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The 7 Year New Year’s Itch! Your New Decade Awaits…

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I’m busy this week writing year-end investment letters to my kids and find myself running low on time… so …

I’ve been re-reading some of my end-of-the-year posts from days gone by and came across this scribble I published in December 2012.

Today as we approach not only a new year, but a new decade, I’m re-posting this entry with a few minor revisions and comments to reflect the “newer, better, more-modern” me.

Five People I’d Like to Have for Christmas Dinner 2012

turkey-protest

HURRY… kill the turkey!

The year end is approaching quickly.  And this means that many of us spend the long, dark wintry days turning inwards (especially us Introverts!), becoming introspective, seeking meaning and reason in life. Do you think there’s more to it all than Facebook?

This search may be especially true for those of us who don’t put our trust in a higher power or being.

Not believing in a deity and/or afterlife compresses the time I have allotted for finding significance to our existence. After all, to us heathens, existence and eternity usually means something like 40 up to about 90 years, really not a whole lot of time after you make your bed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and sleep.

Turn off the TV I tell myself, time is running out. Time management for the atheist is the #1 priority right after food and sex!

So I say…

Damn you Christians with your eternal time in heaven with all of your loved ones and no worries about global warming.”

Damn you Muslims and your reward of 72 (some say only 40) virgins.”

Damn you Buddhists and your Nirvana and reincarnation.”

I won’t damn YOU Jews since you’re a bit confused on the whole afterlife side of things already, so why should I make you suffer more consternation with my words.”

Christmas 2012 will be unusual in my world as this will be the first time in 27 years that we’ve not had all or most of our 3 kids at home (2019 Update – had 2 kids and partners here this week with the bonus of our 1 1/2 year old grandson).

They’ve provided the meaning to the season for so long, that I’ve forgotten that there were other reasons, you know… all of that birth of Christ child stuff and Wise Men and Shepherds and HOHOHO and pretty girls…oops sorry, I’ve slipped off on a Charlie Brown tangent. Blockhead!

Since the Christmas dinner table will be extra light on offspring this year, I’ve decided to enjoy a very special Christmas meal serving up 6 courses of my most appealing and satisfying guests from now and days gone by.

centennial-james-a-michener         Trinity by Leon Uris

Course 1 – Appetizers

With Authors James Michener and Leon Uris… a dinner that starts with appetizers should be filled with creative ideas and thought to whet the appetite. (2019 Addition: I’d like to have Stephen King sit in for this course too with his incredibly imaginative mind)

These guys aren’t literary heavyweights. But they have written a huge volume of amazingly researched, diverse, and well-written historical fiction covering all parts of the world. I devoured their books in earlier years.

And today I’d love to bite into some of their ideas on the writing process and organization. I’m astonished by those who can be so determined to focus and deliver a huge body of work in one lifetime. Sure they’re old white guys, but inspiration comes in all colours, ages, and genders.

I also loved radically individualistic Ayn Rand’s ideas in my younger days, but just can’t bring myself around to her level of narcissism at this point in my life. Fortunately, just looking in my bathroom’s mirror and seeing the “funhouse” image it reflects back is enough to keep me grounded at this point!


Course 2 – Soup

Mom photo

With My Mom...Warm and inviting and full of goodness, this soup course will be my visit with a Ghost of Christmas Past.

It will be wonderful to have my Mom at my table this year. It’s been 39 years since she died and I was last able to sit at her table and share in the Christmas feast.

She made the BEST roast potatoes.

Like any good, doting son, I’d want to tell her how much I love her and miss her after all of these years.

As the first person I encountered in life who showed me unconditional love, I would want to tell her about my successes and mistakes, knowing that she would listen, but not judge. And I’d want to tell her that she gave me the grounding and support I needed to go out and make a pretty damn good life, despite all of my fears and worries (Mom was a HUGE worrier herself).

And I’d want to apologize to her for not knowing the basics of CPR when she needed it back in 1973.

Course 3 – Salad

Warren-Buffett-ninja

With Legendary Investor Warren Buffett…what would a Christmas buffet be without a Buffett? Well, not overly filling, but chock full of nutritious thoughts and concepts.

Buffett is known as the Oracle of Omaha, and probably the best investor of this generation. He’s also such a folksy kind of guy. It should be fun to have him at the table, telling little stories about life and making great stock investments. It’s not very often that you meet people who are highly intelligent and independent-thinking who can also relate to people in a relaxed and personal way.

Making billions of dollars, almost all of which will go to charity when he dies, while playing a silly NINJA makes him my kind of guy.   Buffett can take a story about a one-armed baseball player and an Iowa chicken and make a heartfelt parable of it that relates directly to the reality and oftentimes insanity of the investment world.

Course 4 – Main Entree

obama_clinton

With Former U.S. President Bill Clinton…Clinton needs to be the main course because, despite his personal foibles (I’m buying you pants without a zipper for Christmas, Bill!), he’s one of the most substantial minds in the whole wide political world.(2019 Update: Not a fully-fallen angel, Clinton, over #MeToo time has dwindled a bit in my hierarchy of heroes… conversely, Obama, if anything, ranks even higher in this Trump nightmare world than he did in 2012)

Clinton, like Obama, is one of the seemingly few rational and caring political-type Americans out there today. Clinton can spontaneously dissect just about any complex world issue and bring to it a common sense approach and potential solution.

There are many minds out there to admire, but Bill Clinton’s is at the top of my list. One discussion with Bill and I’ll be feeling overful this Christmas.

Course 5 – Dessert

With Actress Reese Witherspoon…dessert should be a light, fluffy, and sugary sweet confection. The perfect dessert, like fine wine, also has an underlying layer of complexity and depth. This is why I’ve invited actress Reese Witherspoon to this occasion rather than my gut-instinctive initial choice, Pamela Anderson (2019 Update: WHY I even mentioned Pamela Anderson here is beyond me).

The Queen of Jiggle, Anderson is just too much fluffy cotton candy that leaves me feeling sickly nauseous after consuming. The first lick is sensually encouraging, but a few bites later you can only feel regret.

I like Witherspoon even though she isn’t my favourite actress… she is sweet and light, but hidden behind her fluff-laden translucent facade is a woman of some core substance. She has a nice finish on the palate that leaves me satisfied and wanting more (2019 Update: I think Witherspoon has stood the test of time and continues to rise)

pamela anderson

Jello served in two cups…

Perhaps you'd like "FUDGE"?....

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Course 6 – Cheese and Wine

With Singers/Songwriters Carole King and James Taylor…it takes two to finish this delectable Christmas dinner because they’re inescapably intertwined for me.

After a large repast with so much to digest, some harmony is needed in this course for settling purposes. Other beautifully harmonious cheese and wine pairings could be Simon and Garfunkle, Karen and Richard Carpenter, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, Lennon and McCartney, Milli Vanilli (just kidding there!).

But ultimately, what better finish could there be to a meal filled with symbolism and meaning shared with friends and relatives than with a blending of voices in “You’ve Got A Friend”? Whenever I’ve been “down and troubled”, a touch of musical melancholy from either of these two feels like rays of warm sunshine on the first sunny April day.

TaylorKingJT Carole King Now
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Finally, the anxiously anticipated Christmas dinner is done, the turkey (2019 Update: or just as likely Tofurkey!) has been deboned and made ready for the next week’s soup and sandwiches.
There’s an awareness of satisfaction in knowing that we’ve made it through another year, however tumultuous or sensational.
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A year filled with events that made us jubilant, made us cry, made us impatient, made us content, made us angry, made us appreciate.
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So. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Splendid Solstice…whatever you choose to pay tribute to, I celebrate with you and I can only hope that your gala feast with whomever you’d like to share it, is SPECTACULAR!
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2019 Update: Thanks for joining me for another year’s reading of THE MAN ON THE FRINGE.
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And Happy New Year as YOU look forward to an exciting new decade…

Lost Christmas

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NYC Killing 2019

Like a straight-line, linear graph (this is my lab background rearing its ugly head) …

… emotional intensity rises as we inch closer to Christmas.

Must be all that Harking and Jingling and O Holy’ing

The good, the bad, the beautiful, the tragic. The amplification soars.

I feel this intensity every year… my emotional core was struck deeply this past week by the news of a senseless cold-blooded murder of a young woman – a daughter, a sister, a student, a musician – in a New York City park.

Any parent will tell you that likely the most gut-wrenching and worrisome part of bringing children INTO the world, is still being alive to usher them OUT OF the world.

Nothing can prepare us for this.

Although I once experienced a close call many years back, I can only pretend to understand the inner devastation that cuts into a mother or father for the remainder of their days, upon the loss of a child.

So, as a kind of catharsis, I’ve “penned” a set of lyrics this week leading up to Christmas, that attempts to capture a bit of the heartbreak in losing a child, like the family of Tessa Majors … the unexpected, the shock, the despair.

Crimson Christmas

CRIMSON CHRISTMAS   (A Parent’s Lament)

by Larry Green

INTRO:

If she wasn’t young and pretty
would they care?
If he wasn’t an agitated kid dressed out in civvies
would they care?
Are thoughts and prayers enough for us
to show they care… when
the past is our only gift left to unwrap

Verse 1

Silver bells and mistletoe laugh
why would she walk those steps
in darkness alone?
gaudy glittered trees and romantic chaff
frosty wreathes over blood-stained snow
our goodbye epitaph

Verse 2

What ghostly happenstance
brought her to this savage moment
this chain of devil’s chance
from a day of season’s fa-la-la’s
from a life crammed full of plans

CHORUS

Headlines rage
screen lines scathe
tears scorching scars
ripped into our hearts
who asked for this unwanted fraternity
lasting for eternity

Verse 3

Her jacket torn and gashed askew
down feathers fill the evening sky
her heart that lost its beat
her bro that’s lost his feet
her guitar left deathly quiet

Verse 4

There’s little left inside this shell
please god I’ll bare my chest with glee
slash me deep to spare her tears
Crush my face in gravelled snow
I’ll forgo life’s wine and years

Bridge

Our morning seems to never come
Snow angels turn your heads in shame… while…

CHORUS

Headlines rage
screen lines scathe
tears scorching scars
ripped into our hearts
who asked for this unwanted fraternity
lasting for eternity

… and the past is our only gift left to unwrap.

tessa guitar

majors family

Seriously Your Honour? … An Innocent’s Lament To A Beeoch…

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policewoman at window

A small (ironic) parable today… if you can stomach it.

…………….

She shook her head and glared at me. Such lovely dark eyes.

I didn’t get it. She didn’t get that I didn’t get it.

A young’ish female judge in flowing black robes and white tie sat on the bench in judgment… of me?

Thin stripes of burgundy brocade garnished the front edges of her judicial robe like sardonic drips of menstrual blood dripping from her chest. Taunting me.

And just like my orange-tinged idol from the Land of the Free, I knew in my heart of hearts that I had done nothing wrong. And yet.

Here I stood at the front of this courtroom defending myself. Witchhunt.

Defending myself against ridiculous trumped-up charges that an obviously poorly-trained RCMP officer- a woman no less … a pretty lady who plainly would have been better suited to hairdressing as a career than policing – was levelling against me.

My eyes flashed wide, directed in amazement towards the judge, the police lady and the courtroom.

woman judge

So many women. I felt like I was in a cat-house. I was simultaneously pissed and aroused.

Now I want you to see clearly the nonsense, the crazy miscarriage of justice perpetrated here, so I’ll provide you a direct quote from this officer lady’s notes that she read out to the court in the charges against me:

“I approached the vehicle of the suspect Mr. Green. He lowered his window.  I asked for his registration and licence. His response was “Of course Sweetheart, you look tired, was the lineup at Tim Hortons too long this morning?

I repeated my request for his documentation which he then provided. I asked if he knew of the reason for being pulled aside.

He shook his head and wondered aloud if he had a burnt out taillight or if I was suffering from some monthly issues.

No sir, I responded. Besides driving at 74 kilometres per hour in a 30 kilometre School Zone, I noticed that you were texting on your phone while driving and appeared severely distracted. You know that’s an offence sir.

Oh is that all?, he replied. Everyone does that, right? No big deal. C’mon, the kids got out of the way.

And the phone sir? Anything you’d like me to add? I asked.

Oh, so you noticed me reaching into the back seat to retrieve my phone that had been ringing? Once I was able to get my seatbelt back on and see that I had missed a call from a bar buddy I met last night – I have to admit I’m still a bit fuzzy up top here – I turned off the Netflix show I was watching on the dashboard screen and zipped off a quick text telling him I was driving and would call him later. 

I see Sir. And I detect a strong scent of cannabis as well. Have you been smoking pot? Is that a joint I see smouldering on your console?

Sure little lady, but it’s medicinal. I have this cast on my foot that really hurts when I drive – I hate driving standard – so I smoke some weed to cut the pain. It’s legal weed, so no offence there Honey.

Sir, there are so many Motor Vehicle charges here that I barely know where to begin. Please step out of your vehicle and place your hands on the hood of the car.

You’re kidding me Sweetheart, right? I’ve done nothing wrong.

You’re kind of pretty you know, doesn’t the RCMP have some sort of skirt for officers like you to wear?

He stepped from the vehicle with a grin on his face and slowly turned and placed his hands on the car.

This is harassment. My lawyers will have all of this in the courts for years to come. Plus I’ll destroy your reputation Bitch, you won’t be behind the wheel of that cruiser a year from now. Somebody should grab you by the pussy and make sure you’re satisfied.

Yes Sir, I’m sure you believe that. I frisked the defendant and secured his hands behind his back for transport to the station.”

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The judge lady shook her head in some sort of womanly tantrum… I have to admit that it was a bit titillating. She was clearly in on this whole fake arrest thing.

Then the Grudge Judge declared me guilty on the full set of charges. My plump, wild-eyed lawyer reassuringly whispered in my ear that appeals would tie this up for months, maybe years.

As I was led from the courtroom, I turned and suggested to the Beauty Shop Cop that she get some anger management training and try chilling, maybe go to an old-fashioned movie with a friend.

WITCHHUNT. Watch out Twitter.

Twitter-rage

 

 

 

Take A Breath – The Song

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Harry Chapin2

A child arrived just the other day…”

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Many years ago I heard the music and writing magic of Harry Chapin… musician, songwriter, storyteller superb.

Harry transformed me.

The beauty in his storytelling had an incredible way of capturing the depth within a life’s soul with few words.

Perhaps no song of his is more gut-wrenching… more heartbreaking… than Cats In The Cradle, a song of father and son.

It’s a song of longing-to-be-loved in the moment, but both the dad and the son in their own time are unable to give the other what he needs.

In the end, the father sees and laments where those seeds of unintentional neglect that he sowed so early on have left him in his later years.

There seems to be many songs of fathers and their overlooked sons.

But what about mothers and their children?

Perhaps a bit unusual, I have seen some examples out there of strained mother-child relationships and pondered…

So, this week in my lyric writing, I’ve taken Harry’s wondrous inspiration and my own observations… but with a turn of the gender tables (yes, idea sex at work).

This song tells of a woman who truly wants to meet society’s expectation of what a mother could and can be, but sadly, is unable to unearth the ability to give, to step back from her own needs.

The song has no formal chorus like we come across in most current songwriting. Instead, I’ve set in a small 2-line bridge between each verse to show a transition of forward movement in time.

(NB: An inside scoop? Writing song lyrics requires deft rhythmic ability. I know from experience that when I write lyrics, the rhythm and pacing in my writing won’t run smoothly when I begin setting a melody to the words. So if you notice an unsettling unevenness to the lines, don’t be surprised. I’m not. This jarring arrhythmia gets worked out as I settle down to my guitar or piano and “fine-tune” in much the same way I edit a blog post, over and over.)

dandelion blow.jpg

Take A Breath

by Larry Green

Take a breath
it’s over soon
Take a breath
it’s over soon

They told her she’d be maternal
perhaps she’d live the dream
and when the searing scorch she felt
below as the infant came
was the burning birth of
shackled days in chains.

Take a breath
it’s over soon

Sleepless nights made hollow eyes
thank god she had her man
supermarket smiles a constant drag
with every aisle she slogged
expectation’s lure too great
smeared cheerless laughs across her face

Take a breath
it’s over soon

Her man he made the meals
most times he cleaned the house
normality like a pancake flipped
absorbed by her mother’s doubts?
but her kids still feel the sunshine so
she poured another glass of wine

Take a breath
it’s over soon

The job she chose meant pretty clothes
a steady stream of evenings out
the kids in bed when she came home
the bedroom lights turned dim
she swore she’d dance them to the moon
one day in her world of might-have-been

Take a breath
it’s over soon

Each year’s gift passed in turn
pencil lines marked the growth
kids blown afar with deeper scars
lamented choices too early sown
guilt’s voices sing their songs
the voices sing their songs

Take a breath
It’s over now.

Your Creative Refresher Bomb

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man pulling hair

AAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY… my head’s exploding…

All of the new streaming services that sail content into our homes – yes, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Netflix, Crave, Apple TV, Hulu, YouTube, et al… the list is growing like a nuclear mushroom cloud – are calling for more and more creative thought and projects: TV shows, music, movies, computer games, books.

I’m getting exhausted at the mere thought. I should lay down.

And it reminds me that I’ve run out of ideas. For blog posts. For writing music.

WAIT … that’s WRONG! Of course, we’re never out of ideas. NEVER

The joy and fun of creativity is a tough master to keep fed. The blazing brainchild fire needs a steady supply of dry wood. It’s like a mental climb up Everest. But did I mention?

It is fun.

And it runs in cycles, like your blood sugars after a superbly gooey cinnamon bun (OMG, you should try the ones I greedily gobble at GROUNDS FOR COFFEE in Vancouver)…. whoa… up she goes, and then… *screaming*… the rollercoaster plummets.

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The job for myself and any of you who thrive on the act of creating – something, anything – is maintaining a sense of balance on life’s beam and understanding the cycles that can leave you with a big bipolar headache.

Please don’t ever believe that creativity will wholly happen consistently because you’ve been magically blessed with some supercharged gene from your Cave-person forebears.

Remember the old Dick Van Dyke Show where Rob and Buddy and Rosemarie sat around in an office all day/every day throwing around comedy ideas for the Alan Brady show?

What? You don’t remember? Sorry, this is OK Boomer talk!

They sweat their idea machinery for hours day in and day out.

Most minds are not instantaneously creative… which is why the 1% who are truly and consistently creative (I lag in the pack well below the 1% group, but I score the participation prize), the ones who are more than “one-hit wonders”, just so happen to be the most sticktoitive kind of folks.

New idea sex, that seductive synonym for creative purpose, can at times flow easily, like the fabulous ideas that float into your head while dreaming (I love these).

… but, my friend … and this is THE important point of my post this morning.. the BOMB if you will … and the thing that took me decades to learn myself … sadly, most good stuff comes because you and I MAKE IT HAPPEN.

creative bomb

We sit and think, sometimes for minutes, but more likely hours and days… we cogitate ideas back and forth like an intense tennis match, keeping the ball aloft and moving, making a few good lobs and passing shots, and then finally… finally… a kill shot materializes.

It’s a process that evolves the 10,000 hour rule into the 10,000 ideas stratosphere.

……………..

Creativity is only good if you do it.

Thinking about being creative isn’t enough. You know all about good intentions.

Intentions and positive thinking are the start line, not the glorious arms-raised finish.

Creativity is invisible work until you decide that your child can be released, sent to school, and shared with the rest of the world.

Sure it can be a bit scary. I know for myself that sharing my songwriting lyrics on this blog site is sometimes exposing my inner being, my self worth – both the good and bad – to anyone and everyone. Risk is part of the creative process.

Certainly we can enjoy the fruits (and popcorn) of creative labour of all those in the media industry and consume consume consume.

But I believe that the greater joy of this and every season is when you produce something that you’ve poured yourself into with an element of your unique inner brilliance and passion.

It’s the gift that you give to yourself and others. Something that has released a part of your creative fire and spirit.

Now, let’s celebrate with a fabulous cinnamon bun!

creative fire