Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"A Person's Vitality"

"A person's vitality - and I appreciate the humor of myself, a dead man, speaking of such things - is difficult to capture in words. Our friends race through our lives like shooting stars, and when, of an evening's conversation, we manage to enclose their fire and our own within a few hours and the space of a room, it is a taste of eternity, the true meaning of friendship." 
-Paul Williams (1948 - March 27, 2013)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today my best friend passed away. 
I miss Paul Williams. 
I miss the conversations about music, art, books. 
I miss the unending belief and support he had in my music. 
I miss him reading his latest writings to me. 
And i miss the physical connection that eventually fell away as he fell further into the complications from a traumatic brain injury.
I miss how much he loved and adored his son Alexander, and his two grownup sons Kenta and Taiyo.
It was a grand love, but not always an easy one.
Im still grateful for how he showed me how to love someone.
How to be an adult with car and health insurance.
How to cherish and feel cherished.
How to persevere with your art/music/writing with or without big (or any) bucks behind you. Paul kept writing even when he had no publisher. He said he "felt the readers reading" his words as he wrote them.
I miss the intellectual tango I could have with that amazing brain and way of thinking he had. Elastic. Like his furniture was not nailed down in the living room of life.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


In September of 2001, I was a month away from my sons birth, very pregnant, and it was that time of year where everywhere in Southern California becomes extraordinarily hot. Even here at the beach. Fires start. And people get testy. Id finished my year long work odyssey as girl-friday at Lookout Management, working for Elliot Roberts (Neil Youngs manager) and Bonnie Levetin. I said my goodbyes in early August and now I was in flight loop, waiting for my time to touch down on the tarmac of motherhood. 
It was a simple, fine time. My husband Paul and I were in a good place, happy and even thrilled at the prospects of our new life as parents. Paul had been in his early/mid twenties when he'd had his first kids and he admitted he could have been a better dad. So he was going to therapy and working out his various parenting issues. 
My songwriter-photographer friend Kim Fox came to visit from LA one day and despite me feeling uncomfortably pregnant, talked me into a photo session. This, rock and roll mama, is a photo of her photo, sorry Kim for the low-fi. It was fun hanging out with my LA pal and I kept trying to figure out how I would find my way back someday into writing music, touring and releasing albums. It was a time I'll call 'void of course'. And there was a certain amount of calm and non-goal seeking in those xanax-like days. Those natural pre-birth hormones were a good drug. 
A few days later I was awoken by Paul who said that his ex wife Donna had called and told him a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My first thought was 'this is it', as Id been in New York when the bomb had gone off in the WTC parking garage in 1993. I knew it was a target. We didn't have TV so I had the rattle in my head as I drove to a doctors appointment and listened in on the radio. 
The TV's were on full blast in several corners of the OB/GYN offices at Kaiser. I had an appointment for a "Stress Test" to check and see if the baby was faring well. You see Id been tagged as a late pregnancy Gestational Diabetic, which meant I checked my blood sugar 3x a day, with a poke of a needle, and I came in twice a week for these baby Stress Tests. Its essentially honking a big horn into your torso and see if the baby freaks out and moves around. If they move around they are alive and kicking and all is well. But after watching both towers fall I wondered outloud if we needed to freak the baby out too. 
I bought the Springsteen album a few weeks later. I didn't listen to it, but I put it by the Bose player with the intention of listening 'when Im ready'. I never became ready. Somewhere that album is around here, unopened. 
It was hard to not think about what had happened. I thought of all my friends living on the Lower East Side. I thought of the temp work Id done for a savings and loan on Wall Street some years earlier. The dust my friends were living in. But through all the thinking I had the 'good drugs' of pre birth swimming around in my system, and the Oxytocin was calming. So was the sound of the sea on my walk every morning. And there was this hope, a brand new life was coming into the world. Nothing would ever be the same.
Alexander was born October 16th 2001.

(Encinitas, Sept. 12, 2017)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Have This Thing About June Bugs

I have this thing about June Bugs. And there's one hanging around my screen door this morning. Buzzing back and forth, sometimes landing and looking in. My thing about June bugs is; I see my late husband Paul in them. I know it sounds strange. 

The day of the memorial for Paul, in 2013, I was loading up my trunk with his books, out front of our place, stuff to share with others that cared for and loved him. There was a June bug buzzing around my head, bothering me as I loaded the books, and then again later, after the memorial at the church a June bug again buzzing around my car trunk. I thought, 'huh, if Paul wanted to get my attention he would do it with sound'. Now Ive come to see it as Paul visiting from the Heavens. 

He's here now, sitting on my screen door resting and looking in at Alexander and I, living out our lives as humans. Still loving him and having our life adventures, and being okay. Somehow thinking about this takes a bit of the sting out of a frightening weekend for our country.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CLB Yahoo! News Story

Yesterday I wrote an essay on how it feels having the ACA Health Care on the chopping block and how scary it is as a single mom. Yahoo News published it much to my surprise:

Last night my 15 year old son read the article and said "that's really a good article mom". Then an hour later he came back and said "I still think its a good article but its probably not going to change someone's mind on the other side of the argument. I don't want you to feel bad but they might say something like, "get a real job", but its still a good thing you wrote it."

Friday, May 19, 2017

Paul Williams On Starting Crawdaddy! The Magazine Of Rock In 1966

Sleeping in Van Cortland Park, running wild with wild newfound friends on the winter beach at night at Coney Island. New York people, the ones I met, were crazier and freer, because of the all-night subways, and whatever, so many young people in a world of their own, it was a place were you didn't have to go back to your dorm or your mother.
     And it was a place where you could do things. It was in New York that I started my magazine.
     I was bored y'know, like the man says, bored and restless and lonely, I couldn't do the schoolwork or get it on with the Swarthmore scene, and it made me feel very insecure, Id build myself up from terrible inversion with people in seventh grade to a certain self-confidence & reluctant fluidity based completely on my output, the high school extracurriculars and the science fiction magazine I published on the side and so forth, the stuff I was doing made me feel sure of myself which in turn made it possible for me to run with, have fun with, other people. Which reached a peak in the fall of my senior year, I was accomplishing things left and right, I had the respect of the young women I worked with in the dramatics club and then even the attention of a few of them, I was writing a lot and I even tried briefly to study guitar, a whirlwind of energy and though still shy inside I hardly had time to notice -- and then there I was in college, at Swarthmore, unable to open a book or even write a story for the newspaper, hanging out, doing nothing... Doing nothing! A total disaster for one whose ability to function in the world was based solely on his pride in the things he was doing, I needed desperately many things including that holding and being held but most of all I needed something to do, my inability to do anything at college was bringing me face to face with the most horrible self-doubt I have ever experienced.
     So finally when the idea came or came back to start a magazine about this rock music I was so in love with, arriving in my head complete with a plan as to just exactly how I could do it and what to do first and what would happen, it was a godsend -- a tremendous gift of energy -- my salvation.

And it married me to New York -- though I didn't consummate the marriage and move there till much later, eleven months later, December of 1966 -- because that was where the rock music business was on the East Coast, that was the place I needed to go simply to do the very first thing, which was obtain some new records so i could review them.
     I conceived of the magazine as a weekly, believe it or not, which would review new albums but especially singles, intelligently rather than with the usual hype, as a service both to music lovers and the music business. I knew about the trade magazines, had been into them since I started listening to rock a year earlier (and even in the sixth grade I'd been addicted to top-40 lists, actually bicycling into Belmont Center the hour that I knew the sheets would arrive in the local record store because I couldn't wait to see what the positions would be this week, I was a pest, a fanatic), but I felt the trade magazines were inadequate because -- just like the "fan" magazines from eh opposite side -- they didn't take the music seriously. I knew that the earnestness which my friends and I felt wasn't being expressed in print.
     And something else -- it wasn't just love for the music -- I wanted to start a magazine. And I'd read in a "fanzine", an amateur publication from the science fiction underworld, an article by James Warren, publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland and Help! , in which he talked about how to start a magazine; he said that what you need most of all is a subject that a lot of people are into that nobody is doing a magazine about. I read that & I believed it & even mentioned to some people in Cambridge in the summer of 1965 before I went to Swarthmore, when a folk music paper called Broadside was the best-read publication in town, that somebody ought to start a magazine about rock n' roll. I couldn't do it 'cause I was about to go off to college and get involved in that, but whoever did pick up the idea would meet with certain success.
     And I forgot, and then got ever deeper into rock via the college radio station, and then was standing in the town of Swarthmore, a tiny commercial district beyond the great lawn of the college, standing in a drugstore reading a story about the Yardbirds in a fan magazine and when I read that both they and the Rolling Stones had got their start in a club in Richmond, England called the Crawdaddy Club it just hit me out of nowhere that that would be the name of the magazine and I could do the first issue in New York during the four-day intersession after exams and mimeo it at Ted's (Ted White a jazz music journalist and science fiction fan-clb) house and then.... I paid for the fan mag and walked back across the tracks to the campus very excited and completely lost in a truly enormous daydream.

Paul Williams, Heart of Gold, published 1991
page 58-62

Today, May 19th is writer Paul S Williams birthday.
He was born in 1948 and died in 2013.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Four years ago this week Paul was in hospice. His hospice nurse didn't know how long he'd have but she said he could hang on perhaps for months or weeks. But we didn't think days. Our son Alexander, eleven years old at the time, and I were preparing to fly to New York to attend a gallery show of Paul's written work and a loving tribute to him at the Boo-Hooray Gallery in Soho. We left a few days after this post in late March 2013. We wouldn't make it back in time to say goodbye. 

Paul's oldest son, Kenta, was with his father when he passed away. Remarkably an hour before he was gone Kenta got us on FaceTime together and Alexander and I told Paul how much we loved him. I told him how beautiful his books and writings look at the gallery, with the admiring eyes reading his words. I also told him I would help his books and papers and writings find a home. That is a thing still on my heart and mind. 
*     *     *
March 20, 2013

Listening to Buffalo Springfield Boxset disc 1 

If Flying On The Ground Is Wrong

Alexander visiting his dad's room

On the wall: Philip K Dick, Christopher Dick, Paul Williams

On the TV table; with Paul's glasses

Losing weight. But still has some fire. When his music is interrupted by a conversation between me and his teenage-years friend Judith Bragar he shouts "shuddup"...
We smile knowing Paul is 'still in there, loving the music he always loved'


Is my world not falling down
I'm in pieces on the ground
And my eyes aren't open
And I'm standing on my knees
But if crying and holding on
And flying on the ground is wrong
Then I'm sorry to let you down,
But you're from my side of town
And I'll miss you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

From the E-ternal Border Blaster station of rock

Yesterday walking through my neighborhood on the way to the beach I thought I saw my late husband, Paul Williams. He was walking with our very young son up fourth street, hands held, a father gently coaxing his very young walker up the steep sidewalk.

I had to look again. It was an optical illusion of course. As the figure got closer I could see it wasn't Paul and 20 month old Alexander, it was a rather bookish looking mother and her child. But for a was like the photo above.

It made me realize how long ago that time was. These photos were snapped in 2003 on our way through the Tehachapi Mountains, the Ridge Route, on our way to northern California.

Id forgotten about that warmth of feeling. A small family, Paul and I working together for the greater good of the unit. There's a kind of selflessness that brings out a feeling of safety, love and warmth.
I miss that.

In a little over a week it will be four years since Paul passed. But it was very long ago indeed, that he was this guy in the photos. He began to disappear about 2 years after these pictures were taken. I don't miss all the caregiving and worry and time spent on Paul's care. But I do miss Paul.

I don't want to give you friends the wrong idea here, I don't live in a state of grief. I have a very nice life now, one that Paul would be happy to see. Life isn't perfect but there is a lot of room for new adventures.

Last friday my new album The Adventurist landed in stores around the free world. What a joy that is. There are so many things to be thankful for. I can feel Paul's joy as he listens to my new music.. on Radio Heaven with DJ Wolfman Jack on the eternal Border Blaster station of rock, coming at you every hour with an infinite quantum connection of rock and roll power.

So in the infinite crazy of quantum physics, multi-universes and alternate realities, yeah, I saw Paul yesterday, for a minute. He looked happy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Raising Money For Touring and Promotion of The Adventurist

 My new album The Adventurist comes out this week. Im excited about getting the word out about and doing some touring around the U.S. I could use your help making that possible. Since its been so long since I toured I will need a little help to kickstart the process. If you have the new CD, ahead of the release date, you know how effective a fundraiser can be. If you can help get the word out about the album I would be most grateful. clb

This is what the funds will be spent on:

1. touring the U.S. 
2. a sturdy flight case for my Gibson 330
3. a promotion person to get the word out to magazines, newspapers, social media and blogs that the new music exists!
4. fix and upgrade CLB website
5. Pay musicians on those special occasion gigs, where Im not playing solo