15 · Apr · 2002


I had another memo planned. It’s getting so that I write so much throughout the week that it’s hard to know what I should be sending out. But today I was let off work early and, not having enough sleep last night (what else is new?) I was just delirious enough to write this song on the drive home. It’s about a group of friends I used to know that I miss very much. Like me, they have gone through a lot of changes over the past three years. And like me, they are all still out there swimming upstream.

i read your cd today
cover to cover to cover
i stood in the center of the city
and cried, cried, cried

do you remember that Christmas when there were no gifts,
save the ducks?
and we put candy canes on the tree
that time in the Memphis bookstore
those were good days for me

it’s been hard watching you sink into fame
it’s been hard watching you peddle for gigs
it’s not been easy the way that we’ve changed
and i wonder if we’ve learned how to live

i heard your name today
over and over and over
pretending that i don’t care
i lied, lied, lied

do you remember what i said that evening?
you’ll never know the past i bear like a cross?
well, i was wrong ‘cause here you are believing
what you’ve got is not nearly what you lost

it’s been hard watching you sink into fame
it’s been hard watching you peddle for gigs
it’s not been easy the way that we’ve changed
and i wonder if we’ve learned how to live

i cannot help but miss your presence
this city is a nonstop tour bus
i think i came back for this lesson
and you stay gone to forget about us

it’s been hard watching you sink into fame
it’s been hard watching you peddle for gigs
it’s not been easy the way that we’ve changed
and i wonder if we’ve learned to really live

penny rene’


Being that it was GMA week, I saw quite a bit of nice live bands - but I want to mention some hi-lights - (I’m in a cheeky mood, so skip this if you aren’t)
Mark Townsend & Tony Lucido backing Jennifer Knapp - worth seeing even if they weren’t touring with Third Day.
John Reuben - scares me. I’ll probably regret saying this but Pax 217 - the best thing Forefront has done in too many years.
dct - Been so long, gone from the mic that they forgot “jesus freak” during a set with AA. Will someone please publicly admit that Kevin left the group already?
Riley Armstrong - deserves a medal for his guts, if not his integrity.

Bands I want to see because they are good people: (aside from sounding so flipping good) - Luna Halo, Heather Miller, Fono, Pete Stewart, Bleach.
And finally, people I’ve no intention of seeing because “i’ve seen enough already, thanks” - Jaci Velasques, Raze, 1/3rd of Out of Eden (too bad for the other 2) GG, Shine and Plus One. Good thing I’m not a writer for a Vox magazine. I’d get fired today.

By the way, I have a temporary job- thank God! But I’m still praying for that one that I’m actually suited for. Thanks to all of your responses last week. I needed it. I know that half of you have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s OK. I’ll talk to that half of you next week. ( I hope) Miss you Okies. Have a good Easter. Maybe think about where we’d be without it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a raging fever that is begging for Tylenol and a nap. Maybe next memo I’ll make sense..... (:

Penny Rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 03:45 PM | TrackBack

27 · Mar · 2002

The Way of Maybe

"We attract hearts by the qualities we display; we retain them by the qualities we possess."
-- Jean Baptiste Antoine Suard, French journalist (1734-1817)

I don't know when I wrote the following song. I'm not even quite sure who I wrote it about. That can happen when you write as much as I do. The interesting thing to me is that it could have been anybody.
The quality of my dating life is ... not something that is up for debate. If I have learned anything over the past 3 years it is that a deal is not a deal until each person has discovered every reason to walk out and still decides to stay - that the good outweighs the bad and the head is working as well as the heart.

I have decided, with some prodding from a good friend, that the next person I date, I will put off any proclamation of love for at least six months. This isn't because I think six months is the magical time needed to pass before love can develop. But rather, it's because I don't often have relationships longer than 4 months, for one. (c: And two, though I believe it's possible to love someone and still make the logical decision not to marry for love only; most people think love is quite enough. So I don't want to send the wrong messages.

Any of you unsatisfied single readers out there, I urge you to try a new approach in your next relationship. Think of it as your multimillion dollar investment merger. Make no promises without reading the fine print. Research your potential partner and steer clear of any signs of instability. That is my experienced advice. I, at least, have that to stand on. (:

i had my coffee this morning
so i might live
so i might live another day
i packed a lunch full of poetry
for the time that that i will waste
waste away
cause last night when you said that i am the moon
i knew

that no matter what you say it all means maybe
and even if you’re saying yes i know it’s crazy
when the last shoe drops i’ll think about believing
until then maybe you are leaving

on the tv it looks so good
to be in love
to be in love with a script
when the season ends we’re put on hold
so i won’t cut my hair if you won’t
if you won’t go
when you asked who really cares i thought
i do

cause no matter what you say it all means maybe
and even if you’re saying yes i know it’s crazy
when the last shoe drops i’ll think about believing
until then maybe you’ll be leaving

penny rene’

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:28 PM

21 · Mar · 2002

Love in Between

"Everybody forgets the basic thing; people are not going to love you unless you love them." - Pat Carroll

2 years ago I wrote a song called "In Between" about some tour musicians in Nashville who at times are considered saints and other days are treated as lepers and how I can relate to having a life that fluctuates between these extremes.

"Some are mean, some are clean.
I am one of those who falls somewhere in between."

If you look closely at my "Christian" beliefs, you will see large tears in this blanket of Sunday School lessons, and college papers and personal research. There are "facts" passed on to me from pastors, activists, and family that I have taken a match to and burnt out of the fabric that is draped around my shoulders. In these days when many people are either clinging to a faith that was given to them or searching for a new cause or belief system that will sustain them, I am finding that, though my purpose for my life is quite clear to me, it is not compatible to any particular group.

You see, because I believe I am called by God to open communication between people of all cultures, races, religions and nations, most traditional Christians think I am a Christian called to evangelise the "lost" by becoming a foreign missionary. And because I am an arts advocate and equal human rights activist (read: race, religion, sexual orientation), many other liberal people assume I am ready to march the streets of DC and overthrow our "evil" conservative government.

The end result is that not one "side" of any controversial group can take me in and feel confident that I will make the same observations and decisions that others belonging to such a group would. And, not only that, I cannot in good faith, pledge to support just one religion, or cause.

I am somewhere in between.
Or, if you ask extremists from either spectrum, they will say I am "on the fence" doing no one any good.

I have received many e-mails over the years from readers who assume I believe as they do. And I have been uncomfortable about my bland responses. I am not looking for month long debates and I don't believe it's in anyone's best interest to tell another that his/her values are not valid. To be quite honest, if I were grilled on why I believe the things I do, my most common answer would be "Because I think that's what love is." And my second favourite answer would be "I don't know."

Do I owe anyone an explanation for why I worship God? Should I feel obliged to explain why I will not tolerate modern discrimination against gays, religion, women, and new Americans? Is it my duty to tell anyone my theory on how to better the American government? Should it really matter to you if I own a handgun? Some of you will say Yes and some say No. Me, I don't really know.

Let me tell you what I do support and will adamantly defend all the days ahead.
Love. Acts of love.

Maybe that is too broad for many people to understand. We, as flawed human beings, sometimes try to limit what love is and I believe that is why we search outside the scope of love for motivation to our methods.

When I am put in a position to make a choice on difficult issues, I will try to choose the side of Love. If the results are that I don't get a logo for my cause, or I don't ever get the "official" support from a church, temple or synagogue, and I don't ever fly first class, trust me, I'm fine with it. Love is what I believe in. And all the other stuff that I don't understand, I inspect and still find that "I don't know" is not a bad answer. At least it's the truth.

This is who I am and who I mean to be.

Penny René

"For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." - Baba Dioum

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:45 PM

5 · Jan · 2002

New 2002 Update

First of all, Happy 2002!

If you're wondering why I haven't sent out any memos lately, I have a poor excuse, but I'll tell it anyway. I've always had a problem with writers block in that it comes for me at the opposite time it strikes for most writers. I can write when things are good. I can write when things are bad. I always write. But when things are really bad, I hate every word I pen and I either destroy my pieces in the process or I stop in the middle because I find it too frustrating not being able to put my feelings into words. Most writers kick out their best material during hard times. Me, I kick myself into the ground and consider giving up writing altogether.

At this point you may be wondering what was so bad. That's the worst part of all. I don't know exactly. It too often takes me a long time to figure out what's bothering me. I am usually the last to know how deeply I feel about some things. I just react and react until one day I find myself weeping over my keyboard, having just realised the same thing I "realised" this time last year: I can't please everyone.

Try as I might, I will not be liberal enough for my artist friends, or I will not be holy enough for my minister friends. Or I will not be laid back enough for the jokesters. There was even one reader who said I was not serious enough. This can lead a person to believe that whatever he/she does it will not be enough. Talk about killing a creative vibe.
90% of my memos are ditched halfway through when I picture the unhappy look on whatever milk friend of mine has decided to take me up as their personal cause. I know I shouldn't care what most people think, and I don't. But this milk memo list is not "most " people. Many on this list are my FRIENDS - not to mention FAMILY.

So, what to do? I can either stop milk altogether or I can write what I am feeling / experiencing and open the exit door for about half my readers to be removed from my mailing list. Maybe then I will really know what it is like to be a writer, to understand the term "freedom of speech". And I will have to hope that just because someone doesn't agree with my opinion doesn't mean they don't like me. Or - if it does, then I will have to remind myself that I was never in this for a fan club. It's not my calling in life to make more friends; it's my calling to make people stop shrugging their shoulders and think.

My New Years resolution for 2002 is to be myself. I'm not ashamed of who I am. Milk has taken on a different purpose from what it was in memo #1. I have decided to follow my heart and I respect the fact that some of you will too- even if it takes us separate ways.

As I have mentioned before, milk memo will soon e a web site. At that point, even if you have chosen to be dropped from the regular mailing list, I will send you an announcement. That way, if you get the itch to say hello or check up on the condition of my soul or whatever, you can stop by anytime.

As milk takes this turn, I want to again thank all of you who have remained on the list this far. I love to write to you and it has been an honour to be invited to your cubicles, dens, offices and dining table laptops.

Until the next memo, keep dancing-

Penny Rene'
Nashville, TN

Posted by Penny Rene at 01:30 PM | TrackBack

11 · Oct · 2001

New York NY

I had a whirlwind of fun and sadness last week. The taxi ride from NJ to Manhattan on Wednesday night was surreal. Looking out the window and seeing that darkness where two massive towers used to stand was erie. The WTC was my reference point for everything in NYC and I felt lost as we stopped in front of The Doubletree Hotel in Times Square. I couldn't tell which was North or West without being able to see the towers. My usual hotel, which is a block away from ground zero, is closed until they can clean it up.

When I finally got into my room and threw my suitcase on the bed, I opened my window to the sights and sounds of the city. Turns out that the lights of Times Square are so bright, it’s never really night. Though I was a bit nervous to be staying so close to the many places where people have been infected with anthrax, I somehow felt everything would be okay.

It was okay - most of the time. Work went well on Thursday. Quarters are definitely cramped and I did hear many spine tingling stories about Sept 11, but overall, my co-workers seem to be dealing with things in a positive way.

A lot of the things they said to me were familiar. I have heard near identical sentences from my friends in Oklahoma City in these years following that bombing. Flags line their desks and many people have pictures of the towers taped to their computer monitors. My 2 training rooms have been taken over by traders who were previously located in the WTC. When I poked my head in to see if I could find my training manuals and supplies I was amazed at the determination for business to go on as normal. These people had private offices with oak desks a month ago...

Thursday night we had seafood on the pier with a view of Queens and then (my boss, Dave and I) went to see The Full Monty on Broadway. It was wonderful! The theater was packed - sold out. And FM being one of my favourite stories, I loved it. Drinks and a cigar after at the famous JR's Cigar Bar topped off the evening. There was something so energizing about walking down Broadway at midnight and seeing the sidewalks full of people laughing, chatting and spending money. Over there is a sequined dress, and there is my favourite MTV VJ.
Everyone kept saying, "Guilliani said to go to a show, so here we are!" It was less about survival instincts and more about a collective "Screw you!" thrown back at the terrorists who though they could take down NYC.

Friday morning I had a rich girl’s breakfast in my room and then met to go to ground zero to have a look at the condition of our building at 130 Liberty Street. The headline of the newspaper that day warned of toxic fumes coming from the site so I used a bandana to filter the air I breathed. Security was heavy but after walking about a mile around the site, we finally got a clear view of our building. The front part of the first six - nine floors sustained the most damage from part of WT Tower 2 having fallen into it. About half the windows are blown out and are now covered with a red mesh drop cloth to keep out - birds? (I'm not sure) I can see my friend Adam's office - or what I think is his office and our training rooms. As you know, in OKC many people in surrounding buildings were killed because the blast was without warning and the debris came trough their office windows. In a strange twist of emotion, I am so thankful these were planes that hit the WTC and not bombs down below. Adam and all but six DB employees made it out of our buildings to safety.

On that same corner I finally see something that stops me in my tracks. The entrance of WTC near Borders Books, where I have gone every time I visited NY is a charred mess. I was now able to visualise each store, bench, and window that had been there before. Further on we see the broken frame of the atrium that connected the 2 towers where I would be having coffee. Now I could get a real image of what it must have been like that day. - People from the Path trains, women shopping at Strawberry retail and the music fans with their headphones on in Borders all turning toward the blast and then confusion and finally running for their lives. I think of all those people who worked there, now without jobs, wondering what to do.

The police and firemen stand guard at every intersection, it seems and many are wearing air masks. The smell is not rancid, like many people think. The smell is of ashes and dust that sticks not only to shoes, but to my eyes and lungs and the storefronts and windows of buildings as far as Wall Street. Again, this is something I have seen before, but Dave has not and he is visibly shaken. He has never seen a war zone. Up until this point I have not taken any pictures. I know the images will stay in my mind for the rest of my life and I feel it's as disrespectful to unleash a camera in the area as it would be at any murder scene. But Dave asks me to take a picture of our building. Though I understand his reasoning, I can't do it. I hand the camera to him.

I am surprised at how well I am handling all the sadness, even to the point of worrying about Dave, as I watch his eyes widen with disbelief and anger the more damage we see. Before we leave the area, we go into St. Peters, which is open and busy. We sit in separate sections to pray and collect our thoughts before heading to the airport. I bow my head and as it touches the top of the pew in front of me, tears begin rolling down my face. I cry so hard my body shakes and at that moment the only thing that compares to my sadness is my total surprise at how much I needed to cry.

Sitting there in St. Peter’s , I couldn’t help but question myself about what I am doing personally to stop the spread of hatred in the world. Since I was twelve years old I have been torn between two career paths. One path will takes me, via Nashville, to California or New York where I could be a “mover and shaker” in the entertainment business. That path requires me to be concerned about money and sales and always looking the part, but it also (in it’s own way) opens up doors of communication and has the opportunity to teach the value of life through songs, movies and television. I don’t want my writing ability to go to waste.
The other path is that of world outreach in a most direct way - humanitarian aid. I could easily be a missionary, if it were not for my lukewarm enthusiasm about denominational Christianity. I kick myself every day for not finishing college. This has prevented me from pursuing a career with the FBI or politics, which I dream about as often as I dream of accepting a Grammy. Who wants to learn Arabic? I do! Give me your many religions, your ancient ways and your rare language – I love to learn about these things. Unlike many of my friends I believe I CAN make a difference in my government and the world by way of compassion and intelligent problem solving. When I hear the words “non-profit”, my ears perk up.

I struggle daily with these two very different worlds which both seem to be calling out to me. About half my friends think I should move to Romania and the other half think I should get to California. Not being able to make a firm decision on what to do has basically prevented me from getting anywhere in a career. Every non-creative job I’ve ever had, my bosses have ended up telling me I should open my own business – something where I can be creative and help people. NO kidding!

New York City. Here I am in New York City still wondering what the freak to do with my life, feeling like I’ve run in circles. I asked God once more, for serious guidance, letting Him know that I am truly at my wit end. I ask, no; I beg God to help the people of NYC, Pennsylvania and DC to not be numb to what they’ve seen. I want them to be forever changed, no matter how painful it is to face the facts. There is a joke when someone gets emotionally hurt “Wow. That’s gonna leave a mark.” And I hope this does leave a mark on these people’s lives – a fingerprint of God. I want us all to feel, see, face this enemy of hatred so that we will, collectively and individually stand up and fight it by choosing paths for our lives that are maybe more difficult or unconventional, but right and intelligent.

The boat ride back to NJ shows us the skyline once more and I find, for the first time, I don't want to leave this place. Dave says to me that seeing the buildings today made him realise that he is not safe – that all of this business of war (holy or not) does affect him. I nod in agreement. I have known that for six years, but telling him seems like an admittance of guilt. My head is heavy with the knowledge that I need to make a decision about who I am. War doesn’t call for complacency, it calls for action.

The World I Know:
by Collective Soul – from the self titled cd.

Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all the kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on.
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don't know why.

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
As the tears roll down.
'Cause it's the world I know.
It's the world I know

Are we listening
To hymns of offering?
Have we eyes to see
That love is gathering?
All the words that I've been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one.

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:31 PM | TrackBack

23 · Apr · 2001

OKC Memorial

I don’t know how to introduce this letter below except to tell you what happened to me last Thursday.



A few months ago my boss told me about a leadership seminar that was coming to Nashville. Barbara Bush, George Bush, Zig Zigglar and Mikhail Gorbechaev were just a few of the speakers that would address the thousands of people at the Gaylord Arena downtown. I was excited to go until I looked at the date – April 19, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing murder of 168 friends, neighbors, children & classmates. Oklahoma City. My hometown.


I wasn’t home when the bomb exploded our lives that day in 1995. I was here in Nashville and got news of my friends who died by reading the lists in the local paper. When I finally did get home and was brave enough to go downtown to survey the damage, it changed me in a way that only other victims of such a crime can understand.

So, when I saw that this large event was to be held on April 19 in Nashville something strange happened. I was scared to go. I know it’s unreasonable, but I was angry, at first, for the Success 2001 company for being so stupid to plan for such major world leaders to get together on that day and without proper security. But what was I to do? Stay home April 19 of every year?

At 8:50 AM, as I sat there looking at the thousands of Nashvillians crowded in the arena, I began to get pretty nervous. The only thing I could think of to do was to walk to the back of the room and talk to God. There was no way I could leave the building. If something did happen, I’d never forgive myself. So I stood in the walkway on the bottom floor and reminded God that I never want to see such heartache again, that I would do anything he wanted me to do if it meant 9 AM passed without incident.

It’s silly, isn’t it? Yes, it probably is. But the result of Timothy McVeigh carefully choosing April 19 is my fear. It made me realise that anything can happen. Good or bad. Anything. I hate that he made me afraid.

At 9:10 AM, I looked down at my watch. Nothing. We were all still there, watching Barbara Mandrell pace the stage talking about her mamma. As I walked back to my seat it dawned on me that it was the first time since 1995 that I did not stand in a completely silent room while taking part in some type of memorial ceremony at 9:00 AM.

In the last six years people often ask me about this subject, the conspiracy, and McVeigh’s book . And recently, they have wanted to know how I feel about the upcoming execution of Timothy McVeigh. Anything I might say would be speculation, opinion and it would change nothing. I don’t want to stare at a clock every April 19 while my chest tightens. But I do want the rest of the world to know the important things that happened that day and why I am proud to be an Okie. Donna Prattler’s letter says it all. She worked the bombing site and she recently received an excerpt of Timothy McVeigh's book. This is her response:

Dear Friends,

I will not forward the excerpt from the book that has been written by two reporters and a couple of shrinks about Tim McVeigh. It was sent to me by someone I respect, and I have checked it out to be sure that the quote was accurate. And, it was.

I fully expected to read this book. I wanted to know a lot of things. And, I believe that the book is an accurate account of what Tim McVeigh has said. I wanted to know why he picked Oklahoma City. I wanted to know if he implicated anyone else. I wanted to know if he took responsibility. But, I won't read the book. After reading the excerpt I know that it doesn't matter. It won't change a thing. I have to address this. So, buckle up, because here goes. And, before I start this tirade, I want to say that what follows I know to be fact because I saw it.

My husband sat up a tent across the street from the building, right next to Little Caesar's pizza, who also sat up a tent and made pizza's on the spot. Jim's company donated all the coffee and tea and equipment, and we funneled the water and cokes and other supplies that were donated through that little blue tent and to the rescuers, and the workers. So, we saw what happened, and we know. My husband, whose heart is so soft he swerves to miss a turtle on the highway, stood in that carnage, unflinching, on a knee the size of a basketball and did everything he could. This,to me, is the measure of a man.

Tim McVeigh says, and this is the only quote from the man you'll get from me "It was my choice and my control to hit that building when it was full. ....I understand what they felt in Oklahoma City. I have no sympathy for them."

First of all, I don't think Tim McVeigh feels at all, and second, no one in Oklahoma City asked for any sympathy of any kind. Least of all Tim McVeigh's. While he was cowering away from the scene, with ear plugs in his ears, the people of my town were running toward the mess he had created. There were not just 168 bodies to be recovered. There were almost 1000 injured people to be triaged and helped. That was done. And, it was done with a speed and an accuracy that stunned the people who came later to help us.

Our construction companies had cranes in place within the first hour. Our hardware companies turned their shelves over to the effort. Vets came to help with the rescue animals. Doctors came and worked along side construction workers and lay people. Engineers kept that wreck standing until all but three bodies were recovered. And no matter what the conspiracy people say, that was a damned miracle. When the wind blew, even a little, that building swayed and groaned so loud it was audible for blocks.

When other States sent rescue units to help us, my town fed them, clothed them, held their heads when they vomited at the carnage and comforted them when they cried.

Being close to that building wasn't easy during those 19 days. It was bloody, it stank, and it was dangerous. And, in spite of this, we had trouble getting people to stand down and take a rest. Thank you, New York Urban, and Phoenix, and Fairfax, and Dade County, and Denver, and Everyone else who came. You showed up on our door step like a good neighbor, with your equipment, and tears in your eyes, and we will forever be in your debt. You are heroes to the person, and always in my prayers. Saint Michael's heart beats in you all. Buildings around the site stood wide open. Their foundations sprung to the extent that their doors wouldn't lock. But, locking the doors wouldn't have mattered anyway, since the windows were all gone. There was not one incident of looting. Not one.

And, Joe Q. American did everything else. By midnight, that first day, we had an ample supply of blood for all. I saw people lined up around the Oklahoma Blood institute. Hundreds of people lined up, waiting for hours, to donate their blood. Business men in suits talked casually to homeless people who felt the blast and came. And, the rescuers didn't just exist on dry sandwiches. Oh no. Little Cesar's, and the Outback, and Subway, and local Barbecue and Steak houses, and Hooter's, and Taco Bell, and Sonic, and other's too numerous to mention, some from Texas and Kansas fed everyone well. And for free. And this wasn't easy. Food had to labeled as to date, origin, and time of arrival, and kept clean and cold in a very inhospitable environment. And, this was done. Everyone at the site was sick, but it was never because of the food.

And, by the way, this was all done with a finesse that preserved ample evidence to get Tim McVeigh's sorry ass strapped to a gurney and taken care of. That coward won't kill anyone else's babies.

While we tended to the needs of the rescuers, the FBI, the ATF, FEMA, and the Oklahoma City Police Department worked around us, and under our feet, sometimes with tweezers, and plastic bags, picking up minute pieces of the barrels that held the explosives, and pieces as big as the axle of the Ryder Rental truck. They were professionals all, and sensitive to our feelings.

When the authors wanted to donate a portion of the proceeds from the book to our Memorial, the memorial committee quietly said "no thank you." I am so glad, and so proud of them. No sympathy, or no money needed here. We'll handle it, thank you.

Don't buy the book. Send the $20. to the Memorial, or to the Red Cross, or to the Education fund for the children of the victims, or to the Oklahoma City Fire Department, or the Phoenix Fire Department, or Dade County, or to Feed the Children.

This is not about Tim McVeigh. It's about the human spirit. And, it's here, and it thrives, and it asks no sympathy.

Love to All,

Donna Prather

Posted by Penny Rene at 12:08 PM

16 · Apr · 2001

Careful What You Wish For

This being the 50th memo, I wanted it to be special. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine finished up some changes to his JUNKRISING.COM web site which supports independent, struggling artists and part of that web site is the writings of this humble writer. So, I thought that would be a cool thing to send you to the site as a little surprise. But while I was patting myself on the back for finally doing some proper web promotion of my work, it didn’t occur to me to let you in on something really wonderful that’s going on with me right now.

Maybe I’ve gotten so much into trying to be witty, and useful that I forgot that, really, sharing my words with you should just be fun. And even the most serious, talented artists did have a bit of fun now and then. Or maybe it’s just that if I told you that I am in love, you’d think that I’ve lost my edge, that I couldn’t really understand whatever angst you might want to share with me. Thing is, the story that I’m about to tell you started so long ago and is so unbelievable, I might be accused of being delusional. Then again, after all I’ve told you, why should I start to censor myself now? whatever. I’ll risk it.

About 5 years ago I met David and we became friends. Unfortunately he lived in Scotland and I lived in the US. We hung out while we were in Romania and parted, figuring that we would never see each other again. I’m a pretty tough girl when it comes to parting company, as I’m sure anyone who’s had a relationship with me can testify. But I went home and the worst thing happened to me. I realised that I had finally met someone I was better with than without.

No, I never thought I’d die without him, I never thought he needed me to survive. There was no threat to be miserable if we couldn’t be together. I lived my life and he went on with his and over the years, we truly have become great friends. Thing is, we just always WANTED to live near each other. It runs through your mind, of course. All the What ifs. In the hard times I’ve had I have just wished he was here. And in the really good times I wished he was here too. Life hasn’t been so horrible. I know I am very blessed. But for whatever reason, since I met David, all the best days I’ve spent without him have been a little like pie without cream.

Well, as the saying goes: Be careful what you wish for.

Last Saturday, on my parents wedding anniversary, I drove to Atlanta International airport picked up dear David and we drove home.
For those of you who’ve never experienced something like this, let me tell you.... It’s exhausting work being better than I was just days ago. Though I am quite sure this is a good thing, there is that little fear that I am still just a simple girl from Oklahoma with unrealistic ideas about what love is capable of. I am still disbelieving that I’ve been given yet another chance at love.

Life is so silly, you know. Just when you are sure that you can throw a kicking fit from all the just punishment you’re getting, something brilliant and terrifying happens to you. I’m scared. I’m thrilled. If I don’t have a nervous breakdown, it could be that a very good part of my life is just begining.

For David, my beloved

Our Turn

maybe you’ve been feelin kinda angry
maybe it’s hard to get to sleep
you think the price for being honest
is the love you cannot keep

maybe they told you this is how
the strong ones live their lives
but deep down you know their words
are well arranged white lies

well, for you I am polishing the moon
for us the stars have just begun to burn
you wonder if God forgot about us
but now it’s our turn baby it’s our turn

so what if the road is unfamiliar
so what if we don’t have a map
I know where we should begin
and that’s right here where we’re at

so, for you I am polishing the moon
for us the stars have just begun to burn
you wonder if God forgot about us
but now it’s our turn baby it’s our turn

so you say you’re not perfect
that you’ve got some things to learn
and I’m scared I’m not so strong
but baby, it’s our turn. it’s our turn

Penny Rene’

To check out the web site mentioned, go to www.junkrising.com/pennyrene’

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:48 PM

14 · Feb · 2001

Sweeter Than Wine

Ah, Valentines Day. (sigh)

Let’s not think about Cupid or Venus, though. I read up on those two and had a clear indication as to why they’re retired. Talk about family problems!

Instead I wanted to give you this. These are the words to a song – the first song that I loved as a kid. It was a 45” record in my parents collection. It’s an old Irish tune, made popular by Huddie Ledbetter. (1888-1949) And again by Jimmie Rogers. I know it’s a bit corny, but I love it. I even plan to have it played at my own wedding reception someday. (Can you believe I said that?) Let’s not give up on love. Not after we’ve come this far.
Eternal hope, baby. (:


Well, when I was a young man and never been kissed
I got to thinking it over how much I had missed.
So I got me a girl, I kissed her and then
Oh Lordy, well, I kissed her again.
Because she had kisses sweeter than wine,
She had, mmm, mmm, kisses sweeter than wine
sweeter than wine.

I asked her to marry and be my sweet wife,
And told her we’d would be so happy for the rest of our lives.
I begged and I pleaded like a natural man, and then
Whoops, Oh Lordy, she gave me her hand.
Because she had kisses sweeter than wine,
She had, mmm, mmm, kisses sweeter than wine
sweeter than wine

Well we worked very hard , both me and my wife,
Workin' hand in hand to have a good life.
We had corn in the field and wheat in the bins, and then
Whoops, oh Lordy, I was the father of twins.

Because she had kisses sweeter than wine,
She had, mmm, mmm, kisses sweeter than wine
sweeter than wine.

Well, our children numbered just about four,
And they all had sweethearts knockin' at the door.
The all got married and didn't hesitate; I was
Oops, oh Lord, the grandfather of eight.
Because she had kisses sweeter than wine,
She had, mmm, mmm, kisses sweeter than wine
sweeter than wine.

Now that I’m old, and ready to go,
I get to thinkin' what happened a long time ago.
Had a lot of kids, trouble and pain, but,
Oh Lord, I’d do it all again.
Because she had kisses sweeter than wine,
She had, mmm, mmm, kisses sweeter than wine
sweeter than wine.


Happy Valentines Day.


Posted by Penny Rene at 04:51 PM | TrackBack

29 · Jan · 2001

Neil Forester - The ThinkPad Treasure

With only the blurry light of the Thinkpad, I search. An after hours voyager exploring the World Wide Web! (Insert Star Trek music)
I love words. So to be able to type in a word at random and see what comes up on my screen – it’s the closest thing to gambling as I get. And from what I’ve heard from Vegas fans, the anticipation of winning is similar. I pick a word I love – milk, kindred, mocha, survile. Then I go for it “www.kookoo.com” , I close my eyes and hit the Enter key. …. One eye open…. is it a hit or a miss? (Warning: sometimes I hit a nasty little site, right between the eyes. And that’s hard to explain to the boys in the tech department) But sometimes…

Eureka, my darling! I have discovered something - a treasure, once on display for all the world to see, now hidden in the secret hallways of cyberspace.

{I have a few guilty pleasures as far as TV goes – One is Will and Grace. The other is MTV’s The Real World. Now, I don’t have cable, silly. I wouldn’t think of paying for it. (Well, I think of it all the time, but decide against it) But when I happen to be at a location where MTV is available, I’m all about The Real World.}

So, the other night when I came upon www.waterfoul.co.uk, I was delighted to learn what Neil is doing after his days on the Real World – London. You remember Neil. He was the Brit with a flair for heavy music who was involved in an unusual accident which resulted in the death of a portion of his tongue. Today, Neil, though suffering from partial loss of feeling in his tongue, is a thriving artist. You see, dropping out of Oxford wasn’t a horrible mistake after all. His band Unliever is doing well, along with his many other projects which you can investigate on his web site. This man’s words remind me of a time when I didn’t care who was on this list. I was so impressed with Neil’s work, that I wanted to share some of it with you.

there's a certain something
i find it difficult
to grasp
an understanding
of what it is that lasts
beyond this moment
here without you
means more than any time within you
an echo of what might have been
much more much more than all we've seen
i catch your gaze
and hold it
five lines of words

sorry, for a minute there, i lost myself.

a slight twinge in my left prefrontal cortex, a dull throb at my temples,

contemplating decay.

it's interesting getting older.

there's a haze of drizzle outside, i'm in the blackest of black velvet
shirts and wondering where to go next.

i think i'll go and buy some more sunglasses.

hey you're that guy!?
sure you are
i've seen you
that guy on tv
how's your tongue?
that guy, do you know him?
is he really?
i thought so.
nice meeting you.


All above compilation of words written by Neil Forrester.

Now here’s a little slice of me:

mood ring

blue means calm
sometimes it’s purple
or green
i don’t know
(complementary laugh)
what do you think it means?
(nod three times)

just working
i ... write
i don’t know
(token smile)
gripes, hopes, smack – you
(nod once)

yeah, good luck with that

sighi rapid

the train station was bored
but not for long
here comes Nay Nay with her heart undone
standing on the platform,
me with my history,
blondie with his ticket
you with that look
a Decision had to be made
be careful what you ask for
- or at least what you offer when a train is about to leave
(write that down)

it all happened so fast
off to Paris and all that
quick wit and a brave (or irrational) new cast
go a lot further than a country mile
me with the eyes
you with my admiration
blondie still on the platform
Guts and Glory!
it’s okay to be left holding the bag
as long as you’re the one on the train
(make a note)

Posted by Penny Rene at 05:00 PM

19 · Jan · 2001

Miss President

I once wanted to be President of the United States. Its true - just ask my best friend Stephanie Butterfield or Cleo Phillips, my 7th grade US Civics teacher.

Big plans to change the world! BIG plans. I figured I'd go to the University of Oklahoma, pledge some over-rated sorority, graduate, go on to law school, open a private practice in criminal law, and run for a seat on the Oklahoma City Council. I didn’t think it'd be so hard, you know. Talk a good talk, live clean; serve up Truth, Justice and the American Way on a silver platter. I wanted to give the country something to believe in, something to smile about.

The year was 1983. Ronald Reagan was in the White House and people were talking about nuclear war like it was a scheduled event that we must attend. My family was still living in suburbia. Everyone around us appeared to be cracking up, but I still went to bed every night feeling pretty lucky that everybody in our house still had the same last name. That was the last year of the Grand Illusion.

The following year I got a D in Pre-Algebra, my parents split up and my 17-year-old brother married his pregnant girlfriend. Can you flunk out of math and still get elected President? I wasn’t sure, but it definitely made me consider some alternative career paths. The next thing I knew I had my radio tuned to "American Top 40" with Casey Kasem every weekend, trying to figure out the easiest way to go on tour with a rock band. My friend Yuki Bisby was giving me her leftover Rolling Stone magazines so I cut out a picture of Sting and taped it on my closet door. He and Bob Geldof were my new role models.

There may not seem to be a correlation between President of the USA and the Robin Hood rebellion of Sting. But think again. All I ever wanted to do was serve.

When I realised that I wasn’t exactly the best student in high school, (whether it was boredom or lack of intelligence we’ll never know) I looked for something I was good at - something that did speak to me. I was drawn to the certain bands because of their popularity, yes. But I kept listening because some of those lyrics were packed full of wisdom and encouragement. Not to mention that compassion was slowly becoming the new form of rebellion for many artists.

You may remember that in 1985 Bob Geldof, former lead singer of the UK band the Boomtown Rats, hosted the largest benefit rock show in history, Live Aide. His organisation, USA for Africa raised eyebrows and awareness of our starving friends over the sea. So appreciated was his work that he was knighted by the Queen of England. And Sting, former teacher and frontman of the Police, branched out as well. Over the years, he has become known as one of the music business most visible human rights activists. He was recently honored by the Chilean government for speaking out for the victims of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship. This was the inspiration behind his song "They Dance Alone".

Good things are accomplished in many ways. You might think you are going to raise your child to be a Senator or the next Paul McCartney, but I suspect the only real influence we have on children is the values they see in us - what we do in our daily lives.

My father served in the US Air Force throughout my childhood and my full time, working mother volunteered in community programs as well. They sent a clear message to my brother, sister and I that we are all quite capable of lending a hand and that lending a hand is a Great Thing.

Many of you spend a great deal of time and energy in service. Whether you are running in that charity marathon, sending encouraging letters to a wayward artist, speaking at local middle schools, or living every day in Foreign Service - on behalf of the recipients of your generosity, Thank You.

I still think love is the answer to everything. There’s a whole lot of love inside me where a lot of law and political correctness used to be.

If you have thought of doing some volunteer work, but haven’t because you don’t feel you have the time, let me take this opportunity to remind you - You will have even less time next year. And if you have an idea to fill a need in your community, country, or world, but can’t seem to find the group who’s doing it - May I suggest you consider a new title for yourself this year - "Founder of (insert charitable organisation here)"
Why not? You’re perfectly capable of Great Things.

Penny Rene

Posted by Penny Rene at 05:06 PM

9 · Jan · 2001

The Journey

I have this picture of myself that sits on a coffee table in my living room. It’s a studio photo of my dear friend, Stephanie and me. We are about 19 years old, long curly hair framing our faces. My skin is smooth like porcelain – healthy glow to go with my peach button down shirt. (Yes, I used to wear cheerful coulours) I look at this picture and I think, “Who is this girl?” So fresh and unharmed! What happened to her?

There has been no loss of memory here. I know the events that took place in my life over the past 10 years. And Steph is still around, more like a sister now than a friend. But that other girl in the photo; she died a long time ago.

I say this because perhaps, you too, had an experience when one door, the door that you went in and out of all the time, that door slammed shut forever. And no matter what you do, it can’t be opened again. Maybe you made a decision that turned your life in another direction; maybe you walked away from an opportunity. Maybe you got a serious phone call. Maybe someone who you thought would sustain you died or simply went away. The door slammed with a bang. And you are left alone, wondering, asking what to do or where to go next.

This is not an easy place to be. Some people call it “limbo”. Dr Suess refers to it as The Waiting Place. Once you’re there, it hardly matters how you got there. What matters is how do you get out? I don’t think songs, movies, playwrights or philosophers offer much of a solution here. The fact is, we’re all at a loss for words when the wounded ask, “How do I stop feeling this way?”

I asked myself that question a lot over the past 2 years. I asked other people too: friends, ministers, and counselors. Nobody really knew. But looking back now, I may have been asking the wrong question. I know how to get out of bed in the morning. I know how to participate. Heck, we’re all pretty good at hiding our emotions by the time we hit grammar school. So maybe what I really wanted to know was why? Why go forward when I feel I may have lost all that made me happy?

I know what you’re thinking. There are a few cliché answers here. Family… Friends. Surely that is enough. But my parents are not here every day and any child with enough guilt will tell you mom and dad might’ve been able to retire early if it wasn’t for the grief we give them. And my friends are experts at “moving on”. They’d survive without me. Though it sounds noble, I don’t live and breathe for the happiness of those I love. And even if I’m just afraid of wounding them, these are really just reasons for not committing suicide. These aren’t reasons to LIVE.

What does get me up in the morning? What makes me “hang in there”? Well….

I love the journey.

I have always believed the scientific theory that for every action, thee is an equal and opposite reaction. Waiting just around the bend is another surprise. Life is never sorrow without joy. If you are wounded, ready to give up; stick around, kid. Things are about to change. This is a guarantee.

Until you embrace the failure as much as the success, you will have trouble living.

I used to scoff when I read of Saint Paul rejoicing in his sufferings. What an idiot! But now I realise he might not have been dancing in jail cell. But maybe he had comfy peace about him that came from knowing that the good part was yet to happen.

Believe it or not, sometimes, in the middle of my teary eyed fits I throw, (And yeah, I still do that) I sometimes make a little nod to God and thank him for this great chance to build character. (I’ve had a lot of practice so I also wonder if he is grooming me to lead a nation or parent the first leader of the United Earth. heh hehe.)

My journey is bittersweet. I’ve taken some knocks, met some real creeps and cheated a few fellow travelers. For my mistakes, I’ve paid dearly, but I’ve learned. Finally, I’m starting to like it.

I look at the 19-year-old in my photo and I’m sorry I do not have her ideas anymore. But I am no less proud of who is here now – this woman that I’ve become. How I have wanted to throw in the towel many times! But I feel the winds of change and I figure another adventure waits behind the next door.

I encourage you to examine where you are on your journey. Is it time to open a door?

“But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
Though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
Though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
A frightening creek,
Though your arms may get sore
And your sneakers may leak.
On you will hike.
And I know you’ll hike far
And face up to your
Whatever they are.”
-from Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess – a book about the journey

Posted by Penny Rene at 05:09 PM

16 · Sep · 2000

The Shut Up Rap

Well, here I am. Friday night, 10:38 and already in bed. Alone. So far, I’ve eaten a pot pie, drank a glass of grape juice, watched Erin Brockovitch, faithfully removed my makeup, washed dishes, fed my cats and cleaned up cat vomit. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Crazy Friday night at my swingin' singles pad!! Whoo hoo! Look ma! No man!

You ever fell deep into the thought of what you would say if everybody had to listen but couldn’t be mad at you by what you said? I have. Good lord, it’s the best fantasy I have. In it, I’m blowin' the cover, I’m shooting from the hip. People are staring at me in disbelief. Jaws are down so far I can see cavities. Cavities from all those years of swallowing sugar coated crap! Here ya go kids, have some fluoride!

Where is Dorothy Freaking Parker when I need her? Erin Brockovitch my ass. Talk to Ms. Parker! She’ll rip through the bull like it was a wet Kleenex. Gimmie one good reason why I should be silent, St. Timothy. “I suffer not a woman to teach...” Really? Well, that’s nice of you. Tell ya what. I suffer not a man to speak. How’s that? You shut the hell up. That can be your place in society. Hunt, protect, build me a mansion, but don’t talk. Ya know, I wouldn’t want to burden you too much.

Blink once in a while son, you’re startin’ to scare me.

This is a little rap for all the people who don’t think they need it.

yesterday I filled my day with what was on your mind
i swerved right by the truth because you didn’t have the time
i endured every hour like i enjoyed the pain
i think i should tell you i’m not doing that again

do you remember when you said that Indians are drunks
that Buddhist don’t know god and autistic kids are dumb
or what about that theory that AIDS is not your problem
when was the last time you went out and bought a pack of condoms?

i’m tired of being patient, waiting for you to “grow up”
i’ve got two words baby, are you ready? SHUT UP!
Listen, look and learn SHUT UP!
This might sting & burn. SHUT UP!
You make me tired, so SHUT UP!
You’re just a liar. SHUT UP!

you say you don’t mind gays, that some of them are nice
like who is good or bad is your job to decide
yeah i bet you’ve got “some black friends” that you never hang around
just ‘cause they don’t ask you out or live on your side of town

the right words are said and you’re correct politically
but that don’t mean a damn thing to those who think like me
what if i had pink hair and was pierced from end to end
would you take the time to know me, would we, right now be friends?

well, i’m tired of being patient, waiting for you to “grow up”
i’ve got two words baby, are you ready? SHUT UP!
listen, look and learn SHUT UP!
this might sting & burn. SHUT UP!
you make me tired, so SHUT UP!
you’re just a liar. SHUT UP!

i hear you saying you mean well, that your heart is right
well, what would Jesus do if he if he heard your crap tonight?
you say “nobody is perfect”, no shit, how can we be?
when you’re makin’ up the rules and you change them daily?

it takes work to change a nation it takes thought to find a cure
i know what it’s like to be ugly, i remember being poor
if you continue treating people like they’re not worth your time
you’re hurting me too, and you’re no friend of mine

i’m tired of being patient, waiting for you to “grow up”
i’ve got two words baby, are you ready? SHUT UP!
listen, look and learn SHUT UP!
this might sting & burn. SHUT UP!
you make me tired, so SHUT UP!
you’re just a liar. SHUT UP!

penny rené
© 2000

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:18 PM

21 · Jul · 2000

I'm Here

This priest was saying to me the other day “God wants to tell you ‘I’m here.’” Reel to reel played in my mind of times when I heard God say that to me. God. We don’t talk about him much, but He’s always there isn’t He?

Sometimes he’s hanging around like a fog that won’t go away. At funerals, I tend to think of Him pacing the isles in a red sequin blazer. That’s definitely his gig isn’t it? Can’t ignore him there. Weddings – He’s sitting up front with mom, equally concerned and proud. He’s at the hospital, in the nursery, hi-fiving the newborn for successful passage into the world. Sunday morning worship service, hovering above us, laughing at the fidgety 5 year olds or maybe in the back, sitting up against the wall, probably bored. But there is other times, common days that are not so common to me that I hear Him say, “I’m here.”

Not a popular topic of conversation - God. Not a favorite. Not easy. I get shy myself, just typing this note. Do you remember that old George Burns movie? What was it called? Anyway, this little girl started the campaign “Think God”. Brilliant. And everyone thought she was crazy. I can relate. It’s going to be hard sending this memo off. But that’s it. God. Here is my latest “I’m here” story.

On Tuesday, Claude Anderson died. He was an artist in Oklahoma City -a painter that I once posed for. He was also an eccentric man; witty, charming, and talented. If life was a watermelon, Claude devoured every part, swallowing the seeds and wearing the green striped skin as a hat. He was my friend. I couldn’t get back to Oklahoma for the funeral and I couldn’t really talk to anyone who saw him the way I did, so I raised a toast to him, alone in my new residence and prayed I’d have the honor of displaying some of his work on my walls before it’s all said and done.

In short, I feel it’s a very small team I’m on, and we’d just lost a player.

Then on Wednesday I went to a birthday party for my friend Allison. There, I met a guy from San Diego who is traveling around the country; living off a small bit of money he saved waiting tables and the cash of sales from his homemade CD. He has a college degree, a Martin guitar, a bike, a Honda Passport, a gentle heart and a lot of courage. Before he left Nashville we had a little talk at Portland Brew about life, and the process of learning to see things as they really are. Chad Gray is one of a kind. As we talked and he strummed his guitar, I felt a player being added to the team. And I swear to you, I heard it. God bent down to my ear and said, “I’m here.”

Water Dance

The walls in my room are cream from the smoke of the people before.
I lay in my bed and lazily dream of what I had, but don’t anymore.
It’s an easier way to let it all go and sweep our care under this tattered rug
It’s harder to face who we’ve really become and see the holes in the things that we love.

You don’t get the water if you don’t dig
You don’t hear the truth unless you speak up
You don’t know passion 'til your first kiss
You don’t know peace until you give love

I saw you or I wouldn’t be here with my poems and my hope and my pen
But I’m no good at predicting if you’ll soon open up again
Been told I should let it all go and shake the dust from my sandal-clad feet.
I’m not afraid of the things I don’t know, but maybe you’re afraid of me

You don’t get the water if you don’t dig
You don’t hear the truth unless you speak up
You don’t know passion 'til your first kiss
You don’t know peace until you give love

You don’t get the water if you don’t dig
In the middle of the desert
Is that any way to live?
You won’t get the rain if you don’t dance
It takes a brave little brother
Willing to take the chance

-penny rene-

"Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get."
- Forest Gump -

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:16 PM | TrackBack

3 · Jun · 2000

Be A Hypocrite


I wish that it were that simple and that you and everyone could just "see" the truth and live it. But, it doesn't work that way. You have to hate your life so much that suicide is a good option, but GOD is a better one. And you need to meet GOD at this beginning level. Not some "church" pizza party where everyone puts on the face and is "happy". I will pull my pants down and scream Arkansas if I ever find myself in that kind of petri dish of southern jesus. – Kyle Jones, Clarksville, TN

I am easily distracted. This is a flaw that has been with me since birth and is eagerly catered to by nearly every person I meet and every mini empire with a power hungry CEO. Sometimes I completely forget the things that bring me joy.

This seems to be a common problem, really. I am not alone. It is such a waste to complain about being "unsatisfied" with the normality of a life when that is what we are taught to achieve. But it’s true. Being normal is no fun because it requires that we abide by some set of rules that are never clear and have no depth. The American Dream… for example. I have had it, I believe. Woke up oneday and was living it. But it’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare. To look in the mirror and see that the person looking back is no one that you want to have dinner with is a terrible feeling. At the same time, it is wonderful, because then you can begin to tear that person apart and reveal someone so much more interesting that has been suffocating underneath. This has happened to me.

I work to not become apathetic and normal like it is my full time job. Every day, I peel away a thin layer of the selfishness that relentlessly tries to cover up the sweeter parts of me like skin on warm milk. Last week I almost bought a new/used car. Can you believe that? I don’t need a new car, but I just wanted to look smarter driving down 44o during rush hour, I guess. What’s with that? Do I need a newer car to make me feel better? I hope not, because I am not buying one. In fact, I'm not buying into this whole culture that tells me how much money to make, where to spend my money and what I would enjoy doing on my vacation. But some days I wake up and I can hardly breathe. Those are the days when I am letting someone else make my decisions for me. I am far too concerned about being accepted and not concerned enough with my own happiness. Perhaps I am conditioned so that I don’t always know the difference.

As I said, there are scores of people who feel this way. But so few people open their mouths and scream about it when they have every right to be heard. This week, just in case you have begun to bore yourself as I have, I give you this perspective on the false promises of a normal life that I hope will make you angry or at least make you take a deep cleansing breath.

On A Dime
I am tired of trying to decide who won’t like my tattoo
I don’t want to be convincing you I have better things to do
If it’s good for me then it’s not good enough for you
I am fine if I am writing my worries through

I have decided to sell some things around the house
My way to settle down is to let it all go
I don’t feel like I am better for abiding by my rules
Maybe I was fine with the simple things I don’t know

I have faked it for a really long time
I fell a lot but no one says I don’t try
I pick myself up and I turn on a dime
But now I’m wondering why

I see my hard work going down the drain
And I want to laugh cause it feels so good
It all can change, baby, just like that
I think we always knew that it would

All the careful dreams never filled us up
So I think I’m gonna wing it and let the leaves fall
They said the truth could kill me but it’s makin me whole
And I don’t think I’m so bad after all

I have faked it for a really long time
I fell a lot but no one can say I don’t try
I pick myself up and I turn on a dime
But now I’m wondering why

penny rené

Posted by Penny Rene at 02:20 PM | TrackBack

13 · Apr · 2000

Week 2 in Nashville

Before I left OKC, I told myself that there would come a day that I would feel as if I had made a terrible mistake by moving to Nashville and that I would think my whole life to be one big train wreck. This is the nature of taking charge of one's life - wondering, when things get bad, if I have made the right decision.
But I knew I would feel this way and I knew I would be wrong; thus preparing myself for last Tuesday. Alas, here I am today, at the keyboard, alive.

Yesterday I hand delivered resumes to the likes of City Press, Zeitgeist Gallery, Ruby Green Foundation, Squint Records, CCM Countdown, and the Nashville Scene. I interviewed at an artist management company on Music Row. I found a job... for Laurie.

Today, I plan to deliver a dozen more resumes. I’m considering a career in retail... I cannot help but giggle. This is my ridiculous life.

On the way home, I stopped in Portland Brew for a double mocha and sat down to assess the damage and write a poem about the first thing that came to mind.

Escalating Blue, a chorus I discarded last Sunday, ran through my mind. Though I may not keep it this way, I put it with verses I wrote that same Sunday in church. So, this is my offering today, to the critics, the instant memo deleters, and the kind readers are scribblings I wrote:

escalating blues

I rest like a baby in the palm of your hand
and refuse to face the light of day
All those distractions bang on my door
though I have nothing to say
It is two lifetimes from this house to where I came from
So, there’s no going back even when this life is done

Escalating blues
This house is full of escalating blues
and You are green
Today I offer up my dreams
You smile, saying “Life’s not what it seems.
It may look like escalating blue Because you’re green”

I close my eyes as a guitar pulls me along
Surrender of sight, sound and touch
Excuses lie on the sweet tip of my tongue
But they never amount to much
If I sit on the front row and speak of my visions unseen
Will You open a window and tell me what all of it means?

Escalating blues
This house is full of escalating blues
and You are green
Today I offer up my dreams
You smile, saying “Life’s not what it seems.
It may look like escalating blue
Because you’re green”

penny rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 01:36 PM

4 · Apr · 2000

And the Pendelum Swings Me Into a Duane Eddy Tribute

At 12:38 am on Thursday, I sat down to try to explain the night’s events but found that no matter how I say this, it’s likely that someone out there won’t believe me.

So, I turn to clichés:

• Two tickets to the Duane Eddy, Grady Martin Tribute hosted by Chet Atkins Musician Days at the Ryman... free.
• Sitting in the balcony with newlyweds Amy & Vince Gill... free.
• Two passes to the Bell South After Party with Duane Eddy... free.
• Seeing John Fogherty, Marty Stewart, Vince Gill, Dave Pomery, Bonnie Bramlett and Peter Frampton perform together - live- for three hours... PRICELESS.

On that note, I submit to you my latest song, hoping I remember all of it correctly, due to the original being lost the last time I was thrown off the net.


it was easy to think myself cheerful
hopeful even, all the way to my toes
reinvention, restoration maybe possible
a star your love could not oppose
i the one who polishes the moon
maybe you could let this feeling linger in the room

possible, maybe
oh baby
to mark a path we’ve never taken
possible, maybe
i’m just a little crazy
i could have been mistaken

there’s a few lips i’m found kissing
but only one that i want to hear talk
revival, flicker, flame ‘twas possible
if you’re already running, i’ll just walk

the love i know raised a dead man from his tomb
it’s possible you’ve walked away too soon

possible, maybe
oh baby
to mark a path we’ve never taken
possible, maybe
i’m just a little crazy
i could have been mistaken

last night i dreamed you offered me the world
though it wasn’t yours to give, i accepted gracefully
i can’t believe how i’m taunted with the fortunes
of those who can misplace their love so easily

4/00 Penny Rene

Posted by Penny Rene at 05:07 PM