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By Patrick A. Roland
I love music. In fact, all of my chapter titles in my third book, The Sparkle King, are also songs that evoke the mood of that chapter. Music moves me, and I hope my work in The Sparkle King moves people as well. Here is a list of my 10 favorite songs, some of which are chapters in my books.
1) The Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
I used to sing this song in talent shows when I was in grade school. I was a chubby gay kid who was bullied a lot. This song spoke to my soul even back then but I didn’t own it and live by it until I got sober at 40. Now it’s my anthem.
2) Vogue - Madonna
I remember being 15 when this came out and seeing gay people in a music video and feeling like I wasn’t alone anymore. I also used to get drunk in my parents' basement and Vogue until I fell down in hysterical laughter. It reminds me of a time when both drinking and being gay felt innocent to me.
3) Safe and Sound - Capital Cities
Pack used to play this song for me before he died. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of how much he loved me; and how Safe and Sound that makes me feel even all these years later.
4) Like a Prayer - Madonna
It’s Madonna at her heyday, but it’s also CP’s favorite Madonna song. I loved being his friend and this song reminds me of the joy and love of the beginning of our relationship. I always wanted a friend like him and lyrics like “you’re here with me, it’s like a dream” remind me of how much I will always cherish that friendship.
5) You Oughta Know - Alain’s Morissette
Alanis is raw and angry and open and honest and you feel every bit of her pain and rage. This song has gotten me through so much heartache. It’s so cathartic and freeing. Who doesn’t feel this angry when someone they love hurts or betrays them? This is an anthem.
6) Higher Love - Whitney Houston
Hardly anyone knows Whitney remade this 1986 Steve Winwood classic, but she released it in Japan in 1990 and it is an effervescent frothy poppy bop that is Whitney at her joyful, adlibbing best. Today it reminds me of my relationship with my Higher Power because it was the inspiration behind The Sparkle King and it pushed me to write a beautiful book about faith and friendship.
7) Ambitions - Joe McElderry
Pack used to play this song for me at the beginning of our relationship. I was unemployed at the time and felt bad about it, but he always believed in me. The song says “if someone’s gonna make it, that someone oughta be you.” I know he is watching and I know he is proud. This song makes me feel loved and adored.
8) End of Time - Beyoncé
My first appearance as The Sparkle King was dancing to this song at a New Year’s Eve dance. My first book had just come out. My friends built a throne and wheeled me through the center of an auditorium while a bunch of girls dubbed my Sparklettes danced around me. It was crazy.
9) On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez
Pack and I used to sit up all night long and listen to music. This is one of the songs he played for me. It’s very sexy and sensual and it reminds me of falling in love with him.
10) Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
This song reminds me of my mom. She and I used to watch the movie Beaches a lot when I was a kid. We saw Bette Midler in concert together once and my mom grabbed my hand and held it the whole time she sang this. My mom also saved my life by stopping me from jumping out that window in Vegas. I always say I didn’t jump, but I got sober and learned to fly and I can thank my mom for it.
After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and getting clean from drugs and alcohol, Patrick thought his fight was over. However, this was not the case. Life had many other obstacles in store for him but this time, he knew how to be strong and he knew he had God on his side for support.
This inspiring and emotive true story shows how anyone can overcome the hurdles life presents them with, if they just have faith and focus on their inner strengths.
Read an Excerpt:
In the summer between seventh and eighth grade, I lost nearly forty pounds. To go with my svelte new look, I asked my grandmother—a hairdresser—to give me a perm. My dad had always had one so I thought it was something men did. However, when I emerged on campus on the first day of eighth grade at a new school, the reactions were sinister and cruel. Now I was suddenly very gay—the weight loss exaggerated my feminine mannerisms—even though it would be several years before I realized that and boldly claimed it as my sexual identity.
Things got considerably worse in high school. I went to a fancy and pricey all-boys Catholic college preparatory school. I tried desperately to fit in, but my “friends” wanted nothing to do with me. At parties, they held me under water in the pool. Once, they tricked me in to climbing up onto a roof with them only to try and push me off of it. They called me a lot of names, but the one I remember most is ‘The Whipping Boy’. I held on to that name for years. It seemed to always fit, no matter where I went or what I did to try and remove myself from it.
College also started rocky, but got better in time. I had decided to attend the alma mater of my mother in a small town in Iowa. I felt like it was my chance to start over and carve a new life out for myself, and I eventually did. But the first week started out just like everything else had. I was walking down the hallway and I was suddenly grabbed from behind by a crew of three masked men. They pulled me into my room, threw me on the floor and smothered and attacked me, beating my face with long socks that were filled with something that was supposed to make them look like giant penises. I think they were trying to mock me for being gay, but the fact that these men spent so much time stuffing socks to look like penises seemed gayer to me. Maybe something about me made them afraid of their own truth.
About the Author:
His second book is a children’s book called Sparkle On! This book is about a gecko who is constantly constant bullied but chooses to fight this with love.
His new book, The Sparkle King, keeps the sparkle flowing as Patrick finds his way through several fear-inducing experiences by constantly choosing faith to overcome them in long-term sobriety.
Patrick lives in Phoenix, Az. He is a peer support at a mental health clinic, where he helps others just like himself. He’s also earning a Master’s in Addiction Counselling at Grand Canyon University and is taking care of his elderly, terminally ill parents. He wants you to know you can do anything you decide to do if you love yourself.
Book Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sparkle-King-Patrick-Roland/dp/1999613643/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2
Publisher Link: https://www.wallacepublishing.co.uk/patrick-a-roland.html
Author Website: https://patrickarolandauthor.weebly.com/
Book Website: http://unpackedsparkle.com/
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