Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hungry Like the Wolf

Most people say you never forget your first love.

I say that you also never forget your first teen idol love.

Allison Pearson's novel, I Think I Love You, was influenced by her 13-year-old-girl love for David Cassidy. When I heard Terry Gross's interview with her earlier this year, memories of my own passionate, yearning love for Simon Le Bon bubbled to the surface.

Novel that sparked memories of my wholly imagined love affair with Simon Le Bon.
 It was late 1982. I was in ninth grade and, tragically, trapped in central Pennsylvania. The British Invasion was in full force. Living next to a corn field, however, I was unable to fully immerse myself. We couldn't get cable (and the all-important MTV) in my rural neighborhood of seven houses. I railed against the fates. No MTV. And, even worse, no venue large enough to attract any of these British bands who were playing large sold-out arenas. So my connections to pop culture consisted of Friday Night Videos, Teen Beat, and my friends' record collections.

The focus of our obsession? Duran Duran. Along with all the other teenagers around the world at the time.

We wove stories around the band. Literally. Kim had John Taylor, Karen had Roger Taylor, Amy had Nick Rhodes, and me? Simon Le Bon (bestill my heart). No one wanted ugly and, thankfully, married Andy Taylor (God bless my mean teen self). We wrote stories about being their girlfriends and exchanged pages at school.

I so loved Simon. I drew pictures of him (see a terrible rendition of him below). I fantasized about being his girlfriend. Of marrying him and living happily ever after. I collected buttons with his face and his sexy and, at times, porky body. I pored over his photos. I read articles written about them. I laughed at their witty press conferences. I wore jazz shoes without socks, just like they did. I bought their albums. I knew every word to every song. I admired Simon's lyrics, even though I often didn't understand them. I listened to The Reflex on my walkman (which took cassette tapes) before every race I ran in track. 

My terrible rendition of Simon Le Bon that I thought was so great when I was 14.

And just as suddenly, after Rio and after Seven and the Ragged Tiger, I fell out of love. By the time A View to a Kill came out, I no longer cared about them.

But somehow, unbeknownst to me, a piece of my heart remained with Simon and his band mates.

Fast forward to1992. I was spending the year living out of my suitcase as a traveling consultant for my sorority. When from out of obscurity, Duran Duran hit the airwaves with Ordinary World. It so spoke to me of their own journey. And I was so happy for them to be getting a second chance at success.

In 1998, Duran Duran went on tour. Of course, they only had two of the original members: Nick and Simon. But I was finally old enough to be able to go to a concert. And I finally lived in a major city that attracted musical acts. So 16 years after I first fell in love, I got to see Simon in person at the TLA. He wore a purple crushed velvet suit and my husband called him a tart and I loved every minute of it. My husband was suitably impressed that I still remembered every word to every song as I danced and looked with fond affection at the stage.

And then my long-buried and wildest dream came true. The Fab Five reunited at The Tower in 2003. Two months after I gave birth to my son. My husband bought me tickets and came with me. And he laughed while I screamed, along with the other 3,000 women in the building, as John, Roger, Nick, Simon and Andy posed at the edge of the stage for five whole minutes, soaking up the adoration. They did not disappoint as they sang all of their hits. And I was transported back to 1982.

Even now, I still keep track of the music they're putting out. I listen to interviews with them on Sirius Radio. And when I heard the interview on Fresh Air with Allison Pearson, I was reminded of how much a part of me still loves Simon Le Bon. So much so that I recently found his blog on Facebook and liked it so that I can stay up with what he's thinking and doing and saying. Aah. Simon. Even after all these years, I'm still Hungry Like the Wolf for him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Waiting for Simon

I know. This post is supposed to be about how Simon Le Bon is my David Cassidy. But do you remember #6 from my last post? About procrastination? Yep. It's smacking me around. Again.

Every once in a while I'm able to keep it at a low level hum. Unfortunately, more often it's full blown and weighing me down so that I don't feel able to get anything done and feel terrible about myself.  

Me feeling bad about myself. Sniff.
This year I had been doing really well and staying on top of things. Then spring hit, and I volunteered to judge five entries in a writing contest (each entry was 35 pages long -- argh!). And I also had to read a book that I didn't want to for my book group. And I signed up for an online writing class for which we had pre-work, and I was really stymied with the pre-work and feeling really inadequate. And I set a goal for myself to try to write a blog entry every week then wrote myself into a corner by saying I would write about whatever readers voted on (which was Simon Le Bon). And then, of course, work got really busy and I was needing to work a little overtime.

Life was feeling really heavy for a couple of months.

Life. Heavy.

I finally see the light.

After carrying 175 pages of contest entries around with me for almost two months, I finally forced my butt in front of the computer (deadlines are an amazing thing), read each one several times, scored them, added my comments/encouragement and turned them in. Whew!

And my book group met. So I confessed to the group that I was only able to read parts of the book.  

As for this blog, as you can see, I'm not holding myself to Simon. At least not for this post. I forgive myself and am going to put this one out. Then I'll finish writing about Simon.

Simon. Coming.

And the craziness at work has passed. Halleluia!

(Notice I haven't said anything about my online writing course? Now that I feel lighter, I feel able to tackle it. Maybe I also needed this extra time to let my mind work on the problem. Of course, now I'm not only two weeks late on the initial assignment, but I'm also behind on subsequent assignments. I'll just tackle them one by one.)

I'm so grateful that almost all of the items on that list were for things in my personal life. That's such a change from five months ago, when my list was even longer, and almost all of them were work-related and urgent and overdue and causing my back to spasm from stress and keeping me from sleeping well.

Here's a poem describing how it felt like to me at my worst last year. When I was completely overwhelmed and dragged down by deadlines. And my inner wild child, as my life coach describes her, was in full rebellion.

Those things left undone,
With deadlines,
That I must do,
That I am required to do,
And that I hate to do,
        Or which will require
                     a lot of my energy,
                                   or which I'm not...