Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Friday, April 29, 2016
I awake in the morning with his songs in my head and it goes on all day. With Michael it went on for months, and they weren't just songs that I had recently heard in the overwhelming news coverage of his death. They were just songs from my life—from everyone's life, because Michael had always just been there. That was the shock of it. People who grew up in the 60's like me had never been without his music, his presence, his sad I-missed-my-childhood story. I found that women my age had maternal feelings towards Michael Jackson. His talent was vast and unique, but his story was just as compelling.
Michael was mysterious and that is the trademark of Prince as well. They both knew how to create striking and memorable visual images of themselves—often wearing things no one else would wear. There's Michael in his white socks, flood pants and his mother's sequined jacket. There's Prince with his make-up, high heels, a scarf on his head and a boyish bare chest.
I think we all feel an extra sense of loss when someone dies with so much talent left to give. Musicians that we love are simply a part of our lives. Music, as we all know, can bring a sense of deja vu. Oh, that song was playing during my first kiss. Someone sang that at my wedding, or we danced to it on that special date.
And, of course there is the notion that all three of these artists died much too soon. It was unexpected. The fact that there are drugs involved does not seem to alter our grief. As I write this, we don't know about Prince, but prescription painkillers have been mentioned.
I have a theory about why people so iconic, so loved and so in demand take drugs. Simply because it is not normal to be idolized. Yes, they asked for it, maybe craved the attention. I think the way they must give to everyone around them every day of their lives just wears them out. I myself cannot imagine never being able to be anonymous, to never have peace, to always be sought after, to have to hide to have anything resembling a normal life.
So why do they continue to lay themselves out to the public? Because they must. They were given a singular gift of music and unbounded talent, and in my estimation, they had no choice. It was what they were born to do.
I have a small, meek comparison to share. I have been singing solos, mostly in a church setting, since I was 14 years-old. I still am a nervous wreck before I sing. I have anxiety dreams without fail in the few moments of actual sleep I get before singing. I question why I torture myself. At this age, I could easily give it up—but something inside me will not let me. I don't think I'm a great singer, but time and time again people have been touched by my songs. So I have been given a gift by God, however small, and I believe I am meant to share it. Just imagine if my gift was enormous, unique, powerful enough to move millions of people.
This society is celebrity obsessed and we treat these people like they are there to serve us and meet our expectations. These three particular artists didn't mean to leave the earth so soon, but they left us with an abundance of memories and music. It just could have been so much more...
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Monday, February 8, 2016
(song lyrics) by Tori Amos
Love, hold my hand, help me see with the dawn
that those that have left are not gone
But they carry on as stars looking down
as Nature's Sons and Daughters of the Heavens
You will not ever be forgotten by me
In the precession of the mighty stars
Your name is sung and tattooed on my heart
here I will carry you forever
You have touched my life
so that now cathedrals of sound are singing
The waves have come to walk with you
to where you will live in the Land of Youth
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Sunday, January 10, 2016
My mother was my accompanist on the piano as I sang from the time I entered my first solo and ensemble contest at age 14, up until she sent me a resignation letter about thirty years later. She had arthritis and was afraid she would make a mistake as I sang in church. (She never made nearly as many mistakes as I did). About 15 years ago I recorded a CD for my parents for Christmas. So yesterday I played the CD and sang along for her. Her eyes were open and focused on me for a solid half hour. She is unable to make a facial expression, but her attention allowed me to communicate with her in some small way.
She is in ICU attached to multiple IV's that contain medications, nutrition and hydration. There are inflatable wraps around her legs for circulation. There are boots on her feet to prevent sores. There are pillow and pads surrounding her to keep her in place because her body randomly moves in instinctive or reactive movements. Her right side is paralyzed and still, but her left arms flies up in distressed movements as she seems to try to remove the paraphernalia attached to her body. There is a feeding tube in her nose because she cannot swallow.
She pulled the feeding tube out last night. The feeding tube is keeping her alive. Is she communicating with us?
My mom has a living will. It says that if she in unconscious she wants no life-sustaining measures, but she is not unconscious. It says that if she in a terminal condition she wants no life-sustaining measures. But is a massive stroke a terminal condition? One doctor says yes because her body is shutting down and it may be a matter of hours or days. But another doctor walks in the room and says it is "in the realm of possibility" that she could get better. What is better? Is it being able to keep her eyes open all day? Is it being able to eat and speak again? No one knows. Every specialist has a different opinion and perspective. Is a feeding tube even considered a life-sustaining measure if she is still breathing on her own?
So if you have a living will maybe it needs to be much more specific. What if you are permanently non-communicative? What if you can never squeeze a hand or blink an eye again. Everything we do all day long as a humans is communicate our thoughts, feelings, and desires. Are you living when that is over?
It is too late to ask my mom. We thought everything was in place but life has shown us otherwise.