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Learning to sing (again!)

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There were a couple of things that jumped out to me and maybe they did because in real life I have a young friend who just left her emotionally abusive husband and she has a 3 year old. Every decision, every step has been carefully measured and discussed at length to insure and protect her little boy's emotional health and make her leaving as normal as possible. He is uppermost in her mind, there are things she could react to but doesn't because his well being is so important.

Clay hiding behind a couch while his mother goes to the bathroom and him saying that because he sensed how terrified and alone she was that he decided he had to be the person to keep her going. What a terrible burden to place on such a little boy. I understand getting out of a situation anyway that you can which she did, but she should have been more cognizant of protecting his sense of well being and emotional security.

That's my rant, I didn't notice this first read but going through a real life situation right now it's very telling.

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I hopenone of this is about judging anyone, just discussing what was written.

I know plenty of single parents. You use what resources you have and you make judgements just like you haveto in life. They may or may not be good because you don't know the end of the story while it is happening. Sometimes, it is much worse not getting divorced. I think the yelling and the hitting can create the frightened child but so can other things.

What this chapter tells me, as well as the whole book, is that circumstances created a very strong bond between Clay and hsi mother. They were friends as well as parent child, they took care of each other. In real life, I have seen these kinds of bonds and I have seen the opposite happened, where the bond grew to the grand parent and the child and mother have an adversarial/sibling relationship and the people involved could not see this was what was happening.

I have also seen the parents who did not divorce and the children grow up with the scars of a relationship that should not have existed. There are a million permutations and combinations and judging people does not help the matter. I particularly hate judging people based on speculation or opinion derived with a minium of facts.

So the facts we have are

1: Clay was a scared little boy

2: He loved his mother and her sayings

3: His mother started him singing

4. He was a child who got stubborn on some occaissions.

So far he sounds most other little boys I have met.

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We were all the other person had for a long time.

SDU Kids see much more than adults think they do. I can't remember that exact passage yet.. but you can do all you can do keep things away from kids but they still see. Even your friend who thinks she did everything to protect her child. But he's only 3 so that will make some difference but even still.

Jamar: Love the quote above and I understand it..except there was me, my brother, sister, and mother.

My mother is the closest person in the world to me and she stayed in a no good relationship for a very long time - much longer than Faye. Only the people inside understand what's going on. My dad wasn't physically abusive but emotionally abusive. From the outside, perhaps it's easy to say how horrible life must have been. But it wasn't. And I would have died to have been pulled apart from my mother for my own good. We had each other and lots of love. And I never blamed my mother for anything - hell the shared experiences brought us closer. I don't know Clay or Faye but I have some understanding of what they went through and why they bonded and why they are so close now and probably forever. And the funny part, I honestly don't think my life was so much different than most people. Hell, I think I had it pretty darn good.

I haven't read my chapters yet but I will tomorrow.

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My comments on chapter 1, including a few quotes from the book....

1) The whole paragraph about all he's done, ending with “A chicken with its head cut off has nothing on me," makes me wonder how he's feeling RIGHT NOW with this. I mean, now he's had even more tours, two more albums, UNICEF work, BAF work, TV appearances, and soon, Spamalot. I guess I hope he makes time in his life for more reflection; IMO it's something one needs to do to keep grounded.

2) “Once I decided I was okay, other people agreed. And those folks who didn’t agree didn’t matter so much anymore.” jamar quoted the first sentence, but I think the second one might be just as telling -- especially within the fandom? Or is that my personal biases talking?

3) “It isn’t always a color your like, but even ugliness provides its own lessons.” Still quite relevant today for him, I'm sure.

4) The paragraph where he fantasizes about quitting is one that I don't think will ever happen...but one that I'm prepared for, just in case. I truly think he loves his "job" now, but someday, he's just not going to be in the spotlight as much. I do think that I'm prepared for that fact, but some are not.

5) “A song is like a smile.” One of my favorite sentences in the entire book.

6) “I still have many unanswered questions.” To me, this suggests that HE'S on a journey as much as we the fans are, and he's looking forward to it as well. IMO there doesn't need to be an answer for every single question.

And finally, for chapter 1, I totally agree with djs that this was not meant to be totally autobiographical. In fact, HE says it: “I also wanted to share stories about my life in the hope that it might enable a handful of other people to feel better about themselves.”

I'll come back with my thoughts on Chapter two after a bit.

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in real life I have a young friend who just left her emotionally abusive husband and she has a 3 year old. Every decision, every step has been carefully measured and discussed at length to insure and protect her little boy's emotional health and make her leaving as normal as possible. He is uppermost in her mind, there are things she could react to but doesn't because his well being is so important.

Well, why did she wait until he was three? How does she know that she is doing the right thing in the exact right way? Who is she discussing things with? How can leaving be "normal"? Actually, a three year old has no idea what normal is, really, IMO. And no one can predict how a child will react, they are all so different. It seems kind of bad to me that she doesn't react to things for the child's sake - he may grow up thinking some things are OK when they really are not, based on her non-reactions.

he decided he had to be the person to keep her going. What a terrible burden to place on such a little boy

Just because Clay remembers feeling that way, doesn't mean he actually assumed that burden in actuality. I don't think Faye placed it on him. He was just intelligent and sensitive enough to see what was going on. I know a family where, when the parents split up, the son was astonished, and the daughter sensed it was going to happen for quite a while - 10 and 11 years old.

I just really think he is reaching out to kids who may have similar experiences, kids do tend to take responsibility for breakups, for protecting, etc. I came from a family sorta like Couchie's - there is just no way for an outsider to be qualified to judge.

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Well I refuse to question or judge what Faye chose to do and how she chose to do it. As a single parent I can tell you that you do the best you can with what you have at the time. In any case, Clay seems to have dealt with any issues he may or may not have had with how his mother raised him.

In re-reading what I wrote, it does sound judgmental which I shouldn't do because as a mostly single parent I made a ton of mistakes which I wish I could go back and have do-overs. I just feel for this little boy taking on this responsibility. I do understand dysfunctional families and that young children sometimes take on unnatural amounts of responsibility in keeping the family going and become hypersensitive to the feelings of others. He's a remarkable young man for all that he's had to deal with.

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Well, why did she wait until he was three?

Because she had quit her job to stay home and raise him. She had to find a job. She finally opened up to her family and friends about what's been going on. She refused to allow her soon-to-be ex-spouse push her into fighting and drama and the transition has really gone fairly smoothly and although he understands that mommy and daddy live in different places he is protected as best she can from the emotional turmoil there could be if they were fighting and creating a bunch of drama. But then, she doesn't have the additional problem of having someone in the late phases of alcoholism on her doorstep either which has made it easier, and he already has another woman so that helps keep him away from her.

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I guess I just don't understand (and I mean this in general not you specifically sheila) the idea of second guessing what Faye did based on what Clay wrote in LTS. Maybe someone else thinks they would have done things differently but they really don't know that. Because they weren't there. None of us can walk in anyone else's shoes.

Not to mention that ... it's ancient history now. It is what it is.

And more importantly Clay is who he is.

YAY! :wub:

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Ah so here we go. I love this book and when I read it I hear Clay's voice reading it to me.

Chapter 1

You know LdyJ..I think he has had time to reflect. And I think that's why he changed his life and he's more at peace. Wow, when you think back to 2003 and 2004 it's hard to imagine how he could take a breath. He's about to experience a little of again with the xmas tour and UNICEF and spamalot all while making an album. I hope he enjoys it even more this time around.

My first giggle came with the sentence writing. I wish my punishements were so easy LOL.

Thinking back I can remember those kids in elementary school that everybody picked on. You know, stinky Tina or the fat kid. Kids are cruel. And I have no doubt that being dubbed a loser by other kids was a very unpleasant experience. You're in school 6 hours a day and without friends I can only imagine it to be a lonely place. Not liking yourself is a very sad thing. I think so much of that is wanting to fit in so it become a vicious cycle.

I remember when the book came out ..one of the reviews, US mag maybe, wanted to know more about Mama Faye. She's an interesting character. I'd love to know her story from her own point of view. I bet she would change many things but not the bond she seems to have forged with her kids. I never forget that every snippet is from Clay's point of view. I bet she was suprrised at some of what she read. I know I was shocked to find out my sister felt left out as the youngest and she got extremely upset when I couldn't remember what sort of cupcake she liked as a child. Shocked the hell out of me. Like WHAT? SHe was the baby, the favorite, the one that skated through when apparantly my parents were tired heee and all the rules were loosened. But they are her feelings no matter how differnt they are from my own perspective

We all have the power to achieve our dreams

believed in honesty and integrity

she is my example

strong, smart, decent


you can learn from the good and bad in life

I think many of the traits that seem so hardcore in Clay come directly from this woman and yes the other people in his life. Thank god, cuz he's had to deal with so much in this current life he holds. And he has managed to handle it all with such grace. Grace, that's a trait I've always admired in Clay.

Clay is Clay because of his foundation in life. It was far from perfect just like most people - but he turned into a good man, a strong man, and he didn't do it alone. And that is a point he says again and again in chapter one. He wrote this book to perhaps help others. I'm not one that believes writing the book was therapy (nor are his stage interactions with his mom). I think he had long come to terms with his past - probably doesn't even think abou it. Of course I have no way of knowing that for sure. Everybody is different. I made it through my circumstances without therapy, without turning bitter. Did I have problems? No doubt. Like I said in other conversations here, I was scared of my own shadow and had low self esteem and I was 25 before I was able to overcome it. And that person is long gone. I'm very direct and a take no crap kind of person now. How did I get from one place to the other -- one big crying public breakdown, a determination to change my life, and actually having successes in things I was doing, and cutting my dad out of my life. Now some may think that is sad but it isn't for me. I'm very happy. My sister and brother didn't do that but they didn't have any self esteem issues that I did and are just fine with seeing the crazy fool now and then. I just know what works for me. I think knowing my dad has a diagnosed condition helped all of us. And it's so weird to see all the grandkids just love their grandpa. I don't do or say anything to interfere with that.

I'm sorry to get so personal..this book brings that out in me.

Now on to my favorite line in chapter 1...

To me, singing is the single most JOYOUS thing a peson can do

I get this vibe from Clay. I feel it. He loves it and I'm so thrilled he had the courage and strength and belief in his talent to keep chasing Idol. That was a tangible opportunity for him to reach for. I can understand him not going further and chasing a career before the show because he did have another love.

I think that he can use his fame to do good works is an added bonus. I think at his core, he would have continued to sing for a penny, for the applause, for the joy of it at every opportunity even if it was just at the YWCA youth camp.

I do this because if I didn't my mother would snatch me bald headed!


I don't want to offend anyone but he is so southern (or is it rural?) and so baptist. I've heard the snatch you bald headed term a lot.. not from my mom but my aunts.. the whole I brought you into the world I'll take you out thing. They're from Arkansas on my dad's side and South Carolina on my mom's. I just feel the same sensibilities from Faye as I do my own family members and she passed those on to her son as my family members passed it on to me and all my cousins.

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Geez couchie, that was so touching you almost brought me to tears. I guess my life was very similar to yours in that my mother was the center of my life and I never doubted that she loved me and did the best she could for me.

Our past certainly shapes our future, Clay is not exception. My roots don't come from the south so it would impossible for me to even try to speak about the ties that bind southern families. One of the things I admire about Clay is his love for his mother and his family, and he never worries about expressing that love.

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Memories are subjective. Fear and I argue over our past all the time, there is so much she does not remember and claims I made up, like being caught in a mini-riot over a teen heartthrob. I think she just does not want to admit being a teenager.

I did go for therapy while I was getting divorced. I felt the need for help. The first thing the therapist wanted to discuss was how my parents messed up my life. I told her I was an adult now and they were no longer ruling my life. I was an individual and she would have to accept it. Parents are people and should not be expected to be perfect. I certainly am far from perfect in my dealings with relatives.

That being said, i am not going to judge anyone in a book of rememberances.

I do remember that Clay said he had some problems with the family after they read the book, one aunt sent him a nasty note about it, but the only part he corrected was the one about the Bubel family.

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