Gracias, Amigos!

Well, today is the final day for the free eBook downloads at Smashwords and I have to say, in all astonishment, my erotic novel from 2011, Freak Parade, (yes, that’s 8 years ago already), had over 1000 free downloads.

So, I’m sort of saying, “thanks,” and also trying hard not to do the math on my royalties had you chosen to download the darn eBook for the usual $3.99. (!!)

But, thank you. That novel meant a lot to me and it frustrated me beyond belief when my agent shopped it for 5 years and no one would publish it because they couldn’t figure out how to market it.

Only 2 editors hated the book, the rest loved the book. So it was just a very frustrating thing that no one would step up to bat for it. (And also to be expecting a 6-figure advance from one publisher and have that dashed at the last moment… at Christmas…)

How can you not know how to market a book like Freak Parade? It’s all about the covert & overt racism shown towards Puerto Ricans in New York City every single goddamned day.

Oh, wait. There’s all that graphic sex in there… God knows, nobody wants to be confronted with sex. It ruins all the racism! And the drugs! And the music! And the Mafia! And all the homeless people living with AIDS!

So frustrating.

Anyway, the book meant a lot to me and so I published it myself. And I think I did a great job. A lot of talented people helped me with it, for sure. The cover, especially. I think that cover alone helped me win the Silver Medal at the Independent Book Publisher Awards that year. I really do. (That was for the trade paper and hard cover editions.)

I am still planning on developing it as a limited online streaming series with Bohemia Originals in LA, but God knows, I’ve got a lot on my plate right at this particular moment.

That said, though, the rewrites on Tell My Bones are really, really going great. Through some miracle, all those things I struggled with before, when trying to translate too many elements from the screenplay to the stage — I’m working all of that through this time.  (I think  it’s because the director said, “Stop trying to stage it, let me do that.” It opened things up for me.)

Okay, I’m going to close now and get to work. I leave you with the theme song from Freak Parade.  And a brief excerpt from the novel below that. Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya.


(Excerpt from Freak Parade, approx.  4 pages)

He took so long getting there that I thought maybe he’d changed
his mind. But then the buzzer sounded at last and I let him in.

“You don’t look so good, papi.”

“I know,” he said. “Trust me, I know.”

He came in and flung himself down on the couch.

“What is it, Eddie? Tell me.”

He sighed heavily and took off his coat. “Nothing.”

I had the money in a wad in my jeans pocket. I pulled it out. I
handed it to him. I said, “Please, take it. Pay me back when you can,
there isn’t any hurry. I don’t need it right now. Take it.”

He wouldn’t take the money. He just stared at it, at me, holding it
out to him. Then a dark cloud came over him and not the look of relief I’d been hoping to see. He said, “Is this what you had me come all the way over for? So that you could humiliate me like this?”

“No, Eddie. I’m not trying to humiliate you. I’m trying to help.”

“That’s not going to help.”

“But it’s a hundred dollars,” I said. “I can get you more if you need

He stood up abruptly. “I’m going,” he said.

“Eddie, don’t – please. Don’t go. Let me help. It’s just money.”

He turned on me then. He was extremely angry. He spat, “Is that
right? It’s just money? Come here,” he said. “I want to explain something to you about money.”

“No,” I said, knowing where that would lead us. “Come on, Eddie.
Calm down.”

“No. Come here. Right now, come here.”

Instead, I moved farther away. “No, Eddie.”

“I want to make something very clear to you about money, so you
understand, mami.”

“I already understand,” I said. “I can tell – I’m punished!”

Sí, mami. You are so punished.”

But why? I don’t understand this! Why?

“I don’t know why,” he boomed at the top of his voice. “You just
are, goddamn it! Now come here!”

I was petrified. He was too angry for me to risk moving even an
inch closer. I realized I was still clutching the wad of useless money and I felt so impotent that I started to cry.

“Don’t do it!” he shouted again. “Don’t cry! That’s not going to
help me, either.”

I screamed out, “What is going to help?”

“I don’t fucking know!” He sank back down on the sofa, his head
in his hands now. It was as if every ounce of fight he’d had in him only
a moment ago, had run out through a gaping wound. There were tears on his face. I was dumbfounded.

“You have no idea, Genie,” he said quietly. “You have no idea. I
have really been having a fucked-up couple of days. I can’t handle it
anymore. First, the mail came and Father Andrew says that there’s
something in it for me. I never get mail at that place. My mother usually gets my mail. But I knew what was in that envelope Father Andrew gave me. I didn’t even have to open it. I recognized it, you know? Fucking Claudia was suing me for the child support. I opened the envelope anyway and sure enough, not only was she suing me but there was already a hold on my driver’s license until I report to some office on lower Broadway to fill out some sort of pile of paperwork to prove I’m fucking broke. That was it for me, you know? How much was I supposed to take from that bitch? I’m trying to be fair.

“So I went right over to Claudia’s, to try to reason with her. To get
her to drop the suit; to give me a chance to find some decent work and get caught up on the child support. When I get up to the apartment, I find out she’s now living with some guy, some pendejo who has a good job. The two of them both work for the city, Genie, do you know what that means?”

“What?” I said, coming closer.

“It means they both have paychecks coming in, good paychecks,
benefits out the ass, right? Why the fuck does she need to sue me at this particular point? Put my license in jeopardy like this? I have no
goddamned work!”

I sat down next to him. I put my arm around him, tentatively at
first, but he didn’t pull away. He said, “And then my son is there and
do you know what happens?”


“My son calls that pendejo ‘papi.’ Right in front of me! Papi. He’s
not your fucking papi, I shouted. I’m your papi. He’s just the hijodeputa who’s fucking your mami!”

I didn’t know what that meant but it wasn’t the time to be asking
for a translation. I guessed it was unpleasant.

“So that pendejo lunges at me. And I’m fine with it. I am going to
bust his fucking head wide open. Let him come at me; let him make the first move. And he does. And my kid starts crying. And there’s a huge fight and of course, I’m winning. I told him, nigger please, just bring it on. And he’s bleeding all over the place and now he’s trying to get away. So naturally, Claudia calls the fucking cops and has me arrested. I got arrested for defending myself. Taken to fucking jail. But I made sure that mamabicho got taken in right along with me – so what? I spend the fucking night in jail. But did they have to handcuff me right in front of my son like that? I asked them to do it outside. Please. Do it outside, even out in the fucking hall. I’m not running anywhere, but they can’t even give me that break. They put on the cuffs. My kid is screaming like crazy at that point.”

“You spent the night in jail? Last night?”

Sí, mami. I spent the night in jail. And now I have thirty days to
pay that fine or they’ll lock me up again. But they made the mistake of putting me in the same cell as that pendejo and I managed to kick the shit out of him before they realized their mistake and moved me.”

Now at least he was smiling. Faintly, but smiling.

“And then I got back to the shelter this morning and you know
what I find out?”

“What, papi?”

“The church has sold the fucking building! The goddamned
church needs money so I gotta move! I have sixty days and then I’m

“Oh my god. Eddie.”

“Do you still think it’s ‘just money,’ mami?”

“Eddie, I’m so sorry. What are we going to do?”

“We, mami? It’s not your problem. It’s mine.”

“But how can you have a problem, Eddie, without it being my
problem, too? I love you.”

Clearly, I’d caught him off guard. He stared at me strangely then
he kissed me. “And to think papi wanted to punish you,” he said softly.
“Don’t worry, I still might,” he added. “I know how much it pleases
you…You’re blushing again, mami.”

“No, I’m not.”

Sí, mami, you are. It’s okay. You don’t have to be ashamed of it, I
know all about it.” He affectionately smoothed my hair away from my face.

“About what? What are you talking about?”

“Girls like you. You don’t think I figured out girls like you a long
time ago? White, Spanish, it doesn’t matter. A girl like you wants to be punished by her papi.”

I was indignant. “I do not.”

“Sí, mami, you do. It makes you come. I know all about it. You’re a
little girl who wants her papi to pay attention to her. I’m a papi, sí? I’m a magnet for girls like you. You aren’t the first one.”

I was speechless, utterly speechless. How had the conversation
wound its way to this; to me feeling like a total fool?

“However,” he said. “To get back to what I was saying. Father
Andrew said I could have a job again taking care of church property,
and not a shelter this time, a place where visiting priests stay. I could
have a house and a yard and a car and a little boat, a charcoal grill and a plastic pool and a goddamned fucking dog if I wanted one, but you know where this paradise is? In Pennsyl-fucking-vania, mami. So there goes that idea.”


Sí, Pennsylvania. I’d have to leave New York.”

“But you wouldn’t have to pay rent?”

“I’d have to pay rent, but at least I’d have a job. I could actually pay
rent. But I’m not moving to Pennsylvania. Who the fuck would I know in Pennsylvania? It would be just me and a pooch and a bunch of traveling priests, like a sideshow or something. And god knows what those priests are ever really up to, you know what I’m saying? And how could I be without you, mami? How could I be without my little Ivory girl making me crazy every day, driving me out of my fucking mind? She’s living with fags, she’s sleeping with dykes; she’s putting cocaine up her nose. She’s doing things I don’t expect, that I don’t understand, she’s doing anything she wants in her little white girl way, whatever pops into her pretty head on any given day until she’s handing me money and I have to shout, stop it you’re punished, and she screams why, papi, why? And I don’t know why, I don’t have a clue anymore…how can I live without that, huh?”

Did I really make him that crazy? “You’d really miss me, papi?”

Mami, I love you. You know that. I can’t go away. I need to get a
job; I need to find a proper place so that you don’t have to live here like this, without a home, either. So that you can, well…”

This was curious. “So I can what?”

“I want to give you a home, mami. I love you. Whether or not you
want to have a home with me, I guess that’s something you’ll have to
decide. But right now, I can’t do anything anyway. I don’t even have a
place for myself, let alone for you – a girl who could live anywhere in
the fucking world she wanted to.”

© – 2011 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Yeah, Baby! You Know What Those Little Happy Cats Mean!

It means it’s laundry day around here!

Am I the only person who loves doing laundry??

I actually love doing laundry. I think because I spent a couple of decades in New York City either having to lug all my dirty clothes to the laundromat, or to the laundry room of the basement of the apartment building.

And now I have my own GE energy efficient washer and dryer, just off of my kitchen! I can do laundry anytime I fucking want to!! And I don’t have to save quarters all week long. (Or all month long, depending on how long it took me to get myself to the laundromat.) (I was definitely one of those people who kept going to Woolworth’s to buy more underwear all the time because I couldn’t manage to get my laundry done in a timely manner…)

But no more! I’m not exactly Susie Homemaker, or anything (although I’m not Susie Homewrecker, either!), but I always have clean laundry.


My second installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa was posted at last evening. You can view it here, in Personal Stories.

Thanks for being supportive of that, gang. It means a lot to me. I will be working on my third installment for that memoir later this week.

Meanwhile, of course, I must get back to rewrites of the play. I spoke briefly with Gus Van Sant Sr again last night. (In case you don’t know or don’t remember, he used to be Helen LaFrance’s business manager — she is the painter that my play, Tell My Bones, is about.) He had sent me over a document that’s going over to the lawyer, about his past history with Helen and her art, and her family, etc. It was fascinating to read.

He is a wonderful man. Really, just the most considerate human being, ever. He once gave me a job when I really, really needed one and he didn’t know me from anyone else on Earth.

I only casually knew the woman who cut his hair at his country club. (He used to be a fanatical golfer.) The reason I was back in Ohio is a long, painful story (if you know anything at all about narcissists and “the discard” you can piece together what ultimately happened with me and my aging, adoptive mother). But that aside, I’d had no idea that the business office of Gus Van Sant’s movie production company was 7 minutes from my house.

At the time, I had been back in Ohio for less than 6 months, I had a new home and a 5-figure mortgage, and then the economy tanked, and the publishing industry practically imploded. 4 of my primary publishers went out of business on the very same day, and even the publishers who published me occasionally either folded, or began paying horrible money as they tried to just survive.

At the same time, I was living with a man I trusted, who moved with me from NYC, but I had no clue he had a horrific gambling problem from long ago that was in remission. The city in Ohio that we moved to had a brand new casino. In record time, behind my back, he gambled away my entire savings. All of it — gone. And I had a new mortgage and no publishers left.

It was really just the best year.

But this hairdresser who hardly knew me but knew I was a writer who had moved  to Ohio from NYC, told Gus I needed a job. Sight unseen, he hired me because he needed a new assistant. He truly kept me from going under. And even though he couldn’t solve all my problems for me, he was really just a solid emotional anchor for me when I really, really needed that.

And then the whole Helen LaFrance project was born from that work relationship, so meeting him really was probably the best day of my life.

And the worst year, in hindsight, was likely my best year.

However, on that note, I really gotta get going here! The director wants to meet “in a few days” to go over my re-writes so far, so having some would be ideal, don’t’cha think??

Okay. Thanks for visiting! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world! I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning. I think there’s a Country band who has a remake of this song out there somewhere now, but I love this version from the 1980s. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, singing Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” I love you guys! See ya!

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere”

Clouds so swift, the rain won’t lift
Gates won’t close, the railing’s froze.
So get your mind off wintertime,
You ain’t going nowhere.

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Buy me a flute, and a gun that shoots
Tail gates and substitutes
Strap yourself to a tree with roots,
You ain’t going nowhere

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Well I don’t care how many letters they sent
The morning came and the morning went

So pack up your money, and pick up your tent
You ain’t going nowhere

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

And Genghis Khan he could not keep
All his men supplied with sleep.
We’ll climb that hill no matter how steep
When we get up to it

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

c- 1967 Bob Dylan

Just a Hodge-Podge of Summer!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post today. I had a strange morning, which stemmed from a terrible car accident I saw early last evening.

Well, I didn’t see the accident. I was stuck in  traffic and the accident was directly in front of me, after it had happened, as they removed the victims from the wrecks and then had to have a helicopter arrive and air-vac a small, unconscious child to the hospital an hour away, in the city. Never a good sign. So heartbreaking.

The whole thing was just horrible. And for some reason, the saints & angels decided I should have a front row seat for that, for over an hour.

Naturally, it stuck with me. I really don’t think anyone survived that accident. It felt like all the emergency vehicles were just a last resort. Both cars were destroyed.

And I had Neil Young’s Harvest on the car’s CD player because of yesterday’s post. “The Needle & the Damage Done” was playing over and over as I sat there, stuck in my car, watching the horrible stuff unfolding —  until I realized it was playing over and over, and I had to just sort of shut everything off. It was too much.

And of course, stuck in the traffic there with me were trucks and cars galore, with inner tubes, canoes, and kayaks strapped to them, heading to (or from) the truly beautiful Black Hand Gorge, a few miles from here (pictured below).

Image result for black hand gorge ohio

Image result for black hand gorge ohio

Well, on a brighter note.

Even while I don’t actually believe in the church as a structure anymore, I do believe in Saints & Angels and miracles of all kinds. And I always pray to St. Francis and St. Christopher, and to Jesus, whenever I get into my car because there are a whole heck of a lot of animals around here, especially at night, and I seriously do not want to ever kill one of them.

And I have miraculously avoided killing all sorts of animals, gang. From stray cats, to groundhogs, to deer, to tiny little field mice, darting across the road.

However, the other night was the strangest thing.  I was on the back road not far from my house (imagine the scene below, well after dark, there is a road in there). (I told you I lived in the middle of nowhere – this is what it looks like as soon as you leave the village where my house is):

Image result for raiders road muskingum county ohio

Anyway. Driving at night. Twisty-turny. Then the tall cornfields, and who should come scurrying out of the cornfield, right into the road, but one of those raccoon cubs!

I slammed on my brakes, and I swerved to miss it, and I swear that my car lifted up off the road — like it feels when you hydroplane in water,  but the road was completely dry. And then my car sort of gently landed a few feet ahead of where I’d started out.

I was not dreaming this. It was the most amazing sensation. And of course the little raccoon scurried away unharmed. I could not get over it. I tell you, there are the most amazing spirits in Muskingum County, especially right around where I live.

Anyway. While I’m at it. Here is the 2nd Street Grill in my little village. This is a block away from me. It is only open for breakfast, weekdays. It is directly next door to the police station — that little brick building to the side there, is the police station. (It really is like living in Mayberry…)

Related image

And directly across the street from this establishment, is a sort of very old Town Hall, with an old gazebo out front and everything. It’s on a nice, really big corner, with trees and the original brick sidewalks, grass growing up through the cracks. The Volunteer Fire Department is directly behind it.

I was thinking we could get a grand piano put in the Town Hall and Nick Cave could come and have one of his Conversations there — just like he’ll be doing at Town Hall in New York. I feel confident that all 14 of the people who live here would attend. If only out of sheer bewildered curiosity. And out of politeness — because people here are super polite, I’m serious — the people would ask him questions, and I feel thoroughly positive they would be unlike the questions he usually gets, because, you know, nobody at all would know who he was. And then, and only then, if the 14 people left the event thinking that Nick Cave was God, well, then and only then, would I be forced to believe it. Finally.

Okay! So! Here is my little cat, Francis (named after F. Scott Fitzgerald even though she’s a girl cat). You can’t tell how tiny she is by this photo, but I usually call her Peanut because she is just super tiny. She is also super MEAN. You cannot get anywhere near this little cat.

Francis, aka Peanut. Excuse the dust on the dresser. This is in the guest room. If you were ever coming to actually visit me, I would dust it!!

And here is my enormous hydrangea, right outside of my kitchen porch. I love this thing!! It has grown like crazy this summer. I actually hug this big bush whenever I pass it on my way to the car because it makes me so happy and the flowers are so soft and fluffy.

The hydrangea! Photo taken just a few moments ago!!

And here is St. Francis himself!! Guardian of raccoons and impatiens. This is on my front porch. The windows look into my dining room. You can see that my front porch is practically right on the sidewalk. The huge maple tree is directly across the sidewalk from the porch. (All of this stuff is 118 years old.)

Look carefully in the corner of the far window…

Yes!! My one remaining male cat — Weenie. Watching me water the flowers and take photos!

Weenie, watching me from the dining room!

And then this was too cute!! When I went back inside, he was still in the dining room, looking out the window.

Weenie in the dining room, looking out!

Okay, gang! Enough. Unless you wanted to see a picture of me taken at Girl Scout sleep-away camp, when I was 9! If so, here it is!! (If you don’t wish to see it, scroll down really fast…)

Marilyn Jaye Lewis at Girl Scout Sleep -Away camp!! Age 9!!

All righty, gang!! I’m gonna close up shop here and enjoy a peaceful, easy evening for a change.

Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya. (I leave you with the sexiest summer love song, ever.) (I bet this guy would even bring a gal a cup of coffee in the morning! He seems confident enough, right?)

“Peaceful Easy Feeling”

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown.
And I wanna sleep with you in the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around.

‘Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling.
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standing on the ground.

And I found out a long time ago
What a woman can do to your soul.
Oh, but she can’t take you anyway,
You don’t already know how to go.

And I got a peaceful easy feeling.
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standing on the ground.

I get this feeling I may know you
As a lover and a friend.
But this voice keeps whispering in my other ear,
Tells me I may never see you again.

‘Cause I get a peaceful easy feeling.
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standing
I’m already standing
Yes, I’m already standing on the ground


Greying Eyebrows Along the Way

I sent this to Kara to show that, you know, I do occasionally wash my hair… My hair gets intensely silver right after I wash it.

I like how one of my eyes looks sad and the other looks happy. She said it was just my Janus face, showing my yin and yang. I liked that description!

I also like how grey my eyebrows are getting. I always loved Susan Sontag’s eyebrows and how grey they got, the older she got. She always looked so intensely intelligent. I’m hoping for a similar result… Although sometimes if I wear eye makeup I use a dark pencil on my brows, to make them look like how they looked in my wee bonny girlhood. And it almost looks too intense.

Anyway!! Taking selfies. Texting. Studying Italian. While the play hovers….

They that go down to the sea in ships…

These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

But on another note…

Fellow blogger William, in Australia, informed me during the night that the photo I posted of Nick Cave yesterday is from the otherwise black & white film, One More Time With Feeling. (An intensely beautiful film, btw.)

(I won’t explain why I was looking at blog comments at 3:15am. I’m sure it was probably daytime where he was. Actually, I have no clue what time it was for him, since I have no mental faculties whatsoever for figuring out what time or day or season it is in Australia, ever. But he was awake, because he replied to my reply…)

Anyway. I still have no recollection of what I was reading when I saw the photo of Nick Cave yesterday. Some sort of online newspaper thing. Clearly, it was riveting and memorable…

Regarding my diagram of the play that I posted yesterday afternoon… No! The ghost of Elvis does not appear in my play. Helen LaFrance’s first (& second) husband was named Elvis Linn. She married & divorced him twice. Then he died. And he’s the ghost that appears in my play.

Lots of ghosts in my play. And trains. (Well, just one ever-oncoming train, really — and the train is also a ghost.)


Well, I am exhausted, gang. It was one of those mornings where I slept too long — it was 7am when I finally got out of bed. (For me, 7am is usually when I’m sitting down at my desk to write.)  It was a stunning morning, but I was so exhausted that I just wanted to cry. (I didn’t, but I wanted to.)

You know, just once, I wish someone would being me a cup of coffee while I’m still in bed. Just once. Just that.

Well, and feed the cats for me. And vacuum my house. And dust it. And clean the upstairs bathtub, too.

Remember Neil Young’s song from Harvest – “A Man Needs A Maid”? Well, guess what? A gal over here in Crazeysburg needs one, too. For all the same reasons, it turns out, 47 years later.

(Talk about riveting and memorable — Harvest is such a great album. If you’re too young to know it, you should find it somewhere and play it. I’m guessing it’s one of those things you can hear for free, somewhere.) (You can hear it for free in my house, because I own it.) (Subtle hint: buy music, gang!)

All right. Well the morning is almost gone, so I should get going around here.  (I did manage to wash my hair already, so that’s, you know, an astounding achievement over here.) But I need to get to work on the play.

And it isn’t so much the play that’s exhausting me. It’s just an emotional thing, you know? I’m getting emotional. All around me, I see people strapping kayaks to their trucks and heading off for vacations. And I wonder what the fuck is the matter with me? I never go on a vacation. Ever. I travel. But I’m always working when I travel.

My friend Kara wants to go away for a day & a night, to one of those cabins down by the caves. And “get away from it all” and just chill.

And, actually, I really want to do this because I love the idea of just going away for a day & a night in a cabin and just talking with Kara, because she is on the most amazing planet. I seriously love visiting it.

But this idea of going off to the middle of quiet nowhere, to get away from it all — I live that every single gosh darn day. I mean, I have a (really, really old) house, not a cabin. But otherwise, gang. I am in the middle of quiet, peaceful, beautiful nowhere, and I think I still manage to work harder/longer hours than anyone I personally know.

I think the key is “having someone to talk to.” I talk to the cats, of course. They don’t actually ignore me. What they do is sort of look at me with those pained expressions, as if they’re thinking: oh no, she’s making those sounds in our direction again. I hope she doesn’t try to touch us or anything.

So, conversations with my cats are less than rewarding, always.  But it just seems that right now, at this juncture in my life, I have so much writing that wants to come out (I would even say, needs to come out). And if I had one of those “relationships” that you so often see people undertaking, I would only make the other person insane and they would make me insane, because they would want to talk to me or something intense like that. And then I would destroy the relationship because I can’t talk right now, I need to write…

Well, that’s it in a nutshell (or a “nuthouse” if you want to take in the full scope of my entire existence .)

I’m gonna scoot now, and get back at it. The play, that is. Revising it for the 17 millionth time…

So. Thanks for visiting! Have a really fun Sunday, wherever are you and whatever you’re doing! I love you guys. See ya.


“A Man Needs A Maid”

My life is changing in so many ways
I don’t know who to trust anymore
There’s a shadow running through my days
Like a beggar going from door to door.

I was thinking that maybe I’d get a maid
Find a place nearby for her to stay.
Just someone to keep my house clean,
Fix my meals and go away.

A maid.
A man needs a maid.
A maid.

It’s hard to make that change
When life and love turn strange
And cold.

To give a love, you gotta live a love.
To live a love, you gotta be “part of”.

When will I see you again?

A while ago somewhere, I don’t know when
I was watching a movie with a friend.
I fell in love with the actress.
She was playing a part that I could understand.

A maid.
A man needs a maid.
A maid.
A man needs a maid.

When will I see you again?

c – 1972 Neil Young

Getting There!!

Yes! Here we have it! The play. Finally! All done and ready to go…

Luckily, this makes a LOT of sense to me…probably not to anyone else yet, though.

Mostly, I really wanted to post this photo of the front of the director’s house.  This photo was taken a couple days ago. In case you thought I was exaggerating before…

And here’s a beautiful photo of Nick Cave that I saw online today, although I have no idea when it’s from or who took it, or anything. At this point, I can’t even remember what I was reading when I saw it. (My mind is approaching the Jello stage at this point. I think I might need a nap…)

Okay. Now I gotta get back at it. See ya.

Just Getting Ready to Figure it All Out…

Now it’s all about being a tuner, being a receiver, and allowing the signal to just come.

I’ve written this play how many times already, gang? How many times? Now I just need the best possible version of it to get itself onto the page.

I know it is all there. So I simply have to receive it.

We’ve all decided that Sandra is not going to come here to begin rehearsals on August 5th. We’ll start the rehearsals in September, in NYC. And the director wants to spend the next several weeks here, just working with me on the script. To finally nail it down.

I work well under that kind of pressure, but it is indeed pressure.

And when I say “here” I don’t mean that the director will be here in my ancient home that is from pioneer days. I mean “here” as in 20 miles from me, in his circa 1929 mansion that is just so beautiful and has more rooms in it than I can even remember (i.e., you need to consult your map to find the powder room).

So he won’t be exactly standing behind me, looking over my shoulder as I type; as I sweat, as I squirm; as I squint at the laptop screen because I refuse to wear my glasses; as I fumble with an unlit Pall Mall between my fingers — toying, for hours, with the idea of actually lighting it. Throwing it down angrily once in a while so that I can grab handfuls of my unwashed hair or rub the skin right off my forehead and say: Think, Marilyn, think! There’s got to be a better word here. Fucking find it already. Jesus fucking Christ!

No. He’ll more likely be drinking a whisky, neat, while sitting out on his sprawling veranda, admiring the 3-acre view of rolling lawns and sweeping trees, while listening to the birds and the gentle tick-tock of the grandfather clock coming through the screen door  from the vestibule; yes, just sipping whisky and silently awaiting more stellar pages to arrive from me. Where are those stellar pages? he might wonder from time to time, as he looks at his pocket watch, the sun setting serenely in the west…

That kind of pressure.

Anyway. I do work well under pressure. But it does mean that, yet again, Peitor and I cannot do any work today on our micro-script for Abstract Absurdity Prods. 3 weeks in a row now. So that bothers me.  But he still has his hands full with exhausting familial/ elderly parents/ obligation stuff out there in West Hollywood. I guess maybe it’s a needed “switching of gears” for both of us right now.

On the topic of short films, though. On Fridays, I get the weekly email from Short of the Week, which always includes about 5 or 6 short films in various categories.  Not to be snarky, or anything, but I rarely find anything that truly blows me away. I still watch them for the editing, the camera angles, the shots, the locations – that kind of thing. How filmmakers are best utilizing these things for short films.

Yesterday, however, there were actually 2 films included in the weekly round-up that I absolutely loved.  Both were Asian-American influenced themes. One Korean-American: Koreatown (12 mins).

Synopsis:  At a discreet host bar in Los Angeles, Kyeong uses his talent and charm to create the illusion of love for the women who hire him. When a new client pays him for a “2nd round,” Kyeong discovers too late that behind her kindly demeanor lies a disturbing request. Watch it online here.

And the other one, Chinese-American: Kiss of the Rabbit God (14 mins).

Synopsis: A film about an ordinary restaurant worker’s extraordinary sexual awakening. Nightly visits from the Rabbit God, who arrives in the body of a tantalizing mysterious stranger, blossom into a tryst that empowers the young man to embark on a journey of self-discovery.  Watch it online below:

Beyond that, what I really wanted to do yesterday was stream old episodes of The Flintstones on my iPad and lie around on my bed, delighting in the absurdity of all that old stuff.

However, under the above-mentioned circumstances, that seemed like a usage of my time that might be a wee bit hard to justify right at this particular juncture. So, watching The Flintstones (see yesterday’s post), I guess, will have to wait…

That said! I gotta scoot and get going on some new stellar pages.

Oh, wait! Two things. I never mentioned that my new passport photo was, yes, even more hideous than my new driver’s license photo! A feat that I didn’t think was humanly possible. And I get to keep it for 10 years….

And also: the Summer Sale at Smashwords ends in 5 days. So if you haven’t already downloaded my eBook titles over there (for free), you have 5 more days to do that in. Titles included are: The Muse Revisited Vols. 1-3; Freak Parade; and Twilight of the Immortal.  The links are above, under “About Marilyn Jaye Lewis”. (Only Smashwords-linked titles are free; Amazon is not.)

All righty! Now I’m really outta here. Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya!

Image result for the flintstones


Yeah, Baby! Drive Happy!!

Spent the wee bonny hours of this beautiful Friday morning at the Honda dealership!

My treasured Honda Fit was acting wonky during that intense heat wave over the weekend and so I had them look at it.  It was feeling like the floor board was gonna drop out of it and I would soon be driving like the Flintstones & the Rubbles:

Image result for fred flintstone car

I love my feet! I wasn’t looking forward to having to run real fast on the freeway…

But after they checked it out, it was a balance issue and Honda had 2 recommendations. There was a $460 difference.

  • I could either get 4 brand new tires.  (approx. $500)
  • I could just drive slower on the really hot days for the next few months, until my lease is up and I trade in my Honda Fit for a new one, and then just pay for the diagnostics they ran today. (approx. $40)

I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it — meaning for about a nanosecond.  Tossed them their 40 bucks and then toodled away! Going my usual 95 mph as soon as I was out of everyone’s field of vision.

But I’m thinking I might fly to NYC in September instead of putting all that wear & tear on the tires, even though I hate flying.  Because I’m guessing that when I do trade it in for a new lease, they’re gonna be inspecting those tires under a microscope (one of those giant tire-sized microscopes that you so often see). (I’m feeling like they’re gonna get $500 out of me somehow…)

Anyway! I’m feeling happy! I’d thought it was gonna be a strut issue of some kind and that can get stupidly expensive.


Yes! Even though I had begged her not to do it, Sandra did in fact take another role in a TV show up in Toronto. A 5-show arc. And so she texted that she “might have to switch up those rehearsal days”.

But’cha know… this meant I didn’t have to explain (yet) just how drastically I am re-writing the play, yet again.

The director texted me that since I am doing such intensive re-writes, we could all just wait and begin rehearsals in NYC in September.

So I texted Sandra and magnanimously said that whatever works best for her, works best for us! — “Oh, and I’m doing  a few more revisions. We can discuss it later.”

(Although, Sandra probably got my text and wondered, how come Marilyn’s being so calm about this and didn’t include a million exclamation points and tons of unhappy-looking emojis?)

Anyway!! I no longer have to do this massive amount of writing in 2 weeks. And the director wrote during the night saying that he loved the new opening pages and that I was a” beautiful and inspiring writer”.

And I said “thanks” and left out the part about how I had a beautiful & inspiring Muse. I decided to just take all the credit for the moment. (It was super early when his email arrived and the world  was still dark, I was still cozily in bed and I only had one eye open and I didn’t want to type some long, drawn-out reply about how amazing my Muse is… so “thanks” seemed sufficient for now.)

So now I have 6 weeks for re-writes instead of 2 and my life couldn’t be better!

However, because of my visit to Honda, which, like everything else around here, is 25 miles away, my morning is gone. So I gotta scoot, gang.

Have a great Friday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting! (Oh, and, wow! thanks for all those visits to the In the Shadow of Narcissa site yesterday. I appreciate it. And I did get one inquiry about how to access the actual posts there — you have to click on the title. And the segments will be posting in reverse order.)

All righty! I love you guys. See ya!

“The Flintstones Theme Song”


Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They’re the modern Stone Age Family
From the town of Bedrock
They’re a page right out of history

Let’s ride with the family down the street
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We’ll have a gay old time

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They’re the modern Stone Age Family
From the town of Bedrock
They’re a page right out of history

Someday maybe Fred will win the fight
Then the cat will stay out for the night

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We’ll have a gay old time

We’ll have a gay old time!

c – 1960 Hanna/ Curtin/ Barbera

I Smell A Pulitzer!! You Bet’cha!!

Another gorgeous day here in Crazeysburg! You would not believe it had been so unbearable only a couple of days ago.

And because it’s so beautiful, I think I’ll spend the next  8 hours, yes, sitting at my desk!

Even while I am actually excited about making the drastic revisions to Tell My Bones — because I believe in the director and I believe that whatever he feels so strongly about is the path to follow here — I do sort of lament that I spent my entire birthday (Monday) at my desk, working on the (old & now useless) revisions of the play.

I was at my desk for over 12 hours on my birthday.  And it really was a struggle, because I wasn’t sure the revisions were working, either.  I wish the director had read the screenplay earlier (I sent him the screenplay at his request 6 weeks ago) and had discovered earlier that we needed to stop and go back down the previous path.

But it’s futile to wish that too hard, right? For whatever reason, we’re on the path right now. So I try to let go of it and focus on what’s in front of me. And next year, maybe I will spend my birthday doing something wonderful.

Yesterday, I added a new segment to In the Shadow of Narcissa. It’s a work in progress, for sure. It’s not what I would call an actual struggle to write it, but it’s a challenge to find balance there, and to tell the story through the eyes of my actual childhood and not tell the story as my grown self, who knows all the awful stuff that came later.

I’m not exactly sure what years the memoir will encompass. I want it to remain in the realm of my childhood in Cleveland. My happiest childhood memories are of Cleveland, but that’s because my paternal (adoptive) grandmother lived there and she was the very best part of my life.

But I do also  have some happy memories about my adoptive mother from the years in Cleveland, even though I was already terrified of her by age 2, when she first lost control and mercilessly abused me. She tried really hard to regain her footing with me after that — and sadly, I believe it was to the detriment of my older brother.  This is my own opinion about what happened. But I think that she was so afraid of herself, and of losing her control again with me and then having my dad find out that it had happened again, that she wound up redirecting all her rage toward my entirely defenseless brother.

As if her rage only counted if it was aimed at me, and that my brother didn’t matter. It was horrible, the stuff she did to my brother and I don’t even really know what happened, because she was always dragging him off to his room and I was always told to sit in a chair and shut up and not move.

Once, she tied his hands together and dragged him off to his room, and a lot of screaming, from him, ensued. He was 5 years old. It had started because he wouldn’t stop biting his nails. I was overwhelmed with anxiety, having to sit there and shut up and hearing him scream and not be able to help him.

I do remember one time being unable to control myself and pleading with her to leave my brother alone. “Mommy, stop!” you know, just inconsolable screaming, wanting to help him. And she actually told me to calm down because he was a boy and boys had to learn how to handle it. (As a footnote,  my older brother stopped any contact with our adoptive mother back in 1982 and I haven’t seen my older brother since 1995.)

She said this. I remember it so clearly. I had a hard time processing that, for sure.  Even at age 4, I could not believe that anyone who was suffering for any reason whatsoever, was meant to learn how to handle it.

Anyway, I’m trying to find balance as I tell In the Shadow of Narcissa. Because I do remember her trying very hard to be kind to me when I was very little, while she was in her early 30s. As the years went on, she became pretty much uncontrollable, 24/7. But I don’t think this memoir is going to be about that. This memoir is going to be about her seeming battle early on to be kind and yet to be filled with rage — a truly unhappy young 1960s American housewife who was also a narcissist.  And how disruptive it was to me psychologically, and how, because I knew I’d been adopted, I began very early on, wishing that my “real” mother would come back and get me.

And then that very real fear of realizing that my “real” mother did not know where I was and that I was on my own.

Regarding the play, though. I decided to take last evening off. It was such a lovely night. I played my guitar up in my room for awhile and I even got out this Tom Petty songbook that someone gave me as a gift, recently.

I have never played a single Tom Petty song on my guitar in all these decades. I am strictly an acoustic rhythm player and so electric guitar stuff has never really called out to me, you know? Even though I know that Tom Petty felt very strongly about his songs staying as simple as possible, so that everyone could play it on an acoustic guitar around a camp fire, right? He believed this. I think it worked for him, too, because he was worth something like $95 million when he died. Keep it simple.

(As an aside, I saw a video on Youtube recently, by way of the AThousandMistakes blog in Australia. It was Warren Ellis and the Dirty 3 playing a recent concert in Sydney, I think. And he was introducing a specific song as their version of a camp fire song that people were supposed to be able to play on their acoustic guitars. It was so funny, because no way on earth could anyone else have been able to even attempt to play that thing.)

Anyway, I was looking at some of those Tom Petty songs in the songbook and I was actually astounded to see that some of my favorites from his early days always had about 3 chords. They were so simple to play.  Even Free Fallin‘ — I had no idea it had 2 chords in the whole song. In fact, the melody itself is comprised of 3 notes, sometimes sang an octave higher, but 3 notes!! In the whole song.

That tells you a lot about how to become a wealthy songwriter in America, doesn’t it? Where we prefer things to be emotionally simple. We really do. I’m not knocking it, either, because I love that song Free Fallin.’ But we want our songs simple. We’re either happy, sad, or angry. That’s about it.

(As another aside, I remember coming out of Mel’s Diner on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was late at night. I was with Peitor and I was talking about a song Nick Cave had written, “We Call upon the Author to Explain.” I just love that song, you know. And I said something to Peitor, like, “I just don’t understand why Americans don’t love Nick Cave.” And Peitor looked at me like I was from Jupiter and he said, “Nick Cave is too smart. Americans like things to be stupid.”)

I don’t want that to sound like an indirect way of saying Tom Petty was stupid, because he wasn’t. He just saw the value in keeping it really simple. And yesterday, as I marveled at the 2-chord, 3-note structure of Free Fallin‘ and, you know, considered the state of my own bank account, and I wondered if simplicity wasn’t in fact the way to go…

Okay, gang! I gotta get started here!! As you know, I have a lot of work to do on Tell My Bones in the next 2 weeks. To put it mildly.

Thanks for visiting, though. I love you guys! And I leave you with your right to choose!! Simple, or not so simple. Okay. I love you guys. See ya!

Get Ready to Not See Me For a Long Time!!

Yes, I was exactly right.

The meeting with the director lasted 3 hours and what was it about? Pages & pages of reasons why I need to revise Tell My Bones yet again to make the play more like the screenplay.

After I’d spent God knows how many days in an unbearable heatwave, revising the play for the millionth time.

The director does not read my blog. However, you, loyal readers, do. So you know I went into that meeting yesterday knowing he was going to say that.

So I’d had a whole night to sleep on it. I knew it was coming.  And I know, with all certainty, that the Universe is somehow going to deliver to me the final version of Tell My Bones that puts the darn screenplay up on that stage. Finally.

I’m not telling Sandra, yet. (She doesn’t read my blog, either.) Because my main concern right now is getting this revised play as close to finished as I can get it in the next 2 weeks. Sandra went through a lot just to free her schedule and make time to fly into this tiny town in Ohio for 3 days so when she gets here, she’d better have something to rehearse or it’s not gonna be funny.

I honestly don’t think she’s going to care which version of the play we run with, as long as she’s got something that she knows is good. (Or gets her a Tony nomination — one or the other. Preferably both.)

The stress was off the charts for me yesterday, gang.  However, a huge part of the problem of revising the screenplay for the stage was always how to stage some of things I was seeing in my head. And one of the (many) nice things the director said to me yesterday was that it’s not my job to stage it. It’s only my job to write it and let him do his job of staging it.

So that helped a lot. I’m not going to worry about staging it or about budget, either. I’m just going to write it down.

Within all that stress of me feeling “how the hell am I going to do this in 2 weeks?!” I sort of lost sight of all the incredible things the director was saying about my screenplay. It eventually did sink in after I left the meeting. That what he’s saying, in essence, is: take all these wonderful words you’ve already written and just put it on the stage. Of course, it’s not really that simple, but in a way, the words are the hard part.

I’ve done this kind of intense rewrite/tight schedule thing before and the rewards were phenomenal for me. Back when I was working on the screenplay for DADAhouse. Frequently, the producers would decide that the entire script needed to be re-written over the weekend. I was always having to pull so many things out of my hat, while under incredible pressure. And eating only Powerbars and drinking nonstop Diet Cokes to somehow get through it.

Yet, when I did, the finished result was part of a 10-minute segment on HBO that really just blew people away — including me. It came off so cool. This was back in 1997, when most people weren’t even online yet — it was all dial-up and most people didn’t have home computers yet. But after that 10-minute segment ran on HBO, 28,000 people logged on to our web site within 20 minutes.

So all the fucking stress I’d gone through was worth it.

So I know that all this fucking stress is gonna be worth it, again.

When I got home from the meeting yesterday, I spent about 5 hours getting all the query letters and submission stuff together for the small presses re: Blessed By Light. Because I knew I was not gonna have another free minute to do that for the next couple of months. Why can’t small presses just have the same submission requirements all across the board?

Well, they don’t. So I had to do all that and check, and re-check, and double-triple check that I was sending the right requested materials to the correct publishers, etc., etc.  And in the middle of all that, Gus Van Sant Sr called again and asked me if I had all the legal documents drawn up…

ME (awkward, exhausted dead-brain-silence, then): “Um, I didn’t know you were expecting me to do that…”

HIM: “I’m just teasing you! We’re doing that.”

Oh my god, right? I’m supposed to be drawing up legal documents??!! I thought my brain would just crumble to dust when I heard that and I certainly didn’t want him to see that. Or to hear it over the phone. Thank god he was just kidding…

So today, I’m focusing on the next installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa to send to Edge of Humanity. And then I’m gonna get caught up on my Italian lessons — I’ve missed 3 in a row now plus my weekly quiz. And while all that is going on, I’ll have the new revisions for Tell My Bones gestating somewhere in that part of my brain that is directly connected to the Universe.

(And I have the best Muse, so I feel 100% confident that all of this is going to be great, once it’s all said & done.)

Okay, I gotta scoot! Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are in the world, gang!!  I leave you with this: a painting by Helen LaFrance, the reason why I’m going through all this in the first place. (If you click on it, you will see the details of her work that will likely  stagger your mind – just imagine seeing one of these paintings in real life.) Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya.

Canning Peaches by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University