It was 1972.    I was 16 and I loved outlaw country music.  My vinyl collection boasted music by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.  Not many of my high school peers shared my taste in music, but my best friend, Dusty, who I’d known since we were 11, was as crazy about it as me, which is just one of the reasons we were best friends. 

The day we learned Kris Kristofferson was going to be in concert, we begged our parents for permission to go, collected our saved up our allowance and babysitting money to buy the tickets and waited impatiently for THE night to arrive. 

The concert venue was downtown and I was nervous about driving in unknown territory.  Dusty assured me that with her riding shotgun, we’d be fine.  That night we climbed into my 1966 VW Bug and traversed the puzzle of one-way streets to the concert hall.

We sat on the edge of our seats in the balcony and dramatically sighed, when, at last, Kris Kristofferson sauntered on stage, dressed in a pale blue wrinkled shirt, sleeves rolled up, faded jeans, worn boots and his guitar slung over his shoulder.  We were in ‘teenage-girl-with-a-crush-heaven’ when he began singing.  We knew every word to every song and were disappointed when he left the stage after his final song.  We hoped we could score an autograph and pushed our way out of the venue to the street and around the corner, hoping for even a glimpse of our beloved star. 

We giggled and looked around, surprised that we were the only two waiting outside the side door.  We stood in the glow of a streetlight, otherwise draped in darkness.  Suddenly, the door opened and three men emerged, each carrying a guitar case, laughing and mid-conversation.  They stopped abruptly when they saw us. 

Even in the dim light, we immediately recognized Kris Kristofferson.  He smiled at us and I felt my knees shaking and I suddenly couldn’t even remember my name.  I could not believe I was standing next to Kris Kristofferson.  He was so close to us, I could smell him.  He smelled like whiskey.

Dusty and I were so star-struck that we could hardly find the words to speak, but I remember finally gushing about how much I loved the concert, and then asked for an autograph.  He scratched his head and drawled, “Well, this is the first time anyone asked me for my autograph.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.”   I was in disbelief but dug into my purse and pulled out a scrap of paper—which happened to be the receipt from the concert ticket purchase. He took it from me, our fingers touching briefly (I was never washing that hand again), signed his name (I was staring at his face) and handed it back to me. I could not stop smiling and giggling.

Then, he grinned again and queried, “Do you girls want to party?  We’re going to a party.” 

I remember freezing in place, blushing and then panic hit me.  I stammered and muttered something about our curfew and thanked him for the autograph.  We raced back to the Bug, slid in, slammed and simultaneously locked the doors.  My hands were still shaking as I turned the key in the ignition and drove away.  Neither one of us had said a word.  I was still waiting for my heartbeat to slow down.  Dusty, in her usual style, and too loud voice, blurted out, “THAT was crazy!”  I laughed hysterically and we both started singing ‘Me and Bobby Mc Gee’.

I’ve never been to another Kris Kristofferson concert but I still have his autograph on that faded receipt and wonder if it really was the first one he’d ever signed.



The Fear quietly follows me like a shadow, never leaving and like the proverbial Boogie Man under the bed, pulls me under the surface of my own insecurity, suffocating me with imaginary whispers of  “I told you so”.

Sometimes at night, when I am trying to go to sleep, this Fear creeps into my thoughts and prevents me from even closing my eyes.  I stare upwards to the ceiling and can feel it choking me as my thoughts stomp wildly inside my head.

“I didn’t write today…I should be writing something right now…I should get up….I write best at night, but I’m tired.  Tomorrow will be better…I’ll never finish any of my projects…I will die before I actually become serious about my writing…I have already wasted so much time…”

I despair over the wasted days, weeks, years and then fervently promise and plan to start the next day, so that the Fear will go back to its corner.  But, the next day I don’t write and the Fear charges me again, pushing me back further under, into surrender to its grip. 

I have plenty of excuses, but none of them are valid.  They are only lies that I tell myself to quell the Fear.

“I have no time, I work full time.  I’m too stressed…I just want to come home and relax, not write.  My recorded shows are filling my queue, I need to watch them. Next week looks better.”

The truth stands accusingly before me.

I have time to write.  I have a place to write.  I have talent.  I have passion.

What the heck is holding me back?

The Fear may actually be that I won’t write well enough, that I won’t be able come up with the pieces to fill the frame of my story and finish it.  Maybe the Fear is also that no one wants to read what I have to say. 

I must stand up face to face with the Fear and write anyway.  I must write because it is who I am.  A writer.



Sometimes, I change things up from my usual posts and my writing becomes poetic and introspective. This is one of those times. Since I haven't posted in awhile (but I have been writing just the same), I decided to publish this piece, here.

This is me.  This is everyone.  We've all fought hard to get where we are in our journey. We hide our scars from each other and pretend we're unscathed.  But in time, it's evident, we are all brave warriors, each having survived different battles.


masked exterior
Madonna smile
but inside
weary, wary, vigilant.

The fragile soul
bears the scars of ancient battles.
Remnants of busted, bruised pieces
and holes filled with 
loss and fear.

Damaged but resilient
with wounded parts cloaked
behind bravado
which like a fortress
protects the broken child within.

A solitary dented shield
warns that a sword
she keeps
buried deep
can be sharpened,
and hailed
to defend that child
from harm.