August 7

#MondayMorningMusic – Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield

By Photobra Adam Bielawski (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
My first rockstar crush was Rick Springfield. I had posters of him on my walls, as most girls did back in the early 80s.

I also changed clothes in my closet because it freaked me out, the way Rick’s eyes would follow me wherever I went in my room.

What can I say? My freak flag has flown for a long time. 🙂

Last week, I was reminded by a Facebook post by Billboard that Rick’s song “Jessie’s Girl” went to #1 on August 1,1981.

And it’s the song that taught me the word, “moot”. Ha!

I actually wrote about my relationship to “Jessie’s Girl” in “Connection: Temporary” a numbered parts essay in Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between.

 

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From “Connection: Temporary”, copyright 2011 K.J. Pierce

I’m sitting in the Louisiana mid-day heat melting to the vinyl of my parents’ day-glow orange Vega — the one with the twice-rebuilt engine, courtesy of my father. My family is beyond technologically challenged, so I’m outside listening to the radio. Waiting. Crickets play their own brand of music while I swat at flies with lazy flicks of my hand. Finally, the familiar strains of the tune I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting to hear come tumbling out of the speakers. The absolute joy I feel makes me want to laugh and cry, all at once hysterical and calm. In the few seconds before the vocals come in, I think to myself:

Tons of people are listening to this song at exactly this moment.

It’s such an overwhelming thought, the feeling it evokes frightening in its intensity. The world seems so big, and I feel so utterly small — a modern day Thumbelina in a giant’s world. Dissolving further into the seat, the contradictory emotions cascade through me, over me, under me, around me. My entire body tingles until I am nothing but the song.

The year is 1981, and I’m ten years old. The song I’ve been waiting to hear is Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”

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I never got to see Rick play live until I was well into adulthood – I think I’ve managed 5 or 6 times since then. And I still feel the same way whenever I heard “Jessie’s Girl”. The minute I hear the opening guitar, I’m transported back to feeling completely overwhelmed.

And I love it.

Happy Monday!

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March 23

Monday Morning Mania

Thank YouGood Monday Morning, lovelies!

Woke up to discover a new review for From Poe to Know on Amazon.

Fantastic way to start the week! And now I’m hyper, although that may be the amount of coffee I’ve ingested since 6:00 this morning.

To all of those you’ve purchased and read From Poe to Know, thank you so much.

If you enjoyed it, I’d love it if you’d leave a review. Word of mouth is what helps authors, and as Oscar Wilde says, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m an Attention Whore. As a treat, here’s a snippet from “Attention Whore,” an essay in Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between.

Peculiarity, Self-Righteousness, and Hypocrisy

We Americans are peculiar about our celebrities. We alternately revere them for their talents and revile them when they act particularly human. Our love / hate relationship with them totters as precariously as do they upon the pedestals we place them. As a culture, we thrive on gossip. Even those of us who swear we’re above such low-brow behavior have a soft spot for those moments of self-righteousness. We love to build people up and get them comfortable on their perches before taking a sledgehammer and slowly chipping at that which holds them up, so they eventually go tumbling to the ground, head over ass, in the most undignified manner possible. Or we simply sit back, apathetic, and watch them destroy themselves only to utter I told you so after all is said and done.

Questions and No Answers

Train wrecks aside, I wonder how many of us have succumbed to what is seen as a childish reaction to insecurity and the need for validation. Do we throw adult-sized temper tantrums or do we suck it up, internalize the need, and allow ourselves to become bitter and jaded? What is it that transpires from childhood to adulthood that negates the need to know we’re liked or loved even? Do we reach a certain age when we’re not supposed to need a sense of acceptance? Sure many of us are perfectly capable of finding our own way whether anyone supports us or not, but loneliness and feelings of isolation somehow become more apparent as we grow older. Perhaps because we’re supposed to have grown out of it.

Oh, the Irony

The ironic part about loneliness is that we invariably find ourselves drawn to the same damn things that perpetuate our loneliness in the first place. We yearn for that one person’s attention and allow frustration, whether voiced or not, to set in when we don’t receive it. Like a junkie, we find ourselves scrounging around the streets in search of a fix; the fix that will, well, fix the gaping hole in our respective chests. You know, the one we’re convinced that anyone with half a brain could see if they’d only pay attention; the one that makes us feel desperate and needy and defective.

The problem is that no one pays attention to a junkie any more than they pay attention to the person sitting directly in front of their face. We’ve always shunned the Other, but iPods, smart phones, and online friends sites are poor replacements for the warmth of someone’s touch and the timbre of someone’s voice.

March 10

#TuesdayTeaser – What’s the Craziest, Weirdest, or Most Mortifying Thing You’ve Ever Done Involving a Crush?

Headbutting Leading Man
A short teaser from From Poe to Know

I don’t date much. Never have, really, at least not in the traditional sense. I think I’ve only been on one actual date where a man picked me up, took me out, and brought me home. In Germany, where I spent most of my teen years, dates were done more in a group setting, and I held onto that mindset when we moved back to the states.

That being said, I’ve done some things that many of my friends have thought were absolutely insane on account of being interested in someone. Two come immediately to mind:

One – I “dated” someone in the military who was stationed in Germany. The first time we met he hadn’t yet enlisted and we absolutely despised each other. Fast forward a few years later and we ran into each other again when he was home on leave. Fast forward again through five months of a ton of letters (this was well before the internet) and the occasional international phone call. He proposed, I accepted, and I quit my job and flew to Germany the next day with $500 in cash and a credit card. As fate would have it, we didn’t get married, and I flew back to the states three weeks later. We haven’t spoken to each other but once or twice, I think, since. Not in years, certainly. Embarrassment factor – at the time, probably a six on account of a couple of irate letters I sent him after I got back and didn’t hear from him for a couple of months. Turned out he’d been in a car accident the day I left and ended up in the hospital for a lengthy stay.

Two – I once moved from Florida to Los Angeles because I wanted to date someone who works in the music industry. There was absolutely nothing going on between us, but I knew there wouldn’t even be a chance of anything if we weren’t in the same place. The whole story (or at least what I’m willing to publicly admit to) is told in an essay, “Ten Steps for Befriending a Rockstar or the Gentle Art of Stalking,” in Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between. I spent a year and a half living in L.A., saw him maybe twice, and moved back east when I lost my roommate (she moved) and couldn’t afford to stay any longer. Plus, living in L.A. isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We still talk occasionally and I consider him a great friend. Adore him, really. Embarrassment factor – as a whole, none at all, though there was that one time I went to see him play and decided holding up a poster that said “Rockstar sucks” was a good idea. Nearly stopped the show with that one and I’m surprised I didn’t get beaten to a pulp by fans. I’m also surprised he still talks to me after he got a ration of shit from his bandmates.

All of this brings me to From Poe to Know. Izzie has a crush on Cardwell, the star of Poe, and I wanted her to have at least one mortifying encounter -who among us hasn’t done something to embarrass ourselves in front of someone we liked? Izzie is accident prone, and what could be more horrifying than nearly breaking Cardwell’s nose? (NOTE: if you click on the picture you’ll be able to read it easier)

In that spirit, chime in in the comments and tell me the craziest, weirdest, or most mortifying thing that’s ever happened to you on account of someone you liked or were dating.

April 8

Review for Fractured and Genital Imagery in Man of Steel

Fractured cover 300x188A couple of years ago I released a little eBook of Creative Nonfiction essays called Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between. I didn’t do any promotion, really. Just released it into the world and hoped for the best. I recently submitted it to IndieReader for review, and it was posted yesterday.

Can I just interject here that having other people – especially people you don’t know and who don’t know you – review your work is a bit nerve wracking? As a writer, I know you can’t please everyone, but it’s still a bit frightening. You spend time wondering if they’ll like it, if they’ll be fair and thoughtful in their assessment. I’m pleased to say that reviewer Catherine Langrehr was, and I’m excited to be able to share it with you.

If you’d like to check it out, you can do so here.

In other news, I finally got around to watching Superman reboot Man of Steel over the weekend. Let me say this straight up: I will always be partial to Christopher Reeve as Superman. That said, I thought Henry Cavill was an excellent choice. The movie itself was fun, though the plot did suffer a bit from the “let’s make a blow ’em up movie.” I liked how they included the backstory of how and why Krypton imploded. What I found interesting was the (glaringly obvious, in my opinion) genital imagery, especially in the first hour of the movie. When I mentioned this to my friends on Facebook, some of them were amused and did the proverbial head shake followed by “only you, K.J.” My question was, “How could you miss the penis-shaped ships and the vagina-like doors?”

I don’t know if it was purposefully done by the filmmakers, but it ties in quite well with the first-natural-birth-in-centuries of Kal-El, his rebirth as a human, and ultimately his transitioning into a human/Kryptonian hybrid.

Did any of you out there notice the imagery, too? Or is it, as my friends assert, just me? 🙂