Thank you for your interest in this book. I am writing it with a surge of courage and hope. I am 67 this year. I recently experienced a wake-up call when someone I’ve known for years died in a car accident. She was only in her early 50s. What was I waiting for?
You may have seen me riding a mobility scooter around. My spine slipped halfway off my sacrum as a result of the birth defect Spina Bifida Occulta at L5. I am not sure when it slipped or when L5 bilaterally fractured away from the pars. I found out about the slip when I was almost 50, and I found out about the fracture in 2019 when I was 63.
The first pain management doctor I went to when I was 43 thought I had muscular sclerosis, so he kept doing MRIs of my neck and brain stem. Seven years later, I found the word spondylolisthesis on an accident report from when I was 21. Talk about being misdiagnosed. Then I fell back off a chair I was standing on to reach the top shelf of a bookcase and jarred my lower back. My legs went to sleep and didn't wake up again for about five years.
As a pain management doctor, he didn’t believe in surgery (fusion) and prescribed a lot of potent medications to deal with the discomfort. These medications had side effects, so additional medications were prescribed.
I had to change pain management doctors after I fell, and this new one didn’t believe in fusion surgery either nor did he believe in prescribing medication. He introduced me to alternative treatments while I continued to get prescription refills from my primary care doctor.
After I moved to Texas in November 2006, I was sent to another surgeon. His assistant told me he enlarged my X-rays. If they put screws in my spine, the vertebrae would crumble within ten years, and I’d be a lot worse than I am now.
In July of 2010, I had a supernatural experience of being told telepathically to go to ‘the’ laundromat. I lived halfway between two locations, and in my mind, asked which one. The answer was the one in Copperas Cove where I met a psychic high priestess who told me, “You’re asleep, it’s time to wake up!” As a result, I refused to swallow any more pills… and got myself into a big mess that lasted way too many years.
I consider it a miracle that I am still alive, off all medications, and have a wonderful apartment in a senior community.
During the manic/adrenaline high, I was able to walk again, and a telepathic voice told me to use the talents I was blessed with. I began writing non-stop both stories and songs.
In 2019, whatever courage and self-confidence I had acquired vanished with my ability to walk after I jarred my lower back again… twice. If you are one of the extroverts out there, I admire and envy your ability to perform in front of other people.
The purpose of this book is to introduce you to my songs, explain the reason I am not performing, and hopefully inspire you or another musician to perform one or more of them for me. I’d also be interested in hearing your version of what I created.
As time went on, I learned a few things about myself which eased much of my self-conscious conclusions. I’m an introvert, an empath, and a Myers-Briggs INFJ. It turns out that INFJ stands for introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging. The person I judge the most is myself. We are our own worst critics.
According to Google, there are apparently only one and a half percent of us (INFJs) on the planet. But I know this is only the ones who took the test. INFJ types are compassionate, idealistic, and likely to form close bonds with people. However, I am just beginning to form close bonds with people as where I live now is the longest I have lived anywhere, so there's hope for me yet.
When I was in grade school, I was offered a loaned viola by the music department of the school and learned how to play the instrument while learning how to read music which gave me a group of people to join with an orchestra and later a quartet. The girl who played violin in our quartet was accepted into the Boston Symphony Orchestra. When my extended family came to visit, I was asked to play for them. I did but as an anxious introvert. I felt relieved when I entered middle school aka Junior High, had to return the loaned instrument, and soon forgot how to read music. With babysitting money, I bought my first acoustic folk guitar and taught myself how to play chords. I had been writing poetry, and poetry developed into folk-type songs.
I almost threw a lot of the early songs away until I met a seasoned musician at the beginning of 2012 who also worked in recording studios and participated in songwriting guilds. After he expressed admiration for my talent, he explained that I am not the only unhappy person on the planet, and others would want to hear the songs I wrote.
In 2012, when I made the trip out to California to go to my son’s wedding, I was able to recover some of these songs from the cassette recordings I had made in my earlier years. I had given the cassette to my older sister, and she kept everything.
This musician was only in my life for a year, but he recommended I purchase a Zoom 8-track recorder and taught me how to record multiple tracks. I used an electronic keyboard on other instrument settings for some of these tracks. Some of my songs include them. I wish I had written more notes on how I mixed down the tracks when I completed a song because I can’t remember how I did it.
During the manic/adrenaline high, I got curious about my great uncle Louis Alter and reached out to his daughter (my second cousin) about royalties, etc. (My father was the black sheep of his family, so we didn't have the advantage of their wealthier lifestyle.)
Uncle Lou began playing piano for silent films when he was 12. He is well known for writing and composing Manhattan Serenade. Conductors are still buying his songs for the orchestras they work with. My cousin's husband told me that music was a business and recommended the book This Business of Music. Yes, they were still getting royalties. All I was able to accomplish was the copyrighting process.
There are many songs I have not included in this book. I did mention I had thrown some away. Songwriting wasn’t a continuous thing. There could be years between writing them. I was mainly focused on working in unrelated careers, taking unrelated college classes, raising my son, and more.
As for the love songs, I was reluctant to include them but did anyway. I didn't want to be reminded of what I eventually learned is a codependent mindset, including false attractions and trauma bonding. I learned that expecting someone else to love you when you don't love yourself doesn’t work. I also found out that empaths attract narcissistic people and energy vampires which explained many of the messes I got myself into. You can read about them in a few of my books (memoirs and autobiography). Some songs started out as love songs, but I later changed the words to create a different type of song vs tossing them out altogether.
It is now 2023. I had the opportunity to meet some other songwriters who also perform. Just as my physical condition became more challenging to deal with, the venue I was going to closed. I considered this divine timing. At this time, the places these musicians meet as a group, including the upper-level porch of someone's home, are not accessible for me. And by now you know the reason I do not attend local performances where there are crowds of people with the exception of a rare few.
I have hopes of possibly making it further with the songs while I am still alive. My fantasy is that one or more of my songs will attract the attention of one or more well-known artists who will take them out into the world.
You can listen to many of my songs here: https://soundcloud.com/reneealter085
The book will be available on Amazon within a few days.