Whirlwind

So I sent the email a few days or so ago, to my former boss, the Rock Star that had seventeen top forty hits, one of which rhymes with “Messy’s Girl”.  I write that in code and you’ll see why in a moment.

It’s strange to do that, after so many years of not working for him, and stranger still to prepare to go to a show, something that I haven’t done in four years.  I have grown by leaps and bounds since I used to work on his website, with his fans, and I’ve moved beyond so much that drove me to need to do those things.

A girlfriend who is also a fan had emailed me a few weeks back asking if I wanted to go to this show in New York City, a small venue, all acoustic.  Normally I’d say no; it’s a weeknight, and the city is not terribly easy to get to on a weekday.  Someone would have to get the kids dealt with after school.  And would I stay overnight or no?  ($$).  Would I take the train in or drive ($$)?  It’s a hassle on a good day, so I said I’d look into it.

Meanwhile, while we were having the conversation, tickets went on sale, and we both snapped up good seats.  A few days later, I’d asked two of my Not So Die Hard Fan girlfriends if they wanted to go, and we had a group of four women, ready to descend on the city for a RS show.

To be honest, I loved the idea of sharing that part of my former life with these women, who have never known me as the Fangirl, Fan Liason, Part of the Team.  It’s a world that seems surreal to me at times to.  But still, I thought it could be fun.

So I sent the email a few days ago, as I used to always do, and the response was lovely.  “Can’t wait to see you, please come early etc etc.”  Also a few choice words about an issue that had strangely made its way into the news of late.

Here’s where the story gets weird.

Long story short, I found myself an hour later diving into the archives of the fan email database I used to be a huge part of looking for ideas and information to pass along.  I dotted the Internet, looking for references to the issue in question and started compiling research.

I didn’t think twice about it.  I’d done work for him for so many years, researched ideas for marketing, promotion, charity, events, it was as easy as slipping on your favorite jeans that you forgot were in the back of the closet.  As if nine years hadn’t passed since I last wore the “official” hat, I posted online asking fans who had any information regarding what I was researching to message me privately.

Except.

Within twenty minutes of my doing that, another fan did the exact same thing.  Using much stronger language, stating she’d “been asked” to compile research and do legwork and on and on.

Which is fine, the more the merrier I suppose.  But somehow, it reminded me of the constant push/pull/who’s on top/who’s better than anyone else/who has the most connection/who’s the most helpful to this guy game that I so remembered and so disliked about being involved.  The work?  Loved it.  Loved being useful, helpful.  The “get out of my way, I was here first” vibe?  So don’t miss it.

It was as if suddenly my offer to help became pushed aside by someone who was louder, more overt, more forceful.  I watched, in amazement, as the online postings from her and fans went on and on and on.  I quietly posted one or two things more about my offer to gather information and watched as the same old patterns emerged.  People questioned the women who clearly had some sort of official conduit to The Man In Question, others defended them.  The other person who was helping posted some defensive remarks, similar to ones I likely had typed into some computer, some time ago, when I was being questioned about my work with The Rock Star Who Shall Not Be Named (did I really come across as that arrogant?  God, I hope not).

I saw it all shake out and it just reminded me how far I’ve moved beyond.  Beyond the need to be seen by Him and His Fans as smart, helpful, connected.  I did used to need it.  It definitely defined me.  But now?  I put my head down, compiled my information and sent it along.  Answered the emails that came in with the knowledge I have.  Did the work for the sake of the work, nothing else.  I could feel the urge to respond, to stand up, to say, “Don’t you know who I am?  Or who I was?”  I felt it, sure.  But then I realized, I didn’t need to.  I know.  I know it and I don’t doubt it.   How about that?

Frankly, it was a good lesson before next week.  Did I like being useful?  Of course, and the kind words I received in response were lovely.  But mostly, I loved knowing that no matter what happens on Tuesday at this show, I will enjoy it.  I will slip on those old pair of jeans and step back into that world for a little while.  The beauty of it, though, is that I will do so taking all of the knowledge and lessons I’ve learned in the last nine years with me.  It won’t be the same, at all.

I’m thinking it will be better.  🙂

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Living Room Show

It’s been a long time coming.  Six years, four years,  two years, one year, maybe, depending on the measure you use.

I’ll back up the truck for those who may be new to my blog.

Above are photos of my living room show from last Friday with a singer named Kyle Vincent.  Kyle is an independent musician who has a storied history in the business, despite the fact that you probably haven’t heard of him.  He has toured with the likes of Rick Springfield, Richard Marx, Night Ranger, Blessid Union of Souls, even Barry Manilow.  He’s got stories that include Joe Satriani, Ryan Seacrest and Garry Marshall.  And he lives just about two hours north of where I do, right here in New England.

Rather than rewrite my story and how it weaves in with Kyle, let me share a few links:

When I First Saw Kyle (1985):  https://myformerlife.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/good-clean-fun/

How I Caught Back Up With Him:  (1997):  https://myformerlife.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/rolling-in-circles/

First Time I Met Him (1997):  https://myformerlife.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/insecurity-in-the-oddest-places/

Catching Up Again (2004):  https://myformerlife.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/seeing-kv-again/

Kyle Asks Me To Design His Website (2005):  https://myformerlife.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/another-website-gig/

After All of That, Friends (2006):  https://myformerlife.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/an-evening-out/

So there’s your six years.  It’s been six years since I last saw Kyle perform, at that small club in Hamden, CT in 2006.

It’s been four years since I’ve seen him at all.  We realized at some point in our back and forth trying to redesign his website, or maybe we were working on one of the CDs that I helped him design (I did four of them for him:  Don’t You Know, Gathering Dust, Where You Are, and C Sides, not to mention a little help on his last, Best Of…So Far and the artwork for his Live DVD….not that you asked….but I am kinda proud of them) that he lives two hours from here, which means we could each drive just one hour and have an in person work session.  Which we did several times in 2008.  That’s the last time I saw him, four years ago.

Two years ago we talked about redesigning his website for the third time since I started work on it.  I had totally redone it in 2005 when I took it over, and then again in 2009 when we did the Where You Are CD.  By 2010 the site was already feeling out of date, and we started looking at options for a new look.  I put something together that I loved, with Flash and all sorts of bells and whistles. But see, Kyle’s a perfectionist and I get frustrated easily.  It’s a bad combination.  So after him not liking it as much as I did, we stopped working on it for a while.

Last year, we did the same thing.  I again came up with several options that I felt would really fit his needs.  He liked it enough to let me fill in the site nearly completely before he realized that he was going to have to live with this.  And he couldn’t.  So again, we stopped.

Finally, after nearly a year of not only not working on the site, but barely communicating with each other, we reconnected via email last summer and tried again.  I put together not one, not two but three full and complete websites that ended up getting nixed.  But then finally Kyle suggested one last try.  And that one last try ended up being the keeper.

In return for the six, four, two or one years of back and forth, Kyle suggested another living room show in my hometown.  This time I decided to go for it in my own home.  I invited a bunch of girlfriends and called it our Girls Night In Living Room Show.

It was a blast.  Kyle was charming, he was self deprecating, he was just enough sexy.   And somehow, it was kind of an amazing event watching someone from My Former Life find a new home in My Current Life.  With My Current Friends in My Current Home.  They all loved him, and now they kind of get a little bit why I have somehow kept a connection with this guy for over 20 years.

The best part?  Watching my twelve year old daughter listen and connect with his music.  When he sang the words, “I’m somebody….just not who you wish I were…and that’s OK,” I could see the flash of recognition in her eyes.  You know the one.  The one that happens when you can pull a song in and relate it to your own life.  And when he sang “It’s only you who believes in….yourself,” my own tears fell, watching her, thinking of her and her struggles and hoping she too “will dance again.”  I remember being twelve.  I remember that feeling of music saving me, pulling me out of the awfulness that was my every day life.  I don’t know if Kyle’s music will be that for her, but it was wonderful to share it with her, regardless.

Somehow, taking something that I am excited and passionate about and sharing it with my friends, with my daughter, and seeing them finally get it was so incredibly special.  And amazing.  Also, inspiring.

And also?  Knowing that with those special people in your life, those who you are connected with, who are meant to be a part of your journey somehow….knowing that they will always be there, even if there are six, four, two, one year spans in between their place there?  That part?

That was just…everything.

Working Girl

“Would you like to come work for me?”  Jill asked the question the day after Kyle’s “living room” show in her art studio.

It had been a strange turn of events.  Kyle hosted all of these small, intimate shows in people’s homes, and I’d wanted to do one since we’d moved to CT; Kyle was only two hours away and so it would be cheap to hire him.  But unfortunately for me, my home was not suited to this type of event at all; in order to make it any sort of cost effective, I needed people to come, at least twenty; no room in my house could hold that many people.

My friend Peggy, whose daughter was in Michael’s special needs preschool, had suggested the local art studio.  I didn’t know the owner well at all, but she did, and since kids were in school during the day the space would probably be free.  Since most of the women I wanted to invite were stay at home mothers whose kids would be in school (thus allowing them the flexibility to attend a rock concert of sorts during the daytime), the timing seemed ideal.  She talked to Jill and hooked the whole thing up.

The event had gone seamlessly; a few of my Rick Springfield fan friends locally filled in the crowd along with some of my new friends that I’d meet through Melinda’s and Michael’s schools.  Kyle was his usual charming self, turning it on hard for these thirtysomething mothers who found the idea of a rock star coming to their tiny little town intriguing.  Peggy and I had cooked a buffet of food for the friends to enjoy after the show, and most of them purchased Kyle’s music to take home with them.  All in all, a win.

Jill had been the most surprising reaction.  Not only had she loved Kyle’s music, but she grilled him about how he knew Peggy and I, and before long he was singing my praises to her as a hard working, capable web designer who took on all sorts of tasks and just figured them out along the way.  Jill took me aside and mentioned that she was looking for just such a “girl friday”, and to give her a call the next day.

I’d been prepared by visiting her website.  I felt a little guilty doing exactly what my replacement at rickspringfield.com must have done; cataloging the shortcomings and missteps there and creating a list of what I could do differently and better.  We talked for a bit on the phone before she asked her question.

“I had been hoping you’d ask me,” I answered.  With Michael in full day kindergarten and Melinda in second grade, and Z off in high school, my days were flexible enough to allow me a few days a week of employment.  This still would leave me with plenty of time to volunteer at the schools, which I did at least five to ten hours a week, in addition to teaching Melinda’s religious education classes at church.  I’d been hoping to find something during the kids’ school hours, and this would fit the bill perfectly.

“Come in tomorrow and we’ll get started,” Jill offered.  “See you at ten?”

“Sounds great,” I answered.  It might not be glamourous, or fancy, but it was real.  I was excited about real.

An Evening Out

“I’m ready for a drink, are you?” Kyle Vincent asked me as we entered the restaurant together.

I had known Kyle for nearly ten years now, and this was not the first meal we had shared together.  It would, however, be the first meal we’d ever had alone together.

Kyle was in our area for a spate of local promotion.  He’d been featured on a local radio station this afternoon, at Quinnipiac University.  My friend Peggy and I had met him there in time to walk him into the studio, as if we were his “handlers”.  I watched as he handled the interview with the ease of a performer who had done this thousands of times before.  I felt my heart skip a beat as he performed an acoustic song live on the air; God, I missed this stuff.  I loved music, I loved the creation of it, I loved being in the presence of a performer that was good at his craft and confident in his delivery.  I was grateful that my work on Kyle’s website and CDs was giving me a place to have an outlet for this part of who I was.

R, of course, was out of town.  He was entirely unhappy about Kyle’s local visit, which included a show tonight at a local club and a show I’d arranged the following day with my friend Peggy and about thirty of our local girlfriends.  He still thought that my infatuation with this “bubbling under” singer was the source of our early marriage woes; I countered that any problems that we had were in his and my responses to any number of situations in our lives, and couldn’t be laid at any third party’s feet.   I didn’t care for the nasty way he spoke about Kyle, and so now I usually kept any of my work or time spent on his behalf to myself.

Kyle had gone to his hotel after the radio station interview, offering to pick me up for the gig later, since my house was on the way.  It felt strangely date like to sit in his passenger seat, laughing and talking as easily as we always had.  It was so nice, I thought, to spend time with someone I admired and respected, and who seemed to have the same opinion as me.  The silences I was used to when R and I were on the way to a work party didn’t exist here, and I found myself surprised when we pulled into the parking lot of the club in what seemed like an impossibly short amount of time.

At the club I again assumed my favorite role of “girl friday”, videotaping the performance for use on the website, getting “the Talent” water and talking to the club manager.  I loved the behind the scenes role, watching the audience gather and be drawn in by this artist that none of them were familiar with.  By the end of his set they all loved him, as always seemed to happen with his shows.  I stood behind a small table selling CDs while he charmed the ladies and talked sports with the men.  I glanced at my watch as we left the club, thinking of Z at home with my younger kids, hoping everything was ok.  “Can I buy you dinner?” Kyle asked with the contented tone of someone who knows they have completed a job well.

And so we found ourselves at a local Italian restaurant close to my home, in a dimly lit bar, drinking red wine and slowly savoring a pizza while we traded stories.  I told him about my single parent hood, and he told me of his father’s rages and early death.  It was the kind of evening with a man that I would have dreamt about in my single days, with compliments and blushing and red cheeks, except there was no romance at all about it.  Just two adults who admired and respected each other enjoying each other’s company.  I had never heard of such a thing, a true friendship between a man and a woman; I’d always assumed “When Harry Met Sally” was right on the money.

“We should really do that again sometime.  I really enjoyed talking and drinking and eating pizza with you,” Kyle said as he wrapped me in a bear hug in my driveway.  I stood silent for a moment, a lifetime of insecurity and disbelief automatically discounting his words.  “Did you have a good time,” he said, pulling away, sensing my tension.

“I did,” I said quietly, disbelievingly.  It had been a very, very long time since a man who was not my husband had been so nice to me.  It was disconcerting, confusing.  There was no romance or anything sinister about it.  It was just…nice.   “Let’s do it again soon.”

“Deal,” said the handsome man next to me, as he leaned over and opened my door.

 

Gambling in Atlantic City

“OK I have just a few minutes before I have to get back up on stage.  Let’s hear it,” said Rick Springfield, leaning back in the cushioned seat back.

My friend Helen had brought me here to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City to speak to Rick.   It had been the first time since all the Katrina efforts that I would see him.  The last time I’d seen him, before Katrina, had been during his promo swing in New York.   Rick had promised to speak to me then about the new lay of the land on his team, but it never happened.  At each event I waited for the eventual touch on my sleeve by Rick’s manager or whisper in my ear by the keyboard guy telling me that I was supposed to wait over there so that I could ride in the van to the next thing, or go to lunch with them.  That chat Rick had promised in his emails evaporated before my eyes as I watched him leave the last event, a CD signing, with his entourage surrounding him.  An entourage, I had thought bitterly, that once had included me.

While I had been busy raising money for hurricane victims, Vivian quietly decided that she would be closing the fan club she had run for sixteen years.  I had known it was coming; Vivian was in her sixties, and it had been difficult for her to keep up with the technological leaps and bounds of the world she found herself in.  Her newsletters, which had been newsbreaking and the only source of information for longtime fans when she started her club in 1989 were now full of news fans had found on the internet months prior.  We had added a great deal to the club experience with the website, ticket sales and our mailing list, but it was still very hard.  When the new web guy had come on board, our cooperation for news and information between the fan club and the official website ended, and the focus of her work changed.  Used to being the authority on Rick Springfield news and information, Vivian found herself now in the position of trying to recreate what her club would be to fans.  She tried for a year of creating a CD and electronic version of her newsletter, but her heart never seemed to be into it.  What the club had meant and represented to her was over.  She was closing the club.

I could understand her feelings.  I hadn’t been in the fold nearly as long, but it was hard to watch the role you enjoyed playing being taken over by someone else.  Vivian’s closing of the club sent shock waves through the fan community, with the sharks looking for a way to seize the opportunity to start something new.  Vivian sent me email after email of this fan or that approaching her looking to take over, and we both laughed about how awful and obvious they were.

The only way to stave off the fan wave of splinter groups, I reasoned, would be to have something new in place quickly.  I asked Vivian if she would be upset if I broached the subject of a web based initiative, and she was fine with it. I had long thought of making an area of our website a paid area, a password protected area where fans could get their hands on a whole new level of fandom.  The things fans wanted these days were videos from Rick, anything straight from him (my Ask Rick columns were always popular on rs.com, and now the new guy had him writing a diary.  Rick had asked me, “What do the fans want me to write?” and I made suggestions to him).  Special memorabilia available only to them, ticket presales, exclusive photography, inside information, early access to new music.

I had bounced my idea off of my friends Helen and Renata, and they thought it was solid.  I sent an email to Rick with the basic premise and asked if he would be willing to talk to me more specifically about it in Atlantic City.  His response was:  “Yes I sure wouldnt want it to go to anyone else. It could get soooo wacky.”

And so I had a business plan in a folder, ready to give to him, sitting there next to him in the theater he would perform in later that night.  But somehow, I was hesitating.  It felt wrong, somehow, as if he was in a rush to get somewhere else; I hadn’t experienced that before with him. Helen, whom I had asked to sit with me, started talking up the idea, which bolstered my confidence, and so I opened the folder and pulled out the business plan.

“Wow, you’ve put a lot of thought into this,” Rick commented, glancing at the paper.

“Yes, I have,” I answered.  “You’ve always said I had my finger on the pulse of what the fans want, and I think this is what the fans want.  The days of the fan club are over, and I would never try to replace or replicate what Vivian offered to the fans.  This is more my niche, the web stuff, the things that I have heard over the last eight years of working on websites for you – ”

Rick stopped me.  “Eight years?  You’re joking.”

“No,” I smiled.  “I started doing the fan club site in 1996.  I didn’t start working with you until later, but I’ve been trying to give fans content that they would keep coming back to for eight years.”

“Wow,” Rick said.  I could see him glance over to the stage, where his manager was giving him a look that said it was time for him to get to work.  “OK, well let me take this and look it over, give it to the guys in New York.  I can’t imagine anyone will have a problem with it, but I can’t commit until I get the word from everyone on board.”

It should have been a red flag.  Rick had always made decisions for his own career, for himself.  I’d never had to get manager approval for anything before; Rick had always had them come to me to talk about a good idea and had them work with me, not the other way around.  But in the moment, I took it as a form of approval.  Rick gave Helen and I the requisite hugs and promised to see me backstage later that evening after the show.

“He really seemed to like it,” she gushed in between Rick belting out a few full songs to test the sound equipment.  “I think it is going to be really exciting.”

“You think so?  I’m not so sure.  Something just felt a little off.  I can’t say for sure what it is, but it isn’t a done deal yet.”

I had no idea, that day in early October, how right I was.

Hey Jealousy

“What did you think?” I asked my photographer friend on the phone about our Rockford trip.  We’d been home two days and I was still basking in the glow of a job well done and a party well enjoyed.

“You know, I think that the new people in Rick’s camp were all pretty impressed by the luncheon.  I saw the new manager listening as you answered the reporters’ questions for Rick, and he was nodding and smiling.  He looked really impressed with you.”

I gasped, a little.  “Really?” I squealed.  But I was glad to hear confirmation of what I had thought as well. I’d had several conversations with the new manager, both during the luncheon and again backstage after the show, and I had felt like we’d had a good first impression with each other.

“Oh definitely.  And the amount of attention you got during the show was insane.”

“Oh stop.  He was coming over to you because he knew you’d be snapping all of those amazing photos.”

Renata laughed out loud.  “Seriously?  It wasn’t me he kissed on the forehead at the end of the show.”

That was true.  I had been standing in the front row, off to the right hand side during Rick’s performance.  I’d loved the show because it was very polished, very rehearsed; some of his live shows felt like he wasn’t trying as hard.  And at the end, he’d come over to where we were standing, and placed a sweaty kiss on my hairline, right there in front of the cameras and everyone.  It had been one of my favorite moments since I’d started working for him, hands down. In that moment, I felt sure it was the vote of confidence towards me, that I would be a part of the time during this time of transition in his camp.  “You’re funny,” I said, not wanting to discuss it further.  “Still, though, there’s something that has felt a little off since Rockford.  Not with Rick,” I added quickly.

“Let me guess.  You mean with the new web guy, right?”

“You felt it too?”

“Oh definitely. I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since.  And unfortunately, the only thing that I can come up with is that now that he’s seen the power of the fans, he’s a little more concerned about his position.”

My heart sank, a little.  It didn’t make any sense, but it was exactly what I had been thinking too.

She continued.  “I think that before he wasn’t too concerned about his new job and all that, but after seeing what you did with all of the fans?  You’re definitely not fading off into the sunset.”

I sighed.  It wasn’t good that she was picking up on it too.  The new web guy hadn’t come to the luncheon even though I’d made a point of extending an invitation to him.  And when I finally did get to introduce myself at the soundcheck afterwards, after months of friendly banter about the website I used to work on, he was aloof and cold. By the end of the night, in the small dressing room area where Rick was greeting fans, it felt as if he was almost trying to avoid me.  But I also knew that I was hypersensitive about the whole situation, so I had talked myself into believing that it was all in my head.

“Well, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.  I have my hands way too full at home to ever be able to work on the site again.  All I did was exactly what everyone keeps saying my new job is; fan liaison.  I marketed this event to the fans and created an add on to make it worth their while to come.”

“Well, we’ll see how it shakes out.  Maybe we’re wrong; it could be that we’re both misreading the signs the same way; after all, we’re both a lot alike.  I guess for now you should just try to enjoy the good feeling and ignore the possible signs of impending doom.”

“Will do,” I said, already obsessing.

Dramarama

It was late.  I was sitting at my computer desk in the kitchen, listening to the quiet of the house, wondering when I’d be done.   There were three days left before the Rick Springfield HDNet special in Illinois, and I had a million things to do.

The pressure was on, and none of the fans wanted to hear about my sad day visiting Michael’s preschool.  The teachers felt that his issues were much greater than the paperwork had indicated (which honestly surprised me; I felt the reports had been pretty starkly harsh in their descriptions of Michael’s issues) and they had recommended doubling his time at the special needs preschool.  I’d sat today behind a glass screen while they took Michael through the paces of his day.  He screamed during his oral motor therapy, he grunted during his speech therapy, he threw the healthy snack I’d packed for him onto the floor because it was different than the usual pretzels he’d expected to see there.  I’d watched him put through the paces of the occupational therapy, which was supposed to help deal with his problems with different sensations; today he was put through a huge roller machine which applied deep pressure to him.  I’d gasped when I saw it, but he crawled in it willingly, which meant he liked it.

I was mentally exhausted, and in no mood for the drama that was certain to unfold in a few days out in Rockford. The woman helping me with the charity luncheon, Helen, was fighting with another fan about the seating and the ticketing for it.  I’d had to play intermediary, which had amounted to the fan named Diana sending back rapid fire emails and calling my house to complain.  Which wouldn’t have been a huge deal, except that Diana was one of my Shock Team managers, someone on whom I was relying upon to work on promotions for the upcoming record release.  I finally had let loose on her on the phone that evening, letting her know that I had plenty of real problems to deal with, and two adults acting like teenagers was not high on my list these days.  She hung up on me in a huff, and I saw her selling her tickets to all of the weekend’s events online a few hours later.

I’d wasted so much time with the drama that I was behind with my categorization of all of the auction items, the ticket confirmations, the follow up on all of the donations that Rick and his people were going to offer us.  And while I hadn’t guaranteed Rick’s presence in any way, I was trying to arrange that as well so that we’d raise more money.   I’d designed logos for the event and needed to make sure the posters we’d ordered were on their way to the hotel.  We had to figure out a better way to give fans entry to the luncheon; it had taken an hour for some fans to check in at our last one in 2002.  How to do it?  Oh, and I needed to double check with the hotel that they would have an internet connection available to us for our auction payments.   How many tables had the hotel agreed to put out for the auction items…would it be enough?  What if the fans who had promised to donate on site didn’t come through with their items?  We had probably 60 items that fans were bringing with them on planes, and if they somehow didn’t live up to their word, the luncheon wouldn’t raise much money.

There were reporters’ emails to answer about the event, there were fan emails to answer about the event. My friend who had offered to photograph our event was concerned about lighting, and staging of all of the fan photographs; did we want to do table shots since obviously we couldn’t have each of the 150 plus fans in individual photos with Rick.  There were a few nasty notes from friends of Diana who were all going to now boycott our luncheon in solidarity with her.  I sighed and shook my head.  I needed to stop now or I would be here all night.

I looked over at the stove and read 1:26 on the digital readout.  The kids would be up in less than five hours.  I could hear R snoring in our bed all the way upstairs.  I clicked on my computer’s sleep mode button and curled up on the sofa, hoping that somehow I would feel better about all of it in the morning.

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