Thrust With Ink

Today’s memories from yesterday, when it was all calm. On deadline we would all gather at computers and enter our own stories or those that needed transcribing being sent over fax. These were the days before internet and putting together and magazine to be ready for the press and then distribution. We were all unpaid writers, photographers, artists and Rickie, who did paste up. I’m not even sure who did paste up on Pagemaker, probably, Chris, but someone with more knowledge, at the time, on how to layout a page. I learned that years after when on staff as a student at St. Petersburg College with the college newspaper. The whole staff and half the bands in town floated in and out over the 2 or 3 days it would take a 24 hour a day job for two days will cause some wild ideas to burst forth and suddenly we would all be eating spinach pizza and listening to 98ROCK. Then, the film was all rushed to the printer and you could have a day’s reprieve to shower and sleep. Then, the printed publication would arrive still wet with ink and my eyes would start to water. As I threw load after load from the back of a truck or a trunk and backseat of cars of magazines into my small trunk and back seat. Then, it would become time to distribute. Off we all ran in opposite directions like it was a race to see who could distribute their load of magazines first and fastest. Sometimes that meant road trips to Miami to leave bundles in front stoops of record stores, head shops and clubs with live performances. Bars, clubs, anywhere we could get placement because, placement meant advertisement and that was the only income that magazine made. The rest was “perks”, i.e., show passes, backstage passes, VIP passes, Photo Pit passes, Meet & Greet passes, and getting to hear the new label material coming out, at least, 6 weeks before release to the public for critical review. Sometimes you became “friends” with the bands and access was no problem because, they would have already given you an All Access laminated pass. Perks. That was our pay.

In the end, you end up with a lot of “friends.” People like to hang out with you because you knew all the bands personally. Sometimes, you would ask them to come along with yourself and your kids. They got to meet the band, hang out, get autographs and pictures. I was a “wanted” friend during my time as a music photographer and journalist.

Then, I started getting sick and I went off in a loop and down the primrose path. Seven years into the roller coaster ride, I am diagnosed with endometrial cancer and I’m gone from the publications. Coming out of the seven year battle with illness after illness, all cancer related and unknown to myself. December 5th, 2012 I was diagnosed. I had surgery at the probes of a robot called DaVinci and my surgeon at a computer making cuts inside my body by a computer screen and joy stick. Where were all those “friends” during that time period when I needed them most of all? I have no clue. My family and my nursing team were the only one’s I had.

I had no backstage passes or friends anymore that were with me when I had access to those show passes. They had all been offended at one point or another because I had been upfront and honest with them and with people I knew. I am still this way. I am welded together to be an honest person and share my known truth’s to those that might be in danger of falling prey to the same kind of “friends” I *HAD* when I was healthy, well and right-minded. You can’t begin to understand the havoc that is wrecked in your mind until you’ve experienced a life threatening illness. You behave and conduct yourself sometimes from as far as usual as you can get. You get extremely angry at yourself for being such a sicko weakling that your body snatches up any disease it desires, despite your eating well or not. You’re mad at the illness, itself; kicking your ass with 3 months of continuous vomiting and diarrhea; sudden loss of muscle control almost always on the left side; falling down in public; swallowing pill after pill after pill, some of them *highly addictive* on a daily basis. You’re attitude is always irritability at everything that rolls off your sarcastic ridden tongue to how you care for your personal hygiene or even seeing the outdoors again. Seeing travel shows on television is your outdoor activity.

You isolate in your bedroom from your family to avoid any conflict. Anything, anything to avoid conflict when you are this raw emotionally and mentally. Once your healed from the surgery and sent home to rest, you are plied with narcotics for pain relief; after all, you have just been drawn and quartered internally. Return visits to the cancer center every six weeks where doctors, nurses, technicians and whomever become personally acquainted with your nether regions. By June of 2013 I was in radiation therapy and having those treatments with my hair growing thin, loss of all body hair, including my eyelashes and arm fuzz. Loss of 98% of my teeth to something stuck unnaturally up into my throbbing constantly now, still, gums. Eating only clam chowder and french onion soups because it hurts to chew and I get facial migraines.

Suddenly one day, approximately 8 weeks ago, I fall into another psychosis. They get me in the emergency room and slap me down with a syringe full of Haldol and then, next thing I know I am being woken up by a nurse trying to give me an injection of insulin. I’ve never been insulin dependent in my entire life. I’ve always be hypoglycemic not the other way around. I was extremely confused and was told my blood sugars were running in the 400’s so, I had to have the injections. I was at 479 when I was released to go home the next day. Now, I’m an insulin-impaired diabetic. Anything, and I mean, anything can have an affect on a person that has Bipolar Disorder 1, General Anxiety Disorder and PTSD. My blood sugar has been on the high side the last 3 days and I have not felt well. I have to quit dabbling around and get myself back on track or, I will fall off the track again.

The point of it all, is that I miss my days of writing, shooting a couple of shows now and again and those perks. I miss the telephone interviews where we end up catching up on our phone call backstage at some later planned tour date. I miss sharing the story I can glean by a casual 20 minute conversation about someone else’s art and it being their passion. I miss listening to that passion in their own words. A man will prove himself by his words but not unless there is action put behind the passion in the words. You have to find that man or woman in a short 20 minute time space. You have to present that person on the other end of the telephone line in a truthful and honest light. I miss those days. I don’t miss being crammed with four feature artists to write up in one month with no perks attached, as was my last publication experience but, I miss listening to the art of music. I don’t miss being a used “friend.” I don’t miss being accused and unconscious of what people say about me. What it all boils down to is a test I had run when I was about 11 years old. I had severe allergies and asthma as a child. So, I had to have a series of allergy tests run and the one thing that came up as the highest ranking allergen on my testing was ink. That’s why my eyes would burn and I would be snotty and sneezy and itching all over when I faithfully distributed those magazines. My plans on getting a couple of tattoos just went flying out the window. But, my plans to write again remain as I wait on *higher level* Microsoft Office IT Technicians to work on my Office issues tomorrow afternoon remotely.

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