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Chapter 4



Date: Saturday, 25 August 2001   02:50pm,  Subject: “Cassette”

...On Tuesdsay morning (August 28th) I am going to mail to your P.O. Box (via registered mail) a very beautiful box containing two recorded cassettes. One of the cassettes is just singing in my own way the following 13 songs in this order: Love Letters (Sinead O`Connor), Crazy (Patsy Cline), Summertime (Ella Fitzgerald), I Got You (James Brown), River Deep Mountain High (Tina Turner), Goldeneye (Tina Turner),  You´ll Follow me Down (Skunk Anansie), That I Would be Good (Alanis Morisset), Chain of Fools (Aretha Franklin), You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin), My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion), I Will Always Love You (Witney Houston), Foi Deus (Amália Rodrigues).

The other cassette has got the original songs performed by the original artists.

I’m not saying that I imitated them. I’m simply saying that I used them as models. My purpose here is not for you to say whether I sing well or not. I’ve never sung before in my life – I only started this month. What I would like, if you accept, is for you to compose musical arrangements for the lyrics I sent you a while back, which suits my vocal range.

Please don’t misinterpret my persistence.

One question: If a singer gets a cold what can help his vocal chords get back into shape quickly?! I’ve heard that gargling with a mixture of anisette and egg yolk works… What does your experience as a singer suggest?

And about vocal projection?  In ancient Rome the actors, if I’m not mistaken, used to place a weight which was like a sort of rock on their thorax, with them lying down, while doing loud vocal warm ups. This exercise would improve their vocal projection. Have you ever tried this technique?

I don’t see how this job that I’m proposing would jeopardize you in any way. It would simply be another job to which you would have to dedicate some of your time.

If I don´t get any help from you, what shall I do?

Get up off the sofa, open the nearest drawer and put my dreams in it and forget everything? No! I’m going to stay here seated on this sofa and come to the realization that I will be the one that has to compose the melody for the lyrics of my album “Incense”!

You have musical training, experience, a fan base, lots of international contracts and a good marketing scheme provided by your record label. You can read music, play some instruments. I can’t. So what? I´ll go ahead with it anyway! I don´t know anything, but I have a huge imagination at my disposal.

Knowing too much inhibits action. So, I am totally uninhibited! Have a nice Saturday.



Date:Tuesday, 06  November 2001   10:45pm, Subject: “Record Label”

Today I sent you and your record label a padded A4 sized envelope containing a bag which I knitted with pearls and aesthetic applications in metal.

Inside the bag are the lyrics to my project “Incense”, which I had already mailed to you in May of 2000, as well as two photographs of myself.

All you have to do is compose the music for the album “Incense”…

Tell me: It’s not worth it for me to keep insisting on this with you or having any hope, right? Sometimes life is a four leaf clover, other times it’s just a clover, isn´t it?... Ninfa





(Unknowingly, I was suffering from psychosomatic reactions that were nothing more than a great sadness because of my entire situation. It was just “Me and me” in life and no longer “Me and you”. I mention this health issue in the email below)

Date: Sunday, 16  December  2001      10: 05pm, Subject: “Wheel”       

A few days ago I saw that on your site you posted a search for new bands similar to yours requesting they send their demo to your P.O. Box. I don’t know if it was for self-promotion or because you desire to have the “noble title” of being a catalyst for Rock Portuguese music or if you were trying to help me in getting a band.

The most likely thing to happen is that I will have to make my own band, although I don’t know when or how. Surely the members of the band and I are going to need to have an emotional connection composed of musical affinities and personalities otherwise it will not be successful. I’m not the type of person who says “let’s wait and see…” I can’t deal with pretenses and bad people or situations that are systematically destabilizing.

I’ve had some health problems for a while that make it difficult for me to “move” in the music world in search of something for myself. I’ve been a little better now, but I need to find out what’s wrong with me. The doctors can’t seem to get my medication right and I seem to be getting significantly worse.

I don’t think my situation is serious... I’ve done a lot of exams for all types of illnesses and the results were negative in all of them. It must be some kind of hidden illness which is causing me a lot of inconvenience... Of course this has affected me psychologically causing great anxiety with physical repercussions that are reflected again psychologically... This is like a wheel that goes round and round... This wheel tramples me continually, going back and forth over bruising and mangling me more and more.

The record label has not given me any answer... It's still early, a little over a month has passed since I sent the package. But I’m sure that everything will work out for me one day.



Date:  Thursday, 20 December  2001,  11:17pm   Subject: “I will become a composer”

I’m going to start in January of 2002 to compose the music for the 12 songs of my album “Incenso”. I have no idea how to compose music. I’m going to use my voice and then we’ll see. I’ve already made the cover of my CD with my lyrics in it.

 Look at me! I’m a composer! I can hardly believe it!

A hug, Ninfa Artemis



(A few days after I sent the email above I received my long awaited response from the record label associated to the singer. I immediately sent him an email with the good news: the record label said that it would contact me soon!

Months went by. They never did. They never contacted me. They never did what they said they would. I waited many months. They never contacted me or gave me any explanation or even apologized.

But on the day that I received that message from the record label, I was so elated that I wrote the following text/poem)

How happy I am with the recent news, I cannot pretend that I am not happy, Tra-ra-la-la....... I just feel like singing! How happy I am! The door is open!... Soon I will be called in for an interview, By his record label and then we can work together! An international record label! Fantastic, right?  ☼♫☼ ♪☼ ♪☼ This is inerrancy – the quality of not erring, My certainty that I was going to overcome did not err! Those who make excuses for not reaching their dreams, Have no excuse, Because they already dream, That their dreams are not obtainable, I dream that everything is possible, So I had to obtain it! And I obtained it! I’m the best!  Realists have constant doubts! I tell you that they can even convince, Those who’ve never had doubts to doubt! They have constant doubts, Each stronger than the last, Realists have expertise in doubt, Especially if it seems to be impossible now, Skeptics like to live close to boring stuff, Like real stuff, The record label opened the door to me, The Sun radiates from Heaven to the land where I live, The Land of miracles is where I live, I’m full of luck! I will infect the whole world with luck!


♣ ♣            

Hello, is everything good? This chapter, Chapter 4: “P comma, P period, 8-8-1998” is almost ending. The only thing left is a poem and a dialogue between me and my fabulous friend. Do you like her? I do!

In regards to the “singer”, I want to add a note here: After December 2001 the emails I would send him were very sporadic, short and containing only a few lines informing him of my advances in music: contacts I made, difficulties, expectations regarding my project “Incense” etc. Until one day, I ceased all contact. He always remained silent. I never heard from him.

Who is he and what do I think about my story with him?

In truth he was nothing more than a projection in my mind. He is completely estranged to me and besides his short email replies and a 30 minute meeting and some short phone conversations, he never existed in my live.

Actually, any similarity that may exist with him and a particular singer is pure coincidence, since a generic and not particular reality was shown here.

The female presence is a constant that abounds in the life of any rock (or other genre) band, even if they are only known in the neighborhood. There is a fascination with the music world that the media promotes and impresses on the female class. The fascination with the world of music! It is believed that they have an enviable life, magical, above any pain or disappointment... that they are above the ordinary mortals...

It is true that music is magical...but people are not...

♣ ♣           

(On Wednesday, December 26th 2001 at 11:51pm I wrote the following “poem” looking back on the previous year)

“Being a singer, The obsession does not cease, January to December of 2001, A full year of solitude, I think that, Nothing makes me feel delirious like you did, You belong to me, That’s what I think today, But tomorrow, Everything will change, Everything ends, Nothing remains… Yesterday is here, It is today, The sadness is here in my soul, She dominates my soul and destroys my physical body, Immense pain, I have faith that something good, Will come from this pain, I wrote many lyrics, Good things worth a million, Not always bring the profits, That unhappiness sometimes brings… I must be strong, Endure and know how to wait, Better days are waiting for me, For now I´m just here, Watching the time go by, Nothing holds me down, I fall into distant time, I hope that good destiny finds me, My way of seeing things, Walks in the night, I hear my steps, Who else hears them? I’m tired of being alone, Tired of asking for help, The only thing I have left are written words, Like a shelter to run to, In reality, Time is full of hours, And days are full of rocks, So full that I feel emptiness… My consolation is looking at the moon, An entire galaxy full of moonlight is looking at me, I remember now to pray, I ask to have a happy ending…” 



Dialog 10    work colleague  Thursday,  27 December 2001  09:35pm

- Hey stranger! Are you fighting your battles for music? I rarely see you outside of work.

- Hey, hot babe! You leave tomorrow, right?

- That’s right... I’m heading to Australia tomorrow!

- I’ve got news for you: I wrote many song lyrics in 2000 and a book in 2001! I made you a spectacular character, just like you asked! You’re the superstar of the book! Anyone who reads it is going to want to know more about you! I’ll send you a copy of the book! Don’t forget to send me a fluffy stuffed kangaroo like you promised!

-I’ll send you anything you want... even a hot guy! When are you going to tell the truth about who I really am?

-Reveal that you and I are the same person? Reveal that I created you?... That I created your dialogues in order not to feel so alone in this book? Otherwise, what would exist?! Just emails and monologues!... I needed you! You’re super fun and perspicacious!

-Yes... I am.

-Once, a few years ago, I heard a writer say that when she wrote she had no control over her characters, that they created a life of their own: they would say and do things that she didn’t know where they came from... That she just wrote and obeyed them. I thought she was just being poetic and gave no credibility to what she’d said. “Writer-talk” is what I thought. Now I see that what she was saying is true! I wanted to have a super fun rebellious and perspicacious friend and you came to life. I liked you more and more as time went on! Sometimes it was hard for me to believe that you didn’t exist. It hurt me that I’d never met you. But you have a lot of me in you. You’re a possible version of me in another parallel universe where I made different choices than those I made in this universe. In January I’m going to start composing, creating the melody of my thirteen album songs that I will call “Incenso”.

-Incense... nice name! He never said anything else, right?

-I don’t know if he’s trying to help me by placing a proposal on his site announcing the fact that he’s looking for new bands to send demos of their work, possibly for me to have a band. Or maybe he’s just promoting himself and getting the media’s attention focused towards him and trying to label himself as a promoter of Portuguese rock bands since nowadays lots of bands sing in English and not in Portuguese.

-We’ll never know the real reason...

-I think that sometimes he leaves messages on his own guestbook using the pseudonym “Philosopher”…

-Why do you say so?

-The messages are too emotional. I also know how he expresses himself. This “Philosopher” criticizes the kind of “fast food” music that has poor orchestration… with a lot of electronic drums and no rich supplement. He states that the singer’s concerts are true gifts to music!... Moments of sound and melody recorded in the moonlight for those that were there…

-How poetic!

-This “Philospher” also says that he’s saddened that the singer’s concerts aren’t better attended because his band has got great musicians who are committed and love music... who isolate themselves for months in the studio arranging new songs... that they deserve a lot more concerts!

-We all deserve a lot more of something!...

-He complains that the only concerts out there are dumb music, “fast food” music that´s made in two steps. And says: “One more night has gone by, one more week, one more month… and nothing! No one thanks you for the perfection of your music!...”

-The new CD wasn’t a commercial success, do you think he’s having problems getting concerts?

-He’s had some concerts... not many... in any case, what rock artist out here has got a lot of concerts?

-It seems that the life of a Portuguese artist is not easy around here...

-I had a religious experience….

-You had a what?!!! A religious experience?! I told you to have sexual experiences, not religious ones!

-It had been raining a lot for a long time. The sky was full of clouds and on that day it was the same. It was a Saturday. I was alone in the church and feeling down, without any strength, totally helpless, when, behold, a beam of sunlight shone on the altar! It had come through a small window from above the dome.

-Was it night time?

-No… it was close to lunch time …

-If it were night time… a ray of sunshine striking the altar would have been really impressive!

-I looked at that ray of sunlight and thought it was beautiful…

-You find a ray of sunlight beautiful?! I can’t say I’d find it ugly... but don’t you think you’re losing it a bit?

-The days had been grey… like today! Winter, sweetie! An unexpected ray of light coming from a cloudy sky seemed beautiful! But the ray of light disappeared rapidly!

-If it were summer that ray of light would have remained much longer… but because it was winter, it disappeared! This is completely normal! Where is the religious experience?!!!

-The ray of sunlight disappeared. I had a heavy heart long before this moment. But quickly, that sadness, disappeared… literally… as if a heavy cover was quickly lifted off me!!! And, my heart was flooded by extreme joy… It was all so strange...

-I’m not a believer, but I’ve heard reports of others who have also felt a supernatural presence in hard times. In your case it must have been your Guardian Angel!... Your Guardian Angel must have also been feeling alone and make it a point for you to notice his presence. He must also be gifted in the arts! Maybe he helped you in creating your art! You don’t need a partnership with the singer! You’ve got your guardian angel!

-You like to kid me!... I’m going to talk to you about tomatoes!

-Tomatoes?!!! Whose tomatoes? Where does this story about tomatoes come from?! Talking about religious experiences makes you feel like talking about tomatoes?!!!

-This past summer, I ate all of the tomatoes and persimmons growing in my parents garden!... My mother said that it wasn’t bad for me... if this was my new obsession, so be it! Better this obsession, than becoming a singer!

-You tell me the strangest things… I’m going to miss you, you know?

-Tell me something, let me test your general knowledge... How do tomatoes grow?

-I don’t know! You plant them, just like potatoes. You make a hole in the ground, you bury a potato in it and it multiplies and then you just have to dig out the hole again and remove them. The potatoes (or tomatoes) will have multiplied... if we plant them!

-Tomatoes grow on a plant above ground! Underground they’d get smashed, get it?! Potatoes, in fact, grow underground. Let’s go to my car to get the wine I brought from my parent’s farm to offer you and then we can go for a ride in your car, what do you say?

-If you add chapters to your book, will you include me in them one more time?

-Of course! Without you, things aren’t appealing!

- Let me give you a big hug!

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