07/30/2014 03:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Confessions of a Serial Songwriter: Hashtag Hiatus


I ran into Wendy Wilson (of Wilson Phillips) at M.Fredric clothing store on Ventura Boulevard last week. I was killing some time before my mani-pedi. My daughter had just dropped me off. That was a first. My 16-year-old daughter dropping me off. She was to pick me up in an hour after she ran some errands of her own. (Seriously, since when does she have errands of her own?)   

Anyway, there was Wendy, who I wrote five songs with over the course of a week in 1997, along with sister Carnie and Glen Burtnik. A week. That's five work days in a row. No wonder she remembers me. It wasn't as if Glen and I had their attention for a few hours, wrote a quickie, grabbed some auto-tuned vocals and waved goodbye as they ran off to the next session. With the next team. For the next quickie. That's how it would most likely roll these days in the songwriting business. You rarely get scheduled with an artist for more than a day. Two if you're lucky.

I was pregnant at the time. The daughter who just dropped me off was a fetus. That's how long ago it was. I've seen Wendy intermittently since then here and there. Once very briefly in a Whole Foods parking lot, and a few months ago backstage after a Wilson Phillips gig at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center. It was pretty close to where I live and I thought, "Why not?" (Yes, they sang "Hold On." Oh, and Debbie Gibson was there!) 

When I met Wendy she was single. Today she is a mother of four boys. She was appropriately disheveled and glowing about her chaotic life. She talked of a hands-on husband, no nanny, public school... and a house that's "not a mansion but it's great." Her words. The girl whose first album sold 9 million copies is happy to report her house is "not a mansion but it's great." Nice. That's a refreshing attitude in this town. She showed me pictures of her kids. Not posed or professional shots. Just run of the mill, day-in-the-life, smartphone filter-less iPhotos. All four look happy. And silly. Silly is good.

I tell you this because, as you might know, I've been posting, posting, posting. Did I say posting? And writing my book, book, book. Did someone say book? And documenting my life on a daily basis with accompanying hashtags and images. 

But I'm proud to say that in the course of my conversation with Wendy, I didn't find myself feeling around in my purse for my phone. It never once occurred to me to whip it out and get that photo op to tweet about later - or to tag on my Facebook Page.

OK, so she's not Britney Spears. She doesn't have millions of followers. But she's a person of interest. It might have drawn some - what do they say - traffic

I am all good with social media. It took a little, well, a lot of getting used to. At first I found the idea of finding an online community somewhat calculating. But now I think of it as another form of self expression, of staying in touch and, ok, self-promoting. It's like keeping a diary but allowing everyone in. Everyone. And now I actually enjoy it. In fact I've fallen and I can't get up. Except, let's not call it what it isn't: It is not social. It's not necessarily anti-social. Well, it is a little. But it is arm's length. It's virtual. Not personal. Still, I can dig it.  

But there's this line that I found I can't cross. A line that divides the sharable from the unsharable. Are you backstage at a gig where photobombing is a given? At a writing session where selfies are part of the culture? Are you out with the girls and feeling a party coming on? Or have you stumbled on a serendipitous crossing of paths? A little gift from the universe. I don't know. Sometimes I just have to let life be life. Not document every moment of it. Because taking out that iPhone and holding it just so (you know what just so is: a little higher than your head) changes the moment. It just does. 

It was lovely running into someone with whom I spent some quality time back when we were all thinking about where we might be in 16 years. Would we land on our feet? Would we find true love? These were things up for discussion back then. Of course they were. They'd have to be over the course of a whole week. And here we were, living to tell. It was enough to know that Wendy indeed landed on her feet. And that she's happy. Extraordinarily happy.

And you'll just have to believe me. Because I have no photo to prove it. And sometimes, a hashtag doesn't make it any more so. 

But here's a picture of my cat.


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