From Her Daughter’s Perspective
By VALERIE NEBBIA VACHÉ | October 20, 2010
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It is very rare that daughters can call their mothers “friend.” After years of puberty and then menopause it’s a wonder that mothers and daughters even speak to each other.
Yet it was during this time that my mother, Loris Nebbia, and I were developing our art, inspired by but separate from each other. In the corridors of our little colonial house in sweet and beautiful Annapolis, Maryland, we were honing our creative skills and forming what would become our life’s work, bonding us together in ways we did not yet know.
I was born and I started writing music. My first song was titled “It’s a Fine Morning to Get Up” based loosely on a favorite childhood book. Through the years I continued developing my skills as a singer and performer with the unending support of my parents, friends and family. In college I remember expressing to my mom the frustrations that came along with writing songs and my insatiable need to do so amid my busy academic semester. My mom would say, “But you have such a nice voice. Why write music? Just sing ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me.’”
Despite her confusion over my need to write my own material she loved and encouraged my art and in February 2009 I released my first full length album, Comet Child. That fall I gave birth to Clare and immediately released another somewhat experimental album with friend Rob Levit called Leave a Light On. She attends almost every one of my shows. She babysits for the ones she misses.
I’m in debt to her for the hours she spent listening to me plow through unfinished songs again and again. I owe her my life for the countless cups of tea she made me while I poured my heart out about my desires and dreams for my music. I will never be able to repay her for letting me live in her home to save money so that I could afford to release my album. She is … my inspiration.
I have distinct memories of my mom writing, stowed away in her cubbyhole of an office trying to concentrate as we bombarded her with little needs and pithy questions and unnecessary drama that all needed immediate attention. I remember not understanding why she wanted to write if it was so hard for her (sound familiar?).
On November 26th my mom will release her first novel, Solomon’s Puzzle. It’s a beautifully written story, based in Annapolis, about a boy who is faced, quite brutally I might add, with the discovery of his true identity – feeling impossibly close to his newfound friends and equally distant from those he is supposedly related to.
The novel is such an incredible reflection of my mother’s heart – the beauty she sees and creates along with her uncanny understanding of teenagers and their search for sincere meaning and true purpose. Her luminous prose will have you swooning and dreaming of a time and place you know but have never seen and can only touch with the bright arm of your imagination. Her characters will enrich you and carry over into your everyday life. “Did you hear what happened to Ben Hunter?!” you will say to your friends and family only to realize you are again talking about a fictional character as if they were a real live person, one with whom you just had dinner.
I am unbelievably proud of her for the courage and back-breaking work it took to accomplish this incredible feat. I’m am beyond thrilled for my mother, friend and partner in art. Become a part of this wonderful thing that is happening. Read the novel, love it and pass it on. Oh…and enjoy. I know I did.
Valerie Nebbia Vaché is a performing songwriter from the Baltimore area. For information on her recent projects, visit The Val Nebbia Band or follow her blog Bed By Day.