I accidentally fell in love with a cat, who at only 7 months old – walked in and died in my arms while I failed to perform Cat CPR, one day recently. And, while you could still drive an 18-wheeler through the hole his absence has left in my heart, I am thankful to know that it’s super-cool I’m capable of loving so fearlessly again. 20180131_133235

His name was Jackson and he was, without a doubt, the coolest cat I ever got to hang with. I had a lifetime in cat lovery, when I had a house full of children and felonious brothers and black-hearted lovers – so, I don’t come by this cat opinion out of thin air. Jackson was an incredible Russian Blue (loved by many for the fact they don’t shed AND if you’re allergic to cats – you’re way less allergic to them) and he was learning to be a caddy (catty just cracked us up) for our indoor putt putt invitational this summer.

While we did all the right things in getting him fixed and vaccinated, and we fed him good food and got him dewormed, he also got to be an Indoor/Outdoor Cat. Perhaps in other neighborhoods, this is less risky – where we live… not so much. We’re near midtown and a river with neighbors who indulge in porch Lazy Boys and cars parked on lawns. We have a lot of alley cats. We have a lot of neighbors and home owners who, for real, do not give two fucks.

It was totally irresponsible for me to let Jackson come and go, but I did and he had a ferociously vibrant life for every moment he was here. He was freaking fearless. His fearlessness sparked this thing that I saw in the hoards of loves who move through this place – I saw people who hadn’t loved fearlessly for a very long time, love so fearlessly it made my eyes water.

Sure, he was just a cat and I’ve slung some tremendous shit on people who treat their pets like humans, but … I was wrong. It’s entirely possible to love an animal with that same part of your heart that loves a person. And, that is the part that is fearless.

In homage to Jackson I’m going to return to a fearless flavor of Social Media and sharing and connecting with the people I love. I used to write half a million words a year – just for me or just to build my brand or just to make enough money to buy peanut butter. Word on the street is that if we’re going to want to use our power wisely, here in this digital world, we’re going to have to make some effort to connect. We have to reach out to the ones who lift us up or make us laugh or lets our hearts break with theirs, if we want to remain relevant.

Chances are, I love you and I either don’t say it enough, don’t know how to say it or have failed to show it. I promise to write more, be more kind no matter what and always leave it better than I found it. Thanks for making that easy.

Burn like Jackson, baby. This could be all we get.



Me Too.meeetooo. Echoed from Coast to Coast

The most brutal raping came a whole year before we were married. I had already endured (and subjected my children to) several years of abuse and had tried to escape many times, to no avail. The kid’s father had invested ten years in a stalking campaign, and I’d grown weary of trying to play long-game with abusive sociopaths. He had almost cost us all our lives and I knew I wasn’t willing to go that far again. So, as crazy as it sounds: I married the monster to save our lives. I believed him when he said he’d never ever ever let me go.

BMwarningI’d just been returned to the Recovery Room after a complicated surgery to deal with a pre-cancerous cervix and I was having trouble shaking off the general anesthesia. The care providers asked my “Friend” (I was not allowed to use the term “Boyfriend” or “Fiancee” and sometimes I had to say he was my brother) to come into the room, with the hope that he would provide comfort as I re-entered the atmosphere.

I have a phenomenally horrid habit of screaming “FUCKME!” when I’m in blinding pain and cloaked in medical fogs, and this day was no exception. I remember being way way cold and in more pain than I could ever recall having been in, and true to form – I was screaming “FUCKME!” over and over and over as I writhed on a gurney and tried to remember how to use my hands.

One minute he was near my face, whispering kind words and stroking the hair away from eyes, and the next he was wrestling my legs apart and violently yanking me towards the end of the stretcher. I could feel the stitches popping from my lungs to my thighs and the terror was too real as I realized I couldn’t even lift my head. I remember the sulfur smell of my own blood as it painted the sheets red and how it was so hot I thought I’d lost bladder control. I remember wishing I hadn’t used all my energy screaming “FUCKME!” because now I didn’t even have the voice to scream for help.

I don’t remember much else, but I’m sure the whole transaction didn’t take more than five minutes, and blessedly I passed out before he was finished. I didn’t come to until I was surrounded by nurses saying, “Oh baby! What have you done to yourself?!?” He was long gone. “Ohhhhh, what have you done?!?” They hustled and whispered and sent me back into surgery and booked me a spacious suite in ICU for a few days. Nobody, ever once, asked me what happened.

12115778_10153664329689487_7580921891998893469_nFast forward twenty years and my daughter has become a psychologist, a powerful force and formidable author. Her journey hasn’t been easy and until very recently, there was a deep dark secret that she hadn’t shared with me or her brother, that contributed to this abyss we called our relationship. Something had gone wrong when she was a young teen. I didn’t know if it was just young teen business, if I was an awful mother or if I had subjected her to dangers I was too stupid to consider. In retrospect, I cannot EVEN believe that it never once occurred to me that she, too, might have been a victim to the man I invited into our lives and married simply because I was too tired to fight anymore.

About the time the #metoo movement took flight, my daughter published a blog that finally answered at least some of the lingering questions about what happened when the train left the tracks in our little family. She’d had no shortage of burdens to bear by virtue of choices I made, and it was readily apparent that the weight of this secret had almost cost her everything.

She called out her abuser and I wanted to walk the two blocks over to his home and burn the.mother.fucker.down. (worth noting: I did not, will not and could not. I’m literally just not That Girl. And, I’ve seen Karma do some absolutely brilliant work while I’ve grown lazy…) Just like the women who called out Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor and however many dozens of politicians, in the last two weeks, she called him out. My guess is that our time overlapped, while I was incapacitated, he was wrecking her life and mine. And, she.called.him.out.

This “calling out” of the abusers is some seriously risky business, of late. Never mind that the pretend-leader of our country is a pussy-grabbing serial abuser and pathological freak, he apparently gets to keep ruining millions of lives while suffering no consequences for abhorrent behavior he has admitted to. It would seem that so long as we allow that – that will become the norm. It both did my heart good and break it in two when Lauer and Garrison got called out and fired. I was furious that they had impersonated Good Men for so long and gotten away with it. And, it made me doubly mad to know that they probably both made considerably more bank than their female compatriots, while they were tricking the entire American public. Assholes.

20171108_100508Since my own personal story is playing out on this landscape, with the soundtrack of physical disability in the background (turns out, a person can live through that kind of violence, but the body will rebel some number of years later, making way for some super-duper unpleasant choices about employment, pride, mobility and pain management) I’ve had a couple weeks to decide whether I want to risk becoming a social pariah in a small town (for calling out a local musician hero dude) OR I get to provide a public service in that “OMG, do NOT let this beast near anybody you love” kinda way.

Since we are here now, and all, it’s pretty clear which road I’ve chosen. I have reconciled my need to be liked with my hope that nobody else ever has to experience the white hot rage that comes from knowing a monster hurt your child…. and knowing that monster’s name and address. And, settling that all down into a feather mattress of twenty years gone by and a million missed moments.

I haven’t slept particularly well since I read her blog. I haven’t been stabby or sad, but I have been dealing some long-term consequences of being torn in half and I’m working overtime to not look back while I’m building this bright glittery future that involves me not standing up much. I am surrounded by enlightened and positive loves who remind me, on the regular, to not “go there” and I’m going to be done with there, as soon as the last word hits this post.

There is probably some reasonable chance that the man who tried to destroy us will retaliate against us or me, but that’s a small risk that I’m willing to take when measured by the damage I know he is capable of doing. While I doubt the heinous nature of his actions will even show up on the incestuously small radar we keep here in Kansas, I still like to imagine that we’re entering an age of enlightenment where people who act like this will be held accountable and punished. Or, better yet – they simply will cease to be. Maybe now is when we get to start raising better men. For real.

moemasters 2017 ©





Dear Daddy Issues

My daughter is a formidable writer and an even more meaningful psychologist. She wrote a letter to her therapist for Father’s Day, and that act made me appreciate how I write lots of letters, but very few of substance. Given what she had to work with, I would imagine that she wrote either a very long, or very succinct letter – maybe both: thorough and concise. I don’t keep a therapist on speed-dial anymore, but I blog freely and pretend. To that end, today I write this.

(Sidebar: It makes me terribly uncomfortable to write these kind of truths. I write copy and peddle bullshit to pay the bills and even when I write for myself, I write with an agenda. I have a brand and I have an obligation to my message. My message is survive… thrive, rise above, fake it till you make it… seeing it in print, my message makes me kind of sick. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start here — I still have sentences to sell, memes to market and wearables to merchandise like the ninja pioneer traveling medicine woman I am.

ZULUmeSo, A Thousand Howdies, Dad.

In the million variations of this letter that I’ve written in my head, not many were actually full of forgiveness. I get that that’s on me and not you, but today I’m glad I can drop in on a Father’s Day and tell you that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I paid a quarter to light those tall red candles down at Blessed Sacrament and offer up ten Hail Mary’s in an effort to call upon divine intervention and have your plane go down. I was a kid and still believed in that voodoo, but it does haunt me that I did that. You can not even imagine how completely unhinged my brother and I were, that one time when you actually did go down and almost died. That could mark the beginning of the end of our belief in the church. I don’t think we ate (or made eye contact) for a week.

What the Shrinks advise now, in cases of flat-out bizarre family of origin stories, is to think of everything you are grateful to have carried out with you when you survived. In this area, I consider myself to be among the richest girls, ever. Ever.ever.

Thank you so much, and so for real for teaching me The Masters of music and art when I was still a toddler. This familiarity has allowed me a relationship with my creative side that most of my peers don’t have. I’ve been able to segue both of these into revenue streams, modest but steady, for many years and I don’t think I thought to thank you. Mom and her family taught me all about making music and creating from the heart, but you taught me to recognize it. That rocks.

Thanks for insisting I take penmanship classes during all those years my friends had to take piano. I still wished I’d learned how to play piano, but I have unreasonably nice handwriting… so, I got that going for me. I’m the envy of all my friends.

Professionally, you were probably the tightest trainer a girl in the ’60s could have. I think of you on the regular when I engage in printing, writing, editing, publishing, rounding corners, die-cutting, kerning, measuring to within 1/16th of an inch, alphabetizing and chronicling, interviewing and soliciting ad revenue and negotiating the slippery ethics of a wide variety of employers. That last one seems to have given me the most mileage during my slave-years, working for you and actual employers, and that probably proved invaluable. I’m still alive and all, so I’d call that a win.

The things you gave me that you didn’t even know about are the ones that I’ve gotten to stare at the most. You gave me every single good acronym an American girl could want in the Midwest (NTSB, FAA, NSA, NASA, CIA, M5, etc.) but, by either spinning incredible stories OR sharing intimate truths that I had no business knowing – you made me starved for information about the CIA.

I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out if you were involved, if the story mom told me was real and if so — how did things play out this way? I’m sure it’s none of my business, but you made it my business by sharing such profoundly weird stories and engaging in such shady, shifty, hinky behaviors. Dude. that was uncalled for. But, thanks for what amounts to an undergraduate degree in sociopathy, clandestine behaviors and conspiracy theories. I’ve proven that I do, indeed, know just enough to be dangerous, and I doubt I’d get clearance to go on a tour of the White House. Job well done, Sir!

You cannot even imagine how adept I’ve become at negotiating traumatic unexpected events. Gunfire, stabbings, arson, mismanagement of resources, abandonment, broken bones, cancelled flights, police investigations, death, messy-death, nun-wives, hospitalizations, hoarders, drug addiction, rapists, identity theft, bumpy landings, aborted take-offs, felonious theft, polygamy, kidnappings, bastard siblings, hidden offshore accounts … I so SO got this. That’s all child’s-play.

I’ve become a tour guide for the terminally fucked. I’d say it’s good work when I can find it, but it is not. Not good work at all. This present has been a super duper double-edged sword. Only so cool, Dad. Only so. But, yeah — thanks for this gift of invincibility. I’m sure I’m going to appreciate it more soon. And, it was groovy to understand the concept of “double-edged swords” before grade school. I think it gave me an advantage.

Thank you for teaching me how to build character by getting from Paris to Wichita with no more than $5 in my pocket, because you’d paid me with a hot payroll check. Thanks for the survival skills gained in allowing me and my kids to survive on the mean wicked streets of this small cowtown, while you had rental properties sitting empty. And, more than anything thanks for forcing me to learn self-reliance in the way that Emerson meant for it to be learned when he wrote it.

I don’t know many people as resilient as me and the kids, and very few days go by where I don’t thank you for that.












Five Funny Things


Funny thing about being a contract copywriter is that I cannot write copy for anybody’s anything until I get my head emptied of all my old stale words. Some of those words have writemustfermented for weeks, sometimes months, and they are so comfortable being all up in there that they don’t want to leave. Sometimes they think I should daydrink and procrastinate until the last possible moment. Other times, they let me let them out. I’m glad today is the latter and not the former.

Funny thing about being an early adopter is that I get to watch my tribe and all the islanders come to grips with a world that I got to embrace almost 20 years ago. Medical care is not implied – if it isn’t profitable to stretch your death out beyond moral and ethical borders, then you don’t really get to live. Our politics were sold to the highest ridiculous and unbelievable bidder long ago and we get ringside seats to whatever historians will call this era. Every day we raise the bar on cruelty and we disconnect further from the consequences of our actions. There’s some funny business in that I get to be the Troop Leader into this new world where old realities are suspended but we’re going to need the strengths that our great-grandparents brought to the table. This stuff didn’t happen overnight, and while you were sleeping I built our fort and stocked it with all the verbs and nouns we’ll need. I hope you have good shoes.

gasgrrrlFunny thing about being a girl with a horrible pirate mouth that turns the air blue with fucking fuck fuckity fuck bombs, is that I know you’re hearing much more despicable stuff and it’s devalued the effectivity of my fucking vocabulary. It sickens me to imagine toddlers, just building vocabulary skills with their delicate little ears….  ever hearing the term “Grabbed her by the pussy.” That is some fucked up shit, there. Babies heard that, man. I know they did. My saying fuck is the least of our problems. There are horrific sentences being shared on nightly news.

(SIDEBAR) I can’t believe we’re squandering our words on such awful thoughts. What IF those were the very last words you got to say or the last thing you heard? What then? That would, literally, suck out loud. And, if you’re so offended by my tight little predictable vocabulary but aren’t at all sickened by what you’re being fed on the regular  — well, there’s no excuse for that and honestly, it makes me use the F-word more.

Funny thing about being a Pioneer is that I’ve learned to survive in ways you probably haven’t even had time to think of yet. I got to learn all about cancer and identity theft, crime scene clean ups, meth/crack/heroin addiction and domestic abuse as understood by metropolitan/state & federal laws so intimately that I now get to be a Tour Guide for the rest of you. Bam! Just like that I went from copywriter to Tour Guide.

You are SO going to love this ride. First we’re going to start getting rid of your stuff, mostly all of your stuff. You can take pictures of what you love and store it on a flash drive, and you do get to keep about 100 things. So, you got that going for you. If you can carry it, you can keep it.

niceshitThen in the middle of this purge we’re going to fill out your POA and DNR and put them in a safe place where all your loves can find them. In the extremely off-chance that your life collection tries to kill you, it’s best we all know how you want it to play out. This is a critically important part of the process because people are always leaving at inopportune times when their houses are a wreck. That overwhelming heartache then falls on whoever loved you the most and is a horrible parting gift. So, we get our shit together, first. (If you’re really lucky, I’ll teach you how to donate your body to science and avoid the expense of a funeral while advancing medicine.)

Funny thing about all these funny things is that this is the stuff that I have to store, externally and all – the hard drive called my brain gets sooooo very full-up.  I’m way more hopeful than I was before, and I believe I’ve seen the power of change. I’ve seen us work well together. One voice in the atmosphere doesn’t amount to much, but about 3 million is loud as fuck. We’re growing up nicely and these are curious times. I look forward to seeing how we all play this out, nicely, together. Get your houses in order, Pioneers. We got stuff to do and we have to stop burdening the next generation(s) with stuff and horrible sentences.






earI had a conversation, this morning, with my loves on the prairie that went something like this:

Them: Well, Kansas won’t be nearly as exciting as hanging out in the PNW being a stripper….

Me: WTF did you just say?!?! I’m not a stripper, for godsake! I’m a trimmer. I am a contract trimmer who works with clippers. I am not a stripper! Have you told anybody else that that is what I’m doing? Jesus! I get paid extra to leave my clothes ON! I trim with all my clothes on.. shit. I wear extra clothes. Oh lord, you guys….

Them: Oohhh man, stripper… trimmer… same same.

And, I’m still laughing about it. Oh how groovy the way wording can make such a difference.

One time when I was at my sister’s house, my back was killing me and I was whining. She was walking towards the fridge finishing up a sentence about spaghetti and I could swear she said, “Oh. I’ve been gay.”

My mind had whole long seconds to ask so many questions … WHEN had she had time to be gay? She’d been married forever and she was raising four high-maintenance sons. Why would she tell me that, now? I don’t need to know that shit, it’s way above my pay grade. Was I the first person that she came out to? Did mom know?

When I could breath again, I said “Why the fuck would you tell me that?” She turned around and said, “You said your back hurt and sometimes I use Ben Gay on my back. I was just trying to be nice.”

Oooohhhh, I’m pretty sure I said.

Another time, she was standing at the freezer, getting ice and I was pretty sure she said, “Man I hate it when I’ve had Brian in the house, it smells greasy for days.” We have an estranged brother with that name, whom I have not seen in many years and again – what I thought she said was not easy to process.

“When was Brian in this house?!?” I asked. I’d been there for a hot minute and I sure hadn’t seen him.

She turned to look at me with a slightly exhausted face and said “In THIS house?!? He hasn’t been here for over a year.”

“But the house still smells greasy?” I asked.

“What the hell are you talkin’bout, Willis?” She asked with less humor and more exasperation.

I repeated back the sentence I thought I’d heard and she burst into laughter.

She said this: “Man, I hate it when I’ve been frying in the house. It smells greasy for days.”

About 30 years ago, I was walking into a marriage counseling appointment with a human I had yet to marry. Nobody was in a great mood and not a lot of talking had been done in the hours leading up to this date. As we walked by a fat strand of Yew bushes, I said “Ug. Yews smell like cat piss.”

That was all I said and I didn’t say to anybody in particular, but my companion heard “You smell like cat piss.” He stopped dead in his tracks so I did too. He turned to look at me and said, “What did you just say?” Not in the mood for any bullshit, I squared off and said, maybe a little too loudly “Yews smell like cat piss.”

I was able to clear up that little misunderstanding but it wasn’t nearly as funny at the time as it is now, after all these years.

maureenmasters © 2016




A Letter Home


Dear Love. Yo.

I know that you know I dig you because I’ve proven it on a kabillion levels and I do so wish I’d been by sooner to say Hey, but I wasn’t so “Hey” now. You look super-great with that tan and all the muscles you found in your body and brain. I dig that about you so much. If I put my hand on the middle of your chest, I’m pretty sure I’d feel your heart beating sound and strong. If I were there, I’d confirm this first-hand and all, but I’m not. I’m here.

And, just for the record: OMG. It is so beautiful here. This is the first really cool and breezy morning we’ve had on the prairie for a couple weeks so I don’t even mind the flies that much. I’m going to fill the pool as soon as the sun gets high enough and then I’ll float and try to do nothing. Of all the things that there are to do, I am the worst at doing nothing. I just don’t get it.

LIFEwithLOTTEproCOVcrossPROMOI think it’s because I heard, “Make yourself useful!” for so many years, or because I’m living with the most ambitious, driven 85-year-old ever in the history of time. I dunno, but it’s curiously delicious most days.

And, some of the other days – not so delicious. Today is the day I’ve decided I’ll hit “Publish” no matter what. I’ve been having a hella hard time listening to my voice sing or reading the words I write. I have no idea why this happens, but sometimes my resolve and my brand … .they get broken.

I believe you are capable of any and every.single.thing and I stand as support while I sit on about 5948 pages of words that I don’t think should get elected. The only way I can talk to you is to pretend that I’m just writing another letter, (probably my oldest good habit) and you’re not going to be shitty about it. (Please don’t be shitty.)

To that end, I gotta spend a minute on my Annual PSA to let you know that this fiasco of an election we’re staring at in America, has superseded my wildest expectations for what the Stupidification of a Nation would look like and I can’t burn one more precious calorie or give one more itsy-bitsy darling fuck on this low-hanging faux-political hatred. Not anymore.

The real problem isn’t the Democrats or the Republicans or the men or women or the rainbows or cauldrons or.or..or.. the real problem is that “Speaking Your Mind” has become a valued tick to be rewarded and applauded and supported and endorsed. I have, personally, thought some viciously wicked things and never said them out loud because I have some degree of social decorum and respect for our well-being as a tribe. (In your defense, I know that the only weapon I carry is my tongue and it’s ability to diminish you to ash in a heartbeat and I’m still not sorry because you’re taller than me. And, in my defense: I’ve never raised a hand to you.)

My will to go on living and not get shot or stabbed or bone-broke is much greater than my need to have the last word on something that I might just know nothing about, I may only know what I’ve been able to read or hear and dang if that’s not some compromised business, baby. People lie. Media is owned. It’s super complicated and requires your time in research, and I know research is totally uncool at cocktail parties. I know that you know ignorance is a choice and we all get to choose. I know you choose to trade your spirit, time and spark for trips to Walmart to buy plastic things that your kids will totally resent you for when you leave them behind after your departure, but we all gotta job to do. I’m not being all-judgey, just real.

MOEdennisBIGlafsThat all notwithstanding, It’s been an epic twist to go from Kansas to the world, with you in my pocket. I’ve seen what I’m talkin’bout baby…. and  I would encourage you to just learn to walk softly and move quick. I am pretty sure that moving quick is the secret to a long life.

Get out. Go. Go wherever you must go once you’ve met your obligations and weighed out the consequences and consulted the star charts. Believe nobody and hedge your bets. It’s a crazy time to be alive on this big blue ball. You don’t have to suffer. Go fast without hesitation and write me when you get there.

So, yea. I put in a year with cannabis and all things related and I’ve now returned to taking care. Mostly of me, but that’s only through the care I take of you and us. I got your back and I have a current DNR & POA …. I’ve been donated to science at universities all over the globe. I think we’re good here. You should write me sometime.
















The Song of My People

About 20 years ago we had a home that also served as home to a sweet variety of musicians and artists who needed a home when none (other than ours*) was available.  Me and Mine had the downstairs and Wayne was upstairs, for the telling of this story. HORSEgirl

Wayne played in a band called Technicolor Headrush. While I loved Wayne and Kirk and the other boys in that band (like little brothers,) it wasn’t so much my cup of tea. I still went to the shows and supported local music and all, but it was way more love than actual enjoyment.

It was a Wednesday night and it wasn’t full-frontal Winter anymore. I remember both of these things only because I still notice that so many bands I love all practice on Wednesday nights (that’s why I call it “Band Practice Night” instead of hump day) and I was barefoot. (For record keeping purposes -I wore two pairs of socks from post-Winfield until the daffodils bloomed. aka: leg shaving offseason.)

Our practice shut down by ten because we were old people, all being over 30 and all, and we were settling into the Recap Safety Meeting when Wayne knocked on the front door and asked if he could show us something. I was kinda hoping this would happen because the music I’d heard fall down the stairs all night was a huge departure from the angsty stuff we’d grown used to. Standing behind him in our funkyass mudroom foyer was Kirk with a guitar that had been punched squarely in the face, Jeff (holding what looked like the gas tank from an old Ford truck with a stick in it,) and Eric with a mandolin.

Split Lip Rayfield

(Unless it was a banjo, which it could have been, but I’d think I’d remember that since we already had Richard, and back then we only got about one banjo player per zip code.) They shuffled in past the living room to the dining room which was completely open because it wasn’t really a dining room so much as it was the band practice room and office space for the first ISP in Kansas.


I don’t remember what they played first. I remember I was Sofa.King.Exhausted from working a 15 hour day, practicing for 4 hours and raising kids for 19 hours that I couldn’t remember where I left my shoes. I know they started out with strong clear harmonies and a completely  rearranged bluegrass sensibility, but this music had teeth like The Bad Livers got involved in the build while The Pogues added a rogue chromosome to the DNA. I pretty much immediately forgot that I was tired.

It was a late schoolnight and they played 3 songs before anybody drew a breath. Even the rebellious teens hanging out in my sons room smoking my flowers (stolen from the tray under the sofa like shifty baccalaureate ninjas,) came out to see who was making this music in our house. I had a slow motion Matrix-moment where I looked around and memorized the intersection of where I came from and where I was headed.

MOMOauntsI memorized moments like this for a living by the time this night unfolded. The moments when my mother and her sisters busted out their 5 part harmonies at 2am after a pyramid of Schlitz beers and too many Kent cigarettes. We were short enough to listen from under the kitchen table and Aunt Carol always left half of every cigarette she lit.

I remembered singing at the top of my lungs with strangers during my 16th summer, in a war-torn alley in Londonderry when my mom and I had run away from home on my fathers payroll because we could and he pissed us both all the way off (and a country under siege was an attractive option, given the choices.) We locked arms with Italians and Germans and Austrians, that night, and sang till the sun rose.

I remembered how hot my cheeks burned when I didn’t understand the difference between “Winfield Virgin” and actual, bonafide Virgin, but I was rewarded with being taught the entire John Prine catalog by a bunch of editors from the Joplin Globe.

Fast forward a million miles, three lifetimes and all the breakfasts later – I got to see a show last weekend that rolled all those perfect moments into focus. I got to meet new Family (by choice not blood) and be reminded why we do this and how defined I am by the sharing. Music makes me stronger, taller and funnier in the morning. My personal chemistry is totally addicted to the seratonin and dopamine tsunamis that allow me to stay up all night and hatch plans to overtake the earth with love and music and kindness.  (And, Underground Railroads. Viva la Revolucion!)

Larry & His Flask played The Tower last weekend and I got to take in a fresh new breath of how my musical moment memory works  in 2016, after the Mumfords and Avetts and Oh Brother got their fingerpints allllll over this scene.  My scene. The Family scene. LFLASKone

By the time this night ended, I had met all of the parents, most of the best friends and at least half the getaway drivers. I enjoyed one of the best, most dynamic shows I’ve seen in ages (my bar is set CRAZY-high) and I got to be reminded of how happy I am that there are no two-tops in this world. All our tables hold everybody. We need each other to help us build the soundtracks to play in our backgrounds. Me and my people: We’re all mix-tapes and kitchen sing-alongs and I just might be six feet tall.

Meet me at the table.


*My kids might still not love this truth. They had to share at an unprecedented level and I continue to hope that they know I know this, and am grateful for their beneficence.