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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                             www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The November
Issue of Mil Mania!!!

    Volume 3, Issue 9, November 2007


Music Mayhem    

As noted in the December 2005 edition of Mil Mania, I continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com. However, I now also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist:


INXS — While I’ve men
tioned many times what a
struggle it can be to fill this
space, here’s one featured
artist I’ve known would
occupy it in this issue for
many, many months.  I
only wish that planning
were associated with a happier occasion than the one making the choice now so appropriate.  Unfortunately, this month instead marks the 10th anniversary of Michael Hutchence’s death — or the night he got “stuck in a moment” as his friend and fellow artistic legend, Bono, so accurately described this tragic event.
     Be that as it may, I’m not here to dwell on that outcome, but rather to celebrate the 20 years of great music he brought the world as lead singer of INXS before that...and to share a bit about my own feelings of connection with this legacy.

     For starters, the album pictured above — which many of you surely recognize as the 9 times platinum Kick, was the first CD I ever purchased.  And, it certainly wasn’t the last by this group to be added to a quickly building collection in digital format...including each new INXS release that followed over the years, right up to the final disc, which hit the streets just months before Hutchence’ passing.

     My arguable favorite of the lot, however, was the pre-kick Listen Like Thieves, the title track from which I listened to so many times both at home and on the road that the cassette player in my vehicle finally ate the worn-threadbare-thin tape.  Of course, by then it was so utterly ingrained in my being I could hear it in my sleep...not that that deterred me from purchasing another copy to listen to while awake!

     Ironically, having so greatly admired the full, powerful vocals of Hutchence and been so long hypnotized by the deceptive catchiness of the melodies and musicianship that accompanied them, I never really thought about the lyrics he sang, and the often deeply serious thoughts and emotions they revealed — until he died...leaving a shocked and sorrowful fanbase to sort out the whys and wherefores, a surprisingly complete picture of which could (so it seems to me at least) be constructed from their study.

     Nevertheless, I mention this only to point out the richness a greater knowledge of the lyrics adds to one’s appreciation of the music...as does a bit of history about the band’s origins — such as the story I read of a show they played when first starting out in their native Australia, where a certain evening found them taking the stage only to find one — yes, one — audience member in attendance.  Assuming the show would be canceled, the young woman received a shock of her own when the band announced that an audience of one was still an audience and that having paid good money to hear them play, hear them she would.  And, indeed, they gave her a full show, one I suspect had come to mean far more by the time she left than she’d ever hoped when she arrived...and which showcased the genuine artistic spirit that won the group so many additional fans in later years — me included.

     Though it’s surely beyond debate Michael Hutchence had “Not Enough Time” on planet Earth, and no matter how long he’s been gone, whenever I hear the subtle strains of “Beautiful Girl”, share the wistful eloquence of “By My Side”, or am hit by the gale force of “New Sensation”, ever he returns. And in those moments of time-stopping musical magic, never does he merely exist, but IN true XS fashion he always has, and forever will...“live, baby, live.” 


     Click Here to read a letter sharing a bit more about my appreciation of INXS (also linked to a prior issue of Mil Mania in which The Escape Club was the Featured Artist...for reasons which will become obvious once you read it...if you haven’t already!)




Third Eye Blind played Crocodile Rock in Allentown, PA recently, which show
you may recall I’d announced as
then upcoming in last month’s issue. 
And, yes, I did manage to purchase tickets
before they indeed sold out.  And, yes,
I was at the venue just minutes after the doors opened on the night of the event.  When minutes after that I learned the 8PM start time printed on the tickets actually translated into an at least 10:30 one, however — which meant 3 full hours of standing in a crowded, smoky room before the show even began — I walked back out again.  There’s no question the 10/4/05 show by this group at Sayreville, NJ’s Starland Ballroom (which I remain mystified to this day to have somehow managed to experience from the front row!) still ranks among the most just plain fun experiences I’ve had in years.  Even so, my time, [in]sanity, and certain special-needs pets waiting at home clearly mean more to me than a quest to recreate this (probably once-in-a-lifetime) adventure.  And the joy of coming home to the eager faces of my small furry friends amply compensated for my indeed wee bit of disappointment.  Nonetheless, I do hope more favorable circumstances allow me to attend (and actually witness the performance portion of!) another 3eb show at some point down the road.  And, should you have the opportunity to do so, I’d advise you to do the same.

Brian Fitzpatrick is in the studio as I write this, working on the first of his two albums being released in 2008.  Again, time has proved a culprit for me with regard to participating in this effort, as a scheduling conflict prevented acceptance of Brian’s invitation (mentioned in last month’s newsletter).  However, I’m very excited for him as he takes on the new challenge of a very different  record from his prior creations — and I look forward to hearing the finished product as soon as possible!
     In other news, Brian was interviewed on a NJ radio station recently and has upcoming show dates throughout the rest of November and early December...one of which I’m excitedly planning to attend.  Watch the next issue for a review, photos and more!

Michael McDermott continues to play shows in support of his latest album, Noise From Words, a couple of which you may be able to catch on a local radio station or the world wide web.  The venue Mountain Stage in Charleston, WV will air Michael’s recent performance via their Mountain Stage radio show during the last weekend of November.  Check your local listings.
    And, Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour in Lexington, KT will be broadcasting his 11/19 appearance via both their own radio show and (complete with video) on their website. 
Click Here for more details.
     On a darker note, it seems Michael learned of some unauthorized recording of his Monday Morning Madness songs on
myspace and has responded with the news their sharing will continue only as a pay service.  At 99 cents per (weekly) song, that means $52/year to listen to these outtakes and old gems.  Because in this instance I disagree with both the artist’s Tom Sawyer-like approach and this practice I will on principle be prevented  from experiencing them myself.  If you wish to purchase some or all, however, watch the SnoCap sales box on the left of  Michael’s myspace page for new entries as they’re posted. (You can learn more about my views on this topic by reading the opinion piece I posted on his online forum, The Pauper’s Sky. There’s a bit more to it, but that provides a pretty concise overview.)
     Lastly, I was recently able to add a page of photos and commentary on the
8/29 Living Room show in NYC as previously promised.  A return of my tech difficulties, however, has prevented uploading of one for the 9/28 World Café show, so keep checking back for that in the near future.


Text Box:   If you enjoy perusing this issue and are not already a subscriber to Mil Mania, SIGN UP HERE. 

  Everyone is welcome and ALL readers are appreciated!!!  

   P.S.  You can also read all back issues by visiting the sign-up page and clicking on the appropriate month’s link.

Ravings of a Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.




Planes, Trains and Automobiles — It just wouldn’t be November without TV stations everywhere running and re-running this Thanksgiving classic starring the wonderfully funny/sweet John Candy and  — uh, not so sweet — Steve Martin.  I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve seen this myself, but it never fails to inspire gales of laughter — and yes, a tear, or two.   Of course, having lived something far too close to it in reality a few years back while trying to get home from a house concert (in Chicago, ironically, to which the characters in the film are trying to return), I suppose there’s a chance it holds an extra special place in my heart based on that experience.
     The truth is, though, I’d already fallen long since for the hapless yet unendingly cheerful Del (Candy), and the joy of loving, hating, and ultimately loving again the uptight, acerbic Neil (Martin).  Then, too, one can’t help but be inspired by the (not always easy) spirit of cooperation between two such different individuals and what they together could achieve — despite all they could together completely bungle as well! 
     Lest there’s anyone reading this who still hasn’t seen the film for the first time, however, I should perhaps explain that its title refers to the various forms of travel Neil attempts to employ to get home from a business trip in time to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner.  Along the way, he meets Del, a fellow victim of travel mishaps, and the two team up out of what seems might be convenience.  Soon, though, all aspects of life become anything but, and the series of Murphy’s Law-proving mishaps that ensue make Neil certain he never wants to see Del again once this trip is over… provided, of course, the journey ever ends.  Of course, it eventually does, and by that time Neil has learned a few things about not only Del, but life itself… and the connections that make it count.
     In the meantime, though, he has to endure
missed connections, a car fire (that takes place while Neil’s wallet is in the glove compartment), disasters natural and unnatural, and all manner of other impediments….such as a roommate who talks incessantly (to whom he finally hisses, “If you’re going to tell a story, have a point.  It makes it so much more enjoyable for the listener!”), a police officer who (astoundingly) declares their post-fire car (i.e. charred frame) not roadworthy, and a hotel clerk who refuses to accept the blackened remains of Neil’s credit cards in payment for a room.
     Appropriately for a
Mil Mania issue in which the “Molly Madvises” column touches on being comfortable with oneself, it finally sinks in to Neil that maybe Del isn’t so bad after all, and that perhaps he’s got good reason to be comfortable with who he is and for taking life’s little hiccups in stride.  And, he learns at last that even two people as different as he and Del have a lot more in common than he ever might have thought…which leads to the best commonality of all:  friendship — and indeed, “Thanksgiving”.

                       Molly Madvises 

         (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








Comments from Mil Mania readers
             on the Sept./Oct. issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

“When life gives one a generous share of insanity, as mine is giving me these days, along comes a means of a reality stabilizer —
Mil Mania.    Goes to show me that the artist's way can uncover a welcoming  path to clarity.” 

(and on the 8-29 Michael McDermott Living Room show’s review page)

“...thank you for your excellent page. Made me smile a lot… [Also]...I'm turning my wheels on...Keela — whose voice remarkably came through in places in the NYC page. You two are really rubbing off on each other!”

“Very nice, Mil.  Feels like I was there!! Looking forward to the next one...the CD release in Philly.”

Text Box:          As always, feel free to drop 
                by my “space” at


Newsletter Spotlight                    








“It is bitter to lose a friend to evil, before one loses him to death.”  
Mary Renault 

The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”
W. J. Cameron


                                          Since I’m getting this
                                   out a couple days after
                                   Thanksgiving (rather than
                                   a couple days before as
                                   planned), I’d first like to
                                   express the hope everyone
                                   reading this enjoyed a
                                   wonderful holiday and
                                   that you’re in the midst of
                                   a fun and relaxing long
                                   weekend...and if you’re indeed reading this at the time of its arrival, I’m glad you’ve allowed me to share in/be a part of your celebrations! 

     As usual, there’s a mix of material covered...including, of course, a piece or two specifically crafted with “Turkey Day” in mind...although once you read the “Temporary Insanity” column you’ll see why I may never  view it quite that way again.  There’s also a film review of the perennial favorite Planes, Trains and Automobiles...which includes the link to a similarly challenge-laden travel adventure one would probably think had to likewise be scripted by a (comedy?) writer to include so many pitfalls and plot twists.   But no ...alas, fact sometime really is stranger than fiction — as many of you have very likely discovered for yourself by way of your own travel-related nightmares.
     Speaking of fiction, there’s also a new chapter in the ongoing tale of Joshua Gray fresh “From the Asylum”...one
which introduces yet another set
of circumstances that take him by
surprise...as some of you may be by
the news and observations in the “Music Mayhem” column.  And, of course, Keela’s back to dispense more “madvice”...a task she took to with such relish in this case that she could barely squeeze all rat-spects — uh, I mean, aspects — of it into her allotted space. 

     Also,, I must share yet another technical note regarding the website difficulties that have plagued me for so long now.  I thought these were resolved a few weeks ago — which they were...for about a week.  Unfortunately, the same issues began cropping up again, and I continue to work with my web host to conquer them.  In the meantime, if you find irregularities or malfunction when visiting, I again apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

     Well, I’d better wrap this up or Christmas will be here before it reaches you.  And, given all the artistic endeavors I need to complete before that — including yet another newsletter — I really need to get going!

     Lastly, thanks again as well for being a Mil Mania reader.  As always, it’s been my pleasure to create this publication and I hope you find it an interesting and worthwhile leg of our
              collective journey.  That said, please
                         accept my own “thanks giv-
                         ing”  for your interest and sup-

As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall. While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place in the weeks after the funeral…(you can catch up on prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

                         The Leap to Limbo (tentative title)   

                          Chapter 17,  “Chicken Counting”



     Monday afternoon found Josh knocking on another door, this one outside Chris’s apartment.  He had brought Sultan home that morning, and as expected the feline had taken the return in stride.  Josh had barely unlocked the door before purring sounds erupted, preceding him to the kitchen where Sultan instantly began checking out the contents of his bowl...and soon looked up indignantly at Josh upon finding it empty.  Still carrying the cat food bag he’d also brought back from Allison’s, he couldn’t help laughing as he knelt down and poured out a generous serving.  Satisfied, Sultan’s purring intensified, and he turned his full attention to breakfast, kneading the linoleum as he happily munched away.

  Freshly showered and changed these several hours later, Josh was about to leave when the door was at last opened.  His cell phone pressed against one ear, Chris continued listening to the party on the other end as he absently motioned Josh to enter, then disappeared into the next room to finish the conversation.  Gently closing the door behind him, Josh made his way to the couch, where a lounging Henderson stretched out atop the back inched closer in search of some attention.  Josh stroked the rat’s milky white belly for a few moments, until utterly contented the rodent resumed his peaceful nap.

     Finally, Chris returned, bearing an odd expression Josh couldn’t help noticing but couldn’t quite interpret. 

     “Geez, what does that look mean,” he asked outright.  “Was that the IRS or did you just find out you won the lottery?”

     “Neither...or maybe a little of both...in a way.”


     “That was the label, following up about my filling in for you at the festival…”

     “Yeah — and?  They are gonna compensate you somehow, right?” 

     “Actually, they’re talking about maybe giving us a record deal.”

     “That’s fantastic!” Josh exclaimed.  “Congratulations, man.”

     “Thanks,” Chris mumbled rather dully in reply.

       Oblivious, Josh rushed on.  “We’re gonna be label mates.  How cool is that?” Thinking out loud, he continued, “Maybe they’ll put us out on tour together.   We could co-headline or something…ah, I suppose we’ll each have to open for somebody more established so that won’t work…”

      Chris interrupted Josh’s gleeful musings.  “I thought you were dead-set against moving to New York.”

     “I still am.  But since everything that happened in Seattle and the whole week after, the shows, the way the band’s been meshing again...  To tell you the truth, I’m really psyched about building on that momentum.  I’ve been so stuck in this rut of indecision since Julie died.  It just feels so unbelievably good to finally have some motivation again.  Tommy’s supposed to be talking with our rep sometime today.  I figure things’ll work out one way or another. Maybe we can do a few weeks of recording there and then just go back for promo stuff or whatever — Crap...that reminds me, I think I must’ve lost my cell at Allison’s last night —”

      Chris blurted tersely, “You’re not still screwing around with that whole pack of matches, are you?  No wonder you still don’t want to go to New York.”

     “No no no, it’s nothing like that.  I just went to pick up Sultan and one thing led to another — not the kind of ‘other’ you’re thinking, by the way.  In fact, it was just one more thing that made me feel like I’ve really turned a corner on getting my sh— together.  This morning we talked and —”

     “This morning?” Chris probed.

     “Let it alone.  I’m telling you, she knows I’m not ready for a relationship right now.  I don’t want to talk about it.  Things are just — good...for once.  Anyway, I’ve got to get home.”  Rising from the couch and giving Henderson another quick pet, he went on, “Tommy’s gonna call me there any minute.  I just wanted to stop by and say hey.  And, I really do hope this deal pans out for you.  You’ve earned it.”

     Chris nodded, his voice once more strained.  “Thanks, man.”

      The two walked in silence to the door, where Chris stood watching as Josh turned away and headed down the hall.

     “Josh!” Chris called out suddenly.

     Josh stopped.  “Yeah?”

     “Nothing.  Have a good night.”

     Josh nodded, then grinned.  “You, too.”


     The phone was ringing as Josh turned the key in his apartment door.  “Naturally”, he thought, when it stopped just as he made his way to the kitchen and grabbed up the receiver.  He hung up and stayed close, assuming if it was indeed Tommy he’d call back in a few minutes.  He opened the fridge to see if there was still anything edible inside after a week-and-a-half away — immediately regretting this move as an unidentifiable mix of foul odors assaulted him.  Instinctively backing up and closing it abruptly he made a mental note to make a trip to the grocery store as soon as he’d heard from Tommy.  Before he could muster the courage to open the fridge again and start making room for fresh supplies, however, he was interrupted by a barrage of insistent knocking.  Far from dismayed at the intrusion, he fairly bounded to the door, and the surprise of finding Tommy on the other side.  Without waiting for an invitation, he strode in, then instantly grabbed his nose and headed back out to the hall. 

     “Jes-s, Josh, does your place always smell like somebody died here or what?”

     “I was cleaning out the fridge...which I’m thinking a lot of things might’ve died in, actually.”

     “Yeah, well, I’ve gotta tell you, man, the way I feel right now, you might be next.”

     “What the…?  What are you talking about.  I thought we were all good.  I’m feeling great, I’m ready to get to work on this album and —”

     “Too late.  There is no album.  There’s no record deal.  There isn’t sh—.  Yeah, well, there’s plenty of that, but…”

     “Tommy, what is up with you?  I was just over to Chris’s. We were just talking about how our label might be signing him, too — ‘cause of the whole festival thing, and…”

     “Freaking Chris...coward —”

     “Dude, you’re not making any sense.”

     “Yeah?  Well, let me spell it out for you...dude.  Chris apparently neglected to tell you one tiny little piece of information in that happy scenario.  The label got tired of waiting around for you to get your act together.  The ‘whole festival thing’ was the last straw.  Yeah, they’re signing Chris — to our deal.  He’s in, we’re out.  It’s all over, stick a fork in us, blah blah blah.

     “We’re done.”



Thanks for reading this issue of Mil Mania!  And, remember, this is a work in progress, subject to many and varied changes — all adding up to a new and improved publication...so I hope!  Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions.  Thank you!!!


  Happy Thanksgiving!!!















                           “All right, why a duck? Why a duck,
                               why-a no chicken?”
                           “Well, I don't know why-a no
                               chicken. I'm a stranger
                               here myself…”
                                                       The Marx Brothers
With Thanksgiving the highlight of November for most Americans I just want to take a few minutes to pose a question relating to the brief bit of dialogue appearing above.  My query, however, isn’t into “why a duck”, but rather — why a turkey?
     Like probably pretty much everyone reading this I’ve enjoyed a more than ample repast on this indeed wonderfully meaningful and celebratory day for every
year I’ve spent on Earth to date.  And, of course, every one of those meals has featured a choice bit of poultry as the central attraction. 
    Given all the tips, hints, recipes, etc that one might  say come
flying at each of us why-a — uh, I mean, via — TV, newspaper and internet during this season, it seems many of you have also encountered the various unpleasant phenomena of  turkeys that have been overcooked, undercooked, too dry, too moist or just otherwise sent one scrambling for the side dishes.  While I’ve been blessed in recent years with  — a phenomenon all its own —  the finished product of a pretty much perfect bird...yet still looked to the mashed potatoes, green beans, yams, etc. as my far closer friends, it’s dawned on me at last — blasphemy of blasphemies — there’s a frighteningly strong possibility I (dare I say it?) just plain don’t like turkey.
     I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself off the floor and take in your surroundings upon coming back from the inevitable faint of horror at that declaration.  Once you’re able to focus again, I’d like to together explore a bit this indeed uncharted water. 
     As I said, I find the whole holiday a truly beautiful event, one I look forward to eagerly, right down to preparing the host of dishes I count it a blessing to share with family and friends.  (Needless to say, I hope they count the results a blessing as well, and aren’t really most thankful for a chance to leave the table!  Actually, I learned to cook largely from my grandmother who was probably one of the greatest culinary artists of the traditional fare genre I’m yet to encounter.  As a result, though I tend to mock myself as a natural habit, I will add the disclaimer here that I’m, in fact, pretty confident when it comes to holiday meals. But, I digress). 
     Obviously, food isn’t the central reason we come together to celebrate in the first place — okay, maybe it is in the instances where Aunt Freda drives you crazy, Uncle Bosco talks incessantly and your two year old nephew illustrates in all too vivid 3D effect precisely why this age is known as “terrible”.   Then again, even in those instances, I’m not sure the bribery of your favorite food item in the world is really worth such loss-of-appetite-inducing circumstances under which to “enjoy” it.  In any case, the point is we really come together to celebrate our bonds with loved ones, give thanks for all the indeed good things in our lives and to enact the common traditions so much a part of who we are.
     As an “artist insane”, however, I’ve decided to deal with my distaste for turkey (not to mention both ask and answer “why-a no chicken” for myself) by striking out on my own to create a new tradition.  The problem in that, of course, is with turkey so ingrained in the American collective conscious as the “must-have” delicacy of the day, how am I supposed to sell my dinner guests on the idea?  Simple.  Given this foul fowl takes up so much room on the table, I’ve long since adopted the practice of carving it in the kitchen, then serving the white and dark portions on separate platters.   In that respect, this year will be no different.  Needless to say, the meat on each this time around may indeed look a bit unusual; however, in light of the potential cooking mishaps outlined above, it’s doubtful anyone will really blink at that result.  What’s more  — thankfully — I’ll be serving a “traditionally” pretty polite and appreciative crowd.  Though some may guess at my poultry con-game, I don’t anticipate much fuss.  Rather, I plan to lay (well, not quite) everything out on the table, and sit down to enjoy even the bird this year myself.  And, when the never more appropriate adage, “tastes like chicken” is uttered at last, I plan to merely nod and smile, and picture one thankful turkey undoubtedly smiling somewhere as well.




 Happy Thanksgiving!




                                      Temporary Insanity








                                 If you missed the announcement in the 
December 2006 issue, as per the precedent
                          set by
Dear Abby which syndicated col
MOLLY         umn retained that title when passing to its 
ator’s daughter , so this column continues to retain the name of its  originator now that Molly has passed on.  The “madvice” currently offered herein, therefore, is that of Keela, one of the “noisy neighbors” Molly spoke of frequently — and who you may have met previously via the photo collection taken during her pregnancy and in the weeks after her fifteen babies were born.  Needless to say, with that kind of experience, Keela, like Molly, knows a bit about life as learned by her adventures as a rodent single mom.  Also like Molly, she has a strong mind of her own with much rat wisdom to share.  I hope you’ll enjoy her commentary. 


E-mail your “Molly Madvises” questions to mil@ artistinsane.com and I’ll pass them on to Keela.  Thanks!


That said, on to this month’s question…


Dear Keela,


I love to people-watch.  Last Saturday, while I waited for my friend who was at the bank within the grocery store, I parked myself on a bench nearby with my over-priced cup of coffee and people-watched and wondered and weighed ideas the whole while she banked.  When she came over I said to her, my fashion-police badge shining brightly, “Just because some designer made yellow shoes doesn’t mean anyone should wear them!”  Somewhat amused while defending the culprit pondering the baked goods, she knocked me one in the shoulder as I slurped my coffee and caused me to spill it on my jeans. “Stop it,” she scolded.  On our way, I explained that I sometimes consider what a person is wearing and wonder what it was that made them put those particular clothes on that day.  Is it a reflection of their mood, special day, got dressed in the dark, had a coffee stain on what they really wanted to wear?  But I know that clothing is a mere fragment of who we are.  Then when I start wondering about how we become who we are I can really get lost.  For example, the other day I read an article about a dentist who became a dentist by not being very good at what he really enjoyed.  Painting.  He had so much difficulty painting peoples’ teeth and that made him start noticing peoples’ teeth and how complex they can be.  Ten years after dental school, the oils are no more but his practice is flourishing.  Now, I know your mom has addressed the ponderous notion of “How We Become” in her tranquil song of the same title, where every a cappella verse breathes even deeper with Grace,.   She speaks of “the still small voice” we need to listen for in order to “embrace all that [we] might become.”  Come to think of it, another lyric on the thought comes to mind… “How is it we became that which we’ve become…” Oh, who wrote that? … Mmm—Michael…?  Mc… McKermit!  It is in his glistening song, “Can’t Sleep Tonight,” where the thought ebbs in moonlit waves of despair and regret— Wait!  Is That It?  No, That [Is That It] “Is” the title of Bob Geldof’s autobiography – you’d like him, he was once a Boomtown Rat.  Oh!  How I’ve digressed.  Picked up your habits, Keela, from reading your column regularly.  Mc—what’s his name?! Not Kermit… Dermott!  Michael McDermott.  Yes! That is it. Dermott/Kermit—Irish,/green…frog, you can understand my confusion, I’m sure.  But back to my question,  this is quite a universal thought — becoming who we are — at times an exciting course and quite a dilemma, as these two fine writers illustrate.  What can we do to let the “still small voice” grow larger?  It’s so easy to live by default.  Come as it may, ya know?  But with that, aren’t we cheating ourselves, as your mom also speaks of, in seeing our destiny and embracing “all [we] might become?” 


                                                   Becoming More...and More Confused


Dear Becoming,


     Since my mom helps me with my columns — as I’ve said before, we rats don’t have thumbs… which makes writing or typing awfully difficult — she told me I have to say thank you SO much for the compliments on her song.  In fact, I had to wait ages after I’d gathered my thoughts on this subject while I waited for her ears to stop glowing red...they were completely distracting me just like Rudolph’s nose in that Christmas TV special...the one with the elf dentist.  Speaking of the elf dentist, that kind of rat-lates to your question, if you think about it...even though that was his first choice of career,  he already had a destiny set before him as to what he “should” become...and it caused a bit of a stir where he came from that he didn’t want to fill that space.  The thing is, if he had just let things “come as [they] may” like you ponder as an option in your letter, he and his friends might not have had time to ponder anything else ever again after the abominable snow monster ate them!  Because he was strong and followed his he-art, though, he managed to rescue everybody from those scary big teeth — and he helped Rudolph fulfill his destiny of guiding Santa’s sleigh to deliver presents...meaning he kind of did double-duty since helping get those presents to their rat-cipients is also part of the job of being an elf. 

     Anyway, as usual I’ve managed to creep a little ways from the main subject, which is to answer the questions you asked.  But to tell you the truth I don’t think you need me to sort things out at all; you’ve already given my answer in the questions themselves.  YES, I think a hu-person (or elf or reindeer or rat) is definitely cheating him or her self out of embracing all one might become by just letting “come [what] may”.  BUT, that’s only half the story.  Because, when hu-people (or the rest of us) let forces that come as they may decide their futures (which is de[re own] fault, indeed) their present becomes a constant, hectic scurrying to fix the things that have just washed over them in the past...while more are still coming at them every day.  Pretty soon they have a really big snowball on top of them that makes it seem impossible to become anything but really, really tired and sit down...even though sitting down in the first place somehow magically built that snowball.  (Talk about a paratdox!)  That’s when they start asking, “How is it we became that which we’ve become” and get stuck in a rut of pa-rat-lysis and regret.

     My mom’s song, on the other paw, is all about challenging hu-people to listen to their he-arts like the elf in the Rudolph story, and to actively approach becoming what they know they really need to (i.e. what the “still small voice” inside keeps chewing on them to pursue) as a “goal” not merely a “dream”.  See, the whole difference between those two is that a dream is something someone hopes might fall into one’s lap… I know they called Remy’s determination to become a chef in Ratatouille his impossible “dream”, but that really isn’t what it was at all...as the fact he was determined and took all kinds of risks to make it happen rattests.  Sure, some of the chances to take those risks kind of came by what seemed —oh, what’s the word.. os-mouse-is? ...but they would have ended in pretty he-art-breaking failure if he hadn’t acted so bravely in trying to use them for good. 
     Back to the beginning of your letter, though, and the observations that prompted thoughts of becoming, first I have to say that we’ve already established that part of embracing one’s destiny is being willing to not worry about what anybody else thinks.  I have to admit I kind of like the hu-woman with the yellow shoes because, after all, she was shopping for…
baked goods!!!  And, you know just how “good” I think lots of “baked” things are (like the cranberry bread mom makes for Thanksgiving!  Mmmmm….).  So, maybe she didn’t have the best taste in shoes — but she may have had her sense (or senses...tastebuds!...Oh, I’ve scampered off the point again…) perfectly intact.  And — I say this very gently, my dear reader — how can you be so sure she thought so much of your shoes?
     Besides, I have to defend someone who wears shoes in shades some might think only for flowers...after all, the shoes I wear everywhere (that is, the ones I was born with and only ones I have for running around) fit anyone else just for a wedding or prom… because they’re
pink!  Thankfully, though, they sure are comfortable.  And, that’s something more hu-people “might” (eventually) “become”  if only they, too, would just “embrace” the things they were born with... all the unique — and wonderfully true — colors that make them who they are.

     One more thing to consider, here, though, is that just like the hu-woman with the — well, what some might call a “rat’s nest” of multi-colored hair — who sang a song about that very subject some time ago (and who mom likes a lot, which is how I know about that) might have been called something of a “misfit” — given “normal” hu-people don’t go out like her any more than they go out in yellow (or pink) shoes.  But, she seemed pretty okay with that.  And, going back once more to the elf dentist in the Rudolph story, he was a misfit, too — who “became” pretty okay with himself as well.  AND, he was able to help lots of other misfits (in the “land of misfit toys”) “become” what they were meant to be, what they really were — and more: both wholly lovable, and very truly loved.  Now there’s something anyone would want to embrace...and I hope indeed that such a “what” “may come” to everyone...while embracing with joy the fact it’s already come to me.

Like I said last month, I think I need to start making columns within my column to cover all my additional thoughts.  In the meantime, though, I just want to add here a little note about the featured music artist mom chose this month — INXS.  Because, I think it’s only natural she would g-rat-i-tate to a group who did a video with a rat in it — and long before she ever thought about owning rats herself! If you ever watched this you may have noticed that Plague (a white rat who belonged to Michael Hutchence’s brother, Rhett) appears for several seconds near the beginning...and Michael Hutchence even petted/snuggled him a bit while he was singing.  (I like to have mom rewind that part a lot!)

     Second, it’s quite a coincidence my reader should mention Bob Geldof in her letter the very same month.  As it happens, I am indeed familiar with this Boomtown Rat — who ended up winning custody of Michael Hutchence’s daughter after he died.   It really is a “small world after all” — and one wherein “rats” show more ‘invisible” kindnesses than many hu-people would ever believe.   Go Rats!