Paper Hearts & Tin Foil Tiaras ♥

The diary of a girl

Month: September, 2012

BFFs and Birthday Bonfires

My bestfriend had quite a landmark birthday this weekend – for her own blushes I shall only confess 21 (again).

A 6 hour drinking session was followed by a day in a lovely autumnal garden setting, chilling out, waking up, sobering up.

Then the festivities began.
A whole bonfire night, fireworks and sparklers of every colour under the sun to mark the big day.


And on the stroke of midnight we released loads of lanterns. See that’s all you need in life, good friends, good wine and some matches!!!

I’ve been searching for these words a long time.

More rantings

I watched a show last night about some police officers and the work they do with children that have gotten lost.

I think it should probably be better put to say that they work with the children suffering at the hands of their lost parents.

It broke my heart.

For two reasons.

The first reason being that I found it so incredibly sad what was going on – that having children is a beautiful gift to be cherished but how many people seem to forget to care.  I am being generous, maybe they never did, but I would hate to think that is the case.

A little 2 year old boy was stopped by a couple who were out for a walk.  The 2 year old was on his own.  With no shoes on.  He ended up travelling around in a police van whilst they tried in vein to find out where the little boy lived.  One hour……yes, ONE HOUR later, his parent called the police to report him missing.  It took her ONE HOUR to notice he wasn’t there.

Then there was an incident where twin girls of 12 years of age had been seen playing in the surf by themselves, with no supervision but had vanished and not been seen for 3 hours.  Eventually they managed to find out that they were on holiday with their parents.  The Dad had told his daughters to play in the sea whilst he went to the pub.  The girls had gotten cold, so they went to the pub and couldn’t find their Dad, so they got a bus and went back to their hotel and waited for over 3 hours until the police had located their father.  A few minutes later the mother turned up at the hotel, seemingly a bit drunk too.  The girls looked so upset, I even noticed one flinch from her Father.  When the police said it wasn’t acceptable the Father really didn’t seem to see what he had done wrong, or that it was wrong to be that drunk whilst ‘looking after’ his children.

The case that broke my heart the most was the story of a 17 year old girl who was having to try to do her exams whilst bringing up her younger brother.  Her Mom was quite a severe alcoholic and was known to the police.  The daughter was really looking forward to going to University so she could begin her own life and not just have to look after her Mom, her biggest question was why her Mom did this when other Mom’s didn’t seem to.

That girl was a little treasure.  She’s brought herself up to be a thoroughly nice human being.

Her Mom decided that she was doing 90% of her parenting right seeing as she had such a good daughter.  The police officer asked her if she thought her daughter would agree and the Mom said that her and her daughter didn’t really talk…..but she still thought that she got 90% of her parenting right!!!!!!!!

Now I understand that Alcoholism is a disease, but why was no one helping this girl and her Mother…..why was her Mother, who was aware that she had a drink problem not enrolling in AA or something similar?

Why is the world so unfair that these poor children were suffering in such conditions.

And then you get people like Paris Hilton – who don’t really seem to do that much good for humanity but seem to have so much.

Now there’s a question I would like answered!

You can go your own way……

Lady Gaga once said this:

“Every video I’m in, every magazine cover, they stretch you — they make you perfect. It’s not real life … I’m gonna say this about girls: The dieting wars have got to stop. Everyone just knock it off. Because at the end of the day, it’s affecting kids your age. And it’s making girls sick.”

Very sound words.  Remember that photo shoot picture I posted – it was never a dig at Lady Gaga, I thought it was good of her to let the world see how things really are and the world the magazines try to sell to you all.

Yesterday, some pictures surfaced of her that were not particularly flattering.

But these things happen, that’s life.  Especially when you are a woman.  I feel you get scrutinised a lot more, especially, sadly, by your own sex.  But also your weight will naturally flare up and down throughout the month – it’s hormonal and there’s pretty much bugger all you can do about it.

What I am writing here is less about Lady Gaga and more about principal.

The piece that was written about her was mean. Talking about her fading star, but then saying how 5 months of touring made her $31 million dollars.  (I wish my star would fade like that).

Anyway – whatever you think about her or her music – the point is this – she used to struggle with bulimia, as a saddening high number of women do/are….along with many other eating disorders.  And the thing is if we are truthful here, if you are dancing and singing and just having a good time, you will forget to suck in your belly and your cheeks and a camera lens may well just catch up at an unflattering angle, but man will you be crucified for that.  For what? Being human!? Well, pardon me!

But see human nature likes to build someone up to knock them down – why is that? Jealousy? Envy? It’s a curse is what it is.  Why can’t we just be happy for one another and get on with being the best versions of ourselves we can be? Why all this competition? Why all this back stabbing? Why all this uneccesary nastiness?

I am not saying we are all going to like each other all of the time.  I am not saying we are never going to say a bad word about someone.

But something, somewhere has gotten really out of hand.

I can’t help but point the finger at the media.

It’s been proven that since Men’s Health and Fashion magazine’s came out the number of men suffering from eating disorders or applying for cosmetic surgery went through the roof.  There’s a slim chance that statistics had never been kept before, but I am guessing it has more to do with the power of the media.

When you have that sort of power – you could do so much good – you know people will stop and listen and some will absorb everything written or said without question.

What a shame to use that power for such bad and damaging things.

Musings of the day…

I just saw a headline – screeching out of my computer – ‘Most Millionaires in the world’ not really great english or very catchy, but the point is apparently there are more of us super rich than ever before.

I said ‘us’ like I was one of them.

I really am not.

I live hand to mouth pretty much month by month, getting by.

BUT……

I have time.

I can leave my work at work, I am home at a reasonable time. I have the energy to do what I want to do outside of work, so I write, I blog, I take pictures, I read, I run a book club, I see friends, I spend time with family and loved ones, I sometimes knit, I very occassionally bake cakes or make dresses, I walk alot, I daydream even more, I am writing a book and I am studying a counselling course.

I am not showing off, bragging or saying I am cool or uncool, I am just saying this is what I do.

I don’t have a high flying job – I was working on the career thing – then got sick, had to have a series of operations and I can say it really altered my thoughts on where my life was going and what was important.

I have been ridiculed for not having a more ‘complex’ or ‘higher salaried’ job.  I have been looked down upon.

I’ve even had someone say ‘Oh my god – I did not know you wrote!!! I didn’t know you did this outside of work!’ They seemed shocked I had a life outside of work, not just a life, but quite a full life.  See they were looking down on me but all it did was make me feel something like pity for them.  So shocked to have a life outside of work!?! That’s just wrong – surely that should be a given.

The consumerist world is getting more greedy – it keeps us trapped because that is what makes the fat cats fatter.  They don’t call it ‘trappings’ for nothing you know.  We don’t really need 200 pairs of shoes, you might like them but really you don’t NEED them, and that’s where people keep getting confused.

We don’t really bother to fix things anymore, we just go out and buy a new one.  Take the ipad for example, people have a perfectly functional one at home, then the new one is announced and they rush out to buy it.  Did they need it, of course not.  Now they just have to up their insurance incase someone steals it.  Eventually you get so much ‘stuff’ you need a bigger house to store it in.  All this costs more and more and keeps you tied to the one place, it creates competition amongst your fellow humans and the cycle goes round and round and round and round.

So, I have stuff, in my eyes too much of it even now, but I don’t have loads, I don’t have millions in the bank, I don’t have a huge house.  But I have a roof over my head, I can pay my rent and put food on the table.  I don’t own a car, but I live in London – it’s not really needed and instead I walk and take notice of the world.  Above all that I have time.  It’s one of the most precious things on earth.

To me, this means more than having huge amounts of money in my bank account doing nothing whilst I work all the hours god sends.

I don’t think this was meant to be what happiness is about.

I don’t think we were meant to make our lives about work.

I have friends that are super rich – and I hear SO many times about how tired they are, how they were stuck at the office, how they missed a friends birthday because of a deadline, how they feel stressed out……..I also suprisingly hear them go on about money troubles.

So it would appear that no matter how much money you have it probably is never enough and you always live to your means – SO – I have the beauty of time….suddenly I feel rich beyond my dreams.

So, rather than get stressed, or judge yourself upon others or what the media say – maybe just alter the way you think.

If you have time to be yourself and to do the things that make you happy on a regular basis then I would say – you’re winning ☺

Misty Blue

Misty blue.

Those are the eyes that look at me.

Misty.

That is the confusion the looks you give me, give to me.

I never know what you are thinking.

Such expressive eyes, but they say nothing to me.

I look into them and I can get lost, I can drown in that misty blue.

But you just look back – the ocean swaying backwards and forwards in them.  Each crash of the wave making me wince, but saying nothing more, and nothing less.

You smile but it doesn’t really reach your eyes.

You are too controlled for that.

Even seeming to laugh at a spontaneous joke and you still don’t seem to let your eyes take on your smile.

You can mimic the world around you, just like you seem to second guess what people expect or want from you.  Yet you just can’t let yourself actually feel that.

Why?

Did your Daddy not love you enough? Did your Mommy refuse to hug you? Was it something more?

When will you realise that you can’t milk that one forever.

We are all damaged, somewhere, somehow – none of us make it into the adult world unscathed.

All of us died a little on the way.

Each of us lost a little piece of something, some innocence, the ease of laughing.

I heard you laugh once, the sound shocked me, you seem half startled, half mortified.

It’s the closest I’ve seen you come to losing control.

I think you secretly liked it.

Tormenting yourself with what you could have, who you could be.

Knowing you had the power to stop the world you live in, to make us all pause and turn and take notice.

You know just as many men, women and teens would fall for you if you only let your charms shine through.

Instead you are stuck with me.  The only person as damaged as you.

The only person prepared to try to break through.

I’ve failed, but then at the same time you’ve not broken me either.

So is this it? For us?

Or is this it anyway – this is love? Just being together without breaking each other?

Is that all love really is?

You can’t love someone 100% of the time 100% of the way –you just can’t – it’s not possible – even if they do nothing wrong – that in itself will drive you crazy on the wrong day.

You reach out and touch my neck – it says more than I ever need your eyes or your mouth to say – your hands read me, running over me like a blind person reading braille.

Yet you still do not show me any expression in your eyes.

They are closed to this world.

I don’t think I will ever know why.

I take you to the ocean, we sit, we stare, I can see the sea in your eyes, reflected back at me. There go those waves, backwards and forwards, as my eyes search, your eyes hide.

I blink first.

You sit back.

I know you think you won.

But I found your diary.

Let me introduce you……

They say that behind every great man is an even greater woman. Some of you may know Adam Lazzara, from one of my favourite bands, Taking Band Sunday. I stumbled across his wife Misha’s blog and was really impressed with all that was going on there. Read on and you will see some of the great things Misha has to say about books, healthy eating, vegetarianism, music and more!

So Misha, your blog is filled with wonderful cooking tips and pictures, have you always enjoyed cooking?
Thanks. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of it. I liked to watch my mom cook when I was little. I love the ritual of preparing dinner while everyone hangs out around you, talking about their day, drinking wine and relaxing. That’s what I saw growing up and now I see the importance of that time and cherish it.

What got you into cooking?
I think what I mentioned before, with dinnertime meaning so much to me as a kid. I think it was a natural thing. I come from such a big family and food was what always brought us together. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter was when we went to my gramma’s and everyone brought their signature dish, we sat, laid, or huddled wherever we would fit and eat and talk for hours. My cousins and I would steal my Aunt Marion’s dinner rolls that she made from scratch and hide them around the house ’til we weren’t so stuffed and could go back for them. For me, learning how to cook well is like carrying on those traditions.

Have you always been conscious of what you eat or is it since you became pregnant/or becoming a mother?
Unfortunately, I became conscious too early in life. Before, like when I was in high school, it was about my appearance and weight. Looking back, I wish that I hadn’t counted calories or been concerned with things like that. Those experiences are such a big part of why I’m so anti-“dieting” now. In college I gave all that up. I started eating vegetarian but just had fun in life and fun with what I ate, no more “dieting,” just healthy and responsible choices. I want to eat consciously-farmed and prepared foods to help the world, to not contribute to animal slaughter and torture, to get the best nutrition at the least cost for everyone….not just thinking about myself, being selfish and eating whatever I feel like, but considering the cost of all the pesticides, hormones and antibiotics and the price the millions of animals pay that are tortured in despicable conditions. I wouldn’t say that being a mom changed my views; I would just say that not ignoring the truth of what’s happening on those factory “farms” has really contributed to my stance on family farm or ethically farmed living.

What food facts have scared you most?
For example I was shocked when I read just what goes into milk and what happens to dairy cattle after reading Alicia Silverstone’s book.
There’s really just too much to go into! I would say for me one of the worst things is the gestation crates and just the whole sow thing in general. Most people know by now that pigs are smarter than dogs, having higher IQs. Yet people go on obsessing about and loving their dogs while chowing down on bacon. Pigs are scientifically proven to be more aware and intelligent than your puppy but still we treat them so awfully. They live inside in crates of concrete and metal that they can barely lay down in for most or all of their adult lives. Really, it’s just sad that people allow that to happen. It’s people that are eating all that freaking bacon that people joke about and have tattoos of and just aren’t considering the real cost of what they’re eating. Not to mention what it costs to the environment to feed and house this ridiculous excess of domesticated animals because of the high demand. Obviously, you can kill yourself caring about this stuff or just know the truth and try to do as much as you can. That’s what I do. I don’t go around preaching this stuff to every stranger I see buying bacon at the store. This is how I feel but unfortunately balance is required to live in a world this upside down when it comes to animal treatment and a humane diet. I’ll calm down now… 🙂

Do you find it hard to be healthy when you are eating out or on the road with your husband’s band?
Sometimes. I’ll still eat stuff like french fries and whatnot if I have to (only vegan or even vegetarian option at some places like IN-N-OUT). I try to find the first and nearest grocery store to stock up on stuff like Amy’s burritos, cans of healthy soups, hummus, et cetera. Then we have stuff on the bus and don’t have to eat dinner from whatever we can find at a Circle K or something, haha.

What is your favourite dish?
Oh, this is impossible to answer. Really, impossible… I’d say maybe plain spaghetti, red curry or just anything with noodles.

Would you ever consider writing a cook book? After reading your blog, I for one would buy it!
Thanks, haha! Yeah, I think it’d be cool to do something like that for college aged girls or young ladies who have never had to “run” their own kitchen before. I’ve had some messages about that very thing and I think it’d be really fun.

In the modern world – time is limited for many people so it becomes habit to grab ready meals, how do you combat that?
I keep groceries on hand, easy as that. I always have things like canned beans, quinoa, brown rice, tofu, frozen veggies, Gardein brand freezer stuff, etc to make quick easy meals with. I keep us stocked up! Minus the Gardein, all the stuff I mentioned is some of the cheapest stuff at the grocery store, so it doesn’t have to be expensive to keep a well-stocked pantry. We still like to do quick stuff sometimes, there’s a gourmet deli/salad/wine store half a block from our house and when we want quick dinner we hop down there. They make me huge and healthy salads, so for us, quick doesn’t have to mean unhealthy.

What environmental issues bother you the most?
Oh, goodness. The fact that people completely ignore what’s happening and what’s going to happen if we keep farming and consuming livestock at this rate. Even if you don’t believe any evidence that you see, why would you want to eat something that’s been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics and lived out its life standing around in its own feces? Who’s that cruel? No one would be if they opened their eyes and actually saw what was happening. It’s the ignoring and turning a blind eye that baffles me. I’m all for family farm life. My brother and sister-in-law run a beautiful family farm in northern Georgia that I love to visit. The problem is the farms that are now essentially factories where animals aren’t treated like animals in any sense of the word, yet their meat is treated like food.


People have criticised you for bringing up your child vegetarian, I for one do not see anything wrong with providing what you feel is the best food for your child, is there anything else you would like to say about that?

I agree with you, haha! As you can tell from the previous questions, I feel strongly about this topic. That’s plain to see. Regardless of that, why anonymous people would think they have a say in how to raise my own son is nothing short of bizarre.

I wrote a piece recently about how there is so much pressure on people to be thinner than they should and work out to extremes and the whole beauty myth that goes on within the media, how does that make you feel? How do you personally find a happy healthy balance?
I take that very personally because I struggled with that in my teenage years. I wish there was pressure from the media for girls to be happy. Intense pressure to do what makes them happy and that weight was just ignored unless it was a health issue. I wish there was pressure for girls to read books and cherish intelligence and to be kind and generous instead of pressure from the media to be skinny and bitchy. I think a lot can be said for family support and priorities. Of course the media plays a roll but as long as families are still supporting things like academics and integrity and overlooking the weight and cattiness (is that a word?) then most girls can hopefully overcome that voice from with out telling them they need to be skinny. I think another good way to balance the pressure from the media, from shows like Gossip Girl or The Real Housewives or whatever is to not watch them and to be a good friend to GIRLS. I’m scared of girls that say they don’t have any girlfriends. I always wonder what that means when they say that. And also just to be kind and be sure of yourself, a lot of insecurities are taken out on other people in negative ways and that’s not fair to you or them.

What made you become vegan and what do you feel are the benefits of a vegan lifestyle?
Well, it started with the cleanse “Ultra Metabolism Diet,” when I first gave up all cheese, eggs and dairy about a year ago. I say on my blog “about me” that I eat “mostly” vegan. I would say vegetarian but that wouldn’t be a strong enough word. I would say just vegan but I don’t like that pressure. I’ve mentioned many times before, it will help everyone the more OFTEN people eat vegan meals, but a lot of people are scared of jumping in headfirst, so to speak. I’ve mentioned before that if I got pregnant, for example, I would eat a mix of vegan and environmentally-conscious vegetarian. I just know how I feel, but that doesn’t mean I’d throw the veganism out the window. Just because I would want to eat cage-free, organic eggs for that extra protein doesn’t mean all of a sudden I’d stop eating other meals that are completely vegan. Does this make sense? Haha, this is all hypothetical. I just like to showcase the opinion that you can be “half-vegan” or whatever you want to call it. So many people are scared of eating that way because diehard vegans are so outspoken. But every little bit helps, and eating vegan once in a while or toning down a full-on meat diet will help. That’s the point and that’s my goal….slowing down factory farms and “balancing the scale,” not for everyone to eat vegan all the time.

Your blog is also full of all the books you read. What are you top 5 favourite books/authors?
Whew, this is tough. “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand is probably my favourite book I’ve ever read; it really altered my attitude on life. The rest are in no particular order and subject to change…”On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, “Return of the King” by JRR Tolkien and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by CS Lewis.

Have you always been a bit of a book worm?
Yes, absolutely. My parents have pictures of me having fallen asleep with books on my face from the age of 2. All the books I mentioned above as my favourite except “Atlas Shrugged” I read before I graduated high school. That’s probably why they were so influential to me. I’ve been what you might call “obsessively” reading since I can remember! I used to ask my dad only for books for Christmas when I was growing up, which is still where the largest portion of my book collection comes from.

I could not imagine life without books and am dipping my toe into the world of writing, have you ever been tempted to try to write a novel?
Yeah, actually, I hope to one day. I have some ideas. It’s hard work for me to sit down and write fiction, but I do try.

What are the best children’s books out there you have come across?
Far and away, “The Chronicles of Narnia” by Lewis which I reread about this time last year and fell in love all over again. I also like “City of Ember” by Jeane DuPrau, which I was actually hoping would be more in the “young adult” arena when I bought it, but it’s definitely children’s lit and it’s a very neat story. Of course, we love Shel Silverstein around here. He’s wise, sad, cute, smart, funny and disturbing all at the same time.

Is there any character you wish you could be from a book?
Elizabeth Bennett-Darcy is up there around the top of that list and though I wouldn’t really want to be Katniss Everdeen, she is super bad-ass and awesome. This is a good question and honestly something I haven’t thought about before.

As a child I loved the idea of the magic faraway tree and the land of Narnia, what were your escapisms?
Ah, I love the idea of Narnia so much. This is a funny question because I had my own little secret place I dreamed up. We lived in a really old, huge house growing up and there was a tiny little door that led to the pipes below my mom’s bathroom. I always imagined that if only I opened it, it lead to a giant room with a glass chandelier with a black and white checkered tile floor, full of all the food I loved and beautiful dresses that fit me perfectly and on and on. Haha, I spent a lot of time “down there.” I totally forgot about this until now, haha, good memories.

Have you ventured into the world of kindle or ebooks yet?
Nope, for two reasons. I don’t know how to work our Kindle and I love everything about books. I noticed at Starbucks a few weeks ago they were giving away the first of the “Artemis Fowl” books online for their iTunes weekly giveaway or whatever it is. I’ve been wanting to read that so I’m going to attempt my first online book reading. We’ll see!

What are your views on that over the hard copy?
Hard copy all the way for me, but I understand the urge to save on printing and paper, so I’m all right with it, even though it’s just not the same.

Now Downton Abbey is a favourite TV show of yours, out of all the period drama’s out there, why do you feel Downton has become such a huge hit with the American public?
I don’t know, but I love it. Maybe the time period is one that is interesting Americans. I know I loved the first episode with the Titanic story line. It was interesting to me. Also, the characters are also so well-developed! They’re not either good or bad, they’re complex and real-seeming. And Mary Crawley’s wardrobe is incredible, so chic. Her and Matthew’s relationship is great, all the waiting, the drama, turmoil. There’s so much to say about it that’s interesting both visually and within the story. I love it!

You have to juggle parenthood with having a husband in a touring band, do you still manage to get out on tour as a family?
Not as much as we’d like, but when we do it’s super fun and special. Adam’s still at work, though it may not seem like it since his job is so different from other people’s, as are all the other guys in the band. The bus is full, everyone’s away from home and their loved ones; it’s hard to squeeze in, especially with a toddler like a ping pong ball. 🙂 We make it work, and I’m lucky to have family so close around me to help out when my husband’s gone.


(Adam and Misha)

Do you play any instruments yourself?
Haha, oh yeah. My dad was a music major, is very into music and can play most instruments pretty well. I started playing the flute when I was like 9. I play the flute, piccolo and oboe. My husband thinks it’s funny and asks me to get my flute out and play sometimes. I usually say no, though I always do intend to find some nice sheet music and keep practicing, unfortunately I never actually get around to it.

My brother is in a band (called Jet Pack) and they are heavily influenced by Taking Back Sunday and Blink 182, they’ve noticed lately that a lot of bands they are touring with are using backing tracks and miming – what are your thoughts on music moving in that direction?
I don’t know. I think evolution in music is normal and like all different styles. I get why people do it. I just hope the art of ACTUALLY playing instruments and singing without altering vocals in a band is never lost.


(Jet Pack with Adam Lazzara)

Speaking of Taking Back Sunday, what is your favourite track by them?
The slower tracks are mostly my favourite. Winter Passing, My Blue Heaven–the ballads. Really, I like it all. I listen to them on shuffle, I listen to their Pandora station, I listen to their brand new stuff on Adam’s iPod, I listen to it all and like it.

Who are your favourite bands? Um, Imogen Heap was always a favourite of mine. I would say some of favourite stuff to listen to is in the same genre as her–A Fine Frenzy, Maria Taylor / Azure Ray, Blonde Redhead, Regina Spektor, stuff like that. I like bluegrass country and folk music from Avett Brothers to Ryan Adams to Neil Young. I also just listen to and love a lot of rock and indie stuff. So…I just love music!

Any new up and coming bands that you could recommend?Hmm… I’m so bad at this. I got a Lianne La Havas album from a friend, and I find it very soothing. I think it’s her first studio album. My brother is in a band called “My Secret Other Girlfriend” with Adam’s little brother, Nathan. I honestly love their music and think it’s great.

Check out My Secret Other Girlfriend

http://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Secret-Other-Girlfriend/168621156573866

Check out Misha’s blog: http://mishaboom.tumblr.com/

Riding the wind with Lucia St Clair Robson

Lucia St Clair Robson is the author of all these books:
Fearless
Light a Distant Fire
Ghost Warrior
Ride the Wind
The Tokaido Road
Osceola
Walk In My Soul
Mary’s Land
Shadow Patriots
Last Train from Cuernavaca
Not bad for someone who never set out to write!
Her writing talent is amazing, her description and character building is second to none. If you have never read anything by Lucia then I would advise you to get to your library quick and order her back catalogue.

What initially got you interested in the story of the Native Americans?
I happened across the story of the capture of Cynthia Ann Parker, and mentioned it to an editor I met at a science fiction conference in 1979. He persuaded me to try my hand at writing it. Once I started researching the story and really got into it, I was hooked.

You have had some amazing inside access to the history and the people – was this hard to achieve?
The access to the information I had for the first three stories– about the Comanches, the Cherokees, and the Seminoles—came mostly from books and other materials I got through interlibrary loan. I took a LOT of notes on 4×6 cards and set up my own version of a library subject catalogue drawer. I also travelled to the places I was writing about so I could get the lay of the land, and find those small local historical museums and book stores.

I can only imagine it must be hard to let outsiders in when the past has been so full of lies?
A very astute observation. In 1980 I called one of the Parker family elders to ask some questions, but she wasn’t very helpful. She explained that she had helped a writer before, introducing him to the tribe’s elders. But when his book came out it was so full of errors that she lost face. So I didn’t use any of the Comanche descendants as sources of information. I’ve gotten to know them since the book came out.

I was told that Barak Obama recently offered up quite a large sum of money to basically apologise about the past treatment of the people, what do you think of this?
This is the first I’ve heard of it. I checked and what I found is that Indians are raising money for Obama’s campaign, not getting money from him. And they rank him as #2 in the eight best presidents for dealing with Indians.

There is much confusion about the politically correct term to use for a Native American – what do you prefer to use yourself?
I used the term Native Americans for years until I realized the people themselves use the word Indians… at least the ones I know do. Indians are very pragmatic people and the ones I’ve met aren’t bothered by political correctness. Comanche, for example, is not a Comanche word. It comes from the Ute word, Komantsia meaning “Enemies” or “They who are always against us.” The Comanches’ name for themselves is Numunu, but the ones I know go with Comanche. And really, it is catchier than Numunu.

Ride the wind is truly up there as one of my all time favourite books ever. The story you told of Peta Nacona and Naduah reduced me to tears. For those that don’t know about them and the story of Cynthia Ann please tell us a little:
Cynthia Ann was captured by Comanches when she was nine and grew up with the tribe. She married Nocona; leader of the band called Wanderers, and had three children. She was recaptured along with her infant daughter, and returned to her Anglo family, but by all reports longed to return to her people and Comanche family. Her son, Quanah, was the last Comanche chief to surrender.

Quanah Parker went on to have a lot of children, 15 if I am correct?
Are there many still fighting for justice?

The Comanches I know, mostly members of the Parker family, are very patriotic. I would bet that a higher ratio of them serve in the military than any other ethnic group. And they open every powwow and event with a colour guard to honour their military veterans. I haven’t heard any of them express concern about past injustices or fighting the government.

Ride the wind would make the most epic historical and romantic film, are there any plans to have this made into a film?
WIND has been optioned a few times, and many people have expressed interest, but none have followed through. A producer contacted me about it last year, so we’ll see if he can move Hollywood off the dime.

Who would you like to see play the leads of Peta and Naduah?
People have been casting WIND as a movie since 1981, before it was even published. At that time Sissy Spacek was the one suggested. As years passed, Daryl Hannah’s name came up. Personally, I’d like to see an unknown play Naduah. And there are some gorgeous Indian actors now who would be great as Nocona.

What made you decide to become a writer?
I didn’t decide to become a writer. I was herded into it. That Science Fiction editor from Del Rey kept calling me at work until I finally started researching and sent in the first six chapters. A Ballantine editor read them, called me at work, and offered me a contract. Nothing like a contract, a deadline and an advance to make one decide to become a writer.

Please describe your writing process?
I try to write every day, but have no set schedule. When writing historical fiction, the reading and note taking and staring into space can be as important as the writing and I have to do a lot of that. Life has an inconvenient way of intruding though, so I’m very slow.

As a writer, where do you draw your inspiration?
From the people I write about. They’re a very inspiring lot.

What other authors do you admire?
Since history provides the story and ending for historical fiction, I like to read mysteries to see how they manage plotting. John D. McDonald is my favourite for character development. And P.G. Wodehouse is great for dialogue and an easy-going style.

What books have most influenced your life the most?
As a kid I loved The Sword and the Stone by T.H. White. It gave me the notion that history could be fun and funny and fascinating.


For any budding authors out there – what advice can you offer them?
Don’t talk about it. Don’t squander energy telling your friends and family all about it. Just do it. There are many more ways to get published now than there used to be.

What do you think of the current trend for eBooks and eBook publishing?
I don’t own an e-reader and never will, but any format that gets people reading is fine with me.

You were also a Peace Corps Volunteer; please tell us a little of what this entails?
My two Peace Corps partners and I lived in a poor neighbourhood in a small Venezuelan town for 20 months. We lived “on the economy” and worked with the neighbourhood’s Development Committee on projects they wanted to do. We also got people enthused about clearing overgrown land to use for a sports program that became very popular.

You have lived in numerous places, where is your favourite place on earth?
Earth is my favourite place on earth. I couldn’t narrow it down to one location, although I am fond of my quirky, riverfront community. It’s very quiet and a great place for a writer.

When not writing what do you do?
Read, do crossword puzzles, work in the yard, sew, and since I live in an old house, I’m constantly fixing it up. And I travel whenever I get the chance. (Okay, I like to go on-line with facebook).

What does the future hold in store for your writing?
I can barely keep up with the present. I don’t think about the future. After all, I never expected to be a writer, so it still doesn’t seem real to me.

For anyone interested in learning more about the history of Native Americans – what books/websites would you suggest?
That depends on what Indian nation people are interested in. Otherwise, the sites are too numerous to list. I know the Comanches have a museum and website, and I’m sure the other tribes do too.

Do you think the world will ever go back to respecting nature properly again?
The world (meaning humanity) has never respected nature. The Indians did better than most, but even the earliest immigrants who crossed the Bering Strait wiped out a lot of the New World fauna.

You recently spoke at The Daughters of the American Revolution, how did that go?
I enjoy speaking to and with the D.A.R. because they “get” history. They’re a wonderful audience. Today the Regent of the group I spoke to last night emailed me a copy of the piece she wrote for those who weren’t there. It begins, “Our speaker last night, Lucia St. Clair Robson, was nothing short of extraordinary.” So I guess I did alright.

You can find out more about Lucia and her writing at her website:
http://www.luciastclairrobson.com/

The greatest love story ever told

Carl and Ellie from Up, hands down. Don’t even go there telling me they are a made up character – I’ve always said there is a real Carl and Ellie out there….check it out!

Wonder if he has room for a(nother) grand daughter?

Paul from Jet Pack speaks to Miss Ali Blah Blah

How did you all meet?
WE LIVED TOGETHER AT UNIVERSITY.

What made you decide to start a band together?
WE HAD THE SAME TASTE IN MUSIC AND STARTED OUT BY JAMMING BLINK 182 SONGS IN OUR BEDROOM – TOOK PART IN THE UNI BATTLE OF THE BANDS COMPETITION AND REALISED HOW MUCH WE LOVED PLAYING MUSIC TOGETHER.

Who would you say your biggest musical influences are and why?
BLINK 182, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, BRAND NEW, AND NEW FOUND GLORY -MUSICALLY THESE BANDS ALWAYS PUSH THE BOUNDARIES AND LYRICALLY THEY ARE HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE OTHERS IN THE GENRE.

If there was any band you could be in which band would it be?
TAKING BACK SUNDAY – THEY ARE THE BAND THAT HAVE INFLUENCED US MUSICALLY MORE THAN ANYONE AND WE GET REFERRED TO AS ‘A BRITISH TBS’ QUITE A LOT. WE’RE BIG FANS OF THE TWO VOCALIST APPROACH AND THEY ARE THE MASTERS OF VOCAL TRADE OFFS. I ALSO LOVE THE WAY THEY REINVENT THEIR SOUND EVERY ALBUM WHILST STILL STAYING TRUE TO THEIR ORIGINAL SOUND, THEY ARE ALWAYS EVOLVING AND THAT WOULD BE EXCITING TO BE A PART OF.


(Jet Pack meeting one of their major influences, Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday)

What song do you wish you had written?

SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT…I KNOW KURT GREW TO HATE IT BUT IT WAS JUST THE PUREST, TRUEST ROCK SONG EVER WRITTEN – SIMPLE BUT BRILLIANT.

Describe the writing process? Is it a collaboration or do you all come together with individual ideas?
MYSELF AND OUR LEAD SINGER DENNIS WRITE THE SONGS AND WE WILL GENERALLY COME TO THE REST OF THE BAND WITH A FINISHED IDEA. THE MAIN DIFFERENCE IS THAT HE USUALLY STARTS WITH MUSIC AND I USUALLY START WITH VOCALS – IT’S NOT UNUSUAL FOR A SONG THAT HE’S WRITTEN TO END UP WITH MY LYRICS AND VICE VERSA WHICH IS PRETTY COOL. IT’S WHEN THE IDEA IS BROUGHT TO THE REST OF THE BAND THAT IT REALLY TAKES SHAPE, EVERYONE HAS THEIR INPUT AND WE REALLY SQUEEZE THAT EXTRA FEW PERCENT OUT OF THE SONG AND MAKE IT AS GOOD AS WE CAN UNTIL WE’RE ALL HAPPY.

Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio, and why?
BEING IN THE STUDIO IS MY FAVOURITE PART OF BEING IN A BAND NO DOUBT. THE BOYS ARE DIFFERENT, THEY ALL PREFER PLAYING LIVE OR BEING ON THE ROAD BUT I’M AT MY MOST CREATIVE IN THE STUDIO. THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU STUMBLE ACROSS SOMETHING THAT JUST COMPLETELY TAKES A SONG IN A DIRECTION YOU NEVER SAW COMING, THAT MAGIC IS THE ENTIRE REASON I AM IN A BAND – IT’S THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD.

The music scene has changed so much over the past few years do you still think it’s so vital for a band to live in London?
I DON’T THINK YOU NEED TO LIVE IN LONDON AT ALL ANYMORE AND I THINK THAT IS A REALLY GOOD THING. I THINK THE HARDEST STAGE FOR A BAND IS THAT PERIOD WHERE THEY ARE TRYING TO MAKE THE STEP FROM AMATEUR TO PROFESSIONAL AND A FEW YEARS BACK THAT ABSOLUTELY MEANT MOVING TO LONDON, BUT THE CITY HAS BECOME OVER SATURATED WUITH BANDS AND GIGS IN MY OPINION AND THE STANDARD AND QUALITY HAS SUFFERED AS A RESULT AND THAT IS KILLING THE SCENE. SOME TOURING BANDS DON’T BOTHER WITH THE BIGGER CITIES IN THE UK AS MUCH AS THEY USED TO FOR THAT VERY REASON.

The music business has also changed dramatically over the years – with digital downloads becoming more and more popular, what do you see the future of music being?
I THINK THE MAJOR RECORD LABELS HAVE REALLY TAKEN THEIR EYE OFF THE BALL AND WE’RE STARTING TO SEE SOME GO OUT OF BUSINESS AS A RESULT. THEY HAVE SPENT FAR TOO MANY YEARS RE-RELEASING ESTABLISHED ARTISTS BACK CATALOGUES AT THE EXPENSE OF PUTTING MONEY INTO A&R AND INVESTING IN NEW BANDS. AS A RESULT IT’S THE SMALLER INDEPENDENT LABELS THAT ARE REALLY PUSHING THE SCENE FORWARD AND DISCOVERING NEW TALENT. I THINK IT IS THESE SMALLER LABELS THAT ARE KEY TO THE FUTURE OF MUSIC AND I ALSO THINK THERE WILL BE SOMEWHAT OF A SHIFT IN POWER BACK TO THE BANDS, RELEASING THEIR MATERIAL DIGITALLY AND ULTIMATELY HAVING MORE SAY IN HOW THEY DO THINGS WHICH CAN ONLY BE A GOOD THING.

If you could arrange a one day festival who would you have playing?
FOO FIGHTERS, BLINK 182, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, NEW FOUND GLORY, BRAND NEW, A DAY TO REMEMBER, FOUR YEAR STRONG, YELLOWCARD, JIMMY EAT WORLD, MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK…WOW, THIS IS SOUNDING LIKE FOO FIGHTERS + THE HALL OF FAME OF PAST WARPED TOURS…THAT KIND OF A HAS A NICE RING TO IT! MAYBE WE COULD HAVE ANOTHER STAGE FOR THE UP AND COMING BRITISH BANDS LIKE DEAF HAVANA, LOWER THAN ATLANTIS, TWIN ATLANTIC, WE ARE THE OCEAN, MALLORY KNOX, HILDAMAY..MAYBE WE COULD LET JET-PACK OPEN THAT ONE? HAHA!

When you are not playing in Jet Pack what do you do?
MUSIC IS MY LIFE SO I AM ALWAYS WRITING AND COMING UP WITH NEW IDEAS AND GOING TO AS MANY GIGS AS I CAN PHYSICALLY GET TOO. I DO HAVE QUITE A BAD ADDICITON TO PLAYING XBOX ONLINE BUT I’M STILL PRETTY SPORTY AND LIKE TO SKATE MOST DAYS TOO.

What advice would you have for other young bands out there trying to get heard?
MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THE BEST PLACE YOU CAN AFFORD TO RECORD YOUR SONGS. WE ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO WORK WITH YOU ME AT SIX’S AND DEAF HAVANA’S PRODUCER MATT O’GRADY AND HE CONSISTANTLY GETS THE BEST OUT OF US. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN A MANAGER OR A LABEL MIGHT GIVE YOUR BAND 30 SECONDS TO IMPRESS THEM AND YOU HAVE TO DO YOURSELF JUSTICE BY MAKING SURE YOU HAVE THE BEST RECORDINGS POSSIBLE. OTHER THAN THAT, TOUR, TOUR AND TOUR. PLAY AS MANY SHOWS AS YOU CAN, MEET AS MANY BANDS AND NEW FANS AS YOU CAN – ENJOY THE RIDE AND DON’T EVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU IT CAN’T BE DONE OR THAT YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME.

What has been your best musical experience since Jet Pack started?
PLAYING AN ACOUSTIC SET BEFORE BLINK-182 AT THE LG ARENA IN BIRMINGHAM THIS YEAR WILL TAKE A LOT OF BEATING. BLINK WERE THE REASON OUR BAND STARTED AND TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT IN OUR HOME CITY IN FRONT OF SO MANY FRIENDS AND FANS WAS A DREAM COME TRUE.

What does the next 12 months have in store for Jet Pack?
WE HAVE JUST RECORDED A BRAND NEW 5 TRACK EP AND COMPLETED OUR SECOND UK TOUR OF THE YEAR. THE NEXT STEP FOR US IS PITCHING OUR NEW EP TO MANAGEMENT AND LABELS AND DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO GET SOMEONE TO GIVE US A CHANCE TO SHOW THEM WHAT WE CAN DO.

Describe Jet Pack in 5 words.
BEST FRIENDS CHASING THEIR DREAM.

List any tour dates you have coming up:
JUST COMPLETED UK TOUR, NEXT 2 MONTHS BEING SPENT PITCHING NEW EP TO LABELS AND MANAGMENT WITH A COUPLE OF HOME TOWN GIGS AROUND BIRMINGHAM AT HMV INSTITUTE OCTOBER 27TH AND WOLVERHAMPTON SLADE ROOMS OCTOBER 31ST.

To find out more about Jet Pack visit their facebook page here:

http://www.facebook.com/wearejetpack/photos#!/wearejetpack