Fearlessness by Lisa Montagne

IIMG_2141 was invited to read in this poetry and spoken word show. The theme is “Fearlessness,” and so I wrote this sonnet:

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fearlessness” is the chosen theme, you say?

The word—alone—strikes fear in this arch heart.

I fear many things: traffic, tooth decay,

Bears, the acid skin of some men, just to start.

 

And, in the night, stiff straight, I lay awake,

Because it was chasing me. What was? It!

It was. But that’s when…I take It by the throat

And…I snuggle It close, damned hypocrite.

 

This is my life, and I am living it.

Day by day by day by day by day by…

It is mine. Mine. Fear: my bitch, my trinket.

When the audience is ready to play…

 

Fear-less-ness, you say? I want fear. I eat

It for breakfast, and for ev’ry meal and treat.

May 27, 2014

My Little Buddy by Lisa Montagne

T-bird.1For a decade, I had an extremely unique car. He made everyone smile. At least once a day, my Little Buddy the T-bird made at least one other person besides me happy, and sometimes many more. I loved him. He was faithful, loyal, and brave through 114,000 miles and a decade together. He had a powerful V-8 engine under his hood, and he was 252 horsepower-full of fun. He was a rare gem with white-and-black leather seats and a smooth-to-the-touch, ivory stick shift. He even got excellent gas mileage and immaculate emissions reports.

T-bird4 I have included a photo here of the original 1955 mint-green model, the very first Ford Thunderbird. My Little Buddy was made in this signature color: Only 50 in this color were in the 11th generation of T-birds, the last series, which was produced only from 2002-2005, and I had one of them. I saw another mint-green signature model from the same series only one time, up in L.A. at the corner of Sunset and Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills. I waved enthusiastically; he did not wave back. Snob, I thought. I had my Little Buddy, and he had me; we were not alone.

Sadly, my Little Buddy was struck down in his prime on March 2, 2014. He has been mourned and very much missed. I had hoped we would be together for another decade, but unfortunately Ford (absurdly) decided not to support these little beauties, and no parts were available to rebuild him. He was finally relinquished to the insurance company, but not before I laid myself across his hood in the parking lot of the Ford dealership body shop and wept like a B movie queen. My only consolation is that his engine—like donating a heart—likely went to a Jaguar in need. The stereo system—like a kidney—went to my brother’s family. Continue reading

Welcome to Archive 405, Vol. 4: The Materialism Issue

Featured

Letter from the Editor: Talking Out of My Pie Hole by Lisa Montagne

Lisa10:13

 Anne Frank wrote in her diary during World War II, “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” I have to agree. There is a lot of misery in this world, no matter who you are or where you live. Yes, we all have to deal with the crap that life sends us, and we should make it a mission to help others deal with theirs, but who are we not to enjoy the beauty in the physical world that remains around us? From glorious sunsets on the horizon, a daily gift from nature, to a beautifully wrought piece of furniture, gloriously rendered painting, or carefully composed bite of food, the work of loving human hands, the material world is ours to enjoy. It seems ungrateful not to.

If you asked me, say 10 years go, if I were a materialistic person, I’d have said absolutely, categorically not. No way. Happiness comes from within, from relationships with others, and from doing good for others. I still firmly believe this with no doubts, despite many set backs. But, I now have a slightly modified point of view, which goes something like this: Life is short, and it should be savored—morsel-by-morsel. Continue reading

Sex on Television? Yes, Please! by Lisa Montagne

LisaSum14According to the wisdom of half-hour American sit-coms, most “normal” women are either not interested in sex, or they use it as a control mechanism. The usual scene on these shows plays out something like this: A middle-aged husband and wife are sitting up in bed, reading or watching TV. The man tries to bargain for the sex that his wife—naturally—is withholding. She feigns a “headache,” and hilarity ensues. Ha, ha.  At the end of the scene, the woman looks like she is in charge, but she also looks like a giant prude, while the husband looks like a humiliated child who is denied his lollipop after dinner.

Perhaps in the 1980s this was a new kind of trope, but in 2014 it is more than tired. There are too many problems with this scene for me to address here; for example, in real life, it is actually much more likely to be the middle-aged man with the “headache” in this scenario. You would think given the frequency with which Viagra commercials fly through the air that people would pick up on this, but, no, even the men in Viagra commercials are horn dogs—even when they aren’t.  The crux of television often getting sex scenes so wrong, especially in scenes involving characters over the age of 40, stems from the writers of these sit-coms and television commercials, who are mostly 20-something men who have no real idea what goes in the bedrooms of people over 40. Still, people watch and laugh. Continue reading

The Name Game by Lisa Montagne

A sneak peak at Archive 405 Vol. 3: The Relationships Issue

What happens when you can’t remember a person’s name? The Name Game

I’ve been told that if I want to figure out my stripper name (and who doesn’t?) just use my childhood pet’s name in combination with the name of the street that I grew up on. The result: Kitty Rowland. Not half bad. If I wore the right outfit, some people might buy it if I introduced myself with “Hi! My name is Kitty Rowland.” The truth is, though, that even if my name were Kitty Rowland, it would not be any easier for people to remember than Lisa Montagne.

According to psychologist Jeremy Dean, there is research confirming that remembering names is difficult for everyone. Jill Speigel, author of How to Talk to Anyone About Anything, says that “everyone struggles with remembering names. When we first meet someone we’re taking in so much visually and emotionally. They say their name, but it’s up there floating in our heads.” Speigel adds that many common names, like Chris, Joe, Jill, or Amy, all “tend to blend together.” As a result, while we may recognize a person’s face the next time we see him, his name has taken a low priority in our brain’s information processing system—which is, it turns out, completely normal for just about everyone.   Continue reading

How To Make A Community by Lisa Montagne

After high school, everything changes for most people. Even if a young person stays near home to go to college or to work, daily life no longer takes place entirely in the safe arenas of school, home, friends, and familiar environments. A person may be required to, or choose to, move out of her parent’s home, and many of her friends may leave for college, move or simply fade away. Students who go away from home to college undoubtedly experience the most severe uprooting, but for them, there is often some refuge provided by the college community. But, whether a person stays near home or goes to another city, it is very challenging to replace the built-in community that exists for most Americans throughout the usual school years.

It is easy to become isolated in urban and suburban areas where no built-in and consistent communities exist just outside a person’s door. Continue reading

My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne

My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne

This was originally written for “Talking Out My Pie Hole” @ lisamontagne.com, and it was featured on boomerreviews.com.

|September 9, 2013

Throughout my life, I have been told that I resemble various actresses: in the 80s, it was Sally Field; in the 90s it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus (something to do with the big 90s hair); in the early 2000s it was Megan Mullally as Karen Walker on “Will and Grace” (please note that I am a generous—and not a mean—drunk); and for the past four or five years, it has been Tina Fey. I admire these women immensely; they are all smart, talented, sassy, and pretty in the kind of way that gets the blood of pasty-faced nerds flowing. I am happy to be compared with these women; I wouldn’t mind being any one of them, especially Tina Fey. She has many impressive talents and accomplishments, all wrapped up in wit and wisdom, but I especially admire her for pulling off kissing Paul Rudd on the big screen in a 2013 rom com—that was truly inspiring. If, as a woman who came to be a movie star late in the game, she can get hired to play the love interest of such a yummy cutie-pie as Paul Rudd, then I feel as if I can do anything. Continue reading

The Multi-Tasking Dancer by Lisa Montagne

The Multi-Tasking Dancer by Lisa Montagne

This was originally a guest blog at atomicballroom.com.

By the same author: “5 Reasons Everyone Should Learn to Dance”.

The other night, on a pleasant summer evening in Southern California, I was out social dancing at a Swing event. There was a wealth of lovely, willing leads. The band was exuberantly playing some loungey swing classics, like “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Something’s Gotta Give”—then, suddenly, like an unexpected but welcome cool rain, there was a Waltz.

A male Swing lead, a long-time acquaintance of mine, looked at me and said, “What the heck is that?”

“That, kind sir, is a Waltz,” I replied with no little amount of enthusiasm. I waited expectantly, but he just looked discouraged, tinged with a trace of disgust, and he walked away. It was like when my grandmother used to shake her head in exasperation at what the world was coming to when Madonna pranced around in her steel-studded underwear. Continue reading

5 Reasons Everybody Should Learn to Dance by Lisa Montagne

This article was written for archive405.com, an online arts and culture magazine. Vol. 1: We’re Doomed! An exploration of dystopia and utopia, August 2013.

Shesha Marvin

Shesha Marvin of Atomic Ballroom

There is so much to be afraid of—gun violence in the streets, impending hikes in interest rates, and rampant poisoning of the environment. If you live in Southern California, like I do, you also have to worry about earthquakes, wildfires, and—apparently—sharknadoes. According to the talking heads on television every morning, I shouldn’t even bother getting out of bed. Dystopia is here, it has been here, and it is here to stay. The nation is a big drama queen, and that is never going to change, no matter how much therapy it goes through.

Continue reading