I love music. Have since I was a wee crying baby in a crib and my grandmother couldn’t take it anymore. The closest thing she could find was a little music box that played ‘London Bridge.’ She tossed it in next to me and whaddaya know? I zipped my lips. I’m still that way. If you want to shut me up, turn up the music.
Since I got sober in 2006, I have done a lot of reading of certain texts like Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, One Day at a Time, etc. You get the idea. I have also thrown myself into numerous writing projects. It started with The Daily Woman, then I went on to write for Technorati, then Rock On Philly, then Brutalism.com, then on and on. I now write this blog (damswriter), along with books and also for a website called Devil Inside Promotions. Around 2015, I started a website called Rock Metal Scissors. It was really just for fun. I had been writing about music since about 2008 and had built up a lot of connections through writing via other sites. I’m sure me branching out on my own had to do with someone pissing me off because I couldn’t write what I wanted to write.
They say that contrast causes us to act and thereby changes our lives. Isn’t that beautiful?
The Steel Onion was born and I was able to do what I loved! I wasn’t getting paid, but that was fine. I was having fun. The whole project was 100% self-supported financially but the more I said, The Steel Onion, the more people didn’t get it.
I need to change the name… after some meditation, I came up with ROCK METAL SCISSORS. I loved the way that sounded! I envisioned it as a household name in the music scene…
But, I let Rock Metal Scissors fall by the wayside for about a year. I had so much stuff going on – plus working a day job – that I couldn’t hang anymore. Some things I noticed while I took a break from writing about music:
I was prone to more fits of crankiness. I felt sad a lot more. I was hearing all this great stuff but what could I do about it? I was able to immerse myself in nature which was awesome and I also got to spend more time with my husband, which was doubly awesome.
Then I got an email that threw me right back in… A guy from a label was representing one of my favorite bands! Was I available for an album review and also… to cover a local show? Um, yeah! That was all it took for me to realize writing – writing about music – is a true passion of mine.
And now I am 100% serious about my writing. I have set up a Fiverr site, and am starting to pitch to sites all the while keeping up the work on Rock Metal Scissors.
Stay tuned for my next post about exhaling and going for it in the world of freelancing! And hey, go check out Rock Metal Scissors. 🙂
Hi Ted, thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me. First off, I want to congratulate you on your clean time. It is a rough road I know personally, but very rewarding. It is people like you that inspire addicts and alcoholics in recovery to keep that glimmer of hope alive, no matter how dark it may get.
1. I read your press release and you said, “After I got clean, I thought ‘What am I going to do with my life?” I can relate to trying to transition into a life without drugs and alcohol. Was it difficult for you to find something to do immediately?
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to be creative without drugs or alcohol and I’d almost made the
decision not to play music anymore! My thinking was that my creativity was too closely linked to my
drug use. Fortunately, the Universe had a different plan and opportunities in music presented
themselves more abundantly than they ever had before! 2. What brought you to the United States from New Zealand?
I moved to the United States when I had around 18 months clean as guitarist, co-writer and
backing vocalist with popular NZ artist Greg Johnson. I had started playing in his band and he
asked me to accompany him for some showcases for Record Companies. He ended up getting
signed, and we moved to L.A. to make an album..
3. What was your darkest moment while out there (using)? Was that enough to get you to wake up and realize you could die?
I had a few brushes with death while I was out there. I think one of my darkest moments was getting
the news that my friend and fellow musician Matt had died from this disease. I was devastated and
although I had OD’d several times myself, it still took me over a year more to go back into detox and
try treatment again. He was so talented and it was such a waste, but I knew it could be me or any
one of those ‘smart, talented’ addicts I was using with.
4. What has been the most amazing part of your journey through sobriety so far?
There have been so many wonderful moments. I feel like all the great things that have happened in
my life have been since I got sober- getting married, traveling the world playing music, seeing all the
art I’d only ever seen in books, making albums.. Using provided me with a very limited view of the
world but recovery has expanded that view by putting me back in contact with human beings! Every
day can be an adventure if I can keep an open mind and remember to be grateful.
5. Now that you are clean and sober, do you look at people differently? Like, do you have more tolerance?
I really had to learn how to deal with people again because I was just so used to being loaded all the
time and that had been my point of reference for so long! I think I’m more tolerant these days simply
because I feel more a ‘part of’, but it’s still a challenge (especially on the freeway!) 6. I actually love driving on little country roads, it helps me reconnect with my Higher Power and regroup when life keeps being life. How do you relax these days?
I meditate, I read (for entertainment as well as for inspiration). I have 2 cats and a dog and I find
them to be a great source of relaxation! ( I never had pets growing up so it’s still a novelty for me). As
I said, I love art so going to museums and galleries is something I love to do.
7. Tell me about the song, “Bringing my Past Back (But Not To Haunt Me).
This is really a song about the ‘steps’ and the work that’s asked of me if I really want to get the most
that recovery has to offer. Sometimes that work is tough- messy and painful but if I’m prepared to do
it (and I never have to do it alone) I’ve discovered that the benefits are incredible. The trick is, that I
have to keep doing it if I want to experience growth.. 8. Did you ever think that you’d be living the dream today? Getting to do what you love?
I don’t know what I thought when I was in active addiction! Mostly “getting, using and finding ways to
get more”. I always thought that I had the wrong life, that it, “wasn’t supposed to be like this”…my
fear was that I would die from my using. Every day surprises me!
9. Do you have any words of advice or wisdom for addicts and alcoholics still struggling with addiction?
Anyone can get clean, lose the obsession and find a new way of life. But you need to have had
enough and of course that ‘rock bottom’ is different for everyone. One thing I know is that we can’t
do it alone, I tried many, many times. The disease of addiction is cunning, it will give you many
reasons why you’re different, why recovery won’t work for you, but it’s working for millions of people
all around the world every day! It’s important to just jump in feet first! It’s scary, but so is using..
10.I did not get to hear the song, “Looking for Home Down Hallways.” But it immediately gave me a chill as I thought back to the days when I was so alone and just wanted to be loved. Can you elaborate on this song?
This song is about looking for salvation. From a person, a drink, a drug, money, a location.. Anything
outside myself that I think might be the thing that’s finally going to make everything ‘O.K.’ The pursuit
of that ‘fix’ is what nearly killed me and it can manifest in recovery as well, even without the drugs
11.When it came time to make amends to people, were you excited to get it out or nervous to reach out to people you had wronged?
When I was new, the first step I noticed on the wall was #9 and I thought, “Oh no, I’m never going to
be able to do that!”. Fortunately the steps are in order so I didn’t have to make amends until I got to
that step. I did however try to make some amends before I got there and without my Sponsors
blessing- needless to say it didn’t go so well. The steps are a gentle slope, so even when I’m
apprehensive I’ve been able to move forward..
12.What is in the future for you and your music?
We just completed a beautiful clip for the song “Love Is..” which is due to drop on
10/15. I’m working on songs for another album as well as promoting “An Unwide
Road” The future looks musical!
Yes I did. Ha!! I have so much going on that I could not put together a post for every day of the month to publish for my readers. I am truly, deeply sorry. I am writing music reviews for four websites and loving every moment! I am not getting paid for my writing services and that is okay. I am doing something I truly love while building my writing resume.
All the writing I have done over the course of my life (poetry, short stories, two novels, addiction blog and now music) has been amazing fun. I love to write and have recently found that my passion is writing about music. I have loved music since I can remember. My grandmother used to tell me an interesting story about me.
When I was a baby, I wouldn’t stop crying one day. She tried everything! Finally, frustrated and overwhelmed, she wound up a music box and tossed it in my playpen. I stopped crying immediately. To this day, I get sad when the music stops.
Will all my writing about music land me a well-paid gig for a big time music site or magazine? I have no idea and no expectations.
Therein… lies the beauty.
I will commit myself to blogging a little more frequently on addiction in the coming weeks.
a musical instrument consisting of a graduated series of wooden bars, usually sounded by striking with small wooden hammers. The history of the xylophone is vague, hailing from Africa and/or Asia.
The xylophone is also one of the musical instruments used in a child’s early development. Walk in any children’s toy store and in the baby section, you will see a variety of xylophones for children two and under.
Xylophone – A great instrument, highly underrated, and totally cool! When I was in fifth grade, I was selected to play the xylophone for the Christmas Concert. I had a blast and realized then that music was something that I always wanted in my life.
I seriously looked through the X part of the dictionary for a totally, off the wall uber cool word, but they were all like Xenophon and Xenon and all that garb and I didn’t want to talk about something I knew nothing about. I then went down a list of emotions. Maybe I could use a word with “X” in it. Nope. I thought that would be cheating, so here we are.
I really don’t know much about Xylophones either. They are, however, a musical instrument. And that gets a smile going on my face.
I just read a tweet from a fellow tweeter. I got the impression she was down in the dumps… she said she felt, “out of sorts.” I have felt like that many times in my life (I’m sure most people have). I replied to her tweet and told her to make a gratitude list.
Then I thought, “Darlene! You’re a genius! You should make one.” So I am. Right here, right now.
I am grateful for:
the ability to use all five of my senses
the gift of writing
a sunny day
a Sunday morning
making some one smile
a brand new notebook
that I was born exactly when I was born
Tyler State Park
other people’s opinions
These are just some of the things I am grateful for. But, I want to hear from you. What are you grateful for? What makes you say thank you. What helps you through your day?
Music feeds our emotions. Often, when we are sad, we put on sad music. We wallow in our sorrow as we play songs like “The Final Cut” by Pink Floyd or “Candle in the Wind” by Sir Elton John.
If we just had a fight with our significant other we may put on something like “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins or any number of Slayer tunes (my personal fave).
But what about music that makes us happy? This post comes via hearing a song that could interpreted as sad, but makes me very happy.
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. That opening G chord makes me forget the troubles I am having. I take a deep breath, turn the radio up and just know everything will be okay. There are many others… but this is the one is at the top of my top ten.
I love music. My grandmother frequently told me an interesting story about me as a baby. When I was about three or six months old, I was lying in my cradle, crying. She picked me up, she put me down, she fed me, she changed my diaper. Still I fussed and cried. At her wit’s end, she wound up a tiny Fisher Price music box and tossed it in the cradle. To her amazement (and relief) I stopped crying. Since I was just a wee lass, I can’t say that I remember this. However, I know it to be true.
At my grandmother’s, there was an organ that once belonged to my mother. I would sit at it every chance I got and play whatever songs were in the sheet music book. I got bored with that easily. To resolve my boredom, I began sitting under the organ and reaching up to play the songs without looking.
Music has always been my outlet. I have tried my hand at a few instruments. I played the flute in grade school but didn’t like it. I switched to the violin, and played that for four years. I gave up the violin. I went into junior high school and none of the cool kids had instruments.
Eventually, I wound up lying in front of the clock radio in the back bedroom with pen and a notebook. As I listened to the radio, I would write down the songs that came on. I once did this for an entire weekend only getting up to eat or pee. Hot hits played twice an hour, semi-hot hits played once every sixty to ninety minutes and the rest was up for grabs. I must have had 30 pages of songs. Yes, I was that dorky.
As I progressed into early adolescence, I found that I could release any emotion I was feeling by listening to music. If I wanted to stay sad, I’d put on some Pink Floyd. If I wanted to be happy, I’d pop in some 80’s pop or rock.
Since I had trouble speaking my mind as a young girl or showing emotion, I found that Def Leppard or Simple Minds could do a better job. I would tape record songs and push rewind and play at least thirty times so I could write down the lyrics and eventually sing along.
Somewhere around the transition from junior high to high school, I discovered heavier rock and eventually heavy metal. Little angels sang in my head the first time I heard Judas Priest singing “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” It turned out those little angels were the voice of metal god Rob Halford.
I am still hooked. I went through a brief rap phase, I went through a briefer country phase but still there were some songs that I truly loved from both genres and I have them on my ipod. I suppose they are my guilty pleasures. Hell, I even tap my fingers sometime to muzak when I am on hold. I know, I know… so sad. But so true.
Every once in a while I get bored. Most times I have the ability to cure my boredom with one of the following twenty-five ways to cure boredom. If you are bored, or will be bored shortly.. try one or many of the following ways to cure boredom. Some of them are pretty common, like going for a walk or dancing to music. Others are not so common, like going snail hunting. Snail hunting is very time consuming! Not only are snails epically slow, but they are especially good at hiding.
Going to a mall without your wallet is a tough one. However, I have gone to the mall without my wallet and maybe 5 bucks in my pocket for a coffee. I walked the mall, looked in the stores and people watched. I saw a few things I wanted to buy (a few people too), but my wallet was at home. This turned out to be a great idea, because by the time I got home, I hadn’t remembered what I wanted to buy. I saved myself some cash.
As far as applying to a job you think you’ve not a snowball’s chance in Honduras of getting, I’m not saying a job that is completely out of your league. It is good to apply for positions you have some skills in, or may even have an interest in, like a zoo keeper.
Give a few of these a try. If you have some better ideas you’d like to share with the rest of us, please do.
1) Write a poem.
2) Go for a walk.
3) Go for a walk and take pictures.
4) Listen to music and analyze the lyrics.
5) Dance to music.
6) Rearrange your cabinets.
7) Rearrange your schedule.
8) Go snail hunting.
9) Go to the mall; leave your wallet at home.
10) Listen to a type of music you’ve never listen to.
11) Watch a foreign movie.
12) Go to the library.
13) Doodle a picture story.
14) Use song titles to write a short story.
15) Apply to a job you’ve no chance of getting (you never know).
16) Make up cryptograms and put them away to solve the next time you are bored.
17) Volunteer somewhere. Anywhere.
18) Go through your closet and get rid of clothes you never wear.
19) Go for a drive without your GPS and get lost.
20) Start a conversation with a stranger.
21) Write a paragraph of how you would like people to perceive you.
22) Write a paragraph of how you think people perceive you.
23) Write a letter to a soldier.
24) Pick flowers and put them on a random grave.
25) Visit a historical site and take notes. Blog about it.