Let’s get happier, shall we?!

I find that those water-enhancing caffeine drops really make my spirits a lot cheerier. So that’s what I did yesterday, around noon, when I saw that my entire day was gonna go nowhere fast if I couldn’t snap out of my father-induced suicidal funk from the night before.

And then, armed with water-enhancing caffeine drops in my brain, I finished  writing Chapter 15 of Blessed By Light. Felt super good about that, folks. The whole world got brighter.

However, then my energy just totally crashed when that stuff wore off. Man. I was asleep by, like, 9 PM last night, or some weirdness like that.

But up at 4:30 I was today!! And I’m just feeling better all the way around.

And I’m finally in the mood to do yoga again. I haven’t done it since before I went to NYC, which was 3 weeks ago. But mostly because I had so much writing I had to do the moment I got back home.

So. I think I’m climbing up out of the abyss. Today is full of ice and gloom, but I still think it’s gonna be good.

Hope your day is abyss-free, wherever you are in the world, gang! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

Some Days Coffee is All I’ve Got

I have been blessed with 6 parents. One of whom (my birth mother) I actually get along with because all she does is love me, just the way I am.

If you also define “getting along with” as including an unbridled amount of passion, angst, confusion, madness, heartbreak and love, then I got along with my birth father exceedingly well until he died.

When my birth mom was here visiting me last week, the subject of Neptune & Surf came up. That was my first book.  An incredibly exciting moment for me when that book got published in 1999.  By then, I’d been a professional fiction writer for 10 years and finally had my first book published.

It was received really well in England and it sold really well all over the world,  for the type of book it was. It broke my heart that most people called it pornography, because I never, ever saw that book in that light. That book was my heart. I still feel I missed the mark with “The Mercy Cure” (one of the 3 novellas in the book) but that book was still my heart. It wasn’t until the US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, had me in Federal Court looking at prison time for being a “pornographer” that I finally acquiesced to that label in public. But whatever. Give me a great big scarlet “P” to wear, I don’t fucking care. My writing is my life.

My birth mom not only still has her copy of the original edition of Neptune & Surf, she was really proud of me when the book came out. And she told me last week that she still has my original typewritten manuscripts for “The Mercy Cure” and ” Gianni’s Girl” in the drawer in the night table next to her bed.

That is someone who loves me.

The rest of my family, for the most part, consider my writing more of an aberration than anything else.  One relative, at the height of my career pre-John Ashcroft, declared at a family dinner that I was a “hack writer.” Mind you, she hadn’t even read any of my books. You can guess that I don’t attend family get-togethers anymore.

You might find my work offensive, disgusting, disturbing – but I’m not a hack writer. I labor over every sentence, just like anyone else.

Next year, Neptune & Surf will have officially remained in print for 20 years.  Twenty years of uninterrupted publication. Trade paper, mass market, hard cover, a book club edition, 2 French language editions, and now Hachette in the UK has had it as an eBook for a number of years.  You can even get illegal downloads of Neptune & Surf online without having to look too hard, and I don’t even mind at this point, you know?

Original trade paper edition of N&S, 1999. Whenever I see this edition for sale anywhere, it always has a price tag that even I can’t afford. So that’s pretty cool.

As far as some of my other “parents”…

I had one stepmother – a very, very long time ago – who was very good to me. When I met her, I was 14 and she was 27 – an ex-cocktail waitress who had kind of hit paydirt and married my dad. She was sweet, scared, overwhelmed, full of love, and she drank a lot.  My (adoptive) dad eventually chewed her up and spat her out. It took him a number of years to do it, but he did. And he did the same to me. But life went on.

And all these decades later, I am – what is the word; misguided enough? compassionate enough? – to try to maintain some sort of civil relationship with him because he is old now.

However, trying to get through even a 10-minute phone call with him, as I did last night, requires heavy combat attire. It requires an amazing amount of self-protective force-fields – none of which I have.  I always go into these phone calls thinking, “Oh he’ll be so happy to hear my latest good news.” But he never is. He is so mean.

In 10 minutes, I am completely degraded, demoralized, defenseless. Helpless. And I always very cheerfully end with, “Well, have a good week. Take care of yourself.” (And he’s the adoptive parent that I sort of get along with. We won’t go into the other one. Jesus.)

I’d had an okay day yesterday, work on the new novel wasn’t stellar, but I’d gotten a little good work done on it. I was feeling very, very positive about everything – the theater stuff in NYC with Sandra; the TV pilot re-writes. My new novel, and the new novel in progress that’s right next to it. The chance to re-record a dozen of my songs from my singer-songwriter days with Peitor out in LA.

It had all felt really good.

And yet, there I was, at 9PM, in my PJs with my winter coat thrown over top of them, my Wellies on, standing in my dark backyard in the middle of a wonderful nowhere in the Hinterlands where pretty much no one can find me; and I was listening to Tom Petty really loud in my earbuds, singing “Only A Broken Heart.” Under the endless black sky. And I was crying. So many years of fucking abuse. It felt like the only friend I had in the world was Tom Petty, and he’s dead, gang.

What kind of a fucking way is that to end a good day? I’ll tell you, it’s the kind of day that involves a 10-minute phone call with my dad.

However.

Today is a new day and the morning began with coffee – my very favorite way to begin a day. Hello, coffee! How are you?

Year after year after year, it does not degrade, belittle, or demoralize me in reply. Yay for coffee. I’m gonna try to make this a really great day.

I hope you will do the same, gang. Thanks for visiting!! See ya.

The Merry Winds of Winter – On their way!!

One of the things I truly love about living in a really old, drafty house is how impossible it is to heat it!! Yay!!

Now that it’s getting below freezing every night, with snow flurries even, my furnace kicks on, and kicks on, and kicks on … And still struggles to get that thermostat up.

Down in my really scary-looking, unfinished, 117-year-old basement, it’s nice and toasty warm! The spiders are luxuriating in all that Florida-like balminess down there. Too bad I have no desire to spend even 60 seconds down there with them.  I’d much rather be upstairs where only the hardiest of spiders reside this time of year!

But, man, it’s cold in here.

They still haven’t come to put in my insulation and so all this heat that the furnace keeps tossing up at me is just going right through the walls, out into the great and frosty outdoors.

All righty! That said…

I apologize profusely for my really sarcastic post the other day because the producer did get back to me before he went on his vacation, and he said that my revisions on the TV pilot were the best yet. Really positive. I am so happy, gang.

I will still have some minor tweaks and revisions, but I am just really happy.  I made some really significant changes to the script this time, and, honestly, I had no clue how they were going to be received.

So there you have it: trust your gut and just go with it, gang. Write like the wind!!

Okay! Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting! Stay toasty! See ya.

Joy of the Enforced Hiatus

Well, first of all, I had a really, really good time with my birth mom. It was everything I’d been hoping for at this stage in our lives. Relaxed, revealing, beautiful.

The hiatus part, mentioned above, has to do with the TV pilot.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I had to write like a motherfucker to get my revisions of the CLEVELAND TV pilot turned in, ASAP, in order to get my notes and feedback in time to revise yet again and send it off to a different producer in LA before my trip there in 3 weeks.

I might even go so far as to say “3 fucking weeks.”

And so I did it. Did the revisions. Was happy with them. Sent them off. They were happy to be received. However. The EVP of Production is now going on vacation and so cannot get me any notes or feedback until just prior to Thanksgiving…

Yes. Yes. Yes. Thanksgiving. 2 weeks from now. Which means I will have a handful of days, moments, hours, to make any additional revisions and send it off to the next guy before I literally arrive in front of him in LA.

Man.

So.

What to do? I guess enjoy these 2 weeks of limbo and happily work on the novel some more. There’s nothing I can do or say that wouldn’t sound heartless, cruel, self-centered, mean, awful, etc. (i.e., ME: “You promised me you would get me notes in plenty of time. How dare you go off and relax somewhere???!!! How dare you imply that you read a ton of fucking scripts every single gosh darn day and that mine is only yet another one added onto the pile of your endless reading nightmare??!!”)

So, I have an enforced hiatus from re-writes and I will simply have to force myself to relax.

I guess, starting now.

Off I go to relax, gang. Have a wonder-filled Thursday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

Me and my birth mother in a bar, over 30 years ago! (She does, indeed, make me that happy. It’s not the beer.)

Life Gets Lovely in the Hinterlands

The fall leaves are really at their peak now, gang.

Now that I have a new, upgraded, awesome iPhone, I wanted to take a quick photo of the whole area around that Mail Pouch Tobacco barn posted above (I didn’t take that photo – I got it off the Internet and the colors have been greatly enhanced by someone).  The barn is down the road from me, and it was just so breathtaking yesterday afternoon, around 3 o’clock.  Surrounded by such a multitude of trees in all their autumn-leaf glory.

But we have a new law here in Ohio that states that if any sort of traffic violation occurs (regardless of the severity or lack thereof), an automatic HUGE additional fine gets tacked on if the cop so much as thinks that you were distracted by your cell phone while the violation occurred.

I have a 100% clean driving record. But I figured that now that we have this new law coinciding with my new phone, trying to get a photo of the barn while driving (although I was willing to drop my speed from 90 mph to about 30…) would be the time that my whole life behind the wheel went suddenly haywire and I would get nabbed for being distracted by my cell phone while driving.

As much as I love you; as much I desire to regale you with every moment of beauty here in Crazyland, my clean driving record and my stupifyingly low insurance rates mean more to me than you do. I’m sorry. It’s just how it is.

Anyway.

My mother arrives tomorrow but it will be raining most of the day. I hope she still gets a chance to be regaled by all the autumnal splendor around here when she gets close to the outskirts of my town.

She loves the fall as much as I do. October is her favorite month of the year – it’s mine, too. (I know it’s November, I’m just talking about October for a moment here.) I was actually conceived in the month of October. I don’t know if she realizes this, or remembers it or anything like that, since my conception and birth are not her favorite moments from a long and often difficult life.

I don’t want to bring it up while she’s here because she was not a big fan of my dad’s – to put it gently. I think they “knew” each other, in the Biblical sense, for about 5 minutes, back when she was 12 and he was 14. And I am the exulted and magnificent result of those 5 minutes.  I know she loves me, as a person, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that loving me as a person outweighs having known my dad for 5 minutes – if she had it to do over again, I mean.

Meaning: Me, being in the world, versus not having to know my dad again for those 5 minutes and all the heartache that followed in his reckless wake. Including my grandfather forcing her to give me up. That was likely worse, though, than what my dad put her through.

And that is that huge grey area that we won’t talk about, if we’re sober: she really did love me once I was born, more than life itself, and then her own father stepped in and took me away, put me up for adoption.

A very long time ago, her father (my grandfather, who died 2 days after my weird accidental aspirin overdose wherein I nearly died, too) took me to lunch. As luck would have it, he took me to my very favorite restaurant on Earth. A really old, tiny German place, off the beaten path. And he said, “I hope you don’t mind going here. I love this place.” And, of course, I was stunned, you know? Because I loved that place, too. And then he was stunned that I even knew about it, because by then I lived in NYC and had lived there a long time.

We sat down at the table in the tiny restaurant and he point-blank told me: “I don’t care if you hate me for what I did. I know your mother hates me, but I still stand by my decision. I felt it was the best thing for her and for you. You can hate me if you want. But that’s how it is. Now let’s have lunch.”

It was hard to hate him after he said that. I don’t think I ever actually hated him, though.  I liked him well enough.  And I liked that he was at least honest. He even went so far as to say (regarding my great-grandmother’s house – his mother, the house he grew up in) “You’re not in the Will. You’re not legally entitled to any of this. It’s for my other grandchildren.” Which was fine, and true. Of course, then I was disinherited by my adoptive family, as well, so it was a very interesting emotional no-man’s land I was always finding myself in.

Well, all this stuff – as much as I would love to talk to my mother about it and hear her side of things for real, I’m not going to bring it up. She’s really private, and I just want her to have a nice time; not feel like she’s being emotionally invaded.

The only thing she’s ever really told me about what it was like while she was just this little girl, pregnant with me (before her mom found out she was pregnant and put her in the County Home for unwed mothers), was that she used to sit in her room all day and play Elvis records on her record player.

I thought that was so amazing because, not only did I turn out to be a little girl who sat in my room and played records all day, all by myself as she did, but I loved Elvis.  And he wasn’t even really from my era.

Okay. Enough of that. I wanted to add that yesterday afternoon, I was outside and a neighbor here in Crazyland was driving past and stopped her car to speak to me. I thought maybe she was lost – no one in Crazyland really speaks to anyone else in Crazyland. However, she said, “I really love that you are taking such good care of this old house.”

It made me feel so happy that anyone had noticed.

She was a much older lady, one of those people who had the lines in her face that speak of being a farmer, riding horses, being out on the land her entire life. They are much different from the lines people get from simply aging or from smoking a  lot. They are “weather” lines, or the lines of God’s Earth.

She said, “I figured you were here alone and doing your best. I just wanted you to know that I noticed what you’re trying to do and I really appreciate  what you’re doing. The house is looking really good.”

Wow.  It really made me feel great. I can’t wait until I can get the barn fixed. But that will probably be spring.

All righty, gang!! Let’s get Monday happening around here. Have a great day, wherever you are in the world! I, for one, am glad you’re alive! (I’m won’t go so far as to say that I want to do it with your dad, but I’m glad you’re here, regardless!) See ya. Thanks for visiting.

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis