Given all the grief floating around this planet, another book about “one woman’s journey” may sound like a snooze, but, at least, I’ve had an interesting life with some amazing characters like John Denver, Ginette Paris, Roger Nichols, Joy Monroe McConnell, Paul Rothchild, Donald Fagan, Walter Becker (Steely Dan), Dorotha Stephens etc., and I’m willing to write about some of it. 😉
Memory Clouds is my offering to the “searching person” book-glut in the market. It’s also about my discovery of goddesses (and gods 😀) inhabiting every bush, every last bottle and circling all the skyscrapers. New Age mumbo-jumbo aside, I also wrote my way out of committing a justifiable revenge act and found some tools to help me bloom again.
Conrad Reeder and John Denver after a scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef near Hamilton Island circa 1986. Photo by Roger Nichols
Just a couple of tracks from Fugitive Blonde daze….
Some days I’d rather not think about Roger. His absence will always be painful no matter how many years roll by, and when I see him in family footage, my body aches. But, our girls and I are determined to keep going because we are producing a documentary about him and it has to be done.
I barely remember this day or the ones leading up to it, but apparently I did this.
However, I do remember the moment I wrote the speech. Cimcie, Ash and I were in Jupiter, Florida going through the property that was going into foreclosure, the home I thought Roger and I would grow old together–where we would play with our grandkids someday. The ordeal was excruciatingly painful for me, but then we got the news from Neil Crilly that Roger won this Grammy. He’d been nominated the year before and lost, a sad day for him (on top of the cancer), and then he died six weeks later.
So, this was a bittersweet moment. I walked into his studio and sat in his chair, looked around at all the gear, books…all his stuff left behind when he’d driven away to Burbank in 2010 with a trailer of more “stuff” for his new job teaching at Video Symphony. His intent was to get the rest of his “stuff” later, but later never came. His diagnosis of Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer happened several months into his new job.
Tears. Sobbing, really. After some time, I picked up a pen. While sitting in Roger’s chair in his office, looking out at our beautiful flowers and the butterflies flitting around, a landscape we’d so lovingly cared for and enjoyed, I stopped crying and the words appeared on the page. I don’t know where all the words I write come from, but I believe those words came from Roger.
Because that’s how he wanted people to remember him: inventive, driven to succeed, passionate about life and fun.
I am grateful for friends who are trying to help us (me and our girls) put something out there on film about Roger’s brilliant mind and beautiful soul. Love will find a way and my thought wrote that.
Roger’s Pantera. It went fast and it was REALLY loud. I could hear him coming at least a mile away with the low vrub-vrub-vrub, vibrating widows and such. Conversations in the car were impossible, what with muscular steel torqueing through bodies. I remember riding in the car, snuggling baby Cimcie curled up on my lap (before child seat laws) with lips smiling in dreamland, a little soft bunny girl-doll, oblivious to being zoomed down Interstate 10 in an exotic Italian sports car by her race-car driver dad. To Grandmother’s house we go; a different ride than “over the river and through the woods”—this car needed flat, smooth surfaces. And, Roger turned corners like a pro, much to my passenger stomach’s dismay. During my pregnancy, riding in that car through Laurel Canyon always produced an up-chuck from me.
While driving through Beverly Hills, Roger got a “too loud” ticket. Back then, (1981) Beverly Hills neighbors would complain (especially in the hills) about anyone in the canyons even turning on a loud dishwasher after sunset. Anyway, Roger lined up all his receipts and his defense (he had actually passed the bar exam years earlier), and headed to court. His argument: the muffler was the original, not an add-on to annoy people. The judge dismissed the ticket.
Lead singer/songwriter Conrad Reeder’s band from 1986 – 1992. Various members, with songs written by Conrad & Sandra Kaplinsky/Garszva.
Mixed/Mastered by Roger Nichols.
Such a bittersweet day for our family…just like the word in poor Whitney’s song. Life is so very, very short. All future plans are just a possibility–take note young people. A cliché, but so true, “live each day as if it’s your last.”
Many thanks to Jeff for helping us get through the day.