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Ja-Len: The RentsShare
Yesterday at 10:26pm
My mom, a painter, My dad, a musician, which clearly equals two artists, with a promise of producing artistic offspring. The rents were definite manufactured goods of the baby booming era. Their laisser-faire attitude drove me insane most of the time, but being older makes me realize that I have always admired their carefree lifestyle.
I will always remember those late nights at different venues at such a young age. It was the best exposure to the music scene any girl could have. The thick black smoke from dozens of cigarettes engulfed every setting and the dark bars were always overrun by booze guzzling obnoxious individuals, making for an amazing night. Pre-gig setup was also the same. "Testing 1, 2, 3, check 1, 2, 3," was standard microphone jargon. Roadies plugging in amps and tuning guitars was like a dance. Each move was calculated precisely so that the headlining band could step into the bright lights and achieve the night's goal: to entertain.
My mom and I frequently sat as close to the front as possible. Not once did my mom warn me to stay close to her. Call it poor parenting and maybe it was, but I didn't need to be warned. The thoughts of leaving the side of the stage and playing under tables didn't appeal to me because each stroke of the guitar enticed me to stay. The sounds reverberating off the walls of the pub rattled endlessly as the amps would send waves of melodic goodness to my ears. Each beat was mesmerizing and I often hoped that even the smallest amount of my dad's breathtaking talent would rub off onto me. He played a mean guitar, everything from rhythm and blues, funk, jazz, to modern music. Watching Lennie from the side of the stage, sipping bottomless cups of cola could never have been more inspiring. It was during those moments that the possibility of achieving great things ventured into my mind. Being a descendent of such a musical genius acknowledged the fact that music runs deep within my bones, so there is great potential in me, but I have yet to cultivate that potential.
There was a time during the nineties that the synth found its way into every one of his songs. Then it just wasn't cool. Oh how I loathed my adolescent ignorance. It has only been until recently that I have harvested a deep respect for musicians who incorporated the synth and not just the synth, but any new sound for that matter. It is a sign of innovation, something pops always told me needed to happen in order for music to progress.
As time passed,Lennie abandoned the music scene to raise his family. He has spent a significant amount of his time remaining 100% devoted to being a caring father and loving husband, many times forgetting about himself. Lennie's demise is his own doing. He wallows away in a world of painful pity; pity for his children and not for himself. He often thinks he was not the best of dad, wishing he could have provided more, but he was and still is the best dad to me and my brothers. He tried and still tries extremely hard to provide for us and now I am trying extremely hard to provide for him and my mom. He has ignored his post-polio side-effects, which has taken an enormous toll these past few years both on him and the family, physically, psychologically and emotionally. I worry about today, tomorrow and everyday thereafter. I fear I have not had a chance to ask my dad all the questions a daughter should ask her father. He is not bound to live much longer and looking in his eyes validates my prediction. I call everyday and doing so makes me want to be at home and spend these last few years in the arms of my dad and my family, but I can't. I am their rock and if I begin to crumble the sands of time will forever remain at the bottom of the hourglass: unchanged.
Reminiscing brings me back to another important influence in my life, my mom. Most often Ma would paint, and I would watch this supposed authority figure envelope herself in a world where each stroke of the brush was calculated so perfectly and it helped me to understand that art is a skill and shouldn't be rushed. At the same time art appears to be something someone can acquire because each painting seemed to be more beautiful than those previously produced. Her long blonde hair always framed her warm and beautiful face. Wisps of hair were frequently coated in paint, but she remained unaffected by such things. Like Lennie, Janie has exchanged one passion for another, her family. Art for Art. The current masterpiece continues to grow and seem to be most realistic. The artwork that she has poured many years into is represented in her children, which is most definitely the best yet. There are still some times where I catch a rare glimpse of her doodling on the back of a letter, a receipt, or an envelope while waiting in line somewhere carrying out such tedious tasks. Her creative fire still burns and even though it may be a flicker, it is still there and after all these years I admire how she still fights to express her inner desires. She has gone through much more in the last ten years than many people face in a lifetime, but she still manages to keep everything together. She is determined to make sure that I never forget even the simplest of things because it is so easy to overlook the little things in life. Janie always reminds me to look both ways when crossing the street and in many ways it makes me upset. Learning to cross the street is so innate in me now, but the other day there was an "incident." A car zipped through a red light as I was walking through the cross-walk. The split second where death was a huge prospect made me realize how much I love my mom's need to make sure I'm ok. I cried that night and many tears seeped deep into my pillow as I drifted into a world of murky dreams. I didn't cry over being so close to death. Instead, I wept because I became more aware of my mom's loving nature, something of which I have never really recognized the value, but something that has always been there. Hearing her constant reminders has made me feel thankful that she seriously cares.
Watching the rents in their moments of artistic expression stripped them of all their parental duties and it was during those moments that I caught a rare glimpse into what their life was like before they had children. It was so raw to see them in their moments of astonishing articulation.
Growing up in a vivacious house has left me feeling the unspoken pressure to express myself artistically just like the rents. Sorry to say, but I have missed that boat by years. Hopelessly, I wait by the docks of creativity for the next boat to arrive, but it never comes. Stranded alone once again forces the fierce soul within me to grow and aspire to build my own boat and to cast off into the sea of inspiration so I can find myself. Once again, like so many days before the sun sets and I am forever left alone in the dark, but knowing that there will be many more new days pushes me to be an active participant in this lifetime.Updated 12 hours ago · Comment · LikeUnlike · Report Note You like this. Misty Blei at 10:45pm April 14
Mich, wow. Amazing writing. And the boat of creativity has not left you alone on the docks. I've heard you play, sing and have grown up with you to see and know that you are one hell of a creative chica and it makes you who you are. Love you!Michele Jones at 10:52pm April 14
aww thanks...its more or less an homage to mom and pops...Janine Haines at 10:58pm April 14
I definitely have to agree... I like to think I'm creative, but I don't hold a candle to you. Speaking of which, are you performing in Toronto any time soon? Cause I'm taking off to see the world pretty soon and I need to see you perform before then! Though London's a possibility in Sep/Oct... Let me know!Maureen Tamasi at 11:42pm April 14
With two artistic parents there might be a certain expectation or obligation to follow suit, but while you may share thier gifts, you are allowed to be yourself.
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