Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome C. Streetlights to the blog. She’s here to share about her book, Tea & Madness. If this book sounds like something you are interested in reading, please find a buy link below and pick up a copy or two.
Tea & Madness, a memoir written in prose and poetry, is separated into the four seasons inspired by C. Streetlights’ experiences: grieving a lost baby, coping with depression, anger, betrayal, surviving rape, and the accepting that there are some things she cannot forgive. Balanced somehow within this darkness is the wonder in motherhood and empathetic relationships. As her seasons change, she continues trying to find the balance of existing between normalcy and a certain kind of madness.
Tea & Madness can be purchased from Amazon
As a child, C. Streetlights listened to birds pecking at her rooftop, but instead of fearing them, was convinced they would set her free and she’d someday see the stars.
Southern California sunshine never gave C. Streetlights the blonde hair or blue eyes she needed to fit in with her high school’s beach girls, her inability to smell like teen spirit kept her from the grunge movement, and she wasn’t peppy enough to cheer. She ebbed and flowed with the tide, not a misfit but not exactly fitting in, either.
C. Streetlights grew up, as people do, earned a few degrees and became a teacher. She spent her days discussing topics like essay writing, Romeo and Juliet, the difference between a paragraph and a sentence, and for God’s sake, please stop eating the glue sticks.
She has met many fools, but admires Don Quixote most because he taught her that it didn’t matter that the dragon turned out to be a windmill. What mattered was that he chose to fight the dragon in the first place.
C. Streetlights now lives in the mountains with a husband, two miracle children, and a dog who eats Kleenex. She retired from teaching so she can raise her children to pick up their underwear from the bathroom floor, to write, and to slay windmills and dragons. She is happy to report that she can finally see the stars
“Pears” from Tea and Madness
by C. Streetlights
My grandma had already been divorced when she met my grandpa. She was the older woman; eleven years older than him when they were married. He grew a mustache to hide his true age—19-years-old. They settled into a somewhat quiet life in Compton, California. I can appreciate the bravery my grandparents had to have had in order to pursue their love better now that I am an adult than I could as a child. As a child they were just old people. As an adult, I recognize the social dynamics that should have prevented their joy.
By the time I was eight years old it became clear my grandmother had what people called Old Timer’s Disease—Alzheimer’s. And this is how I remember her best; an old tired woman fighting a losing battle against her own mind, not as the vibrant woman I know she must have been.
I had to spend a weekend with my grandparents during a time when Grandma was beginning to deteriorate in her dementia. It was an unmemorable visit except for two things: First, I learned to eat mashed potatoes by melting cheese on it, and second, my grandmother called me a tart after accusing me of stealing her lipstick.
I can laugh about this now.
My grandmother had a vanity table with an oval mirror in her bathroom—very Gibson-girlish . It displayed the cosmetics she no longer wore. I would sometimes run my fingers over their gilded cases and hold up one of her make-up mirrors. Cosmetic cases today are created for disposable or utilitarian purposes rather than display, but my grandmother’s compacts had intricate filigree designs woven around the edges. Lipstick tubes had images of birds or flowers. And what little girl could resist the powder puff?
I came home from school and overheard her being consoled by my grandfather. Curious, I went into their room and bathroom to investigate—neither room had ever been “forbidden” to the grandchildren. I stood there at the bathroom doorway watching the small drama when Grandma turned on me without warning. Her finger in my face, she asked where I put the lipstick, but her eyes weren’t accusatory. Her eyes were afraid. I was confused and told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. My grandfather put his hands on her shoulders and tried to tell her I was her granddaughter. It dawned on me at that moment that my grandma didn’t know who I was, and it broke my heart even though I couldn’t fully comprehend it. All I heard was, “There is no way this tart is my granddaughter. She stole my lipstick!”