but none of us ended up insane, addicted or incarcerated. I know they weren’t perfect but they showed
up and got the job done.
There is a hero in each of us and with each new day we have a new opportunity
to shine bright. Maybe we’ll never rescue someone from a burning building,
maybe we’ll never have our 15 minutes of fame but being a hero was never so much about being the best or the strongest
but about being brave enough to go forward into unknown territory to speak your truth, give voice to your passion and live
I read a line years ago, in a book called Urantia, that changed
quickest way for a tadpole to become a frog
to live loyally each moment as a tadpole.”
Jeffrey, I believe, is well on his way to froghood. Each time he walks out
onto the stage he rises to the challenge. And each time he sings from the heart he sings for all of us who haven’t yet
found the courage. He has survived adversity and yet makes the choice each day to step boldly and fully into the moment. Against
all odds, he perseveres to be what he set out to be. He inspires me to be more, to give more, to live more. There haven’t
been many heroes who have had a major impact on my life. I could probably count them on one hand. Jeffrey is one of them.
It seems I have gotten
myself into a financial bind. I’m not alone in this fiasco. My husband was instrumental in helping me get to this point.
We are so broke in fact that out of sheer desperation, I have elected to willingly compromise myself and register to win a
cash prize from our local soft rock station. You know the type – all top 40 pop hits from the 60’s to the present
with nothing controversial so that it can be played in the workplace without offending anyone. In other words, pablum.
Okay, the songs aren’t all bad. In fact I actually like
one out of twenty but that’s a lot of bland to swallow. There’s only so much Rod Stewart and Celine Dionne I can
stomach so I usually keep the volume turned down as low as possible. Whenever they play a song I absolutely hate, I change
the station for a minute or two and then panic and return to the slave master.
I don’t know how much longer I can hang in there; I’m
beginning to hear these songs in my sleep. I ask myself daily if it’s really worth it. The worst part is that, although
I have enlisted friends and family to cover for me when I can’t listen, there have been a few times when I’ve
missed hearing a name called. What if they already called my name weeks ago? I could be listening to this crap all summer
and never reap the benefit of my enormous sacrifice. Now I’m trapped.
My great grandfather was a sharecropper and I’m beginning to feel that I haven’t
made much progress since that era.
So what does my predicament have to do with Jeffrey Gaines? Absolutely
nothing. Jeffrey wouldn’t sell his soul for money. I am completely embarrassed to admit that I have.
I’ve always been such a good hippie –
seeking out the truth behind the facade, resisting media hype and fashion trends, protesting oppression, being a champion
for the underdog, living on the fringe of what is socially acceptable – and now it comes to this. I think I’m
going to have to do some more soul searching. In the meantime, I will be listening to the “pleasant music” station.
Today could be my lucky day.