I'm usually not at a loss for words. Really. But in my defense, I don't meet rock stars every day. So when I found myself face to face with Kenny Loggins recently, rather than the cool demeanor I envisioned myself exhibiting, I instead came down with a severe case of verbal paralysis and found myself saying... absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, Mr. Loggins seemed like a nice guy, trying to have a normal conversation with a fellow writer. But I just couldn't get it together.
The story should have ended there, and it almost did... but I decided to write about the embarrassing encounter in great detail and then post it on my blog, complete with what I'd wished I'd said.
I never thought he'd actually read it, let alone respond to me. But life has a funny way of giving us second chances sometimes, and it turned out that Kenny Loggins did read my blog and decided it would be entertaining and informative to respond to it in his own HuffPost50 column.
If that wasn't enough to completely unnerve me, he thought it might be fun (or maybe funny?) to turn the tables and ask me some questions, too. Gulp. So here are Kenny Loggins' questions for me... and I only let out a teensy squeal of delight whilst typing that:
So, Ilene, what has writing a blog taught you about yourself, as it pertains to what you believe in and what you now believe you can share with your readers?
Wow. Couldn't have opened with "What's your favorite color, Ilene?"
Okay. Whenever I'm writing, I give myself permission to be who I am at my most honest, most outspoken and my boldest. It's easy to be those things when you're sitting at a computer, but once it goes out into the ether, it's out there for good. And there is power in that, not necessarily because people agree with my politics or my spiritual outlook on life, but because we live in a time where there is a lot of talking, but not a lot being said. We hear a lot of soundbites, but not a lot of honesty. So being true to myself has turned out to resonate with people in ways I never would have expected. Go figure.
As a songwriter, do you walk into co-writing sessions with bits of song ideas in your back pocket, or do you totally trust the moment and see what appears?
I've done both. Lately, I like trusting the moment. When I do want to come prepared, I go in with some hook ideas or maybe some lines that I didn't quite know what to do with, because you never know what sparks another person's juices in a writing session. That's the fun of collaboration. And oddly enough, I do keep some of them in my back pocket.
Other than a desire to pay the rent, what keeps you fired up and willing to put your butt out there?
Wait, my butt made it into question three? Fantastic!
What keeps me fired up is the thrill that comes from creating something out of thin air, regardless of what it is. Every day starts as a blank page for all of us, not just writers or artists. And we make of it what we will. Each day is another chance to ask, "What do I want to create today?" And the answer to that question, on every level, shows up as what our lives and what the world looks like.
As for being willing to put my butt out there, I do it because, at my best, I speak for more than just myself. And knowing that, how do you not step up?
A parent may be too busy grieving a lost child to talk about the need for gun legislation, but I can do that. And I know when I hear a song that moves me, like many of yours do, I feel understood and a little bit less alone in the world. Doing that is what drives me.
Do you actually HAVE spare time? What is that really?
I have no spare time, largely because I've already seen all the Law & Order reruns, so really, what would I do with it if I had it?
If you could get a do-over, looking back, what do you wish you'd have done differently?
Bought stock in Apple. Found a better skincare regimen.
Seriously, I think we all have an inner compass with which to navigate our lives that is easily and often disregarded. So if I could have a do-over, I'd trust my instincts more, common opinion less, and I'd take greater leaps of faith.
This one warrants a setup:
Ilene to KL: Do you have a nickname, and if so, how did it originate?
KL: Strangely, Gary hasn't landed on anything I care to repeat. Is "sugar-pie" a nickname? I think not.
KL to Ilene: And You? What nickname do you wish your loved-ones had never started calling you?
Well, sugar-pie, some people call me "I" and some call me "Lenes." But you should feel free to go with "Ilene"... or "pumpkin," whichever you like.
What would you tell your 25-year-old self, if you could?
First, that I was smokin' hot and to enjoy it, because gravity eventually wins this game... unless you've got a good plastic surgeon. Also, to laugh more and worry less.
What do you think your life serves as an example of, and what is it a warning against? From the tone of your blogs, can I assume your life should be used primarily as a warning?
Nice. While my life may indeed serve as some sort of warning, I'd like to think it better serves as an example of how, in one moment of verbal bravery, an utterly embarrassing experience turned into an honest-to-goodness meaningful conversation with a rock star. Thank you, Kenny Loggins, for not only writing "The Real Thing," but for being it.