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An Evening With "Almost Famous"

Updated on June 8, 2015

A Love Letter to My Soul

I originally wrote this piece on December 3, 2010, saved the draft in my HubPages account, and then lost it for 5 years. On May 3, 2015 I happened to stumble upon again by accident and have mostly restored it to its original form. And present it now as the story of an evening I spent with Cameron Crowe watching Almost Famous and the emotional experience I had. Please substitute “Surface Pro 3” everywhere you see “IPad”

This thing says it been 2 weeks since I started writing it. It seems much longer. I promptly got ill after this first one-- a huge cold or flu thing, which happens to me often, what with the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and all. So I was out for a week then avoided this b/c both of the computers are in relative locations to the house which are “indoors” but have some exposure to the elements. (My feet are so cold right now!) So it's very cold and not good for the coughing and sore throat- or the hot flashes. I REALLY wish I had an IPAD. Then I could do this at a time lying in bed with ANOTHER rest day or on the couch or wherever and pour it out there. Everything would all be there already instead of in 17 different places in the same house. God this is so not working for me. For some reason, I am feeling so much more motivated to do this knowing it will be live: read by some kind of audience out there. I suppose that due to the kind of artist in me, my thoughts have always flowed better when I knew I had an audience in that moment, completing the circuit. Or maybe this is me finally getting in touch with the fact I have always imagined all my journaling would be available for posterity someday like when I read the Letters of Aldous Huxley for my freshmen college English paper. This of course would be yet another throw back to my love of rock in roll as that interest was naturally born out of my passion for The Doors. I suppose this blogging makes me feel like I won’t have to go back and rewrite this all over again. I still haven’t even written about my set up stuff; my boundaries on profanity, what my focus is anyway, all the different ideas I have for blogs, some of which might be in my own name, and the catastrophe of epic proportion which was trying to move my storage contents with my dad. WOW that really brought up some deep insight as to how dysfunctional I really am. And people are going to read this. Sh*t.

“Here’s a theory for you to disregard…completely. Music. True Music – not just rock’n’roll – it chooses you. It lives in your car, or alone, listening to your headphones, you know, the vast, scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast benign lap of America.” Lester Bangs

Anyway, my first love was Led Zeppelin, which brings me back on topic. I’m watching my DVD Almost Famous, and even though I’ve seen it a few times, not recently- it seems so new to me. And all these feelings are coming up. I’m watching and thinking how I want to process my thoughts and reflections about the movie on my blog because I find that doing that with the novels I read and movies I watch is part of my self-awareness process... and I’m feeling so exposed. This is probably due to getting in touch with all the really intense stuff I’ve been going thru what with Thanksgiving and that stupid date thing I went on that weekend - something I felt I had forbidden myself; how angry I was with my cousin on her visit then for changing because she had a baby all the -- what -Shame?? Blackness? Whatever I was feeling about the fact I’m the one and only person in my family that hasn’t gotten married and had kids... well- that’s another story

What about all these feelings of danger, darkness, self-hate? This stinging tingling feeling all over my skin of what a failure I am and what an ass I’m going to make of myself if I really tell the truth about my life to the world like this--because that is what I need to do to get out of this stuck place I’m in. Thinking about all the things I really need to write about: that grand reality that is going to show how god-awful it is to be 41 years old with chronic illness, single, unemployed, living in my parents’ residence constantly on the receiving end of all the shame and verbal abuse and isolation that defined my childhood, mostly in this [SAME!] house. What a failure to have gotten to this place after all the promise of my great art and great drama [or so I had defined it suchly in my mind at the time] that began to show itself to the world thru my modern dance performance and choreography; even if it was only to my local community, even if I need to get the f**k out of if I’ve ever going to have a life. Even when the real truth is about my worst codependent habits and how truly and utterly f**ked up they are and I am.

I am the artist in her dark place-- not my first, mind you; I have had many of course, as I am an abyss walker. But certainly my worst. EVER. This one was a doozy. I’ve been in the light many times, but not now, even this light hurts. [And 5 years later, I’m still an artist STILL in her dark place, only that place is even darker, even deeper in the abyss if that’s possible]

LB: “what are you, like the star of your school?

WM: “They hate me.”

LB: “You’ll meet them again on their long journey to the middle.”

Watching in the early part, the main character William Miller walking and talking with Lester Bangs and all the things that happened, I am going to my shame place. I identify with that teenage boy because I listened to much rock music in isolation like that at his age. That scene when he pulls that pack of his sister’s vinyl out from under the bed, flips thru to the Led Zeppelin II—was a flashback. The first album I bought at a record store was Led Zeppelin II - inspired by the interview I heard on the radio from Robert Plant after coming home from that high school football game. Was I depressed that night? I can’t even remember now how I was feeling about going to the game coming home alone - as always. But I fell I love with Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin that night in Autumn 1983, the beginning of my 9th grade freshmen year of high school.

Then {Jimmy} Page broke out an odd choice. It was Joan Baez’s dramatic version of the ballad, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.’ Page outlined a plan for a band that could play a song like that. ‘I’d like to play it heavy,’ he said, ‘but with a lot of light and shade.’” –Cameron Crowe from “Light and Shade” liner notes for Led Zeppelin: Complete Studio Recordings

[That was the beginning of the next stage of my musical and artistic education, which culminated by graduation senior year. In Junior year honors American History, I fell in love with the Anti-Transcendentalists’ study in contrast of black and white; good and evil and saw Robert Plant and Jimmy page in Hawthorne’s “Billy Bud” – Billy Bud’s blond curly hair radiating the sunlight of Robert Plant and his Leonine mane of blond curls (who was incidentally born exactly 21 years and 1 day before me!) and Jimmy Page as John Claggart with the black curly hair like a snakes nest “At age thirty-five, Claggart is lean and tall, with a protruding chin and an authoritative gaze. His brow bespeaks cleverness, and his black hair contrasts starkly with his pallid complexion. Because of his pale face, he stays out of the sun as much as possible.” reminiscent of his admiration of Aliester Crowley (who’s tarot deck I later used for a while.) Then in 12th grade working on my student chorography piece inspired by Doris Humphreys’ book about modern dance choreography and Music Visualization and how her approach to dance was very similar to Jimmy Page’s approach to producing the final studio recordings of Led Zeppelin music. A year later I would study the Humphrey –Weidman Modern dance Style of Fall and Recovery which makes an art out of the movement extreme study in contrasts]

But I tonight I felt so lonely. What's new. Why couldn’t that have been me? Why couldn’t I have had the story and opportunities that William Miller did? It was in my inner soul- where I have lived most of my life. That’s the problem isn’t it? But then my musical weekend happened in the @#$^% '80's where all the music on the radio sucked after 1984, so I was forced to go backwards. It seems Lester Bangs was already gone by then and I didn’t read much of Creem- more Rolling Stone and Musician magazine. I was thinking thru most of the movie my blog would mainly be a commentary of growing up as an only child/adopted/female in an alcoholic and extremely codependent home. As if that’s the excuse I have for not having more self-esteem, more intention to tell them to “go f**k themselves, I am going that show anyway.” But no it was easier to sit alone in my room listening to the radio (it was cool then) and daydream doodling in band names in my school note books. That sounds more like what teenage boys where doing at that age doesn’t it? No they were smoking pot, playing guitar and making it to that show one way or the other. Ah well. That. We’ll get to that whole “identifying with men” thing later.

“The story is about a band, a girl, a mother, all these people realizing that they reached one person – William. All those people are really an unforgettable to me and I wanted to kinda blow ‘em a kiss in a way and just tell that story.”

“The movies that I love make me sad and happy at the same time. I mean the great thing is is you get out of the music’s way, music can help you catch those moments on film… Music is usually more profound than anything the actors are saying. Just have them silent and the music plays. The music gives … a greater meaning.” Cameron Crowe, director of Almost Famous

But by the end of the movie I’m crying. Not because of all this stuff but so much of what is reflected in that movie is so much of what I truly loved in my life. The immediate examples: Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, and Heart-- the 2 bands Cameron Crowe first wrote about and toured with and then Nancy Wilson became his wife of course. These are three of my all-time favorites – [they are members of my spiritual clan]. I NEVER stop feeling the depths that get stirred up. [And Heart’s first album Dreamboat Annie represents my whole sexual and emotional maturity as a woman of course. Rock-n-roll’s biggest secret: the Boys had Neil Young to identify with and the girls had Heart.] But even Cameron Crowe has written some of my favorite movies. And he talks about this one being like “blowing a kiss” to these characteristics to his music. Jimmy Page said the same thing when producing the first complete vinyl set (all of my vinyl was in storage, now it’s back in the garage) and how going back to remaster all their music was like writing love song all over again to his band mates-- to John [Bonham], to the music. I so get that. God, do I so get that. How having all the actors stay silent and let the music speak. I so get that too. So many of my favorite songs are in that movie. Even Pauley Perrette, “Abby" from our beloved NCIS -- a show we all watch all the time- such a comfort in such a dark time like all the rest of this stuff. This reminds me how much of my music has just gotten buried except for the Eastern stuff I listen to in my iPod during exercise-- another reason I need an IPad. My stereo is at my parents’ beach house, who did not ask if they could take it there. It felt really good to feel those feelings again, to let them flow.

“You cannot make friends with the rock stars, if you’re gonna be a journalist – a true rock journalist… These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of rock stars, and they will ruin rock’n’roll and strangle everything we love about it… and then it just becomes an industry of cool…..friendship is the booze they feed you cuz they want you to get drunk on feelin’ like you belong… because they make you feel cool. Hey I met you. You are not cool…good lookin’ people got no spine. Their art never lasts. And they get the girls. But we’re smarter… That’s what great art is about: the guilt and the longing. Love disguised as sex, sex disguised as love. … I’m always home because I’m uncool! The only true currency we have in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when you are uncool. I know think these guys are your friends. If you want to be a true friend to them,be honest. And UN MERCIFUL.” Lester Bangs

So the end of the movie I’m really crying and then look over on the shelf on the other side of the room where my Led Zeppelin Complete Studio Recordings box CD set [the second one] is still sitting from last January when it took it out to listen to, including the long article from Cameron Crowe. And I think maybe the significance of this tonight is not only about what a depleted middle aged failure I [feel I] am, but how UNCOOL I am. Wasn’t that what William and Lester Bangs’ whole message was all about? Struggling between being REAL human real, honest, unmerciful, yet completely dorky and [unappealing? Or unapologetic?] That was me: longing to connect to belong. EVERYONE in my high school class was intimidated by me. There was some redemption senior year. But that will come later. Let’s not get started on Facebook. I actually thought I might get some reconnection thru that format and all these high school classmates adding me as "friends." I thought with all the “generational” astrological transits going on that reflect our mutual midlife crises and how we’re all going thru them at the same time-- maybe I’ll blog about these on my professional Facebook tarot page, it might generate some business for me. All these rich married people who are going thru god knows what behind that “White Clean and Neat” polished veneer and really need my help. I’ve been thru it. I have wisdom. Redemption. Maybe I could actually be accepted for who I am as I am.

This may all come to be, but haven’t after looking at these pictures of all the these people now have lives-- people I never expected to be married and have families-- they have all that but not me. This wasn’t supposed to happen... Anyhow, what I’m saying it that brought me back to life a little bit because that is what I am--real honest merciless like Hillary Clinton, which evidently some men are STILL intimated by. Really? They still think that way? But William/Cameron Crowe found his tribe on the road. I didn’t make it there then and maybe now I no longer need Lester Bangs and Creem or Musician Magazine. I have now the internet and blogs where every day people suddenly make a lot of money and become published authors just by writing their story. They find their tribe “where all 12 people on the planet who such some obscure band can find each other.” Maybe thru this I will come back in the light and get a life once and for all.

"Little drops of rain, whisper of the pain/ tears and loves lost in the days gone by. My love is strong, there is no wrong/ together we will go until we die... My my my my..." – “Thank You” from Led Zeppelin II

“I felt the coldness of my winter/ I never thought it would ever go. I cursed the gloom that set upon us/ but I know that I love you so./ these are the seasons of emotion, and like the wind they rise and fall./ this is the wonder of devotion- I see the torch we all much hold./ this is the mystery of the quotient- upon us all a little rain must fall." “Rain Song” from Houses of the Holy

Then I realized that is what sh*t is really about. I pull out the cd from the box set and put it into DVD player and listened to “Rain Song“ where only a couple years ago I sat one night in this house and listened to that song over and over and cried and cried and cried for hours alone that night. Especially that part when the music intensifies towards the last verse. I cried that night because I realized this is how I felt about my parents after all. How much it hurts- what cold emotional winter it has felt like for so long trying to relate to them, when so much I of what is feel is that I’m still invisible, except when it’s time to be Scapegoat of all their feelings of inadequacy, rage, frustration, hostility from all this other places. This sh*t really hurts. But I still love them and I know that underneath all that they really love me, they just either don’t know how or never felt safe enough in their own skin and our lives to show it outwardly and tactilely the way what few "normal" people can. This is why it hurts oh so much when I was finally loved for the first time by a man. Not talking about sex. just being able to sit next to him on the couch watching a movie and our shoulders were touching not talking - just feeling all this harmony and love feeling flow from him to me and back all inside me. And he still doesn't know I had this experience or how I really felt about him. I could not tell him because I was in too much distress with physical illness and financial hardship and emotional upheaval during that time. And I still feel urgently I need to tell him now despite the fact he’s in a relationship with someone else; a woman who I truly believe is an older, lame watered down hippie version of me. But that is another story, I and get to witness all this on Facebook tonight with their “Swim with the dolphins vacation” pictures along with all the other old boyfriends and lost loves found there.

Tonight I listen to that song and cry again. But this time I realize it was about how I really feel about myself- me and my beloved inner child. watching this movie- thinking about the actors that I am so familiar with now-- even thinking about Lord of Rings, which was the inspiration for “Ramble On“ on Led Zeppelin II and which is a part of my life now thru that epic movie trilogy. And we actually have the full length directors cut 12 hour box set. God helps us all. This is really about how much I love my life-- really deep down, I do love myself, I love all these inner blessings of emotional creative talent, deep awareness of all my own genius, love of physics, cosmology, my Leo Queen divine nature all of and not even entirely in a narcissistic way like the rock stars of Stillwater ( the fake band in this autobiographical movie representing Cameron Crowe’s original press tour with Led Zeppelin) but in this life now then seems life has passed me by-- the life that all my classmates have lived and we can witness online-- all these earliest tell; the shared memories of these actors and the emotions and the rock stars and the music anthems we have all shared too and shared we all loved in our time. cross generations-- to Robert Plant's “Tie Dyed on the Sunrise” -- blowing a kiss to Woodstock-- and event just one day after which I was born =literally. But it wasn’t really about Woodstock. It was about all this love he feels all across the generations back to those people that time—“the ability to share memories.”

Robert Plant saved my life that night in 1983, just like Charles Weidman did in 1992 (from beyond the grave) along with modern dance, physics and fiber arts... just like many other artists over the years... Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, most recently Elizabeth Gilbert with her book Eat Pray Love.) and at last tonight, Cameron Crowe has saved my life again with his Almost Famous. I don’t fit in this house or with these parents or even my extended family which I have since made effort over the years to develop my own relationships with and I have and feel love for them-- but I still don’t fit. I don’t fit in this city- literally or figuratively, my soul and spirit are too big for this place and yet I have been bound by all kinds of other laboring all these years trying to heal and get better, to have my life as I am. And I finally I come back to this as always. This true pain that never goes away. This is what this blog is about. I really love my life, but the container into which I’m trying live it just hurts SO MUCH I can’t tolerate it another minute. My skin is red and itchy I don't sleep at night because I finally developed PTSD from the untested nervous breakdown I have having since at least 2007. I just can’t tolerate being in my own skin b/c it hurts so much having to force so much of who I really am into dark recesses of my inner abyss. I need to EXPRESS myself (oh yes, Madonna saved my life too.) and so maybe here on this blog under this pseudonym I will find my tribe. Other women and men will have the abject courage to get their a$$es to the computer and find their way to my blog. They will read what ardent passion is found there and find a kindred spirit, someone else who has suffered what they have suffered alone and isolated and having to do it all by themselves with no support. Maybe we will remember together the love throughout the ages of our souls. Shared memories and even though we weren’t even there at the same time in body. But we recognize our souls and maybe even remember ourselves- our healthy, glowing, passionate eternal selves with big talent and big love; even if we were making a$$es out of ourselves at the time. We remember us from past lives and we remember us now.


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