That Guy

It’s hard to talk about.

I’ve learned since that when something happens and you don’twantto-can’t-areafraidto talk about it, that is a big red flag for abuse.

Shame is the tool of the abuser. Secrecy and silence.

So when at last I leave and I am out, I carry the message. Don’t speak. Don’t be that guy that hangs on to things to be dramatic.

No one will believe me.

And no one will understand.

Just be glad you’re out. Be glad it’s over.

But then. When every church service means I cry silently without stopping it doesn’t quite feel over.

It must be the songs. The songs I played on that church piano, the only piano I had access to. THe place where I could express myself in pure emotion and leave dangerous words out of it.

I can’t stand in church and hear those same songs I played without tears. Crying might be the wrong word. Because it is a reflexive reaction. It’s barely emotion, and it doesn’t even hurt

that much

It’s just that i have to cry.

What if I went to a church that didn’t look, sound, smell or feel like the one I played the piano in?

I tried that. It worked okay for a while.

Until the leader and the group started to feel the same. No, I will not repent and confess if I miss a Sunday service. As a matter of fact, I think I will miss every Sunday service from here on out.

I can be confidence and fippant after the fact. At the time there were a lot more tears.

But they never knew about the church with that piano. Not really.

I wrote a book about it at last. I pushed past the shame and silence and secrecy.

People may still say I am over dramatic.

And then there will be the people who read the book, and it drops down into their still silent heart like a stone in a lake.

All the way down to the bottom, never to be removed.

Because they will know. They will know that SOMEONE told it. That the secrecy is a broken rule.

A broken lock

and the jail cell can be vacated.

Be that guy. The one that breaks free

Cross your arms

It’s not that people don’t like new things. But mostly we want a new thing within a narrow range.

A new flavor of our favorite snack is a great new thing.

But a new person or a new idea can be too much.

Crossed arms.

Closed heart.

Not you not now.

It’s not what you think

I taught myself how to play piano using a chord chart, and my church plopped me down in front of the organ. Just play the chords! Organs are easy, right?

I did it. I got good at it. And then eventually I got to play the church piano at age 15. After I’d been doing it for a few years, I had an opportunity to go to a Saturday seminar in Anchorage. They were going to teach us how to lead worship even better.

I’d picked up a few things. The bass player had been part of a band, and he gave me tips on free worship (now I might call it interstitial) music should be structured. Major 1 and major 4 progressions are thoughtful. Throw in a major 7 chord and it sounds like triumph. I had seen how the congregation or audience responded, and I could see the musical affect.

While I played, I was thrilled to have the chance to practice by performance. I could do this thing that I loved and was needed. I was part of worship, and I felt like I was serving a higher spiritual purpose to play as well as I could.

The seminar in Anchorage was intimidating. I felt like real piano players and worship leaders were attending. They actually knew what they were doing, while I had only memorized a chord chart from the back of a songbook.

But when the teacher got up and started talking, my mouth filled with ash. He was so calculated.

The bass player hadn’t felt that way.

This guy told me things I already sort of knew, but instead of feeling like I was helping the Spirit he felt calculated. Like a puppet master.

I felt humbug and complicit. I played as usual that Sunday. I didn’t feel as I used to, part of the mighty rushing wind of inspiration. I felt like the overgrown girl assistant to the tawdry magician.

Well. As least the music was mine. Regardless of how the masses were swayed, I knew what I was making.

Why remember this now?

I’m preparing to tell people about The Russian American School of Tomorrow. <~MARKETING!!!~>

The experts say to appeal to the audience’s emotions and give a compelling call to action. I feel right back in humbug city.

The Russian American School of Tomorrow is the most authentic and real thing I’ve ever written. Now I have to take those skills I learned while writing it

Writing skills

And use them for manipulation. Or what feels like exploitation. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like that side of human nature and I don’t like that side of my nature.

I don’t like how we have these strings exposed to the world, which almost anybody can pick them up and play us.

There must be a positive side to it. Not all manipulation is exploitation. The people that I love can play me, and I am in many ways grateful for it. Yes, I am glad to do that thing, make that food or that trip which makes my family react in that way.

Is it mutual manipulation? Perhaps it’s mutual gratification. Or maybe it could be called love.

I wrote The Russian American School of Tomorrow for the love of creating it. I knew that if I wrote it well, it would be a great story that would help a lot of people understand themselves and each other.

So maybe if I take the next step, and learn to love telling people (the dreaded marketing) about the story I wrote from love, it will be a good feeling. Not exploitation and manipulation, which I deplore.

But a true authentic gift, a favor. I’m not going to hide behind a curtain like the humbug Oz. I’ll stand in the open and let people know.

As soon as I figure out how.

Veronica speaks

“Veronica, Lucy is crying again. She cries a lot. Shes eight years old. You are only six but she cries a lot more than you do.”

“Mommy, It’s easier to listen to your heart when you are six.”

“Easier than it is when you are eight?”


Big Finish

“Welcome to Wonderblog!”

Those are the words I typed 13 years ago to launch this enterprise. I had just finished my coursework to graduate from college and I wanted to use my own voice.

So I started this blog.

Took me twelve years to get that little diploma piece of paper. After I spent years of night classes, balancing life, a job and the money, I finished the bingo card of required credits and got to wear the hat.

And I thought, That’s the end of the paved path. From here on out, it’s me in the jungle making my own way with a machete.

Off-roading. Scary. That’s the way of wonder and the way of art.

A year later, I started working on what has become The Russian American School of Tomorrow.

It is finished.

I did not expect it to take this long, to be so hard, or to turn out so beautifully.

We are looking down the barrel of this week’s holiday. Sunday is the glorious celebration of the resurrection, but before that comes Friday, the death, and the reference of my quote above: “It is finished.”

Living through the events of the story described in my book almost killed me the first time. Then writing them ground me up and spit me out in little pieces.

But it is finished. My story of escaping from spiritual abuse to the land of horrific political repression and finding my own way to happiness is now available. Here is an excerpt:

I still didn’t trust preachers. I wanted to read the Bible, but I knew the whole thing had been explained to me and explained wrong. What was God really saying? How could I see through the mask of lies that covered these pages for me?

I picked up the Bible my parents had bought me a few Christmases ago. Some Bibles were red-letter editions, printing the direct word of God and Jesus in red ink. “Let there be light” in Genesis was written in red. “It is finished” in the gospels, when Jesus died on the cross, was also red.

If I only read the red, just the words that God himself had spoken, maybe I could trust those to uncover the truth.

I wished the truth were not so hard to get to. I trusted the Bible, but I didn’t trust what my upbringing had made of my reading skills. There were four books, the gospel stories of the life of Jesus. I would read those and see what they actually said.


Go read what the rest of the book actually says. I long for you to know the story and to hear what you think after reading.

I am so grateful for you, my wonder readers. May your machete path be as magnificent and wonderful as I know it will be. Thank you for being part of mine.