When our son Nathan was about 17, he began writing music seriously. He would disappear into his bedroom, and not emerge for hours. Our office was in the adjacent bedroom, and I could hear his guitar as he played the same phrase again and again. Then there would be a brief pause while he made a notation or wrote a line of lyrics, and then the same phrase.
After an extended period of time, he would sometimes appear in the office, plop down in a chair and say with a grin, “You wanna hear it?”
I’d reply, “Of course.” And he would play his new song.
That’s how I first heard Bittersweet.
And when he finished and looked up, I said, “That’s my new favorite song. Play it again.”
Over the years, that became a family joke. “I know, Mom,” he’d say. “It’s your new favorite song.” And it was. It always was. They still are.
But I was his mother, and mothers always think their children are brilliant. The day came when the music and the fledgling musician had to go out into the big world and let people listen who weren’t his mother. Or his father. The first time we ever saw him perform publicly was at an outdoor concert at Sandhills Community College. The stage was a flatbed truck. The song was Bittersweet. We were proud.
I remember vividly going to his first gigs at local bars and watching, with mild dismay, as the crowd would listen pretty attentively when he played cover songs, songs they were familiar with, but then begin to talk over him when he’d play Bittersweet. As he would write years later:
What do they care if you’re tired?
Sometimes the jukebox gets more courtesy.
From Broad Street by Nathan Davis
And I, being a mom, wanted to spare him any disappointment, and spent a while one day trying to convince him to play cover songs. It seemed to me that if the audience wanted the familiar songs, well, learn them, and play them, and make those tips. Nathan just listened politely and totally ignored me. And continued to play his music. Gig after gig, slowly increasing the percentage of original material and getting the audience used to the idea that Nathan Davis plays mostly Nathan Davis and a smattering of covers. Over time, even the cover songs took on a Nathan Davis flavor of their own.
But the risk was always there. The music was put out there, in the public arena, and subjected to the whims and criticisms of the not-always-totally-sober crowd. He had people who yelled at him when he refused to play their favorite song. He had people who came up on stage and tried to take control of his microphone. He smiled and firmly removed them from his stage. He learned to let the criticism roll away from him. I never saw him down about it. Not a single minute. Those two lines from Broad Street are the only references he ever makes to anything like it.
Not all of Nate’s lyrics are autobiographical, but a good bit of it is. Some of it is confabulated, or heavily morphed, and some of it is based on the experiences of others, but he’s often putting his life, his emotions, his angst out there for everyone to see. And of course, the music is all his. So there was always risk.
The risk of criticism. The risk that people wouldn’t like his songs, that they would either actively hate his music, or maybe worse, totally ignore it. It was always there. It always is when you go public with your story.
So that leads me right to this.
I’ve been asked why I shouldn’t have to reveal every single detail of my life since I’m criticizing Cathy Harris and Camille Lewis and Linda Fossen.
There’s a really good reason.
I have a blog, right here. Wanna criticize me about anything I’ve said here? Have at it. Fossen does. In fact, she does just that, quoting large amounts of my material and refusing to even credit me in any meaningful way. She wants to criticize me without allowing anyone to see what she is criticizing. I link to her stuff. She won’t link to mine. Think about why that might be and what that might mean.
On this web site, I have offered commentary and evidence regarding information that is readily available on the internet. You won’t find me discussing, for example, Cathy Harris’ current place of employment (if any), since she’s never talked about it that I know of, and it’s not addressed in any of her various public blogs. I don’t discuss Linda Fossen’s current savings acount balance, or speculate about who her neighbors might be or what her husband’s favorite TV show is. She doesn’t address any of that in either her blog, her web site or her book. I do not talk about Camille Lewis’s children. I don’t even know how many she has or what their names might be. She doesn’t discuss them on her blog or in her writing. (NOTE: She actually does discuss her children endlessly in the early years of her blog, but I still consider kids to be forbidden material.)
Fossen says above that Cathy “has had her whole life torn apart.”
No, she hasn’t. Cathy put her story on so many blogs and places on the net that I trip over them. She discusses her alleged abuse and various mistreatment and victimhood endlessly. She did it. I didn’t do it. Nobody else did it.
Over the years, I’ve watched her hijack threads in the Survivor’s forums to talk about her alleged rapes and beatings and kidnapping and on and on. If nobody will talk about it, she pouts. I’ve watched her do this repeatedly. She quite obviously wants to discuss it. Fine. I’m discussing it. I’m going to discuss it some more.
Think about this a second. If Cathy hadn’t discussed her alleged “story,” how would I have known about it? Nobody else was talking about it. I didn’t know about her blog(s). I found out about it because Cathy talked about it. From there, I found her blog(s).
The same thing applies to both Fossen and Camille Lewis. I know about them because they, themselves, directed me to the place to find out about them. Their blogs. Their papers. Their books.
How do you suppose that people find out about Nathan’s music? When he was alive, they came to gigs and heard him, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. Now, they find out via the web site and Facebook. We advertise. On purpose. So are these three women.
But there’s a difference, you see. Nathan put his music out there. He made it available for public consumption. And he took the lumps when they came. He didn’t get nearly as much negative commentary as was possible, but he didn’t know that going in. If he’d wanted to stay all private and safe, he could have just played his guitar in his room at home and nobody would ever have been able to say a word, or yell at him to play something else, or criticize anything.
What Cathy and Fossen both seem to want is to have the right to put their stories out there publicly and insist that nobody ever criticize a word of it. Buy Linda’s book, she says. Absolutely. But good golly Miss Molly, don’t review it. Don’t do so either on a web site or at Amazon. Nope. Pay your money. Buy the book. But do not have an opinion unless it’s the one Linda Fossen wants you to have.
Let me explain something quite clearly, so there’s no mistake. If Cathy Harris would like for her entire section of this web site to disappear in about an hour, she has it totally in her power to make that happen. All she has to do is take down her blogs. Take them down. Done.
One other thing. I am not demanding that anyone answer any questions. Getting your questions deleted, being ignored – that’s already happened to me. I don’t care one bit if any of these folks even read what I write. When I ask a question on this web site, it’s rhetorical.
I’m providing commentary, not seeking answers from anyone. If you don’t like my commentary, don’t read it. It’s quite simple.