You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

        Will Smith invoked the name of Hitler in a sentence to make a point about people being basically good and of course a reporter then goes on to show how wrong he is.  It’s not that I wouldn’t like the world to be fully loaded with benevolence and kindness but it just isn’t so.  On Christmas Eve, I saw that pillar of objective thought, Newt Gingrich narrate a Fox series on God and the history of this country, that equated to a skewed version of shoving Christianity down the Constitution of the United States as the “only” religion this country was based by quoting Presidents and men of Congress through the years while avoiding the words of the founders of this country.  Imagine that, quoting politicians as if there were prophets..profits perhaps.  I also watched a debate between a loud Starr Jones and an quiet atheist that missed the entire meaning of the debate as the shouting of rhetoric overwhelmed the other guy’s point of being allowed to practice or not practice “a religion” in this country.  I’m not going to tell or insinuate anyone is less intelligent, more intelligent, or more worthy of a hereafter because they practice a certain faith, be it one that has bishops and claims higher legitimacy than any other, or practices Buddhism as a lifestyle, however my take on all of this bitterness of politically correctness is that kindness is very much lacking in all of us, especially those who preach and protest the most.
     Are the gifts at Christmas the best we can offer to show that we care about each other?  Is that the common denominator for the shards of what we have left, of the kind of morality your great-grandmother used to teach but is now long-gone?  Why is there so much greed and hysteria in the world today?  Much of it comes from “me, my, mine” and that includes religion’s mantra of conversion or death-my God is the only God and the war begins.  If you read only conservative orthodox religious books you don’t have much of a background of actual history do you?  If you watch or listen only to right or left wing television or radio shows, you don’t have much of a point of view from any other reference do you? 
    Exclusionary beliefs are what brings humanity to bloodshed and always has with millions of deaths in the name of God and/or State, but we learn little as the ages go by.  Our extinction is entirely possible and I believe probable, if we don’t wake up and begin practicing random acts of kindness throughout our lives, regardless of one’s faith.  We all have those dark forces within us, but the goodness is there, it just has to be nurtured and brought into the light of day, and practiced over and over to be effective.  If we do not heed the warnings of those who allow what seems harmless to become harmful, then we become the evil that is within us and are no better.

The story is told of the power of gold and its lure on the unsuspecting
It glitters and shines, it badgers and blinds
And constantly needs protecting
Balance the cost of the soul you lost with the dreams you lightly sold
Are you under…the power of gold

Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
That’s a part of the plan
Await your arrival with simple survival
And one day we’ll all understand

And here is a sunrise to set on your sill
The ghosts of the dawn moving near
They pass through your sorrow and leave you quite still…
Sitting among souvenirs

My brothers’ lives were different for they heard another call
One went to Chicago and the other to St Paul
And I’m in Colorado when I’m not in some hotel
Living out this life I’ve chose and have come to know so well
I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And, papa, I don’t think I said ‘I love you’ near enough
The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band 

There’s a ring around the moon tonight and a chill in the air
And a fire in the stars that hang so near, so near
There’s a sound in the wind that blows through the wild mountain holds

Like the sighs of a thousand crying souls, crying souls
There’s a time when the traveler is fated to find
That insight has turned his gaze behind, behind
And the steps taken yesterday will beckon again
And lead to his weary journey’s end, his journey’s end
I will die by a river as it rolls away
Bury me in the nighttime…do not waste the day
High above the waters that roll on to the sea
All the angels in heaven will laugh at me
They will laugh at me….they will laugh at me
They will laugh at me

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I’ll be in love with you………..I’ll be in love with you

Funny how the circle turns around
First you’re up and then you’re down again
Though the circle takes what it may give
Each time around it makes it live again
Funny how the circle is a wheel
And it can steal someone who is a friend
Funny how the circle takes you flying
And if it’s right it brings it back again

There’s a magic every moment
There’s a miracles each day
There’s a magic every moment
Oh won’t you let the music play
Oh won’t you let the music play 

My life was naught but a river rolling through my brain
Made of so many teardrops…made of so much pain
And I will always see you dancing through my dreams
And as hopeless as it seems, I will always love you
And now if you think we’ve said it all

Let the final curtain fall on us at last
And just put it in the past and say our last farewell

I take my place along the shore and I wait for the tide
It seems I’ve passed this way before in an earlier time
To every man the mystery sings a different song
He fills his page of history, dreams his dreams and is gone

Goodbye to a man that influenced and taught me the art of a song comes from the emotion within and the story told.

Malcolm Campbell author of “The Sun Singer” reviews my novel “Only Moments.”  Malcolm hails from Georgia and posted this on on November 21st and gave the book a four star rating on  Malcolm’s website can be accessed from the links list on the left.

When you watch a man dancing on a dark stage in front of a flashing strobe light, you see only moments of the dance. Nick Oliva has taken the defining, and often poignant vignettes, of musician Chris Vadia’s life and choreographed them into a remarkable novel.

We begin in the future, after all of the moments are long gone–a coming-of-age car trip, first love, marriage, marital strife, a husband-and-wife performance at Carnegie Hall, the death of a spouse–and look at events so fresh they appear to be happening now! But they are of the past and cannot be changed, and they take us–along with Chris–figuratively back in time and where they dance before our eyes in perfect detail before we move on.

The struggling Chris we find within each moment of his life’s journey is not the Chris observing his past from the perspective of a man who learns, is learning, actually, that his seemingly disparate moments of joy and sorrow that appear to have been separated by time and space and vantage point are connected into a well-defined, sensible whole.

If you’re a musician and/or if music impacts your life in meaningful ways, you will appreciate the impact of Oliva’s experience as a musician on the piano/violin practice and performance scenes. But you’ll also see as you read from moment to moment that music is one of several apt metaphors in “Only Moments.” Life’s moments are like the notes in a composer’s great work in progress, a work that in spite of all the choices, false starts, crescendos, decrescendos, and improvisations, turns out the only way it possibly could have turned out.

A long-time fan of Joseph Campbell and his hero path structure or myth and mythic stories, I see within the pages of this novel that Chris Vadia is discovering–like all heroes on the path–that the events of one’s journey, in all their glory, are the tip of the iceberg to the important inner journey we all travel from birth to death and beyond.

“Only Moments” is the journey of a lifetime carried forward on the wings of Chris Vadia’s stirring memories and Nick Oliva’s stirring prose.

I stood at the window the snow crunching at my feet and looked in to see the people eating, talking, and making merry. It was a cold night and I was alone. My stomach twisted and the hard knot made it difficult for me to decide whether to knock on the door. Twenty minutes had gone by and I stood there still frozen in spirit with the same hard knot.

Finally, I went to the door and rang the bell. The door opened and my mother stood half-stunned for a brief second and then broke into tears. We had not talked for three years over a man that she lived with after my father died. He was an alcoholic and his drinking had escalated to the point of her concealing it from me. One day we had words that neither knew would cause the worst to happen. That was three years of non-communication that wasted precious time. I was a pariah to the rest of family as my brother’s children needed a grandmother. I never held that and other complications against them.

My mother had finally had enough and let it be known through my brothers that I was welcome to be there on Christmas Eve, but I don’t think she expected me to show up. Her eyes welled tears and we embraced and she would not let go for quite sometime. I lost control as well and all of those really important reasons for not wanting to be near her, faded away to oblivion with the tears that flowed to the floor.

Three years later she died on October 1st and I often wish I had those years to do over again. I wish we hadn’t both been such proud stubborn people. I wish I had made that effort that I knew was harder for her than me. Of course we reconciled after that Christmas Eve, but the time flew by so quickly and then she was gone forever. I am haunted by those thoughts and as the holiday closes in I see the fragility of life and the merciless hand of time bearing down upon the now eleven years she has left this world.

I know the gift of time now, however late and I wouldn’t ever waste it again. I ache for those years back, but they’re long gone and mere history. Don’t be as foolish as I. Take the time and forgive and forget before it is too late. Don’t give that Ghost of Christmas Past a chance to haunt you in the future.

Have you always wondered how Christmas and Santa Claus or St. Nick ever came to be linked within the same holiday?
The Dutch began the legend of Saint Nicholas, in fact Santa Claus comes from the pronunciation of Sint Nikolass.  As the myth and story goes, he was a bishop in the early part of 300 AD.  The color of the cloak of his hierarchy became the fur trimmed red suit that our Jolly Old Man with the white beard now wears outside of each Walmart.  The legend has it that he saved three daughters of a pauper from a forced life of prostitution by throwing a bag of gold coins through a window of the man who kidnapped them for his evil purposes, as a dowry for each woman.  That act of kindness set them free to return to their father.  The story made its way through the country and I’m sure there are many variations on it.  On his feast day December sixth, the custom of giving gifts in remembrance of his unselfish act began long after he died. Now you know how a Dutch ritual became a worldwide phenomena. One never knows how things that we do end up in mythological ways as to be metamorphosized in such a worldwide celebration.  Random acts of kindness pay huge dividends perhaps not to the originator but the “paying it forward” of such deeds is what we all should strive for not just during the holiday season, but every day.


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