Hello

I’m a writer, actress, Grammy Nominated songwriter, mother of 4 (grown) children, world traveller. I’ve spent my adult life in L.A. but was born and raised back east. I could live out if a suitcase if given the chance (again).

paper pen and coffee

All writers have scraps of paper with ideas, which accumulate and sometimes (I’m sure of it) multiply. It might be an idea for a bit of dialogue that didn’t make it into the book or song lyrics that were never recorded. As I sort through 50 years of paper notebooks and file boxes I have a need to do something with these orphans. How nice for my children that I can put them here so I will have room for their junk.

Shirley Hanna-King

all posts © Hanna Music/ASCAP

 

I bought my first Mac in 1984 and taught almost every mother I knew how to use one. My children grew up with computers, yet I’m the family authority. What’s up with that?

I ran my own ethernet cables from the basement to the attic, inside the walls. I set up my own wi-fi when the technician couldn’t figure out how to do it. I know people my age who can barely turn on their computer. Most spend more time troubleshooting than using their computers. Compared to them, I thought I was technologically hip. I’m not.

All of a sudden, everybody’s got a blog. Worse yet is twitter. What a nightmare for someone like me who’d rather do her taxes than suffer small talk. If I die and go to hell, they’ll make me tweet. I feel like the last literate human, transported to twit world where communication is reduced to monosyllabic 4-6 word conversations… in a language I can’t decipher, full of symbols and hashtags. How do folks know who’s replying to what? It reminds me of the New York Stock Exchange floor at the height of bidding. Mass confusion. It must take a mind with skills I don’t possess, a new kind of brain that can process so much information at once, able to “Skim tall tweets in a single bound”.

I’m better with depth. I’ve always had a slightly different way of seeing things. I used to think most people didn’t “get” me. I wasn’t wrong but I’ve learned to like it. Even I can’t predict what I’ll feel think or say next. That makes some folks uncomfortable but I find it exciting. Every moment is new. My reaction often goes straight from my heart to my lips (or fingers), sliding right past my brain but the feellings are fresh and it keeps life interesting. I know now why I don’t have rules for problem solving. I feel each situation as unique, calling for it’s own solution.

I’ve been told I’m an empath. I have no idea if that’s true. I do know I can read between the lines. I’m eccentric, quirky, (working toward cantankerous) and I wonder, ponder and over-think most everything. I generally don’t fit in with crowds. They like me well enough, I’m just not comfortable with them. I miss Charles Dickens, Dr Seuss, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. I still like poetry and handwritten notes to loved ones… but times change. Surely I can too.

My 4 children are grown (20 somethings). What do I do now? I’ve been writing all my life. I have a grammy nomination and notebooks of unpublished poetry, stories and half finished books. What about that? I may be late to the blogging world and unsure about getting started but there are many good folks before me that I can learn from. Yet, I’m unfocused. I feel unproductive. Why aren’t I moving faster? How does a person find a new purpose after spending half a life with another?

Then, I remember Eckhart Tolle’s advice. Do not ask, he said “What do I want to do”. Ask “What does the world seem to want me to do?”. I looked for a common theme in my life. My children’s friends have always dropped by, whether my kids are home or not. We chat, they ask what I think and I tell them. I can’t go to the store without giving my 2 cents to someone. I should learn to keep my opinions to myself, I think. Then they ask if they can contact me again and I’m sure of it. I think back when teachers and coaches would say, year after year “you should write a parenting book. One child like yours might be luck. Four is no accident.” l’d modestly thank them, until one day I realized, I have an obligation to do more. I need to let people know this was no an accident so they can do the same. I need to tell them that they have as much power as I did to raise happy, healthy, kind human beings. They might need a perspective adjustment but that’s a decision we all have to make for things we want if the prize is worth it. Let’s see, do what everyone else has been doing for 18 years in a hellish household with 4 brats or follow my own instincts for a happy life with children who love themselves, each other and me? It wasn’t a tough decision.
Then I think back even further and remember that I’ve always had 2 cents to give yet people open up to me. I am the guardian of secrets. Wait… could this be it or is something I’ve done every day of my life too basic to do full time? I realize how stupid that sounds but I wrote it anyway because it’s what I thought.

I feel outdated, used up and over the hill but still, my gut tells me that though times change, human nature doesn’t. I remind myself that technology has evolved faster than humans ever could and that folks can always can use another perspective, right? Could I be relevant in this new age? Wasn’t there a time when aging wasn’t a dirty word but was respected for the wisdom that comes with it?

Sometimes support and chat groups attract so many people with the same problems that (while it’s nice to know we’re not alone) insight is difficult. Enlightenment (in my experience) generally comes from people with a different perspective.

“You can’t fix a problem with the same brain that created it.”

- Albert Einstein

So, wobbly and fearful of making mistakes publicly, I begin. I haven’t found my cause. I haven’t found my “voice”. I’m as ignorant but as curious as I’ve always been. I know that I’m a “jack of all trades, master of none”, except one. I’m still interested. I’m still full of questions and no matter how many times I give someone my 2 cents, I never go broke. i always seem to be able to find 2 more to give. Magic.

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