Worst Trip Ever

May 7, 2022

In April, 2018, my favorite singer, Lizz Wright, was starting her European tour to promote her latest (6th) CD, called Grace. I looked at the tour schedule and picked four venues where I wanted to see and hear her sing. I like traveling and I love her and her music. I made all the arrangements for an 11-day trip to Paris, France; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria, and Zurich, Switzerland, in that order.

I was stoked! I thought that would be my Best Trip Ever .

But it wasn’t. It turned out to be my worst trip ever!

I went to the first show in Paris. Lizz sang a song I’d never heard before but I liked it a lot. It was written by her friend, Toshi Reagon, and it was called “No More Will I Run”. I mentioned that song in a subsequent post called “Sound Bytes #6”. Whenever I go to Lizz’s shows, I look forward to the “little surprise of the night”. Well, that’s what I call it. I know all of her music well but I don’t know what “little surprise” she has in store for the audience at each show. For me, that night in Paris, it was Toshi’s song, “No More Will I Run”. And it really fit Lizz’s style of singing. I so liked the way she sang it. 😊

I enjoyed the show and went straight back to the hotel because the next morning I had to get up early (3 a.m.) to catch an early flight to Budapest, to the second venue to hear her sing.

While I was standing in the airport check-in line at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, in Paris, I suddenly noticed Lizz and her band members were in the same line as I was. So I called out to her, “Lizz, I enjoyed your show last night!”. But her reaction to me was not what I expected and one I’d never seen her express before.

I wondered what the reason was for the real fear I saw come over her face, as she pointed at me and said something to her rude and ignorant road manager (but that’s another story).

Then, a little later, being seated serendipitously right beside her on the plane, made it even worse (from her point of view). You can read the story of how it all happened in my post called, “Serendipity At Work”.

She jumped up and left so quickly, to trade seats with her road manager, that I didn’t have an opportunity to explain how I ended up in that seat, nor did I get to ask her why she feared me so all of a sudden. She knew me and she knew I attended her shows as often as I could. So why was she so fearful that morning? I wish I could have had that conversation with her. Four years have passed and I still don’t know.

Up until that moment, I considered myself to be her best fan in the world:

I’ve traveled to 16 different cities in the U.S. and five countries in Europe to see and hear her sing.

I follow her on FB to see what she is thinking and doing and if she is touring again and where she is touring.

I listen to her music all the time and I listen intently to the details of her music too.

I frequently praise and promote her in my posts on my web site, scannerbrain.com.

I’ve written four songs about her.

I’m so inspired by her and her music that I know she’ll always be my favorite singer forever (no others preferred).

But I could see, then and there, that she considered me to be her worst fan.

I didn’t understand how there could be such a wide chasm between our perceptions.

Then, later that evening, at the venue in Budapest, I went to sit down in my front-row seat and wait for the show to start. There was a guy in my seat so I showed him my ticket and said, “That’s my seat.” Then another guy approached me (both guys were Security Personnel) and said they had heard that Lizz’s stalker was in town and they wanted to have a security guy sit in my seat and asked me if I would mind sitting in a seat eight rows back. I immediately said that I didn’t mind, but I also immediately realized, flashing back to the fear on Lizz’s face at the airport, that Lizz had called me a stalker and sent these security tools to “handle the situation”. At that moment, I knew that I was “the situation”.

Can you imagine how I felt? I was devastated and a little sick to my stomach. I moved back to the eighth row and I tried to listen to Lizz sing but my interest in it was overwhelmed by my disbelief that she could regard me so poorly and throw me under the bus like that. So I didn’t stay and watch the show. I went back to my hotel.

The next day, I was on the train station platform going to catch my train to Vienna, the third venue of my 11-day trip. Again, I ran into Lizz and the band, on the train station platform. Again, I was approached by the same security guys and I asked them why Lizz had declared me a stalker. They didn’t answer me. They just smirked at me like I was a common criminal who didn’t deserve an answer. Then they boasted about how they had splashed my picture all over Europe and if I tried to go to any of her shows I would be stopped.

I just walked away, feeling dejected and irritated by their foolish arrogance and sat down to wait til my train got there. I felt so deflated, worse than sad.

Then if all that wasn’t enough, when I got to my hotel in Vienna, I discovered Lizz and the band were staying in the same hotel I was in. And they already knew that I was there too. What were the odds of those three events happening? All serendipitous events. I could not have planned that even if I wanted to. In all my travels to see and hear Lizz sing, I’ve never crossed paths, logistically, with Lizz, like that. I’ve never cared where she is staying or anything like that. I just cared where she was singing and where I was staying.

So, by that time, I just wanted to go home. I couldn’t wait for the trip to be over. I had no heart to do anything for the rest of the time there. All I did, in those four beautiful countries in Europe, was read two books (to make the time go faster) I took with me , and I played basketball for about 15 minutes.

Who does that? I can do all that in my own backyard and it won’t cost me a penny.

Later, when I returned home, I wrote two posts, in which I explained what happened, so that if Lizz was reading my posts, she would understand the truth of the situation. The posts were “Serendipity At Work” and “Stalker or Follower?”. But if she saw them, she never let me know. And she never apologized for slandering me.

During that four-year period (2014-2018) of traveling to see and hear her sing and then writing all those posts about my travels and her shows, was really fun and interesting to me. If you click on the link to “Serendipity At Work” (above), you will be able to view a photo collage that tells a story of my travel experiences during those four years.

All that time, I thought she was reading my posts and liking them, and thus, liking something about me…….my stories, sense of humor, or the positive and creative ways I praised and promoted her and her music. I didn’t just hope she was reading and liking my posts, I, literally, have 79 specific reasons that prompted me to believe that to be true.

So, believing that she was reading and enjoying my posts, produced a certain joy and inspiration in me, boosted my creativity, and sparked my imagination. I wrote a song about her called, “A Little Lost”, (click the link and scroll all the way down the post to hear it). There is one verse where I said….

Sometimes I get a little lost in your storm.

Thunder and lightning burst from your movement and form.

Sometimes I get a little lost in your storm.

……As soon as I put pen to paper, the lyric tickled me and I thought to myself, “Oh, she’s gonna like this!” That was the kind of unspoken connection I felt toward her. It made me happy to think the lyric might tickle her too. 😊

I also thought about February, 2016, at the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) venue, in Phoenix, Arizona, when I talked briefly with Lizz in the lobby, after the show, and I mentioned I had planned that weekend around her shows in Phoenix, Tucson, and Austin. That was the first time I did a “3-show weekend”. I told her I was looking forward to the next two shows as I walked away. But then she called my name and said, “Dennis, that means a lot to me.” I was happy to hear her say that she appreciated me for coming to her shows. It was a normal and meaningful exchange between us. How I hoped it would always be, going forward.

But, after the MIM, I don’t know what made her change, but she seemed tight-lipped, guarded, and stand-offish. During the next two years, I went to nine of her shows, but I only saw and talked to her briefly three times, in Seattle, Atlanta, and Chicago, where she just stared at me and didn’t say anything, blatantly dissed me, and yelled at me, respectively.

So, how does she go from being grateful that I attend her shows, and reading and enjoying my posts, to calling me a stalker? I can’t figure that out.

Up until Paris, when she declared me to be a stalker, I had just kept on traveling to see and hear her sing (from 2016-2018) and hoped that whatever was bothering her would be resolved and she would no longer be so guarded like that. But it didn’t happen. I don’t know what was going through her mind at that time. I just know that I was enjoying each show I went to, but if I saw her and said hello, she made me feel uncomfortable because of her unfriendly attitude toward me.

But she had other options. She could have said normal things like:

“Hello, how are you, Dennis?”

“Did you have a good trip?”

“Thanks for coming to my shows.”

Or, “Hey, I’m going to be doing a show I think you might like!”

Or, “Hey, I released an acapella version of “The Nearness of You”, that you might like.”

Or, “Hey, I liked the post you did about Blue Rose!”

But she didn’t.

Of course, she wasn’t obligated to do or say anything like that. I just hoped she would because she and her music mean a lot to me, and I thought she knew that and appreciated it.

I wondered what did I do to bother her so much that she couldn’t even be cordial to me? What did I do to make her feel hunted? What did I do to make her label me as a stalker and ban me from her shows?

From my point of view, all the things I had done or said, relative to her, were all done out of admiration and respect, and not at all out of malice or any ill-will.

I thought…..did I say something in my posts that bothered her? Did she dislike it when I praised and promoted her and her music? Would she like me to stop writing about her? Do I embarrass her with my posts?

It’s so unsettling. I have agonized over this for the past four years, wishing I could just sit down with Lizz and talk it all out. But she probably doesn’t even give it the slightest thought now.

Sometimes I would read some of her facebook fans’ comments and I saw they were saying similar things about her, just like I was saying in my posts. And I saw that they love her and her music just like I do. So I was just one of those many fans.

So, I’m thinking, why did she single me out of the crowd? She didn’t call any of them stalkers. I really don’t understand Lizz. I really don’t get the ill-will she harbors against me.

Is it because I have attended her shows so frequently, or because I’m so vocal and transparent about my passion for her and her music and want to tell the whole world about it? Or because I will travel anywhere in the world to see and hear her sing?

And, btw, just how are these things bad?

I don’t get it. I wish she would tell me and help me understand the things I do that bother her so, so that I can stop doing them. Or I wish she could be able to figure out that her fear was unfounded, and it was only F.E.A.R. (false evidence appearing real).

Sometimes I think she might be uncomfortable when I say all the things I like about her, in my posts. That she might see the praise as unwanted attention and, thus, she equates it to the behavior of a stalker.

But then, I’d have to ask her why she had that contest for free tickets, where she asked her fans to tell her what they liked about her and her music. Was it suddenly “wanted attention” because SHE asked for it and SHE was in control? I had been saying favorable things about her in my posts ever since I first started writing about her. But, except for the MIM, she never said anything positive to me about anything. She never even mentioned the posts I wrote about her. Maybe she was curious to see how other fans regarded her and her music.

But I can’t help but think that I might have even inspired the idea for her to have that contest because I had always sincerely said very specific things, in my posts, that I liked about her and her music. Or is that just my imagination?

Anyway, she and her music are important to my life. It’s unilateral, but that’s ok.

To me, there is something about her. Some element (I call LiZ2) that is special and unique about her, that captures my imagination and holds my attention.

The way she sings (and, of course, her rare and magnificent contralto voice) is what sets her apart and above all the other great singers in the world and it is what moves me so. I never tire of listening to any of her songs. I love “her and her music” (“can’t separate the salt from the stew”), and I use the word “love” in the purest sense of the word. That’s not a romantic overture. I’m 30 years older than she is. So I’ve never expected anything from her (except more good music). I hoped to befriend her but she nixed that idea early on so I simply became the devoted fan I am today. But I wish I was 30 years younger and she revered me the way I revere her.

Maybe that’s the core problem. She might see the love I feel for her and her music, and judge it to be bad or inappropriate because of the age gap. But, to the contrary, it is pure and good and it does not require anything from her. They’re just feelings. My feelings. And I can handle them. I’ve been handling them for eight years now. And I know they’ll never be requited, and that’s the way it should be. But they are genuine and true and that’s a great kind of love to harbor within yourself for someone else. It’s the kind that’s mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-8.

Or maybe she has had a bad experience with a fan in the past and it caused her to be mistrusting and fearful. And then I come along, with such a passion for her and her music, and it may all seem like too much for her to take. I don’t know.

She and her music have been a constant joy and inspiration to me, ever since I first heard her singing Reaching For The Moon. That’s my favorite cover she does.

I consider it to be the National Anthem of Lizz songs. 🤪 What?!?

To me, whenever I hear the song start to play, I immediately stand at attention, and put both hands over my heart, until the song is over.

(I’m kidding!…………..sort of.) 🤭😊

I was inspired to write a song called “Love At First Sound”, (click on the link and scroll down to the bottom of the post to hear the song) that tells how moved I was when I first heard her sing that song.

My passionate interest in her music, never wanes, and it has lead me to more extensive and frequent travels to beautiful places, as well as expanded my mental horizon, and enriched my life culturally and musically through many wonderful experiences I could only get by stepping outside of my comfort zone.

I just want to emphasize that Lizz doesn’t inspire me to stalk her. When I think of a stalker, I think of someone with an unhealthy obsession for someone else. I don’t have an unhealthy obsession for Lizz. I am simply passionate about her and her music. I follow her. But I also realize I’m not the typical fan that just likes the music, buys the CD, and does the show once in awhile. But I’m definitely not a stalker.

But when Lizz declared me a stalker, she broke the eighth and the ninth Commandments. She broke the ninth, “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, because I’m not a stalker. She didn’t intentionally lie about me. I’m sure she felt justified, at the time, for doing that. But she was wrong about me. And she was wrong to do that. Then the eighth, “Thou shalt not steal”, because when she declared me to be a stalker, she stole my integrity and reputation, and defamed my character. Declaring someone to be a stalker is a very harsh allegation to pin on someone. When she told the security guys I was a stalker, they just believed her right away, without question. In their eyes, I was guilty until proven innocent. But they don’t know me. And no one asked me what I thought.They wouldn’t even tell me the reason Lizz called me that. I had no recourse. I felt so melancholy and alone.

So I finally got back home. But there was a dark cloud hanging over me for a long time. I wanted to call Lizz to see if we could discuss it. But I was afraid to call her, because she might interpret that as “further harassment”, even though I hadn’t harassed her at all, in the first place. I was just in the same check-in line, saying hello. So, instead, I kept it all bottled up inside me for a long time. But I was miserable and depressed for the next two years. I even gained forty pounds.

So, since 2018, since I couldn’t travel to see and hear her sing anymore, I decided to travel locally, and continue to write posts about my travels and also Lizz’s music. Because even though she hurt me, by the action she took against me, and I wondered if she would ever see me for who I really am, that didn’t change how I felt about her and her music.

She inspires me to listen to her music intently and to follow her path of progress through the music world, to watch her thrive, over time, and receive all the great treasures that I believe are in store for her, because of all that she does in her life for others. She is so deserving.

She also inspires me in many other ways:

To be more funny and creative when I’m writing about her or my travels, in my posts. (For example: Blue Rose: The Mystery Revealed; The First Time Ever; Swish Me Clean.)

To study the Word more.

To try to write more and better songs.

To be more focused and grounded.

To be more discerning between essential and unnecessary.

To live every day with purpose and intention.

But I’ll never quite get over the uneasiness of being mislabeled by Lizz. I hope that one day she’ll be able to see me how I see me; a passionate and devoted fan and not a stalker.

In July, 2021, I sent a message, through the proper channels, to Lizz’s Artist Manager, and asked him to ask Lizz if she had a change of heart about me and would welcome me back to her shows. Neither he, nor she, responded to me.

So one month later, in August, 2021, I sent a follow-up message, but they didn’t respond to that one either.

So, I’m writing this post, blindly, in hopes that Lizz will see this and she will reach out to me and explain to me why she did that, and talk with me about it to resolve the issue. I’d like her to be able to clearly see me for who I really am (a loyal and devoted fan), and I’d also like for her to rescind the ban and welcome me back to her shows again.

I have to say that I experience many other joys, daily, but “seeing and hearing her sing is my greatest joy in this life!”. She expresses God’s love through her music and I and others feel it. I miss hearing her sing on stage. It’s been four years since the last time. She is still important to me and a positive influence on me. You can see that in any and all of the posts I’ve written, which included her in them. I’ve written 124 posts, so far, and I included some aspect of Lizz and her music in at least half (62) of those posts.

I hope to be a good influence on her too, even from a distance. I care how she regards me. I care how my presence affects her. I care how she interacts with me. I don’t want to disrupt her life in any way. I want to be a positive force in her life, or nothing at all.

I don’t have the mindset of a stalker at all. A stalker wants to control and destroy people.

I have the mindset of a lover. I’m passionate, compassionate and caring about the people I love. I encourage, help and support people whom I love. People who really know me, would agree with that.

Do you really know me Lizz?

P.S. I recently saw that you are coming to Jazz Alley, in Seattle, in June, so I bought tickets for all four 7:30 p.m. shows. I really miss seeing and hearing you sing, Lizz. It’s been four years now, since Paris.

But if you don’t want me to go to the shows, I don’t want to be there.

But if you don’t mind me going to the shows, I’d love to be there.

Let me know by phone, email, text, or snail mail.

But, either way, yes or no, please don’t just ignore me, Lizz.

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