Dearest Readers – A long time coming, I’m returning to the music scene after a long Covid-inspired hiatus. I hope if you are in the area near any of these that you can come!
First: This Friday @ Hyperion Bar and Lounge, 9-11pm – if you’re into speakeasy underground velvet-laden candle-lit bars with local art and black ceilings, then this is your joint. Facebook event HERE: Anita Lorraine @ Hyperion Bar 7/22
NEXT This Saturday, 12-12:30 I’m playing in Durham at the Pork, Pickles and Peanuts Festival! They had me at Pickles and Pie. Link Here: Anita Lorraine in Durham 7/23 Schedule below:
Tick…. tock….. tock of the clock, the bells, chiming along inside my urgency, latency, where I dwell, there are old wounds now to dispel.
The bells sing a discernible, yet obscure, song. Normalcy impossible, so much lost, species extinct and the virus… prolonged.
Breath in the air, humid Summer approaching. She comes as she’s called, without summons, without speaking. A tiny creature inside beats a drum without patience, signaling change, a drip, a salience.
So many irons in so many fires, my hearth is full The breeze ushers me Westward, a few miles and storms Lie between this meadow and that one, I feel the pull Yes, grass is greener where the grey fox runs and wild bees swarm
I carry with me a satchel of mystic notions The holster of privileged motion The stowaway, grieving, choosing new potions What was real is gone with yesterday, a new truth, hinging on veracious devotion.
Allegiance to soil, the trees, the water playful smiles, inherited wisdom and daughters Gathering the flowers like the maker gathers supplies Honoring the magic of justice, acceptance and thick thighs.
We tread a new path, regeneration, wholesome good drink in rainwater, carry it, build fires, chop wood. Uphold your neighbor, sanctity for the distressed. In this tide, this time, ingress of a woman, to profess
The mighty stars will hold you as the robin sings the solid ground will lift you as the roots of trees spring out of the ground, created by time and bless your soul, as the gathering bells chime.
Hey yall, It’s Tuesday. The Earth turned into the Sun again today. The clouds parted so that we may feel the warmth of that Sun too. For those things and more, I am hella grateful. Please see the passage below. I am re-reading this little book called Practicing Peace and it speaks to every ounce of what is happening in the world right now and how we can all choose to evolve through these times. Pema on Racial Injustice
Dedication: To everyone. All the people. All the animals. All the plants. All the Spirits.
Quote:Practicing Peace by Pema Chödrön. “War begins when we harden our hearts, and we harden them easily— in minor ways and then in quite serious, major ways, such as hatred and prejudice—whenever we feel uncomfortable. It’s so sad, really, because our motivation in hardening our hearts is to find some kind of ease, some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling. Someone once gave me a poem with a line in it that offers a good definition of peace: “softening what is rigid in our hearts.” We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power, but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
What happens is a chain reaction, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t know what I’m talking about. Something occurs—it can be as small as a mosquito buzzing—and you tighten. If it’s more than a mosquito—or maybe a mosquito is enough for you—something starts to shut down in you, and the next thing you know, imperceptibly the chain reaction of misery begins: we begin to fan the grievance with our thoughts. These thoughts become the fuel that ignites war. War could be that you smash that little teensy-weensy mosquito. But I’m also talking about war within the family, war at the office, war on the streets, and also war between nations, war in the world.
We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism. But whenever we harden our hearts, what is going on with us? There’s an uneasiness and then a tightening, a shutting down, and then the next thing we know, the chain reaction begins and we become very righteous about our right to kill the mosquito or yell at the person in the car or whatever it might be. We ourselves become fundamentalists, which is to say we become very self-righteous about our personal point of view.
…The next time you get angry, check out your righteous indignation, check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this person, because this one really is bad—this politician, that leader, those heads of big companies. Or maybe it’s rage at an individual who has harmed you personally or harmed your loved ones. A fundamentalist mind is a mind that has become rigid. First the heart closes, then the mind becomes hardened into a view, then you can justify your hatred of another human being because of what they represent and what they say and do.
…If you look back at history or you look at any place in the world where religious groups or ethnic groups or racial groups or political groups are killing each other, or families have been feuding for years and years, you can see—because you’re not particularly invested in that particular argument— that there will never be peace until somebody softens what is rigid in their heart. So it’s necessary to take a big perspective on your own righteousness and your own fundamentalism when it begins to kick in and you think your own aggression and prejudice are reasonable.
I try to practice what I preach; I’m not always that good at it but I really do try. The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about somebody else, and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up and self-righteous and closed minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness.
If you could have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides think they’re right. So the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds.”
Song: I Want To Be Here – by Neko Case, here’s the video Bruce and I played for today with this song, recorded by my awesome roommate, Andrea. InstaVideoSongPost
The excerpt from above means a lot to me. I wish I could somehow transfer this sentiment of softening our hearts to every human on this planet. Some people know this already, but some people don’t and would never agree… so we’d have to sneak it in while they were sleeping. We could send a little whisper of Love into their ears via magic fairy dust or something they couldn’t successfully shake out or wash off in the morning. I don’t have much to say that Pema didn’t already about all that’s happening out there in the world. I wish everyone rest and a calm heartbeat. I wish everyone food in their bellies and enough resources to provide for what they need. I wish for marginalized people to have some peace of mind and heart. I wish those in power would use it for the betterment of society instead of to its detriment. I wish for people’s hearts to soften and to feel what it is that could truly save this world, Love. (and 6 feet of temporary personal space…) Goodnight y’all.
At this moment, all that exists in my sights are the darkness of the night sky through the window, the golden light of a candle glimmering in my periphery and the glow of this computer screen. Of late, I have read many stories by writers about their influences and writers whom they adore. The most compelling stories depict how the main inspiration was the author’s own life, their own experiences and hardships were their teachers and the stories told themselves, their fingers were merely a medium.
Songs seem to come to me this way. Ideas for paintings, projects, special studies… they all jump into my mind and slam the “Go” button, yet, it wasn’t my choice to press it. Once, I was asked to write my autobiography on one page. That was horribly prohibitive. It takes a half-hour just to get started when telling about my life. Perhaps I am simply detail-oriented or lack conciseness. I see everything as bleeding into everything else, just like a watercolor painting which starts with too much water. Except, in life, those bleeding tales need no judgment, at this point, of too much or too little liquid. Those tales exist only in the memories of my body and when I think back to them or something reminds me of them; I can only experience them in the moment or in a dream. At times, I become overwhelmed with the sound of my heart beating and shortness of breath. Other times, the need to sleep or eat suddenly tips me over and makes me weak in the knees. In more extreme cases, fear fills every pore, unexplainable in the present moment as to why and I find myself floating above, as an outsider looking in, disassociating. Somehow, I can become a shadow when the worst moments resurface. I get lost in the replay and the mountainous weight of knowing there is nothing I can do to change the stories. In those dark and tremendous moments, there are veins reaching into the future, into the people I love, into the choices I make, into the way I look in the mirror, into the way strangers look at me… All this is happening under the guise of a smiling, confident, albeit sometimes distracted, woman.
Imagine what it would be like if those moments disappeared. What would happen if those shocking and depressing moments no longer plagued those of us who share them? There could be a light, a blinding light, swirling out of my forehead. I see light emanating from my fingertips and from each strand of hair. There is no memory in my body, from the earliest of early storage drawers of visions, that does not have a tinge of sadness. I cannot remember ever feeling completely light, free, and without judgment. Fear permeates every facet of life. I could be beaten for not finishing my dinner or having an accident potty training. I could be abused or taunted by any man who walked by. I could be ridiculed for being imperfect by any movement, decision, performance or by simply existing. Simultaneously, I was treasured and praised when I was approvable. In public, I was the gem of the show. I was “the rock”. The undeterminable atmosphere of our home, the lack of comfort, the affectation of normalcy, the quid-pro-quo nurturing, the unending sarcasm, perversion, and the predatorial context into which my sister and I were forced to exist has created, in me, a person who needs to come to terms with the impact such a life has had on my body. The lives and bodies of millions of people in this world are all carrying scars on their beating hearts from childhood. They learned about their lack of importance, their prescribed stupidity and their lack of control so early, the notion that such things don’t HAVE to hold them down may never be realized in their lives. They may never individuate.
I have the privilege of a new awareness of how my body, heart, and mind are all interconnected and I proclaim that the marks carved into my being are going to be brought to light. Immunity to sickness and dedication to health are the core of my focus now. The amount of time it will take to begin to feel whole and happy again may be lengthy. Yet, I am here. I am learning. My body is going to heal. I have magnets in my heart and the celestial bodies and our beautiful, magical planet are connected by those same forces.
I am filled with grit. I am the softest green moss of the forest floor.
In some corner of my mind, I have yet to unearth, there is the North star of hope.
I am seeking Spirit by this river’s shore and in my inner flame’s ashes and smoke.
She told me that my mother wants to donate a thousand dollars to my album fundraiser. The only thing she wants in return is her own copy. That was the last thing I expected to be thinking about tonight. I told Maw Maw that I’d have to think about it. There are several reasons why I need to think about it and Becky Miller’s voice just popped into my head as I think about them… I feel surprised. I feel nauseous. I feel trepidatious. I think she doesn’t know what she’s getting into. There’s only one real reason for all this fear, Darlene. Darlene will smack my mother in the face via song. I don’t want my music to hurt anyone, but Darlene has fighting gloves, armor and a helmet she wears around my mother. Darlene is a force. Darlene is fierce. Darlene is both scared and strong.
Becky Miller said to me once, “You are not responsible for how someone else reacts to your truth. You are only responsible for being honest about who you are.” I can’t control how my mother reacts to this. I am nervous she’ll hate it. I am scared she’ll sue me for non-support. I’m afraid she’ll deny it and make me out to be the bad guy.
Tonight, for the first time, I read the lyrics to Darlene to my grandmother. I could barely get through the song, reading it more like a poem. I was choking up and holding back tears to be able to pronounce the words clearly enough so she could understand what I was saying. At the end (I was grateful I made it through), she was quiet. I had no idea what she was going to say. I asked her, “You there?” and she answered, “Yes, I’m here. That brought on a few tears. Your Paw Paw’s going to like that.”
So here I am, back to wondering if I should accept the money and give her a record, if I should accept the money and not give her a record, or if I should just reject the whole idea. The brave little one inside of me is afraid that her mother will judge her and hate her even more. You see, in May of 2002, she called me from jail. She’d been arrested for not taking care of her children (I will spare you the details.). She used her one phone call to tell me that I ruined her life. Over the years, she’d called me stupid, lied over and over again, and very nonchalantly said to me when I was seven, “If it happens again, honey, let me know.” after I told her I’d been molested by her boyfriend’s son. Of course, it happened again, and again, and again.
I don’t think about these things every day, consciously. However, they color my existence and make me the sparkly person you know today. I was polished through those moments to become Anita Lorraine, named after both my grandmothers and now have chosen to take my grandfather’s last name, Moore. Anita Lorraine Moore.
It may take some time to come to a decision on this. I hope I make a decision that makes the world a better place for us all. This album is the crux of my inspiration. Some of my music is happy. Some is contemplative. Some is magical. Some is angry. Some is broken-hearted. Darlene, however, is revolutionary and bold. She is a phoenix.
If you want to share or talk about anything, please send me an email, my door is open: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please consider donating to my album, 5% of all donations go to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.)
Thank you ALL for your support of this music, it means the world to me.
$40 = 1 hour in the studio ~ $5 = gas back and forth to the studio! It all helps.
TuesDayNewsDay Vol.2 Issue 17, October 30th – CAUTION: Trigger Warning – this newsletter contains triggering sexual violence references. Please take care.
Dedication: Today’s issue is dedicated to my therapist Karen. Today, while going through what came up in therapy, I realized I would drive to the place, where in October of 1990, I was first molested. I was seven years old. I decided I would drive there, sit on the ground and take a photo. I would also take something of the earth to work with this healing. As the idea came to me, a light bulb exploded in my head. Karen said, “Anita, don’t take your wounded little girl there without your whole adult self holding her, seeing her, and telling her that you are there for her no matter what. You are her nurturing parent now, hold her in your arms.”
I pulled my car into the driveway for the first time ever on my way home from therapy, realizing I have never driven into that driveway before in my life.
This spot, which I have to drive by every time I go to my grandparents’ house, is also a block from where my mother still lives with the pedophile step-father just across the railroad tracks. When I say this healing is a daily, a moment to moment process, I mean it. Literally facing those places every day has wrecked havoc on my insides – but I am resilient and strong, vulnerable and honest with myself. The place is a vacant lot in a trailer park on Pomeroy Street in Graham, where my home used to sit. Now it’s an empty, dirty space with an overgrown concrete platform over which there was a carport. Under that porch, I remember having to take all of our stuffed animals outside to be thrown away because there was such a terrible flea infestation. I remember sneaking up late at night after everyone was asleep, turning on the television to watch Alfred Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone, my face about an inch from the screen, ever wary of any sounds coming from my mother’s end of the trailer lest I get caught.
Vividly, I remember the game we were playing that night in October. My baby sister, a developmentally disabled boy named Jason, and his sister Tasha and I were playing charades. Jason and Tasha were the teenage children of my mother’s red-headed boyfriend. We played in teams and it was decided we would go into the closet to decide what animal or character we would pretend to be. I was seven years old, my sister was 2. I was on Jason’s team. Jason was sixteen. (Typing this I can feel my heart racing and the old familiar anxiety aching in my chest and shoulders, my left eye and cheek twitching.). When we went into that closet and Jason molested me, I was too afraid to move, too afraid to scream, too afraid to fight, too afraid to do anything at all except to freeze. So, I froze. I could feel his icy cold, trembling hands on me. To this day I can still feel the darkness of that closet, the walls closing in around me. When we came out of that closet, I was sick. I don’t remember anything else. I don’t remember the game, nothing. I remember after they left that night, I told my mother what happened. She said to me, “Honey, if it happens again, let me know.”
Those words etched endless caves into the crevices of my heart. Those words are the haunting. Those words represent the moment I knew I was on my own. With no one else to turn to, my grandparents were gone to Disneyland at the time, I was completely alone. I prayed and prayed and heard nothing. Those words mark the day when I, as a seven year old, realized that god didn’t exist and that I wasn’t worth saving. Those words created children’s tears. They cannot be undone, and of course, it happened again.
Despite those memories buried deep in endless caves and my mother within shouting distance, I went. It was my nurturing, accepting, loving, and whole adult self who sat on that ground. I felt the cold, wet grass and soil underneath me. I looked at the trailers to the right and left of me. My phone was propped on the very metal bracket that once held that trailer to the ground. I snapped a shot of me sitting on that sacred ground. It took less than a minute. Leaving, I searched for a four-leaf clover in the tiny patch of yard, but found none. Instead, now a big green black walnut from that place is with me. I plan to do some ritual with that walnut. It tried to escape twice from me before walking up my back-porch steps in Saxapahaw. Something inside told me not to bring it inside my house, so I left it on the back patio table. It is not clear what kind of ritual will come about, but it is sure to be a powerful one of releasing the physical ghosts of that moment. It will be one of forgiving my mother for not knowing or realizing what she was doing. It will be a process of exorcising the grief and trauma which has been sitting in my bones and blood, blooming into the person you see today. Today is all I have.
Quote: Choice is all we get, change is all that’s real.
Today’s post wasn’t meant to be this way. The events of today were not planned, but have made a mark. The words of my song, Darlene, record this event in a lyrical, symbolic sort of way. Being an artist is a privilege because it lets us put words and visions to feelings and thoughts. We are able to somehow transform our feelings into a universal language others can share. Today with Karen, I admitted to trying to let go of my fears: people won’t like my arts and I’m not good enough to walk in the footsteps of my idols. Slowly and purposefully, she said, “Let’s transform that. You are working on your language, so let’s start here.” So after thinking, my mouth said, “I am letting go of my concern for people not liking my art or me as a person.” I do not need validation of others to justify my existence. This self-work is Sacred. I feed on it; it makes me feel more and more alive and free every day to uncover and unleash the demons. Turns out, they aren’t demons at all. They are one scared, frozen little girl, stepping into who she is destined to be, not solely a victim of her circumstance. I looked Karen in the eyes today and spoke my gratitude for her being here with me this last year and a half of journeying, visioning and healing. It was the first time I’d ever asked to hold hands with anyone. With our feet on the floor, we grounded, I closed my eyes and saw little Anita sitting on my right knee. There Karen prepared me to go sit on that patch of grass, which someday, I will drive by without flinching. I will drive by proud to have been seated there.