I'm at Scott's house now. I'm sitting on the couch I found for him, that cost so little money. It looks good but it isn't comfortable, which explains why it cost so little money.
I can see the rain from here and it's lovely -- the syncopated sound and the smell of it -- lovely. I don't like having to run for the car to keep from getting wet, and worrying about all of the little earth creatures who are coming up out of the soil scrambling for survival, (like the worms I fish out of the gutter and try to find good solid spots to relocate them to, or the tiny snails who crowd each other for the few dry spots along the walkway, who I moved up a step), but I do love the rain. I like the rhythm of it, the way it ebbs and flows like the sea, how it suddenly gets louder and makes you want to say, "Wow, come here everybody look at it now, it's really coming down hard!"
I wonder if this is a uniquely Californian phenomena; getting so worked up about rain. I know I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but we get so little rain here that when it rains everyone freaks out. People crash their cars into each other and huddle up in their houses as if some kind of terrible blizzard just hit us and we're going to be snowed in for the duration. I bet pizza delivery businesses are feeling pretty happy right now.
Scott just left to get something to eat but I want to be here when Beau wakes up. This is the first time he has been here and we both spent the night last night. I think he likes it here. He was like a new puppy, running from room to room, checking out all of Scott's musical toys. I felt the swelling of a mother's pride while I watched him play Scott's guitars and then his piano. He looked so natural sitting at the piano. He reminded me of Tory Amos, the way he kept one foot away from the front of the bench, as if he might jump up any minute and dance with the music.
Scott crashed pretty quickly last night, and Beau needed me to hang out with him in his room, Scott's guest bedroom, until he felt safe enough to sleep by himself in an unfamiliar room. I tied bits of yarn and ribbons to my last batch of holiday cards while he played some war game on his Playstation -- gotta love those blood thirsty war games, not.
Beau has a sort-of-date today, another first for him. There is this girl, Sarah, who he has been talking to on the phone for hours every day. They've never met but something is building between them and today they are going to meet for the first time. Neither of us have met her or even seen a photograph of her but she has the sweetest voice and seems like a doll. I trust that if Beau cares for her then she must be pretty special.
Beau is so excited and worried, caring about things he has never paid any attention to before. All of a sudden he's watching his weight, counting calories, dieting, exercising, using deodorant, and asking me about cologne. It's so sweet, and a little sad, watching him grow up, knowing that he will never ever be that sweet toddler again, the little boy who giggled and pointed at the moon, knowing that I've done my job and will have to let him go. I'm moving towards turning these feelings into ones of happy anticipation for his future, working on finding ways to support him while stepping back and letting him move forward into the life that is waiting for him.
Last night's studio session was challenging, but turned out to be fun and productive, I think. Although getting only three songs done in five hours may not be fast enough. I loved the other women and was surprised because I hadn't expected to. I was worried they would be diva-like-difficult and scare me. I'm way too sensitive and caring to work with people who are competitive and mean, and I'm too inexperienced -- those kind of gals could wipe the floor with me.
Scott's producer/engineer Marc has an amazing ear, I mean genius level talent, a love of music and a passion for it that makes him superb in his role. Of course it would make perfect sense that the woman he recommended to Scott, Kimberly, would be similarly gifted. She was/is amazing, so gifted, so over the top gifted, that it was an honor to work with her. She helped me through the whole thing. Her most impressive credit is having sung back up for Barry White, but she's also done a ton of other work, check out her site.
I wonder if the reason she was so supportive is because she works with children and that bespeaks a deeper level of compassion than most people posses. I think she and her husband have some kind of outreach program for kids, how wonderful. Anyway she was AMAZING, seriously, I don't even care about her credits, which are impressive, it was her talent, humility, and her soul that blew me away.
We were working so well together and just having fun and zipping along so fast that I thought, "Hell, what do we need a third singer for?" But then Joan came along and she also had a beautiful voice, had none of that ego crap that I have run into so often in similar areas, and was equally generous and helpful. I was so relieved and thrilled, and surprised, I would gladly befriend both of these women in a second and that's rare for me. Okay, well, maybe not that rare because I pretty much start off loving everybody, but there was something sweet and special about both of these women, so again I've been able to reinforce the lesson in faith that I am forever having to relearn, poor God, having to put up with me. Here's Joan's site.
I wish I had more studio experience and more practice singing harmony. I've always sung leads before and never had to blend in so precisely with two other women singing right beside me into one mic. Whenever I'd sung harmonies before it was with one other person, which is easy enough, or in a big choral group, and in that case you're surrounded by people who are singing your part as well, so that's relatively easy. Also I've always had time to learn my part, but this was hard, improvising harmonies and back up lines and then singing them immediately after conceiving of them, just like that, boom.
When I got it right, we sounded Fucking amazing, but I'm so inexperienced and sensitive that my voice will just drift onto one of the other singer's melody lines, and that was humiliating for me, and hard. Having to stop and sing my part over and over again until I would get some version of it before we could record was really frustrating and so embarrassing. They made room for me, and allowed for it, and the other gals had their bad takes too, but I felt like such a sore thumb. As you know I'm a competitive perfectionist and it's hard for me to be slow and humble, at least creatively.
I know I have a good voice, a strong, emotive, passionate voice. It's a gift I've been blessed with and have denied myself for so long. I have very little training but I can inflect, nuance, imitate, copy, and do pretty much anything with a certain amount of lead way or practice. When I am in form I have a whopping five octave range, which is rare, but it's the lack of studio experience that stands out and embarrasses me because when you're working with people who are getting paid by the hour there isn't a lot of time to help bring someone up to speed. I mean it blew me away how quickly Kimberly and Joan could latch onto harmonies and take off with them. When I got out of my head and just relaxed into it I was fine, intuitively I knew what to do, but I didn't understand what I was doing well enough to be able to repeat it consistently against I don't know how many musical and vocal tracks. I don't have the language to take care of myself. I don't know how to say, "Hey, you know what, I think I might sound better singing the middle line," or whatever, and then be able to back that up without losing it or going flat. Kimberly would sing my notes to me in my ear just before I had to sing, which was SO INCREDIBLY GENEROUS of her, seriously, because then it would throw her off. She was also full of great tips, like telling me to just lift my eyebrows to keep the pitch perfect on a high note. God, maybe she'd be available to coach me for hire, I wonder if she'd want to do that, hmm...
It was interesting to me, and a little sad, when both Joan and Kimberly said that their parents had not only recognized their gifts but nurtured and fostered them since they were small. Tiger Woods, Serena and Venus Williams, even Beyonce and Brittany Spears wouldn't be where they are today if they all didn't have one important thing in common, parents who got them the proper training and pushed them from when they were all pretty damned little. It surprised me to hear both Kimberly and Joan say, "My Mother used to make me cover my ears and hum my note while she sang other notes around me," or "My father was a musical genius who made us sing." All I could offer up was, "Well, my Mother gave away our piano and was embarrassed when I would always try to sing along with musicians at their parties."
I know I'm sounding super self pitying because anything short of, "A two story wave washed my family, home, pets, possessions and all of my friends away," sounds pretty darned small right now, but I do wish my parents had loved music, theatre, and art more, because truly I was an artist from the moment I was born, and everyone seems to have recognized it but them. They saw it as something to be swatted away in favor of more acceptable pursuits like oh, say, getting accepted by a good sorority and marrying well.
I don't mean to put them down, criticize, or blame them for my not having attained my lofty goals, yet. There were many choices I could have made, when I was old enough to, that would have taken me closer to the places where I say I would like to be. I just can't help but feel a little wistful sometimes when I hear people talk about how much support they had from their families, and I wonder how I might have turned out if I'd had more of a push. I'm talking emotional support, not financial, which I don't mean to denigrate or discount. I have always had their love and material support, and I am grateful for it. As different in some ways as we may be, I love my parents very much and I know they did the absolute best by me that they could. The generational and social gap between us was just too great and I sometimes look back and feel like I was raised in some kind of awkward reality bubble.
I loved sleeping with Scott last night. I'm so lonely sleeping at home. I have my beloved cats but as much as I adore them, it takes a whole lot of cats to make up for the companionship of one man. I haven't found the right number yet and am beginning to think there just may not be one. We made love this morning while Beau was sleeping and it was rich, sweet, and deep. I love my guy. He's a complicated fellow, certainly not always the easiest to be with, but I do so love him.
Why do I have to love such a complicated man? Can anyone explain this to me? Sometimes I think we are too alike and see so many of my own flaws and personality quirks in him.
1-9-05 Late Evening
Well, we made it back over the hill in one piece. The rain was so heavy at points that it was hard to see. Beau was frightened and made me speed up the windshield wipers. I find the rain exhilarating. It doesn't frighten me, on the contrary it fills me with hope and energy.
We finally met Beau's sweet little friend Sarah today. She's darling and very pretty. It kills me to think that she doesn't know this about herself. She told Beau that on a scale of one to ten she thought she was a one. I admire Beau for not having let this affect how much he liked her and wanted to be her friend without ever having seen her. How many teenage boys would behave like this? Is it me and my crazy mama love that sees this as an affirmation of how special and loving he is -- that something like this had absolutely no impact on his being interested in her? Honestly he didn't care at all, he felt no apprehension about what she would look like when he finally got to meet her. He liked her and he was going to like he no matter what she looked like, and that was all there was to it. How dear is that?
Of course after he met her he was thrilled that she turned out to be so pretty, but I doubt it would have made a difference to him if she hadn't been. When she told him that she thought she was a one, he told her that he thought she was a nine. I asked him why he didn't say she was a ten and he said, "I wanted to Mom, but you can't tell someone who thinks they are a one that they are a ten, because then they won't believe you." Personally I hate the whole looksist rating system thing, it's ridiculously unfair and hurtful, I guess that's why I'm so proud of Beau for caring less about looks than personhood.