L Train.

This nickname was given to me by Jeff Butash, when we worked together at Prudential Investments in 1997. I had all but forgotten about it for 22 years.

This spring, I started playing with the Ryan Forrester Band in the DC region, and I decided to bring this nickname back. As this band has some incredibly badass musicians, it feels a lot better to be known as “L Train” than Lane Stowe. I know I’m no Gordon Sumner or Patsy McLenny (Google it), but it’s feels really cool when I’m on a set break, and I overhear someone say “That L Train guy grooves his ass off!”

So unless I’m singing in church or at a funeral, I now go by L Train when I’m performing….and if you call me Lane on a gig, I will not answer.

I’m 50…..deal with it.

The Ryan Forrester Band!

purple.

Prince.

Grape soda.

Barney. (OK, maybe that’s pushing it.)

Purple……I don’t have any bad feelings about purple…..from a music and color point of view, I always hear a Gb Major 7th chord in my head when I think about purple, but I digress….purple is very peaceful and serene, and there’s something truly badass about seeing deep purple used in artwork or design.

Why am I talking about purple? Because its the combination of red and blue. And after all of the red-state/blue/state arguing and finger pointing, I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than watch a second of the 24/7/365 “news programs” that do nothing but stir the pot and make the two sides more fired up against each other. Ask yourself, are we the United States of America or the Divided States of America? How did we go from being so unified after 9/11 to being so angry and hostile? The divide gets wider every day….I already dread the election process next year, because it truly brings out the worst in people.

So I’m happy to feel purple – the unified color of red and blue. we have so many colors and backgrounds in this country, and here we are in 2019 acting like it’s still 1955. I sincerely hope there’s more purple in this country by 2024 and beyond, and that it doesn’t take something as tragic as 9/11 to make that happen.

kenny rogers was spot on.

“You gotta know when to hold ’em

Know when to fold ’em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run.”

This is the perfect description of how I currently feel about social media. After 10 years of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, I had enough. I had nearly 2,800 “friends” – people from grade school through college, former work colleagues, neighbors, musician contacts, you name it….but I still didn’t feel a connection of having any close friendships strictly on social media. I remember being at my 30th high school reunion two years ago, and the conversations didn’t start with “How have you been?”….they all started with “Hey, I saw on Facebook the other day that……..”

When people leave social media, do we truly miss them, or do we miss being entertained by them? This was my “come to Jesus” moment….how many opportunities for real friendship did I miss because I was constantly posting and chatting? Although it would be very easy and cliche to say that I gave this all up just because I turned 50. I had been thinking of leaving for quite a while, and it was actually the vitriol of a former friend that was the deciding factor. (That’s a whole other post waiting to be written. Stay tuned.)

Here’s what cracks me up – if you leave social media for longer than two weeks, people think you’ve died. They’ve forgotten the ability to pick up a phone and call (ironic, as they’re on a smartphone), or e-mail or write a letter….have we become that dependent (lazy?) that we can only communicate on social media platforms?

Although I haven’t completely deleted my accounts, I’ve deactivated them, and I have no idea when/if I’ll ever use them again. Jenn says that I’m “more present and in the moment, and less distracted” being off of social media, and I’ll add to that that I feel less excluded and less stressed….that makes it all worthwhile.

This blog is so that I can still have an outlet to express my thoughts and my feelings, and not deal with the “IMHO” responses like when you post on Facebook and Twitter. Just a heads-up….my language might not always be rated PG, so if you don’t like it, don’t read it! This is a gift to myself….after 50 years of feeling insecure, of worrying about getting approval, and focusing on my failures and not seeing successes, this is where I’m gonna say how I REALLY feel.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.