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Tammy Harris

The need to create seems to run in my family. That, and the need for applause. Mom was a singer, songwriter, jinglemeister. She's won an "Addie" for one of her jingles and 1st place in the Billboard Magazine Contest for the best Gospel Song Category. Mom used to just walk into a store or whatever and just start singing ala Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Tammy Wynette-whatever style fit the moment-an impromptu jingle that she thought was perfect for their business. Believe it or not, it worked for her. A news show ran a special on her about it once. She was one of a kind. Dad was a mechanical engineer major with a flair for inventions of numerous sorts. Dad mostly did it for the pure love of inventing and problem solving, applause weren't necessary just a good ear to hear his rather extended technical account of how he achieved whatever he had just created or solved. My brother, Michael, is a drummer, writer, photographer, and at times on weekends while waiting for a table in a crowded restaurant, an off-key (actually on key, but rather strained) singer of old musicals. After a few minutes he would burst into an operatic version of one of them singing something like, "There's a place for us . . . [crescendo] . . . somewhere, there's a place for us . . ." Works like a charm-we are always seated within seconds of his booming renditions. Sister, Carolynn, is in sales also, but definitely missed her calling as a stand-up comic (complete with vocal impersonations) or a Sarah Bernhard-type actress. Oh wait; the Sarah Bernhard thing isn't an act. Oh, well . . . She keeps us rolling with her theatrics.

But, this is supposed to be about me isn't it? That's just the thing. I am the relatively quiet, reserved member of my family. Note, I say relative. Friends of mine never believe that when I say it because they think I'm pretty outrageous myself. That is, until they meet any one of the aforementioned characters. So, where do I fit in amongst this creative burst of energy? I don't have the musical thing going, that's for certain. I have no rhythm--can't dance unless I'm too drunk to notice everyone pointing and laughing (of course, this only happens about once ever ten years). I've always hated that-always wanted the music. The way Mom just hears it out of nowhere and then puts the lyrics to it. It's mind-boggling. I guess my stories, poems, plays and whatnot are my music. It is similar, in a way. At least the way I write. When I think of an idea, I don't envision it. I hear it. If there is a dialogue, I hear those voices, even if it is a foreigner with an accent I know little to nothing about. I hear it. Like Mom and her music, it just comes to me out of nowhere. I guess that's pretty cool too, ya think?

You can contact Tammy Harris at tambolyn@juno.com.

Tammy Harris' writing on Conversely

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Wake up and smell the coffee! She was very good at taking care of him, but who was taking care of her?  Date: 12/1/00

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