Weepy Kind of Morning

I’m gonna leave here soon to make that drive farther out into the country to that veterinarian’s office. He made a little clay paw print of Daddycakes for me and it’s ready for me to pick up.

Daddycakes died over 2 weeks ago already, and his death was so slow and awful that all I felt for several days was just stress. Horrible stress. Even after he was euthanized, I just felt so much stress. When the stress finally subsided, I never went into any type of true grief mode. I had to focus on writing the novel because I need to have it off to a publisher before we start rehearsals for my play this summer, whenever Sandra arrives here from New York and says “let’s begin.”

And as an aside – it is always a huge question mark when Sandra will reply to texts. She’s a working actress and is always working. So I never know when she will find 4 seconds to reply. And the worst is when she suddenly decides to FaceTime me without any warning and I have to take the call because I need some sort of vital information from her but I haven’t washed my hair in, like, 17 days, or something horrible like that. (Please, people!! Don’t FaceTime me!!)

Anyway, on Sunday morning, at 5am, I was lying in my bed in the dark, thinking about life, and suddenly an eerie light filled one corner of my room. It was coming from my iPhone. So I looked at it and there was the text I needed from Sandra. Giving me the information the director had been waiting on for over a week.

I wanted to text right back, but I knew she was in her quiet place. She was probably downstairs in her great room, off the kitchen. The room is so tranquil and surrounded by huge windows, looking out at trees. She was probably the only one awake in the whole, quiet house, with the sun just barely coming up at the edge of the sky, and she was probably just sitting there, thinking about her own life and finally decided to text me. I wanted her to have that solitude for as long as possible.

Anyway.

So. This morning I woke up to a rainy little spring morning, birds singing, the cats playing merrily on the floor around my bed, wanting me to get up and feed them. And that’s when it finally struck me that I was going to make that journey this morning in the rain and all that is left of my wonderfully compassionate stray cat, Daddycakes, is a clay paw print.

It just felt sad.

And from there I have to go to the Honda dealership to get that required maintenance done on my leased car. That always takes hours.  I’m bringing along the script for Burn This by Lanford Wilson, because the play is in a revival now on Broadway and I want to refresh my memory.

I don’t understand why people decide to revive such iconic classics. I really don’t. I’m sure that whoever is in it currently does a great job but no one on Earth can be John Malkovich except John Malkovich. (I know, I know; theater is a living, evolving thing and doesn’t ever stop in time and many, many men have taken on the role since then, but still; when someone nails it so extraordinarily the first time, why permit it to live again? Let’s put it into a special vault in Heaven or something.)

One bright spot in the day, though, is that my Honda Fit’s lease is almost over. And I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next. And there are a couple of used Hellcat’s for sale at that particular Honda dealership that I can actually afford. (See my blog post, “To Heaven in a Hellcat”, that mentions my dream car here.) So I’m gonna try to figure out if I actually want to own my dream car, or if I’d rather go another 3 years without having to worry about any maintenance whatsoever and just lease another Honda Fit.

Either way, it’ll feel good to dream. My brain needs a break.

Then I’ll come home and work on Blessed By Light some more because Chapter 20 is almost done!

All right, gang. I hope you have a sweet and gentle day out there, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. Today I leave you with this. I think I played it about 40 times, repeatedly, as I was out driving around in the wilderness yesterday. Such a mesmerizing song. Okay. I love you, gang. See ya!

JESUS OF THE MOON

Stepped out of the St. James hotel
And I left you behind curled up like a child
A change is gonna come
And as the door whispered shut
I walked on down the high-windowed hall

You lay sleeping on the unmade bed
The weatherman on the television in the St. James hotel said

That the rains are gonna come
And I stepped out on the streets
All sparkling clean with the early morning dew

Maybe it was you or maybe it was me?
You came on like a punch in the heart
Lying there with the light on your hair
Like a Jesus of the moon
A Jesus of the planets and the stars

Well, I kept thinking about what the weatherman said
And if the voices of the living can be heard by the dead
Well, the day is gonna come when we find out
And in some kind of way I take a little comfort from that
Now and then

Cause people often talk about being scared of change
But for me I’m more afraid of things staying the same
Cause the game is never won
By standing in any one place
For too long

Maybe it was you or maybe it was me?
But there was a chord in you that I could not find to strike
You lying there with all the light in your hair
Like a Jesus of the moon
A Jesus of the planets and the stars

I see the many girls walking down the empty streets
Maybe once or twice one of them smiles at me
You can’t blame anyone for saying hello
I say hey
I say hello, I say hello

Will it be me or will it be you?
One must stay and one must depart
You lying there in the St. James hotel bed
Like a Jesus of the moon
A Jesus of the planets and the stars

I say hello… hello… hello…

c – 2008 Nick Cave

The Best Memory Ever!

I guess a lot of people who remember CBGB‘s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, recall the intense hideousness of the bathrooms there. I think they’ve mostly been guys talking about it, but the Ladies Room there was no better.

And I use that word “Ladies” as loosely as you can possibly imagine, gang.

The bathrooms there were just wretched but that’s also part of what made CBGB’s so endearing, really. At least in the Ladies Room there were actual stalls. But none of the stalls had doors. And the Ladies Room itself didn’t have a door, so if you had to go in there and pee, you would definitely have a random male audience in there, watching you pee.

I, of course, am easily flattered. I recall one night when I was in there peeing, and some guy was drinking a beer and just standing right there in front of the stall staring at me.

ME: “Get the fuck outta here!”

HIM: “No way. You’re too pretty.”

ME (thinking): Well, okay, if you put it that way…

I’m bringing up CBGB’s today because it is an extraordinary day today. Blare N. Bitch turns 60!!! Can you believe it, gang? What I cannot believe is how fucking great she still looks!!

Blare N. Bitch, from the road Fall 2018

Here’s a couple of my favorite shots of her from something like 2015.

I don’t know if I’d be ruining her reputation by saying that she’s a really sweet and funny person. She’s kind of quiet and very endearing.

I also want to say right up front here that what I’m writing about today is a memory from a really long time ago. We’re just friends now and she’s been very happily in love with her soulmate for something like 25 years or more.

But when I first met her, in 1982, I fell absolutely totally 100% in love with her. OMG. Her eyes were so pretty.  So dark. I felt like I was literally falling into centuries of past lives when I was looking at her face.

I was a long-haired, bisexual folk singer in those days. I wore black mini-skirts and cowboy boots. Played an acoustic guitar in clubs in the West Village. And she played bass in an all-girl punk band that played the clubs on the Lower East Side. She always wore black jeans and a motorcycle jacket. That kind of thing.

I saw her play at CBGB’s a number of times, but we knew a lot of the same musicians and once she and I were both at CBGB’s to watch somebody else’s band play.

What happened before we went into the bathroom is kind of hazy because I drank like a fucking fish back then. But I’m guessing I was telling her how crazy in love I was with her (we only knew each other casually at this point).  I know, though, that going into the Ladies Room was her idea, and that making out there in the stall was her idea. But I also know it was the very best idea God ever gave to anyone on Earth, ever. Even though through some of it, we had that random male audience.

Mostly, we just kissed (a lot). But since she was the only person in the Universe that I wanted to kiss, it’s one of the very few kisses I still remember after nearly 59 years of being alive.

I could have spent the rest of my life kissing her, but it didn’t work out that way. We didn’t really mesh at first. Heroin was a big part of her life then, and I was heavily into speed when I wasn’t drinking like a fish (and most of the time, I did both at the same time).  Even though I remained hopelessly in love with her, it was a couple of years before we finally meshed. For fleeting moments over several ensuing years, she was clean and I was sober.

Out of the blue, she showed up at one of my gigs. She was back in NYC after some gigs in Europe and I did not know she was back. Oddly enough, that was the night that I played “Where Do Dark Girls Go?” in my set for the first time. And it was a song I’d written for her, and I said as much from the stage, not having a clue that she was sitting out there.

She left before the gig was over. I only found out that she’d been there because other people told me she’d been there. But she called me on the phone a couple days later – a thing she never, ever did. And for a little while after that, it was Heaven on Earth time, you know?

We went to a movie together: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Which had the most extraordinary soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Man. Making love with her was exactly like that soundtrack. Just too beautiful. Too haunting. Too extraordinary. And I felt like: Oh, so this is why I’m still alive; God wanted me to know about this.

And it happened in that wretched little apartment of mine on E. 12th Street, which just proves that you can be in the depths of Hell and not even notice it because God arrives anyway, with those breathtaking gifts.

We did stuff like hung out in bars together, we saw David Bowie together at Madison Square Garden. We did random stuff, but times that stand out most for me were those times alone with her in my bed on 12th Street where everything else in the world stopped and fell away and time stood still and God said something like, “Here you go. Enjoy this gift. But don’t get too used to it because life really isn’t like this. Nothing can sustain this kind of beauty forever.”

Life just keeps pushing forward. Just on and on, evolving forward, right? You can’t stop it. She eventually went to L.A. and never came back. And then, of course, my own life happened, too.

But nothing before her or since her resonated like that. You know, like celestial violins playing while atomic bombs are dropping everywhere. I don’t know quite how to describe it because the lives we were living at that point in the mid-80s were very painful in a lot of ways. We were both searching for things and running from things and surrendering to things and fighting off awfulness. And then suddenly in all of that, we’d be making love.

I once sent her a single translated stanza from Baudelaire’s poem, Femmes Damnees from his book Les fleurs du mal:

Ah, look not so, dear sister, look not so!
You whom I love, even though that love should be
A snare for my undoing, even though
Loving I am lost for all eternity.

I meant it totally back then, and in a ghostly sort of way, I still feel it now. In that way that haunting phantoms sort of linger.

Okay, well, I’m gonna leave you with your choice of 3 “soundtracks” from back then, each are equally part of how I felt for her. Each are songs I played on my record player nonstop back then, in that room on E.12th Street where so much heaven came home to roost, if only fleetingly.

Happy 60th Blare N. Bitch!

Happiest Day of the Week!

Saturdays have rapidly become my favorite day of the week.

No, not because I take the day off! I don’t know what it means to take a day off. If I do take a day off, though, it’s usually a Tuesday or something weird like that. (My biggest problem when I take a day off is that I think to myself, Man, I like this. And then I usually take the next day off, too. You see how it could escalate…)

But no. Saturday – mornings, specifically – is when I have my conference calls now with Peitor Angell re: our start up micro-short video production company. And not only does he make me laugh – really hard – but also when the two of us get creative together, it is truly remarkable what happens. I get so off on it, since usually I create all by myself.

We deal with the boring stuff, too; you know, the stuff about actually running a production company.  But mostly we are engaged in the actual creation of stories. Very short, ludicrous stories.  And I guarantee you, it’s usually the only thing about my entire week that’s truly funny. So even though it’s work, I really look forward to it.

He and I have been good friends for a really long time. He says 1984, I thought it was 1985, but he’s probably correct. We met at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. We were both in music back then – he still is. He’s writes & produces Dance music for other artists, charting a number of times for several different singers. And he composes for films and television.  But the music he composes just for himself – ambient, alternative – is just so beautiful. It couldn’t be more different from what he does for others and I could listen to it all day.

I remember the first time he gave me a cassette tape of a bunch of songs he’d written for a girl-group that he was producing – back when we first met. And I listened to the tape while I was taking a bath. (Yes, the same cast iron bathtub that was in my kitchen on E. 12th Street, mentioned in this post a few days ago.) The songs really transported me.  I thought he was so talented. He produced for Atlantic Records back then.

He produced a couple songs of mine for me, and I just loved what he came up with. It was so unusual and so fun to make and I loved how my songs sounded, how I sounded. And when I took it to the VP at Columbia Records who was trying to help me get a record deal there, he said, “Why the hell are you singing like that?! I can’t do anything with this. Bring me something else!”

But I didn’t want to do something else. I did bring him something else, from a really expensive Emmy-winning producer, and the guy at Columbia Records got me a manager then who was really top of the line, you know, his clients  were on the Tonight Show and stuff. But I hated how I sounded. Just hated it. I wanted to sound the way Peitor had made me sound – like some sort of wounded sex kitten from 1963 walking home on a rainy afternoon. In Paris, or London or something like that. It was just fucking cool. So ambient. So much reverb.

But anyway. I walked away from all of it.  It’s hard to believe now that he and I were only in our 20s when we were doing all of that.

Okay! Well, I am halfway done writing Chapter 20 of Blessed By Light. Yesterday was so productive. I couldn’t be happier.

And even though they say it’s supposed to rain like crazy today, right now it couldn’t be prettier out there. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and everything outside my window is so green. So I’m just gonna sit here for a while and drink my coffee and wait for Peitor to wake up there out in West Hollywood and just see what the glorious day winds up bringing.

Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with this! It’s sort of Nick Cave-y,  if you get the Red Hand Files newsletter… (I always thought this song was really sexy. I always thought KD Lang was really sexy.) Anyway. I love you, guys! See ya.

The coffee’s all gone
And my eyes burn like fire
It’s way past the hour
When most folks retire
You told me you’d call me
But you haven’t yet
And I’m down to my last cigarette

I’m down to my last cigarette
For I know what made you forget
You’re still out there somewhere
With someone you met
And I’m down to my last cigarette

I can’t leave this room
You might call while I’m gone
The minutes seem like hours
It soon will be dawn
And on top of all
Of my tears and regrets
I’m down to my last cigarette

I’m down to my last cigarette
And I’m trying so hard to forget
But you’re still out there somewhere
With someone you met
And I’m down to my last cigarette
Oh I’m down to my last cigarette

c- Harlen Howard & Billy Walker

Now, was that so hard?!

When last we heard from me, I was awaiting, with less and less patience, an appearance of the Muse. (See post from yesterday.)

I’m happy to report that at 12:45pm, yesterday afternoon, without any fanfare or forewarning, paragraph 2 of Chapter 20 simply started coming out, and then before too long, I was several pages in and had forgotten all about the angst of waiting on the Muse for 2 and a half days.

It’s just funny how, when he’s ready he’s ready, and you’d best be in front of your laptop or, in all seriousness, you’re going to have to start typing away on your phone. Not fun when it runs into several pages.

And it really just comes like that. This is the most amazing Muse I’ve ever had.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog – or at least readers who’ve been coming here since last July when this current Muse swooped into my life – are by now familiar with the erratic hours this Muse keeps.  Many times, I’ll lurch awake at, like, 4:12am and he’ll be in mid-dictation and I have to grab my phone from my night table and simply start typing whatever he’s saying. It just comes. And I don’t want to miss a word of it.

I mentioned yesterday that I have 2 muses. One is alive; a living person that I dearly love, whose writing constantly challenges and inspires me (Nick Cave). This other one, though, is from the Great Beyond; nonphysical. And when that one’s around, it is literally dictation.  I hear the words coming and I write them down. And aside from typos on my part, they never need any revisions whatsoever.  It just comes out, hits the page, needs no re-writes and I’m like, Wow! can you please stay in my life forever? Plus, when he’s dictating and I’m typing, I always have to take my glasses off. Normally, I can’t even see the letters on the keypad. But when I’m typing stuff that I’m hearing from him, I can’t have my glasses on. Isn’t that weird?

Usually if I’m writing something, like Tell My Bones, the play I’ve been working on, I’ll put down some words. I’ll look at them. I’ll tinker, revise, keep writing, go back, keep tinkering. Etc., etc. That’s the way I’ve written all my life, whether it was songwriting, or prose, or TV scripts, theater. Whatever. That’s how I write.  It never feels like “dictation.” It’s a process.

And for me, the muse is all-important in that process. Nothing worth saving comes out if I don’t have a muse to tap into, extract from, get lost in; it’s like I have a radio tuner in my mind, and I mentally sync up with that “muse” frequency and then the words literally pour into my head. And it feels really beautiful while it’s happening. The words themselves feel beautiful to me. And even though, for the most part, my life has really sucked and I’m terrible at getting anything right; the process of writing, and of feeling all that beauty in the words, has made life bearable for me and, overall, worthwhile.

I know that I write some really weird shit. I know that. And trust me, I didn’t wake up one day 40 years ago and say, “Dear God, please let me write really noncommercial, intensely erotic non-consensual stuff that most people will refuse to publish.”

It was more like, “Please! God, you can’t be serious??!! This is what you want me to write??”

And God said: “Yeah. Consider it a gift. From me to you. With love.”

Jeez. And I cried, I really did. Because then I felt like I had a responsibility to this gift that wasn’t gonna necessarily be celebrated.  When the time came for me to switch from songwriting to fiction writing full-time,  everyone was flabbergasted. My closest friends were saying, “You’re gonna stop writing those beautiful songs to become a pornographer??”

I didn’t see it that way. I never considered myself a pornographer.  I felt that I had said as much as I could in my songs and that I wanted to commit myself to the gift God had given me, awkward as it was.

And I was always way more successful with the fiction than I’d been with the songwriting. In those days, it really was just very, very hard to make any serious headway in the music industry if you were female and wanted to be on a major label. It’s like they had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of slots for men to fill, and only about 2 slots for women, per category of music. And if you were a commercial folksinging woman, there was one slot, pretty much, and it involved a heck of a lot of ugly backstabbing and strategic sex and ill-will to get it and I was never about that. That stuff made me sick.

But in underground fiction? Plenty of slots for women with dirty minds. And if you were really intelligent, and got yourself a background in audio physics and technology, which I did, the sky was the limit in those early days. And so my career there took off.

And so I write weird stuff but I do try really, really hard to make it well written; to honor the gift.  And without a muse, it’s really next to impossible for me to do that. So I give thanks to God every day for my muses. Because, honestly, when I can’t get tuned into that frequency, the light goes right out of my life. So I don’t really mind sitting for 2 or 3 endless, antsy days at my desk and just waiting. I know he’s gonna show up. And I know it’s gonna be worth it.

Well, okay. I’m gonna get back to Chapter 20 here. It’s a rainy Friday and everything feels sort of serene today. I hope it’s a similar vibe wherever you are in the world.

I leave you with this, today: Magneto. Not because I want to break your heart first thing on a serene Friday morning, but because I want to show you how the use of one single word can change and heighten the entire landscape of a song.

And here, that word would be “stars”.

He could have so easily said that blood was splattered across the ceiling, and we’re set up to think he will say that, since they’re sawing each other in half there in the bathroom. And he’s been vomiting, and his blood is gagging on other people’s diseases and  he wants to kill somebody and it’s all pretty horrible.  Grief is horrible. But in the agony of all that incredibly sad imagery, comes that almost unbearable reminder of eternal beauty and eternal joy: the stars.

It’s what I have always loved best about Nick Cave’s writing. I don’t know if he does it purposefully, or if this is just part of his unique gift – the use of the wholly unexpected word or image. But he has been doing it forever. And it’s always been an incredible challenge to me; to help me to find better words. To always look for the better, unexpected words.

Okay, so thanks for visiting, gang! I love you! See ya!

Mostly I never knew which way was out
Once it was on, it was on and that was that
The umbilicus was a faucet that fountained rabbit blood
And I spun on my wheel like a laboratory rat

I was an electrical storm on the bathroom floor, clutching the bowl
My blood was full of gags and other people’s diseases
My monstrous little memory had swallowed me whole
It was the year I officially became the bride of Jesus

In love, in love, in love you laugh
In love you move, I move
And one more time with feeling
For love, you love, I laugh, you love
Saw you in half
And the stars are splashed across the ceiling

Oh, the urge to kill somebody was basically overwhelming
I had such hard blues down there in the supermarket queues
And I had a sudden urge to become someone, someone like you
Who started out with less than anyone I ever knew

In love, in love, I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
I move, you move
And one more time with feeling
I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
I’m sawn in half
And all the stars are splashed across the ceiling

Oh, I know you come shining, softly to the hole to drink
Come as far as the edge of my blood, and then swim
And in the bathroom mirror I see me vomit in the sink
And all through the house we hear the hyena’s hymns

Of love, I love, you love, I love, you love
I laugh, you laugh, I move, you move, you move
And one more time with feeling
I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
We saw each other in half
And all the stars are splashed and splattered across the ceiling

c- 2016 Nick Cave

I Didn’t Get That Memo!

Man, what a whacked out day, already. And it’s only 9:17am.

I’ve been up since 3am. My body was exhausted but my mind was just up and racing and didn’t want to turn off. I stayed in bed until 5:45am , hoping I would fall back to sleep but it never happened.

One nice thing that did happen while I was laying there is that Doris jumped up on the bed and visited me — that was the first time she’s done that since Daddycakes died. So that was really sweet and I’m glad I was awake for that. But mostly I was just laying there thinking about life. Not in a bad way, just in that way that was teetering on “bad.” And I really wanted to just be done with it and go back to sleep.

Instead, I got up and fed the cats, and now it’s all these hours later, and I’ve had 3 cups of coffee so I’m wired and thoroughly exhausted at the same time. And I’ve been sitting here in front of Chapter 20 of Blessed By Light for over 2 hours already, waiting for the Muse to appear but — nada.

Nothing’s coming. I’ve even tried begging: Just one WORD. Just the first word of the second paragraph of Chapter 20. Anything to give me a thread to follow.

But, literally, nothing is there.  Just an empty void.

I have 2 muses. One is human and alive and living in the world  – you know who he is because I’m always blogging about him.  And I was hoping that perhaps one of his Red Hand Files newsletters would go out this morning, because I always get inspired by those, but – zippo there, too.

The other muse is the Muse. Capital “M.” The one from that great beyond place who is dictating Blessed By Light.

Neither muse is around today. It’s like the whole world is empty. Like some huge meeting was called that the whole world is attending right now and I was the only one who didn’t get the memo. So here I sit, waiting. While everyone else on Earth – physical and nonphysical – is off eating free doughnuts and finding out something really, really important that I remain oblivious to.

Usually I don’t mind waiting on the Muse. He’s already delivered 19 chapters plus one paragraph for Chapter 20, so I know he’s not going to simply abandon the book. But I’m on my 3rd day of getting nothing, not a single word, and I get antsy.

I really hate getting antsy. That’s when my mind starts dipping into really unproductive places and then I have to focus my energy into not thinking stuff like that.

Nothing is more frustrating than having to force your mind to stop thinking about something.  Because that “something” just becomes a larger and larger magnet for your unproductive thoughts.

I think it’s best to just walk away, and go spend some time in the huge storage closet in my guest room. Because in there is a suitcase full of all the songs I wrote over a 25-year period. And a file case of all the many papers I wrote when I was in Divinity School; papers that garnered me a Magna Cum Laude GPA but a rather unceremonious adieu when it was uncovered that I believed in a radical Jesus Christ instead of the one I was supposed to believe in. And there are 3 bookcases in that closet, filled with 40 years of my journals and all the books I’ve written or edited or contributed to, including the various languages they were translated into…

You know, a way to force myself to relax and realize that today is not the day that I will suddenly stop writing FOREVER.

The Muse, or muses, will return. They always do. I must remind myself of this today. Okay. Thanks for visiting. See ya, gang. I love you.

Muse-luring doughnuts!

 

 

 

A Contemplative Evening in April

It’s been a strange day. Not a bad one, just that everything kind of keeps making me stop and think and then weigh everything.

My “Mr Stagger Lee.” tee shirt arrived. I’m not entirely sure what compelled me to buy it, but I just suddenly decided I had to have it.  Not a single solitary person for hundreds of miles from here will have any clue what it means, but I do. To me, it stands for everything about a truly artistic mind (Nick Cave’s) (no boundaries) that I love.

Mr Stagger Lee, Nick Cave, T-Shirt

It fits fine. But I’m still not used to having boobs. You know, I look in the mirror and think to myself; What are those? I still expect to be sort of flat-chested bc I always had modest breasts, up until I was in my 40s. And even though I only weigh about 5 pounds more than I weighed at, like, age 39, my boobs are just way larger than those 5 pounds should indicate.

When I was 6, I can remember just being barely tall enough to be able to see my naked, flat-chested self in my dresser mirror in my bedroom in Cleveland, and wishing and hoping really really hard that one day I was gonna have super big boobs. Like the girls in my dad’s Playboy had. But I was always just a 34B. And then it was like, at age 43 or something, God suddenly remembered what I’d been wishing for at age 6 and went, SHAZAM, here’s those boobs you wanted… Man. Overnight.  I kinda liked it the other way.

But oh well. The tee shirt arrived. And it fits. And no one will have a clue what it means, or they’ll think of the Lloyd Price version, which is also really good, but Nick Cave’s vision just blows everything else out of the water, although it’s now way too politically incorrect for most of America.

Then I wanted to call the veterinary offices about Daddycakes’ remains and a little plaster paw print that they were going to make for me. When I looked at the invoice to find their phone number, I saw that they had listed Daddycakes’ name as “stray cat”. That broke my heart. He was so much more than a stray cat to me. He lived in my home for 7 years and woke me up every single morning, always so happy to be pouncing on top of me. And then the lady on the phone told me that he wasn’t ready yet, that it would likely be the end of the week. Which meant that my little cat’s body is still in some dark refrigerator, 30 miles away from me. And he’s been in there for well over a week. It made me sad.

Then Blessed By Light has taken a really unexpected turn, plot-wise. Loyal readers of this lofty blog know that this unusual novel is being dictated to me straight from the Muse, so I never know what’s coming next. And Chapter 20 got underway Monday afternoon and I was really stunned by what came out. And it is going to make the entire chapter very intense, very sad, and, well, contemplative. And I sat with the opening paragraph all day today, tweaking it just a little and I kept asking the Muse, “Are you sure about this? This is really where you want to go?”

I’m guessing this is where he really wants to go, but he hasn’t put in an appearance all day. So it was one of those days where I just did minor tweaking and a little tightening here & there, but wrote nothing new. Even though I know that something huge is coming.

So it’s just one of those evenings. Not sure what to do with myself. When the chapter just sits there on the laptop and nothing new arrives.

One cheerful thought on the horizon, though: stuff with Peitor Angell and our new production company out in LA, Abstract Absurdity Productions, is really going great. All I have to do if I get too frustrated is think of that, of how much Peitor makes me laugh, and I smile.

Peitor in Italy a couple weeks ago

Okay, well, thanks for visiting, gang. I hope you have a peaceful evening, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with one of my favorite peaceful songs of all time. I love you, guys. See ya.

Still More from Hell’s Kitchen

Although today, the song is actually from the East Village, circa 1984. (As usual, if you’re on your phone, you gotta turn it sideways to see this music-related post.)

You’ll notice, once you scroll down a little, that my hairstyle changed drastically by the time I was living in the East Village (also called Alphabet City back then).

The East Village (Avenues A through D, and E.14th Street to Houston Street) has been completely gentrified nowadays, but back then, you only ventured into the East Village if you were either Puerto Rican and born there, or you were really poor and/or a struggling artist of some sort and still wanted to live on the island of Manhattan.

I, of course, fell into the 2nd category.

I left my first husband in 1983. Technically, I left because of a misunderstanding. I was pretty sure he’d told me to get out. He claims he didn’t say this and was furious when I left him, refusing to divorce me for another 7 years. However, he was always saying these weird, convoluted things to me, like, “Has it ever occurred to you to stop taking drugs??!!” “Are you ever going to grow up??!!” “Are you ever going to stop fucking around with musicians [male & female] and behave like my wife??!!”

ME: (Question #1)Yes.

ME: (Question #2) I’m not sure.

ME: (Question #3) No.

So I moved out and all I could afford was a 2 bedroom floor-through in an old tenement on E. 12th Street, between Avenues A & B.  But don’t let it fool you; the “bedrooms” were only big enough for a bed, and there were no doors – one room led right into the next. There was a non-working fireplace in the front room, and a non-working fireplace in the kitchen, along with the cast iron bathtub. However, someone along the way had been thoughtful enough to put in a half-wall of glass brick to sort of give a feeling of privacy to the bathtub, so that was super nice! People sitting at the kitchen table didn’t have to look directly at you while you were bathing. And then the toilet was in a tiny closet at the very back.

The entire apartment was maybe about 600 square feet, and the whole building leaned in the direction of the East River, so you had to get used to walking, sleeping, and sitting on an extreme slant. I can remember sitting at my kitchen table and writing in my journals, feeling like the chair would topple backwards at any moment, the sloping floor was that extreme.

But I lived there for 9 years until I ventured into my 2nd marriage (where the questions put to me by my second husband were remarkably similar!).

I have some amazing memories from that era in the East Village, gang. I was still playing music out in clubs all the time. I had a new band and sometimes I had a manager (although we argued a lot and often she was indescribably pissed off at me because I was indescribably opinionated). I had indescribably huge amounts of sex in that apartment, too. And some of it was actually really good sex, too. I wrote constantly. Songs, mostly. But I wrote in my journals all the time, documenting everything, including my own insanity. And I also began taking my fiction writing seriously while living in that apartment – I was living there when I first started getting published in underground zines.

The neighborhood itself was just awful. It was full of deserted tenements that looked like bombed-out buildings. These were called shooting galleries because junkies would go in there to have a semblance of privacy while they were shooting up or nodding out. Because of the heroin problems down there, crime was also really bad. And when crack came in, the neighborhood got vicious.

But art was all over. Iggy Pop lived a couple blocks from me in one direction. Richard Hell and Allen Ginsberg lived a block away in the other direction (not with each other, though). Life Cafe was around one corner, where a number of my friends gave poetry readings, and The Ritz was around the other corner (where I saw many cool musicians, including but not limited to: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Nina Hagen, and Lou Reed. And back then, tickets to these shows cost $13.50)

There were a number of sex clubs in the East Village, where BDSM was going into some really dark realms. Stuff was going on that even I would shy away from.  There were a few after hours bars. The Mafia had a store front up the block from me. There were dirty cops on the take all over the place; cops from the 9th Precinct, which was just a  horrible precinct back then. Dirty cops scared me more than anything I had encountered up to that point, and by then I had already been raped a number of times. But dirty cops were just fucking scary. I accidentally walked in to a video store on Avenue A once, when a cop was in the middle of a payoff. He saw me see it, unfortunately, and even though I tried really hard not to see it and left right away, he followed me all the way home. And the cops did shit to my friends that was truly terrifying.

There were people having sex in the parks all night, including friends of mine who were turning tricks there to make enough money to score heroin. They were wretched little parks. They had swing sets and sliding boards and teeter-totters for the little poor kids who would play there during the day. But then public sex was rampant there during the night.

Of course AIDS was everywhere by then. Most of my friends were dying from it, right and left. I literally lost count of how many friends died from AIDS.  And it was also during this time period that I volunteered for Visiting Nurse Services of NY and watched a lot of people die (see my post about Peter Hujar here.) I was also taking that songwriting workshop with Jim Carroll at that point and was writing some really cool songs.

The one I posted today is called Avenue A. It’s a rockabilly number, actually. This is a 24-track demo, but still analogue. Rob Nash is playing the electric guitar (check it out  – he was great.) His wife, Judy, was on drums. Lloyd Blake was on bass and then me on acoustic and vocals. This is a really fun demo, gang. I always liked it.

All righty. So here’s the hair from that era. First, me on the Double R subway train during the daytime, with no make-up and no Aqua Net hairspray:

Me on the Double R

The performer version of me back then, with make-up and hairspray. You can see here that Aqua Net hairspray really was awesome stuff!

Marilyn Jaye Lewis with make-up and hairspray!! Although I went by the name Marilyn Jaye then. My legal last name back then was Chong.

All righty, gang!! I gotta get crackin’ around here.  Hard at work on Chapter 20 of Blessed By Light. Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya!