Sure Hope the Morning Gets Better…

Wow, what a weird morning I’ve had here so far, gang.

My perceptions have been all screwy.

First, I awoke around 3:45am, looked at my phone to see if there were any texts on it. There were, including one that was of great interest to me which turned out to not actually be there.

I like to think I was somehow still half asleep when I looked at the phone, but I could have sworn I saw what I saw. So that was intensely creepy.

I got up to go to the bathroom, stepped on something weird, which felt like a fuzzy cat toy of some kind. I turned on the lamp for a moment and there was absolutely nothing on the floor but the floor itself. So that was weird.

In the (dark) bathroom, I heard a very loud ticking sound that also creeped me out. It sounded like it was coming from the cabinet under the sink, but it wasn’t. And then the sound suddenly stopped.

Then I saw something weird on the bathroom floor, and thought: what the fuck is that? But upon blinking my eyes, I realized that it was just the bathroom scale.

When I came back into the (dark) bedroom, I saw a weird glow coming from the far side of the bed, on the floor. When I went to investigate, there was absolutely nothing there at all. No glow, no light, no nothing.

I decided at that point to get out of the bedroom and just go downstairs and start my morning. And even though everything was perfectly fine downstairs, I really was starting to worry that I was losing my mind.

So we’ll see how this day actually goes, gang. The sun is up now and all seems to be right with the world (and my bedroom), so here’s hoping…

(The most disappointing part of it, though, is that yesterday,  I had such a great day — from start to finish. I was expecting to wake up this morning still in the momentum of the great day yesterday, and instead, woke up in a completely different Universe.)

Me with my imaginary (though undeniably handsome) friends, watching my life go off the rails…

Okay.

I don’t know if I’m working on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff today or tomorrow, but I do know that I am doing a final edit on Peitor’s new book, starting today. I imagine it will take me about a week, so that means a couple of my own writing projects will likely take a backseat for right now, but at least it gets that project off his desk and will help him/us focus on film  stuff. Los Angeles is starting to come out of lockdown now, too, so we have a lot of work to catch up on.

I am still making good progress with the new segment for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. (I am surprised by just how intense that segment is, though. I will likely split up the book editing work this week with working on that new segment.)

So! Little by little, we are getting back to normal around here. (Or perhaps, me being out of my mind is going to be part of that “new” normal we keep hearing so much about!) (I hope not.)

I still have a TON of web work to do on the Abstract Absurdity Productions web site, though, which is sort of stressing me out — remember how that site was supposed to launch by April 1st??!! And  I had planned to hire “a happiness engineer” to help me quickly pull that site together, but then all these expenses came up for the barn so now I’m not sure. I guess we’ll just see.

What a strange, strange day, though, gang.

Last evening, down in my kitchen,  I streamed yet another Charlie Chan movie that I’ve seen a million times — Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo (1938). This was the last full Charlie Chan film Warner Oland made before he died. And thinking about that at the kitchen table last evening, caused me to google his cause of death — I knew he had died suddenly, and then they brought in Sidney Toler to be Charlie Chan for a bunch more films. But I never knew what had happened to Warner Oland. (He was , by far, my favorite Charlie Chan.) (And it turns out he was not part-Asian, although he’d said he was.)

But it turns out he was a really, really cool individual. I was kind of flabbergasted. He even did a lot of early stage work with Alla Nazimova!! (Who I write about, at length in my novel Twilight of the Immortal.) Warner was his Americanized stage name — he was actually born in Sweden (and died there, too, as it turned out). He married a playwright, who mastered the Swedish language, so that the two of them could  translate the playwright Strindberg’s plays into English.

Warner Oland - Wikipedia

He and his wife were married for 30 years and were both very successful. And then — yes — his alcoholism (!!) caused him to walk off the set of a Charlie Chan movie, and that quickly killed the 30-year marriage. And shortly after the divorce, he visited friends back in Sweden, got pneumonia, discovered he also had emphysema, and then suddenly died. It all seems to have happened in very short order.

And in fact, 20th Century Fox (the studio he had walked out on) took the footage they had already filmed, replaced the Charlie Chan character with Peter Lorre playing Mr. Moto and released it as a Mr. Moto film!! Isn’t that wild? I of course saw that very same Mr. Moto movie just a couple weeks ago, and I wondered why on earth Keye Luke was in a Mr. Moto movie, still playing Charlie Chan’s Number One son….

Keye Luke

I always loved Keye Luke because he reminded me so much of my first husband, Chong Foun Kee. They looked quite similar and had similar characteristics. Both good-looking and super friendly…

Anyway. It was quite a successful google expedition. I learned all kinds of interesting stuff!

I’m also making great progress in studying my French on the Mondly app. It’s quite fun and I’m actually learning stuff, even after 52 years of “studying” French…

On another topic altogether, the Nick Cave exhibit in Copenhagen, Stranger Than Kindness, has officially announced the re-scheduled opening date: June 20th and it will run until February 13, 2021!!  Details are here.

So that’s exciting! The world really is getting back to normal.

And on that great note, I guess I’d better get started around here.

I hope you have a good day, wherever you are in the world.  I hope all your perceptions are spot-on and you don’t drive yourself crazy on this happy Thursday.  I leave you with my breakfast-listening music — John Lee Hooker singing his hit “Boom Boom” from 1962. Such a sexy song. It hasn’t aged a bit. All righty, enjoy! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love love you guys. See ya.

Boom Boom

Boom, boom, boom, boom
I’m gonna shoot you right down
Right off your feet
Take you home with me
Put you in my house
Boom, boom, boom, boom
Mmmm hmmm
Mm hm hm hm

I love to see you walk
Up and down the floor
When you talking to me
That baby talk
I like it like that
You talk like that
You knock me dead
Right off my feet
A haw haw haw haw
Whoa!

Once you walk that walk
And talk that talk
And whisper in my ear
Tell me that you love me
I love that talk
That baby talk
You knock me dead
Right off my feet
A haw haw haw haw
Yeah, yeah!

© 1962 John Lee Hooker

Wow!! Another Splendid Day!!

Yes, I’m just hanging out here in Crazeysburg with my cock  rooster today!! What could be better –right, gang??!! It’s going to be another really gorgeous day.

Okay, well. Yesterday, as gorgeous as it also was, was an adventure in gardening, so I never got back here to post again. I was too exhausted.

I went to town early, in order to get my groceries and then to get the flowers for the summer —  but apparently this pandemic has made it next to impossible to get impatiens, which is my preferred flower for the boxes & planters on the porches, because they bloom like crazy, all summer long, and they require no maintenance except for watering.

Well, there were no impatiens at all — none, zippo, zero. So I had to load up on my second preference, which they did have– petunias. They require a little bit more maintenance, but not much, and at least they bloom all summer long, too.

But by the time I got everything home, even though it was only 10am, it was already in the mid-80s Fahrenheit. Just super sunny and super hot.  And I had bought 42 plants that needed to be replanted into 9 flower boxes and planters. But because of the intense heat, I was exhausted by 10:03am…

However, I carried on. Plus!! I have a toad this year!! I discovered him last week, when I was raking that enormous pile of leaves outside my back door.  He came hopping out of the leaves, startled me, and then delighted me, and then went over and sat closer to the house and watched me rake for quite a while.

Well, yesterday, it looked like the very same toad, but I honestly have no clue if it was or wasn’t. However, there he suddenly was, on the kitchen porch, right in the middle of all my gardening stuff, hopping around in the shade of all the many new flowers that were waiting to be re-planted.

He stayed on the porch with me for really quite a while. I chattered at him and asked him all kinds of questions while I worked, but he was cagey and answered none of them.

Mr. Toad , Beatrix Potter | Beatrix potter, Beatrice potter ...

Eventually, he hopped off the other end of the porch and went his happy way, but it was really nice having him to talk to. (Or at least to look at. Although for much of the time, he was motionless and just staring at me while I talked to him — so, it actually made it seem like he was listening to me!! Which was so nice!!) (My cats pretend like they’re listening to me when I chatter at them all day long, but they know that if they just look at me patiently for at least a moment, I will eventually leave them alone and go away!!)

It seemed like it took forever for me to get the flowers planted. People were texting me and the phone was ringing and I had to keep getting things to drink because it was inching up toward the 90s and I was sweating like crazy. And then I was hungry. And then I was exhausted again. And on and on. And then, by around 1pm, I ran out of potting soil and I only had one planter left to do!! But I had to drop everything, get back into my car and drive back into town!!

Yes, another 25 mile trip (each way)!! Except that on this trip, I was all sweaty and dusted with potting soil from head to toe.

Luckily, halfway to town, I remembered that there is a really big gardening center along Highway 16. I don’t ever shop there because they’re privately owned and very expensive. But all I needed was one bag of organic potting soil, so I stopped there and went inside and got my potting soil and wished that I could afford to shop there more often because they have such great garden stuff!!

And you can tell they’re privately owned because they have uplifting Scripture from the Bible printed on large banners and hung on the wall by the check-out. Which means they’re Christian and hold Christian values and they want you to know that your patronage is practically sacred to them. Publicly-owned stores nowadays would never risk publicly displaying Christian values. Atheists will write many, many angry letters to try to shame you for it. (If you’re privately owned, you can just advise the Atheists to shop elsewhere and keep on keeping on…)

Anyway!!

So, by the time I got the final planter finished, and swept off the porch and had everything watered and all cleaned up, and then took a shower and got all the potting soil washed off of myself — it was 5 hours, total. And it was really hot, outside and inside, and I was just unbelievably exhausted.

But the flowers got done! And I was happy. Summer can now begin!!

And then, because of something someone had posted on Instagram yesterday afternoon, I felt like watching that movie, Billy Elliot– the original one; not the new musical version, which I haven’t seen yet.

So, after dinner, I streamed Billy Elliot at the kitchen table and all the flowers were on the porch there, and the kitchen door was open as were all the windows, and the world was beautiful and I  had the most wonderful evening. And I could not believe that Billy Elliot came out in 2001 and is 19 years old already. I could remember, plain as day, sitting in a movie theater in NYC — I was still married. With no thoughts whatsoever of ever leaving New York.

It is just scary, gang — where does the time go??!! Honestly!

Okay, well, today is going to be about making more progress with Letter #8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. Then tomorrow, Peitor and I are supposed to get back on schedule with Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff. He has another producer on board now who can better advise us about budgets for short subject films. So that’s exciting!

And this morning, Nick Cave sent out another Red Hand Files letter where he talks about the personality, or mindset, of creative people (that’s sort of putting it in a nutshell).  I totally related to what he said. You can read it and decide for yourself at the link there.

And on that happy note!! I’m gonna close this and reply to the 5 texts I have gotten in the past 20 minutes… And then get down to work here!!

Have a great Wednesday, wherever you are in the world, gang!! Thanks for visiting. I had forgotten that T.Rex’s original version of “Cosmic Dancer” starts off the Billy Elliot movie (in such a glorious way, too). So, even though I streamed the re-mastered version of T. Rex’s Electric Warrior as I drifted off to sleep last night, I’m gonna close this with Nick Cave’s version of “Cosmic Dancer” again, which I just love — and which is available now for purchase, gang, wherever you buy your music!! All righty. Enjoy. I love you guys. See ya.

 

Wow, What A Day!!

Okay, gang, I’m just saying hi. I gotta be brief for right now.

Not only is it a stunning morning around here today but today is my day to drive into town and buy all my flowers for my porches for the summer!! So I’m super excited.

I still haven’t raked those leaves from around the front porch yet, so I want to try to do that this morning, too, before it gets way too hot.

I am still hard at work on Letter #8, “The Choice to Kill,” for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. I got great work done on it yesterday, but it’s one of those segments that’s going to be a little intense, so it is a little slow going (i.e., I’ve re-written the first page of it about 6 times already). But I’m still happy with it.

And life is returning!! I got a text from a friend last night who lives in Granville, and he said that my beloved Granville Inn is re-opening this week! He has reservations there for dinner on Saturday night.  So the new normal is apparently upon us!! I might actually get to see people again soon!! We shall see.

After a $9 million restoration and renovation, the Granville Inn ...

Okay, have a good morning, wherever you are in the world, and I will try to get back here later today and at least post photos of my flowers.

By the way, if you’re viewing this on a computer and not a phone, you can visit my Instagram page through the photo toward the bottom of the left hand side of the page. I posted a video there at 5am this morning, showing just how noisy all these wonderful birds are at that hour! For some reason, WordPress doesn’t let me post videos from my phone. They have to be converted to a different file format — and who the heck has time for that at 5am, right??!!

Okay! Thanks for visiting, gang. Hopefully, I’ll check in again later. I love you guys. See ya!

Remember them as you see fit!

First, before I launch into the merriment of this holiday which is meant to honor the dead who served our country in some form of military service, but is now more about cookouts and picnics and going to the lake or beach, etc. — I just wanted to say that I don’t think my lungs are ever going to get back to normal!!!

Basically, I’m breathing fine now but as soon as high humidity is in the air (like today), it once again becomes a struggle to catch my breath.  I’m starting to feel like this is permanent — that a little bat disease is part of my lungs now. Forever and for all time. (It has been over two months now.)

I happen to love bats so, you know, I guess I’ll deal with it, but it is really frustrating that it just won’t go away.

Okay!! Well. I’m doing laundry here. It’s another absolutely stunning day (high humidity notwithstanding).  I like to think I’m going to go out and clean up those leaves that are still hanging out around my front porch, but we’ll see. I’m still working on that new “Letter” (#8 “The Choice to Kill”) for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. And once I’m on a roll, it’s seriously hard to get me to stop and do anything else — unless, of course, a natural stopping place simply happens all by itself.

I’m also now reading  The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton, after having read Live or Die (1966) the other day, about 3 times in a row. (A great book of poems — it won the Pulitzer Prize for that year.)

The Complete Poems is sort of like an orgy of awesomeness. It includes ten volumes of her poetry — including Live or Die, along with 2 complete books of posthumous poems, as well as the very last poems she wrote, and then also a bunch of poems from the entire course of her career that she had set aside because she didn’t know where they fit in.

If you like Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems is a real treasure, since you can see how her writing style progressed over the years all under one cover.

I like all of her poems, but I prefer the ones from around 1960 – 1967.  Her later poems, from 1971-1974 are still very good but sort of merciless. I can identify with everything she writes about, but the closer she gets to committing suicide (she killed herself in Oct.1974), the harder it is for me to take, because I totally relate to all that stuff she writes (and seems to think about constantly) and I don’t want to, you know?

(And in fact, 1974, the year she finally committed suicide, was a truly horrible year for me. Just the nadir of my existence. So I have my own personal demons rumbling under her poems at that point, too.)

The difference between a writer/woman like Anne Sexton and a writer/woman like me (except for the glaring oversight that I haven’t won my Pulitzer Prize yet!!): She seems to have been waiting her whole life for the right time and place — the exact moment — to kill herself. It seems like her entire life (she lived to be 46) was just something she did while waiting for the best moment to die. (She attempted suicide a few times.) And that’s okay. It’s not a judgment; it’s an observation.

I’ve actually known a few writers who were  like that (who ultimately also committed suicide). But I just don’t want to be one of those. It is something I fight against with everything that I am. (I attempted suicide twice, between 1975 – 1979, and have struggled from suicidal depressions ever since.)

The thing that has (sort of) saved me, though, is that at least in Western society, women are no longer expected to find the best possible husband, help him earn as much money as he can, have children, run a perfect house while the man goes out and is the one who does all the great stuff — and try to have a stellar writing career of her own. (Assuming they don’t go out of their fucking minds  — i.e., Diary of A Mad Housewife or Anne Sexton’s whole life.)

It’s still a choice you can make if you want to — and a ton of women still do — but society, as a whole, doesn’t really care anymore if you’re a woman and don’t want to go that route.

Another glaring difference between Anne and me — she re-committed herself to the same mental hospital several times.

When I was committed to a mental hospital — a private one, like the one Anne describes in her poems; the kind of hospital that doesn’t seem to exist anymore because they became indescribably expensive– I was committed against my will and hated every moment of it (nearly 5 months). And while in there I was exposed to a lot of the older patients who were there by choice and seemed to be content to live their entire lives there — re-committing themselves when their outside lives became unmanageable for them.

Here are some shots from the hospital I was in over 40 years ago — it’s closed now:

When I was there, the roads were paved but the entry still looked just like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember standing on this porch many times and just wanting to run away.

 

 

Here’s a photo of the demolition getting underway, sometime in the early 2000s, I think.
More of the demolition — but that white building was the Arts Therapy building (and the upstairs was the schoolhouse). In  Arts Therapy I learned about Jackson Pollack and Picasso. And I also stole a bottle of black India ink and some needlepoint needles, because me and my roommate, Kathy, were going to give ourselves tattoos. (We did. With varying results.)

I found those sort of “eternal” adult patients truly horrifying, since I would have given anything to get out of that place. And once I got out, I never wanted to go back. A couple of the people my age that I became friends with in there, developed that habit of going in & out of mental institutions well into their adulthood. And I just found that horrifying.

And it wasn’t that I didn’t continue to suffer from mental illness — because I did. But I hid it to the best of my ability because freedom has always meant everything to me. Even the freedom to be fucking nuts.

Well, anyway!! Whenever July 14th rolls around each year (the day I was committed in 1975), I celebrate my freedom, regardless of whatever else might or might not be going on in my life; at least I’m free.

Okay! I hope this finds you feeling really free today, too, regardless of the waning pandemic and the continuing social restrictions. I’m going to get back to the laundry and then get back down to work on Letter #8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.

Thanks for visiting, gang.  I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning — a leftover from Bob Dylan’s birthday yesterday: Joan Baez’s “Diamonds & Rust,” a song she wrote for him back in 1975 (after suddenly getting a phone call from him again after they’d been split up for many years).  It’s one of my favorite songs of hers (followed closely by “Love Song to A Stranger,” “Blessed Are…” and “Billy Rose”). So listen and enjoy and have a great Memorial Day (or Monday) wherever it takes you. I love you guys. See ya!

“Diamonds & Rust”

Well I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that’s not unusual
It’s just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I’d known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin’s eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you’re smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you’re telling me
You’re not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It’s all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust
I’ve already paid

© – 1975 Joan Baez

Summer is Basically Here, Gang!!

Yesterday was just amazing! Such a beautiful day. I was able to keep the windows open all through the night.

And for me, nothing beats that feeling of waking up just before dawn to wide-open windows. All that fresh air.  All those birds singing. All that peace.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I am in love with the silver maple tree in front of my house. My house is 119-years-old and I’m guessing the tree is about the same age — it is easily twice as tall as my house.

The front part of my house is totally shaded by the tree — including my bedroom. Here is a view of the tree right now, as I’m leaning out from one of my bedroom windows and trying to look up. I’d say this is still only, maybe, 1/4 of the way up the tree.

My silver maple. God only knows how many people have been shaded by this tree in this bedroom over the past century.

My house is what’s called a “salt box” style house, so the front of it is flat — straight up and down. The ceilings inside are high, so the second story, where the two bedrooms are, is up pretty high.  It’s very difficult to see into the windows of the second story from outside — you have to be pretty far down the street to do that. In the summertime, the tree makes it just about impossible to see up into the windows from any angle, yet I still have an amazing view of the outside because the windows are really tall. All of the main windows in the house (10 out of 21 of them) are 6-ft, 4-inches tall.

The combined amount of privacy I get in my room from the enormous tree and the old-fashioned style of the house is kind of magical, gang.

Just one of the many reasons why I love living here. (And also why I hate raking leaves now — there are just a ton of them in the fall. It’s insane. I used to love the meditative process of raking leaves in autumn, but now it’s like — you’re kidding, right??!! Jesus.)

Okay!!!

Another great thing that happened yesterday — I sat down at my desk to do some more editing on The Guitar Hero Goes Home, and suddenly — and I mean truly from out of nowhere — Letter# 8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse started to come out!!

I mean, it was not even on my mind, in the slightest way. And suddenly the words started coming. A whole stream of them.

I was literally in the process of editing Chapter 7 of the Guitar Hero, when a bunch of words came into my head. And they were kind of provocative, so I stopped what I was doing and wrote them down in my notebook. But suddenly a bunch more words came out, and a title: “The Choice to Kill.”

And I was, like — whoa; this is Letter #8 for Girl in the Night.

In total, about 8 paragraphs came out all at once. So I stopped editing Guitar Hero and gave my attention to Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. I hope to have it finished today but it’s kind of an intense section (as perhaps the title of it implies) so I’m not sure how long it will really take me.

I hadn’t even thought about Girl in the Night since February (when I wrote Letters #6 & 7) because I was so busy revising the play (Tell My Bones) at that point. And then, of course, I got completely wiped out by the coronavirus for nearly 2 months.

So this is exciting, gang.

(That whole time I was sick, I really struggled with thoughts that I was never going to write again. And so, now, to have it just spring up again — feels like old times!!)

Okay. Well, today is Bob Dylan’s 79th birthday. And in honor of that event, I went over to YouTube to find a song to post here for the occasion. However, I can never log onto YouTube without first checking to see what’s playing on Bad See TeeVee. 

This morning, I logged on just in time to hear Warren Ellis give an impromptu commercial for the channel over the phone, while, visually, there were these great little animated line drawings of Warren and Nick Cave “dancing” provocatively in their Y-fronts.

(That’s why I can’t ever get onto YouTube without checking Bad Seed TeeVee first, because you just never know what the heck you’ll be looking at!)

And then it went into the video for “Red Right Hand”, which is just so great — the video as well as the song (from the incredible Let Love In album, 1994). So I’m going to leave you with that song today, in addition to a Bob Dylan song, in honor of his 79th birthday.

I have chosen a song of Dylan’s that I absolutely LOVE — it won the Oscar in 2001 for Best Original Song — from the movie Wonder Boys, which I also totally love — to pieces!! (I think most writers loved that movie; it really captured just how fucking insane it is to be a writer, and also to struggle with the politics of academia, if you ended up choosing that route.) (I didn’t. I was always just a “hit the ground running” kind of writer, hoping I wouldn’t starve to death…) (I didn’t.)

All righty!! So, as the sun shines in on me, I’m going to close this now and get going. Have a great Sunday, wherever you are in the world — and continue to enjoy the holiday weekend if you live Stateside! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

“Things Have Changed”
(from “Wonder Boys” soundtrack)

A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me and nothing behind
There’s a woman on my lap and she’s drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes
I’m looking up into the sapphire-tinted skies
I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train

Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose

[Chorus:]
People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

This place ain’t doing me any good
I’m in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons, do the jitterbug rag
Ain’t no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag
Only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove

Lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too
Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through

[Chorus]

I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road
If the Bible is right, the world will explode
I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much
You can’t win with a losing hand

Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet
Putting her in a wheelbarrow and wheeling her down the street

[Chorus]

I hurt easy, I just don’t show it
You can hurt someone and not even know it
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me

Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
I’m not that eager to make a mistake

[Chorus]

c – 2000 Bob Dylan

Have A Great Memorial Day Weekend!

If you live Stateside, that is!

If not, then, well, just have a great weekend.

Here, today should be even more beautiful than yesterday was — and yesterday was kind of unbelievable, gang. Hence, I never managed to get onto the blog and post anything.  I did get a good bunch of edits done on The Guitar Hero Goes Home yesterday, but other than that, I just didn’t want to be at my desk.

My breathing is FINALLY back to 100% and I just wanted to be out in the sunshine.

This is the weekend that I usually plant my flowers. But I’m not 100% sure I want to go get the flowers today, since this whole area has come out of lockdown and, even though we still need to wear masks and only a certain number of people are allowed in the stores at one time, there will likely still be a crowd at the store since the weather will be ideal for gardening and yard work, etc. And that means waiting in a long line to get inside.

So I might just wait until Tuesday, when the holiday weekend is over. But I’m feeling that having my flowers out and about will make it feel like life is finally back to (the new) normal around here.

Nick Cave sent out a very brief Red Hand Files reply-thingy yesterday — it was quite cute, and heavily implied that we should not kowtow to the cat… (You can read it at the link there, it should take you about 4.6 seconds.)

And speaking of cats — every one of them was just so happy around here, yesterday. It was just so sunny and warm, they were having the best time at all the open windows. (And so was I — I love the way this house feels when all the windows are open again.)

Well, for some reason, I’ve been in a real poetry-reading mood around here lately. Even though I still have two books I’m in the middle of reading (Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands by my friend & colleague, Roger Gaess; and The Judas Brief: A Critical Investigation into the Arrest and Trials of Jesus and the Role of the Jews by Gary Greenberg), I’ve just been wanting to read poetry.

Currently, I’m reading Anne Sexton’s Live or Die (1966 — winner of the Pulitzer Prize); Sharon Olds (The Father: Poems (1992) and Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002); and The Poems of Octavio Paz (English translation -2018).

And, since I long ago ran out of Mr. Moto movies to stream, I switched over to the Charlie Chan movies. I have seen all of the Charlie Chan movies that star either Warner Oland or Sidney Toler a bazillion times. I love these movies. (Racial stereotypes galore, notwithstanding.)

Out of the couple of dozens of Charlie Chan movies made, my favorites are the ones from the mid-1930s, that starred Warner Oland, and often Keye Luke as his son.  Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935) is great — if you can come to terms with Stepin Fetchit (the actor, Lincoln Perry’s, stage name). It helps to not try to lay contemporary cultural standards over top of these movies from 90 years ago.  If you’re not able to do that, than just don’t even try to watch these films. Otherwise, Charlie Chan in Paris (also 1935) is also really good, followed closely by Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937).

All of these movies were only an hour long and low budget and relied heavily on stock footage, which is one of my favorite things about these films. Actual footage of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings; of Paris, and of Broadway from the mid-1930s. Pre-WWII and moving out of the Great Depression. I especially love the footage of Paris.

Which reminds me — I decided to continue studying French, now that I have the Mondly app for another year. It seemed to me that it would actually be useful to me, instead of undertaking an entirely new language just to do it, without any reason to think I would actually ever use the language anywhere. At least my new friends in Switzerland speak French, so I will have reason to use it all the time.

The Mondly app also lets you have conversations with it and can correct your accent. So far, my accent has been reasonably good! You can hear yourself have the conversation with the app, which is a native-speaker of the language you’re studying. So you can actually hear your own accent immediately. It is a really fun app. However, if you’re trying to seriously learn a language from scratch and are only using the app, I’m not sure how effective it actually is.

Well, anyway! I’m yet again “studying” French — which means 52 years now of “studying” it. Perhaps I should have the epitaph on my tombstone be en francais!! That way, when I stand in front of my own tombstone, in Spirit, I can look at it and cry out: “What does it say??!! I don’t speak French! I’m still studying it!!”

Perhaps I should have the epitaph read:

Qu’est-ce que ça dit? Je ne parle pas français. (“What does that say? I don’t speak French.”)

And then when some non-French-speaking person happens upon my grave here in Crazeysburg, looks at my tombstone and says: “What does that say? I don’t speak French.” I can stand next to them (in Spirit), chuckle softly and say to them: “Au contraire — apparently you do!”

All righty!! Let’s get this day happening here, okay? Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! I love you guys. See ya!

I Guess I’m Gonna Be Brief!!

Sorry for being late this morning.  Not only was it a rain-free and very mild morning around here, but after my first cup of coffee, I also ran out of milk — the only thing I hadn’t foreseen yesterday when I decided to delay my trip into town because of the flooded roads.

And loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I cannot drink my coffee without milk in it.

So, since it was sort of a perfect Spring morning, I went ahead and got into my car and drove into town and was at the market by 8:30am.

I’ve had just a really perfect morning so far, and I’m expecting a really good day ahead. I got some great editing work done on The Guitar Hero Goes Home yesterday and am hoping  that it will be similar today.

I also stopped into the Home Depot while I was in town and I got a bunch more yard waste bags. I can get the front porch area cleaned up in time for the upcoming holiday weekend — which is when I buy my flowers!! I’m getting excited, gang. That feeling of Summer is definitely on its way.

And I forgot to mention that the Amish guys were back in touch with me the other day about giving me a new barn door, so that’s scheduled to happen the first week of June.  I can’t wait. This means that not only will I have a barn door that’s not lying flat on the ground but is on the actual barn where it’s supposed to be, but also I will finally be able to get in and out of the main part of my barn all by myself.  Something I have not been able to do the entire time I’ve lived here. I’ve always needed an extra person to help because part of the door was off of its roller. (Now the whole door is off the rollers and has fallen over for good…)

There’s so much cool old stuff in that barn that now I’ll be able to start going through whenever I want to.  Just a real adventure — going through one hundred years of old stuff!

Okay. I’m going close this and get started here today. The morning is almost over. I hope you are having a perfect Thursday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my listening-music from last night. Thanks to a friend on Instagram, I was in a Nina Simone frame of mind, playing a lot of her greatest romantic hits.  This specific song is not romantic and was banned in most of the South when she first recorded it — “Mississippi Goddam” (1964, Live at Carnegie Hall). Listen and think. And have good day. I love you guys. See ya!

“Mississippi Goddam”

The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it

Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Can’t you see it
Can’t you feel it
It’s all in the air
I can’t stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayer

Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

This is a show tune
But the show hasn’t been written for it, yet

Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Don’t tell me
I tell you
Me and my people just about due
I’ve been there so I know
They keep on saying “Go slow!”

But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
Washing the windows
“do it slow”
Picking the cotton
“do it slow”
You’re just plain rotten
“do it slow”
You’re too damn lazy
“do it slow”
The thinking’s crazy
“do it slow”
Where am I going
What am I doing
I don’t know
I don’t know

Just try to do your very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

I made you thought I was kiddin’

Picket lines
School boy cots
They try to say it’s a communist plot
All I want is equality
for my sister my brother my people and me

Yes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie

Oh but this whole country is full of lies
You’re all gonna die and die like flies
I don’t trust you any more
You keep on saying “Go slow!”
“Go slow!”

But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
Desegregation
“do it slow”
Mass participation
“do it slow”
Reunification
“do it slow”
Do things gradually
“do it slow”
But bring more tragedy
“do it slow”
Why don’t you see it
Why don’t you feel it
I don’t know
I don’t know

You don’t have to live next to me
Just give me my equality
Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

That’s it!

© 1964  Nina Simone

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis