This will eventually end up being a tribute to Donna Summer, I swear, just stick with me for a little bit......
In the spring of 2007, I visited an astrologer who used to be a nun. Somehow I thought this gave her more credibility. Like Jesus approved or something. She specialized in reading the charts of mothers and their children in order to help them understand each other better. At the time, I was coming off of a year in which I thought preschool-aged Liam was trying to kill me. I said as much to my mother who was not amused.
"Stop THAT! That's not funny!" she said.
"It's true. He's killing me with his contrary-ness and his drive to keep me alert at all times by asking me rapid-fire unanswerable questions. Why can't he just do what I ask and then look out the window? ........I'm so tired."
So anyway, I needed to find out why he was driving me crazy and what the stars thought I should do about it. The astrologer said, "Don't worry about Liam. He's going to be fine. Just answer his questions. But you, on the other hand.........."
She warned that my artistic self was struggling to be heard; it was on the cusp of emerging and I'd better get ready. She predicted that a sea change was coming in the fall. Something that would change my life forever.
At the time, I was taking guitar lessons, and not practicing. It had taken me 4 years to sort of learn one sort of song. The song was called "Exercise #2." Was this my artistic calling? It was the only artistic thing I had. But how could 4 years of "Exercise #2" translate into a sea change in just a few months? Was it possible that the sea change could be "Exercise #3?" It seemed like a pretty big leap.
That August, I saw a poster in our local Great Harvest Bakery - it was a call for essays using the theme "Why I LOAVED the 70's." And for some reason, I thought that poster was talking to me. So I grabbed my loaf of Honey Wheat and ran home to my computer where I sat my Weezie Jefferson loving ass down.........and I started writing.
A few weeks later - in the FALL - I got a phone call from the Great Harvest corporate headquarters in Misoula, Montana. They were delighted to inform me that I was the winner of their essay contest. Apparently, I LOAVED the 70's the best. My free iPod and iTunes gift card good for the 50 best songs from the disco era were in the mail. And did I have any comments for their press release?
(insert Greg Brady surfing accident with unlucky tiki necklace music here.....)
(wow.....I guess I really do LOAVE the 70's)
And today I scribble away in my notebook and write things for YOU here and send things off to people who want to broadcast them to the world and sometimes the audience sends me lots of love and sometimes the world sends me mean nastiness in the form of "the comments section." But, either way, my artistic self successfully emerged.
But Kristin, what does this have to do with Donna Summer? (thank you for your patience)...........
In what I now call "My Award Winning Essay," I pay tribute to pop music's most famous fake prostitute: Donna Summer. And I've excerpted it here for you so that you, too, can reflect on the contribution of her toot toots and her beep beeps.
........because I was a kid, the content of music meant nothing to me. All that mattered was that it “had a good beat and was easy to dance to." I wanted to toot toot and beep beep all day long but I didn't have $4.99 to buy the hottest album of the day. I wanted it so badly but how, just HOW would I be able to get my hands on $4.99 so that I could toot toot and beep beep whenever I wanted? The day my dad came home with a surprise from the record store is one of my standout, slap-happiest memories and one that makes me understand the crazy upside down nature of parental love. Just what rules will a parent break to make their child happy? I saw the Musicland bag and my dad waved it in front of me with a cheeky grin. Then he slowly and ceremoniously revealed an album emblazoned with Donna Summer dressed like a prostitute. The connection between this image and the title track “Bad Girls” was lost on me. He had seen me dance around the house singing “….see them out on the street at night, WALKIN’! Pickin’ up all kinds of strangers….IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT.” But what my dad saw was not a pre-teen hooker wannabee but someone completely into the music and loving every minute of it. And that was important enough to him to march into a record store and buy his 10- year-old daughter an album about prostitution.
On my 39th birthday, I got a turntable. From my dad, of course. I went to my parents’ basement where I found a small selection of albums that narrowly escaped my mom’s yearly garage sales: Neil Diamond, Shaun Cassidy, the Partridge Family, soundtracks from Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars, KTEL compilations like Sound Explosion! and Music Machine! and a whole collection of Donna Summer albums - including 2 copies of On the Radio.
Now my 5 year old son knows how to hold an album gently with his middle finger and his thumb, just like I taught him. He listens to Guns 'n Roses, AC/DC, Journey, Elton John and anything his little vinyl heart desires. All he cares about is the sonic experience and the feeling of his air guitar. And not once has he asked me for the definition of “bitch”.
Sing on Sister Summer. And know that the groove you created was far bigger than any concerns about hookers.