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A History of Rob Thomas Concerts

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I’m trying to remember all the times I’ve seen RT (with or without Matchbox Twenty) play. I know the first time was in 2000 out at Amherst College. It was in a gymnasium, SRO, but we were able to get pretty close to the stage. Matchbox Twenty was touring for Mad Season at the time, and they were my favorite band—I’d never felt as strongly about a band as I did for them at the time—so (embarrassing as it is), I stood there with tears running down my face, I was so happy to see them. Later I was moved enough to post on a message board (my name was “yukitouya” at the time because I was into animé) that it was for me what seeing The Beatles was like for my mother.

Well, live a little longer and you get a different perspective on life, but I still do love Rob and the boys. In 2003 I would see them again for the More Than You Think You Are tour. That time they were at the Fleet Center (now TD Garden). Sugar Ray opened, IIRC, and it was clear the band had more of a budget as there was more flash and bang in the show. But weirdly, I find that doesn’t suit them as much.

In 2004 I started a blog called “Letters to Rob” in which, over the course of a year, I wrote open letters to Rob and his bandmates. (Though the site is no more, a PDF version is under my Bibliography under Books.) It got picked up by the Atlantic message boards and stands as my little slice of fangirldom. Rob would come out with Something To Be, and I would end up seeing him both at the Avalon on Lansdowne Street (now gone) and at a charity show at the China Club in NYC.

I think, after that, the next time I saw Matchbox Twenty was at a Mix Fest or something of that sort. This would have been when the Exile on Mainstream EP was released.

Then Rob again, solo, in 2009 in Boston for the Cradlesong show. I ended up sitting next to his son and his son’s friend. And we saw him play at Mohegan Sun towards the end of 2011. And a couple years ago I took my own son to see Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty at the Concord, CA show.

Finally, last night we saw Rob on his Great Unknown tour at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. Another great show.

So what does that come to? Nine total? I’ve seen Rob more than any other artist. Even if I count the solo shows (5), or the Matchbox Twenty shows (4) separately, it comes to more than any other. Well, I think the MB20 shows tie Train, which I’ve also seen 4 times now.

I’m not sure why I’m posting this retrospective except maybe as a means to ground myself. I was wondering the other day about the trajectory of fandom and at what point (if ever) people “grow out of” or at least begin to mature . . . Which isn’t to say they don’t still like things, but they have more perspective, maybe, or are more discerning, or “gush” less . . . What keeps a person coming back versus the point at which they walk away from a band or a TV show . . . I guess it depends on the purpose these things serve in a person’s life. When a show or artist fills a kind of emotional or psychological need in a person, plugs a perceived hole in them, the person may become fanatical. But if (a) the show or artist ceases to plug the hole, or (b) the hole closes or the need is otherwise filled, then the grip loosens.

Or maybe the hole changes shape. I still enjoy Rob and Matchbox Twenty, and their music still speaks to me on some levels, though not the way it did when I was in college. And some of their songs also take me back to other times, bring back memories. That’s another kind of service these things provide: milestones and markers of who we used to be.

I don’t know if I have a point here. It’s more a musing. I studied fan psychology as an undergrad, and so these things continue to interest me. Of course, one isn’t required to have a reason for liking something. And one isn’t required to defend themselves for liking (or not liking). But it is amazing how strongly people feel about these things—what they like and don’t like. There’s no right answer, no one fit for everyone, yet we still love to argue and debate the merits and lack thereof of what we love and hate and why. Internet message boards overflow with just such arguments.

I outgrew The X-Files at some point (though I’ll still check out the reboot), and I don’t enjoy Doctor Who that much any more, but I do still love Rob and Matchbox Twenty. I take a lot of flak for that, but whatever. Sometimes there really is no accounting for what we enjoy. It is what it is.

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Halfway Point

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So 2015 is half over, which makes it a fine time to check in with those goals I’d set at the start of the year.

1. Get an agent for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller.

Okay, so I didn’t land an agent (though there was lots of great feedback, yet somehow I kept being told, “but I just don’t feel strongly enough . . .”), but I did get a publisher for it, and so far they’ve been great to work with. So I’ll count this one as accomplished, and I’m super excited about it being published by Tirgearr in January!

2. Finish Changers.

Actually, now I’m going to be querying Changers and hoping to get an agent for it.

3. Get Hunting Victor Frankenstein picked up.

This one seems far-fetched, I’ll admit, and I haven’t even been actively pitching it. But I do still hope at some point to find an interested party. Feedback has been encouraging, though one agent told me that because FOX has a Frankenstein TV project, mine would be harder to sell. Sigh.

As for my wish to return to London this year, I’m going in late September to see Hamlet at the Barbican. Won’t be in town very long, but I’ll take what I can get.

The rom-com has been optioned but remains in flux as the production company that optioned it looks for others to come on board. I’m also co-writing a sci-fi feature that has a producer already attached and looks hopeful to actually go somewhere. Adverse Possession has been sent off to at least one film festival, though I think we won’t even know if it gets in until October.

All told, though, I’m pretty happy with the direction of 2015. There has been definite progress, and I’ve got some great trips coming up: DFW Con at the end of this month, the Alaskan cruise at the start of August, and that trip to London in September. Much to be pleased with in looking back, and much more to look forward to.

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Coming Soon

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I finished a new Sherlock Holmes story (in the Doyle style), and we’re aiming to have it up on Amazon on July 7. In the meantime, my other two Holmes stories are back up on Amazon as well.

And you may have also noticed a countdown clock to Peter‘s arrival date as well. It’s over there on the sidebar. Of course the pub date could still change, but I’m staying optimistic.

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything, so I hope you’re as excited as I am about these forthcoming titles!

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Hummingbird

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A question in my journal the other day asked, “What makes you happy?” And of course there are a lot of possible answers to that, but it occurred to me last night one thing that makes me happy without fail is: hummingbirds.

I can’t really account for the way my heart lifts when I see one. Something about them brings me unfiltered joy.

When I sit in my bath at night, I can look out the window and see a tree where one of our seasonal hummers likes to rest at the topmost branch. If he’s there, or buzzing around as he so often is, I will stay in the bath until I’m so wrinkled it takes the rest of the night to smooth me out. I can’t take my eyes off him, and I don’t want to miss a single dart, duck, or dive.

There’s a female, too, and sometimes they do intricate dances in the air that are breathtaking to watch.

I’m a little sad there are only two this year. Past years we’ve normally had around five hummingbirds as “regulars.” I’m not sure if it’s the drought that has reduced their numbers, but I’m just so glad to see them whenever they do come around. They have that particular chirp, too, so I always know when they’re nearby.

I enjoy birds in general, but there is something special about hummingbirds. They pluck at my heart in a unique way.

History

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I want to congratulate all my LGBTQ friends, though it shouldn’t be something I have to congratulate them on, it should have been a given to begin with. But I am so, so happy for them. Some are already married, but to have those marriages valid in every state . . . What I take for granted opens huge doors for them. It’s difficult for me to wrap my brain around it.

I have gay and lesbian friends with children who will now be legitimately recognized as “families.” They were always families, but here we are handing them the certificate. No more limbo.

There will be those who still hate, but obstructions to justice have been knocked down today, paths made clear that should never have been blocked to begin with. Better late, however. Now is better than never.

INFP?

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I’m one of those people you hate on Facebook, always posting quizzes and quiz results. Blame the psychology minor.

Anyway, I also periodically take some version of the Myers-Briggs just to see what kind of answers I’ll get. Pretty much always Introvert, but then it seems to depend on the day (or the test) whether I’m FJ or TP or whatever. I mean, I have an analytical mind but I tend to go with my heart/gut when making decisions, so it can be tough to pin down.

Still, when I took yet another such test yesterday, I got this result and it seems pretty accurate. I have always identified with Fox Mulder and Anne Shirley, and we know I love Shakespeare and Tolkien. (I also wouldn’t say no to Tom Hiddleston.)

If those are the shorthand answer, the long description also largely fits, though I’m not sure how idealistic I am. I consider myself a realist, though I do enjoy daydreaming about what could be. Still, I do tend to communicate in metaphors (my writing is a testament to that), and languages come relatively easily to me, though I’m rusty now with the ones I’ve learned.

As a natural “Mediator” I tend to jump in too soon when the kids are fighting because I can’t stand not to have peace (and quiet). I know, of course, I should let them work things out on their own. But God . . . I really have a very limited capacity for arguing and the noise that goes with it. A debate, a great conversation or discussion—I’m all over that, could go for hours. But the minute the voices get raised, oh no, no good. Something in me shuts down. OR, I get louder than everyone and shut it down. I’m tolerant of everything but that.

Am I difficult to get to know, as the profile says? Yes, probably. I don’t try to be, but I think I have a lot of layers and it’s a lot of work for people to peel them away. And yes, sometimes I gather those layers to me and hold on. If I don’t know you well enough, don’t trust you yet, you’ll only get so far before I put up a boundary. Sorry for that.

I’ll admit I pick up others’ emotions and moods quite easily and get annoyed when others can’t do the same for me. I know—again, rationally—that this is a lot to ask and not everyone is capable of such things. But emotionally I am irritated by what comes across as a lack of consideration. As the world gets more and more self-centered (“selfie” for God’s sake), I retreat further and further from it.

The key, though, is open-mindedness. Never being too fixed, always leaving some flexibility. Never say never. I’ve learned in life the minute I say “I would never,” is the minute the Universe serves up just that conundrum and I must either prove my words or eat them.

First and foremost is seemingly every INFPs’ dream growing up – to become an author.

Ha! Well, and I did, so there. And I did some modeling, some acting . . . In truth, I’m not cut out for the 9 to 5. Not unless I’m running the joint. Which isn’t to say I won’t work because I will, I’ll go all hours if it’s a project I’m loving or if I’m on deadline. But I need squishy, soft walls (a padded room!) rather than the harsh angles of office bureaucracy. I did all right when in publishing, but that’s a liberal industry and I had a certain amount of autonomy. But I’m much preferring being a writer, setting my own schedule, working with interesting co-writers when the opportunity comes along. Nothing like bouncing ideas and coming up with good stuff or making your stuff better. (Though:

[W]hile they enjoy exploring philosophy more than most, their patience for arbitrary hypothetical brainstorming or dense technical discussions is limited.

Too true! At some point I find myself saying to my co-writers as they go rounds with an idea, “Make a decision!”

All right, then. It was an interesting test with what appear to be accurate results. Then again, I think anyone might find a piece of themselves in these things. Rather like horoscopes, one can retrofit themselves into them. We are fluid creatures, not fixed. Which is why I get a variety of results when I take these tests. Though I guess my introversion remains unchanged.

Permanent Sunscreen

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We’ve reached the time of year where I might as well not bother with perfume because I’m more likely than not going to be slathered in sunscreen all day. I’ll be outside walking, swimming, reading, or even writing (though I’ve taken a bit of a break on that lately).

Today’s walk was largely upbeat:

1. “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw
2. “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees
3. “Hands All Over” by Maroon 5
4. “Shut Up and Dance” by Better Than Ezra
5. “Lady I Can’t Explain” by Jimmy Buffett
6. “Still Ain’t Over You” by Rob Thomas
7. “Hard to Handle” by Black Crowes
8. “Human Wheels” by John Mellencamp
9. “Rusty Halo” by The Script

Okay, so the John Mellencamp song was kind of a weird one, but the rest made for quite a good story of missing an old flame, making a move on a new one, losing her, being hit on by a chick in a club, but then still not being able to get over the first girl. Or something like that. I think he gets his mojo back with “Hard to Handle” anyway. And then things get a bit existential . . .

Author Interview

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(with yours truly): via Fiona Mcvie

Insidious

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Yesterday afternoon I received an email from an editor who had read the first few pages of Changers. She said my dialogue tags (that is, the places where I write “she said” or “he sighed”) were too middle grade. She then gave me examples of how she would write some of my sentences. To be honest, I thought her version was pretty awful. Just not my style at all, and her summary in the email was that my “style needs work.” Um . . . Just because I write in a way you don’t like does not make my writing wrong. I follow all the rules of grammar, I can spell—my work is not “incorrect” because it isn’t to your taste.

Still, I sent a short “thanks for taking the time” email. But now I’m sort of worried my book is crap. That’s the insidious part of feedback like that. It worms its way in. And now I have zero interest in working on my book because I’m worried it’s just a waste of time.

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Lions

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The past few nights I’ve dreamt of lions. The details are misty, but I get the sense water has also been involved . . . Do lions swim?

The lions in the dreams have been aggressive, though I can’t recall whether they are aggressive towards me in particular or just aggressive in general.

Lions in dreams symbolize strength, of course (just like the Tarot card on which they are traditionally featured), and control and dominance. “King of Beasts” . . . Yet still a beast. So there is something animalistic and primitive, possibly even savage, about the meaning of these dreams.

And water represents emotions. Primal emotions then? Base instinct? Hmm.

The lion—and there is always only one in each dream—could be a subconscious stand-in for a person, someone aggressive and acting out of a desire to control, someone dealing with deep emotions . . .

I don’t expect to come to a solid conclusion, but I do enjoy thinking about my dreams, especially when there is a definite message coming through. It’s translating that message that’s tricky.

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