COME IN. DOORS OPEN


        My stories stem from the inner voice where all the gaps of expression are liberated.

As a child reared under the MAFIA CODE OF SILENCE, speaking was too terrifying. My diary became the root of my expression. So I write!

I’m self-taught so if you notice my syntax off you know why.  My pen moves from Creative Nonfiction to poetry. Column writing is how I began; I love the 2000 word lifestyle story that rises from adventuress in livingness.  

This year (after a seventeen-year crawl) I’ve finished a memoir:  “CRADLE OF CRIME.”

 THANK YOU FOR VISITING.

Luellen Smiley is a creative Nonfiction writer and award-winning newspaper columnist who writes a bi-monthly column “Odyssey of Love” and has been a regular contributor to MORE Magazine. Her “Growing Up With Gangsters” stories appeared in the New York Post and in Southern California.
Luellen has completed a memoir  based on her life as the daughter of Hollywood racketeer,  Allen Smiley, Benjamin Siegel’s partner and best friend. Her extensive research the past twenty-five years led to numerous TV and Radio interviews regarding her discovery and breaking the silence.


 

 

ROCKED BY FRIENDS


Continued from previous post. HOPSCOTCHING EMOTIONS.

In the early stages of writing, 1996, there was this one bookstore in Del Mar that I browsed every week. The owner, I imagined was from a  New England literary village because her collection and arrangement likened to going into a candy shop as a little girl.  As soon as I walked in, I looked at the new releases set on wooden frames. The dream was already soaring above practical measures; one day my book will be sitting upright on her table. Right next door was the Pannikin Coffee House that catered to loyalists of aromatic coffee, pastries and slouching.  I ordered coffee, sat outside on the walkway and read the book I had just bought. Almost every time I bought a book the cashier commented, ‘I love that book, or that looks interesting.’

Twenty-three years later, I am signing that book at La Posada Hotel. Friends walked in with these glowing smiles, and it’s funny they thought it was about me, and I felt it was about all of us. You know how many times some of them have read different versions of the book?  Baron has been reading the stories for ten years. He is on the board of commissioners of LouLou’s adventures. We met through a gallery owner in Taos, who knew I was going to open Gallery LouLou Rock & Roll Photography.  Baron arranged to meet at Harry’s Roadhouse, a ranch style restaurant that makes you feel like you’re on Main Street in a western saloon.  Limbo was there, following my throw of dice, that a gallery of Rock & Roll Photography from the 60s-70s would make us gleefully rich. I was wearing these new Spanish platforms I’d bought in Del Mar, and I was six feet tall.  Baron stood up immediately as we opened the door, “You must be Loulou and Limbo.” I looked down and suddenly felt like an amazon out of the jungle. I sat through a two-hour dinner listening to Baron talk about photography, not knowing any more than what I picked up in museums and galleries. I didn’t know platinum from giclee.

     http://fotobaron.com.s49272.gridserver.com/

Merriam-Webster definition of photography: ‘the  art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)’

To this day I don’t know if I fooled him, but as we were walking up the entrance to his studio of photography, he turned and around and said, ” Do you have to wear such high heels, you’re pretty tall as it is LouLou.” At that moment, my self-consciousness came down. Baron is about 5 6′ and he walks like he is 6 feet tall. He doesn’t walk, he skips without his feet leaving the ground. When we met he was in his early seventies, but his eyes are ivy green marbles of light.

He started pulling out the photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis; and my jaw never closed.

“These sell really well, take some of these.” he said.

Baron introduced us to Jim Marshall ( the Godfather of Rock & Roll photography) Micahel Zagaris: http://time.com/4553543/michael-zagaris/ and the word spread.  That was my dream in 2006, a  gallery of black and white photography. Limbo financed it and I managed the business.

loulou_classicrock_141

Michael Zagaris left and Jim Marshall at the opening of Gallery LouLou 2007. Photograph courtesy of Tony Bonanno.

Baron bounced into La Posada library like Jimmy Durante did on stage, and shouted, “LouLou, I’m here.”  In the next moment, he began shooting photographs of me. Limbo wasn’t there, and it really didn’t matter because of my friends. They rocked the cradle.

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Baron and I. Photograph courtesy of Tony Bonanno. bonannophoto.com/…e/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Sometimes one transforming moment leads to another. I am in the Spa working out on the treadmill. I turned around as the door opened, and hesitated for a moment before calling out.

“Hi Audrey. How are you?”

“Okay. How are you?”

I stepped off the treadmill and approached Audrey. We had been friends, more like sisters for several years. Then we were broken apart by a misunderstanding that never corrected itself.

“You won’t believe what happened!” I blurted out before even asking if she wanted to know.

“What?” she said with immense expression. Audrey is a tall long-legged exotic, the kind that withholds her appearance, as second to her compassion for people in pain. My story poured out and then she told me her father had died. When a woman makes up with another woman after two years, you know it’s going to last. That week she cat-walked, she does it really well into my garden and cooed, ‘Dawling, I brought you gifts.’ It was Valentines Day! Imagine. She had bunches of roses and lilies, a bottle of wine and Godiva chocolate. I just blossomed into her cradle of comfort. I’m not going to reenact our conversation because it was rapid-fire non-stop, like watching Thelma and Louise. Audrey is Louise.

That next week I called Limbo’s attorney after sending a response to his invective demands. It took a while to really sink in; by taking me off the deed in Santa Fe, he has the right to evict me.  Limbo used to be one trusting supportive and generous man. I wonder where that went? I know he used to love me. Why did it stop the day the book was published?  I dedicated the book to him, he’s one of the main characters written with all the love my pen could spill.

Another few weeks past, all about nerves, prescriptions, and nightmares.  I turned myself inside out waiting for five’ o’ clock so I could go to La Posada and be a tiny part of people enjoying life. As I crossed the threshold, the light of day fell on a head of Sophia Loren hair.

To be continued.

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Cradle of Crime #BookReview


Title: Cradle of Crime Author: Luellen Smiley Print Length: 264 Publication Date: November 19, 2016 Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC Language: English Formats:  Paperback, Kindle Goodreads Genre…

Source: Cradle of Crime #BookReview

HOPSCOTCHING EMOTIONS


Continued from previous post.

” Hi Stephie, are you sitting down?”

” Oh no. What happened?”

I discovered dimensions of wisdom inside Stephie, that wouldn’t have surfaced without unleashing the contents of the Letter. She turned the situation upside down, so instead of raking Limbo’s mysterious and spiteful motivation, she said, ” This is his journey, not yours. ” That spawned an image, of Limbo driving Dragon around and petting her desires with presents, lots of presents juxtaposed with me on a road of seriousness protecting my investments, my health, and my career as an author. I haven’t had the daily routine of writing as I did with the book, now it is the business of marketing and selling. It feels like going from the oceans fluidity of wave and crash to solid ground where my imagination is now used to strategize my defense against the Dragon. Two hours later Stephie induced laughter and caressing from my initial whimpering and hollowness.

l hung up the phone, got dressed and went shopping along Palace Avenue, to the shops I frequent. I felt this strange identity with my teenager consciousness in Los Angeles, walking along Melrose, drinking espresso at Cafe Figaro, window shopping, and tanked up on the street activity. A Sargent Peppers parade of bohemian and hippie lifestyles emerged in West Hollywood in the sixties. It was like a preview of a future without Limbo laundering my thoughts and feelings.

I went on a date, and even though he was not towing me in, he has a Tom Cruise smile, and he liked to talk and laugh at his jokes. Stepping out of interaction with Limbo, and his escapes, battles, complaints and vanishing humor, I reached for friends. They’ve been there all along, and I didn’t take notice until the day of the book signing. Wow-I hadn’t been available to mingle with so many friends because Limbo didn’t like them. He doesn’t attach himself to friends, just one woman and for thirty-three years- I was that woman.

A few days later I was perched on a bar-stool refreshing my mood with Eric, Zak, Jennifer, and Raul, the Staab House gang that greases my mood. A man next to me draws me into his conversation about the sixties. We’re just reminiscing, and the woman next to him is listening, observing in a very neutral manner.

” So what do you do in Santa Fe?” he asked.

” I just published a book. I’m an author. White Zen told me I should say that instead of I am a writer.

” Really, what’s the name of it?”

” Cradle of Crime.”

” What’s it about?”

” Growing up with gangsters. My father was Bugsy Siegel’s partner for ten years. It’s about my discovering his life.”

The gal then looked me straight in the eyes and said, My great-grandfather investigated those guys.

“Who was your great-grandfather?”

” Estes Kefauver.” If you’ve not read the book he was the Tennesse Senator that summoned every known gangster in the nineteen fifties to testify under oath on television. Dad was one of them. The excerpts of his testimony are in the book.

” What! Oh my God, he’s in the book, my Dad was one he interrogated.”

We both jumped out of our seats and rushed through the introductory connection without judgment or shame, and then we hugged. It is this kind of incident that broadens my catalog; I’m not ashamed of my legacy. We ended up in Casita, and I handed her a book.

kefauver

Robyn knew about Estes, his reputation was and still is a historical moment in Mob history. A reenactment of the courtroom and transcripts are exhibited at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. She said this was meant to be, a way of healing our relatives vendetta. Robyn sent me this photograph today. In these unexpected adventures in livingness I forget all about Limbo, had he been there it would have been entirely different. Instead, he is leading the Dragon into my den to rearrange my retirement, friendship, and love for our homes.

The night before the book signing that splendid spell has metallized into a muted gray state of nausea, and I couldn’t breathe. I popped over to La Posada for a touch-up color.

Yvette called out, “Hi Loulou, are you excited about the book signing?”

” Not at all.”

” Why not? This is a huge deal for you.”

” It could have been-you know who ruined it.”

” How can he ruin it? He won’t be there.

” Exactly.”

” Come on– you’re going to have a magnificent time. I invited my parents, and I posted it on my Facebook page.” She harmonized topics I cannot recall, but at the end of two hours, I walked out without the grimace.

David Stone who juggles all the events at La Posada was moving furniture around and, and intermittently asking me where I want the tables and chairs while I set up my Square card ready to sell books.

RINGING BOOKS AND BELLS OF FRIENDSHIP 

In the early stages of writing, 1996, there was this one bookstore in Del Mar that I browsed every week.  The owner was a sweet east coast woman, I imagine she was from a literary New England city because her collection and arrangement likened to going into a candy shop as a little girl.  Overstuffed sofas, rocking chairs and a roundtable for readings and workshops. People spent hours in her reading salon.   Right next door was the Pannikin Coffee House that catered to loyalists of aromatic coffee, pastries and slouching.  I ordered coffee, sat outside on the walkway and read the book I had just bought.  Almost every time I bought a book the cashier commented, ‘ I love that book, or that looks interesting.’  As soon as I walked in, I looked at the new releases set on wooden frames;  the dream was already soaring above practical measures, but I imagined my book would be sitting upright on a table. Twenty-three years later, I am signing that book at La Posada Hotel.  The dream of completion was happening in the library room. Friends walked in with these glowing smiles, and its funny they thought it was about me, and I felt it was about all of us. You know how many times some of them had read different versions of the book?  Baron has been reading the stories for ten years. He is on the board of commissioners of LouLous Adventures. We met through a gallery owner in Taos, who knew I was going to open the Galleryloulou Rock & Roll Photography.  We arranged to meet at Harry’s Roadhouse, a ranch style restaurant that makes you feel like your on main street in a western saloon.  Limbo was there, following my throw of dice that a gallery of Rock & Roll Photography from the 60s-70s would make us gleefully rich.  I was wearing these new Spanish platforms I’d bought in Del Mar, and I was six feet.  Baron stood up immediately as we opened the door, ” You must be loulou and limbo.”  I looked down and suddenly felt like an amazon out of the jungle. I sat through a two-hour dinner listening to Baron talk about and photography, not knowing the any more than what I picked up at museums and galleries. I didn’t know platinum from giclee.

Merriam Webster definition of photography: the  art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)’

To this day I don’t know if I fooled him, but as we were walking up the entrance to his studio of photography, he turned and around and said, ” Do you have to wear such high heels, you’ar pretty tall as it is LouLou.” At that moment, my  self-consicousness came down. Baron is about 5 6′ and he walked like he was 6 ft tall. He doesn’t walk, he skip without his feet living the ground. When we met he was in his early seventies, but his eyes were childlike marbles that acted as his lens. He started pulling out the photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatle, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis,  and my jaw never closed.

” These sell really well, take some of these.’

Limbo was jawed out too, and when we walked out to the car, the promising future was just overwhelming. Baron introduced us to Jim Marshall, Micahel Zagaris (his book was just released and is fantastic), and the word spread.  That was once a dream too, my own gallery of photography. Limbo financed it, and I managed it.  He used to be one trusting supportive and generous man. I wonder where that went? When people turn upside down and they are unrecognizable, frightening, sneaky and filled with hate. I know he used to love me. Why did it stop the day the book was published?  I dedicated the book to him, he’s one of the main characters written with all the love my pen could spill.

Baron bounced in the library at La Posada  like Jimmy Durante does on stage, and yelled, ” LouLou, I’m here.”  In the next moment, he began shooting photographs of me. Limbo wasn’t there, and it really didn’t matter because of my friends. They mingled, laughed, and bought books.

Sometimes one transforming moment leads to another. I am in the Spa working out on the treadmill. I turned around, as the door opened, I hesitated for a moment before calling out.

“Hi, how are you?”

“Okay, how are you?”

“I stepped off the treadmill, and approached Audrey. We had been friends, more like sisters for serval years. Then we were broken apart by a misunderstanding that never corrected itself.

“ You won’t believe what happened!” I blurted out before even asking if she wanted to know.

“ What?” she said with immense expression. Audrey is a tall long-legged exotic, the kind that withholds her appearance, as second to her compassion for people in pain. My story poured out and then she told me her father had died. When a woman makes up with another woman after two years, you know it’s going to be the last, at least I do. That week she cat-walked, she does it really well into my garden and cooed, ‘Dawling, I brought you gifts.’ It was Valentines Day! Imagine. She had bunches of roses and lilies, a bottle of wine and Godiva chocolate. I just blossomed into her cradle of comfort. I’m not going to reenact our conversation because it was rapid-fire non-stop, like watching Thema and Lousie, she of course is Louise.

That next week I called Limbo’s attorney after sending a response to his demands. Another few weeks past, all about nerves, prescriptions, and nightmares.  I turned myself inside out waiting for five’ o’ clock so I could go to La Poada and be a tiny part of people enjoying life, instead of the gruesome neurotic seemingly unsolveable problems of Limbo.  As I crossed the threshold, the light of day fell on a head of Sophia Loren hair.

” Joeanne!

“LouLou!”

I have  no control over my response to friends, again I blurted out, “Guess what happened?”  to be continued,

 

 

 

THE LETTER


I’ve started to pack up my books, files, figurines, music boxes, and photographs. Don’t ask me where I’m moving because I don’t have an address or even a definite destination. Supernatural powers may intervene, or it will be the Dragon.  A reverse approach that hangs on faith in the disorderly order of our lives.  Just when you have it all documented, calendared, Faced-booked and tweeted, the unexpected takes you in another direction.   There are days that my heavy hurting heart leads, and I am poised to detach from Santa Fe and everyone I have here and drive west to the sunset and the ocean. Then comes the days of indifference and obstructions, days when I do a lot of nibbling, and combing my hair or cleaning. This week, the whack of change whipped the most vulnerable spot, the corner where Limbo lived inside me. The last time I felt like this was after my father died.  Suddenly unprotected and vulnerable, I spent the summer staring out at the Pacific Ocean from my Venice beach apartment. I was so alone that for the first time I experienced intuition and instinct. I drove off to Del Mar in Dad’s El Dorado and started a new life at Del Mar Beach.

In-shock is a peaceful place to be,  a protective coating before the wound breaks open.  The letter was in my mail slot for ten days. I didn’t even open it because I thought it was from my attorney. The one that saved me from the Dragon four years ago.  Unwillingly I contacted her in the remote chance that Dragon would try to gain control of Limbo’s and my real estate investments again.  We both had an insatiable appetite for renovating historic properties; all three of ours are over 100 years old, and Taos is 400 years old.  Limbo loved that Taos adobe with the vigas and polished oxblood floors. We opened our first Gallery of Rock & Roll in Taos. What a night. It was January, everyone told me not to open in January, but I did it anyway.  Movie stars showed up, about 200 people comminglingly amongst the famous photographs of  Jimi, Janis, The Stones, The Beatles, everyone we esteemed of that age.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I opened the Santa Fe gallery with sixty or seventy photographs of Jimi Hendrix. It was a  sensational vibrational evening with  Santa Fe artists, photographers, and the media. Follies House in Saratoga Springs; our first property, we turned her into the Wedding Cake House. Limbo followed my color scheme and we painted the Victorian Lady seven shades of pastels. Upstate New York taught us every day how to adapt, how to laugh, and how to be old fashioned. 028

033

I read the letter with a loose jaw and forehead scrunched. For a long time, I’ve lived an uncomplicated life: no marriage, no children, and self-employed. All I had was little Limbo following me like a child, waiting for the next LouLou adventure.  I don’t need Freud to tell me Limbo was my son.  I’ve always turned to the misfits, the alley cats, the lost souls who sit on a bench and stare down the world.

Dragon composed the demands, that I am sure, it is written like an executive order. I dialed White Zen, I now call her 911, and she zipped over later that day to read the letter.

” HE’S OUT OF HIS MIND. Telling you to immediately quitclaim your investment in Santa Fe and move out in 150 days, and sell your other two investments. You’ve managed all his real estate for what 25 years? That’s your retirement. He even told me that.  You have to get an attorney.”

You know when you taste the omniscient love. She talked and cooed and advised for a long time. I wasn’t completely coherent. Mom and Dad guided me. Dad said don’t fall apart, call your attorney, and fight for what is yours. My mother said, don’t be bitter, and don’t exact revenge. I dialed my Clairvoyant real estate friend for advice. She has rapid response reason like no one I have ever met. “Don’t worry Loulou. I’ll find you a little condo all your own. Don’t worry, this woman’s business is to take men for everything and then she leaves after she’s spent all his money. Just stay calm.”

Ironically, I was calm.The vision of Limbo when the Dragon is all through with his business is not what we have worked for the last thirty years. He used to say, ‘One day I’m just going to walk into the desert with my spear and live under a boulder like Ishi. ‘

Our bodies know us better than we know them. My arms and legs went limp, so did my thoughts. I just wanted to stare into the sky and eat potato chips. Every photo, corner of furniture, figurine, and vase is from one of our adventures. They stand there like frozen memories and the temptation to fall into that state of burial is not where I need to go. Not now, this is a long process. So ironic that I had already begun to box up my belongings. I must cross the finish line by spring.

By nightfall, I led myself by the leash of force across the street to La Posada. I sat next to Toby. He’s a gregarious zany character.

“I’m having a book signing party next Sunday, I hope you can be there,” I said.

“Of course I will. Your book is unbelievable?”

“You read it?”

“YES, I loved it.”

The prong of pain subsided for an hour or two. I have not rejoiced in the accomplishment of the book since Limbo lashed out with both fists. Friends advise me to focus on the book, and the positive feelings. It’s just not there, and that’s how the pickle splits in life. What I learned from all those colorful, highly dangerous and formidable gangsters, is the prayer of humor. They all had academy award wit. If only I was a writer then, I’d have thousands of stories. Will I find the humor in this obstruction someday?

The morning sky is a sheet of the palest gray. It’s eight o’ clock on a Saturday so I wouldn’t call White Zen or anyone in Santa Fe. Who lives on the East Coast? Of course, Madam Follies, my friend, and the tenant who has reigned over Follies House for ten years. To be continued.

” Hi Stephie, are you sitting down?”

” Oh no. What happened.”

I discovered dimensions of wisdom inside Stephie, that wouldn’t have surfaced without unleashing the contents of the letter. She turned the situation upside down, so instead of raking Limbo’s mysterious and spiteful motivation, she said, ” This is his journey, not yours. ” That spawned an image, of Limbo driving Dragon around and petting her desires with presents, lots of presents juxtaposed with me on a road of seriousness protecting my investments, my health, and my career as an author. I haven’t had the daily routine of writing as I did with the book, now it is the business of marketing and selling. It feels like going from the oceans fluidity of wave and crash to solid ground where my imagination is now used to strategize my defense against the Dragon. Two hours later Stephie induced laughter and caressing from my initial whimpering and hollowness.

Two hours later Stephie induced laughter, and charity from my initial whimpering and hollowness. I hung up the phone, got dressed and went shopping along Palace Avenue, to the shops I frequent. I felt this strange identity with my teenager consciousness in Los Angeles, walking along Melrose, drinking espresso at Cafe Figaro, window shopping, and tanked up on the street activity. A Sargent Peppers parade of bohemian and hippie lifestyles emerged in West Hollywood in the sixties. It was like a preview of a future without Limbo laundering my thoughts and feelings.

I went on a date, and even though he was not towing me in, he has a Tom Cruise smile, and he liked to talk and laugh at his jokes. Stepping out of interaction with Limbo, and his escapes, battles, complaints and vanishing humor, I reached for friends. They’ve been there all along, and I didn’t take notice until the day of the book signing. Wow-I hadn’t been available to mingle with so many friends because Limbo didn’t like them. He doesn’t attach himself to friends, just one woman and for thirty-three years I was that woman.

A few days later I was perched on a bar-stool refreshing my mood with Eric, Zak, Jennifer, and Raul, the Staab House gang that greases my mood. A man next to me draws me into his conversation about the sixties. We’re just reminiscing, and the woman next to him is listening, observing in a very neutral manner.

” So what do you do in Santa Fe?” he asked.

” I just published a book. I’m an author. White Zen told me I should say that instead of I am a writer.

” Really, what’s the name of it?”

” Cradle of Crime.”

” What’s it about?”

” Growing up with gangsters. My father was Bugsy Siegel’s partner for ten years. It’s about my discovering his life.”

The gal then looked me straight in the eyes and said, My great-grandfather investigated those guys.

“Who was your great-grandfather?”

” Estes Kefauver.” If you’ve not read the book he was the Tennesse Senator that summoned every known gangster in the nineteen fifties to testify under oath on television. Dad was one of them. The excerpts of his testimony are in the book.

” What! Oh my God, he’s in the book, my Dad was one he interrogated.”

We both jumped out of our seats and rushed through the introductory connection without judgment or shame, and then we hugged. It is this kind of incident that broadens my catalog; I’m not ashamed of my legacy. We ended up in Casita, and I handed her a book.

kefauver

Robyn knew about Estes, his reputation was and still is a historical moment in Mob history. A reenactment of the courtroom and transcripts are exhibited at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. She said this was meant to be, a way of healing our relatives vendetta. Robyn sent me this photograph today. In these unexpected adventures in livingness I forget all about Limbo, had he been there it would have been entirely different. Instead, he is leading the Dragon into my den to rearrange my retirement, friendship, and love for our homes.

The night before the book signing that splendid spell has metallized into a muted gray state of nausea, and I couldn’t breathe. I popped over to La Posada for a touch-up color.

Yvette called out, “Hi Loulou, are you excited about the book signing?”

” Not at all.”

” Why not? This is a huge deal for you.”

” It could have been-you know who ruined it.”

” How can he ruin it? He won’t be there.

” Exactly.”

” Come on; you’re going to have a magnificent time. I invited my parents, and I posted it on my Facebook page.” She harmonized topics I cannot recall, but at the end of two hours, I walked out without the grimace.

David Stone who juggles all the events at La Posada was moving furniture around and, and intermittently asking me where I want the tables and chairs while I set up my Square card ready to sell books. I even invited my pal Raul’s daughter to be in charge of swiping the cards. At exactly three o’clock the first guest walked in White Zen, then a few more friends, and a few more, and everyone was buying  books.  The room was resonating with laughter and conversation, and I was spiraling on the vibe of adulation.

 

YOU’RE INVITED


 

PUBLICATION PARTY FOR LOCAL AUTHOR’S MEMOIR-CRADLE OF CRIME

                                                                     by Luellen Smiley

 

La Posada Resort & Spa- 330 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe. NM 

Sunday – February 12, 2017

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM MST

CELEBRATE WITH LOCAL AUTHOR LUELLEN SMILEY

Complimentary Wine, Champagne & Appetizers

Book signing & Q & A

54795916_high-resolution-front-cover_6490467

RSVP

loulousmiley@yahoo.com

This eye-opening memoir, twenty years in the making chronicles Luellen’s journey into her father’s criminal past, beginning ten years after his death in 1982. Luellen is the daughter of Allen Smiley – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s best friend and business partner for ten years. Allen was seated next to Bugsy the night he was murdered. Luellen discounted her father’s Mafia association until she was forty years old. Awakened by an identity crisis, she cut through her silence and used government surveillance records, newspaper articles, and FBI files to discover her father’s legacy.

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330 East Palace Avenue

Santa Fe, NM 87501

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ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS


“THE CREATIVE INDIVIDUAL (in wrestling with his medium) is supposed to experience a joy which balances if it does not outweigh the pain and anguish which accompany the struggle to express himself.”

HENRY MILLER ON WRITING.

The coincidence of opening the book for a quote and landing on this perfect phrase has ended the battle of should I write this or not. Continuing on from the previous post, last week. Some of you know very well who HE is, and others do not. From now on I will use the name of Limbo to give me distance.

 

anais-nin

I walk in slow motion, look beyond the moment, swim in a  pool of wonder. This is my life.  No one or circumstance forces me to act or react to my wanderings through life.   I believe everything that happens to us points to continuing character evolution.

The reckoning of my dependence on Limbo points to an enormous change.  It’s a rearrangement of the certainty and security of Limbo.

Even our house seemed to slip into a baleful hue. The absence of activity and music smudged the  glow, but like Uncle Whitey once said, ” Don’t fall in love with what won’t love you back.”

La Posada is my sanctuary and social club. There I can shimmy through conversations with the staff, and regain control of my gaping jaw.  Sometimes I sit by the fire and write, other times I climb the stairs to the second story to expand my horizon. I’ve never spent so much time in a hotel.  It is like an extension to my Red Room, when the limitations of space make me feel radioactive.

The backdrop to this misadventure is what did I do wrong? Dance+HD+Wallpapers+2013_7

One night I exploded and kicked  the garage door with my boot. The door splintered as  I fell backward on the cement.  I picked myself up and swore off rage.  For The next six weeks, my knee collapsed with the slightest kick.

The phone is my new best friend, and in between checking emails from White Zen, Baron, Lollipop and Aunt Debby & Uncle Charles,  I google people I miss from my past.  It was a subliminal gesture to google the Dragon; the femme fatal who commanded Limbo four years ago, and left him broke, sick, and humiliated. I didn’t move from the bed, my mind traveled rapid and directionless, as I read her bio, ” X recently moved to Santa Fe full-time. ”  A seemingly incurable pain developed on my left shoulder-blade, it’s still there, stress is a wailing dominant and dictating power.

Now, a week later the consequences manifested in our combined real estate investments. Financial blindness became light and the reality of my situation kicked at me day and night. The most penetrating element of disaster is the loss of momentum, my body feels like a two-ton whale, and my eyes –scary.  The only ones that endure this wilting lily are my pals at La Posada and White Zen.

I was in bed one night, and two figures filled the glass door.

 ” LouLou are you awake?”

 I peered into the glass and there were White Zen and her son. We’ve all been friends since I moved here.  They know the Dragon.

  White Zen’s eyes flickered with mutual pain.

“We just drove by her house. His car is there.” She took my hand and rubbed my shoulders.  ” Marc and I drove by, and when we saw his car we both said, Oh my God at the same time. They lathered me with assurances and stayed until I was emotionless.

This is not a unique story; it’s been dramatized, composed, written and drawn, the awe of life. Today, with a new head cold to accompany the shoulder and the knee pain, I watched Documentaries about extraordinary artists: Sidney Lumet and Bob Dylan. Both films road on the theme of expression, truth, and suffering. Again, it was one of those random choices that empowered my spirit of expression. 

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Two days have passed; snow folded into sculptures on the chairs and pots, clouds and rain emptied the street, and silence returned. The eruption of reason surfaced like a rising curtain.  This is a lesson, an enormously necessary one for a gal who lives with one eye on the rainbow.  I’m liberated with understanding.

All  I have to do is navigate a safe passage out of these  circumstances.  That’s it. Make the decisions, implement them and be grateful for the friends who nourished me along the way.    To be continued.


BOOK REVIEW BY CRAVEN WILD-The life and times of a filmmaker: fashion, beauty, books and life. UK


https://cravenwild.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/cradle-of-crime-by-luellen-smiley/

LOVE


THANK YOU ETTA JAMES, SARAH VAUGHN, NANCY WILSON, NINA SIMONE, BILLY HOLIDAY, AND SATCHMO. What happened is why I am writing this, I don’t know. It is a wave that most of us have to swim through at some sandy loose day in our life.  It’s the kind of wave that sends me to the ladies of soul. They sing the tears away, that harmony that makes you want to just weep with them because they have been there.

I remember the day, where I was sitting, and his expression. It was a few days before the final submission to Createspace to publish my book.  My body felt heavy as concrete and my mind had been vacuumed of thought.  I slept and slept.  On November 20, he bolted into my room as  I was stretched out on the bed eloping with comfort.

” Kathi want’s me to come out for Thanksgiving.” Kathi, well I never met her, she’s in Arizona. They see each other when they are not fighting. He said she hangs up on him most of the time. For the last two years she has given him an ultimatum, “Either we live together or I am not going to talk to you again.” He admitted he didn’t want to live with her and she pulled back.

” I told you I planned the publication for your Birthday and Thanksgiving weeks ago.”

He just stared at me. The silence said everything.

” Okay, go. Go on. Get the fuck out of here.”

” I know what you’re doing.”  He replied.

He left the next day for Arizona, I thought, and I published the book with my ladies of soul singing to me.  CreateSpace sent the link to my Amazon page, and  I posted it on Facebook;  my tears stopped. There you all were, posting kisses, smiles, applause; it was so unexpected. Most of the next few days were watching my royalty cart fill up. Admitting this is wicked, but the last time I made a decent dollar on my writing was 2009. It was graduation day from blogging to book. A milestone for any self-taught writer.  Two pals Blair Sabol, A New York columnist and Baron Wolman, Santa Fe Rock & Roll Photographer capped the publication with a personal book signing.

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A maelstrom took me on a journey of exaltation and devaluation. He wasn’t here to see it or rejoice in his monetary contribution to the book I started twenty years ago in his backyard cabana. Celebrating solo slapped some hard facts;  why was I alone? I’m  a long term- tenant of sensitive so I hold up a wall of protection.

Wobbling around in a state of dismantlement, the bricks and mortar of my spine turned to rubble. Someone asked me, ‘How are you?’ I said, half and half. It was the best day of my life and the worse. How that happens in one day is typical of nature, but not human emotions.

Supernatural forces arrived almost immediately; the feral cat moved in, well not completely but she spends the night every few days, and she likes to be on my bed.  I named her Rockette. She is shiny black, slinky in majestic feline moves, but I cannot hug her for more than two seconds. 20161229_213551.jpg

A week later, after the first impromptu Thanksgiving without him since we met in 1983, I forced myself to go solo and test my wall. It came down as I dined with other singles. My bedroom sparked with honey sunshine flocking the gold curtains rocked my cradle of confusion.  Adjustment to a glance of him crossing the street,  taking detours so he doesn’t pass my glass front door, and not responding to my emails or text detonated. I retaliated by pulling out the lavender he planted last spring, tipping over a planter box, and kicking his door one night in rabid-rage, and the wood splintered.

Over the next few weeks, he did not sleep here,  check his mail, or even sweep the sidewalk. From this dismantlement of our former friendship, the response to my book served as my oar against the current.

I rowed through Christmas fanning my despair with friends and strangers, seized by the glow of their joy. I never broke down in front of anyone, even the couples who toasted to forty and fifty years of marriage, or the newlywed couple from Santa Monica. I just don’t understand the limitations of love. Do you just stop loving your best friend after thirty years?

On New Year’s Eve my body moved to the music, the theatrics, and all was well because I would use 2017  as my new spreadsheet of adventures in livingness.

To be continued.

LIFESTYLES, GANGSTERS, LOVE

Elizabeth Blair Books

Even a bad guy can have redeeming qualities

CravenWild

The life and times of a filmmaker: fashion, beauty, books and life.

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

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The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

Portrait Café

Seeing the best in you

Elizabeth Blair Books

Even a bad guy can have redeeming qualities

CravenWild

The life and times of a filmmaker: fashion, beauty, books and life.

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational quotes

DPNews

Nerdy news for nerdy fans.

RIELPOLITIK

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER / IGNORANCE IS BLISS - YOU DECIDE

J. H. Graham

Author of the Avery Shepard Detective Mystery Series

The Book Review Directory

Over 150 Book Reviewer Bloggers Listed

A MAN OF ACTION

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Write Through It

On Writing, Editing, and How to Keep Going

Vagarious Voyage

Anecdotes from an unpredictable journey

Maybe someone should write that down...

Writerly ways for Family Historians and Storytellers

KennethJustice.com

The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

Portrait Café

Seeing the best in you

Elizabeth Blair Books

Even a bad guy can have redeeming qualities

CravenWild

The life and times of a filmmaker: fashion, beauty, books and life.

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational quotes

DPNews

Nerdy news for nerdy fans.

RIELPOLITIK

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER / IGNORANCE IS BLISS - YOU DECIDE

J. H. Graham

Author of the Avery Shepard Detective Mystery Series

The Book Review Directory

Over 150 Book Reviewer Bloggers Listed

A MAN OF ACTION

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Write Through It

On Writing, Editing, and How to Keep Going

Vagarious Voyage

Anecdotes from an unpredictable journey

Maybe someone should write that down...

Writerly ways for Family Historians and Storytellers

KennethJustice.com

The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

Portrait Café

Seeing the best in you

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