I’m Super Excited!

Okay, gang! Another scientific paper weighing in on the James Ossuary as likely belonging to the Jesus family Talpiot Tomb has been published!

You can read more in depth about the latest chemical findings at Dr. James Tabor’s site, at JamesTabor.com.

If you are keeping track at all, or even only mildly curious— the James Ossuary, several years ago, was declared to NOT be a hoax or a fake. It is a 1st Century C.E. Ossuary that held the bones of James the Just, Jesus’ brother, who was the man who carried on the Jesus Movement after his brother was crucified. He himself was also murdered by the High Priests in 62 C.E. — the son-in-law of Caiaphas is also thought to have been behind condemning James to death. (Primarily by stoning.)

The Talpiot Tomb is considered by many historians now to have been the tomb of Jesus, his wife the revered Mariamne (thought by many to be Mary of Magdala), their child, several of Jesus’ brothers, including James, and an uncle and perhaps Jesus’ mother, Mary.

I find all of this extremely exciting.

Many historians who specialize in the era of Ancient Christianity believe now that Jesus was married.  And DNA testing of the bone fragments found in the Talpiot Tomb conclude that Mariamne, whoever she actually was, was the wife of the man whose ossuary calls him Jesus son of Joseph.

Some historians also believe that the wife, Mariamne, was Mary of Magdala, a wealthy woman who was a supporter of Jesus Movement.

One of the (many) non-scientific reasons why I believe that Mariamne was Mary of Magdala is based on the fact that one of the MANY very early Near Eastern Christian faiths that was eventually declared heretical by followers of Pauline Christianity, worshipped both Jesus and Mary Magdalene together as equals and that the two  were considered married. Why ancient people would  believe that for no reason whatsoever makes little sense to me. And other documents that have been declared authentic at least to their time period, refer to Jesus as having a wife.

To understand the possibilities of any of this, though, you first need to understand that the mythology surrounding Jesus and his Movement (which very closely resembles pagan mythology) seems to have been added to what became Christianity well after Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.  Followers of Paul became what we now think of as Christianity, whereas  followers of James and Jesus’ other brothers — who were also systematically murdered — were eventually wiped clean from History. It is next to impossible, these centuries later, to know what Jesus actually taught or believed, or what the Jesus Movement was actually about. The Letter of James comes closest, probably, to giving us any real clues. This is because early Christian fathers erased all history of the Movement since it was a Jewish Movement and Paul’s teachings, and beliefs, eventually took him very far from his own Jewish background and from  allowing any Jewish traditions to be connected to the man named Jesus who became the Christ.

The main thing that seems to have been determined by some historians is that Jesus’ Movement was based on healing, teaching, and communal meals. Nothing else seems to be left of his Movement. One reason why the Talpiot Tomb discovery— along with additional scientific papers that sustain the discoveries about the tomb and the ossuaries discovered in it — are so exciting to me, is that it brings us ever closer to understanding the actual Jesus, who I believe was extraordinary. To me, it doesn’t diminish him in any way. It only points to something extraordinary that happened connected to Jesus.

Okay! Well, I hope you’ve had a great Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

Where Would I be Without the Telephone??

Today has been all about phone conferences, gang, and now I am all talked out.

I think I’m gonna collapse on the bed for awhile, just to be in a different posture from sitting at my desk.

In between conference calls, Peitor had needed me to watch the film, This Beautiful Fantastic, which I absolutely loved. The 2nd call was me and Peitor working on our micro-script, so I needed to fit the movie in between the two phone calls — before I talked to him — and so I watched it at my desk, as well. And now I am seriously tired of sitting at my tiny cramped little desk. I’ve got that crimp in my neck thing going on.

But I loved that movie. It was so charming and the dialogue was just quirky and wonderful.

And then our work on the script was intense because we suddenly went in this whole other direction from where our notes indicated we had originally wanted to go with the story. So that threw me and it meant a lot of fast typing as I tried to type all the notes as Peitor was sort of re-thinking aloud and I was re-thinking his re-thinking. And even though it seems like the script is going in a more profound direction, now I’m really just tired.

My first call, though, was with the director in NYC and, because of all of our schedules with projects for 2020, we have tentatively come to the decision to do the first table read in NYC in mid-February. I’m super excited about the prospects of being in NYC in mid-February, but the upshot is that plane fares and hotel rooms are a lot cheaper during February than any other month of the year because no traveler in their right mind wants to be in NYC in February…

But honestly, I’m excited because I can’t wait for the first table read, regardless of the weather.

I have to say that everything in my life right at this particular moment is really just incredibly splendid. Except for my neck! So I’m gonna close this for now, collapse on the bed and study my Italian lesson for the day. Maybe even take a nap after that!!

I hope that Friday is great for you, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with the official trailer for the film, This Beautiful Fantastic, in the event you haven’t yet seen it. Perhaps I will write more later. We’ll see. Okay. I love you guys! See ya!

All Was Revealed, As I’d Hoped!

Now that enough time of trial & error has passed, it turns out that my friend who has advanced cancer — the longtime friend who usually likes to sort of be left alone a lot, and I was angsting like crazy over how not to hover over him like a mother hen now that he’s quite sick…

Well, it turns out that one extremely brief text per week from me is what he seems willing to respond to.  So at least now I know and I can sort of relax into that rhythm. And now we can sort of just move forward.

To me, it feels like there’s a really fine line between letting someone just have their autonomy in life and, you know, causing them to feel alone or ignored.  But I guess when someone has chosen to remain friends with you for over 40 years, there’s evidently a particular quality within you that they respond to and they probably don’t want that to change. And I’m guessing that my ability to really, really care about him all these years but also be completely willing to leave him alone for as long as he wants to be left alone really matters to him.

This is sort of apropos of nothing, but I recall one time, back when I was renting a room in a boarding house on the Ohio State University campus (after high school, I went briefly away to college, hated it, dropped out and went to California to live with this girl I loved who promptly told me, the moment I got there, that it was over between us and so I moved back to Ohio and for a short time before moving to NYC, I lived in a boarding house and worked in a factory). Anyway, this friend of mine who is now so sick, dropped over to visit me at the boarding house and was hanging out with me in my room and he found  it just incredibly funny that I had a copy of Emily Post’s famous book on Etiquette.

I’d actually read it, too, which astounded him even more. I was astounded that he was astounded. I’d been sent to charm school when I was young and then finishing school when I was a little bit older — you know, I was expected to land a rich husband. This was actually, literally, expected of me by my adoptive family, which is why what I actually did with my life completely appalled them. But I grew up believing that I had to know how to set a table correctly, when to serve what during a dinner party, how to address an envelope — I mean, all this stuff. I knew all this stuff about how to run a rich man’s house.

And I remember that at this particular juncture, when I was living in the boarding house, my adoptive mom bought me all these beautiful suits. You know — skirts and matching blazers. Just gorgeous. And I looked really good in them back then because I was tall and slim.  And the suits were for me to wear while attending expensive political functions. Which I did. Alone. Looking stunning and knowing which fork to use… And at one of those functions, the Lt. Governor of the State came on to me. Like, for real. There was only one man in the entire State more powerful than he was, and I was utterly appalled by this predicament that he was placing before me because he was a married man.

I was just so extremely naive. I knew my various forks and spoons, but I had no clue how to respond in that situation. I had just assumed that political men, in power, would not dream of coming onto a girl if they were married men. I was very “experienced” in a lot of ways, yet hopelessly naive about life.

It was an interesting evening. I never attended another political function again, ever. I was so thrown by that whole thing. I had voted for that man, plus he was actually very handsome, too. I thought he was this all-around wonderful, morally upright sort of pillar of the State.

I probably got rid of my Emily Post book on Etiquette around that time.  You know, I was starting to see that the ceremony of  life was sort of a sham. I knew how to set a really beautiful table, I really did — all through my adult life. But I also knew what was really going on at the table most of the time. I got jaded pretty quickly, especially after moving to New York.

I don’t like to blog about politics, at all. But I do remember thinking, back when Trump became President and all these women were seething over his wife perhaps having been a professional escort of some type when the two had met.  I thought these women were probably just angry because it didn’t occur to them that getting a job as a “professional escort” could ever lead to the job of being First Lady at the White House. You know, like they were just mad that they didn’t think of it while living their lives of hopeless political naivete… (Oh, I’ll tell you that the politician who came on to me was a Democrat and the fundraiser was for some Social Justice judiciary thing. So there are no party lines drawn when it comes to any of that stuff.)

Anyway. Life indeed goes on. And now it’s been 40 years since I’ve owned & discarded the Emily Post book!

Okay, I’m gonna get to work on Thug Luckless here. Tomorrow, I have another phone meeting with the director of Tell My Bones, followed closely by a phone conference with Peitor in West Hollywood to work on our micro-short script and he needs me to watch an entire film before that phone meeting occurs. So I seriously gotta scoot!

Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

Me, dreaming about place-settings and fine china….

The Sky Just Now

The sunset was amazing, gang.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating my dinner, and I saw a far corner of the sky peaking through one of the windows and the sky was just so red — “red sky at night, sailor’s delight!”

So I dashed upstairs to get my phone to take a picture. The sun had already sunk considerably when I got back, but it was still beautiful. You can even see my new grown-up person’s car there in the photo, too!

The sunset tonight from outside my backdoor.

Now, if only my dinner had been as exciting as the sky… (tomatoes, arugula, an orange and cocoanut water. What I would have rather had: anything with pasta, cheese, olives, garlic; a French Cabernet, something triple-chocolate for dessert; a demi-tasse, a cognac, a filterless cigarette, someone to hang on my every word…Heavy sigh.)

Hope yours is a wonderful evening, gang, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting. I leave you with tonight’s dinner music. P.P. Arnold, “Baby Blue.” See ya!

We’ve Got 15 Feet of Pure White Snow Out There, Gang!

Oops! Meant to say 1/15th of half an inch of pure white snow…

Meaning, we got a really lovely little dusting of snow last night. It’s basically all gone now, but it was really just so pretty last evening.

I was on the phone with my father and all the blinds in my room were already closed, so I had no clue it was snowing. In his advanced age, my father seems to have become one of those people who is constantly checking my weather forecast. You know, he always knows what kind of weather we’re expecting out here in Crazeysburg, whereas I almost never do. I’m not much of a weather-checker, beyond sort of glancing out the window and looking at what it’s doing out there and then making a sort of mental assessment. If things are wet, it’s raining. If things are dry, it’s not. If huge gusts of billowing dead leaves are blowing all over the place, it’s windy and all my neighbors are wishing that I’d fucking raked before the wind set in.

And if things are white, it snowed.

So last evening, when the phone conversation had wound down and my dad said, “Okay, well be careful in that weather,” I just assumed he was being weirdly strange and so I ignored it and said, “okay, well; bye-bye” and then I hung up.

A few hours later, when I went into the cats’ room to turn off their nightlight (not that I think cats need a nightlight, I just like the ambiance of it), I noticed that the streetlights outside their window were sort of blurry looking, and it reminded me of some of those Brassai photos of Paris in the 1930s. And I told Huckleberry, who was curled up on the bed, “It looks like Paris out there!” and when I went to get a closer look, I saw that it had snowed! It looked so lovely.

And then I realized that that’s what my dad had meant — Crazeysburg was receiving snow.

I think it’s sort of strange, how my dad has the most minor interest in me that you can possibly imagine, but he always knows what kind of weather I’m having.

My stepmom takes up 99.9% of his attention. She’s extremely ill and in a long-term care facility directly across from where he now lives. He moved into an independent-living facility on the same grounds as my stepmom’s nursing home because he basically spends every single day visiting her. This has been going on for about 7 years already. She’s a wonderful woman, she really is. I love her and it’s heartbreaking to see her deteriorate (she has MS), but even before she got sick, she had 99.9% of his attention and the remaining 1/10th of a percent of his attention went to her children. So I’ve gotten used to him barely noticing that I’m alive, unless of course  he’s in the mood to dash all my hopes about something.

It was like that with my first stepmom, too. But the situation with her had started out really differently. And I was thinking about that last night — when I saw that it had snowed and my dad, who lives 3 hours away, had known it was snowing outside my very windows before I did. But that he could barely care less about anything else going on in my world.

I was remembering what it was like when he used to be interested in me. It was when I was 12.  He became really interested in the things I thought about, what I was doing, what I wanted to do with my life. At that point, he was really supportive of my wanting to be a songwriter. (That changed when I actually moved to NYC and became one, but anyway.) When I was 12, he was having an affair with a 25-year-old girl. At the time, I didn’t know how old she was (or wasn’t), but I did know he was having an affair. I had figured it out and I was the only one who knew. I didn’t say anything because I was cool with it. I was happy for him, actually. I knew that my mother made him insane.

In hindsight, last night, I suddenly realized that he had become interested in me when I was 12 because I was practically as old as his girlfriend. He was probably trying to figure her out because he was in his 40s by then — and back in those days, that was a much older generation from a 25-year-old.

Even though she and I ended up getting along really, really well after he married her, he eventually just found me really distracting. I mean, to be fair, some really, really horrible stuff was going on in my world at that point and I wasn’t able to speak about any of it, so he didn’t know. He just found me really distracting and he wanted to focus on his new wife and so everything between him and me changed. That is a long time ago. It never changed back. Mostly, it got a lot worse. Now we’re just at that point where we acknowledge that the other one still exists and that’s about it.

So I find it really perplexing that he’s so interested in what kind of weather I’m having. And what’s also disheartening is that, in so many key ways, I’m exactly like my current stepmom. I actually am. She and I are very similar and my dad has no clue. He’s aware that I have a play that I have to keep revising and he’s aware of what kind of weather I’m having. And that’s about it.

But rather than get too bogged down in all my various stepmothers last evening, I decided to just look at how pretty the snow was and try to move on from there. It was a little disappointing to wake up and discover it had mostly all melted already. But last evening was really just lovely around here.

Okay. Well, I’m gonna get going here and get down to work. I’ve already spent a good chunk of time this morning trying to figure out if I want a new template for the In the Shadow of Narcissa website. I find the current template just so impossible to use. So unbelievably not user-friendly. But I eventually gave up because all the other templates seem too image-oriented. It’s a little frustrating. But onward.

I have an intense phone call with the director coming up later today, but beyond that, I think the day will be all about Thug Luckless. So I’m excited.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning, “15 Feet of Pure White Snow”!! (And even though I’m not a huge fan of videos, I love this video!) From the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds  2001 album, No More Shall We Part (which pretty much has nothing but incredibly great songs on it). And I was also thinking this morning about how much I love the word “mittens.” I really do. Okay! Have a  super Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys. See ya!

“Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow”

Where is Mona?
She’s long gone
Where is Mary?
She’s taken her along
But they haven’t put their mittens on
And there’s fifteen feet of pure white snow

Where is Michael?
Where is Mark?
Where is Mathew
Now it’s getting dark
Where is John? They are all out back
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow
Would you please put down that telephone
We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow

I waved to my neighbour
My neighbour waved to me
But my neighbour
Is my enemy
I kept waving my arms
Till I could not see
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Is anybody
Out there please?
It’s too quiet in here
And I’m beginning to freeze
I’ve got icicles hanging
From my knees
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Is there anybody here who feels this low?
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Is it any wonder?
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord

Doctor, Doctor
I’m going mad
This is the worst day
I’ve ever had
I can’t remember
Ever feeling this bad
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow
Where’s my nurse
I need some healing
I’ve been paralysed
By a lack of feeling
I can’t even find
Anything worth stealing
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Is there anyone else here who doesn’t know?
We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Is it any wonder?
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!

c – 2001 Nick Cave

A Wee Bit of Promotion! Plus Tommy!

Okay, gang! The promotional Christmas cards for Tell My Bones arrived via UPS today!

Finally, something not cancer-oriented was on my kitchen porch when I returned from town with my groceries!

Since I am 99.9% sure that none of you are on my Christmas list, I’ll share the card with you here. (If for some reason, you’d like to receive one, though, you can email me your address!)

But first things first! A photo of Tommy on top of the record player just now because I thought she looked so cute while I was passing through the family room on my way back upstairs!

Tommy! The rescued feral cat that I thought was a boy until I found her hidden in the sun room with 3 kittens she’d just given birth to!! Boy, was I thrilled about that! And this was only a few days after Huckleberry had given birth to FIVE kittens in my basement…(That was 7 years ago; the rest is history.)

 

Front of the card — Helen’s painting, “Canning Peaches.” The card is on my kitchen table which has a Christmas tablecloth on it, so it might be hard to see at first.

 

Back of the card

 

Inside the card – the opposite page is blank, so that we can all say something eloquent and meaningful!

 

I think they did a really nice job.

Now all I have to do is sit my quite comely behind down at the kitchen table and address a bunch of these things…..

And So The Voyage Begins!!

I’ve started all the housecleaning stuff here that I wanted to get to before my mom arrives.  After all, when she left here back in late September, she was leaving a really clean house. I came home from New York to the tidiest house imaginable. It made me so happy.

I wouldn’t want her to arrive next Monday and think, you know: Jesus, doesn’t this gal ever clean anything?

Because, truthfully, when I’m not working on a project (or seven) I’m a bit of a cleaning freak. To the point where I can sort of be annoying. I’m one of those people — I might not actually say it to you, but I’ll be privately thinking it: Wow, did you just move something a fraction of an inch from where I had it?

You’d think I wouldn’t be so — well, I guess anal-retentive is the phrase for it but it sure is unattractive — but you’d think I wouldn’t be like that, since I have 7 cats who usually decide that everything pretty much goes wherever they want it. Still. I do notice when things aren’t exactly where I last placed them.

However… Cleaning is not the voyage I’m speaking of, up there in the title of today’s post!

I’m speaking once again about Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town, the new novel that is fully underway in my brain.

It’s exciting. That whole process of writing a new novel — how the ideas begin to just sort of tumble down into my mind. Sort of like clothes falling down a laundry chute or something. Ideas just tumble in and I have to keep running to my notebook and jot down notes. That’s when I know for sure that a full-blown novel is actually in there, preparing to come out. It just really excites me.

It’s such a different process from, like, Girl in the Night, where I have no clue what I’m going to write, or when I’m going to write it. I only know that I want the book to be under 200 pages, so that means about 18 “Letters” total, depending on the length of each one.

Beyond that, I don’t have any clue what the “Letters” will focus on. The book is just a great big blank in my mind, extending before me. Then, suddenly the next title for a “Letter” will emerge, and maybe a color or a tone will accompany the title. But I won’t really know what it’s going to be about until the piece completely arrives, sort of like a mist rolling in at the edges of my awareness. And then, suddenly, the whole piece will sort of “download.” It could be weeks between title and download, though.

In the Shadow of Narcissa is a similar feeling, but it’s a lot simpler, since each of those pieces is only about 600 words. The only difficult part of that book is to try to retain the perspective I had as a toddler, when the inside of our house was pretty much my whole world, and everything about being alive was brand new and I didn’t understand anything.

I still don’t understand anything, but nothing is brand new anymore.

Well, I shouldn’t say that; I still have feelings about things that I’ve never felt before. So that’s cool.

Anyway, it’s a wonderful feeling — to have all these ideas rushing at me about Thug. It feels like it’s going to be a really complex, dark, amusing, intense sort of filthy book.

You know, in the old days, I used to have to write with the voices of my publishers in my head and their financial agendas looking over my shoulder — which also meant that my agent was looking over my shoulder, too. And that meant I had to seriously rein-in some of the things I wanted to write. Even though I seriously miss having publishers, it really does sort of free up my mind. My imagination. Since the small press market has shrunk so drastically, and each press is just glutted with writers trying to get a deal, I just write what I want to write now and then worry about who there might be to publish it after it’s done.

It just feels so good. Really liberating.

All righty. It’s Tuesday yet again, which means I have no food in the house!! So I gotta drive into town and do something about that. For some reason, the main road out of here is closed. So I have to sort of go the back way — the road that winds along where the old Erie Canal used to be about 200 years ago. And it’s a lovely, narrow old road. However, it takes long enough to get to town and back on the regular road.

Meanwhile…Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files letter thing this morning. He actually touched on some things I think about a lot. You can read it here. Today it’s about grieving — having to grieve publicly, I guess is how you’d describe it.

Okay, I gotta scoot! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang! I leave you with nothing today because I didn’t listen to any music at breakfast. I just sat there quietly and looked at the cats eating while I ate and I wondered how I got here (to Earth) and how they got into my life and where we’re all going to after this… I love you guys. See ya!

The cats eating breakfast in their corner of the kitchen, 2 summers ago, before Daddycakes died.

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis