Since I Met You (poem by Karen Maeby)

Since I Met You
by Karen Maeby  © 8/22/16

I know life’ll never be the same again

Since I met you—

My dreams have moved me out of really tiny houses
with no space at all, and into larger mansions,
with plenty of room to navigate and separate my thoughts.

The outside walls are painted pink with mocha cream
and the fence has deeply entangled vines that won’t die,
because knowingly, the inspiration to live will be forevermore.

Since I met you—

There’s always a song with lots of verses playing in my head
—usually jazz or blues with many, many riffs—
always pre-determined by last night’s humor and seriousness.

Our time is a staged rehearsal,
where every night is different, but leads the same way to the moment,
when the clock stops ticking and we’re so completely lost in one another.

Since I met you—

I now write freely by the magical moonlight
which serves me the healthiest tasting drink on the planet,
right where your soul breathed life into mine over and over again.

Every time I close my eyes to lay deep into your arms,
I feel like I’ve witnessed a million shooting stars
and it’s only the beginning (I have to remind myself).

Since I met you—

It’s very clear, I’ll never be the same, and I wouldn’t want it to be.
You’ve awakened some part of me that I didn’t even know existed.

You’ve sent shivers down my spine, a calmness to my heart,
and poetry throughout my entire body (something that I know will never end).

I feel like I’ve been given a gift, something that very few have,
a secret that my heart knows through and through….

that life will never, ever be the same again

Things I should have said.

I’m no stranger to death, I think that’s why my life’s calm is right there in the middle of being at the ocean and hanging out in the graveyard amongst all the spirits. It kind of gets lonely and becomes an “emotional distraught” world when you’re a growing kid/teen and you lose all of the family ma/pa-triarchs at that age. You’re too young to remember, but old enough to recognize that there’s a large empty space in your life. 

This is coming from this week’s visit back to Kentucky where we went to our farm yesterday. My Great Aunt Ada was the keeper of the home, and she just recently passed away in April. This is the first time I have been back to the farm since she passed away.

I walked into the main living room where everyone usually sits and talks and I saw her in the chair where I last said goodbye that previous November. I sat across her in this proper chair working on cutting out one of her chandeliers (that I took a photo of several years ago) for my “illusions” book cover. (I have a feeling it was because of her spirit that it turned out exactly how I imagined it in my head.) 

The bottom line of this whole entry: I’m having a really hard time dealing with her death. For months, I had been meaning to let her read a poem that I wrote about the solitude of being at her place. For many months, I was wanting to write to her and tell her how much she means to me and what spending time at her house meant (deeper than just a place to go, it brought the words out in me and made me a deeper writer than I’ve ever imagined).

The poem I wrote about her place ended up in Gulfport’s first collaboration book for those who wanted to be the first GP Poet Laureate. Not more than a few hours later of the same day I found out about her death at work, I got an email from the guy who was chosen for the poet laureate and that poem was his favorite. Coincidental? 

I don’t think I ever told her how much I appreciated her and the moments spent at her beautiful house, I might have when I was younger, but I should have said it every time… My family says she knew, but it’s not the same validation as to hearing a response or a reaction. Since I lost all of my grandparents and other older members of my family, she was the one I grew up the most knowing. But yet, I now feel that didn’t really know her, and I wish I knew more. I always thought of Ada as like the fairy god mother who would live longer than the rest of us. But alas.

“There’s a truth to the sadness
 in the air I breathe today, when I found out the news.” 

Other than my parents, the rest of my family on that side has no idea how much I love her property and would do anything to save it if it were ever any talk of it not being ours any more. It’s something I have to write, instead of talking about, because with [this whole thing] being still fresh on my mind and upsetting, I can’t say anything without being in the moment of a pile of emotion.

When we were talking yesterday, it sounded like they bought the property in 1977. That year is my favorite year for many reasons. I think it’s a sign. I would like to believe it was a sign. 

Something within me told me to walk upstairs to Aunt Ada’s room. I’m so glad I did because I found something so amazing when I was looking around…….



When I saw those, my soul smiled. I have a feeling that we both have a liking for 1920-ish ballroom dancing sort of proper things, and now, I wish I had talked to her about it. But then again, I wonder if I was just supposed to find those to interpret on my own for illusions, right where it’d fit in. 

Her house is a story that still needs to be written by me and maybe, just maybe, if I write it–it’ll come true. My favorite place in her house is the proper living room to the left of the front door and my favorite bedroom is the one directly above it upstairs. If you’ve known me a while, you’ve heard me speak of this place being historical (the Ben Johnson house). There’s so much history, there’s so much spirit, there’s so much everything tied into this one place in the middle of no where. I imagine tea parties, people dressed in ballroom gowns dancing into the night, bed and breakfast sort of thing, a place for weddings, a place where author’s getaway and write amazing stories, a retreat for drama, jazz playing from a record player, families gathered around the proper room listening to one of the first radios when their favorite show would come on. Even a few scenes from A Christmas Story would do. I would call it the Ben Johnson Henderson Playhouse, and it would serve so many purposes, even if it was just a home to our family. 

Yesterday was apparently National Book Day in the world, so it’s only appropriate to announce that I got a chance to take some of Aunt Ada’s books home with me. She has great taste! 🙂

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I really do miss her so much and I hope she really knew how much I loved her… 

The Solitude, The Place That Began It All

I hold in my heart, this place.
This place of which I casually dreamt, as I wrote and walked
among all of the trees
and many, many rooms of this house.

Poetry came so easily in the silence of being at this place.
Writing stories there was just as easy.

As I grew up coming up to this historical home,
My vintage Pirate Soul erupted in great divine!

I walked down the pathway to this great plantation house
a many a time.

I sometimes closed my eyes
to imagine all of the furniture swept away to the side to support
the many people in ballroom gowns during the day
and bedclothes’ parties at night.

I imagined everyone writing with feather pens.
I imagined people writing—penmanship,
something that is greatly lost between the keyboards today….

I imagined people on both porches talking about
whatever people talked about back then.

I imagined a place without a television
and people would carry on great casual conversations
without technology.

I imagined something that I will never get to experience,
but I bet for those who did…
it was great. For the time that it was.

When I later left the state of my birth and youth,
this will be the only place that I will miss…
for eternity.

– © Karen Maeby 

This is what 30 looks like to a woman named Karen Maeby.

I close my eyes to picture my life before two and a half months ago and it’s really difficult. I just remember everything turning to darkness–the color was fading like old photographs–and it felt as if I were preparing to walk into a large ditch, hoping it would be a sink hole, and I’d fall into the Bermuda Triangle for all eternity…… 

Then I became involved with the Gulfport Community Players and life has not been the same. Joining theatre was one of my last realistic dreams before I turned 30. It is like it’s opened a door to my heart and my creativity—a part that was nonexistent, a part that was hidden, a part that was so buried like deep treasure in the bottom of the ocean, and a part that had walls boarded up on every inch.

And….just like that all of the walls have come down and the chains to the anchor holding me down has been broken and there’s color and inspiration exploding everywhere. I let it down without hesitation or fear. For the first time in my life, fear is not in my vocabulary. I’m not even paying attention to the what ifs or the would-have-been anxiety feelings. It’s all gone. Poof. (Points to smoke in the air.) And, I know it’s all for the better and I know life will never, ever be the same again… and I am seriously okay with that.

I have been celebrating 30 before I turned 30 almost every single day the last two weeks.

– Our last weekend of performances was quite an event in itself– the cast party one night, getting together for late night dinners and the epic last day where I couldn’t hold my tears in. After all was said and done, there began my 24/7 creativity spiel (that has yet to end, thankfully, and hopefully won’t!) and everything else that followed.

– Thanks to a certain gentleman–that must be made out of nothing but pure magic–I have been able to enjoy myself and my life more than I ever have before. I had my introduction to The Hideaway Cafe where it was blues night followed by a great conversation in the moonlight by the water and boats, where my heart stands still and makes me calm. Then folk music the next time out where it felt as if I were a character in a movie being sung to by the karma Gods of the universe. There’s been weekends of where my house is finally getting clean and I finally have stuff up on my wall. I found a magical picture and it brings so much joy to wake up to that and its companion on my wall — because it is nothing but pure classic romance and just one photo can say so many things. Even though there’s a toldjaso lesson in this… it sure feels good this way. There was a night of returning to my favorite spot at John’s Pass and listening to my favorite guys play all of–what I would call–my favorite songs. There’s been some other nights of late night phone calls, texts, messages of any kind and lots of talking about a deep passion of mine — writing. Not to mention, taking to and regaining my appreciation of the funny moments of every day life…. something I had longed to do once again but have failed due to, well, life. As well as the true understanding of when time stands still, or fades away but to the future.

– Friday Birthday Celebration: My wonderful work family grilled steaks, picked up Carrabba’s side dishes and a chocolate cake for me to celebrate early last Friday during lunch. They joked around and teased me more than ever. One of them even said “What is this?! Another celebration for you? Didn’t you just have one???” Which later came around to my actual birthday where it was almost 90 degrees in my side of the office. Instead of putting on clothes like I normally do because it’s so cold, they were making fun of me because I was taking them off. A comment was made, “WOW. It’s so weird seeing you with just a t-shirt on.” Mmhm. Hot flashes at 30 caused nothing but teasing from there.

– I spent Christmas in July (24th&25th) blasting Christmas music and honoring a great friend, Joe Anthony, who passed away two years ago that weekend.

My “actual” 30th birthday celebration was abso-freaking-epic. There’s no other word. Although, I wish that more people had come, but I understand there’s 3000 events always going on at one time and you can’t attend them all. It was jazz night at The Hideaway Cafe. (If you’ve never been, it’s this magical little intimate place that already looks like it’s a sophisticated jazz club.) The jazz was running through my blood, my veins, my heart; and I so got lost in the music…especially after the bottom of my 2nd beer.

I can’t remember the last time where I was with a group celebrating my birthday. During intermission, they put candles on my cake, everyone sang to me, the band played the intro to one of my most favorite songs ever and people were still wishing me Happy Birthday as they were leaving. I really enjoyed having my company there with me too. (THANK YOU FOR COMING!) It was like my own Immersion Therapy– just without the clown! 

After these wonderful and amazing and I-just-can’t-get-enough-of-these days, I am really looking forward to being 30 and taking it by storm. Even-numbered birthdays are a superstition to me, because they’ve never been good, but you know what I’ve learned? The past is the past and it’s no reason to continue that to be unhappy in the future. (Whew, I bet you thought I was going to start singing that Frozen song, aye?) Life is pretty wonderful right about now!

AT 30 YEARS OLD (in no particular order)….

I have officially accomplished any reasonable goal or dream I had as a kid/teenager, which is pretty incredible when I look back at my list and see several checked off.

I am at my dream company in the industry that chose me. My co-workers are freaking amazing and my job is doing a multitude of things, so it keeps me happy.

I am on a radio show called World of Boating and I love the guys as much as the ones at work. They support my BoatShowGirl brand and habits. Always nice to have supporters!

I’ve made it as far as to working a boat show with my company, as well as being recognized as media for BSG by Show Management at the bigger international shows.

I’m a published author, although not in true print, just a few ebooks on Amazon (that will be later redone this year).

I have helped build a company, close one down, worked several positions across the board, owned my own business, and used almost all of my favorite hobbies/talents in jobs (graphic design, photography, writing, blogging, social media, etc).

I returned to theatre after 12 years and it was the best thing, ever, in this world.

I live in Florida, one of the warmest and best places with some of the best people and things to do. I am so very, very lucky.

It’s almost been a year since having adopted Eisenhower, my beautiful hermit crab. I am so lucky to have chosen him because his personality matches what you would expect to be mine. He’s also quite Piratey.

I’ve met an amazing person of whom my soul recognizes.

I have everything I’ve ever wanted and I am everything I’ve ever wanted to be at this new ripe age of 30. After going through what I’ve been through the past couple of years, it is amazing to be able to say that.

There’s so much I’m thankful for–including friends, family, my parents, the little gifts in life, offbeat humor, moments, life experiences (both bad and good)–because it’s my own journey {following my own dream’s path} that’s made me the way I am and I am just really thankful. I can’t say it enough!!

Words are coming back to me. I’m relaxed. I’m happy. I’m thankful. And, thankful for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in my incredible life. I feel like 30 is a new, different chapter, one that will be better than the rest and a closure on the first 29 years of my life. I feel like I’m right where I am supposed to be. Everything that I had ever been worried about is gone. You know how relieved I feel? When one worries so much and it breaks you? But being picked back up again… it’s amazing, and I feel like this is totally a #winning moment.

I’ve had so much inspiration over the past couple of weeks that my brain is literally exploding with color. I’m having a hard time keeping things straight! I’m writing poetry like a photograph, a novel like poetry, and a play like a novel. Working on 4 play scripts, 7-10 of my own projects (poetry mostly) and trying to push my ‘ooooh I want to do thissssss’ back until I get done with the other projects. 

Turning 30 was absolutely epic, and I still have 2 more weeks left to celebrate… and possibly for the rest of my life. There’s no way I’d ever want to turn back now. 

~Karen Maeby

Christmas in July has become a time to remember.

After being such a bah-humbug at Christmas last year, I am seriously doing some hard-core making up for it through this Christmas in July season. Watching some Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, and having special “little moments” in life that could relate to that moment when you open up your stockings and find something really special and you talk about it forever because that smile on your face stays on, well, forever. 

I was introduced to Christmas in July during my houseboat days where my parents and I would stay on our friend’s houseboat on Lake Cumberland. I remember Santa on a jetski, the midnight parties, the boat parades, decoration contests, the Christmas music and just everything so special about that time. Who knew years later I’d be in Florida where (real) Christmas is just like that. And, it took eons for the rest of the world to catch up to the celebration in July. 

Anyway, not only do I full out celebrate today (July 25th), it is also a “marker” of one week before my birthday (August 1st). But none of this is why I’m writing. It’s been two years since I’ve lost a really important person that was in my industry. Today I celebrate Joe Anthony.

I still remember having a horrible feeling through my body on July 24th, 2014. My heart was hurting and I was on the edge of tears. Nothing happened in my life that would cause that, but yet, I was walking down Beach Blvd and Shore Blvd in Gulfport writing a poem on my phone:

They say lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice…
When you’re standing on the bridge
and see lightning through the sunset.
That makes your heart bleed color
when it’s black and white
Days of old and days when I was told

Lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice —

When my heart gets torn in two.

After I wrote that, I left for home and just went to sleep. The next morning the first phone call I answered was from one of our vendors “Land & Sea”. It went something like this:

“Hi, I was calling to let you know about the replacement for Joe Anthony.” (L&S)

“Replacement? What do you mean… replacement???” (Me)

“I’m so sorry to tell you this but Joe passed away yesterday.”

My heart sank so badly; I burst into tears and couldn’t stop. It was a really emotional day, especially since having felt that sadness around the same time that he passed away.

I met Joe through the previous company I was working in the marine industry. He supported my work, and carried around the book that had my front/back cover design on it–showing it to everyone. I was very appreciative of that, because it gave me hope that I was doing something right.

After taking a summer or so off of the industry, I was ecstatic to get a job at Thunder and it was an added bonus that I’d get to see my favorite rep again. Everyone knew he was one of my favorite people, and since they knew it, one of the parts guys let me call him one day. That was the last time I talked to him before his death in July. I never saw him again after the previous job.

I went to his funeral with my previous boss. Hundreds of people showed up. It was so emotional—you knew he was loved, and by many, but there were so many things they talked about him that I didn’t even know. There’s so many things I still wish to share with him, I know he’d be proud, and cheering me on. Maybe I could even get his blessing one day for my future work as BoatShowGirl. A little trickle of Heaven dust will do. If only.

This is what the final poem came out to look like after I added some appropriate last lines:

They say lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice…
When you’re standing on the bridge
and see lightning through the sunset.  

Born a clean slate of black and white
with personality bleeding of color.
One foot on Land and one in the Sea,
that’s where my heart will be. 

Days of old and days when I was told
lightning never strikes twice
but that’s awful nice —
When my heart gets torn in two.  

© 2014 Karen Maeby 

Welcome back to the theatre.

If waiting twelve years to come back to theatre meant I’d get to meet everyone who I met, it was well worth the wait. I fully believe that timing is everything, and everything happens for a reason. 

I attempted to come back to the theatre about 3 years ago, but I ended up being way too busy. However, this year I decided it was time. I was on the search for something that was missing from my life. I went to the auditions, stuck around even when I wasn’t required to be there, worked when I needed to and stuck it out every single rehearsal and every single performance. This was certainly the missing piece to my life’s puzzle.

Working with the Gulfport Community Players has easily become one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, especially when a passion so deep has become ignited once again with the most desirable fire. I was a little afraid in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be good enough to help (because of my long absence) but that was far from the truth. I even ended up being the announcer for the cast calls at the end of each act. Saying “Thank you and a final good night” had a deeper meaning than anyone could imagine. I blew out my candle (thank you) / until next time (final good night). 

Everything came back to me from the days in my junior year when I was in Bye-Bye Birdie and helping behind the scenes with The Real Inspector Hound in my senior year. The inside jokes, the whispers behind stage when something doesn’t go right, the little things that tickled our funny bone during the performances, the hard work that goes into making something so wonderful, the crazy cast parties that automatically come with the ending of a show, and last but not least, the family you become during the process.

My heart was porcelain yesterday for the last performance. The sound was like antique tea cups accidentally being dropped after cleaning them. 

All of these years I’ve been sticking with real life because I’ve believe the truth of it being stranger than fiction. But there’s something important that I had forgotten—with “fiction” you can write anything you want. Being in such a creative setting around some amazing positive energy from everyone has inspired me to pick up a pen once again, and I am writing. Hallelujah! The “everyone from my past has called me a writer but I’m still not sure about that” is actually writing.  

A few comments about the plays…

For Catatonic, the cat had two names, and finally, ended up being called Cat. I once adopted an outdoor cat, striped her of her previous names and called her Cat.

Home Again reminded me of when my parents and I went to my grandma’s old town and to see her house years later after she passed away. My mom asked to see the house, but after seeing it the first time when it was changed, I refused to go back in because I didn’t want my memories of the way my grandma had her house to be erased.

Confession time: Immersion Therapy No one knows this, but I don’t really like clowns, either. and NOT for the reason in the play (hahaha)… The only clown I ever liked was Stitches from Halloween in Gulfport. However, Dropo was an amazing clown, FUNNY(!!!) and I give him two thumbs up for a great performance…..and for also not scaring me.

I might be biased, I might not, and I also might be giving a compliment that’ll make someone’s head not be able to fit through the door, but…. I will publicly display my love over and over for Retired Life. Here’s why: it was intelligently written with subtle hints. Point blank.

When I was watching the plays all the way through for the first time, for the ones that weren’t straight forward, I guessed all the way through the plot and at least half the ending. But Retired Life? Oh no. There are very few and far between stories that I don’t guess (also another reason I have stayed away from fiction for many years), and this was definitely one of them.

I was literally screaming in my mind, “Oh. Wow. I can’t. I just can’t. What the hell just happened here?!?! That was so unexpected. I didn’t guess that one. A writer who stumped me AND one who drops hints in things like I do….” 

So, yeah. There you have it. Over as quickly as it began. There’s no business like show business….

I want to say a big huge thank you to everyone for the cards/gifts, for the hugs, for sharing the wing with [us], for the smiles, for pretending to be shocked when you found out I’m almost 30 (ha!), for writing in my dream journal and giving me lots of hope for tomorrow. For everything. And, for making me really, really stable at the cast party—hahahah! 

I love this world, and I cannot believe I left it. I cannot believe that I walked out on something I loved for so much and for so long those twelve years ago. If there was ever a first dream—it would be to be a writer (then music and theatre)—and I’ve given up so much to put myself in another dream bubble for what I thought I needed or wanted, when all along all I had to do to make this move. This weekend I finally burst that bubble, crawled outside it, and I’m peeking in my own window. I’m wondering what took me so long, how much work it’s going to be and what I’ve got to do to stick to my dreams… because I’ve spoken to a lot of you who said you wish you did this earlier.

From someone who has always followed her own path, the road less traveled, I am ready to succeed in this. I am ready for this thing we call show business. I am ready to be a show girl.

Joining the theatre was my last real achievable goal before I turned 30. If I get nothing else, I will still be completely satisfied. 

Love always & forever,
Karen Maeby 

PS if you didn’t read my poem about the Summer One Acts click here.