I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post here. But then again, I can. I’ve had quite the year. I lost my closest friend, Derrick Jackson, in a tragic accident in August, 2012 and my life now has a clear division: Life Before Derrick’s Death & Life After Derrick’s Death.
I’ve always lived with my eyes open. I’ve always had a natural curiosity about life and life’s lessons. And the only other person who was exactly as neurotic as me about examining life was Derrick. And we even talked about death and “the other side”… I always had a fear that he was going to die before me. He would just laugh and tell me that wasn’t going to happen. I just chalked it up to being paranoid about losing someone I related to so much. In the year before his passing, I started having intense dreams with him in them. They weren’t bad dreams, just dreams where his presence was clear and prominent. I started texting him and we would send each other Facebook messages, etc. Whenever we’d have a dream about the other, we’d check in with the other. So he would tell me things were “good”. Finally, about 6 months before his death, he started revealing to me about some horrible things that were happening to him involving a particular individual. (I can’t get into the details at this time.) I wanted him to leave San Francisco but he wanted to stay because he was excited to start a new political job (he just graduated from American University in Washington D.C. and had moved back to the city we both loved, San Fran!) and he didn’t want to leave the city he loved just because he was having trouble with this one person. As I mentioned, I can’t get into the details yet as there is an investigation pending, but it’s all we talked about for the 6 months leading up to his horrific death. I sensed something horrible. I told him I sensed something horrible and that he should leave the city for a while. He agreed that he too sensed something horrible but couldn’t decide if he should “tough it out” or leave for a while. He even would tell me over and over, “In case something happens to me, I want you to know this”. I told him to tell everyone in his life, not just me. I told him to tell his family and all of his friends. There is power in #s. But I guess not enough in his case.
I can’t even believe I’m writing this. I still feel like I can pick up the phone and call him and maybe in one more conversation I can convince him to leave the city for a while. But I can’t. This is real. It was like I was holding his hand and he was hanging over a cliff. Both of our hands were slippery with sweat, and every day I begged him more and more to leave the city. And every time he would say, “I know you’re right, I just don’t know, I can’t think” and I would say, “You can’t think because you are traumatized!! Leave the city, stay with your family who love you and will provide you a safe and chill environment… you can workout, juice, meditate, and get your head straight and then return”. I almost had him. He was almost there with me. But it was like something stronger had a hold on him, keeping him there, in harm’s way. I couldn’t understand it. He was always so careful. He was always so aware of his need to take care of himself and leave unhealthy environments. But this time seemed to have him in a trap or something. But I held on. And we talked every night where I would have my nightly ritual of begging him to leave and he would say “I know you’re right” but then he would end up staying and then we would continue the conversation all over again the next day. I lived in constant stress for those 6 months about him. I felt it in the center of my being. I even had a HUGE panic attack one week before he died and I hadn’t had one of those in years. I even told him about it and he asked me what I thought it was. When I said I didn’t know he texted me back, “I hope everybody is okay”. I felt something horrible. But I also felt like if he would just leave the city for a while, he’d be okay. This is like a movie. It doesn’t seem real.
Then on a Monday morning, on my way out the door to a meeting, I got word from his mother, ”Derrick died”. I can’t explain in words what happened to me in that moment. Still, to this day, when I think about when I heard that, the effect it had on my mind, body and soul, are indescribable. My life has not been the same since. I feel like we were so connected that his death killed off a part of me, a big part of me. I keep wanting to make a video or something but there are so many parts about it I can’t talk about yet and also, every attempt to communicate about what happened seems so trite. He deserves so much more and when I’m ready, that’s what he’ll get.
Me, Derrick, and my crazy hair and smile! lol
Derrick is one of the subjects featured in my documentary, I Have Dreams Dammit!. If it weren’t for Derrick, I probably wouldn’t have gone for my dreams. I had given up on my film dreams and was just floating through life, thinking that I would perhaps try to be a counselor or something “practical”. But then when I met him when I moved to San Francisco, his whole attitude was, “go for it” and “do what makes you happy”. He was so blasé about it, it made me feel stupid NOT to go for it! We literally had thousands of hours of conversations in the many years I knew him. Whether we were at IHOP, hiking with our dogs, at a cool cafe on our laptops working on our dreams, out listening to live jazz, texting each other, or FBing, we always had this invisible but unbreakable line that connected us to each other. And when he died, I felt like his body was flung over a cliff and since that line was still connected to me, I felt myself go with him. So not only was I traumatized by his horrific death, the manner in which he died (he was run over by the BART train/subway in San Fran on a sunny Saturday afternoon — horrific), but I too felt myself “die” in a sense. I felt like I was straddling worlds…part of me was in this world and part was in the other, the “unknown” wherever he was. Here I had been trying to save him this whole time… and yet, his hand slipped from mine. In an instant, he was gone. No more texts. No more inside jokes. No more “checking in” on each other. Gone. So needless to say, it has been a severely traumatizing time for me and I’m still only able to talk about it for a short time before I have to just stop abruptly. Like now. I am trying as hard as I can to find the strength to keep pushing forward, to finish my documentary, and to manifest my dreams, because now I owe it to him. He would be pissed at me if I didn’t achieve what I had been going for all these years. But oh how I just want to be back in the cafes with him, talking about dreams and life and world history and Egypt and Joseph Campbell and rescuing dogs and all the weird people and how kick ass jazz is (Duke Ellington is his grandmother’s 1st cousin!) and the music industry and well…everything.
One of our last conversations he asked me if I was happy. And I said, “No I’m not happy! Dreams are hard. This sucks!! I’m working hard everything sucks!” (he caught be at a bad time… lol) and he said “That makes me sad. You of all people should be happy.” So Derrick, I’m trying…. I really am trying… to be happy… I owe it to you for all of the years of support you gave me and to everyone who was lucky enough to know you. That’s all for now. Hope you are well.
My god, it’s been forever since I’ve updated this website. Yowzers. I spend the majority of my social media time on Twitter, second Facebook. I am BARELY on Facebook so that should tell you where I am most of the time. So if you aren’t already following me, here’s my Twitter link –> @LisaMurray
About 2 weeks ago, I started juicing fruit & vegetables. I have always loved juicing but I haven’t ever done it with this level of concentration and attention before. As I’m working on my dream, I have realized I have some really horrible habits to deal with my stress. Because I deal with such high stress situations, I need MORE stress relievers, not less. I also have stopped being physical. It’s like I shut down when I moved and I just focused on research, writing, and working and my health has taken a back seat. Well, no more. I started juicing and I have to tell you, I feel SOOOO much better in just 2 weeks. All of the little aches and pains have almost completely gone away. I feel a general sense of “well being” too that just feels amazing. I HIGHLY recommend juicing to any and everyone. I haven’t really changed anything else – just added juice to my diet – so don’t stress about it, don’t worry about it being perfect, just add 1-2 freshly juiced juice to your diet each day and let me know how you feel after a couple of weeks. My goal is to juice 100% organic fruits & veggies but sometimes that is not possible. Like earlier this evening, I went to get some veggies and I found everything in the organic section except celery… they were out of celery so I had to go over to the regular produce side to pick that up. I think there’s a scale somewhere that tells you which fruit and which veggie have the highest level of pesticides so if the produce you need is on the low end of the scale, or not at all, then maybe that’s where you can save money. But truthfully, I’m trying to support organic growers. These pesticides are ridiculous and I don’t want to support that bs.
I’ll try to update here more. I seem to post everything on Twitter (links, pics, rants & quotes) so follow me there and say hello! Let me know you’re coming from my website! Hope you’re great and you’re living or pursuing your dreams!
Pretty amazing day the studio with Sophia Grace Brownlee (@PrincessSGB on Twitter). She has such a natural love of music and is filled with so much joy and happiness, it was a pleasure to spend time with her in the studio when she was in Los Angeles with her parents and her cousin, Rosie @PrincessRGM, to film yet another appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show!!
Sophia Grace and her cousin, Rosie, interviewed stars on the red carpet at the AMAs (American Music Awards) for The Ellen Show! So be sure to watch The Ellen Show on Monday (today) to see their segment. Looks like they met a lot of great stars!! Can’t wait to hear what those 2 clever little girls asked them! haha
In this video, Sophia Grace sings “Moment For Life” by Nicki Minaj! Enjoy and follow her and her cousin on Twitter!!
I took this picture at last night’s screening of Butterflies of the film’s director Ester Brym and YouTube hottie Olga Kay as part of the Arclight Documentary Film Festival — at Arclight Cinemas Hollywood.
I went to an incredible show last week, Stacy Barthe (w/Luke James) at The Roxy. I took a bunch of pics and video. I’ll be uploading the video soon! :-) You have to check her out if you haven’t already. Her EP “Sincerely, Stacy Barthe” is free to download!
Since I haven’t gone live on BlogTV or made any videos lately, I feel like I never see you anymore!! How are you!? I just got over 3″ cut off my hair but it’s still long AF! Crazy Cher phase! Hope you’re well!! <3 u!
As many of you know, I have been devastated by the loss of one of my favorite YouTubers, Will Norton. (aka “Willdabeast”) If you don’t follow me on Twitter and you don’t know… Will was on his way home from high school graduation and he lost his live in the tornado in Joplin, MO. I can’t get into my personal thoughts on him yet but I do plan on making a video as soon as I am able. Until then, I strongly recommend you watch this video that Will’s sister, Sarah, made about the tornado and of losing Will. I was always in awe of how positive and incredible Will was, and now that I’ve seen his sister’s video, I know where he got it from. His entire family is positive and faithful.
(It’s long but watch the entire thing, it’s amazing to see the footage of the neighborhoods after the tornado.) To join the community for more family updates, like this page –> Facebook.com/FindWillNorton
I asked you in my last video(s) to submit your video of what you think of when you hear the word “Dream” AND what is your dream. The first 10 video responses I receive will be posted on my websites. Below are the first 5 videos I received.
I was SO inspired watching the videos below. I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing from YOU guys. I just love what each person said below. It is so validating to listen to people talk about the importance of being happy…. especially since I grew up in a house where depression ruled the day. I need constant reminders that I am not alone in my pursuit of happiness and I’m not alone in my struggle with that pursuit. I hope you are as inspired as I was when I watched these videos. If you enjoy the videos below, be sure to let them know by leaving a comment and/or subbing to their channels. Actions speak louder than words you know?
Thank you to Andy, Tara, Mack, Martin, Mike and …. YOU?? SUBMIT YOUR VIDEO!! I’d love to hear from you!
I launched production on my new documentary, TopLiners, this month! I can’t reveal too much about it yet but I can tell you it involves the music industry. Sign up for the website feed, follow the project on Twitter and “like” the Facebook page! Thanks for your continued support!
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!! 5 years ago TODAY I started filming my documentary, “I Have Dreams Dammit!” a film about the realities of the pursuit of dreams. Do you have a dream? Do you hate the word “dream”? The idea of living our dreams, to me, is really about what’s in your heart, right now. What do you want to do with your life? It’s not about what SOUNDS cool, or what OTHERS think is a cool thing. It’s about what YOU want, what’s in YOUR heart, no matter how “simple” (or complex) it is!! It doesn’t have to be career-oriented. It doesn’t have to involve others. It doesn’t have to be life-long. It’s just about what’s in YOU. Give YOURSELF the FREEDOM to live whatever that is!!
SHORT VERSION of this CALL FOR VIDEO RESPONSES: “What does the word DREAM mean to you?”
My good friend Martin (Princeword) in Sweden and fellow Documentary filmmaker asked me to come out of my blogging hiatus and contribute to his Advent Project and I couldn’t say no to him. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel!! He always makes such high-quality videos. Love him!
Lisa is a filmmaker, writer, blogger, and dreamer! She left her "safe job" at a film studio to work on her documentary, "I Have Dreams Dammit!" a film about the realities of pursuing dreams. (Subjects include songwriter/producer, Dapo Torimiro, winemaker & entrepreneur, Gerry Iuliano of La Borgata Winery, writer, Renee Guillory, artist, David Lewis, entrepreneur, Ed Sweet, painter, Kim Sweet, and more.) In January, 2011 Lisa began production on her documentary: "Topliners". Subjects include the hottest songwriters and producers in pop music today. Both documentaries are currently in production.