Posts Tagged ‘blended family’

Today I’m feeling particularly grateful to be alive.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Prepare for the Unexpected

Having come as close to dying as I can remember getting … on Monday I walked away from being blindsided T-boned with just a bump on the noggin’, when the super-tank-sized white Bookmobile (of All things!) crashed into my driver’s door after I’d not seen it, somehow … I consider myself not only fortunate to be alive, but am more than ever aware of how much more there is for me to put out there before it’s “my time” to leave this earthly realm. Just in case, I gave instructions to my consort Carter to finish my work for me. Before my time … is up.

Time is relative anyway. Sometimes it stands still. Other instances it rushes away from us like a never-ending spin on a glass-splinter-strewn highway. The road after our impact, this Monday. When that big white metal wall came crashing into me, metallic jaws wanting to eat my life, my head bouncing into and shattering side windows, Yes, I thought, This is It. I’m dead. Hit squarely on the side of my head, shoulders, hips—just as the recurring, eerie premonition of being T-boned I’d had for the past year or so.

But I didn’t die. So easily I could have. I iced the goose bump on the window-side of my head, and the next day there was hardly a trace of the bruise. Truth is: If it weren’t for the strong bent metal frame of my trusty old Chevy Tracker, I’m absolutely sure I would have sustained much more grievous injuries than being shook up, which I am.

Crappy Death Almost Got Me

Crappy Death Almost Got Me

For the past few days I’ve kept still. Lots of quiet time. Feeling my life, pleased I’m still here. Not much thinking, just feeling. What about?

chest-expanding awe at being alive!

heart-pumping gratitude to be breathing, still!

spine-tingling sensations of what I’ve been saved (entrusted, really) to do …

to share with as many as I can, about the magic of being alive.

I’ve felt it since childhood, yet that feeling keeps intensifying with each passing season, moon phase, setting sun and changing tide.

When a person has both experiences of the interior and exterior sorts, and the ability to translate it into a form where it might be meaningful to others as well (visually, musically, through art of some nature) this is my life’s purpose, for which I’ve been spared.

LordFlea, for over seven years I’ve been writing and sharing art with you, I’ve given snippets of what my work has been about. Many drawings, paintings, and sculptures (click here if you want a glimpse), a feature film with my beloved consort (click here for LithiumSprings, the movie), and a mention here and there about the book(s) I’ve created, awaiting publication.

For years I’ve been writing books. So why has it taken this long to get any of them into print? Five completed story-driven books are already done, some nonfiction narratives; somewhere in-between novels and memoir. Regulars at LordFlea have heard mention of a few and seen an excerpt or two from titles such as Angels Anonymous, Illusions of Love, Dharma Brat, Global Bliss NOW, and Heart Island, the trilogy.

the bridge tender

the bridge tender

Now the first publicly available (tree or e) full-length book will soon be ready, and not just in blog-tease form. Allow me to proudly present my soon-to-be-available illustrated book:

Zen Love: the true journey of a blended family

The very last stages–of line-editing (catching obvious flaws) and polishing, giving the story a sheen of careful presentation–is almost complete. Now I begin the stage of presentation. As soon as I finish this post I’m back to working on a chapter-summary (it’s much harder to make one after a book’s been completed, trust me) so I can submit this book to a major spiritual publishing house. I’m not going to count on the smaller, indie publisher who asked me to submit based on a much earlier version of Zen Love. I’m going to “fish” for whatever bite I can get, out there in the Ocean of Marvelous Literature

So–what’s my thought after the great crash up on our hysterically-crowded US1 South where I almost died, but didn’t?

Simply: It was not my time. This is what nearly all NDEs (Near Death Experience) I’ve ever heard of say they experienced, and then instantly their soul/spirit returns back to life from the state they call dead. I didn’t die in my crash three days ago. But a part of me is hyper-aware how very fragile my existence, all our existences, are here on earth.

"It is not your time, go back," the Voice said.

“It is not your time, go back,” the Voice said.

It’s time for me to do what I know I must, further sharing my writing and arting with as many people as I can. After all, that’s the reason I’ve been blogging and milking other forms of social media all along. For this day that has finally arrived. At last: a book.

This is why it’s so funny and ironic that I was smashed into by a flippin’ garbage-truck sized Bookmobile, on its way to some school somewhere, the front bumper and its admonition “READ” not even dented from my little vehicle’s demise.

Life! Ain’t it grand. Funnier than fiction, more intensely real than any reality show could do justice to.

I’ll keep you posted about the adventures of Zen Love‘s publication. If no bites on my hook, I’ll publish it myself, have no fear.

In the Light, shining bright and breathing appreciatively,

Lord Flea, aka teZa Lord

Our Blended Family

Our Blended Family

 

Love is a Many Blended Thing

 

My friends laughed at me. “He’s so wrong. Move on,” they shouted.

“There’s a smoking gun behind his back, count on it,” my sister blurted.

“It’ll never work,” another said, always quick with the naysays. “You’re too different.”

“Don’t forget the religion thing,” a fellow yogini warned rolling her eyes.

It was true: my new heartthrob was all of what I wasn’t: a born again, meat eating jock, and a single father of two divorce-traumatized youngsters, a recipe for disaster for a person like me, they all said. I was a loner-artist, a lifelong yogini, and at times, known to be allergic to nurturing myself much less anyone else.

My meditation friends all agreed, even those espousing embrace-everyone’s-differences unanimously warned: Stay Away from Him.

But what can a girl do when her heart speaks a different language than the heedings of family and friends? Every time I tried breaking it off with him, and believe me, there were many as we seesawed in the Should We/Shouldn’t We dance, weighing feelings versus facts, clearly seeing the risks of following-our-bliss – I always ended up needing to know this man, even before I knew what he looked like.

It was his voice that first pierced the wall I’d neatly built around my heart.

All those years of trying, always trying, and in the end, failing at love, had left me fearful and cynical. I’d just determined that it would  take a harem of my own, filled with Speedo-clad yogic adepts, men who meditated as passionately as I and then made ravishingly sweaty, athletic love to me – plus a scholar of botany; and a musician, a harpsichordist, perhaps; and a scuba diving, round-the-world sailor to nicely sum up my multifaceted needs in a partner.

Just when I was working on envisioning my harem – Carter called.

~

He’d called because a friend of ours dared him.

“teZa has done what you now want to do, if I’m hearing you right,”  our mutual friend Elsbeth had told him. “She’s off booze and drugs for years now.”

Turns out, he and I had met Elsbeth at different spots in the Western Hemisphere. I met her when I lived in the West Indies and Elsbeth was a tugboat co-captain with five kids. I’d heard her mention Carter’s name a few times over the years I lived in Dominica, operating an island-trade business from there. Carter, back in the States after his own travels took him to South America, had known Elsbeth when he’d worked on her family’s ocean-going tug.

After each of our southern sojourns, he’d first gone to New York to make movies before ending up in Central Florida. The day of his call I was living in East Hampton, making millionaires’ gardens in between art works, enjoying the life of a finally sober, newly awakened seeker.

I picked up the phone that spring morning in the Hamptons. “Hi, This is Carter,” a deep voice resonated within me.

“Oh, I’ve heard of you from Elsbeth.”

Silence on the other line for a couple beats.

“Carter, you still there?”

“You don’t remember meeting me?”

I could hear my swallow, a loud cartoon balloon: “Gulp.”

Nonplussed, Carter related our first meeting, twenty years before, in the top floor Boston apartment I had, back at the beginning of my yearnings, before I knew that what I really was seeking was the inner glory, not the outer shimmers and gold rings dangling from the next adventure, next relationship, next career move. Change was my only career course back then, and I rapidly climbed its rungs of success.

But wait. I was Now sober. I’d been working on my shit for seven years already. It was the Now that drew me in like a fish on the line.

Something about this voice. This man. I didn’t recall him. How could I? I was obsessed with change back when he says we met, ever so briefly, two ships slinking past like far off shadows in an inky night.

“It happened. I never forgot meeting you because you sSshuned me,” he says.

My ear never heard such a sound! The way he pronounced his S’s, as if he whispered them but the rest of his words, plainly spoken. Every time he hit an “S” my belly throbbed. Something weird was getting activated in there. What the heck is going on? Is this guy a magician or something, I wondered.

We talked that first time, he from suburban Central Florida, where he’d gone to lick his wounds, he said, his tail between shaky legs after a disastrous marriage, bitter divorce, vicious custody battle, his first feature flopping and subsequent financial ruin.

“Oh – you have kids?” I repeated what mattered most to me.

With that spoken aloud, my breath got sucked away.

Never once had I identified myself as a breeder. If anything, as soon as kids came around, I’d make a mad dash for the nearest exit. On the phone, I’m confused for a moment in this Now. Should I listen, ecstatically as I had been, to this faceless, formless voice I don’t know, who’s hypnotizing me with his S’s, or should I quickly get off the phone?

“YesSs, my kidsSs are the lightsSs of my exisSstence,” Carter added.

I was his. With that one spellbinding proclamation, both in its content and mesmerizing effect, my heart double-jabbed, knocking all rationale within me senseless.

What followed was something I never dreamed possible. Instead of a harem, true love came for me: because I was ready. So I threw myself madly into the bowl of cherry-flavored S’s: Spiritual and Sensual fulfillment, and not so eaSy Sacrifice. The last was the hardest, but every sweet has a bitter note in its guarded recipe, otherwise the taste and sensation is dull, ordinary, noncommittal.

Within a few weeks I was on a plane to see Carter’s face for the first time. He remembered what mine looked like, he claimed. I didn’t need a face recognition program, if one had been available at that time, the early nineties, because I instantly remarked the beaming aura of light surrounding a tall man, whose features were blurred by a radiance of happiness as he stood in the back of a throng of greeters at the Tampa Airport.

We did our dance. We learned both our stories’ details, each of us coming together with a mixed bag of pre-existing conditions as every over thirty-something has slung over their shoulders.

After a long career making movies Carter was forced to throw it all over when money ran out and kids came along. Somewhere along the way he’d been born again, dunked in a gator pond, and now, as a full-custodial, single dad, was raising his kids to be committed Christians, like him.

Many phone calls ago, when he first mentioned the Jesus thing, I went quiet.

“Is there a problem?” Carter asked

“You know I’m not into religion, right? I love Jesus’ message of Universal Love, and Buddha’s before him and Mohammed’s after him, and the teachings of all the great illuminated beings, forever, everywhere. But I’m not keen on religion. That’s why meditation is my path. I’m a believer of God-is-Energy and the Oneness-of-All: that’s who I am. To me, religion appears to be as quixotic to modern humankind, as fatal as misused politics. Too much bloodshed over both of these. I’m apolitical and nonreligious – but I’m the biggest lover of Spirit who experiences God as Nature, and the interconnectedness of all. You have a problem with any of this, Carter?”

“Naw, as long as you love the Power beyond all understanding, I don’t care what you call Him.”

“Him, Her, or It.”

“Okay. Agreed. But I call him Jesus. That’s my bag. Agreed.”

“Agreed.”

Other differences popped up. To each challenge I said,

“Okay, got it. Weird, but, hey! – it’s your bag. You really live in suburbia?”

“That’s where the courts said I have to be, for the kids’ sake. This is where I grew up. Believe me, I hate it. We’ll move as soon as I regroup and replenish the coffers.”

My stomach did a flip when he told me: “I’m a Republican fiscally, but socially a Democrat.”

“Well I’m a nothing-can and a never-crat. Agree to let me be nonpolitical? I’m a spiritual activist, and on my path we do just as much as any campaigner ever has.”

“Agreed.”

Our many differences couldn’t shut off the steam valve that fed my love mojo. I wanted him. I needed him. His S’s went deep into my heart, soul and spirit. His easy laughter uplifted me, more than anyone or anything had my entire life. He was my harem of a dozen, rolled into one gorgeous, honest-to-God human being, despite his antediluvian political and religious affiliations, the exact opposite of mine.

When I met his kids, aged two and four, I fell triply in love.

The smoking gun?

“Well, you should know, teZ, that my ex-wife is a bit off balanced. She accused me of terrible things trying to win the kids in court. The judge ended up not giving her even joint-custody. In the end, her false charges only backfired.”

Soon after that plane ride to see for myself how a man who spoke a spell of S’s could have captured my restless heart – and discovered for myself that he was, indeed, all my imagined perfect mates, my harem, all rolled into one huge hunk of a sensitive-man package, despite his peculiar bags – I began to wonder if we possibly could make it together, being so different. He was willing to compromise; so was I.

After a lot of pre-marital counseling that preceded and followed our string of breakups in the next two years – we both held our noses and took the dive. None of our family or friends thought we’d make it.

The challenges of our differences is what makes our blended family so similar to so many others in our blended world culture these days. And they are exactly what has led Carter and me, and our now-grown children to become four better, mostly healed, tremendously more balanced individuals.

All our differences, instead of cement roadblocks, have been inspiring boosters, enticers, guiding Lights leading Carter, the kids, and me – our blended family, like humankind’s global blended family, also – to discover what really matters.

That Acceptance is the real power of Love.

getting help with handstand
Just wanted to remind you, in case it has slipped your mind, that I am now “Sexy-Sex” … and the world is my spiritual oyster! Apparently I am NOT the creator of this profound thought (that one’s sixties are truly, the “sexies”) and there have even been pillows embroidered with this quaint saying, I’m told, but I think holding this affirmation helps me not give in to the sands of time (and the sagging).
I’m at my writing desk for the first time in four daze! I can’t believe what a pain in the butt the socializing scene was this year. I really just wanted to be “left alone” … like Garbo, but, of course, this is the one time of year when a family is a family is a family. In the throes of a big project like the book I’m on the final stretch of, makes me want to stay centered in the moment, in the story, in the flow of my thought-process. There’s plenty of time for socializing after I’m finished.
News of the progress of my book: I am now “filling in the narrative” … places here and there that I noted as I went through it this last time (which, for those of you new to Lord Flea, is the THIRD time this book has been written, from stem to stern). I’m adding a snippet of character or plot information here, one over there, another … you get the drift. This should take me another two-three days of writing at the most.
Then I’m going to print out and make a run-through … slashing and burning whatever I can that doesn’t sound true, extraneous, or takes away from the storyline. The word count is not my focus, i’m just going with the energy.I’m a fung shui kind of writer. And I must say, the shakit, the divine energy i sense flowing through me as i write is truly a marvel. And friends tell me i’m glowing. like being pregnant with a work I’ve long wanted to borne. A note about why it’s taken three tries to write this particular book, when I have five (count ’em) already written novels awaiting publication in my proverbial closet.

Some stories are just hard to tell. This book I’m writing is a three-generational family memoir, centering on my experiences raising my beloved consort’s two kids from early adolescence. Being stepmom in a blended family is the hardest job I’ve ever had to do, one filled with challenges that helped me grow to be the spiritual warrior I am today, and our kids, the healthy and good choice-making grounded individuals they are, also. Having so many adversities to hurdle over as young kids has made them stronger and wiser, in many ways, than they would have been had there been divorce-trauma, and an addict bio-mom to contend with. Today our kids, 27 and 29, are well on their ways to fulfilling their own dreams, and have all the emotional, spiritual and mental equipment to build happy lives for themselves. This book I’m developing (publication in Spring this year!) is our story, the three generations of our family directly affecting our family’s decisions.
My main goal, for this year, is to See the Divine in All.
And secondly, to publish “Laughing Heart: how Angel Mom earned her wings”
Each of is a (metaphorical) Guardian Angel of Earthly Life

Each of is a (metaphorical) Guardian Angel of Earthly Life

All great and glorious things to all of us for this coming year of 2014. We deserve it!

love, teZa (aka Lord Flea)

The Adventures of Angel Mom

The Adventures of Angel Mom

Hi friends,

I’ve been writing, editing, drawing and painting for the book I’m soon to publish, and that’s why you haven’t heard or seen much from me lately. But today I’m spending a few minutes to share with you what’s going on in the weird and wonderful world of Lord Flea Sings!

Those of you who’ve been following my blog know that I was just to bring you “my book” last fall … when … screeeech! … unbeknownst to anyone but myself I decided to put the brakes on “Global Bliss NOW” the title of the book I had worked on for the entire year of 2012. Imagine my surprise I halted that year-long project. Heavens, I had already put money down to self-publish this book, when — lo and behold! — I realized it was most definitely NOT the book I wanted to bring out to the world. I didn’t want “my baby” and my first baby at that, to be something that I couldn’t hold my head up high when sharing with others about.

I don’t know if any of you have ever gone somewhere, or taken a job, or gotten in a relationship and then — yipes! — you discover that is NOT what you thought you were really doing, and no longer wanted to do it? Well, ha! it happened to me with this book. So, after realizing my error, or more accurately, realizing I had taken the wrong bend in the road without having noticed before — I quickly shifted gears. I decided to start from scratch. Of course there were friends, and their comments, that succinctly helped me “See the Light.” Where would we be without our friends?

Wow. Starting over was a humongous decision! But I’m so glad I made it, and have not regretted it for a second. In fact, this new book I’ve been working on (yes, every tiny little word is brand new, absolutely nothing brought over from the “old” one into the New, Better, Highly Improved book) is a message to the world from the depths of my heart.

Where am I at with this new book (the title is still luminous yet vague) is smack dab in the middle of the flowing river of creativity. The first draft is complete, whew! That’s always the hardest part, in my estimation. Just getting something down on paper. From there, I can add, subtract, develop, or discard depending on how the flow of the story goes. Again, thanks to friends who help along the way: readers, editing, even a casual remark help me sharpen my focus to bring you the story of Angel Mom.

And there you have the whole point! A STORY!! The new book is “the Adventures of Angel Mom” and the old book simply didn’t turn out that way. Why? I don’t know. I’ve been asking myself that question and the only reasonable answer I can come up with is that for some strange reason I wanted to share with the world how I did something, rather than just tell the funny, whacky, zany story of how it was for me. A little glitch in my personality? i don’t know. I don’t care to analyze myself too much these days, having done plenty of that for waaaay too long before. But I needed to, before. Now, I’m just happy to live a meaningful, purpose-filled, goofy, mud-splattered, one day at a time life. With loved ones, my blended family, committed to working for the greater good of humanity in any way I can (blog, book, tweets, good humor, sharing stories with the guy on the street, making great food and sharing, etc.).

So that’s the latest update from Lord Flea. I hope you’ve all had a glorious summer, and what’s left of it, get outside and hike/bike/walk/swim and enjoy this marvelous world we’re so blessed to have. Breathe in the Light, send it out to the world for those who don’t have so much, to share what you have.

Blessings from Lord Flea, aka teZa Lord

the marvel of Nature

the marvel of Nature

We are the Tunnel, mixed media, 54“x42”We were walking along the edge of his Florida pasture one day, Bill, my father-in-law and I, taking advantage of another opportunity to talk about life and share each other’s company. I surprised myself that day when, after a young and rambunctious bull hopped the fence right in front of us, I instinctively approached it, not so much from bravery as an automatic reflex. Bill was already in his eighties and I, a mere forty-year-old then, wanted to protect the enfeebled old man, whom I was uncommonly fond of, and would have taken a bullet for, if truth were known.

“Watch out,” Bill said in his droll manner, cautioning me, alert to the unpredictable ways of livestock, especially a young upstart like this rowdy yearling-bull. “He’ll butt you hard if you don’t watch out.”

Wouldn’t you know just as Bill said this, the young bull charged me. But I, propelled by guardian mode, met the chest-high head of cowhide over steel with a double whammy fist right in the middle of the young animal’s eyes. Dazed almost as much as I, the bull shook his head and jumped right back over the fence, joining his four-legged family who stood bedazzled by the young daredevil’s adventure.

~

From the moment we met I loved Bill. I knew I wanted to marry his son the instant I heard Bill say to his elegant wife, “I must be in heaven, I thought I saw an angel,” when my future mother-in-law waltzed into the room to greet me that day. And it wasn’t he who objected to my bare feet, like she did, nor the fact that I was an artist and an adventurer of sorts. He wasn’t dubious about my mothering skills either, when it came down to whether I had what it takes to raise Carter’s two youngsters he had full custody of after a vicious divorce. This was a blended family we were a-brewing, creating a new dream of different backgrounds and faiths, cultural influences, even politics.

~

Grampa Bill, after his angel passed on, wasn’t one to let dust settle. Within nine months, at eighty-seven he married an acquaintance, a woman everybody hoped would be a great companion for his golden years. Sadly, she turned out to be an alcoholic and within five years the old man was not only divorced, but taken closer to the poor house by her shiftiness. Instead of finding another angel, Bill had been cornered by a succubus.

I sat with him as he sorted that one out. The trauma sent his mind to the farthest regions of awareness as he dove into the haze of senility.

In the numb twilight of Bill’s recovering from spousal abuse, he awoke one day to feel terribly sad, upset about our son’s debilitating football accident that would leave the seventeen year-old permanently handicapped.

“The worse thing that’s ever happened to our family,” the old man moaned loudly.

He wept that day I sat beside him, quietly talking of our son’s recent injury. Bill then reached into his pocket to grab what he thought was his linen handkerchief, always there. He didn’t realize it, and I said nothing to upset him further, but instead of the hanky he dabbed his flowing tears with a soft, used one-dollar bill.

I remembered hearing one of his daughters insist to the caretaker that he always had to have one in his pocket. “So daddy has some money and still feels he has some control over his life; just a token to help his self esteem,” she’d instructed.

~

Now, nearing ninety-nine, Bill was waiting for me as I caught the next plane from out west where Carter and I had gone camping. Bill knew – somehow, even at that final stage of the bumpy ride, filled with both joys and ravages that life brings us all – exactly who he wanted at his bedside. Of his four grown children and their spouses, I was the only in-law requested to be present. That’s because Bill was always more to me than just my husband’s dad.

Carter and I had driven out west on a month’s-long celebratory camping jaunt in honor of having successfully raised our kids. The minute the youngest joined his sister, safe and secure in college, we took off cross-country, driving to a new campsite every night, bicycling everywhere we could, cooking delicious food on wood campfires right outside our roomy tent. We were in Montana riding our bikes on the golden hills of the plains where the buffalo used to roam so abundantly, with the endless and eponymous Big Sky above, when we received word that our own old buffalo chief, Bill was on his death bed.

~

Three days before, Carter and I had ridden our bikes around southwestern South Dakota at Wounded Knee, close to the Lakota Indian Reservation. We were infatuated by the landscape, as foreign to us as if we’d landed on Mars. I leaned my bike against a rock and wandered away on foot from where Carter was intently observing a small animal or chasing some reptile between the hilly mounds and scrubby brush of that arid place.

A few quick strides and I came upon a jaw-dropping sight: an old grey buffalo, lying peacefully in a patch of sunlight. He must have gone off by himself, too, and was enjoying the last of the day’s fading sun. He paid me no attention as I came within ten yards of him and stayed that distance, half hidden by a hilly outcrop. I stood watching, fascinated to get so close to so magnificent a wild beast. He blinked and gazed toward me. I froze and met his eyes. He lifted his massive head back to catch the sun’s warmth, and serenely closed his lids, accepting my closeness.

He was at total rest, as if waiting, willing to embrace the inevitable shadow of the day’s end that was quickly approaching. I couldn’t help but think he might be getting close to pulling his last breath, by how resigned yet expectant he appeared. Immediately I thought of Bill, back home, and how he too, might be savoring his last moments in the gentle sun of life. The buffalo’s strong neck held his proud head high, feeling every morsel of warmth, absorbing it, yet at the same time he seemed to be honoring the disappearance of the bright disk above.

At my respectful distance I stood stick still, fascinated by such regality and noble strength that even in old age, was evidence of this huge animal having been a great leader in his day. As I watched the old buffalo I sensed he was preparing to die. What else could explain how this giant old rogue, now so feeble, so incapable, couldn’t keep up with the rest of his herd? Or why he had found this sunny, isolated spot to nestle in, between craggy rocks, so well hidden that Carter and I hadn’t noticed him when we approached the area earlier on our bikes.

While watching the old bull, his wet and flaring snout held high, his eyes occasionally roaming the horizon – totally aware of me – I saw how solemnly, how bravely he faced the last strong rays of the resting sun. Again, I thought of Bill, our family’s Grampa, and wondered if this ancient bison – not in distress but oblivious, and ready to leave behind that which no longer served his noble pursuits – was a sign that our own family’s chief, back home, was soon to leave his earthly body.

A few days later, in Montana then, we received the call.

Bill waited for Carter to arrive first, and then for me to come the next day, because there was only one seat out of Missoula the day we got the expected news. When Bill saw I had made it, he right away sat up in bed, agile as a trapeze artist, and said, “Oh, you’re here!” and immediately fell back down. Within an hour he lapsed into the in-between shadows of not-here, not-there of his approaching, last sunset.

~

Our kids were away in college as their Grampa rested in these waning hours of his life’s shine, while Carter, his brother and sisters and I gathered around our family’s old bull, being present for the head of our family’s comfort and ease in this, his glorious and final passage.

I wouldn’t have missed this most important event in Bill’s life, his last rite of passage, just as momentous as his earlier ones must have been. His four children and I stood around his bed, we who loved him so, witnessing Bill’s last breath as we joined hands around our favorite old bull, saying prayers, whispering comforts, saying our good-byes, offering heart-quaking thank yous.

Moments after, there was only stillness from Bill’s suddenly empty form, lying nobly and chief-like, surrounded by his tribe.

~

Later, alone with the love of my life, the man who shared his father’s great capacity to nurture, to love, I asked Carter in a small voice, “Why do you think Bill wanted me here?”

My own father, with whom I’d had a strained relationship, died twenty years before with me by his side also. Since marrying Carter, Bill had become my surrogate father, my pal, a role model for parenting: an unmatched spiritual mentor. He filled in the chinks of my broken faith in paternal strength, making up for all the misunderstandings and shortcomings of my own father, a troubled man. I could talk to Bill in private about my dreams, and he’d help me understand myself better. His wisdom affirmed how the subconscious affects us all so deeply. Dreams, you see, were Bill’s passion, and while he was a successful businessman, he was also an expert dream interpreter. He encouraged everyone he met to follow their dreams.

Now Carter looked at me and said simply, “Because dad loves you, teZa.”

My heart grew like a balloon pushing against my chest, realizing I was included in this inner circle not by chance, but by life’s many choices that had led us all together.

Lapis Sky, mixed media, 5'x4'

After months and months of hard, brain-wracking work I thought I was done. Yay! I shouted, bring on the bubbly! A whole year’s worth of blood-sweat and yes, a few tears, now completed. Oh how I was enjoying celebrating, doing things I’d denied myself for quite some time, all in the spirit of having done as good a job as I thought I possibly could.

Until, that is, I got another person’s perspective. Or, in this case, two, then three other persons’ worth.

What had been in my estimation a job well done, a fait accompli, turned out to be … well, a good start. Put it that way. A rough draft of a book that is lurking between the shadows of what I meant to say, and what I actually did. But a rough draft is at least something more than what I had before I’d begun. The bubblies persist, and I congratulate myself I’ve arrived this far. A lot of work, exhausting hours, many sacrifices – yet nowhere near finished, my dear. I’m talking to myself a lot these days, friends.

Of course for those of you following Lord Flea you’ll know what I’m talking about. The book I’ve been writing for the better part of this last year started off being called “Family Bliss NOW” then evolved into “Global Bliss Now” until — until the pretty recent day when I was fortunate enough to have an editor of a publishing company, a very esteemed publisher, take a look at it. I found this particular publisher by a fluke, an offhand referral by an old friend that brought us in contact because, after all, I had given up soliciting agents and publishers some years ago, having had more than my share of rejections.

“We like the premise, teZa” I was told right off. “But” (ahhh, the great but) your book needs clarification. When you get it more polished please be sure to show it to us again.”

I wasn’t so much disappointed as terrifically encouraged. Considered quite a feat it is, to have a publisher tell you they want to take a second look at a book. Usually you have only one chance. Obviously I was on to something. Trouble was, I really didn’t know how to “clarify” the writing anymore than I’d already done, having worked on it until I was quite sick of it. Sometimes a writer can only do so much before words, and ideas behind those words, start to swim in front of one’s eyes.

So I asked the publisher’s advice. “Well, now that you ask …” and he gave me very definite points that he felt needed to be attended to. Great! With this information in hand, I could take the next step. After giving myself a few days of down-in-the-dumpsville because my book had not been the great and completed masterpiece I thought it was (ahhh, the ego of the artist/writer, will we ever learn?) I now decided to … no, not set out to fix it myself. I’d already tried that. And look where I was, anyway. Being given clear instructions about what was wrong along with what I had to do next. And remember, words were swimming before mine eyes, ideas had turned to mush. I needed a break. or at least a Caribbean vaca.

“Get an editor,” the publisher kindly told me. “I’ll do my best to help you find one that will be a good match for your style and genre.”

After much soul-searching I have decided to work with what I’m calling my “book mentor” instead of calling her “my editor.” Of course she is an editor, and a damn fine one from what I researched. But more than that, this writer/editor has already given me enough inspiration to refill my sails. Her vivid insights into my project have set me back on the track of my original intention for writing this book: to share my experiences, good and bad, of raising Carter’s (my paramour’s) two kids. To show how my life expanded, and hopefully all the rest of my family’s did as well. And to perhaps help all the folks out there these days who have step-families, what are now more appropriately called blended families.

And so I am rolling up my shirtsleeves for another round of all day and many midnight-to-dawn efforts, digging back into what I thought was going to be a quickly written offering so I can get back to the three novels I’ve already written and are tucked away, incubating, anxiously awaiting mommy’s riveted attention. My attention.

For this endeavor of rewriting my book (yes, I’m completely re-writing it, as in RE-writing, not editing, my friends) I’m trying on new titles. Tell me which you like of these?

Hold That Thought: how one woman discovered her self raising others

From She Pirate to Angel Mom: transformation via my blended family

The Alchemy of Transformation: a personal journey of nurturing a blended family

Thanks for your support! I’ll keep you all posted about the developments of this daunting task, that I’m looking forward to because … I already have a First Draft! Lucky Me!

In the Light,

Your pal, Lord Flea

aka teZa Lord

Guess you’ve been wondering if I’ve been swallowed by a giant black hole, eh? Well, I’ve just finished, REALLY really finished the final edit (well … is it ever really finished?) for my upcoming nonfiction spiritual guide, “Family Bliss NOW: a holistic guide to global transformation … one blended family at a time.”

In honor of my coming out … as an author, silly! … after so many years, false starts, high hopes, dashed dreams, relentless tenacity (or is it utter madness?) I have created a NEW website so people get to know the real me, not the Lord Flea persona I’ve shared for these past five years with you. Please visit the new site tezalord.me and drop me a line to tell me how you like it.

 

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch teZ … I’m readying to take my 94-year-old (young in heart and speedy afoot!) mom, Eve Mary, on her longed-for visit to Iceland, where she’s always wanted to soak in the thermal hot springs so abundant there, fed by the island 14 or 15 LIVE volcanoes (hope none blow while we’re there!). I’ll try to write another post in the next few days to tell you more adventures, always so much to share, so little time in which to do it.

Keep breathing! keep focused on positives! keep dancing, singing, and most of all — believe in LOVE!

all mine to you, Lord Flea aka teZa