Wow! All I can say is WOW! Ten days ago I had a crushing headache that gained intensity and then waned. Soon after my symptoms slowed down Mo fell into a sickness that I would watch drain the blood out of her face and leave her in bed sweating, with a fever, chills and body aches to boot! Wow, Mo never gets sick.
She held up in the bedroom as I bought her flowers, tea, water, juice, meals (well, I tried with the meals) and whatever else she needed and wanted. I had NO fear that I would be coming down with the same thing 5 days after her but holy shit that’s what happened.
So I went down. Fever, body aches, chills, sweat, chills, sweat, sinus drain, more sweat. If you lifted the covers you would have thought it was a green house under there! I felt like I had been cocooned and my whole body was liquefying. I kept thinking of the caterpillar story and held out for the butterfly vision! It took serious concentration! I haven’t had a wave of utter sickness with fever hit me like that in YEARS!!!
I had thought I’d been so careful as to not get the bug. Keeping myself healthy, eating correctly, water, exercise, vitamins. After the holiday I departed from all alcohol and began juicing and doing “all things right” and I still got nailed! Not only that, I had a serious case of sciatic pain running down both legs. I was a mess! In fact, WE were a mess.
After Mo’s symptom cleared she threw her back out with a simple task. You know how that goes. She lifted a pan out of the oven and “click”. “Ut oh!” I was still healthy enough before “my fall” of illness to help massage the intensity out of the back issue as a temporary fix and then I was down. Down down down….and OUT!!!
The whole time I observed EVERYTHING! My thinking. All the shit I had to get done. I had plans. I was in a productive mood. I was taking care of business! Ha! Funny how when you make a plan sometimes the Universe laughs. “Oh silly girl!”
I am on my 2nd day out of the fever woods. Yesterday I was a zombie and today I am still a bit nasally but I feel SO MUCH better and I am compelled to write about this so I will NEVER forget what a GIFT that illness was!
As I said, I watched my mind. I watched everything that came over me. All my thoughts I investigated. I wondered how did I get here? Sick? What did I do? What didn’t I do? And I realized that I dragged all my “homework” like a good student into the bed with me as I was sick.
We are hosting a house concert, we have plans for a big Sapphire production here in Boise. We have a ticketed event in Wyoming and a prestigious bar gig to play there too! We are inches away from signing some contracts with Art Centers in the Northwest for music this summer. Larger acts, larger gigs, tighter sets, elevated musicianship, larger pay checks, ticketed events, blah blah blah! All good. All great! All our goal! And here I am. Paralyzed by sickness. Thinking I can THINK my way out of this sickness! What. A. Joke. Nope!
I was on such a train in my head it took the ultimate fever to come down upon me to release ALL plans of productivity. It took a boiling circulatory system to pry and unhook my mind for it’s need to control the things I will NOT be able to control!
What could I have done better before the illness? STOP. Just STOP. Stop adding the coal to my “cho-cho train!” The wheels of my mind were churning (pre-sickness) to an ultimate 100 mph. Obsessing with new systems, the endless promotional, the mundane task of deleting emails, the new ideas of set list creation, practice, rehearsing,searching for more tone, more practice, lessons, more practice, booking meetings, decision making, fighting procrastinating and plowing through!
It’s a new year boys and girls and I was on my way to becoming a different administrator to this thing called “Blaze and Kelly” we created! And yet here came 101 degrees and then slowly 102.
I released. I pushed all my books and papers and notes and things off my bed. I just laid there. I shut my eyes too achy to fall asleep and somewhere in the dizzy haze of all the sheer panic I caused myself, I managed to stop; to disconnect; to let go. Sleep finally came and so did the fire. The fire of my blood, the pounding of my head, the weakness of my body. This was baptism by fire into a New Year, a new mind state, a new way of being! It all makes sense now, but then I felt like I was the character in the book of Job.
For a whole day I laid in bed, eyes to achy to read or even TV watch, I just lay there. On occasion Juno would bound up and love me up and I was ever so thankful for that beautiful pooch. I mainly sat there and meditated. The fever had me. I was caught in it’s vice-grips and I knew it would not let me go until I completely surrendered to it and so I did. I went on many visionaries in my mind. Not quite asleep, but not quite awake either. It was transcending.
I let go of all the “to do” stuff I thought I needed to get done. I even disconnected from this life a bit. I found my focus lifting away from my current and daily affairs. I kept coming in and out, seeing the larger picture, then my “little life” and then the larger picture. Where we’ve come, how far we’ve come then back into where we want to go, what we want to do, then as if from an angels point of view, “look at all you’ve done... all you do”. I rarely give myself time to think of it that way.
This January marks the first month we have not had stacked shows in over 10 years! Mo and I haven’t gotten off the “merry-go-round” since 2004. We have been working so hard on this music thing with extreme intensity for over 15 years. We’ve risen to the level we are now. Not bad, not famous, not wrong, not rich. But in tact. Still together. Still making new songs. Still making new records. Still packing our stuff up in our car and heading to the show. Still practicing. Still dreaming. Still loving music, each other, our fans.
After the fever slowly eased, I laid in bed listening to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography on audio books. I’m close to finishing it now. This was so perfect. Bruce Springsteen emulates my New Jersey roots. He is an American legend whether you like his music or not. He offers up fervor, passion, tenacity. His was the first rock and roll concert I ever went to back in 1983 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. In New Jersey...Bruce was and is...KING! He was the man that put Jersey on the map.
Listening to his story made me appreciate once again my roots and the long tenacious, driven path we’ve chosen. This man rocked Philadelphia for 4 hours! I was a freshman in high school and we were on our feet for the whole 4 hours! I was alive with a rock and roll high for days after that concert. Not any drugs, just a high from the energy that the show delivered. It was and STILL is the most amazing concert of my life! He would play his guitar with such passion and he would sweat and dance and he had everyone on their feet all night. You didn’t WANT to sit down! He changed my life. Absolutely. His songs spoke true hardships of our state and current affairs at the time. His imperfect voice rang with a truth, and honestly and an authenticity that is so rare in this day. I will always love Bruce for his gifts and now, trapped in bed he was in my ears like a long lost friend.
I was listening to all the backstories. How he struggled. How he was fired and boo-ed. How he sucked for a while. How he was poor. He took me back with his words for the love of my homeland and spoke with that accent that I grew up with. So nostalgic is his music that it will always make me cry. It just does. I can’t explain it. Memories of childhood and Jersey living flood back to me. I leap out of this current life of cell phones and face book and emails and task after task of multi-tasking.
I stepped back in time of my Jersey days. A slower time. Not necessarily a better time. Just depends on how you look at it. But an innocent time indeed. A simpler time. Wow. We really DON’T think of one thing at a time anymore. Everyone has ample things on their minds constantly. People are firing on 8 cylinders all the time! When is there peace? Peace of mind? Bruce played the guitar and got his clooney friends together, formed a band, hit the streets, worked hard and now??? Now most musicians spend hours behind a screen pushing their playlists on Spotify waiting to be discovered. It’s crazy.
I stopped listening for a while to the story. I just allowed my mind to cruise. Remembering our house I grew up in. Remembering the town. Remembering high-school days; my mother, my friends, the smells, the shore, the food. I simply focused on ONE THOUGHT AT. A. TIME.
The next day, my fever broke completely! Oh hallelujah! STILL not out of the woods I was exhausted. My body would still sweat a bit but I clearly felt the pull of the fever off of me. As if you can breath again. I picked up my guitar and brought it to bed and tinkered around on it. Wondering how Bruce learned to play and how many other boys were into it and how many called him a freak.
When I picked up the guitar in the 70’s I had the same fascination he did. I was 7 or 8 years old and it was hard. My little hands couldn’t do it just like his experience. But I so was driven by a desire to learn that I went right out and picked it up again as I got older. I went to work as a machinist when I was 17 and my first paycheck bought me a Guild acoustic out of Trenton NJ at the “Hamilton Music Shop”. Only 20 minutes from where Bruce Springsteen grew up. (I got lost in Freehold NJ once when I was 17. I drove around in circles for hours down the dark forever country highways, scared out of my mind and there was no cell phone to save me or Google Maps.)
I played this guitar strictly in my bedroom. I was a “closet player” forever in those days. I did NOT bring my guitar out. If you asked my graduating class if I played a musical instrument only super uber close friends would tell you about the guitar, but most had NO idea. It was NOT cool for a GIRL to play guitar at that time! Simply not!!! Although I was a tom-boy and rode motorcycles I was “undercover” with most aspects of my true self at the time. Things I didn’t even KNOW about myself and one of them was- I wanted to be a musician.
The thought of back playing guitar back then was not only thought as man’s world and art but if you reached for something “so high” you were “out of line”; an “attention seeker”; “a loud mouth”; “show off”; “unfeminine” and God forbid...you MUST be a “lesbian!” These were the typical belief systems that were invisible to me at the time but that had their influence, like it own magnet. I would inevitably have to rise above these beliefs in my future.
So at that time...I kept it on the down low. I wrote songs in my room to get over my poor teen turmoil. I never sang them for anyone. And here Bruce tells me how he went “after it” all those years ago. Wow! What would that have been like to be alive then, just a decade or so before my time? Could I have been Carly Simon or Carole King or someone like that! Ha!!! What women could “go for it” and beat the streets and how many DID try but just got laughed at or a door slammed in their face? It became ok for women to sing but to yield an instrument, especially a guitar. There is/was something machismo about the guitar. We can STILL get looks from certain men now and then that make us wonder.
Overall, I am HAPPY being me born in my own “time-zone” of life. Truly. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But it’s nice to day dream, to wonder and to be out of technology for a while. I picked up my guitar and started to jot something down. I came up with a new song! “New Jersey Ride” of which I will post when my voice is back to normal. I’m still not 100%. We ironically had a show tonight but the venue cancelled so, the Universe must be taking care of us with more rest.
The song is a simple look back at my Jersey days. That concert, the excitement, driving down the shore, the air, the magic of being young. I haven’t had a song spill out in one heap like that in a long time. It felt good. And Springsteen even stars in the song. Ha! It may or may not resonate with you. But it’s about being grateful. Grateful for your roots, your health and those you love and a simple “ride” down memory lane.
We’ve come a long way. I’m gonna give myself that one. What an epic journey. And for one who has ample irons in the fire, I am practicing how to tend to one thing at a time again. Multitasking is overrated. I’d rather have one thing on my mind than a 1000. And complete one task right then a 100 tasks half-ass. Mama always said, “Do it right the 1st time!” Ha!
Thank you for listening. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being.