What I meant to Say

(This is what I tried to post last night but unbeknownst to me I accidentally created another version of this blog and posted it there. The moonlight does some strange things to my brain)

When I was younger, when I was just past 12. My parents had just officially, truly separated.

My father had taken us on this yearly trip to Elkhart lake in Wisconsin. Just a couple hours or so north of where we lived in these suburbs of Chicago.

This was before he met my stepmother, whom he’s been married to for about oh maybe 3o some years.

It was me, my sister, often our younger brother and mostly my sister’s and my best friends.

I lost T’s earrings at this resort one year. T was my longtime best friend through childhood. Most of it. She went everywhere with my family post this time. . This resort was something I loved and lived for every summer. It was my nearly 12th year when I was introduced to Rickie Lee Jones via my dad’s cassette tapes. I was too young to supposedly understand but yet, no, no I wasn’t. Subtlety wasn’t a strong suit for me.

I understood so much due to what I had read. I read books and subjects that would curl the toes of most parents nowadays. Which often makes me laugh considering that we’re parenting the same age group, and that we’re restricting our children from knowing about things that we know even before they did. Why are we so scared? There’s no good reason. Just fear.

Back to Rickie. She became my everything that summer. And for years beyond. There were times when I would find myself upon a stool inside my dad’s house, with rum & coke in one hand and cigarette in the other, alone I’d sing along to her songs trying to rectify the pain I’d dealt with the last several years. This was my coping mechanism.

Years later, especially realizing the pain that Rickie had dealt with in regard to her own issues, I had to try not to idealize her pain and romanticize it.

She was my biggest influence growing up, I didn’t want to use her music as an excuse to hurt myself. I don’t think that’s something she would want. Instead as I grew up I found the ways to listen to it as I should have all along, as an admirer of the craft. The creation itself, not the artist’s own pain behind the scenes.

She was the first of a small handful of artists that over the years would come to mean the world to me. Whose music I could put on and find myself climbing out of the depths of pain surrounding me, or who could bring to me a sense of solace that everything in this great big world finally makes sense.


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