RELOCATION IN REFLECTION.


  Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat, sometimes it brings confidence. I asked my British friend, ‘is it common for people to lose their curiosity, passion, and desires as they age?’ He responded, LOL, yes. That’s where we are different, he has certainty, whereas I don’t. Being single and living alone affords you freedom of thought, and so it was this weekend, while enveloped indoors to avoid the chilling grip of winter, my thoughts were in a heated argument.

Go to Saratoga and visit the Casino Museum, have a croissant or lobster roll, roam the gallery district, window shop, and get out of this house now.

It’s too cold to walk, I’ve been to the museum, I don’t feel like dining alone again, and the galleries I’ve been to are arts and crafts.

That’s not the reason, is it?

No, I’m not curious.

Just four years ago, I’d pop out of my Santa Fe home and walk up to Canyon Road Friday Night. All the galleries are open and serve appetizers, some live music, some street vendors, and some costumed characters and it was a party. I didn’t mind eating alone because I knew the restaurant owners, bartenders, and regular guests. Sedation of spirit came in the last six months. The first year coming back to my home after a six-year absence was invigorating and new, and unexpectedly in need of serious maintenance and lease management.

In front of El Farol, Canyon Road on a stranger’s beauty mobile. Twice a week for live rockin music and dancing. One of my favorite dance floors because the stage is three feet away.

The second year was getting about town and exploring and then Covid so it was an incomplete year. The third year was a wicked winter and when spring came, the ebullient appreciation of the sun and flowers renewed, and my curiosity temperature was down but not dormant. Circumstances too complicated and gruesome to write, force me to stay here. I’m one of the millions, that live where they don’t choose to live anymore. When the day comes, the freedom to relocate is my curiosity. My next nest is undetermined. My friends, ask me, ‘where are you going to move to?’ This comes up in every third or fourth conversation. And the answer is the same, ‘when I know I’ll tell you.’

Upstate on a clear day.

Poetic justice for a life-long wanderer. Curiosity I call on you to visit my spirit and paddle me out to waters and roads unknown.  Give me the confidence to keep my oars afloat; confident, curious, and passionate.   

On the road from New Mexico to somewhere… I can’t remember.

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

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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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La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa

330 East Palace Avenue

Santa Fe, NM 87501

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THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER IS…


 

SEASONAL AND SENSUAL OVERTURE TO REVERIE.

SUMMER is not a memory yet; my skin too sensitive, and my heart still attached to the moments.  I’ve misplaced my journals and so I have to read my to-do list to recall the events.  Let’s go back to June; well my head was bent like a candle wick in this memoir. By then I was into the first rewrite, the worst of the next ten. That first one is deceivingly promising, the chapters line up, the suspense tickled, and it was five-hundred pages.  The first draft was actually two books, as I dared to try and run the 100 meter in two different directions.

I must have had some standout memories, but I don’ recall June being amusing.  Writing about my deceased parents was not summer reading.  A year had already passed since I began, and I was now at the last stretch.  My sense of completion was annoying.  I began to hate the word focus. My body ached for water, in any form, a pool, a river, and the ocean.  June was also the month when rejection letters arrived.  For a moment, I’d forgotten. Whoa! Stay away from LouLou, her nerves are visible! On the flip, it was also acceptance of those letters.  I had to prove to myself that I could take it, and continue writing.

Outside my window, Palace Avenue raised to motorcycles, skateboarders, conversational bicycle riders, and families out for a walk. My concentration was beguiled.  So I turned on the fan, the loud kind that screens the room in a hum.  I tried to imagine as waves just after they have capitulated into bubbles.

Memorial weekend was gemstone sunlit of color and clarity.  I’d decided to break and go to a party at La Posada.  Yes, that was my first grasp of summer, the sudden appearance of flowers, greenness of the landscape, flowers, and light. I think it was warm enough to sit outdoors all night.  We were not yet ready to kick and scream, it was more of a real memorial kind of party.  For our troops who finally are reaching us through the news, the films, and the books.

Most every evening I’d walk across the street to La Posada, have a glass of wine while listening to the chattering guests, age-out themselves by immobilizing a very liberated and young spirit. It’s a beautiful sight. Most people in my experience, come to Santa Fe and strip fullsizerenderdown to vulnerable. They invite conversation and are genuinely interested. I am asked, ‘What’s it like living in Santa Fe?’  To be continued.

IT’S UNLIKE ANY OTHER CITY I’VE EXPERIENCE.D  It’s called the city different, it is also the city difficult.  She ( I see Santa Fe in the feminine gender)  has to be treated gently. Her  weather patterns resemble a menopausal woman,her stature demands respect, and she can be congenial and patient.

You can walk this city as if it were a neighborhood. If you do that consistently you’ll meet people, and get to know them. Unless you’re like me, a standoffish fast walker dazed by the outdoors.

If you’re dazed and illusional you can master this city very well, as the drowsy pace and cordiality allow freakish  freedom.  I ‘ve seen the liberating soul of Santa Fe,  teenagers racing down the middle of a commercial street one foot on the skateboard, bad-ass bikers talking with bad-ass cops, women with parrots on their shoulder, dogs in baby carriages, cats in a bag, and women on horseback galloping up Palace Avenue.

At night you’ll see raging midnight ramblers dancing on the sidewalk, and all of this is appealing to an LA transplant.  I have driven in my robe, danced in the street and broken the heels on most of my shoes because of the pot-holes. They are always working on a street, but never the sidewalks. I ‘ve been bounced out of the locals night-howl El Farol for accidently pushing  a dancer, who knew the manager, who came running after me and took down my license plate.

So many of us are loners, the serious kind, that have to be rigged out of our nests.  Luckily I live on a commercial street and have no choice but to be commercially friendly. After nine years, my seasonal behavior is obvious: sprite in summer, blissful in fall, giddy in spring, and withdrawan in winter. I’ve learned patience, understanding, and adopted a mixture of cultural traditions. I’m close to fifty percent certain I’ll miss Santa Fe terribly when I do leave.

Has living in Santa Fe  given me more than I’ve given back?  Yes, it has and that’s why when I’m asked what’s it like living in Santa Fe, I try to reveal the blessings here and not the bullshit. 025

EXCERPT FROM CRADLE OF CRIME


CHAPTER NINE

1998 WAS ALL RIGHT

AWAKENING ON THE ROADRUNNER SHUTTLE as we chugged up the steep grade highway, the red skin of Taos peeled back the imposing medieval Gorge crack. The cavity unzipped and five thousand feet below was the Rio Grande. I felt the altitude filling my lungs, and my eyes twitching from one scenic masterpiece to another. Everyone in the shuttle was giving me a history lesson about Taos. Before I knew it, the shuttle door opened, and the driver yelled, ‘Smiley.”

At the end of a two-mile dirt road the shuttle dropped me off and I was shouldered on either side by melting banks of snow.  It was April. Unexpected snow storms arrived the same week.

The FBI boxes I’d shipped were in front of my casita.  Darting from room to room, thoroughly satisfied with a two-story loft, floor to ceiling windows, and sunlight in all the right spots. I unpacked in the seductive silence. Was I all alone out here?  A few other casitas were on the property but they looked vacant. A pang of anxiety seized and then I realized, I had a cell phone, a credit card, and cash. I could always call a cab right.  It was winter in April; the first time I’d lived in falling

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DH. LAWRENCE WRITING ROOM. TOAS.

snow.  In the dining room, I unpacked the boxes and arranged them in a circle around the circumference of the table. It was a heavy southwestern oak table, twelve feet along, and to the right was sliding glass doors allowing the light to stream across the black and white print. I was left to unravel two thousand more pages on Dad’s criminal life.

The trip was extended to two months. I read all the files and  left Taos a different woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Santa Fe today

Santa Fe today, Friday the 13th. Listening to soundtrack of Man & a Woman, my lyrics, my movie. The end is what I imagine mine. The day was blowing cottonwood  and white wisteria  in a blow glow of dance.  There is a certainty about my movements, different than yesterday. I declare this day of summer, sandals,pedicure, trying on my bathing suit, making a palette change, and putting on the ritz. The gloss and bronze, and maybe even going outdoors.  Shopping and going to the Lowriders Day in Santa Fe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIGHTS ON SANTA FE


 

A NATIVE AMERICAN  LIGHT SHOW.

YOU CAN BECOME WHO YOU DREAMED OF, DO WHAT YOU DREAMED OF IN SANTA FE , because Santa  Feans do not care.

I heard this slogan a lot when I first moved here seven years ago.  My understanding was vague, unrealized, and I didn’t think much about it until  this winter.   I began to  approach strangers,  walk across the street to the spa in a robe,  or  leave my pajama top under my sweater because I like the texture of it.
I’ve  given  up the diving board of scrutiny and plunge into the dreamy, stony,  outdated, simplistic extravagance, and unrealistic vibe of Santa Fe.

I keep dreaming, and preparing,  with a face blotched red by cold, that THE LIGHTS, SHADOWS,  MOON AND CHARACTERS ARE MY BROADWAY FOR NOW.   NOT FOREVER. EVERYTHING CAN BE TEMPORARY IF WE TAKE ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS.

SUMMER IN SANTA FE


All I SEE AT THIS HOUR IS
dinner for most of the USA. Imagine all those people, dining in separate uniqueness. The walls of imagination merge with internal images, from the media, personal experience, and true life stories. What I think of at dinner time is never the same at ten o’ clock in the morning. The labyrinth of safety, family, friends, security ALL colliding with the unknown, seems to be the most innocent of emotions. It is also a time that springs bright-eyed realizations, recognition, and a time when our mirrors move toward us. Who we surround us with is who we are.

The wind is sullen as it has gone from the spruce tree outside my window.

I want to get up and take a long walk, listening to the sound of my own steps on the brick walkway. I walk outdoors onto my steps and sit on a pillow watching the birds flock to a fresh pour of seeds. The silence is like a mirror to me. This un-sound so clear and virgin in Santa Fe, brings me back to my adolescent years in Hollywood. The nights my father went out, allowing me the freedom to explore outside. I would run down Doheny Drive to Santa Monica Boulevard and just keep running. It was on those windy Santa Ana nights that I’d run the longest. I was running because the need to express something was bulging through my soul. This night is like that, only I don’t feel like running, I am listening to the sounds of silence. Watching the shadows that look like ghosts, and the clouds that appear to have messages, and how everything is different when you are alone.

July is expectant there is expectancy everywhere you look. The blossoms on the tree limbs are blooming, the birds have evacuated their nests and begin singing early in the morning, and insects eject themselves from their hidden corners. I don’t know what summer is like for a man, I’ve never asked any man, but I am going to tell you what summer is like for one woman.

The essence is sensuous, and for a woman, it is an overture.
We strip down the layers of clothing; replacing socks with sandals, and sweaters with t-shirts. When I hear birds and watch them in the trees, I think of babies and innocence. There are flowers shooting through the heavy clasp of winter dormancy, and when they do, the colors remind me to replace all the black pants and turtlenecks with pastel shades of coral and blue.

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The sunlight radiates through my skin and warms everything. My heart feels like it has has been through a tune-up. My body wants to dose in sea water, eat less, run up Canyon Road, listen to music, dine al fresco, and get pedicures. All of this preparation is to tune up the romantic notes and to get YOUR ATTENTION. It is time to bring you out of the garage, or wherever you go in spring, and to notice that we are blooming.
Surprise us with flowers, a new hat, or a picnic on the banks of the Rio Grande. Our attention is on our surroundings; we will want to buy flowers, and baskets and new cushions for the patio furniture. We change our lipstick color, comb our hair different, and we look for new ways of expressing how good we feel.

If you live in Santa Fe then you understand when I say slow down summer do not leave us.
“Is there any feeling in a woman stronger than curiosity? What would a woman not do for that? Once a woman’s eager curiosity is aroused, she will be guilty of any folly, commit any imprudence, venture upon anything, and recoil from nothing.”
Excerpt from Guy De Maupassant, “An Adventure in Paris.”

 

A BLESSING OF PUZZLES


 

The embryo of  thought. Sometimes it is negligible,  as is life.  I am the puzzle maker  and every time I try to carve the right size square, I fall off the board and have more material to write about!  The  puzzle is so vast that it covers our life time and the pieces are the choices, and non-choices that fit into themes.  We are a theme,

My life, is like a melody, a Gershwin tune. As  a dancer and prancer  at heart,  my feet are my hands,  and my hands are my heart. Yes , Christmas is in the shop isles, and cafes, the windows displays and string lights mated to children’s eyes, in blissful delight.  a doll size tree left on my patio, with a note that made me grin, and the Direct TV technician who who solved the signal loss,   that his job, but when I asked him why the CD/DVD trays  didn’t work in the Movie Theater he pulled out cables, jogged to his truck and brought new ones, installed and un-installed the cables until, ” There is your trouble; someone unplugged this one.”  A moment that matters when you are given more than you ask for , and it is a big deal for a vacation rental to be  wired, and entertaining. Last week it was the tub faucet,  the previous tenant yanked the knob out instead of turning  it and pulled out the whole shaft.  Outside is  the spillage stain  on the concrete driveway, the week before that, the circuits in my bedroom went out randomly…. the house functions as an older lady,  she was built in 1907. We call it Gallery LouLou, but truly it is Elliott Barker’s home..

I am to blame for these follies, and I exercise my poise and power when I have paying guests. I love hosting 80 percent of the time because strangers from all over the world (this summer from Moscow) walk up the driveway grinning.    20141211_164203

 

 

 

RELIC OF REBELLION


BEFORE  I think  how to respond to a stranger,  I  feel them;  the gestures,  expressions, tones of voice,  movement,  conversation, mannerisms, and the eyes.   I acknowledge feelings first, then I think.

UNMANNERLY  I can improvise a dance to any music,  except ballet and tango.  I don’t feel rigid and life’s burden lifts when I dance.   Lately, at dusk my day ends with vinyl soul and rock and roll music. It works wonders for the dinner hours on your own.

ISADORA DUNCAN

THE sense of sprite  or gloom in the city reaches me when I’m driving.    I feel a whirl of sensory  perception from the drivers faces.   To witness  the joyous reciprocal ink of friendship between shop keepers, cops and other cops, city workers, and service technicians trying to fix satellites, and cables  in a city of inconsistent infrastructure.

SOME of my principles are unsupported with experience,  but more with GROWING UP WITH GANGSTERS  training that I cannot erase.    My  theme is unbalanced, I take the extreme path instead of the path with arrows.  It is why writing settles my sea-saw.  As I sit in my antique wooden chair looking out, a  feeling  leaps to the clouds;   creamy linen-white like parasols floating through the radiant royal blue sky.  A  tiny thread of blush pink ribbons the outskirts of Santa Fe.  Beneath this canvass are the stick branches of winter trees, then a gust of wind blows the last leaves into a dance.  The sedate and quiet surroundings relieve my spinning head and I just continue to sit and not fidget.   Every pedestrian that passes becomes a source of study. There is a woman who walks weekly with a Parrot on her shoulder. This draws attention to her and she relishes the conversation with her Parrot, who appears to love to sit on her shoulder.  The old man with the bent back that walks with his chin resting on his chest is a storyteller.  I have a difficult time understanding him.

HE’S  told me that he knew Elliott Barker;  who owned my house for fifty or more years and was the  distinguished New Mexico game warden, environmentalist, and author who coined Smoky Bear.  After the cub was rescued Elliott took him to President Roosevelt and asked that the bear become the mascot for preventing forest fires.   Men and women with legacies like that leave some presence in their residence. I think that is why I feed the twenty-five birds, six doves, white-tailed hawk, and Homeboy, the squirrel.  I live in Elliott’s office.  Maybe even wrote where  he did.

THERE  is always commotion and a raucous of human emotion coming from the hotel across the street.  Staff workers chatter into laughter, truck loaders shout and spit,  deliveries stop traffic and sometimes a bad boy yells out obscenities.   Cops are always dropping by to check-on some hotel hiccup.  Dog walkers tug at their dogs and the Santa Fe street vagabonds dart by staring at the brick sidewalk.   This street activity is in slow motion pumping along with the beat of my heart.

SOME people appear to drag their bodies rather than the other way around. I wonder if all the global google news has weighted us down.  Young bohemian gals walk by  and turn towards the house when they hear the music.   Facial strain and deadness erase their youth,  even when the music is pumped up jam or rock n roll.   This nonchalant  detached  behavior  bothers me because I am an aloof!      The exchange of human voice and expression is our background symphony, along with the birds, crows, power saws, blowers, and sirens.  This street is part of my theme;  a juxtaposition of affluence and simplicity.  I am a 21st century flapper clinging to the roar of independence, self-expression and breaking rules.  If  we  feel the chord of festivity,  we should not hold back.  I am going out now to see if  I can feel Christmas.  images XMAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DROPPING OF THE THINKER


It’s been a month since I’ve seen the Thinker.   The time was spent luxuriating in thought and activity.   They became days of resurrecting my business, writing, and staying at home, where my fantasia of comfort welcomes me.  Above my bed, I hung an umbrella. A vintage peach faded Parasol. One day, while I was searching for a place to store my ribbons, I looked up and watched the light sprinkle through the Parasol.  So that is where I stored the ribbons. When I am in bed during an afternoon nap,  I see abstractions of figures:  dancers, faces,  gods, and gorillas.  The Thinker noticed the abstraction. I think he said, ” Wow, this is incredible. Do you see the legs? And there is the face.”  He took everything in and profited  from imagination.  He had a thousand virtues, that regrettably did not serve him.  dsc01740.jpgI don’t know why.  You know I want answers, that is why I write.

THE THINKER & THE PUPPET


After I  published this last story,  I spoke with White Zen, my palgal in Santa Fe.  She said the last paragraph of the story made her cry.  Juxtaposed between writers Zen of exporting such feeling, and the sadness we both shared. White Zen had a Thinker too. I guess there are more of them than I knew.

Having had six true loves in my life, who impregnated me with knowledge generosity, and loyalty is what made me so unprepared for the Thinker.  He does resemble Macedonio;  the first man to peel off  the woman in me. They both have charisma, mystery and good dark looks,  Macedonio is dead now, and the memories of him still glisten;  like the day in Golden Gate park under the cherry blossom tree.

What I miss most, is the giggling, dancing, folly-maker that the Thinker pulled out of me  as If I were a puppet. He called me Puppet because that’s how he saw me.  I’ve got to get my Jojo  by tomorrow. I live Thanksgiving as a day with admissions of selfishness and greed. I need  to be washed away into thanks that I am here with a mouthful full of food, and a napkin.

Thanksgiving with Rudy and Opus I his brother.DSC00512

LAST SWIM WITH THE THINKER


I love to swim; water has been my home since I was born.  I wrote the Thinker stories in  the water because I  know the water. It was an experimental impulse to write as I did.    I know when you break the surface;  reality is  indifferent.  Breaking barriers, in water, in love, in business,  is all the same.   I have to work up a mental sweat to write, to create a dinner, a concept.  Nothing is meaninglessness to me.  I want everything to matter.

After the Thinker left, I have had two weeks of suck time to reflect the alchemy of our relationship. I believe in examination of relationships. It is the key to understanding who we are, who we don’t want to be, who we wish to be.  I have ironed out the swimming with the Thinker. It is a bridge to my courage,  to know it is time to leave Santa Fe. If you have ever lived here, you know it is not  ‘ the land of enchantment’ , rather the land of entrapment.  I don’t know who coined the phrase; but it is as true as Los Angeles being the land 20140528_194204of movie stars.  You may not become a movie star, any more than you may  leave Santa Fe.   I chose the challenge of living here.   I discovered  the conflict of leaving,  and living it now as I write.  I know I came to Santa Fe to discover the underbelly. That is what the Thinker gave to me.