It’s never too late till it is

Every once in awhile I know exactly what my husband means and those rare moments of perfect communication are gold. Such was the case with his “it’s never too late till it is.” Because it isn’t. You follow me?

27-Courage-27I still have the short-lived vantage point of watching those both a generation older and younger than me make decisions, and am always sad to hear someone decide that it’s too late for something they want. Education, relationships, children, adventures, the challenges of climbing a mountain or starting a business. My wise partner is right. Time can make some things more difficult, even much more difficult, but only we decide they are impossible. Until of course they are, at that moment when all of our chances are gone and we’ve done whatever it is we are going to do in this life. Nothing is impossible until then, and instead of finding the thought morbid, I find it oddly uplifting.

Of course, this bit of wisdom is unlikely to make it onto t-shirts anytime soon. Our culture is poorly suited to thinking about our own death, at least for more than a fleeting and uncomfortable second or two. That is why I was surprised when I continued with my task of updating the page on this blog about the music referred to in c3. Near the end of the book, my eighty-something telepath Maurice picks a song to relax him as he tries to use his telepathy to accomplish something that has never been done before by a telepath anywhere. Being a West Texas boy and life-long fan of Buddy Holly, he goes for the classic early rock song “That’ll be the Day.”

Only I wasn’t all that familiar with the lyrics to the song. They go “that’ll be the day … plonk plonk plonk … that I die.” I think that “that’ll be the day that I die” is an old expression roughly equivalent to “when pigs fly” but it is a little odd given our collective desire to never think about dying. The song came out in late 1957, and the day that Buddy Holly died was February 3, 1959.

My character Maurice, in his late eighties, probably thinks about death more than I do and I like to think, after the fact, that the fictional Maurice likes this song even more for its disturbing reminder of mortality. Being old, or at least being old well, takes courage and Maurice has an abundance of that. Please enjoy the short excerpt below to see what he is attempting.

That is how one lovely evening in mid-April Maurice found himself settling on to his couch to try something that had never been attempted. Teddie’s mother Lola was with him to make sure that he remained physically well, but she had sworn to remain mentally removed.

Maurice took a long swig of the sweet iced tea that he loved before he settled back and closed his eyes. Lola offered to put on some music for him while he relaxed and waited for the group in India to be ready. He was a West Texas boy through and through and still didn’t think that most country music held a candle to his favorite musician, Buddy Holly. Certainly not the modern stuff. He smiled as Buddy’s 1958 hit “That’ll be the Day” filled his living room and his mind.

Well, this would be the day that he would ride along in a young girl’s mind as she left her own body behind in the Himalayan dawn. He would join her as she danced into the air to travel through what Olumiji called the abode of light. In this world of waves, she could, incredible as it sounded to Maurice, find a friend a thousand miles away. Then both she and Maurice would desperately look for clues to the friend’s exact location, proving that one never knew what a day would bring.

I was so happy to find to find this wonderful recording of Buddy Holly and the Crickets performing “That’ll be the Day” live on the Ed Sullivan show on December 1, 1957. Go ahead, take a sixty year walk back into time and enjoy!

You can also listen to and purchase this classic at Amazon.

(If you enjoy reading about how the favorite songs of characters in a book can enhance a story, check out my post on greed and the Metric hit “Gold, Guns, Girls” at Never Enough on my blog for the novel d4.)

The Women of 2015: Beauty matters but so does so much more

Candice-SwanepoelWe do like beautiful women. As a society, we buy products from them, watch movies staring them, and we lavish attention upon them. But I’m a glass half-full kind of lady, and I see some positive trends in all the various recently released lists of top women from 2015.

  1. Beauty matters, but so does being tough, or making lots of money.

rhonda-rousey-435On the tough front, Ask Men ran a list of the Top 99 outstanding women of 2015. I was surprised to find mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey in the number two spot, along with the comment that “there’s no bigger role model in all of sports than this woman right here.” She also is launching an acting career, with upcoming roles in Furious 7 and Entourage.

HolmesGallery1As to making lots of money, check out number six on the same list. Elizabeth Holmes gets the honor for being the youngest female billionaire. Holmes is the youngest woman and third youngest person on the list of global billionaires thanks to Theranos, her health tech company.

2. We are expanding our definition of beauty to include older women, women from more ethnic groups, and women with at least some size variation. Not every women of note is expected to look Padukone_in_2009like Victoria’s Secret angel Candice Swanepoel, a South African model who came in 4th on Wonderlist’s ranking of the 10 most beautiful women of 2015 and is pictured at the top of this post.

Number two on the list was forty-six year old Jennifer Lopez, gorgeous and talented but also a mature woman. Number three on the list was Deepika Padukone, an Indian film actress and model who is the recipient of three Filmfare Awards and one of the highest-paid Bollywood actresses. She is shown to the left.

3. Talented women who make enough of difference get included on some lists, at any rate. Leading a lot of people will get you the number one spot on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful Women of 2015, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel discovered. Dealing with Mediterranean migrants, Russian sanctions, homegrown spying scandals, and Eurozone stability also got her named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and she was the first female to gain the title after it was given non-gender specific wording in 1999.

Hillary Clinton, who took the number two spot on the Forbes list, has appeared on the Forbes ranking every year since 2004. Forbes notes that in 2015 Clinton is just a breath and a ballot away from “leading” the world.

4. Finally, I am glad to see that having a kind heart and a strong social conscience will get a woman noticed as well. Melinda Gates made number three on the Forbes list, at least in part due to her emmaphilanthropic work. And a personal favorite of mine, Emma Watson, took the number one spot on the Ask Men list, not only for being “rich, successful, famous, stylish, beautiful, intelligent, personable, kind” but also for her alignment with the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign, an effort to shift the way our society treats women. Ms. Watson also snagged the fifth position in the Wonderlist’s ranking of the 10 most beautiful women of 2015, fueling my belief that real beauty is much more than skin deep and that at least some people in this world know it.

For more year end fun see some of the oddest predictions for 2016, catch My Best New Years Resolution Yet, read about whether it is an honor to be person of the year, and take a look at world peace activities planned for 2016