Saturday, 19 November 2011

Pretty Good Year - a Tori Amos tribute (amongst other things)

It's not every girl who can say she has finally realized all her dreams, but this year (concluding the last 3 years of my life), not only did my biggest dreams come true, but they came true in STYLE!

On 21st March 2011, i got to marry the man of my dreams, my desires, my heart, my soulmate! i got to create a celebration of us in my head and then watch as my fairy-god-planner (aka Design by Marcel) helped me make each and every bridal wish come true. The final outcome was a magical day that just SCREAMED Husband and i, and a Sorta Fairytale that will forever be my happiest moment alive.

"He and i are a pair of suns that are captured, eternally
linked into chasing each others spin"

This year i got to work full time on my first novel, ‘Something Pink’. Writing has been a life long path that unfortunately attracted a few stumbles and glitches along the way. My first book was a scrappy little thing about the sun, moon and stars and the plot ran loosely along the lines of the importance of family and friendship. As i could not actually write properly yet, i needed my mother to help me put it together and to this day i remember the pre-4 year old emotions and excitement when it was finally done, illustrated, written out in full and bound with some knitting wool i found in my grandmothers sewing tin. 

At age 6 or so i wrote my first poem, Snow is Always White, which was about the beauty of snow and my longing to see it in person. (This wish came true too when Husband took me to Japan to experience the best powder snow in the world!) i continued to write essays for school, short stories for myself, songs and poems through my teenage and early adult years, and even some short stories and articles (about home schooling and my year of children’s work in Zambia) that were published in various Christian publications. i tried my hand at journalism, but quickly discovered that i was NOT cut out for reporter style writing like my granny when i started studying through Unisa only to give it up a few months later. But through it all, i have wanted to be an author and write novels. And finally, now i am doing just that! (and THIS close to finishing my first!!!)

i am learning to play the piano. i LOVE the piano and have always wanted to play, ever since i was big enough to reach up and put my fingers on the keys.

"If you need me, me and Neil will be hanging out with
the Dream King"

But alas, as a nr 5 out of 6 kids living in a missionary house hold, it was not financially possible for me to have a piano teacher. Also, we moved around so much, there wasn’t much chance of me putting roots down and getting through the grades with a teacher who could know and mold me. So now, in my 30’s, i finally got me a teacher and have begun the tedious scale’ey process of learning to read and play sheet music (starting from grade 1 with all the other 6 year olds!) i am now in Gr 3 and am LOVING every moment of it! Not to mention that my piano teacher is just the coolest chick alive, and has already become one of my best friends. 

But along with all these wonderful things, piano’s and new friends, destined loves and weddings, writing and snow, i finally got to see Tori Amos LIVE in concert! Right here in Cape Town, South Africa. It dawned on me a few years back that i might need to beg Husband to take me and my best friend to Germany or England to see Tori live, (and was biding my time to find the perfect moment to spring such an outrageous request on him…) but no need anymore! She came to me J

"Like a good book i can't put this day back."

"And if i died today, i'd be a Happy Phantom!"

A bit of history. Tori Amos arrived on my radar sometime around my 18th year with her flaming red hair and deeply affecting lyrics. She seemed to sing my own thoughts, ones that i was still too secretive and shy to ever share. Her lullaby voice sang me to sleep through my confusing years and her wild words danced around my developing adulthood while I painted my nails and broke up with boys. Her lyrics infected me and i began to think, speak and sing in ‘Tori’isms. And as Brother reflected recently, in my entire first year of Tori, i was like a stuck record where all i could talk about was Tori tori tori tori tori tori!
"All the world just stopped now"

i quickly introduced her music to the most special people in my life (best friend, brother, little sister) and then began to preach the gospel of tori to any and everyone who would listen. i would sing 'Twinkle' and 'Winter' to the children at the home i volunteered at and hummed 'She’s Your Cocaine' while shaving my legs on unbearably hot nights out on the grassy slope in the back yard with a hosepipe. When i had my first kiss at age 19 (i was a VERY late bloomer!) i squeezed my eyes shut and could hear Tori Amos singing in my head. My subsequent first heard-break was laced with Tori and Wine stained tears.

My Northern Lad never did appreciate the
'Tori Red'

My first car, a gorgeous apple green 1969 VW Beetle, was dubbed ‘Tori’ and i placed a photo of her in a fluffy rainbow-coloured puff-frame hanging from the dashboard. My hair went from its natural strawberry blonde colour to varying degree’s of ‘Tori Red’, my first email address began with ‘tori’ and my mix-tapes always consisted of 80% Tori, 20% other stuff. And so, from the tender age of just-out-of-home, Tori Amos became the sound track to my life.

Fortunately, as these teen things do, my poster hanging, letter writing, stalker-fan bordering manner of conducting myself simmered down to a mild back-track in time, and i went on living my own life with my own (almost) natural hair colour. i grew up and out of the juvenile obsessive behavior, but the love and admiration of Tori Amos as an artist and piano player stayed, deepened and blossomed with every new album. She is still my FAVORITE artist, and i will buy every CD/book/DVD i can get my paws on of her music. But i promise not to name my first born ‘Tori’ (Ok ok i admit it, i named my new piano 'Tori', so there's still a little obsession lurking in me somewhere.)

"Never thought my day would come."

So as you can imagine, after all that, seeing Tori live in concert – being in the same room as her and her piano, feeling the Swirling!!! was one of the VERY’est moments in my life.

My best friend and i got our tickets the second on-line sales opened, waited waited waited, got more and more excited, put on our cutest shoes, and FINALY when the blessed night arrived, off we went, hand in hand, to watch our goddess-like heroin perform. Husband, true to his sweet nature, wanted to come with to experience something he knew would be so special to me WITH me, and we three had a night to remember.

"This is not really, this is, this is, this is not really happening...

i was so captivated, so mesmerized and so full of bubbles that i couldn’t possibly have functioned on any other level than ‘All Eyes and Ears’ that night. But fortunately for me, my best friend has an extraordinary brain and managed to map the play-list during the concert:

"She opened with Little Earthquakes, then Icicle, Silent all these years, Consitina, Hey Jupiter, Dragon, Sorta fairytale (very special to me), Bells for her, Mother, Pancake (I felt like I was hearing this for the very first time, incredible) , Me & a gun, I can't see New York and finally closed with Carry, the only song she played that was actually from Night of Hunters. For the encore she played Personal Jesus, Leather, Precious things and Tear in your hand."

Tori Amos is all and MORE than i ever imagined her to be, and i feel so unbelievably lucky to have been there that night. Like being at a heavy hippy concert in the woods where the drum beats right through you, her voice went into my chest, tinkled though my blood and i felt her words take over the palpitations of my heart beat. The sound of that oh-so familiar voice and such beautiful arrangements on the piano was something akin to a spiritual experience. And our Tori sang for us, leading and guiding our womanly souls into the place of Cooling.


And so as 2011 comes to an end, and i sat holding hands with both my best friend of 25 years on one side and Husband on the other, while witnessing Tori Amos and her piano’s in the flesh, i would have to say, Yea. Its been a Pretty Good Year.

Looks like i’ll be needing a few new stars to wish on for 2012…

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom