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Monday, February 8, 2016

One Week After Surgery

Only she could rock a hospital gown!

It's been a week since my daughter had her surgery to remove what we thought were only two to three osteochondromas from her right hip. She had been in extreme pain for a couple of months, likening it to having a huge rock in your shoe that you couldn't remove. This was the worst pain she had ever felt since it didn't matter what position her body was in...there was no relief. All of her prior surgeries on her leg and finger -- twenty two tumors total removed over three surgeries -- were done at UVA in Charlotesville by a wonderful pediatric surgeon. Unfortunately, since she is now 22 he would not take her case so we were forced to "pick" someone in Roanoke.

When I first met the surgeon from Carillion I thought he was maybe "too young" and worried if he'd be up to the task. My daughter didn't mind his age and felt that maybe that would be a good thing since he probably knew newer techniques. She even stated that folks say she is "too young" to be a news director and she excels at her job. I understood. The surgeon was in no hurry to operate and tried physical therapy first which seemed to exasperate the pain. She underwent the normal routine of tests, x-rays, catscan & contrast MRI.

The MRI showed a potential problem with one of the tumors that we didn't even know was there. Since it "lit up" the MRI it was possible it was cancerous. The surgeon hoped it was just fluid giving us the hot-spot but wouldn't know until he got in there. The plan was to open her up, which entailed an incision from her backside down to the right thigh. Once he looked at it if he thought there was a possibility it was cancer he would take a biopsy and close her right back up. If he thought it wasn't he would continue with the scheduled operation to remove the other tumors. He felt there was also a possibility that she would lose the artery in her leg and perhaps have some nerve damage as the tumors have a way of getting wrapped in them. He would do his best to preserve whatever he could. I found out he was not only an orthopedist specialist, although not really in hips, but in feet, but he also was a trauma surgeon. That is a good thing...that means he works fast and is used to expecting the unexpected.

The check-in at Roanoke Memorial hospital was quite smooth and she was taken back for prep at the exact time she was supposed to. This was a huge difference from prior surgeries at UVA where one time she had to wait seven hours, starving, before she was even taken back. My advice to those getting surgery is to push to have the first of the day. I gave the staff my cell-phone and they used it to call me back into pre-op. When I went back I thought she was all ready and I was just going to say good luck. When I got there she was in tears as there was a problem with her getting an IV. The nurses tried both hands and her arm but it kept failing. They finally got it to stay in the arm but that was after "digging around" a bit. She's just like me...we hate needles. It was a pretty traumatic experience and they gave her something to calm down before wheeling her in. I kissed her and then began praying to Mary and Padre Pio for her.


About forty five minutes later I received a phone call from one of the OR nurses who said they were going ahead with the whole operation. I breathed a sigh of relief as that meant it didn't look like cancer. It was about three hours later before she was in recovery. I was surprised at how aware and awake she already was. My fear is always that she won't come out of anesthesia, or that they give her too much and she suffers brain damage. I always make it a point to speak to the anesthesiologist and tell them they are the most important person on the team. They truly are.

The surgeon came in to brief us on the operation. There were twenty tumors removed. One was as large as a golf ball, another two also big and the other 17 smaller. There were more but he couldn't take out any other as the amount already weakened the bones. So he took the ones he thought would be potential problems down the line. The operation itself entails dislocating the hip (cracking it) and removing the leg from the socket. He then scapelled and scraped the offenders. He replaced the leg into the socket and used screws to hold it in place. He was able to work around the artery so she didn't lose it. He stressed that the hip and leg are extremely weak now and although he thought recovery originally might be around 8 weeks he upped it to 12. There could be no pressure whatsoever on that right leg. It was a total hip impingement operation meaning no weight at all, no crossing ankles, no movement. She could not move more than 90 degrees from the waist meaning no bending, etc. She would need home care physical therapy. I would be her right leg.

She was brought into a room quickly which also impressed me. The nursing staff was great, except for one or two night ones. Nobody was familiar with her condition and I guess they thought it odd such a young lady had "hip problems." The first night was spent in bed and they put her on a regular diet. I was really impressed by a young man she had begun dating two weeks before surgery. Unfortunately, most of the dopes she's dated before him have made her feel like a freak regarding her condition. They tore her apart and her self-esteem was null. This boy seems to be the opposite. He builds her up. He even stayed the entire night with her in the hospital, sleeping in a chair! He's been a God send and I really hope he's the real deal.

Love heals

The very next morning physical therapy had her up and trying to walk. She cannot use a wheelchair so she has a walker. She has to lift her body up, use her left foot to move forward while slowly positioning the right one. It's very taxing on someone who has no upper body strength, but by the time she recovers she will. She walked all the way down to the nurses station.

She still kept her sense of humor while struggling with pain.

I knew she was feeling better when she started complaining about the disgusting hospital food. She stayed another night as did her boyfriend. She got the okay to leave on Wednesday morning after meeting with the doctors and therapist who gave her devices, such as a grasping hook (look I'm Buster from Arrested Development!) a sock device (not gonna happen...I'll put her socks on) a long shoe-horn (shoes? Ha!) and a sponge on a stick (counting down the days to a real shower), to make her daily living easier.

Just getting her into the car was an experience. Of course there was a torrential downpour and I had to navigate through flooded roads and try to miss bumps and holes in the road. Boy was I thankful the hospital was only fifteen minutes from home instead of three hours!

There are so many things one takes for granted until one finds themselves in a position where they're no longer able to do them by themselves. My lower back is killing me from being bent over a good part of the day to help that leg/foot along. She cannot dress herself, go to the bathroom herself, get out of bed herself, sit in a recliner herself. This is so frustrating for someone who is used to not depending upon anyone and is a firecracker constantly spinning in her previous life. My stupid pain is nothing compared to the pain she is experiencing and I feel guilty even mentioning mine!

One of the biggest challenges was keeping Bella away from her. The "normal" routine is Bella wakes the girl up every day and then snuggles in bed with her. Fearing she will crack the hip when she jumps, she has been barred from going near the girl. I hold Bella in my arms and bring her to my daughter so she could give her kisses. I've had to position the walker and crutches (which she doesn't use but they make a good guard) where my daughter is to keep Bella away from her. I keep telling her, no, no baby, she has a boo-boo, and I think the dog finally gets it. My daughter cannot wait to pick that baby up and snuggle.

The first day home the girl did get a message that one of the news casts she directed has been nominated for an Emmy. She directed that show a couple of months ago while sitting on a pile of pillows in the studio as she was in extreme agony. We both cried tears of joy at the news...21 years old and her show was nominated! How cool is that? Well, it was a mixed blessing because she already misses going to work. In fact, I just had to stop writing this post because I heard something tumble down in her room and found her in tears. She hates being bed-ridden. She's frustrated and upset. She hates calling on me constantly. She feels as if she's a burden. Of course she's not. We had a long talk and I said the tears are good to get out, just let them flow. I also told her this is only temporary. Every day she will feel better. I don't mind helping her. That's what moms do. Nothing else matters, except for her. Heck, I even got over my fear of needles as I have to inject her daily to prevent blood clots.

Almost one week later. The incision goes up her backside. The leg is swollen and the black and blue nasty. There is also yellow bruising that you cannot see in the pic.

When she cries she feels useless I remind her to be thankful all the tumors came back from the pathology lab as being benign. I remind her how much she has already accomplished in her life. I remind her there is a reason she has endured this suffering her whole life and when she feels up to it she should begin to write about it. I remind her there are others out there who feel hopeless and she can be the beacon of hope to them inspiration not to give up. She will overcome this and she will find her calling. Of this I'm sure. For now she needs patience..and some visitors wouldn't be a bad thing either.

Found the perfect chaise recliner that doesn't rock and she found the perfect guy  who does rock.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Popcorn Possum

The first time this city girl saw a possum I thought, "Man, that is one huge rat!" It wasn't but it might as well be as they really creep me out. This guy visited yesterday to eat the popcorn I had thrown out for the birds. I thought possums only came out at night but apparently not. Popcorn Possum is bigger than Bella!

Looks like there's something wrong with his ear...fight perhaps?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Face of a Chronic Illness

I'd like to share this Facebook post from my daughter...for anyone who has, or cares for someone with a chronic illness, you may relate.

Marie Aprile's photo.
This is what someone looks like living life with a chronic illness. Chronic illnesses are conditions or diseases that can be neither prevented, nor generally ever cured. Many chronic illnesses are invisible disabilities, meaning they are conditions that create significant challenges in daily every day life, but are not easily apparent and sometimes not even seen to anyone on the outside.
My parents told me when I was two years old I fell off the bed. They felt a bump on my leg afterwards, and brought me to the doctor. It was then when I was diagnosed with Multiple Heredity Exostoses. MHE is a rare, chronic, painful disease that is characterized by benign bone tumors. It’s generally hereditary, as the name states, however in my case, it is an even rarer mutation as I’m the first generation to have it. I can’t remember a time I HAVEN’T BEEN in pain. You can’t tell by this picture, as this was taken after I had 22 tumors removed from my body, 21 from my legs and 1 from my hand, but it’s a deforming condition as well. Growing up, I used to have golf balls sticking out of my knees. I was an extremely fragile child: if I were hit hard enough (as in falling or running into the metal rods on the play ground) I’d get another tumor on the impact site. If I tried to run in gym or on the playground, muscles, tendons, and nerves would get stuck on the tumors in my knees. My legs would lock until the tissue was unstuck. I would have to basically pull the muscle off of it myself. I was so fragile that the other kids were scared of me. I remember when I told my “best friend” in fourth grade that the reason I couldn’t take PE was because I had tumors, she screamed “Ew get your cancer away from me!”, in front of the whole class. I was basically ostracized during my entire school years.
I could never understand why people are so hard on people with chronic illnesses, but then I thought maybe it’s because they simply just don’t know someone is suffering in silence. The best compliment someone can give me has nothing to do with my appearance, but that they didn’t know I had anything wrong with me. People who go through life living with a chronic illness have a double life. They have the life they want people to see, the life that’s going through the motions of daily normal life—going to work, having a social life, a fa├žade really. The real life is the one they don’t want people to know—the struggle to get out of bed, the amount of sheer determination it takes to go through a full day of work. The constant inner pep talks, inner monologues about different motivations to keep going. The guilt of cancelling plans last minute because your body can’t handle anymore, and then the shame of just stopping making plans overall because you know you’ll have to cancel anyway, your body just can’t handle anything more. The constant worry that you’re keeping your chin up high and your voice strong and clear when you just get back bad test results. Those living with chronic conditions have become so accustomed to living the double life that it appears to the world as one, leading to the ignorance aforementioned: they just can’t tell. 
For me personally, the fact that I can go to work is a blessing and nothing I would take for granted. I have over 100 tumors through out my body; I do not have to work a day in my life. I could collect a check and never have to get off the couch to earn it. I don’t have to work, but I want to. That’s why for me, the most hurtful thing someone can do is imply that I’m lazy. The things “normal” people see as a chore, I—along with many others going through life with a chronic illness—see as a privilege. I’m on deck for my fourth surgery and the most upsetting part about that isn’t the amount of work that needs to be done, reconstructive, and tumor removal. It’s the post op recovery that upsets me most, because I will be forced to stay home and miss work.
I only write this to offer perspective. I don’t write this for your sympathy and pity. My ultimate goal in life is to be “important enough” that people will care. Don’t get me wrong, I know people care, but I’d like to be the person a little girl with bumps all over her body can look to and know she can do what ever she puts her mind to, no matter what the bullies and doctors say. I’d like to be the person a worried mother can look to and know MHE, and ANY disabling illness, is not a death sentence, and will not stop their child from living a happy and fulfilled life. I’d like to be the inspiration that I never had, and that can only be achieved by me opening up and telling my story.


Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 - The Year of Declutter

I declare 2016 the year of declutter!

My muse has not returned so I got to thinking that maybe I'm clogged up because I have too much clutter in my life. Perhaps if I start to eliminate some of it there will be an opening in my surroundings, especially my spirit and mind, whereby creativity can once again enter it.

I have too much stuff. I have too many projects started. I have too many "one day I'm gonna" declarations. I have too little completions.

The first thing I need to declutter is my body. I've gotten to that tipping point where I know I've let myself go way too far. My husband doesn't care and I swear he wants me to stay fat and I'm not kidding. I'm sick of it and I feel sick. I know I must be at the very least pre-diabetic especially after this last month of consuming every goodie I wanted. I feel like a sugary elf who can't fit into the tree house. No more.

First step is to jump back on the NutriSystem train to give me the jump start I need. Last time it worked and I did lose seven pounds in one week. I've told my husband he's on his own this week as I will not deviate from the box of chemical fiber meals sitting on the table. That means no alcohol or wine either so he better not push that glass at me saying, "C'mon, one's not going to hurt you." Yes, yes it will because I don't know how to stop at to me is a whole bottle. So, no! I've also bought a Zumba DVD set to add to my routine. Riding the stationary bike while watching Netflix doesn't work any more. My body is used to it. I could probably fall asleep while pedaling. My daughter took a look at the Zumba box and remarked, "You can't move that fast." Maybe not in a class full of slim women, but yes, yes I can in the privacy of my own home. Once I get my body fit I hope my mind will also be more fit. One step at a time.

Next up is to declutter my office. I still have all my walls plastered with research for a novel I haven't even seriously begun to write. I got so caught up in the details and research that I lost my way in the writing of it. It became too overwhelming. I jumped to a couple of other stories that I wanted to get out and was making good progress until I began researching those subjects and found myself once again a prisoner in the library. The problem is I love to read and become so easily engrossed. Add to the mix a couple of current books I "must read" and the next thing I know I have a full stack on my nightstand as well as a full kindle. Truth be told, I am at my happiest with a nose in a book, so it's not a bad thing, but if I want to be a serious writer I cannot keep reading other folk's works. For some reason the muse is with me when I'm in New York City, but here in Roanoke, she's left the valley. I'm hoping if I work on my office and declutter my surroundings from not just research on the walls, but paperwork everywhere, my mind will feel less cluttered. Right now I'm up to my ears in end of year shop shit, so it's not going to happen right away. One step at a time.

Now for the stuff decluttering. I need to do something with the thousands of books, magazines and VHS tapes that I had transported down here from my dad. I had catalogued a couple of thousand of them, but when I made the chart I made it using MS Works and not Word. Unfortunately, my lap top that contained all the info died and I have been unable to transfer all the work I did via a flash drive to any other computer we have in the house as none of them have MS Works. When I fire up my old tower to do the shop shit, I'm hoping I have Works on there so I could at least print out all the info. Even if I can, I'm still at a loss of the best way to go about selling the materials. Should I start a website? Should I use eBay? Should I use Amazon? I've never sold anything on line and I have no idea how to even begin. I feel like the tons of books are hovering over my head and will collapse upon me one day if I don't do anything with them. All I know is I have to do something as the shop has everything there and my husband needs room for his creations which brings me to the next decluttering I need to do...find a way to help my husband sell his creations.

My husband is not only a gifted mechanic but he also has magic hands with wood, granite, or anything else you put in front of him. He creates beautiful works and has been bugging me to come up with a way to self his stuff on-line. Although he did very well around Christmas with folks coming to the shop and buying his creations for last minute gifts, he could do much better all across the country. Again, I just don't know how to begin to market and sell it for him. Should I start a website? Should I use eBay? Should I use Amazon? Should I use Etsy? I just don't know where to begin, but I really need to as we need to think about adding a second income into the mix as his mechanic days will eventually be drawing to an end. There are no old mechanics. And if we're going to depend on my royalties, we'll certainly starve.

I also have tons of "memory" articles cluttering up the basement. There are knick-knacks, clothing, just tons of crap from my parent's house which I have not even unwrapped from newspaper, or have stuck in drawers, boxes, etc. What do I do with all that stuff? I have always felt guilty just thinking about getting rid of it, but what good is it doing me? I'm getting to the point where I need to let some of it go. I think I finally realized it this Christmas when I had a couple of pieces that were my mom's shatter during the holidays. When they broke I was upset for about a minute, especially since this year was the first year I unwrapped them and said, "What am I waiting for? A special day? Today is a special day!" So I took them out and actually used them. Unfortunately, the folding table wasn't secure and one leg buckled under (that's the story we're going with) causing everything on it to tumble to the ground. The only things that broke were my mom's. Same thing happened when a plate flew out of the dish drain on the counter. Same thing happened when the Christmas resting spoon came out of the dishwasher broken. By that time I was like, "Oh well, another one bites the dust." So I got to thinking if the articles I liked broke and I was able to flick the feelings away so easily why am I holding onto all the figurines and stuff which I don't even like? Perhaps it's time to let them go as well. Maybe I can sell some of them too. Once again, how do I go about it? On-line? Or, maybe I should look into what the deal is with renting a space from a local flea market or consignment shop. Something to consider.

All I know is that my life needs decluttering, and just because you get rid of an article that means/meant something to me/someone it doesn't mean I'm getting rid of the memory and memories take up less space...

Monday, December 7, 2015

When Did Hugging Becoming Bad?

Although I do have great respect for the environment, I probably wouldn't be called a tree-hugger, but I am definitely a people-hugger. Much like Europeans greet each other with a peck to each side of the cheek, I don't kiss hello or goodbye, unless you're a relative, but I have been known to hug in greeting and parting. I don't know if it's a New York thing, or just an Italian thing, but it's pretty common amongst "my people."

This past weekend my husband and I attended a Christmas party a friend of his was throwing. I had never met his wife before so upon greeting her I took her extended hand with a "nice to meet you." By the end of the shindig when we were leaving I did give her a hug goodbye. When we were heading out the door I saw her husband who was hugging another guy goodbye and I went up to him to thank him for having us, and hugged him. He jumped back as if I electrocuted him and began apologizing to my husband, "I'm sorry man." My husband was like sorry for what? I guess I overstepped my boundary, but didn't mean anything by it, but now that I know it's verboten in Salem, I won't do it again.

My daughter was brought up the same way and she too is a hugger. She had a hugging experience on Saturday night, which was worse than mine. While she was at Valley View she saw a young man that she has known since kindergarten and hadn't seen in over a year. Her instinct was to hug him hello while saying something to the effect, "XXX, I haven't seen you in so long. How are you?" Well, she barely got that phrase out when she heard from the left of her, "Get your fucking whore hands off of my fucking husband, you fucking slut!" As if that wasn't a shock enough hearing this person shout it out in a crowded mall, seeing it was coming from someone heading towards her who had a small child perched on her hip, was more disturbing. The expletives flew at my daughter who looked at the childhood friend with a, wtf? Her friend tried to calm down his wife but she was having no part of it. My daughter was embarrassed especially since she had never had any type of romantic notions with this guy who was merely a friend.

Rather than confront this trashy individual and put her in her place, my daughter felt bad for the kid who had to hear his sweet mother's venom pour out of her mouth. Since my daughter was half the screamer's size, she had no doubt that the child would have been switched to whatever hip her mother's punching arm was not. Rather than be put in a hospital for being hospitable, my daughter put up her hands, shook her head, and walked away from the diatribe. I told her she did the right thing, "You gotta pick your battles." Her response was, "I didn't want to be a headline." The first thing she did when she got back to work was block her friend from Facebook. "If she acts that way in a public place, she's beyond the "jealous type" and probably got all his passwords.  She sounds like the type to stalk me, and damn, I don't need that shit. I don't want to be a headline."

Don't be a headline...a phrase I need to remember!

Anyway, my question to you readers is...are you a hugger? I don't mean to a total stranger, but if it's someone you know, do you hug? And does it matter if that person is not your gender? It wouldn't bother me one iota if a female friend hugged my husband. Would it bother you? Just because you hug someone it doesn't mean you want to fuck them.  I don't know...I think the world could use a little more hugging, not less.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What's Going on With Amtrak in Roanoke?

Dear people of Roanoke,

I know holiday preparations and celebrations are a good diversion to the sometimes less than favorable news of our fair city which of late included a councilman arrested for weed, and a mayor who's moronic remarks brought out far too many supporters of his stance, forever documented on video and in print, adding to the caricature of a backwards hick town that Roanoke is often portrayed as being. On Twitter we were called a "shithole." A little harsh.

Of course, there's not all bad news. Look over here at the shiny new ice-skating rink. That's lovely, especially for the smaller kids. Roanoke leaders must have felt pretty, pretty proud of themselves for accomplishing something that they think makes us more attractive. Oh sure, for the local families, it's a nice little perk, but it does absolutely nothing to attract businesses here. You know what might? An Amtrak station in Roanoke.

Wait, what? We are getting an Amtrak station in Roanoke! It'll be here in 2017. So, you say. I say don't be too sure. I was surprised to read this column by Hayden Hollingsworth in the Roanoke Star entitled, "Roanoke Needs Passenger Rail Service." In it he writes that complications have arisen concerning handicapped accessibility and the need to build a raised platform rather than have a lift for those who cannot navigate steps. Mr. Hollingsworth wasn't clear on who decided that, but upon Googling I found out the following: "On Sept. 30, the Federal Railroad Administration told the project team that federal officials believe a raised platform that would permit level boarding, without the need for wheelchair lifts, is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act."

From Hollingsworth article, "If built to the required specifications it would reduce the trackage to a single rail through Roanoke, an impossibility for continued operation of wide-load freight trains of which there are 50 or more a day." And then this as well, "The 611J, our international icon, will not be able to pass the level platform. What an embarrassment to have invested the money and interest in its restoration and then build a platform that will negate its use!"

Now, I don't believe Norfolk South cares one iota about the 611 not passing the platform, but I do believe that they will never agree to allowing a single rail through Roanoke. It's just not feasible for them as a business. Worse than the downtown station being delayed will be if the downtown station is never built. So I have a couple of questions for the city leaders and politicians who have crowed about being responsible for getting Roanoke its own Amtrak station...

Did no one know that a raised platform was mandatory?
Did no one know that using a lift instead would not be feasible?
How was it determined where the platform would be located?
What steps are being done to come up with a viable solution?
Can we really expect a passenger station in downtown Roanoke, and when?

I believe transportation issues (difficulty, cost, time, getting in and out of Roanoke) are a major reason why businesses are neglecting Roanoke, and no matter how many ice rinks, amphitheaters, bike & walking trails are built, a business is not going to locate here because of them. So stop fooling yourselves!  If this Amtrak station falls through it's just another spike in Roanoke's coffin. People need to stop looking at the shiny things of distraction and focus on keeping this city from becoming a real "shithole."

Yours truly,
A relocated damn Yankee

Thursday, November 12, 2015

M Train by Patti Smith

Patti Smith - Beacon Theatre - 11/10/15 - Photo by Stephen Cipolla

"It's not so easy writing about nothing." - Patti Smith "M Train"

It's not so easy writing a review about "M Train" either. I picked up Patti Smith's latest memoir hoping the muse she has always been to me would emerge after I read it to inspire and lift me out of my writing doldrum. Instead, I found myself slipping deeper into it, and unable to even write an in-depth review. I decided to just highlight a couple of passages and throw in a couple of thoughts.

"Without noticing, I slip into a light yet lingering malaise. Not a depression, more like a fascination for melancholia, which I turn in my hand as if it were a small planet, streaked in shadow, impossibly blue." - Patti Smith "M Train"

It's hard to reflect on the past while living in a totally different present. And I, the invisible person sitting across from Patti at her favorite cafe, watching her daily routine as she nurses her black coffee, nibbles on brown toast with olive oil, making notes or compiling lists, find myself feeling sort of sad for her. Not for the glimpses into her past which many of us never had a view of before, but for the tales she tells of the present.

Drinking lots of black coffee, opening a can of sardines over the sink for dinner, binging on crime tv shows, and spending a birthday and New Year's Eve alone, seems like a routine not associated with anyone "famous." Even the times she is away from her NYC home traveling around the world it doesn't seem like she's "living the dream."

My cousin, who was friends with her mom Beverly when she was alive, says not to believe it. "That's just what she wants to portray," he says. "She always performs on her birthday and New Year's Eve. And she eats very well, she's friends with a lot of famous chefs. I could go on, so don't go feeling too bad for her." Okay then.

"Not all dreams need to be realized. That was what Fred used to say." - Patti Smith "M Train"

As a devoted fan of hers from the beginning, oh, how I resented Patti when she married Fred "Sonic" Smith,  moved away from music, moved away from NYC, and moved to Michigan. When I was 19, I couldn't understand her throwing away her "rockstar" status to become just a wife and mother. Just a wife and mother. Just a wife and mother. It wasn't until I moved away from NYC to Virginia and became just a wife and mother did I understand "just" was a ridiculous word to use.

"Becoming a parent and being responsible for one’s own blood, a tiny helpless thing shifts our place in our universe. We find we are no longer in the center and our self-preoccupation forcibly dissipates. That is a good thing. One can maintain their ideals, their artistic vision, and sense of self while still relinquishing one’s place in the center. That is how we evolve. That is how we develop a sense of humanity, placing others before ourselves." - Patti Smith answering a question on Goodreads.

After reading "M Train" I feel even worse. Clearly, the days she spent with Fred seem like when Patti was happiest. How could I resent that?

"We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother's voice. I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don't go. Don't grow." - Patti Smith "M Train"

Yes. The wish of many of us...

"All writers are bums, I murmured. May I be counted among you one day." - Patti Smith "M Train"

I don't think Patti has to worry about that. Congrats to her for making the New York Times Bestseller List again, like she did with "Just Kids." Unlike "Just Kids" which focused on the past, "M Train" dips into it. I'd say it's more of a melancholy memoir about nothing extraordinary, written beautifully, and leaving this reader wanting more. The way I see it there's three more books in Patti...2 more memoirs...The Rock 'N Roll Years, The Mothering Years, and a crime novel. The last will be the hardest for her to write, and the first one is the one I want to read most.