Sunday, July 5, 2015

Retrospection

Retrospection:  noun
     The action of looking back on, or reviewing past events or          situations, especially those in one’s own life.


In retrospect, if my then-husband and I hadn’t gone up to Vancouver, Canada to get acting work during the Summer of 1994, we may never have gotten a divorce.

In retrospect, if we hadn’t gone up to Vancouver, where I was sitting around doing nothing while my dual-citizen then-husband worked non-stop, I never would’ve gotten the opportunity to audition for the rinky-dink 3-piece country band, by claiming that I had fronted bands back in Los Angeles (a fact I greatly exaggerated).  I never would’ve accepted gigs that paid only $50 for 4-hours a night singing at smoky dive-bars, VFW Halls, and Senior Citizen Homes.  Even though I was under-qualified, had never sung Country, and had to painstakingly learn 30 tunes, I’d been making a minimum of $200.00 per hour as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator back in L.A. 
The Rinky-Dink Country Band
 If we hadn’t gone to Vancouver, and if the then-husband hadn’t gotten all of that acting work, while I never got cast in anything, and if I hadn’t shown him my ugliest jealous behavior, he never would’ve said to me (in an effort to be kind):  “Don’t worry that you’re not going to make it as an ingenue.  Look at that woman who just got a role in 'The Titanic’ movie!  She’s been struggling all these years, and finally got a break, and she’s in her 80’s.  It can still happen for you when you’re older!”  {Gee, thanks}

In retrospect, if he hadn’t made that comment, the comment that became a tipping point, contributing to my wallowing in a deep depression bordering on suicide and spending long hours alone journaling in coffee shops while he was off working as an actor, I never would’ve discovered the creative expression of writing songs.  If I hadn’t been singing with the rinky-dink 3-person country band (guitar, bass, me on vocals and a drum-machine), I never would’ve been hanging out on a break at 1:00 a.m. in a seedy bar outside of Vancouver in the middle of Nowhere, Canada, reading an article by Pam Tillis in which she talked about “writing from title.”  I never would’ve had the impetuous thought on the long drive back to our apartment, that instead of driving off the cliff, maybe I could write a torturous country song instead.  I was convinced I could do it, because all of the 30 songs I’d recently learned seemed so simplistic that anyone could write them. 

If we hadn’t gone to Vancouver that Summer, If I hadn’t started spending all of my lonely hours writing heart-wrenching country songs, (albeit, they were very bad songs, and the then-husband didn’t hesitate to tell me just how bad they were every chance he got) I never would’ve gone back to L.A. with the hair-brained idea that I could become the next Country Star.  I never would’ve checked out the book from the library:  “Get Hot or Go Home” about the making of the Nashville Star, Trisha Yearwood.  I never would’ve had the thought, “it would be so cool to go to Nashville, but I can’t because I’m married.”  

In retrospect, if I hadn’t checked out that book from the library, and if I hadn’t forgotten to take it and several other books back on time, my then-husband never would’ve flown into a tirade, accusing me of being a “chaotic mess.”  He never would’ve screamed, “I’m sick of you, I want a divorce!”  {yep, those overdue library books were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back}

I never would’ve noticed that article in The (L.A.) Scene about an upcoming class all about “Getting into The Country Music Business.”  I never would’ve met my next mentor and teacher, Phil Swann, who wrote for Steve Bloch, owner/publisher of Southern Cow Music, and I never would’ve met my future “spousal equivalent,” Steve Bloch himself.  

I never would’ve imagined that three years later, single at 40 years of age, I’d pack up only what I could fit into my car, and I’d move to Nashville, Tennessee.  Especially since just months before this I was looking to buy a home in Southern California and I told my mentor (mentioned above) that I wouldn’t consider moving as far as Northridge, California, because I would be too far away from Hollywood--a statement he has not let me live down even after 17 years.

In retrospect, I never dreamed that after one year of living in Nashville, I would decide to stay longer and that the time would fly into 17 years, and it’s now the same length of time I lived in Los Angeles.   

I’ve often asked myself over the years:  “What am I doing in Nashville??  How did I wind up here?”  And whenever I dredge up the past to look at the trajectory of my life, I marvel at the perfect order of events.  I’m grateful that my far-from-perfect marriage ended 20 years ago.  Only in retrospect does the unfolding become so clear.  

We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded. We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing. Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.” 
― Milan KunderaLaughable Loves 

1 comment:

  1. As I read your blog, it warmed my heart. It made me realize that the girl I knew back when had found herself. You dreamed, but didn't lose yourself in that dream, ready to adapt, to go where life was leading you rather than where you thought life was supposed to take you. And it let me see your innate talent, exuding from the way you wrote this bit of prose.

    I'm so happy for you.

    My journey is so similar. I am in Tucson, a CEO of a company I founded. I still produce a play now and then, and I still write screenplays (my screenplay "Elevator" was picked up and made this year into the film "Nine-Eleven" with Whoopie Goldberg and (ugh) Charlie Sheen, though they completely rewrote it.

    But I don't live that life that I was in in LA. I finally let life itself tell me where I was supposed to go and be.

    Love to hear from you. And I love that that smile still permeates your face...Patrick Carson

    ReplyDelete

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