Are you Afraid to be on the Playground?

I was 100% sure I was doomed.

I was 100% sure that I didn’t care if I was.

I was 100% sure everyone else was an idiot.

I was 100% sure that I didn’t care if they were.

The ‘didn’t care’ parts were the hurdles. The question could be, "Do you even care if you are out on the Playground?"

You would think my own admission of defeat would have been a big deal! Shouldn’t you at least give it one last shot, risk it all, come out with all guns firing and take that last chance? I really felt like I was in a fox hole surrounded by the enemy. I didn’t have a white flag, I didn’t submit…I just sat there and starved.

It wasn’t until I felt like I was as low as one could get, I began to realize, there is always lower. How could I use lower in my favor? The revelation that struck me was, “Nobody’s pulling me out here, but dirt moves.”

Anyone who rides a subway knows that there is a whole world underground. We keep hearing about “come into the light”…but why is the dark entirely bad? Whoever thinks the whole world is covered in sunshine and big white fluffy clouds has apparently never left their tropical village. The sun can burn and dehydrate. I was surrounded by self-help people, the power of positive thinking, religious groups who all kept saying, “Karen-come into the light”. Well aside from the lingo being completely unappealing, it’s unrealistic.

Now, I am not suggesting the subway is where you want to be, but some people enjoy that way of commuting underground as opposed to angry drivers on the road. In our world…all over the world, there are so many things going on underground. Look how many animals have made their homes there. Look how many mile long caves and caverns there are. I won’t dispute that lack of sun can make you deficient, but I am suggesting that our view of darkness is equated to being bad. “Out of the darkness and into the light” is a phrase drilled into our brain at a young age but we’re never taught that everything has its place! With the soaring heat in LA lately, I welcome the night and complete blackness. It’s nature’s way of evening everything out so the world can cool down a bit.

Dirt moves. It’s an interesting thought you know. Some of us know what it means to dig our way out of the hole by going down farther, choosing left or right…going sideways for a time, then pop out when and where it’s more favorable with less people surrounding. However, when you find yourself in a cement block with no tools, you have to apply some patience. You may have to even place some trust in the people who love you to assist you. That’s a very hard thing to grasp. “Don’t give up” is another popular sliver of advice. I personally found it useless, but it might sound good to someone who can handle it.

When I was in the dirt, I started to trust the dirt. Let me explain;

I have loved making music all my life, but my voice was considered unpopular. I worked in many studios where the engineer wanted a country-style or opera singer to do back-ups. I was encouraged to become more like those people. Now this is not considered being in the dirt, this is simple studio drama. The dirt part was the horrific depression I was going through. Imagine hating yourself and then others hate you too. It’s not that we should care what they think, but when your own self-esteem sucks, it stands to reason their arrogance isn’t helpful.

I had a war with my music. I have written well over a thousand songs in my life. Many are on 4 track tapes, cds and obsolete hard drives. They represent my journey, but also represent my struggle to just find myself. Some I like and some I hate but I consider them chapters. They are pretty dirty, ugly and paper-shredder worthy for the most part but they were made from my dirt. It may not have been completely enjoyable but it was therapeutic.

PLAYGROUND ISOLATOR represented a time for me where I was brave enough to just say it how I wanted to….but I kept it in between Frank Gryner and myself as he was the only other producer I knew who didn’t suffocate me. You may have noticed the insert says “No other musicians were harmed…etc”. That is because I wasn’t about to let ANYONE in.

The PUBLIC PLAYGROUND single we are working on with the community (it’s atthepublicrecord.com/Stever) has been quite an experience for me. I have produced and written for many bands in between the PI release and this project, but I’ll tell you what is super rad;

I am out on the Playground with others. I was quite ok with working in the music industry and I will continue to, but when we lifted the pressure from this single making any money by making it for charity, it alleviated the crap. I don’t feel ego. I see people who have been victims and bullies playing together without competition. Sure, everyone wants to get better at what they do and would like their parts and music included or heard, but the group is so unbelievably encouraging to each other.

I have been overwhelmed by the music and spirit flattening the fences and giving the scissors back to those that want to run dangerously with them, ignoring all these sunny life lessons. (DISCLAIMER; if you impale yourself on a pair, you do it at your own risk)
Society hasn’t been taking risks and playing. We’ve been scared, bitter and retreating. I am so sick of watching the news. I am so sick of people telling me to play it safe. Safe left me sad in an armchair staring out the window at bright sunshine. That didn’t even matter.

Everyone has a source of fear. Some of us do it to ourselves, some of us have had it instilled. I have been so excited to see people coming out and playing with us. There are people who can’t play music, but they can record themselves hitting some metal. There are people out there who play music who are fearful to express. The rest of us are overwhelmed and humbled by the surrounding love…and we stand in awe…absorbing it all.

Life is short…this is not a dress rehearsal. It’s waiting for each of us to grab a hold of it! If you like the dirt, make art from your dirt! If you prefer a dark room, stay there! The light does not necessarily guarantee happiness. Some people do better with light, some of us feel connected to the dark.

The important part is that we get in touch with who we really are, what we really love to do and then do it with our whole heart.

I would love to see you back on the Playground!

Karen :)

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
~T.S. Eliot


  1. Karen! I can understand your thoughts and feelings fully, I felt the same way and sometimes come back to the depression, which is suffering if one creates with heart and soul and self-questioning, but I like to go back to the playground. to meet you and other interesting people there.


  2. Wise words Karen...as usual:)
    This is the kind of advices I usually give to people. The problem is...Sometimes we also have to believe in our own words and advices:)...something like "We learn by teaching".

    Sorry for some english mistakes:) i´m trying to philosophize in english, and i hope to express myself correctly:)

    Stay cool.
    Emanuel R. Marques

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  4. Loved what you said~!!! and I love the fact you kept your Music Libray....rockin... mines in my Head...its SAFE in there ,, I don't no where I am at and that scars me..I'll soon found out when I an able to.. knda struggle with that too lol...Kinda dislike myself at the moment, it's not that I am feelin sorry for myself .. I just hurt ..and have gone throgh toooo much sh!t ,, so I am sortin it out bit by bit... Getting to hang out with you and others I met on the PlayGround and in your little Community helps , n make s me feel alive at moments I don't n I get reminded that things ARE ok and CAN get better...love to ya~! thanks for sharing your thoughts and exsperinces~!XXX~!