about Norvell's Great-Niece, your Host
Roots Country and Blues artist Lonesome Liz was dubbed 'The Female Robert Johnson' by 'Southern Fried Magazine'; honoring both her sultry contralto and the Hellhound on her trail. Her performances are heavy with Southern Gothic undertones. A natural storyteller, her words shift to expose the seamy underbelly of the South, which she translates through a mystic veil of mojo; often drawing on history along with Hoodoo and other Folk traditions.
Her performances have included Drive-by Truckers artist Wes Freed, art revolutionary Molly Crabapple, Jesco the Dancing Outlaw and she's shared a stage with Timbuk III's Pat MacDonald, The Goddamn Gallows and the .357 String Band.
Featured in the upcoming Hasil Adkins documentary, 'My Blue Star' by Ron Thomas Smith, she has she has also appeared in and directed dozens of plays as well as in an award-winning independent film, 'Leon's Aspirations'. Also a playwright, she has written and produced adaptations of both 'Faust' and Sartre's 'No Exit'.
A multi-disciplinary artist, she is also a music and fine art journalist, published primarily in 'Outlaw Magazine', 'Fine Art Magazine' and GratefulWeb.net. She was the last writer to interview Mike Seeger before his death and her Levon Helm retrospective received praise from Bob Dylan himself.
She has also been tarot, astrology and mythology editor for BellaOnline.com and Suite101.com. Her writing and photography are featured in the best-selling 'Everything Ghost Hunting Guide'. She began writing in Chicago, when Slam was first emerging and her poetry as well as her lyrics have received praise from Beat Poets Charles Plymell and Robert Brannan.
Her strong, sultry voice and powerful lyrics are captivating. Though unquestionably feminine and alluring, she describes hangings, hauntings, reckonings and shoot-outs in a way that makes you think she was not only there but participated. One of Country's true Outlaw Women, Liz blasted the boundaries of Alt Country. However it's delivered, her sultry Southern vision takes you far from the expected. It's hard to resist the spell Lonesome Liz casts when her mojo's rising...
More from Your Host
Letters to a Fan
My dear Virginia,
So you have finally penetrated my disguise, and I cannot any longer conceal from you the fact that the Spider's other name is...Norvell W. Page!
I've seen many of your letters, and your picture, at the offices where Spider magazine is published. Some of them came to me personally, and should have been answered. But don't think that, by not writing to you, I have given you preferential treatment. All my friends, and my family, complain of the same thing. I never write letters. Well, almost never.
Thank you for your interest in the Spider, and for your understanding of his character. By understanding him, you have helped to point the way for me to make him a greater help to the readers. There was a time when the burden of writing just one more Spider seemed too much to undertake. (After all, the magazine is in it's ninth year!) But I never feel that way any more. I know now that the Spider actually does help people; that there are those who appreciate his idealism even though it is expressed in violence.
Especially in the last half dozen Spiders, beginning with the 100th I believe, I have tried very earnestly to teach a little of the philosophy and faith, of which we all need so much in these days. I am necessarily a little limited in what I can say. There has already been a letter of protest against "preaching". But only one. And my editors agree with me that the Spider should stand or fall as an agency for good; and not be distorted from it's purpose.
The first letter of yours that was forwarded to me was a veritable "cry from Macedonia". You were lonely, were having difficulty in finding companions, complained of their lack of idealism . It's been quite a while ago. I hope things are happier for you now. People are meant to be gay. That is God's plan for us all. I know that each of us, immortal spirit prisoned for a time in human bodies, chooses to be born into a particular situation, a particular environment and life, in order to learn something that is essential to the development of that spirit.
Something that will bring the spirit a little nearer to the ultimate goal of perfection. Knowing that, we should cease to look on hardship as such. We should recognize that it is an opportunity to grow strong, to seek out the ultimate good within us, develop our souls. (* note---boy did my time in Tibet rub off on me, this paragraph is almost an exact recounting of their beliefs)
If, when things become difficult, you will say to yourself, "There is an opportunity here. I will find it and profit by it." You will not only find a way out, but you will find the burden already lighter. The greatest of all sins, I think, because its' self-destructive and hence weakening, is self-pity. It's an insiduous thing. But it can be licked by looking for the opportunity. That's the way to be gay. Not just smiling, though that helps. But pulling the happiness out of your heart and letting it pour out of you in love. You can do that, even in hardship, if you realize that those so-called hardships were all chosen by you, in advance of birth, with the purpose of developig you and making you a stronger and better soul.
This is strong medicine, and this is intimate talk. But you see, I feel I know you fairly well after seeing so many letters. And you did indeed write that "cry from Macedonia." I hope this is the answer you need.
I have placed my personal address at the head of this letter. If I can be of any personal service to you, I shall be glad of the opportunity.
Norvell W. Page
Sincerest congratulations to both you and Carl from both myself and he Spider. If I could have ordered affairs for you, it would have been the way I would have written the story. To me, love and marriage are the crown of any human's life; or to state it a little more realistically; the path by which humans attain their fulfillment.
A great deal of cynical fun has been poked at the term, "Soul-mate", but the term is no misnomer. In true love, and true marriage, we become one in more ways than legally. True union is spiritual and mental and physical and not to be attained without effort and love. The Quakers have a "testimony" against divorce. They hold that all problems that arise between man and wife can be settled by just one rule, "Bear and forbear and the prayerful consultation of conscence"...on the part of both parties, of course.
I, myself, have been married almost twenty years, we were both very young, younger than yourself, Nanek, by four and six years. My wife was a year younger than you are when our son was born. If I write to you now of the road ahead, do not take it as a dicta from Olympus, but as the words of a brother just a little ahead of you on the road, a step higher on the flight to attainment: an elder brother. It is written that when the pupil is ready, the teacher comes. Think of me as Wentworth, if you will. The line between us is not too distinct.
Nanek, consult your heart and you will find the answers to all problems. Consult your conscience and you will know what is good. Consult your God and you will conquer. I make no forecast of bliss undisturbed, or ease or luxury. If you have developed strength, it is because you will need it. God wastes nothing, not the smallest tear. If you love battle, you will win. If you are good, you will triumph. If you are ready, you will rise.
Nanek, you have built well, in the permanent things. You have built your soul.'I can be happy as long as I am me,' is splendid, is unsurpassable, unbeatable, as long as that 'me' s the soul and spirit 'me'. That is the core and the end of all growth, of all building, of all accomplishment. That 'me' has roots in a past beyond your present knowledge, nd it has its fruition in a future whose charting lies within your own hands.
Nanek, in some ways, you are still young, and in some ways, you are very old. The wisdom which you have is timeless. There s always more and greater wisdom but its source is always the same as the source of that which you have.
It comes from within. In the prayerful consultation of your conscience, you have a refuge and a tower, a strength and wisdom that transcends any mere earthly repetition of truths which another ahs gained in that same way. For your wisdom within is completely yours, and no other's wisdom can do more than approximate your needs: nor is the wisdom of others always available to you. But yours is always at hand, as close as your heart, as ready as your next heart-beat.
It is unlimited, illimitable, except by yourself. It is inexhaustible; the more you draw on it, the readier the supply. It is without cause other than your own, without interest other than your own and God's. And they should be, not seperate, but an indivisible whole.
Nanek, you know the way and the goal. Happiness lies in both the quest and the attainment, for there is never any end to attainment in the realm of soul-building. Your life is yours to mold. You have merged your responsibility withthat of the man you have chosen, and who has chosen you.
His life is in your hands, as yours is in his. They should be and will be noe. Oneness of interest, oneness of growth, oneness of strength and truth and happiness. Oneness of spirit, of mind, and of body.
Nanek, you fear 'shelter from the storms'. There is no shelter from storms. No person can shoulder anothers' load any more than he could eat anothers' food and give him the strength from it; any more than he could say another's prayers and transmit the benefit. For the only storms that are real come from within. Struggle is not storm, when the strength within recognizes and seizes opportunity. Battle, and even death, is not storm when the heart is sure and strong. Softness too is not of the body, but of the soul.
The cowardly soul can be soft in the midst of earthly hell; and the soul of steel can ring pure andclear in the midst of sybaritic heaven, Marcus Aurelius was emperor in Rome's most dissolute age, yet he was pure of heart and conduct and steel for his nations' good. You have your own small nation Nanek, you and Carl and the son you will bear. You are it's Queen. Do not deny yourself your due: nor fear to build anothers' strength by apportioning to him his just share of responsibility. He has his task, you yours.
You are two hands to a single body; two hearts with a single cause; two souls with a single purpose and goal. Realize that strength can be dual as well as single; shared as well as divided, and better; conjoined and greater, rather than lessened.
Nanek, with all my heart, I wish you joy, which is a deeper, grander thing than happiness. With all my soul, I wish you strength, which is God's greatest gift to man. I know you strong and searching. I know that those who seek strongly find answers. Nanek, I bless you in the Father's name, with his love, his strength, his wisdom. I bless you with my spirit and my light. I bless you with joy and strength and love; health, truth and prosperity. You are the Father's child. No one could ask more.