By: Sandi Durell
As I was thinking about how cold it was here (3 deg.), the phone rings and it’s Lani Hall (Mrs. Herb Alpert) calling from Malibu, Ca. where, she says, the weather is just . . . well just, just!
More importantly, however, was our conversation about her first published book entitled “Emotional Memoirs & Short Stories” – a compilation of short stories (fiction and non) punctuated by a depth of memories and feelings. This is a very personal writing and, believe it or not, it has been in the works for 30 years – Lani making notations about life – observations about herself and other women, as she tackled her own struggles searching for truth.
As a poet, songwriter and singer (also a mother and grandmother), Lani had lots to say as a woman and about women who needed to define and redefine themselves because what worked once didn’t any longer.
When are you ready to say, it’s time to put all my notations into a book? “It’s encouragement. . . when a friend of mine was sick, I took out all my notes from drawers and told her maybe she’d like to read what I wrote when I was sick.” “She asked if I had more and I kept pulling them out . . . after 10 stories she said she thought I had a book there.” “Fueled my engine!” “I looked at them as if they were songs . . . how to connect them . . . I started writing a narrative that runs through the book.
It seems to me, I told Lani, that her stories must be very cathartic, it appearing that she had a difficult childhood and more; music being her savior. “Three stories in the book are non-fiction . . . I always used writing and singing as a release, a way to empty my mind . . . writing lyrics were like writing short stories with a beginning, a middle and an end.” “The characters are searching for their own truths having lost their way.”
Personally, her struggles came in the 1980s when she had a two-year bout with the Epstein-Barr virus when “I found my own voice through this experience along with wisdom.” Her other challenge came after childbirth as she suffered through postpartum depression “which can really shake up a relationship.”
“Some of the stories were fun to write as I let my imagination fly . . . and some, like the story Bad Therapy, about putting your trust in someone who you think can guide you, and how devastating it can be if you choose the wrong person.”
Having just lost her Dad, Lani has started writing about him, as well as her mother, “coming from a place of forgiveness.” “ I will always write, I have to as it empties my brain so I have more space . . . otherwise it’s like snow drifts . . . I have to melt things . . . the writing and singing does that for me.”
There is an audio version of this book that enabled Lani to put music behind her stories that she says “gave the stories a new life, creating a new energy.”
This audio version is available as a free download at www.LaniHallAlpert.com thru March 31st and is being offered in conjunction with the new show opening at the Café Carlyle when Herb Alpert and Lani Hall return March 10th thru March 21st .
Lani says “it will be wonderful music . . . Herb playing so beautifully . . . it’s a jazz set with Great American Songbook songs, a medley from the Tijuana Brass days and I play a medley from the Brasil ‘66 days.”
Sounds spectacular to me! I’ll be there!