December 2018 (if you believe that you’re a chump)
Good Tidings fellow loved ones,
I haven’t written a Holiday Letter in about a decade. “So what’re you doing these days?” Superhero Lindsey Anderson describes me as a, “Glamazon and author.” I haven’t authored anything other than my blog debbiessong.com. I posted a few stories about my life back when it moved faster than global warming. People “liked, loved, laughed” my stories. Most meaningful is they asked for and more. Regina Joskow publicist extraordinaire as well as a friend from the late 80s, a time when most of my compatriots were beginning our music business careers, sent debbiessong to a literary agent. “This woman has a book in her and I want to read it.” Regina claims she acted out of pure selfishness. She didn’t. This is the most generous act anyone has ever executed on my behalf.
I received an email from the literary agent asking if I’d be interested in writing a book. After I picked myself up off of the floor and thought this must be rhetorical, with all the humility I could muster, I replied. “I very much like the idea of what—and how—you’re describing the book to be. It sounds exciting & fun, it sounds sexy, it sounds harrowing, it sounds eye-opening.” I am charged with writing an eye-opening book. Not too much pressure there David, but thank you for taking me on, thank you for those highly motivating words, and our “no question is stupid” phone calls. David was secondly most generous on my behalf. Back to, “What’re ya’ doing these days?” Staring at a MacBook Air trying to conjure harrowing.
David Dunton is also Jeff Tweedy’s agent. The guy in Wilco. I signed Jeff’s first band Uncle Tupelo. Wilco is one of my very favorite bands. Jeff just released his autobiography Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back Again). You need to read it. Here’s an idea, go visit Amazon right now and I’ll wait. I own three copies the hardcover, Kindle version and Audible. Listening to Jeff tell his own story makes me eager to drive Reading him makes me eager to write. He also makes me feel that being a recovering drug addict isn’t something to be ashamed of. We only stay sober by sharing and he gave me permission to do that. No surprise then that sharing an agent with Jeff Tweedy strikes a chord deep within me. Having been asked to write a book and sharing an agent with Jeff Tweedy made for a red-letter year. Understandably I can probably stop here. You’re allowed to I’ve already hit the climax. It’s all descending action from here. #3
It has been four years since I returned to my roots. Now a bona fide Jersey Girl, I am the best type of girl. Just ask The Boss. I live with my mom who had femoral bypass surgery this year. This was serious business. She underwent a six-hour operation during which her lipstick stayed perfect. My mother came home and went directly back to bossing me around, an orthodox six hours of CNN, card-carrying colorful statements about the orange guy, and nightly doses of Stephen Colbert. She’s square dancing again and faster than me with a grocery cart.
The renovation(s) started with a comfy sectional couch in the TV room. That and the mold behind my bathroom tiles led us to a complete bathroom renovation by a neighbor who convinced us he could renovate anything (I bet you can see where this is going-lawsuit). Our bathroom resembled a crooked house with tiles about to fall, a slate floor that wouldn’t stay put, and a paint job that…I can’t even talk about. I am describing the renovation. While the “You’ve got to be kidding me,” renovation took place I was enduring a high risk root canal procedure. There is a construction god up there who needs a good spanking. Second time around, obviously with new a new contractor, my bathroom is stunning. I have become a pink bath bomb addict. To boot, I finally ventured into my storage unit, and with a little help from my friends worked on feng shui-ing shabby chic. The 2nd floor is finally the perfect place to write a funny, sexy book and then walk across the hall to nap on a velvet rose chaise (quick stop to look at the Italian porcelain tiles). Home finally feels like home. Next year we keep going. Sore assed construction god better behave himself.
For the most part I am happy here (I miss the subway, and the 360 style-I am so not a mall girl). The dogs have a yard. BTW-Brady turned 15 this year! He’s got arthritis but so does everyone I know. His brain is a little “off” but again such is the case with most everyone I know. He’s on medication…ad infinitum. Sadie the shih tzu speaks. She throws shade. I’m tempted to record her giving the furniture a good talking to, but I don’t want her to think I’m taking the piss out of her, and I am as much of a GIF person as I am a mall rat. I have gardens that yield bushels of veggies. I started a strawberry field, blueberry thicket and the butterfly bushes and moonflowers keep us in awe. On a rainy afternoon a few weeks ago I collected and dumped mammoth bags of horse manure into my compost heap. I realize this is a difficult image for you to conjure. My boots have walked into many an interesting environment I can now add mountains of horse poo onto the list.
About 18 months ago I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I couldn’t understand why taking a nap meant blocking out four hours of my day. I woke up like Dorothy’s Tin Man. Completely hinged and hours of joint pain before I could truly kick start a day. You guys know me. Debbie is a gumby yoga person not a piece of rusty steel. I was always asleep so why did my muscles feel overworked? My blood tests were right something was wrong. It took a grumpy rheumatologist to put the puzzle together. Grumpy rheumatologist prescribed Otezla. My magical chiropractor has been begging me to stop eating sugar and starch (may sound like dreaming the impossible dream-but no says the Whole30 which I start on 1/1/19-please regale me with your own Whole30 tales). The biggest bummer has been the two-year cessation of my yoga practice. Daily meditation became my exercise medium. I highly suggest it. I am feeling 75% back to normal and have nothing to complain about. 2019 is the year I will downward dog almost as often as I walk the dog.
A group of women in Ridgewood, NJ saved my life. They continue to a day at a time. Many of you, have for too long, watched me suffer from destructive and oppressive habits, or you have suffered from them (I haven’t reached that step yet). Russell Brand says, “Addiction is an invisible prison.” I choose to live in a prison? And a prison I built for myself? Really? That is fucked up. “We” is the first word of the 12 Steps. I suppose this is why it took a community of women to give me hope. When I am stressed and overwhelmed they direct me to the solution. Living a solution-based life is how I find serenity (something I wish for everyone). I work hard. Anything worth having is worth working for. The prize, I stay sober, I get to hold onto hope, and help someone else who needs some. My new life is my best life. Shared hope. WOW! Being that my sobriety is the most important piece of my life I do everything I am told to keep it. May seem almost as odd as standing in a pile of horseshit. They both create something beautiful. As Michael Alago says, “Giiirrrl! It just ain’t pretty any more.” I like being pretty.
In 2018 I lost my great friend Gary Harris. He was too unique and far too special for me to find the words that rightfully describe the impact his friendship had on me. A couple times a month I think, “I gotta talk to Gary about this.” All I can do is look up and know he’s listening. Gary left me gifts, this blog is one and this man is another. Gary was not stingy. Q-Tip is a lightning bolt who jumps around like a kid, makes music like a master, spits wisdom and really I wish he weren’t so damn wise-not fair. We got some plans, maybe next year’s letter. Maybe not. Art is a journey.
I also lost a new friend Elizabeth Ortiz who suffered for most of her young life and is now free of pain and disappointment. Selfishly I miss her big brain and bigger imagination. We could laugh over abscesses and feeding tubes. Yeah, she used the hard life god handed to her brilliantly. I have two new angels watching out for me. I spent New Year’s Eve 2017 in the hospital with Elizabeth. I spent the NE Patriots final playoff game 2018 with Gary. They’ll be with me this year too. Always remember THIS last time may damn well be THE last time. And I am not talking about the Patriots and the Super Bowl.
2018: No exotic trips. I didn’t go much farther away than East Hampton. I had a very normal some days are fab and some are shite year. However, I got to see an intimate Patti Smith show at the teeny Minetta Lane theatre, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Breeders, Kendrick Lamar, Nick Cave, Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, jeez that’s some fab music in one year and there are probably more, but the age/memory equation…well you probably know. I was taken to the theatre a couple of times. Joined a Book Club. Attended a few book, record releases/art openings. I wrote-see David, if I didn’t lose you at the #3 mark I am writing.
I made a point to connect with friends who I had lost touch with and whose company I always enjoyed. People who make my life juicy. (Shout out to Jeff P., Mitchell C., Regina J., Danny S., Greg G., Rachel, Tip, Miguel, to name a few…). I stayed close to my friends who forgive me everything and vice versa. (Lindsey and Juli you lead the way). I made new friends who are so wise and spirited it’s off the hook. (Far too numerous to shout out). Thanks to all of you for helping me navigate a year of life on life’s terms. You know who you are and you are solid gold. You make the world a better place and me a better person cow poo and all. Happy 2019.
If you made it this far, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The pinnacle was in the third paragraph, but I’m glad you’re here blessed reader.
****If you are a friend or acquaintance of Diane Gentile (The Bowery Electric, Diane Gentile and the Gentlemen, Jesse Malin’s former manager, Radio Promotion goddess- MCA/A&M Records)…please donate to her Go Fund Me page. Her spirit is positive but she’s on a long road to recovery. Start out 2019 with karma in your piggy bank.