Monday, June 27, 2016

Camp Address and Objects In Motion

Just wanted to share a few things with you before I leave on my big summer adventure.
  • Tomorrow I leave for Georgia to pick up C-Man. We'll leave for OH on Thursday morning to spend some time with the family before we have to be at camp. The staff training begins on July 6. After that, it all kicks into high gear or low gear, depending on your interpretation of gears, and we'll be at camp until August  6. I'll be back home about a week (maybe less) later. 
  • If you are a praying person, my ex's daughter needs prayer. Long story short: she's 17 and decided to leave home. As someone else who has left her father, I can in some ways understand this decision, but she simply isn't equipped to face life despite her (mistaken) belief that she is. She's living with a friend, is determined not to finish high school, and thinks life will just present her with good things. I'm not really certain how she sees this all going down. My prayer is that someone says "the thing" that provides some much-needed perspective.
  • On a personal note, my therapist says that we've done so much work toward battling my migraines, etc. that maybe, just maybe, the biggest thing holding me in this place (or maybe cycle is a better word) of unwellness is lack of purpose. That has been serious food for thought in this ole brain and inspired several pivotal events that I'll tell you about after I get back. Perhaps, I'll have a better context for them. In any event, I wonder if she's right. I ask you, dear readers, do you think it's possible for someone to feel so overwhelmed by life and drowned by their lack of  a place in it that it makes them physically sick? I suspect that the answer may be "yes," and that the only course of action that will lead to wellness is movement. That old adage about all journeys beginning with a single step comes to mind. After all, the only way to get to your purpose is to start moving. You will either feel closer to it or further away. I've already determined that standing still is migraine-inducing. 
  • If you're thinking that all of this seems fairly obvious, and you sure thought I was smarter than this... sorry to disappoint. 
I'm going to leave you with two things. One is the camp address, so you can write me. I will write you back if you include your address:)

Robin Richards aka Mergan
Stony Glen Camp
5300 W. Loveland Rd
Madison, OH 44057

I'm also going to leave you with a song for your listening enjoyment. This is one that C-Man sent to me a while back. I really like it. Every time I listen to it I can't help but smile. Smile on...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Battle of the Bands Results and Camping Out

I'm actually timely with my BoTB results. Not sure what is going on here.... Audience participation was a bit off for this one. I think the summertime blues (or summertime vacations) have kicked in. People have decided they have better things to do than sit behind their computers and read/write blogs. Say what??? I know. It's crazy tunes. But, there you go. Seriously, you all know I'm about to leave on a rather long hiatus of my own, so I totally get it.

Let's recap what did happen with the voting. The song was Young and Beautiful. The contenders were Lana Del Rey and Postmodern Jukebox. I fully expected Lana Del Rey to win this one. This is her song after all. However, I also expected Postmodern Jukebox to give her a run for her money. I'm actually going to tell you what I like about both versions (for a change). I think Lana Del Rey has an amazing voice. I also liked the orchestral backing on the song. Many of you said that the song had an epic feel to it. I think that was the feeling that they were striving for with the song since it was part of the Gatsby soundtrack. They wanted it to feel lavish and epic with an undertone of sadness, which I think it accomplishes magnificently. When someone has to ask you if you will still them when they are no longer young and beautiful, they already know the answer. You won't. Or maybe they won't love themselves. Either way, it's going to end badly. But it's going to look and sound magnificent right up until the last note. And that's how I feel about the Lana Del Rey version of the song.

Postmodern Jukebox didn't even try to capture this effect with the song. They went an entirely different way with the song, which was the right thing to do. When you're going to cover something, make it your own. So, they took it right back to the Roaring 20s. They made it sound like a song that might have been playing at one of Gatsby's lavish parties. I loved it. I didn't love it as much as the original, but it was clever and wonderful. Many of you thought so, too, making this battle very exciting.

So, how did that voting go? Well, it was back and forth right up until the end. And there was  a moment when I was teensy bit worried that I called it wrong and thought that Postmodern Jukebox might actually beat my girl Lana on her own song. But no. The final tally:

Lana Del Rey: 10 votes (including mine
Postmodern Jukebox: 8 votes

It was a close one. Thank you for making it fun.

I'm going to post this again closer to my camp arrival, which is Wednesday July 6 for staff training. I'll be there until August 6. You can write to me here:

 Robin Richards
 Stony Glen Camp
5300 W. Loveland Rd
Madison, OH 44057

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Young and Beautiful

I'm giving you all fair warning now. I leave for camp again this summer (more info on that before I go), but I'm not going to even try to keep up with Battle of the Bands while I'm gone. Or this blog Or any social media. Why? Because I won't have internet for a large portion of the time I'm gone. And when I do, I'll be with family, so I'm sure they'll love me hammering away at the keyboard rather than spending time with them! I think it's good that we all unplug from time to time and actually talk to other people (but that doesn't mean I don't ADORE you). So, you'll hear from me a few more times before I go. I intend to give you my camp address so you will write to me (letters are the BEST!), and I will write you back. I don't guarantee you'll be able to decipher my handwriting, but I'll write.

Let's move on to the battle. I've always loved the novel The Great Gatsby. I find it fascinating that a person can build their life so thoroughly on a delusion. Or maybe we all do it to some degree??? I don't know. But Gatsby took it to a whole new level. And his certainty in the belief almost made me believe it, too... even though I knew it was pie in the sky thinking. Of course, the fact that he'd already pretty well done the impossible (a poor young man with little means turned nothing into wealth...he knew how to rise), so maybe he could have it all. But then he says this...

And if you didn't know it was going to end badly before this point, you knew it now. This is self-delusion at its finest. Of course you can!

For his last battle, Lee used a group I'd never before heard of called the Postmodern Jukebox. They really killed it in his battle. I'm going to use them again here, BUT I'm putting them up against the original artist. I'm only doing that because I think they are so good (and different enough from the original to keep it interesting). I think both versions are excellent, so I hope that this battle is a real horse race.

The song is Young And Beautiful (from The Great Gatsby, of course) and the original artist is Lana Del Rey. To be fair, I'm going to use the original (moving) video footage for both artists. But, if you think the images will influence your vote, don't watch and just listen. This is about the music after all.

Lana Del Rey:

Postmodern Jukebox:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

SOML ~ If You Build Your Castle on Sand AND BOTB Results

I've not been "on the ball" with regard to getting my results tabulated and published for Battle of the Bands. Ah well. I think, in this particular case, I could see the vote sliding solidly towards Dylan and the battle lost all its fire. And I kinda lost interest. I suspect it's a bit like watching a horse race. When the horses are neck and neck, it's riveting. When one takes a solid lead and the other has no chance of catching up, well everyone makes a beeline for their car hoping to not get caught in the traffic. So, in the beginning it was a vote for Dylan and then a vote for Mann and then a vote for Dylan and then vote for Mann. It went on like that for the first ten comments. And then the votes for Dylan started piling up and up and up and up. I got in my car and left the lot. And there you go. hahahaha.

But, all and still, I think this was a good battle. The song was good. The variation was good. Participation was good. Comments were good. It was all good. The voting wasn't as close as I like, but you don't get everything you want!

In the end, the tally looked like this for You Angel You:

Bob Dylan: 17 votes (including mine)
Manfred Mann: 7

I realize I haven't done a soundtrack post in a while. I also realize I'm going to be packing up (literally this time) and leaving for camp soon. Last time I posted I was in NYC, but really close to packing that up in order to move to Savannah, Georgia, when J1 would be relocated to Fort Stewart, Georgia. That was 1992.

I realize now that I think about this entire time as a block of time (1992-1995)... the time when J1 and I lived together. So many things happened, but most of them were small things. Point of fact: I didn't understand most of what happened in this relationship until years and years and years after it ended. And I wonder, even as I try and consolidate it now if I my take on it will change at some point in the future? I know that I thought the reasons for it ending were different ten years ago than I think today, so who knows what I will think ten years from now? And isn't it odd that I can't think about the reality of the relationship without the ending of the relationship? I think that may be because I see now that it was always hanging by a thread or starving or one breath away from dying all along. I don't know. That doesn't mean we weren't happy. We were. Sometimes very much. But so are people who live paycheck to paycheck and don't know that the boss is discussing eliminating their position.

  • We really liked doing many of the same things. We had fun together.
  • J1 was a terrible communicator when he was upset about something. So, when he did let it out, it was like a volcano erupting. It was the current thing, plus the thing from last week, last month, and maybe even something from last year that you did that really pissed him off. All at once. With no opportunity to respond to any of them.
  • J1 was a helpful person. He liked to help. He was good about helping in the kitchen cooking or wherever help was needed. 
  • J1 was downright scary when he lost his temper. It didn't happen often, but people who lost control are frightening. He scared me sometimes. He never hurt me, but he scared me several times. I think he scared himself sometimes.
  • In the move to Georgia, I really lost myself in terms of my "career." There is no publishing in Savannah. I didn't know what to do with myself. It didn't get better when we moved back to Michigan. He went back to school, but I was still feeling aimless. I got a job as a secretary, but it felt like a waste of my education. And I probably blamed J1 for my choice to leave NYC, which wasn't good for our relationship (or fair to boot, since it was my choice).
The end result was that he felt stressed at school, I felt stressed at work, and we both weren't very happy people. We were arguing a lot. I know I felt trapped. He sensed I was on the verge of running, and I think he actually wanted me to stay and work it out. And that is irony for you. Because most of our relationship was him running and me chasing after him. However, after we moved in together, it was like the sand kept shifting beneath our feet, and I never felt steady. Of course, the irony was that I pushed for this. I made this happen. Had I not called him in NYC on the floor of my kitchen he would've let it all go. OR he would've realized somewhere down the line that he messed up a good thing and done something to set it to right. But, what I now know was that there was always this whisper in the back of my mind (a knowing if you will) that I forced this into being. I forced something into being that wouldn't have been if not for my forcing it. He'd taken the out door years ago and I pulled him back in. And now that we were engaged (oh, did I leave that part out? Well, we got engaged in there, too.) But, now that we were engaged and on the threshold of forever, I didn't want to be with someone I had to yank into a relationship. And that feeling slowly ate away the ground beneath my feet until even I had to acknowledge I was standing on nothing.

And this might sound a bit crazy... more so if you've never lived anything like it, but I loved him at the end, and I didn't anymore. I loved him in the way a person always loves their first love. But I didn't love him in the way that I should've stopped loving him as soon as he told me that he didn't contact me after getting all of my letters because "he didn't want to hurt me anymore." It was like that statement finally caught up to me (even though I didn't yet know that was what caught up to me). My soul recognized that he didn't love me enough, even if he didn't know it yet. Not enough to get married.

Of course, at the time I didn't know any of that stuff. I just knew it wasn't working, and I didn't get it.

I never thought I could feel this way and I've got to say that I just don't get it
I don't know where we went wrong, but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back

Saturday, June 4, 2016





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ You Angel You and IWSG

Seems like my posts are feasts or famine. It's either nothing or multiple things at once. Turns out today is feast.

The IWSG meets on the first Wednesday of the month... and voila.

My writing is still in what I think of as "charging mode." I'm spending time trying to really get a handle on who my characters are, the world they live in, how they perceive the people around them, and all the stuff that makes the story real. If you can't walk around in this world and feel like you can touch all the edges then it still isn't right. I read my story and some of edges are still fuzzy. So I think. And ponder and consider backstory that will very likely never ever see the inside of the novel, but my character needs to know this stuff, because my character lived this stuff. And in my character's world this is very, very real. Or it should be. I want it be. The books I love most are the ones where it feels so acutely real that I could curl up in there and not leave. That's my goal. What's yours?

Before I get down to the battle, I want to take a moment to thank FAE for thinking up Battle of the Bands. Once upon a time she was lacking for an idea to use as a blog and decided to pit two bands together using the same song. Stephen T. McCarthy liked the idea so much he convinced her to make it a "thing." Well that thing turned into this thing (see the list at the bottom of the post), and the rest is history. A few years went by, and we are here. FAE has decided to turn her attention to other things. She will be sorely missed, but we who carry on her legacy will be grateful that she started this project in which we get together twice a month. She'll forever and always be OUR Battle of the Bands Angel, which coincides nicely with what I've got going on here today. Happy trails, FAE!

Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, you guys gave me a tremendous amount of material for BoTB during the A to Z. So, today I'm presenting you with a song I discovered because one of you (Stephen T. McCarthy, I'm looking at you!) used it for the keyword Angel.

The song is You Angel You. The contenders are Bob Dylan and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The song was originally released on Dylan's 1974 album Planet Waves. Manfred Mann's Earth Band released it in 1979 on their Angel Station album. It wasn't a hit record for either artist, but it has a chance of becoming a hit with you guys today. You cast votes to decide who exactly did it better!!!

You Angel You by Bob Dylan:

You Angel You by Manfred Mann's Earth Band:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles: