joannebest











{November 6, 2015}   Letting Go, Slowly

dadmomDad and Mom pre-marriage
bestparentsMom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

I have two choices.
I can either continue to wallow in grief and despair or I can move on and try something else like, say, living my life before I myself drop dead.
I’m starting to lean towards the second, more alive version of me.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is killing me, I could easily curl up into a ball and cry for a few years, but I’m starting to make even my own self sick with the Poor Me Parade banging ’round my head.

I cast thee out! Be gone unclean spirit! Away with you Evil Monster of Unending Grief! Enough!

Okay, so I’m not making light of death and grief, and with all these major life changes happening one after another in the course of three or so years, well, the burden is decidedly weighty.
But.
I have to let it go.
Not the love, not the memories, but the sadness.
It’s not healthy and I can imagine my Mom’s face, giving me the patented Carey-Look-Of-Disapproval, a Medusa-like look capable of stopping you in your tracks and possibly turning you to stone.
“Joanne Bridget,” I can imagine her saying, “don’t you dare stop living just because I’m not right there with you. I’m in your heart, now stop grieving and start doing. And don’t even think for a minute I’m not watching over you, get your ass moving, keep writing, and for the love of God, get yourself back down to Cape May and enjoy yourself. Live. For me. For you. You’ll see me again one day and FYI, they have wooden spoons up here in Heaven, don’t make me have to use it on you missy. Now go and live your dreams and for God’s sake, stop feeling guilty, you are my daughter, act like it before I send your Father down there to ground you!”

I’ve been grounded enough times to know I better start living and stop, well, not.

My brothers and I have mended fences and are once again we three instead of strangers.
The last few days were spent talking together, the way we used to once upon a time.
We shared memories and some family secrets were revealed, things that made our past a little more understandable. Looking back on things from an adult perspective instead of the eyes of a broken child. None of us were ever really broken, we were just kids raised by Parents who did the best they could and I can honestly say they did a damn good job.
I wouldn’t trade either of my Parents for anyone in the world. They made me who I am, they made me me and it’s long past time I live up to myself.

I will never completely stop grieving, I will never not miss them like crazy, but it’s time to move on and live again. For Mom, for Dad, and for the three of us, two brothers and a sister, a small, but loving Family.
We will never forget you Mom and Dad, but we will love you forever and honor your memory by remaining your children, forever.

bestfamily1Mom, Dad, and baby brother Tommy

bestfamily2Brother Donald, me, Mom with brother Tommy in her belly

bestfanilyMom, Tommy, me, Dad, Donald took the picture
3ofusDonald, Tommy, me in the Poconos

bestfamilyThe three of us, once upon a time



{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤



{August 7, 2015}   Where I’ve Been (And Why)

morning2Write what you can write when you can write else you may never be able to write again.

Substitute any word that may apply to you and your passion and never ever neglect it, because you never know when your passion, or your ability to pursue your passion, may be taken away from you.

My recent passionless existence began with a near-crippling case of carpal tunnel rearing it’s ugly head a few months ago. I’ve already gone the surgery route but all I got for my trouble was two wrists more painful than before surgery and two hands constantly reminding me that I have to choose where when and how I use my small windows of pain-free time.

So I stopped writing.
And began a downward spiral.

Fibromyalgia, once closed off in a box somewhere in my mind escaped much like Pandora’s Box, only this time, hope fled as well and I experienced the most excruciating fibro-flare I’ve ever had.

I shut myself down, nearly every part of me, shut down. Caring about anything became a distant memory. I couldn’t even fake it anymore. Nothing made me smile. Nobody made me laugh. I stopped believing in anything good ever happening to me again. Ever. Sleep became the only thing I looked forward to and the sound of the phone ringing made me cringe. My computer may as well have been nothing more than a dust collector because I had no interest. In anything.

I may as well have stopped living because whatever it was I was doing, going through the motions, was not in any way shape or form a life.

Grief.
I thought I would have been over it already. I mean, it’s been over two years since my Mom died, why does it still feel like it happened yesterday?

My whole world has changed without her and I have a new understanding of the effects of grief. My family has imploded. I used to have two brothers but now I have one, my older brother has basically cut me out of his life, guilt-calls my Father maybe once a month while I twist myself pretzel-like to do everything I can to help out my Dad. He’s going on 89 and while he can still be as sharp as a tack, he’s fading away. Lost without my Mother, he’s reimagined their life together, turning it into a Love Story For The Ages. And while I know the real version was nothing like he wants to remember, I agree with him as my heart breaks a little bit more every time I see him.
My younger brother and I have become closer than ever, as my older brother doesn’t talk to him either. The eldest, as far as I understood it to be, was supposed to step up and help us out. Instead, after taking my Father to his lawyer and having a will drawn up with him as the executor (not my Father’s wishes, but as the only one of us who went to college, his opinion seems to be the only one that matters) my older brother, when he was still talking to my younger brother, told him if anything in the will was changed, he would take me to court and say that I forged documents. He has some resentment towards me because when Hurricane Irene destroyed our house he wanted to put my Parents in an assisted living place while my Parents just wanted their house back. I, with the help of my younger brother, moved Heaven and Earth to make that happen and it pissed him off that I, a girl who never went to college, was able to get them back home.

So I’ve been dealing with a lot health-wise, and the three things that made me happiest disappeared. No more daily phone calls and Mother/Daughter getaways, my BFF became my occasional F due to, well, life, and my writing became a distant memory. With virtually no one to truly confide in anymore, I began to think of myself as worthless, cold and uncaring about anything. Basically, I make myself sickeningly pathetic and I’m sick of it. I sometimes wish I could just breakdown and cry my eyeballs out, but my feelings have frozen and I feel unmeltable.

Even my Birthday came and went without fanfare, it took me weeks to open the Birthday Card my favorite Aunt Judy sent me, as if I wasn’t even worthy of a card. I feel like an idiot for allowing myself to fall this hard and I realize I’m the only one who can save me.

And then something happened to wake me up. Out of nowhere, I received something in the mail from some very special Miscreants. There was no return address so it wasn’t until I opened it that I realized what it was, a fun pack that to this very second still makes me smile, hard.

Somehow, I’ve managed to babble about nothing important to anyone but me myself and I, but I have to admit, I feel a little bit better.

I was Blessed enough to attend two Facebook events this past week, one was a release party for
Anastasia Vitsky‘s new book Taliaschild and the other was Decadent Publishing 5th Annivesary Party.

They both gave me life. Inspired me. Woke me up. Stirred something in my soul to remind me who I am.

I’m back, and this time, I’m back to stay. No more not answering comments, no more ignoring life. It’s time to live again, and a great part of my resurrection is you. And you. Also you.
While these words are not my own, the sentiment is a perfect truth : “Love is all that matters.”

This time, I will not forget that.
And one last thing, I apologize to everyone I’ve seemingly ignored, it wasn’t you, it was me.
Love. It is once again in my heart, I would like nothing more than to spread it around.

a me I want to go back to these days (my Mom in the background, me and my Uncle)



{May 31, 2014}   I Am A Garbage Can

garbage2
At least that’s what my Dentist told me.
Oh, it has nothing to do with my teeth or what kind of food I eat. She was talking about middle-child-guilt-ridden me. And she’s right.
Let me put it in reverse a bit. First of all, I have the most awesome dentist in the world. She’s about the same age as I am and we have a lot in common. You know, except for the part where she’s a doctor and has children and travels around the world with her doctor husband and I don’t. But other than that, she’s the best friend I should have had.
It’s like I can talk to her about anything, and I mean anything. And I do.
Let’s put it this way, she calls me Crazy Joanne and in my book (and hers), that’s a compliment.
So I had an appointment this morning and it didn’t take much more than half a second for her to know I wasn’t me. I walked like me and talked like me and looked like me but she saw right thorough my fake bullshit smile and my “everything’s great” stride.
Didn’t take much longer for her to blast a big fat hole in my self-made fortress and break everything down to one little sentence; “you have to love yourself”, she said.
You know that punched-in-the-gut-breathless feeling? That.
“Oh,” said I. Quietly. “I guess I don’t really do that.”
“I know,” she replied.
~
I barely managed to halt the instantaneous tear trying desperately to escape my eye but I did. Then I told her she was only supposed to make me cry when she was sticking a needle in my mouth and wasn’t she supposed to be my dentist, not my therapist?
She just did that cocked eyebrow thing she does so well and may have possibly slapped me upside the head, or it just felt that way.
“You’re a garbage can,” she told me.
And in much more eloquent words than mine, she explained how I let everybody throw their garbage at me, that they get rid of it and I hold on to it. That I should close the lid of the garbage can and let it roll off my back.
She used a lot more words, better ones too, but that was the general gist of it all.
I am a garbage can.
And it’s time to take out the trash.
garbage



{May 23, 2014}   Ignorance Is Not Blissful

ignore
Writing.
Reading.
Paying attention to life.
I’ve been slacking off again and I have no valid excuse. Reasons? I got a million of them but valid excuses? Well they’re just nothing but that, excuses. And I’m kinda getting sick of excuses. I want to grab myself by the cuff of my neck and give myself a stern talking to followed by some sort of punishment….
Wait. I should stay on topic. And that would only be funny if you were me.
Ok so everything is piling up as far as my To Do List is concerned and do you have any idea how exhausting it is to fake your way through every day as if life actually is a bowl of cherries? And did I already mention all the cherries in my bowl have worms inside them? Metaphorically speaking.
I have a screaming toothache I’m desperately trying to ignore because I have a dentist appointment next week and I’m determined to tough it out till then. I have an earache that is playing tag with my toothache, another thing I’m toughing out since I know they’re related. My stupid fibromyalgia has decided now would be a good time to rear it’s ugly head without consulting me first and all of my go-to people aren’t here to go to anymore. Mostly.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been truly all-the-way 100% happy and yes I’m well aware that it’s my own fault.
I know I need to grab the reins and steer myself back onto the right track, wherever that is.
And I get that I have to do this myself, that nobody else can do it for me, but…
There’s that word, “but”, because there’s always a “but” and that’s just another word for excuse so I really shouldn’t use it, but, I kinda have to.
Because the but here is this: it’s really hard to yank yourself up when you’re so far down you can’t even see yourself anymore. When, for the most part, the role of The Go-To Girl normally played by me is now being played by An Imposter who doesn’t care about anything.
I want my life back.
I want the pain to go away, all of it. The outside pain and the inside pain.
And I know none of it will go away until this me, the real me who isn’t an imposter, does something more than avoid everything on my To Do List and instead, you know, does something about it.
Maybe I should start with actually making a To Do List.
to do



{May 10, 2014}   She And Me ~Muse Series

mymuse2
She thinks I don’t see her lurking behind me.
Dressed in my favorite black leathers she clings to the ceiling like a black widow spider but she’s much more lethal. I can see her reflection in my computer screen but I choose to ignore her rather than acknowledge her presence.
I know it drives her crazy when I ignore her but sometimes, when it comes to my Muse, ignorance is bliss.
She always knows what I’m thinking but I can’t read her, not the way she can read me.
She’s unpredictable and capable of anything. Me? I’m predictably capable of disappointing her. Which isn’t really the best way to endear one’s self to one’s Muse.
Seems I’ve been disappointing everybody lately.
What sucks the most is that I know I’m all fucked up in the head these days, I know I’m in robot mode but I can’t shake it off. I need a Moonstruck Moment.
“Snap out of it!”
Fuck.
“Get out of my head and stop slapping me in the face! Damn that hurt!” My right cheek is burning from her hard crack across my face and my left one joins in with an embarrassed rage for letting her catch me unaware, even when I knew she was there.
“Somebody had to do it chica, this Debbie Downer mood is getting old.” She shoved me back into my chair and stared at me, expressionless.
Did I mention she’d yanked me to my feet before she slapped me in the face?
“Why do you have to be all hurty with me? You’re my Muse, why can’t you be nice like the Good Witch in The Wizard Of Oz and wave a wand or something…” my voice trailed off as her face went from angry to angrier. I did not want to see angriest.
“Ok, obviously I fucked up again. Let’s start this over, yeah?
“Witch? You compare me to a Good Witch?”
Shit. This is the part where things go south and I am so not in the mood.
She continued to stare at me for what seemed like hours but in reality was barely a second. Something synched. There was a shift in my brain, I don’t know how else to describe it.
I was staring into her eyes but I was seeing me staring out of her eyes. That makes no sense but I don’t know how else to say it.
I saw me and I wanted to slap my own self in the face.
Breaking eye contact wasn’t easy but I did and I was pissed.
Pissed at me, pissed at her, pissed at every single person I knew, every one who “loved me” and that list continued to grow shorter and shorter, just generally pissed. Angry. Mad. Furious.
Because it was all my fault.
Her head tilted the way it does when she’s curious.
“Why do you blame yourself chica? And for what reason?”
“And why can’t you let me wallow in guilt?” I mumble, knowing she hears me anyway.
Then she did something she never did once, ever.
She stood me up and hugged me. Just like that. My crazy dominatrix of a Muse, who loved nothing better than to drive me crazy instead of inspiring me to write, hugged me.
For a minute I let myself accept it.
Minute over. I pulled away.
“What do you want now?” I walk to the other side of the room and cross my arms as I lean back against the counter.
She laughed.
“You’re learning chica, you’re learning.” She slunk her way over to me, planting one arm on either side of me.
Her breath was a blend of flowery deceit, but she was all I had, I didn’t get to pick my Muse.
“And I didn’t get to pick you chica, but we’re stuck together for now.” She leaned in closer, her mouth next to my ear, “Whatever your problem is, and we both know what it is, get your act together chica, the next time I show up, you better be ready to get back in the game. Things are heating up and you for some unknown reason, are needed. Sooner we get this done the sooner we can break this bond.”
She disappeared, as usual, in a puff of smoke.
Huh. I didn’t know there was a way out of this, that I could get rid of this crazy Muse and get back to normal, whatever that might be.
Well, I always do work best under pressure.
smokemuse
AUTHORS NOTE: oddly, the authors note I just wrote disappeared, I think it was my Muse, I swear I didn’t say anything bad about her, she just likes to mess with me, she says it keeps me on my toes to which I say I took tap lessons thank you very much, I don’t do ballet…anyway, what I meant to say is, my Muse is off fighting the Djinn War without me for reasons I can’t divulge yet, but she does come to check in on me from time to time… she just left, maybe I wasn’t supposed to mention she was here but hey, it’s my blog, she can get her own. Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of me and my Muse, as Karen Carpenter sang, we’ve only just begun…
mymuse1to be continued…



{March 29, 2014}   Patterns

teardrop
the snow does indeed turn to rain,
torrential, relentless,
a reflection of my insides
pouring down like every soul is crying at once,
but tears are just a joke these days,
weakness,
comparable enough for me to keep them hidden,
i am not a weeping willow tree, on a quest to strangle and tangle myself around you
but i am not a warrior princess either,
there is no strength beneath this shell that carries me,
i am full of fear and mistrust
because patterns,
even armed with that knowledge
we still ride that train cyclical,
hitting that same bump over and over,
the past can rear it’s ugly head like a snake unprovoked,
and we pay for our sins eternal,
real or imagined, we pay,
when the cold war sets in
there is no differentiating between a memory or a dream,
fiction becomes non-fiction to the inconsistent eye,
so i lay my head down and listen to another loud deluge pounding me from the outside in,
seeping through my skin only to seek release unnoticed,
slipping from the corners of my eyes
cryy



writing woman

“October 8th, 1929: A Man is Charged of Speaking Offensively in Front of a Lady and found guilty for using obscene language in front of a woman in Ohio*.”

October 8th, 1977: An Ohio boy finds himself in the right place at the right time, takes New Jersey teenage-girl’s virginity, uses obscene language onstage. No one cared about the profanity, NJ girl cared about losing it to a rock star.

October 8th, 2013: New Jersey girl anticipates the upcoming film featuring Ohio boy and his band played by actors, the real Ohio boy is a real dead boy after being hit by a car in 1990.
writingg
Ok so apparently I hit a brick wall (aka The Flu) and all the words in my head stayed in my head, instead of me typing the words here.
When the brick wall crumbled and buried me beneath a whole lot of, well, bricks, I managed to dig myself out, and with a whole lot of Irish Luck I was able to hang on to the words in my head. Now all I have to do is transfer the words in my head onto the page and we’re all copasetic, or at least I am/will be. I think. Hopefully. No, I definitely am/will be.

Here’s the plan: first, I post this little blahg because hello, it’s been a few days since I posted anything and I miss all my lovelies (if your eyes are here, that would be you I’m referring to).
Next, I finish writing my chapter of The Fiction Relay http://thereclininggentleman.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/fiction-relay-summary/,

Why is my temperature 100 degrees? It makes my brain hurt.

Ok, here endith my blahg-words, my mind is spinning with ideas, some of them inspired by fever-dreams, so the next post I make will be Chapter/Part 45 of the most fabulously fun Fiction Relay ever and by the way, if you haven’t been following the FR than I suggest you get your eyes on over to TheRecliningGentleman’s blog by following the above link or, you can peruse my blog for other links to the Fiction Relay because fevered me is not having too much luck with the linkage today.

Ok my lovelies, hugs and stuff to you, I’m looking forward to hopping back on that carousel of inspiration and getting back in my writing groove.
Wish me luck, and here I go.
writerss
*From People’s History-What happened on October 8th.



{September 13, 2013}   Spy Versus Spy

spy
lets pretend we’re double agents,
never quite sure who the villain is,
we can communicate in code
and slip through the shadows, hurrying down dark alleys
in case we’re being followed
we’ll wear our daily masks and hide in plain sight
because no one notices anyway
as long as the coffers are full and the performances flawless
we are invisible,
if we time it right
all we have to do is shift,
time freezes and we burn,
because every machine needs some maintenance
to keep up with the demand
so don’t forget to bring an extra mask, in case i forget mine,
we might need some rope and a few other items,
but i’ll trust that to you
just like i do everything else
spyy



et cetera