Hypomania. Oh, How I Love Thee!

I am a cleaning dervish.

My vocabulary is exemplary with clients. My mouth is pouring out words I rarely use. My brain is on fire!

I am writing like mad.

Writing Like the Wind

I am lost as to time. I thought yesterday (Friday) was Monday all day long. I have appointments on Monday and was ready for them wondering where my connections were… why were they so late? I still barely know what day it is. I keep looking at the calendar to see where I am.

I no longer care one whit about the hallucinations. They are worth this glorious activity and brain power.

I’m tempted to cancel the psych appointment next week, but I can hear all of you now… “NO!” so I won’t.

But, oh my Goddess, is this so delicious!

I can do anything

“Fragile”

It’s tough when my sanity is precarious.

I’m hanging on until I see the psych next week. I am not in a place of needing hospitalization or calling for help, not that way. I have only been hospitalized once, but not for trying to hurt myself, but close to it.

I went back to read what I wrote when I had the Manic Depression and wrote about it in this blog. If you’re interested, Search: Bipolar Diary and all the posts will come up. I wrote some good shit about what was going on. The published dates are 2018, but the Mania was in 2016. Blessedly, I wrote dates and times on the posts. I must have re-posted for some reason along the way. Who knows why.

The Breathing Pillow (part of “Bipolar Diary: Zero-Gravity Hallucinations“)

Breathe

I wrote:

“A crazy hallucination I had the other day was seeing my pillow breathing. Yes, I know… ridiculous, but I stared at it as it inhaled and exhaled for the entire 5-minutes I watched. I blinked, shook my head, told myself there was no way in hell that was real, yet the pillow kept inflating and deflating, slowly, as if it was breathing. I glance over a lot to see if it’s going for a repeat performance. Nothing so far.”

I also wrote:

“I have the usual roaches and now some flying bats, but those are pretty yawn-inspiring since they’ve been around so long now. It’s the floating toilet paper roll, the pens, my Blistex lip balm… things that are here in my room, in my real life, just appearing, mid-air… there… and then fleetingly gone again. My food shifts next to me. I “see” music coming out of the speaker. The movements around the room are near-constant. (The book next to me is shuffling the pages as I write this.)”

My ants don’t look so bad anymore.

Relaxing the Worries of Today

I am nowhere near what I was back then.

Meditation

I am going to put Sting’s Symphonicities Tour video on and sit back and listen to him sing to me.

Earlier today, I was feeling fragile (hence the title), but now I am feeling less so.

I am going to make it.

Writing Rules (and Dumping Them)

I came across this quote by Edward Van Halen (learned he did not like being called “Eddie”, but preferred Edward.)

“To hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.”

Eddie Van Halen
Edward Van Halen breaking all rules!

He was surely talking about music, but why can’t it relate to writing, too?

Rules First

There’s an ongoing discussion/argument about writers needing to know the rules before they break them

“It is also worth noting that those writers who understand the rules enough to break them effectively are those least likely to break them often. Trying to play fast-and-loose with the rules too often makes you look like an amateur – or ignoramus – instead of a rebel.”

The belief is if you want someone to read your book, it must look professional. If you don’t care if anyone reads it, break every rule blindly unknowing of why you are doing it.

Learning the Rules: Unwittingly & Purposefully

Books

After reading books for over fifty years, I learned rules by osmosis. I know a lot of it wasn’t conscious, but I learned the flow of books, took in how adverbs were limited, and understood how writing was concise and often tight.

Then as I figured out this writing hobby of mine might actually become a book (or four), I bought every writing book I could find. I actively learned the rules, intending to write professionally. And then I set out to do just that.

My Writing Style

Stream of Consciousness
Artist – Susan Dupor – Stream of Consciousness

I’ve always been a stream-of-consciousness writer. I tried to write for magazines and newspapers, but was only accepted by niche and liberal-writing-style magazines. I did well writing reviews, both book and food. I wrote beautiful stories for Rec.Arts.Disney.Parks (a newsgroup) 25 years ago. I had a midwifery blog for 12 years and loved writing in there. And now here I am, another blog to hold my writings.

I’ve called my style “Blog Style” for years, knowing I could not write coldly or precisely enough for traditional presses. Even in school, writing essays and term papers tended towards the informal. I was able to impart my meaning despite my style, so received good grades anyway.

Typewriter

While several styles exist for Bloggers, I don’t seem to fit any one of them in particular. The earlier definitions were “journal writing,” or the combination of “web log” that became the word “Blog.” Those fit me better, for sure.

My Style of Writing These Books

I’m working on one right now, but have three more in the wings and I’ve been trying to write them professionally, but it’s tough when that is not my main style of writing. I know this is part of what is slowing me down, has been slowing me down. 

Now that I’m writing here more, my writing has loosened up while working on the book In the Bushes (working title).

In the Bushes

Am I Dumping the Rules Now?

I think I might be. I want to trust I can get my thoughts across without freaking out about the stray adverb or if the ellipses is three or four at the end of a sentence (because there is no set rule about that one). I do have the Associated Press Stylebook beside me, so I suppose I am somewhat concerned about rules, but could I ever write for the AP? Doubtful.

Pouring Water

Perhaps I am writing in my style with a bit of the rules? That might be exactly what I’m doing.

How do you write? Do you have a style? Do you follow the rules, or break them like Sting is in the video below?

Sting and I Tackled Writer’s Block

Whenever I see something about writers writing again after a lull because the muse wandered away, I watch it.

I stumbled on this YouTube TED Talk by Sting: How I started writing songs again.

Sting
Sting

It is comforting that Sting knows my experience, not just for a short time, but for those long years of nothingness.

It seems we all find our way back to the words in different ways. His was to go back to his childhood home where a shipyard was at the end of the street. (Watch the video at the bottom of this post; it’s an amazing story!)

Mine, apparently, is going to be through music. I could not have imagined that would happen in a billion years.

Sting

Music Has Always Been There

What is odd to me is I love music. I have an enormous collection of songs and albums on my Amazon Music and a long list of Playlists I have listened to hundreds of times, including Queen, Pink Floyd, and Sting. One would think my music likes would not have included any of those bands considering my new re-love of Queen and several others.

Queen
Queen’s iconic photo.

Why would seeing them on YouTube make a difference? Was it the Reaction Videos? People discussing the nuances of every song on an artist’s discography?

I Tried with Artist Dates

I went through a phase of poring through Google Arts and Culture about two years ago, for a year. I was trying to do what The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron suggested to get one’s creativity pouring out again.

“An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.”

— The Artist’s Way, page 18

Artist's Way

I could not go out to see museums or art shows or listen to orchestras, but I could do that online with Google Arts and Culture. I drove my daughter crazy showing her pictures that caught my attention or museums I wanted her to take my grandchildren to.

Notre Dame
Visiting Notre Dame

Darwin's Finches
Darwin’s Finches

Witch Pot Laura Donefer
A Witch Pot by Laura Donefer

YouTube Art & Culture

YouTube also has intricate art and culture videos. One can not only go on endless museum tours, which are all great, but you can listen to hundreds of world-renowned orchestras playing an infinite number of pieces. We can watch ballets, learn about writing Cyrillic script, go on archeological digs, and see hundreds of thousands of excursions and artistic expressions our ancestors could only dream of.

I do watch some of that, but it has not caught my spirit the way rock music has.

Rock music is my muse.

Creativity Reborn Through Evolution

If I were younger, I would have been on YouTube, no question.

But I am not young. I write instead of talk about my inner thoughts and observations.

I am suspecting being able to watch others use their creativity in a way I cannot but would love to, has spurred my mind to find… re-find… its writing ability again. I’m having to think in new ways, write about new things, and am getting quite a kick out of all of it.

If you’re a writer, please write about your writer’s block/stumbling blocks. You’ll be writing again, even for those few minutes.

I have Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 playing at this moment (which he wrote when he was completely deaf. I learned that on YouTube, too!).

Join me, won’t you?

“I’m Going Slightly Mad”

Good News

My Cardiac Stress Test came back no blockage in my heart. I am ecstatic about that! I’ve tortured my heart since I was 11 years old, so it’s actually shocking. The summary suggested “Lifestyle Changes.”

Doing it!

Crankiness

I fucking hate Risperdal. I hadn’t taken it in a few (many) days and took the 1mg prescribed and was so groggy all day as if I had taken Trazodone. I hate dreamless sleep. Still was only five hours total, but felt horrible when awake.

What is the price of non-compliance?

I will see if there is something else I can take when I talk to the psych next week.

What Does “Slightly Mad” Look Like?

Maybe I am just in Hypomania with teensy bits of manic hallucinations. 

(Can you hear me laughing as I try and rationalize my behavior and thoughts? If I was listening to myself, I would be shaking my head and saying, “Stop it!”)

Thankfully, I am not listening to myself.

Fun with Hallucinations (Cardiac Stress Test)

I had a Cardiac Stress Test today. The ants came along with me. It’s ever so much fun trying to ignore hallucinations in a medical setting. More on that in a bit.

Besides being a fat girl, the COVID I had late December fucked with my heart and lungs. I had heart palpitations from early January until I went to the ER mid-April. (“They’re going to go away! Dr. Google said they are transient.” They were not.)

While in the hospital, a full work-up also found swollen lymph nodes in one lung. They weren’t too worried about that and said to go for another CT in six months. Easy peasy.

The heart, though. Well, let’s just say when I talked to the Electrocardiologist from my hospital bed at the end of April, he gave me an ultimatum.

These Are Choices?

He said:

“You can either completely change your life or you live in a nursing home.”

See, when people said I was going to die, that was pretty much saying, “You get out just like we all get out.” So what? I could not have cared less.

However, a nursing home?

I had pictures of myself at 400 pounds with some nurse’s aid wiping my ass. I could smell my life of urine and shit. I saw the rows of wheelchairs and my super-sized one in the corner waiting for me to go to a dinner of mush and slop.

(This might not be your view of nursing homes, but it was what my mind flashed to.)

Nursing Home

Life Changing

Well, the idea of a nursing home was less than appealing, so I decided the other option of changing my life wins that argument.

Breeze

  • I quit eating from Uber Eats.
  • I threw out the salt. Mind you, I put salt on salt, so not having salt was the most challenging change.
  • I only buy low-sodium/no sodium foods. (No lowER, sodium, I shoot for less than 1000 mgs salt daily.
  • I now drink Caffeine-Free Diet Coke.
  • I upped my vegan game, but the cardiologist said, “You might want to eat salmon for your heart and kidneys.” I eat a small bit of salmon three times a week and take Omega-3 supplements daily.
  • I take Metoprolol Tartrate for my heart palpitations (PVCs).
  • I take Lasix to keep the water from flowing up and squishing my heart.

What’s Changed So Far

  • The heart palpitations/PVCs are gone.
  • The Lasix has stopped my retaining fluid. Good LORD, salt sure had me retaining fluid. I had so much in my body it was actually squishing my heart! That is a fuck ton of fluid.
  • I’ve lost 60 pounds since the beginning of May.
  • I just got permission to start walking again. Woo hoo!

Today’s Cardiac Stress Treat

The stress test was a chemical one instead of the treadmill.

It took wayyyyyy longer than expected because I am a hard stick for IVs and they had to bring in the PICC team woman to ultrasound my arm. She found it quick and easy after 4 pokes from the nurses. “I am a hard stick. You might want to get someone with a sono to do it.” <ignore Barb/>

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log

Yeah, I brought the ants with me to the hospital. I closed my eyes and meditated to my Queen mix, deciphering the different vocal and instrumental parts to keep my mind working and not seeing or slapping the ants. I could still feel them, but worked to not feel them as much.

“Oh, listen to Deacy’s bass. That goes well with Roger’s kick drum.”

“Listen to Brian, Freddie, and Roger’s harmony. That’s Roger up there. I hear Brian better on this section. Freddie sure has range!”

I laughed thinking what they would think if I demonstrated my hallucination dance. I might be put on another floor of the hospital. At least I recognize my hallucinations. I know I am lucky that way.

Sniffing… Well, Sometimes Glue (I think)

At the hospital, I realized my olfactory hallucinations (phantosmia) are back, too. They have been for awhile, but it didn’t hit me until I began smelling the scent of a rotten animal at the hospital, too. It has been an on-again-off-again smell in my room. I have torn it apart looking for a dead animal, not finding anything. My room is sealed! There is no way for anything to get in. Why that didn’t hit me sooner is beyond me.

My olfactory hallucinations have been the most frequent hallucinations I’ve had over the last 30 years. Even when I am fine and balanced, I still have them. I have not had them for over a year; no idea why not. But here they are again.

Usually, when I am depressed, I smell gross things like vomit, something burning, shit or… dead animals?

When I am doing well, I smell great things like the plumeria in Kaua’i, strawberries, and (this is hilarious) the scent of the paper fresh off the ditto machine.

Ditto Scent
Smelling the ditto sheets. Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Am I Sliding Into Mania?

Yet, here I am, not depressed but having hallucinations.

I’ve sat for awhile and thought about the last couple of weeks. I also scoured Dr. Google.

I have:

  • Written a LOT of posts
  • Written things I regret writing (blessedly not on the blog that I can see… yet, anyway… but sadly to someone who I love very much)
  • Am sleeping way less
  • Am talking louder than I need to be
  • Saying things that are out of character

Fuck. Maybe I am sliding into mania again.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

I have an appointment with my Psychiatrist in one week. I will let you know how it goes.

Crapola.

Mania

Afterthought: I started off this post all happy and almost silly. Now that I am in this place with new light, I am not so giddy.

Gotta Talk About Brian May for a Moment

So, there is this guy named Brian May. He happens to be the guitarist and a singer for the rock band Queen. He’s also an amazing soloist. Those alone make me swoon, but there are facets of Bri (as he is often called) that must be mentioned beyond what one sees in the news and rock ezines or YouTube videos.

Yes, Yes, He Has a PhD in Astrophysics…

… which proves he is incredibly brilliant in his brain. It took him over 30 years to get that amazing degree. His PhD thesis was A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud. I doubt I would understand the first line of Dr. Brian May’s book, but good on him.

Yes, He is an Animal Rights Activist

And Goddess, do I love him for that!

Mental Health Advocate Starting with Himself

I’ve already blogged about Brian’s experiences with depression and ongoing healing and how profound that is to know I am not alone. Bri shares this with the world, so none of us are alone.

He is Single-Handedly Bringing Back Stereoscopy

If you don’t know what stereoscopes are, it is time to learn! It took me a few times to be able to see the images in 3D, but I can see them now and they are incredible!

Yes, He is an Amazing Musician, Singer, and Songwriter

Bri plays several instruments and sings with a gentle lilt that soothes so many who listen. With Queen, it is easy to pick which songs were written by him. Roger Taylor’s are also easy to distinguish. Freddie’s are fairly obvious, but John Deacon is a dark horse and wrote most of the hits Queen had over the years.

Brian May Wears His Heart on His Sleeve

Many of the songs he has written for his solo albums tear open his chest so he can share his heart with the listener.

“Too Much Love Will Kill You” is the best example of Brian’s tender and loving side that he holds out for the world to witness. A song written about an affair and his divorce; many of us know that exact pain.

The Part I Never See Written About…

…is how Brian May is a most giving teacher.

During the COVID years, Brian did Tutorials on Instagram, giving lessons to others about how to play Queen songs.

That morphed into challenges for artists to sing, dance, draw, whatever their art was, to his playing a Queen song.

Which became amazing videos like this one with Debby Holiday, Jeff Scott Soto, Justin Murphy, Cameron Brown, Ron Bumblefoot Thal, Alex Skolnick, James LoMenzo, Stu Hamm, Kenny “Play-Along” Aronoff, Marco Minnemann and Jay Hannon:

Which then came Isolation Jams like this magnificent one with the cello player Luka Šulić .

Along with this isolation jam came a magnificent piece from Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde,  Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi as well as Brian May himself, all playing a guitar version of Bohemian Rhapsody. 

The socially distant performance took place as part of Bettencourt’s AXS TV special, At Home and Social With Nuno Bettencourt & Friends…”

Turning COVID Isolation Into Magic!

I know many people did a plethora of similar reaching out to their fans and friends (I see a book from someone called Isolation Connection somewhere down the road), but these specific jams that came from Brian May made him accessible. Sure, he is still an icon, but he sits around in his shorts not worrying if his hair is perfect… just like the rest of us did when we were on camera a couple of years ago.

Even though the jams were as far reaching as Brian’s thesis, I watched dozens of them. Brian’s smile was always kind and encouraging. When he brought Roger Taylor in for “We Are the Champions,” more magic materialized. (Roger has more tattoos than I have! Awesome!)

These two are definitely the coolest grandpas in the world!

If I Could…

I would thank Brian for being such an amazing man… in so many ways, but mostly for being a fantastic teacher and a man who shares his feelings and experiences with everyone. As freakin’ brilliant as this man is, he never talks down to anyone. He speaks on everyone’s level and that is a beautiful thing. He has every reason to be annoyingly arrogant, but he is humble and gentle and kind.

Thank you, Dr. Brian May, for all you are and all you give. You bless the world with your heart.

Old Rock Stars

The Rolling Stones

When I saw the Rolling Stones in 1981, Mick Jagger was 38 years old. I was 20 and he seemed ancient. I remember our saying, “Look how old they are!” They had been out for 19 years by then and that seemed forever, especially since I was born a year before they began in 1962.

Rolling Stones 1962
Getty Images

The Stones just finished touring Europe as a celebration for their 60th year together.

Mick Jagger is 78 years old. Keith Richards is also 78, and Ron Wood is 75.

Rolling Stones 2022

For fuck’s sake, they are more spry than I could ever hope to be! Especially considering the lifestyle they all participated in for a few decades.

Queen

When Queen began in 1970 (I was 9 years old), Freddie Mercury was 24, Brian May was 23, Roger Taylor was 21 years old , and John Deacon was the youngest at 19 years old.

Queen 1970

Brian May is now 75 years old and Roger Taylor is 73 years old. John Deacon is now a mere 71 years old. (I will have no older pics of Deacy than from 1997 because that is when he retired from public life and I want to respect that.)

Brian May at 23
Brian May at 23 years old.

Brian May
Brian May at about 75 years old.

Roger Taylor early 1970s
Roger Taylor early 1970s.

Roger Taylor early 70 years old.
Roger Taylor early 70 years old. (And still yummy as ever.)

John Deacon 197s
Array of John Deacon pics over the years.

John Deacon 1997
John Deacon 1997 at 46 years old.

And of course, our precious Freddie Mercury died at the incredibly young age of 45.

Freddie at 24
Freddie Mercury at 24.

Freddie at 42
Freddie at 42 years old.

Queen is now Roger Taylor and Brian May and they are still performing in 2022.

My (NSH) Thoughts on Older Bands Touring

Because I heard the crowd of people around me, and thinking it myself when I was younger, I thought older bands should just stop presenting themselves on stage. I thought they were old farts and why not just go away for the newer bands like Van Halen and Styx. Little did I know Van Halen would end up touring for 43 years and Styx would still be on the road 52 years later.

Who cares if they have to spread their gig dates out. Who cares if Roger Taylor isn’t as fast on the drums as he used to be. Who cares that health challenges crop up and tour dates have to be adjusted.

They are out there. They are fucking out there.

And that means the world to me.

Van Halen 1972
Michael Anthony, Alex and Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth in 1972.

Van Halen 2015

Wolfie, Eddie, and Alex Van Halen in 2015.

Who Is Still Out There?

What amuses me from this 61-year old vantage point is how many bands I saw way back in the day that are or have toured for 40+ years.

  • Queen – formed in 1970
  • Aerosmith – formed in 1970
  • Styx – formed in 1970
  • Eagles – formed in 1971
  • Van Halen – formed in 1972
  • Def Leppard – formed in 1977

I would pay giant bucks to see any of them again. They were all amazing.

Why Not?

So why shouldn’t they be out kicking ass in their 70s? Fuck growing old!

It’s an attitude I am working hard to adopt.

Even More Bands Out on Tours

These bands (and the year they were formed) have been out on tour for over 40, and some even 50, years.

  • Blue Oyster Cult – 1967
  • The Doobie Brothers – 1970
  • KISS – 1973
  • Blondie – 1974
  • Iron Maiden – 1975
  • U2 – 1978
  • The Cure – 1978
  • Metallica – 1981
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – 1983

Go On, You Bad Asses!

Note: I got edited by YouTube! The video I had up was taken down. I have arrived!

“I Am Old, But Still a Child”

After watching the Taylor Hawkins Tribute earlier this week, I fell in love with Dave Grohl. I’ve now watched him on different shows on YouTube and with each segment I see, I love him more. I’ve never listened to either Nirvana or Foo Fighters (until the Tribute Concert) and not sure they are my kind of music, but this guy is fantastically bright, witty, and talented as hell. I will give his bands a go, but it is because of him. (Might I be expanding my tastes? Perhaps!)

One of the favorite things I’m learning about him is his I Don’t Give a Fuck attitude about convention and conformity. He did a drum battle with a Muppet, for crying out loud! What proper drummer would consider doing such a thing? Only someone with a complete lack of modesty and concern for what anyone else thinks.

I love that attitude!

Storyteller

I bought his book The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music and already there are quotes that fit me well. It’s reassuring someone put them out there for me to see.

This one resonates so deeply, I am strapping it on as wings to keep myself aloft.

“What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.”

I know. It’s been said a million times in a million different ways. But you know how something comes to you just when you need it most? This fell in my lap and said, “Hey, you! Pay attention!”

I’m going to have fun. Stop worrying so much about what anyone else is doing but me. Just love everyone and have a blast when I am able to.

As Brian May says in “All Dead, All Dead:”

“Her ways are always with me
I wander all the while
But, please, you must forgive me
I am old but still a child”

Grabbing for Oxygen

I went by an oxygen refill depot this morning and as I saw the Flammable Liquids sign, I had an incredible rush that felt like that ice bucket challenge where the bucket of ice and water are poured over your head in one big splash. But instead of ice cubes, it was memories that fell around me. Inside me, actually. 

Oxygen

In less than five seconds, I flashed on the dozens of times I had used oxygen on a mother or baby, sometimes even both at the same time (which is why I always carried two tanks and had an assistant).

  • the baby born in the water after stuck shoulders
  • the mom whose baby inside needed it
  • the baby that came out floppy for no observable reason
  • the mom bleeding a bit too much and feeling lightheaded
  • the baby with respiratory distress
  • the mom panicking about a segment of her labor
  • the baby with blue lips, but no visible respiratory distress
  • the mom waiting for the ambulance to transport her for postpartum hemorrhage
  • the baby born after a shoulder dystocia

The list goes on and repeats multiple time.

The Energy in a Memory

At the same time as the bucket was poured over me, I felt an electric shock coursing through my body. In another world, someone might call it panic, but for me, a doula and/or midwife for 32 years, it was High Alert.

Thunder Lightning

Early on, under supervision, that energy sometimes pushed my movements too quickly and if I was using the bag and mask on the baby, I might not dry the baby’s face enough and the oxygen mask would slide off the nose or not seal the mouth and nose completely, ruining the entire purpose of the exercise. It took a couple of times, and the attending midwife saying something, before I realized what was happening and corrected my actions. I learned to take a deep breath before placing the mask, to make sure the baby was dried, warm, and the equipment was ready when I reached out with my hand… all in about two seconds’ time.

Bag and Mask Resuscitation

Managing the energy in an emergency is crucial. I operated well under stress, while it was happening, but, as happens, after the crisis was over, shaking and, for me, often tears of release/relief occurred.

It was then, I was able to, with my lungs, grab my own oxygen… and breathe.

“On My Way Up!”

Not so long ago, I was in a very sad and depressed state. When I started watching videos on YouTube, I thought it was a distraction and worried I was sinking deeper.

Instead, what I found was a way out of depression.

Damn Hallucinations

However, I am having hallucinations that are annoying and need more help with. Ants crawling on me… visual and tactile. Annoying for sure.

Ants

Having hallucinations reminds me my brain doesn’t usually work like it’s supposed to. Even when I feel good. That bugs me (so to speak). I am not in a manic state. I’m getting enough sleep. My meds haven’t changed. I am pretty sure I am going to have my Risperdal upped and that really makes me cranky because that shit makes me gain weight and I am on a losing streak, 60 pounds so far. (That’s a story for another day.)

Clearly, I have been writing more. Not just here, but also in my book. I feel so good, which makes the hallucinations especially annoying as fuck.

Brian May to the Rescue

Brian May is the guitarist for Queen and a soloist as well.

This is part of the transcript from a podcast “Brian May – How Do You Cope? Elis and John” found HERE. The entire transcript delves into Brian’s ongoing life as a “depressive” (his word) and how he works through it, including the time he went to a treatment center. I highly encourage reading the entire piece because there are 1000 nuggets of understanding and inspiration there.

And hope.

Some of it was actually incredibly difficult to get through to even get in a studio because it made me massively depressed, and when you’re really depressed you’re not writing songs or you’re not writing the Blues. You can’t write anything. You can’t even get up in the morning. So I went through a lot of trials and I remember sitting in the studio feeling so incredibly bleak and wondering if I had anything to say. All I could feel was pain.”

“Yeah, I kind of felt life was over and I just wanted to try to get to the point where I could put it into music, and again this idea of sharing it with other people. I thought, if I can get through this then maybe I can help other people get through it.”

Again… and hope.

(Besides Bri helping me, his matter-of-fact speaking about having off and on depression has de-mystified and normalized mental illness, especially depression. I can’t thank him enough for his gift of speaking out loud about his struggles and triumphs.)

Watching Myself Fall Downward

I was stagnant for so long, for well over a year. A friend with whom I’d been sharing my work and getting lots of great feedback and encouragement from to keep going ghosted me. Crushed, I stopped writing. It took a few months before I realized why. I missed him and our interactions about my writing. It didn’t seem worth doing if no one was going to read it. I couldn’t find the inspiration to pick up the pen again and get any words on the page. Honestly, I thought the words in my mind had vanished.

I tried reading, but that gave me very little pleasure and no inspiration. I did read War and Peace and Anna Karenina , both by Leo Tolstoy, and loved them, but still they did not nudge me to write in the way I had hoped. Anything less intense was a bore.

I’m “On My Way Up”… and Out!

It is through music I have found my way out of depression and the immobility with writing.

I did not know that would be my path and am still a bit amused this is the territory I’m traversing. How could old rock music get my creative blood pumping and have me waking at 5:00am eager to tap, tap, tap on the computer? I keep going until I feel the words begin to slow, winding up, and then working much of the day. But, even my work writing is going so much better.

Dr. Brian May wrote a song called “On My Way Up” that has become my anthem.

“I’m on a roll
Gonna have it all
It’s gonna be fine so fine, baby all the time
I’m in control (on my way up)
I’m mighty bold (I’m telling myself)
I’m looking good (I’m totally sussed)
I’m quitting the neighbourhood
On my way up (yes I am)
(On my way up) Gonna get right with them
Got all of my life left for living”

I listen to this first thing in the morning, even before Track 13. I feel strong and powerful.

I am going to make it.

And with books to show for it.

Freddie Mercury: The World We’d Created

Today is Freddie Mercury’s 76th birthday.

I was thinking about what it was like for him and all gay men in the early 70s throughout Freddie’s life until he died in 1991. I was in the gay world starting in 1978 through about 1983 directly and then on the periphery for another ten years after that. I stayed in touch with about ten gay friends for many years after that and knew how their lives unfolded in an extremely homophobic time where AIDS was killing every third friend.

Stalking Freddie and Hating Who They Thought He Was

The press hounded Freddie during his life, wanting him to “confess” his sexuality. (I was going to add a picture of him being hounded by paparazzi, but it made my skin crawl just looking at the people stealing pictures of him, so I will not add to that.) Yet, he never came out himself, not even when he said he had AIDS the night before he died. Besides it being none of anyone’s business, the world was not kind to gay people then.

Why would he come out when the world was so hateful? It took an act of extreme bravery for any of us to come out to our parents, our employers, our friends… but for Freddie, it might have been the end of his career. As any gay person who had a high profile career (or a family, for that matter) at that time will tell you, almost across the board, they could not have come out in those years.

Then There was AIDS

On March 22, 1980, a year before that first MMWR report, evangelical Christian leaders delivered a petition to President Jimmy Carter demanding a halt to the advance of gay rights. ‘God’s judgment is going to fall on America as on other societies that allowed homosexuality to become a protected way of life,’ Bob Jones III predicted, according to UPI.”

In 1982, when we started hearing about AIDS, it was almost exclusively gay men who had it. People despised gays to start with, but add their terror of AIDS and thinking it could be caught by touch or breathing or tears. I remember discussions about rounding up gay men and putting them in detention centers or prison to keep them apart from “normal” people.

It was a daily occurrence to hear, “It is God’s Will they are being killed by AIDS.” “It is what they deserve for being so evil.” “God will rid the world of these evil homosexuals. Finally, they will be gone.”

Violence against gays and lesbians escalated fast in the mid-1980s. Homosexual attacks were not documented as such back then, so there is no official record except the records the gay men and lesbians kept themselves.

As Matthew Holloway, a homosexual who works for a major financial institution in San Francisco, waited for his roommate outside a supermarket last December, a teen-age man and woman began to shout at him.

”’We should kill you first, because you’re gonna give us AIDS,” Mr. Holloway said they shouted. He said that a few minutes later, as he and his roommate drove from the parking lot, they were attacked by the couple and a dozen other young people. His roommate, David Johnson, was dragged from the car and beaten with chains and skateboards. He suffered three broken ribs, a broken jaw and bruises. Mr. Holloway fought to stay in the car and was unharmed. The attackers fled before the police arrived; no suspects were arrested.”

So coming out was not only terrifying back then, but you could be beaten, maimed, or killed for being gay. The stigma of AIDS was wide-sweeping.

That fact was not unknown by Freddie Mercury.

1984: I Want to Break Free & Hot for Teacher

These videos are two examples I want to share about how prevalent homophobia was in 1984.

There is a plethora of information about Queen’s 1984 video “I Want to Break Free” and how MTV refused to play it. No one seems to know if it was officially banned, but I want to share my own experience with that video.

I remember being aghast at Queen in drag when I saw the video before MTV stopped playing it. And I had been in the gay community for several years by then, surrounded by drag queens and transwomen! If I was shocked, you can imagine how horrified middle America was.

I wish I could remember my exact thought process. Did I worry for Queen? Did I think it was Freddie’s coming out song? After all these years seeing the whole video, it is still the opening when they are in drag that I remember from when I was 23-years old. It was that jarring.

Another video that came out in 1984 was Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” It was scandalous, but played every hour on MTV.

Irony of Time

In my YouTube foray, I watch Reaction videos… to music and movies, mostly, but also some documentaries. When I’ve watched Reactions to “I Want to Break Free,” adults and kids love it. They think it is great fun. Even Americans.

But when “Hot for Teacher” is shown, anyone younger than 40 cannot believe that was ever on TV. “That had to have been banned,” is a common refrain. Shocked comments about the mother’s moaning, the stripping teacher, and the 4th graders being allowed in the video (“Where were their parents?! Did they have to sign a waiver? I would never let my kid be in a video like this!”) When the older-than-40-year old person says how great it was, how many boys were glued to their MTVs to wait for it, and how no one batted an eye, the youngers cannot believe what they are hearing.

What a difference 40 years makes.

Freddie’s Peace

It was probably very difficult for Freddie Mercury to find peace and quiet in his life unless he was walled in. The press hungered for his soul the same way they did for Princess Diana’s. Paparazzi were leeches and vultures picking apart the flesh and blood of humans, all for a story.

If he were a young man today, he might have come out and had a great time at it. But back then, coming out was everything but an option. If he were a young man today with AIDS, he would have medications to keep him alive. If he were young today and was HIV negative and sexually active, he would have PrEP to keep him from getting AIDS.

But he is not a young man today. He is one of millions that left too soon and in too much pain, physical and emotional. When we remember Freddie’s birthday today, please take a moment and remember all the other people whose birthdays have also passed, most without notice.

Never forget.

You’ve broken free, now Rock in Power and Happy Birthday, Freddie Mercury.

Freddie Mercury

Learning a New Language: Music

I’ve been pondering this renaissance of music in my life. Why has it taken this new twist I never anticipated despite music having been crucial in my childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and adulthood.

From Whence I Came

My mom went to rock concerts when I was young. I remember her seeing the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, and Pink Floyd before I was a teenager. I used to ask her when she was going to grow up and she said, “Never!” I was embarrassed by my mom acting like a teenager, but my friends all thought she was the cool mom.

When I started going to concerts, I began to see the appeal, but it still freaked me out the time I ran into my mom at an AC/DC concert. She was high; I was not. (I also ran into her at Rocky Horror Picture Show one midnight. I was mortified; she laughed.)

Through the years, she has stayed current with musical styles and groups, up to and including “gangsta rap.” Tupac is her hero.

As I traverse this new path, I’m finding an understanding of my 80+-year old mom and her musical spirit.

My Own Wanderings

Besides loving music growing up, I played the violin for two years when I was in 4th and 5th grade, then flute from 6th through 12th grade. I was in marching band and symphonic band and went to endless jazz and amateur rock concerts. I think Maynard Ferguson was one of the coolest guys around and Buddy Rich one of the crudest, but he could play the hell out of the drums. Happily, I got to see them both live and up close.

And Here I Am Now

Now I’m on the downhill slide and suddenly I am learning about the nuances of rock music.

  • Learning about guitars, how they are made, what makes each guitar sound a particular way that is tailored to each guitarist and what they hear in their heads.

Red Special
Brian May’s Red Special with X-ray.

  • Watching drum solos by a variety of drummers to determine the differences in sound between the toms, the kick drums, the wide variety of cymbals and endless variety of all the sounds and uses in pieces of music. (And I swear to you, I am watching videos just like this one below.)
  • Listening to the words in music I’ve listened to for decades as if it was the first time, deciphering their meaning from the perspective of a crone with a lifetime of experiences behind me.

I work hard (he works hard) every day of my life
I work ’til I ache my bones
At the end (at the end of the day)
I take home my hard earned pay (goes home)
All on my own (goes home on his own)
I get down (down) on my knees (knees)
And I start to pray (praise the Lord)
‘Til the tears run down from my eyes
Lord, somebody (somebody), ooh, somebody
(Please) can anybody find me somebody to love?

from “Somebody to Love” – written by Freddie Mercury

  • Analyzing concert videos from the late 60s to the present, trying to figure out what makes the concert interesting. How does the band support the lead singer? How do they switch off duties and why? Do pyrotechnics make a difference in the audience’s enjoyment? Watching where each musician is placed on the stage and how they move around during a song and pondering why they do what they do when they do it.

Where Am I Going?

I know there is a world more to learn and understand the education is endless, much as acquiring a new language never ends.

I don’t know where this is going to go or will end up, but the journey sure is fascinating.

Taylor Hawkins & BoRhap Connection

I spent much of the yesterday watching the Taylor Hawkins Tribute at Wembley Stadium. It was an amazing concert raising money for Music Support and MusiCares charities which were chosen by the Hawkins family. The concert was also a time of sharing so much love for Taylor who died in March 2022.

Taylor Hawkins Tribute
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 16: Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders perform at Guitar Center’s 27th Annual Drum-Off at Club Nokia on January 16, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ashley Beliveau/Getty Images)

Who I Waited For

There were four people in particular I waited to watch. Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen (of course), Rufus “Tiger” Taylor (Roger Taylor’s son) and Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen‘s son). The wait was worth it.

I watched the Livestream, thank goodness, because all but tiny snippets are gone now, so I apologize if the links above have vanished by the time you read this. Videos are being taken down fast and furiously. The Powers That Be have blocked it all, so you will have to wait for the concert to be available online to buy. It’s worth it.

Taylor Hawkins & Queen Connection

Taylor’s first concert was Queen when he was 10-years old and he said that every concert he went to after that dimmed by comparison. He was a Queen encyclopedia… songs and trivia. Roger Taylor was his drum idol who became a friend. Brian May also became a friend and they all mixed their talents on several projects.

I’ve spent the morning watching Taylor Hawkins doing covers of Queen songs at his concerts and love them all so, so much.

Random Amazing Aftereffects

Therefore, I was hyped up yesterday after the concert and visited my mom via Uber. I was blabbing to the driver about how wonderful everyone was and it was clear how many loved Taylor Hawkins. The long-bearded, 20-something driver knew exactly who I was talking about.

I then started talking about how Brian May and Roger Taylor did a 5-song set with a variety of singers. I had not mentioned the name Queen yet, but the guy reaches over and puts on Bohemian Rhapsody. It was #1 in his playlist.

Duet with Queen

This guy, who could be my grandson, and I sang our hearts out to BoRhap which lasted almost all the way to my mom’s house. I imprinted the experience in my heart and mind because it was so random and so glorious. After the song, I regaled him with Bohemian Rhapsody trivia. He seemed to lap it up.

As I got out he said it was the best ride he had ever given and I told him that was good because it was the best ride I had ever taken.

He got a big fat tip.

I got a fantastic end to an amazing day.

Brian May
Brian May lights up the Taylor Hawkins Tribute by singing “Love of My Life” and asking for all the phones to light the stadium.

My Mighty Macro

I used to be a really good photographer.

CA Screamin Barb Herrera

I sold my beautiful Canon 5D camera and the several lenses I had when I needed money and now I miss them.

My daughter told me people take photos with the cameras on their phones instead of SLR cameras now. She said it’s a whole profession on its own. I looked it up and sure enough, there are pro photographers using their (high quality) phones to take everything from wedding photos to nature shots. And damn, do they look great!

I have an old phone that needs updating and looked to see what the best Samsung phone would be for a photographer and it would cost me $800 out of pocket before I even began paying for the phone on installments, so that was nixed right away.

I really loved my zoom and macro lenses. Looking at the prices, macros were incredibly inexpensive. $40 for a macro and wide angle lens with a light. I snapped that right up from Amazon.

Immediately, I started taking macro pics again.

I started with flowers on the dining room table.

Flowers Barb Herrera

Flowers Barb Herrera

Flowers Barb Herrera

Yesterday, I found a mushroom in the yard. It was the first time I’d seen one there, so I ran out and grabbed it, picked up my phone, put the macro lens on and these are a couple of pics I took.

Mushroom Barb Herrera

Mushroom Barb Herrera

It feels great using my photographer’s eye again.

I am saving up for the zoom lens.

Freddie Mercury with Writing Advice

I came across a stumbling block this morning.

I’m re-writing a section where my main character loses her virginity to a gay man and am developing how they knew each other and how the sex came to be.

Stuttering Along

I’m working hard not to edit as I write. Before, I would typically write, read, back space over a few words, and re-write again. Over and over. Instead, I am plowing forward and letting the words flow out.

But yesterday and today, the words were stuck inside my fingers.

Frustrated, I remembered something Freddie Mercury said in Queen’s One Vision Documentary.

“I like to capture a song really quickly so that’s it’s fresh and then you can work on it afterward. I hate trying to write the song and if it’s not coming, ‘Oh, c’mon. Let’s try this here.’ It either comes quickly and then you have it, like the basic skeleton, and then I say, ‘Yes, we have a song.’ Then we can start putting in all the clever bits.

“But if a song’s not happening, I just normally say, ‘Oh, let’s forget it. Let’s try something else.'”

Closing & Opening

I thought that might be a bit of good advice and randomly moved to a different section of the book. My thought was to let my intuition drive my choice.

Scrolling down the chapters, my eyes lit on the section where my MC has tea with her mother. Those words were already forming in my mind and I opened the page in Scrivener and my fingers started typing.

Her mom went from the front door to the kitchen, leaving Lisa standing in the middle of the living room with her suitcase, not knowing where to put it. She was surprised her mom didn’t have plastic on the furniture like she’d always had when she was a kid. The room smelled odd without the reflective covering over every sitting space.

“I guess mom thinks I’m old enough to sit on furniture now and not make a mess.”

Lisa chuckled to herself and hoped she didn’t spill her sweet iced tea she knew was coming at any moment. Some manners cannot be ignored and serving iced tea was done out of habit, not friendliness.

It felt good to move on to a different section and not fret about the words.

Not Always So Easy

I do understand there might come times when I struggle for words. There will come times.

But for today, Freddie’s words soothed me and helped me move on to something more flowing and easy.

I liked that a lot.

Album Liner Notes

There was a time when I was in my early teens that there were no liner notes.

Liner Notes?

Back in the olden days, when albums were not a niche product, record companies and their bands began writing commentary or tidbits about making the album on the back cover. Then they were written on the inside paper cover protector.

In the mid-70s (when I was about 14), this is when I remember liner notes being put inside of an album cover that opened, called a gatefold.

Researching, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was the first rock album with lyrics on the back cover in 1967.

Liner Notes

Why Does This Matter?

I bring this up because a memory came back to me as I was listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and how challenging it is to understand some of the quieter words spoken.

There was no Internet or YouTube videos with lyrics at our fingertips. We would lie on the floor and play, replay, and replay the section we didn’t understand until we thought we had it. We were often still wrong.

I don’t remember headphones until A Night at the Opera by Queen in 1975. (It came out in November 1974, but I would not have seen it until 1975.) Headphones were expensive and none of my friends had them. If there were any in the house, they were our parents’ and the kids were not allowed to touch them. If we had been able to use headphones, we could have deciphered the words easier, but that wasn’t going to come about for another few years.

Madman Lyrics

The first album I remember with a gatefold and lyrics was Elton John’s 1976 Madman Across the Water.

Elton John

It was transforming to be able to see the words to songs. I was finally able to know what was sung as well as could memorize the words easier by seeing them.

Since we’re on Elton John’s Madman album, I have to mention the back cover.

Madman Across the Water

I stared at this amazing cover for many hours. M.A.N.Y. hours. Album covers were art back then. (Are they now?) This was unique, taking our penchant for embroidering our jeans and making it the back cover. It looked like you could reach out and pull a thread.

Lyrics at Our Fingertips

While I do like being able to see what the lyrics are, especially for music like the soundtrack to Hamilton whose words fly so fast I can’t keep up even reading while listening, I wish I had album covers again. There is something to be said for holding the decorated cardboard in your hands, lying on the bed, and singing the songs along with the artists.

Nostalgia hits hard sometimes.

gatefold
Wikipedia: “Gatefold” -Totally random, it happens to be _Made in Heaven_ by Queen.

How Gay Sex Became a “Bolero” Composition

I’m writing. I’m really happy I am writing. Queen and Brian May’s solos are driving me forward at a speed I am grateful for.

I wrote this passage and wanted to share it and see if anyone liked or hated it. I’ve sat on it for over a year and am still unsure. Does it make sense? I like it, but is it too “poetic?”

Surrounding this paragraph is a lot of graphic gay sex. This seemed a moment of respite from that.

Turning back to the window after hearing a couple of guys oooo and ahhh, she stood running her finger over her eyebrow, then watching two particularly active men. Tilting her head and squinting, they became notes on a musical staff, Ravel’s Boléro pulling the men through the staccato eighth and sixteenth notes. She watched as they tumbled three-quarter speed through the lines on the page, each thrust into a man’s body creating the accent at the end of the wave before a new crest of orgasms began. The symphonic orchestra in her head, mixing with “We Are Family” on the motel’s radio, created something resembling a Stravinsky composition.

Is it too obscure?

I’m not sure.

Thoughts?

Passionate Flow: Eddie Van Halen & Me

Continuing my excursion into finding writing inspiration from music, I’ve come across something I knew happened, but had not seen in any rock video before.

Artistic Bliss

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named this Flow.

“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”

Eddie Van Halen talked about his type of Flow in this BBC article.

“‘When I’m home on a break, I lock myself in my room and play guitar,’ he told Guitar World in 1981. ‘After two or three hours, I start getting into this total meditation. It’s a feeling few people experience, and that’s usually when I come up with weird stuff. It just flows. If you’re a musician you just play until you die. It’s not an ordinary job.'”

Do I Write Until Flow Finds Me? (Or I Find Flow?)

Is that the same for all of us who live with a passion that won’t quit? If we call ourselves writers, are we writing until the day we die? Or are we squandering time procrastinating.

  • It’s not going to be good enough.
  • No one will like it.
  • People will judge me.
  • If I can’t do it well, why do it at all?
  • It sounds better in my head.

Etcetera.

I do not write long enough at one sitting to find Flow very often. It takes major inspiration for me to sit and write long enough to find that space where time vanishes, hunger evaporates, and thirst is absent.

But maybe I don’t have to write a long time at one sitting.

Eruption Flow

Watching Eddie Van Halen in his Eruption video demonstrates how Flow can happen in the middle of 12,000 people and for short bursts of time.

Below is the 13:06 demonstration of (in my quite uneducated opinion) the best guitar solo ever: Eruption.

This specific Eruption is actually several solos strung together. The original was a mere 1:42 on the first Van Halen album Van Halen.

But I am specifically asking that you watch this one because you can see EVH move into Flow and remain there for 2:21 minutes.

Starting a 5:34, you can see he has his eyes closed and a look of peace begins to come over his face.

Cathedral’s Flow

He opens his eyes before he begins playing “Cathedral” at 5:54.

When he gets to 6:07, he curls around his guitar as if he’s making love to it.

As he begins playing the cello section at 6:49, you can see him begin to fall into Flow.

Watching EVH play in general, we can see his joy and oneness with his guitar. For me, in this section, the guitar becomes a visible part of his soul.

At 7:51, the look of peace on his face can only be described as Holy.

Eddie Van Halen Cathedral

Moving Back Out of Deep Flow

At 7:55, we can see him open his eyes again.

That doesn’t mean he was out of Flow because, clearly, many artists are creating with their eyes open, but the less meditative look returns.

It bears mentioning that Eddie was blackout drunk and very high that night. He had no recollection of the concert or the solo that was filmed.

Yet he still seems to have fallen into Flow, not playing by rote as many have suggested. This does not look like a man bored with his performance.

Best Comment Out of 30,000+

Kishanna Conan Doyle says about EVH:

“He’s smiling, he’s happy like a child who has just made his first chord on a baby guitar.
Eddie always smiles when soloing… he wasnt a rockstar, he was a kid with a guitar.”

Message to My Writing Self

What do I take from watching this video more than two dozen times so far?

Instead of looking for Flow, I need to just write and let it wash over me if it wants to. For me, it seems similar to the Muse. If you ask the Muse for a visit, she will stay far away. If you work your ass off, the Muse sees you mean business and descends.

I find a great deal of inspiration from Eddie Van Halen. He played magnificently through drug and alcohol addiction, and then later when he was dealing with several illnesses, including cancer. He did not quit until he had to.

I have to do the same with my writing.

EVH Guitar

End Note:

Despite endless searching, I could not find the exact guitar EVH uses in the above video on that August 27, 1986 night in New Haven, Connecticut. He changed guitars at least once during the show because a string broke on his Kramer 5150 and he then used his Steinberger 5150 guitar. I do not know if he went back to the Kramer 5150 after a re-string. If you know, please comment.

Also, I am not a guitar or music expert, so if I have missed something or written something incorrect, please comment so I can fix the mistake.

Why Are Electric Guitars Fascinating Me?

The closest I have ever been to an electric guitar is several feet away. I have never touched one. Never wanted to touch one. And before the last few months, never cared to know a thing about them.

Yet, starting with Brian May‘s Red Special and moving on to Eddie Van Halens* Frankenstrat, both home-made guitars, I have become enamored with electric guitars of all kinds.

Electric Guitar
Brian May’s Red Special

Electric Guitar
Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat

I’m learning about bridges, tremolos/whammy bars, fretboards, pickups, different knobs and switches, and more.

I’m reading how guitarists choose a guitar, that there are certain brands that create specific sounds.

I didn’t know how many guitarists develop their own sound that distinguishes them from others. I’m shocked at how many guitarists I know just from their sound. How I never noticed this before is beyond me.

I’m learning the nuances of how amplifiers affect the sounds and that feedback is not always a negative.

I’m even learning about the individual types of picks guitarists choose and why. (I still find Brian May’s sixpence the coolest pick out there.)

Electric Guitar

I Know Nothing About Technology

I can’t figure out why I am so excited to learn about guitars considering I am clueless about the technical aspects of anything electric. I’m 61, have no intention of ever learning how to play even an acoustic guitar, yet I keep reading about the workings of guitars and the musicians that play them.

Stunning Realities

I had no idea how hard an electric guitar was to play. I thought someone picked up a guitar, plugged it in and were off and running. Ha! It’s a math problem to the 50-thousanth degree. It’s geometry, algebra, and physics with a ton of passion on top of it all. The dexterity required is incredible. Watching the flying fingers and hands sometimes makes me dizzy. These musicians are amazing.

Electric Guitar

Learning By Watching

I’m learning about other great guitarists: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Randy Rhoades… and am still learning about who to listen to and watch.

The female guitar players I’m watching are Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Lita Ford, Orianthi, but still need to educate myself about women of color.

Inspiration for My Writing

Every one of these guitar players started out not knowing how to hold a guitar. And now, they are the best of the best in the Western World. They practiced endlessly. I especially love hearing about how the musicians got started, when they got their first guitars, how they learned or taught themselves to play.

It’s quite incredible knowing that my guitar is pen and paper. I must practice to get better. I must practice with love filling my heart and with the passion of the world pushing me forward to finish what I started.

Instead of getting sidetracked by guitars and guitar players, I have been writing more… still to Queen’s Made in Heaven, including Track 13… but the accumulation of guitar solos, riffs, and shreds feels like a Hawaiian wave pulling me to ride it, to curl under the water’s canopy, and soar with the Universe.

Watch me fly!

Electric Guitars

*Eddie Van Halen

Be sure to watch the link to Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption.” It is, in my mind (and many others’) the best guitar solo out there. At least the ones I have seen so far.

He is one with the guitar; they sing together.

Note: He smokes in the video and it is painful knowing that smoking contributed to his death in 2020. Oh, the choices we make when young that don’t affect us for decades.

Rock in Power, Eddie!