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Inspired by a Washashore Cowgirl

On Friday, I took my two youngest kids to Cape Symphony's CapePOPS! series "Holiday on the Cape." My favorite part of the concert was a medley of holiday songs sung by guest artist Monica Rizzio. My kids were dazzled by her. I get it. I'm dazzled by Monica, too.

Monica is a dear friend. She was also my piano teacher while I was writing Every Note Played.(Both protagonists in this book are pianists, so I took lessons as one of the many ways I researched these characters). She is now my daughter's piano teacher. And she is an amazing musician. The title track off her debut album, WASHASHORE COWGIRL, has been spun over 100,000 times on Spotify--a huge accomplishment for any indie artist!

All this love and admiration for Monica has me thinking about the first words of EVERY NOTE PLAYED. For many reasons--all of them having to do with fear--I had an enormously hard time beginning this book. Monica doesn't know this, but she pulled me out of that fear gutter and onto the first page of this book.

And here's the entry from my writing journal, describing what happened. Thank you, Monica. I love you! XO

Okay, Lisa. WTF?! How long are you going to avoid chapter 1 of this book? You know more about this story at the outset than any other book you’ve written. You are on your FIFTH book—you KNOW how to do this!! Plow through your fear and just get to it already. Okay, okay. I will today, for better or worse—whether it totally sucks or not, I will write 1500 words of chapter 1 today. There. It’s decided. So it’s already done then.

Going to Monica’s house concert for her CD release party the other night was literally inspiring. She reminded me of the work, the art of it, the joy of creating something beautiful and meaningful and important to share. I could feel her soul pouring through her words and the strings of her guitar—she took my breath away, thrilled me, moved me. I know what it’s like to do that, but not with a guitar or my voice (lol—no one but my kids should be subjected to my singing!).

I do it with the written word.

So do it, Lisa. This is the reason you’re here—to do this work; to shine an empathetic light on people and experiences previously unseen; to bring excluded people back into community by showing the world our common humanity, by making what is scary and foreign and overwhelming familiar, graspable, relatable; by connecting ALS to the experience of being human, to living and dying; to face our biggest challenges and fears.

I can do this. This is what I do. So do it, girl.

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