When I was a freshman in high school, my friend Chris invited me for a sleepover party. This was mucho exciting because 1. Chris had 11 brothers and sisters, which meant parental supervision was spotty, and 2. Two of the 11 siblings were only a few years older than us, male, and HOT. Sleepover at Chris's house? Oh, yeah.
So I arrived for fun and games. But when Chris introduced me to the hottie bros, they mumbled "Get back, Loretta" and giggled to themselves. I had no freaking clue what they were talking about. Every time I saw them that weekend--passing through the hallway, eating in the kitchen, sitting on the front stoop--they'd repeat it, "Get back, Loretta", until I thought for sure I'd done something wrong, or they just didn't want a geek like me hanging around their house and were trying to get me to go home. Finally, I asked Chris.
"You know what they're talking about, don't you?"
I told her I didn't.
"It's the Beatles," she explained. "Get Back is a song, you idiot."
My parents were not music people. My mom had some Elvis albums from when she was a kid, and my dad played Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff occasionally, but that was pretty much it. I wasn't much better. There was a brief, unfulfilled flirtation with Michael Jackson in junior high. A fascination with Madonna. A longing to slip my hands in the back pockets of Springsteen's jeans after viewing the album cover for Born in the USA. I thought Duran Duran was as close to pop perfection as I would see in my lifetime. But the Beatles? I knew who Paul McCartney was (He did Say, Say, Say with MJ, right?) and I thought he was cute. I also had a vague recollection of John Lennon's death, and memories of watching Yellow Submarine on TV in the 70s. That was it.
Something told me I needed to find out more, though, so I went a-searching at Wax Trax Records in Evanston, and came home with a bunch of albums (yes--vinyl): Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper.
You know that scene in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wakes up and everything is in Technicolor? That was precisely my experience when I first heard what John, Paul, George and Ringo had done, more than 20 years before I placed those albums on my dad's turntable. Those four boys handed me a new life, one of creativity, imagination, freedom.
Good art can do that. The door opens, you pass through, and when you get to the other side you are still you, only better, enhanced.
I can only hope my writing can do this for someone someday.
I write books for young adults because high school is the time when there are so many doors, so many chances to grow, to choose, to start building who you want to be. It's an exciting time. Much has happened in my life since then, but those experiences are so fresh in my memory, and age has given me the opportunity to see how they continue to shape the woman I've become.
So, without any more ancient stories from the 80s, I hereby inaugurate this blog, in which I will discuss writing, life, music, joy, and what-not. Mostly what-not.