Throwback Songs

I’m a huge 80s fan; as in big, even colossal!  I love the movies (Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Flashdance, even the Goonies).  I love the television shows (Golden Girls and Miami Vice, I miss you!)  I love the fashion . . .  OK, well maybe, I can do without big hair, neon shirts, and leg warmers.  But still, I love the 80s!  If I could go back in time (like Michael J. Fox did with his car or John Cusack with a hot tub), I would do it in a heartbeat.  And you know what I love most about the 80s (besides Cabbage Patch dolls and Pac-man?):  I love the music!  I simply adore the “Only In My Dreams, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Like a Virgin, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” kind of music that gets my toes tapping and my hips swaying.

I don’t know what it is about that decade, but somehow it always brings me back to the sweet memories I have growing up (am I showing my age?)  In fact, if I were to make a slideshow of my life, it would be set to the Casy Kasem Top 40 hit songs of the 80s!

It’s amazing. I will be shopping at the mall, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I will hear a familiar melody: Madonna will be singing “Crazy for You” and I’ll stop dead in my tracks.  I’ll smile and have the sudden urge to buy myself a polka dot miniskirt, “Boytoy” belt and fishnet gloves. It never fails. 

And then it hits me; the reason why I love 80s songs so much; the reason why these songs have such a hypnotic effect on me: It’s because songs are just as powerful as books.

Songs are nostalgic, reminding me of places I’ve been to and people I’ve met (I can’t listen to “Is This Love?” without remembering my first boyfriend).  Songs uplift me when I’m feeling down (I’ve been known to belt out “All By Myself” after a bad breakup).   Songs inspire me (I can definitely climb several flights of stairs to the “Rocky” theme song).  Songs have marked important events in my life (my first slow dance, my wedding song, the songs I sang to my children at bedtime).

And as a writer, I’ve come to understand that songs are just like short stories, essays or novellas; truly literary works of art.  Like the books that I read or write, songs paint a vivid picture, tell a riveting story, and transport us to another time and place.

Like the favorite books I love to read time and time again, I also have favorite songs: these, I play over and over and never get tired of hearing.  I’ve memorized verses and can hum melodies absentmindedly.  I sing along to the radio with my friends (while driving to a party) or I sing by myself in the shower (when I think no one else can hear me).

So tonight, instead of curling up in my bed with a good book (as I’m known to do most nights), I am going to put on my headsets, turn to the playlist on my cell phone and drift off to sleep to the soothing voice of Phil Collins singing “Against All Odds.”

Ah, the 80s!  I suddenly miss my Sony Walkman for some strange reason . . .


If I Could Invite My Characters Out . . . By Erin Brady

I’ve had so much fun reading all of my favorite writers take turns completing the sentence that I wanted to join in on the action!  So here goes:

If I could invite my characters out for a night on the town, I’d probably find myself climbing up a fire escape somewhere in Manhattan or trying to get backstage access at a concert by pretending to be reporters.  If Sadie agreed to go out with me, she’d stop at nothing to meet the man at the center of her celebrity obsession and she’d somehow convince me to help her.  I’m sure we’d get into lots of trouble, but I also know that it would probably be a night I won’t soon forget!

Check out Sadie and her antics in my latest book, “The Twelve-Step Plan” available on Amazon:

Introducing Sadie Rollins

I’m so excited for the release of my new bookThe Twelve Step Plan on February 3rd!  I had so much fun writing this book and even more creating the character of Sadie!  My mother always told me not to tell a lie, so I have a little secret to share.  Sadie may be fictional, but she has all of the characteristics of one of my dearest friends (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are, don’t you!)  You see, a while back, she had quite the crush on a celebrity.  It bordered on an obsession, actually.  But like I wrote in one of my blog postings last week, dont we all have obsessions?  Some may have them more serious than others, but they still exist.  I firmly believe that we all have a little bit of Sadie inside of us, or if we don’t, we should! Absolutely!

So, in anticipation of my book release, I would love to offer you an inside look into my characters crazy and, hopefully, funny world.  So without further delay, let me introduce you to Sadie Rollins . . .

Chapter One: Excerpt from “The Twelve-Month Plan”

I have a serious obsession. It’s the kind that keeps me up at night, the kind that causes me to check out at work, the kind that classifies me as “eccentric” or “crazy” among colleagues, friends and family. Really, it’s the kind that actually has them seriously thinking about having me committed to the mental ward of a hospital. It’s not like I’m the only one with an obsession, though. We all have these in some shape or form, from one extreme to the other. It’s only that some of us (and I definitely include myself in this category) have it worse than others. Some of us (I’m pointing the finger directly at me now) may have a serious problem on our hands.

Some people obsess about chocolate: dark, bitter, sweet with caramel filling; or in ice cream topped with whipped cream and almonds. It’s the kind of chocolate that melts in your mouth, causing the closest thing to an orgasmic sensation you can get without actually experiencing the real thing.

Some people obsess about exercising and dieting. They run a billion miles a day or take so many spinning classes that if the wheels on the bike were on the ground, they’d be halfway around the world by now and when they cycle back home, they measure portions of food as if they were scientists in a laboratory.

Others obsess about sex: sex in a public place, on the kitchen floor, in a hot tub, in the subway, a department store (Well, you get the picture . . . as in literally). My obsession, you ask? Well, let’s just say, it’s not so much a what, but a who. I’ll give you a few hints. He’s Latin. He wears designer-tailored suits (even in the hottest summer months) with the collar (never a tie) always slightly opened to expose a bit of his perfectly chiseled bare chest and a brightly colored dress shirt to make himself pop (red, yellow, blue, purple—any color of the rainbow, really, but never white nor black). His beautiful big, dark brown eyes are hidden eighty-five percent of the day

behind dark-tinted sunglasses. His thick mane of light brown wavy hair is always brushed

back neatly without a strand out of place, and most times, he wears his “signature” fedora. His dimples (one on each of his cheeks) are unbelievable and I’m sure trademarked against unauthorized uses of any kind. He can dance. Boy, can he dance! And what can I say about his hips? If a gyrating pelvis was a crime, I think he’d be serving a life sentence, without parole. He sings both in Spanish and in English and the way the words roll off his tongue, especially the letter “r,” it’s so lyrical, so sensual, so . . . I’m getting flustered thinking about it. He also happens to be the biggest music star/celebrity/actor/sexiest man alive on the planet, in my opinion, and he doesn’t even know I exist.

I know that my obsession is a major problem. It consumes way too much of my time, and my friends and family have a very hard time understanding it. I don’t blame them, really. I mean, what twenty-nine-year-old female adult (a few months shy of thirty) has a crush like this anymore? At fourteen, when I had a poster of my favorite actor hanging up on my bedroom wall, it was cute. Now, it’s considered pathetic at best.

In my own defense, I recognize the absurdity of it all. At my age, I know I have no business fantasizing about someone so unattainable, so beyond my realm of possibilities, but I still can’t help it. I’ve tried fighting the urge, putting it out of my mind, rationalizing it away, but every time I think about him, I go weak at the knees and I lose focus. Thinking of him makes me happy; and doesn’t everyone deserve a chance at happiness? So, after being in denial for a long time, I’ve come to accept the fact that there is nothing I can do that will make this go away. No pills; no pep talk; no therapy; no real cure.

Except for one.

Now, before you judge me, please hear me out. There are many experts in the psychiatric field who claim that the only way to deal with a serious obsession is to focus instead on a comparable healthy activity rooted in reality (can you tell I’ve been reading up on this?). I completely disagree with them all. I’ve tried that approach and it has failed miserably. My own layman approach? Instead of running from it and denying the fact that it exists, I fully intend to confront this obsession head-on. How, you might ask? Well, it’s simple, really. I’m going to treat my obsession by doing all that I can to meet him and have him fall in love with me. It’s the only way to wean myself off this affliction once and for all.

For the record, I know the odds are stacked against me (I may be obsessed, but I’m not naïve). Being a rational person (most of the time), I also know that this chance encounter will most likely never happen. The fact is I have a better chance of getting struck by lightning twice on the same day than to have him fall madly in love with me. But I also know that I have to try because, unless I do this, I won’t be able to get on with my life. It’s exactly like buying a lottery ticket. You know the chances of hitting the big jackpot are slim to none, but you also know that you have to be “in it to win it.” Yes, it’s crazy, but it’s also the kind of “crazy” that every person at some point in their lives does without thinking. Granted, most people “do” their crazy in college, but what can I say? I’m a late bloomer.

So, to hell with psychotherapy and breathing exercises! To hell with support groups and visualization! I have, instead, given myself a goal–I will develop twelve steps to perfectly execute this (some would say very crazy, possibly certifiably insane) plan of mine. Only twelve steps, and by the end of the last one, I will either be with my hip-gyrating, dimple-infused, Latin-loving, Spanglish-speaking Adonis or walk away knowing that I tried my best. And if I fail, I’ll at least take comfort in the fact that I did everything in my power to try to make my fantasy a reality. When I’m old and gray, swaying back and forth on my rocking chair, I will have this amazing story to tell my grandchildren. The message for them will be this: Follow your dreams, even if it means failure and even if it’s the craziest thing anyone has ever heard, because sometimes, just sometimes, you might find something wonderful in the insanity. Sometimes, you might discover something about yourself you never knew existed.

To pre-order your copy of The Twelve-Step Plan,please click on the link: