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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Lone Star Falling

This was originally distributed privately to paid patrons of this blog on March 1st, 2018. This is its first public appearance.



When I was a teenaged wannabe writer in the '70s, I came up with all sorts of ideas for things I might want to write. I wasn't great on executing those ideas, but I had ideas. I was speaking with my Mom recently. She's currently listening to an audio book of At Random: The Reminiscences Of Bennett Cerf, and our conversation turned to the subject of writing. Mom said she remembered a conversation we had some time way back when I was in high school or college, and that my teen self told her at the time that I had a title for a book I wanted to write. The book would be called Lone Star Falling.

I have no memory of this idea. No memory whatsoever.

That doesn't mean Mom's recollection is in error. Lone Star Falling does sound like a title I might have conjured up, and I only recall a small fraction of the kooky, half-baked notions that occurred to me in those days. I remember some of them, mostly titles of potential short stories and comic book adventures. "Nightmare Resurrection." "Reflections In A Golden Egg." "Lazarus Lives." "Seven Minutes To Blackout." A comedy piece called "The Casebook Of Sherlock Tracy." "The Autobiography Of Somebody Else." "The Children Of Malice." "Dreaming Deadly." A few of these I followed through to completion; most never got farther than a title. Lone Star Falling would have fit right in with this square-peg brigade.

I wonder what it would have been about. Was it before or after I'd seen David Bowie in the movie The Man Who Fell To Earth, and would that have been a relevant factor? Forty years later, the title creates an image in my mind of a figure tumbling from the sky, whether from Heaven or the stars, someone or something that had come up short, failed, and fallen. In our world, this fallen star or fallen angel encounters Earthbound individuals who have suffered a shorter descent, but have fallen nonetheless. Some stories reflect hope. Some are studies in futility. Some who fall rise. Some who fall remain fallen.

Mom is 92 years old. Since my Dad passed away in 2012, she had been living alone in the little suburban house that was my home from birth until college graduation. I stopped by to check in on her every day after work, making sure she was okay, going through her mail, paying the bills and shredding the junk pleas and advertisements, sometimes popping her dinner into a microwave if she hadn't been able to do it herself. Her mind was sharp, and I think it still is. But her body was weak, her eyesight and hearing gradually and then more rapidly diminishing. She fell. She couldn't get back up. She was no longer able to live on her own, nor to live in her own house (or mine) even with supervision. From the hospital, she went to short-term rehab, still hoping she could regain sufficient strength and independence to return home. But that was not going to happen. She is currently awaiting permanent placement in a nursing home facility. It is not what anyone wants. And it is the only viable choice available.

Mom is frustrated, and she has a right to be. I'm frustrated, too. I wish I could make it better. I wish I could make positive things happen, and make them happen quickly. Mom hates the fact that she can't take care of herself. I hate the fact that I can't help. I've become a cheerleader--Rah, Rah, MOM!--and I wish I were at least a little better at that. At least. A little. I try to manage the banking questions, the transitions, the expectations, the compromises. I try not to let my own growing frustration make me fall.

I'm not a lone star. Well, even the "star" part might be up for debate, but I'm not alone. My siblings aren't local like I am, but they do what they can. My wife does what she can. I'm not lone, and I guess I'm not falling. Sometimes, it just feels like I am.

Mom has now moved into a permanent room. Things have stabilized as much as they can.