The Price You Pay

For whatever reason, the gods decided I would suddenly start listening to old Bruce Springsteen albums yesterday.

It began yesterday afternoon, when I hit that wall while working on Tell My Bones and needed to just collapse on my bed for a few minutes and try to stop overthinking.

Stopping the overthinking is pretty much an impossibility for me. What I do is find some new thought stream where I can start overthinking about something else. But I always pretend that I’m going to just relax and stop overthinking…

But when I do collapse and try to stop thinking, I usually like to listen to music and suddenly that old Springsteen album, The River, fell into my field of vision in my Amazon stream.

I used to really love Bruce Springsteen. Ohio in the 1970s was huge Springsteen territory and he toured Ohio relentlessly back then. I saw him many times. The River was the last album to come out while I was still living in Ohio, and it came out right at that juncture where I moved to NYC. So for me, The River is oddly both filled with Ohio memories and very early memories of NYC.

It was never my favorite album of his. I liked a handful of the songs on it and that was it. (It’s a double-album, so there are a lot of songs on it.) And the titular song, “The River”, reminded me way too much of what life felt like in Ohio, and so I just played the album less and less as life went on in NYC, and then amazing albums like Nebraska and Born in the USA came out, and I never played The River again.

Well, I scrolled through the song titles in The River yesterday and saw that I recognized quite a few of them, had no recollection of some of them, but when my eye hit “The Price You Pay,” I stopped and thought, I’ll play this. I don’t remember it, but I know that I used to really love it.

That song goes back almost 40 years now. I usually play my music really loud, and yesterday was one of those days. So I flopped down on my bed, stared up at the ceiling and the song began playing, overtaking my room, and it was, like, holy fuck; this song is my whole goddamned LIFE.

Suddenly, everything I had lived since 1980 sprang into clear view, and then every girl I had been and every dream I had had in the 1970s jumped in there, too. And I realized that I did manage to live all my dreams to one extent or another, and I did sacrifice so fucking much in order to do that and I did pay a huge price for it; specifically, I got 2 divorces and never got to have any children. The scope of my life felt sort of devastating. Not necessarily in a bad way, but certainly in an overwhelming way.

You know, my life has been extremely hard. But only because I have always refused to let myself be squished down and pushed into some sort of box. I have always just seen life the way I see it, and I have always felt the need to express the way I see my own life, and usually that has wound up making a lot of people feel really challenged and uncomfortable. And then of course that often used to make me feel bad, but I couldn’t see how I could be anybody else but myself.

And the repeated sexual assaults and the rape stuff happening to me while I was in school — that stuff was directly related to the type of person I was, someone who just couldn’t back down. Even though it would have made my life so much simpler.  And it just built up after Greg died. Right after he died. None of those boys gave a fuck that I was dying from grief inside; they only saw me as a girl who wasn’t a virgin. They would not leave me alone. And I’ve always been the type of person, even if I’m scared to death, I will always speak up for myself and defend myself. And that just pissed them off more until everything just blew up, in a horrible way.

But I always got back up somehow and was just still myself.

Still, pretty quickly, I learned to just accept that, for some reason, being myself meant that the stakes were always going to be high. Even in my final year of high school, when Greg had been dead for 3 years already, some muscle-bound jock in the hallway at school told some other jock, “That girl’s a whore.” So I said, “You’re an asshole,” and it made him look like a total idiot.  Even though I knew there was a 50-50 chance that that type of guy would find me after school and rape me, too, and that thought actually did scare me; I wasn’t a whore and he was an asshole and I was not going to not defend myself. In the hallway at school, no less.

Anyway. That type of attitude was underlying everything I was once I got to New York and started to have my real life. I know that my life could have been so much simpler if I could have learned how to turn a blind eye to things, or to back down even a little bit. And I’ll tell you, I would have loved to have had a simpler life. Many’s the time when I was deeply wishing I wasn’t me. Times like when my trust fund was removed, or when I was disinherited all over the place.  But lack of money isn’t going to make me become someone else.

Whatever. I can’t help it. I’m still just me. But now that I’m inching toward the closing chapters of my life, I see that there was indeed a price to pay. I’m guessing I still would have lived my life the way I did, even if I had known all of the consequences beforehand.

Also, yesterday, Dana Petty posted 5 very short videos of Tom Petty at Fenway Park in 2014. I watched it a couple times because it was sort of transfixing.  First, they were alone in the limo, approaching the stadium and he was so quiet, so introspective.  Just staring out the window.  He was 64 years old at this point. She said something to him and he really quietly, distractedly, said “Yes.”  That was it. Then they got out of the limo and the Heartbreakers were already there and no one even said hello to him; just silence. Then some other backstage footage, then him onstage in front of tens of thousands of people, singing, “She was an American girl, raised on promises,” and the crowd going crazy. Then him coming off the stage and he was wired; just full of adrenaline, chatty, smiling, joking, posing for very quick photos with security people, then getting on his bus.  For a split second, Dana caught his face at an angle where I totally saw the young Tom Petty, from when he was maybe 30, back when he was such a rambunctious fighter. Just a flash of it– right there in his face when he smiled. It broke my heart. I saw the whole thing, you know, in a flash: He was 30, then he was 60, then he was dead.

Almost 2 years now since he died.  For me, now, it feels like his whole life was just some movie I saw that I really loved. It feels almost like he never really existed. He was a dream I had or something; one that I dearly loved.  So much grief has shifted inside me and has slowly become something else. When I play his records, it gets very dicey for me; I never know when all those old feelings will surface in a sort of tsunami of love and loss. And it occurred to me that it has got to be so hard for Dana Petty to grieve normally because social media can just make everything remain so immediate. She’ll post some sort of photo or footage of him that is remarkably interesting or beautiful, and then thousands of people will immediately “like” it. That dopamine rush of social media, you know? Those crippling feelings of grief and of loss, and then you post your grief out into the world and then have thousands of total strangers “like” it in the space of a heartbeat.

How can you really process any sort of loss in that atmosphere? I don’t know. It all seems so strange.

Okay. I’m gonna get started here this morning. The director texted last night, wanting to see the new pages, so I have to focus. Have a great Saturday, wherever you are! The Conversations with Nick Cave resume tonight in Iceland! That should be cool (no pun intended), assuming that people who live in Iceland are rule-breakers, that is, like those folks in Helsinki were, and they post to Instagram when they’re not supposed to!

All righty! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with an opportunity to consider the price you pay.  I love you guys. See ya!

“The Price You Pay”

You make up your mind, you choose the chance you take
You ride to where the highway ends and the desert breaks
Out on to an open road you ride until the day
You learn to sleep at night with the price you payNow with their hands held high, they reached out for the open skies
And in one last breath they built the roads they’d ride to their death
Driving on through the night, unable to break away
From the restless pull of the price you payOh, the price you pay, oh, the price you pay
Now you can’t walk away from the price you pay

Now they’d come so far and they’d waited so long
Just to end up caught in a dream where everything goes wrong
Where the dark of night holds back the light of the day
And you’ve gotta stand and fight for the price you pay

Oh, the price you pay, oh, the price you pay
Now you can’t walk away from the price you pay

Little girl down on the strand
With that pretty little baby in your hands
Do you remember the story of the promised land
How he crossed the desert sands
And could not enter the chosen land
On the banks of the river he stayed
To face the price you pay

So let the game start, you better run you little wild heart
You can run through all the nights and all the days
But just across the county line, a stranger passing through put up a sign
That counts the men fallen away to the price you pay, and girl before the end of the day,
I’m gonna tear it down and throw it away

c – 1980 Bruce Springsteen

Coolest Morning, Ever!

I am just in the most amazingly blissed-out mood this morning.

The weather here in Crazeysburg is perfect. Just unbelievably perfect. Cool, but still warm enough to have all the windows open – yay!!

When I finished meditating, I opened my eyes and discovered that I was looking out a section of the window where I could just see the sun coming up through the leaves of my maple tree. Just absolutely dawn beginning, you know. And I don’t mean this Dawn, either. Although there is nothing at all wrong with them!

Image result for tony orlando and dawn candida

But just to see that sun coming up right at that moment, you know? It made my heart smile.

I think today is going to be a really good start to a peaceful holiday weekend around here. Stateside, we celebrate Labor Day on Monday. Labor Day used to be a holiday celebrating Labor Unions, but now it’s more of a holiday that celebrates shopping and, thus, all those non-Labor Union workers are forced to work!

When I was a wee bonny lass growing up in Cleveland, holidays were holidays and nobody worked. Cleveland was what was called a Blue-Collar town; lots of strong (rather corrupt) labor unions, and so lots of holidays, including Sundays.  On Sundays, Cleveland shut down, except for gas stations and an occasional restaurant. It was a day for going to church and then being with your family.

It is kind of amazing how hugely that has changed in this country and gone to the extreme side of commerce and consumerism, but far be it from me to try to turn back that tide.

I don’t know if it’s still like this in NYC or not, but, in a similar vein, it used to be that if you didn’t go to the liquor store in NYC before it closed on a Saturday night, you would be booze-less all day Sunday. Now, at least around here, you can buy booze on Sundays, but most places make you wait until after 12-noon. You know, give the churches half a chance to dissuade you…

Well, I seem to have digressed!

Yes, a holiday weekend is upon us and I know I don’t have to tell you how I am going to spend mine, right??!! Working on the play! Every free fucking minute.

I did get into a very interesting place with it yesterday — I’m still in this really difficult segment that I have been in for something like 2 weeks already. And, yes, the director has since gone back to NYC. But he has still been very supportive and patiently focusing on that “one step at a time” idea. (Whereas, I focus on the “goddammit, why can’t I write this fucking play???!!” idea.)

But yesterday, I found my way into some dialogue that was finally resonating for me, so I’m hopeful that I have at last really found my way in. The overall, arching premise is there, because, as you perhaps recall, I have already written this play 17 hundred times!! But the characters have little to no depth in regards to the new dialogue. So that is where I am hoping to have my breakthrough.

I talked with Valerie in Brooklyn for awhile yesterday, and she was experiencing the same shock & sadness regarding the summer being over and not being ready for it yet. And she concurred that July flew by in a mere heartbeat. So it made me feel kind of better about how I’ve been feeling over here. You know, now I know I’m not alone in this melancholy over the fleeing of summer.

Oh! I had an interesting dream about Nick Cave last night. He wasn’t physically in it; he had sent me 3 things. My favorite of the 3 being a bowl of macaroni & cheese. It was in a really round, white bowl. And it was made with white cheese instead of orange cheese, so a lot of whiteness was going on there. But it was hot and I was really happy, because macaroni & cheese is probably my favorite thing in the world.  And he had sent me 2 identical videos, compilations of stuff, and the videos were digital streams but I could still hold them in my hand. However, I woke up before watching the 2 videos, or even eating the mac & cheese.

Still, I thought that was interesting and I have no clue what it could have possibly meant. And,  you’ll notice, that once again there is that duplicate thing happening — I posted a couple months ago about how, when I dream about Nick Cave, there are always 2 of the very same thing in the dream. Last time, he emailed me 2 really large panes of glass in the shape of Australia. And this time, 2 digital videos that were the same.

And on a related note!! Not a whole lot came out of Norway last night on Instagram. And only one of the posts was in black & white this time, so, clearly, last time they were doing that excessive “posting in black & white” business on purpose– you know, to specifically drive me crazy.  I’m going to try to not hold it against them as an entire country, though.

And people from Helsinki are still posting. They seem to have just had an amazingly amazing time. I’m not being facetious, either. And the photos from inside the theater itself looked really cool — stairways that seemed to be lit up and looking like they went off in interesting directions to nowhere; M.C. Escher-like. (I know!! It’s so hard to believe that I’m writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning play while still finding time to endlessly ponder the stairways of theaters I will never visit in my lifetime that are thousands of miles away!!)

All right, gang! I’m going to close and get to work around here. I leave you with this!! It’s actually a really great pop song, gang! You should listen to it!! I’m posting it only because of the aforementioned thing up there. I hadn’t actually thought about the song in decades,but I used to just love it. And so I just played it and discovered that I still love it!

(And while playing it, I recalled, vividly, that I was watching the Tony Orlando & Dawn Variety Show on TV that night that I was babysitting in the swinging 1970s apartment complex when I was 14 and the dad came home early, wanting to fool around.  That was the time I called my 16-year-old girlfriend, to see if she wanted to come over and fool around with him instead, because he creeped me out and I just wanted to go home. And so she did.) (And I remember her standing under my bedroom window, later that evening, and tossing pebbles up to it so that I would come to my window. And  I did. It was summertime. We weren’t in school. And she told me that they’d fucked on the living room floor and then the mom came home early, but they didn’t get caught. But she said that the mom & dad got in a fight anyway because the mom came home and found a different babysitter! I mean, my girlfriend actually called all that out to me, out loud, up to my window. What a weird era that was.  And I don’t know if I said it out loud or only thought it, but I do remember being appalled that they had sex while his kids were sleeping upstairs.)

(This is also the same girl I posted about several months ago, where we got arrested and taken to jail that same summer and her dad blamed me. He blamed me for everything she did. I’m not overstating that in the slightest. Every time that guy laid eyes on me, he wanted to kill me.)

Anyway. I leave you with a really cool song this morning that has some really unexpected memories. Enjoy!! Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya!

“Candida”

The stars won’t come out
If they know that you’re about
‘Cause they couldn’t match the glow of your eyes
And, oh, who am I
Just an ordinary guy
Trying hard to win me first prizeOh, Candida
We could make it together
The further from here, girl, the better
Where the air is fresh and clean
Hmm, Candida
Just take my hand and I’ll lead ya
I promise life will be sweeter
And it said so in my dreams

The future is bright
The gypsy told me so last night
Said she saw our children playing in the sunshine
And there was you and I
In a house, baby, no lie
And all these things were yours and they were mine

Whoa my, Candida
We could make it together
The further from here, girl, the better
Where the air is fresh and clean
Hmm, Candida
Just take my hand and I’ll lead ya
I promise life will be sweeter
And it said so in my dreams

And, oh, who am I
Just an ordinary guy
You know, I’m trying hard to win me first prize

Oh my, Candida
We could make it together
The further from here, girl, the better
Where the air is fresh and clean
Whoa my, Candida
Just take my hand and I’ll lead ya
I promise that life will be sweeter
And it said so in my dreams

c- 1970 IRWIN LEVINE, TONI WINE

Va Tutto Bene!

Yes! Everything is all right!

It was with great joy that I watched the trash collectors collecting my trash yesterday. Honestly, it helped me feel a restoration of sanity around here, knowing that I had paid that fucking bill. And the 2 other bills that had crept up “past due.”

What a weird feeling that was last week, when they didn’t stop to collect my trash. Sort of the confirmation that I was really soaring off into La-La Land around here. That is the cheapest bill I have, too. Something like $9 a month. Anyway. That felt good; watching the trash go.

I’ve also acquiesced to the window-closing thing that I have to do around here now. I close a few of  them late at night and then just open them again mid-morning. Just like a normal person would do.

It was 54 degrees Fahrenheit when I got out of bed today. Honestly, at any other point in my life, I would be rapturously rejoicing over this perfect weather, you know? It’s just this darn deadline for the play that makes me feel as if summer passed me by. And it also occurs to me that next August, when it’s back to being 102 degrees when I get out of bed in the morning, I will be wondering: why the fuck didn’t I enjoy last August’s perfect weather when I had the chance??!! So I’m trying to do that while I have the chance.

Then I also did all the paperwork for my TSA Pre-Check, and will go for my interview on Tuesday. Yes, behaving like a human being who flies in airplanes again. I’m trying really hard to just be normal.

(And I also applied for that special International Customs dispensation, that removes any traces of internationally-known pedophiles who attached themselves uninvited to one’s illustrious pornography career. It only costs an additional 17 thousand dollars, but I felt it was worth it!) (I am, of course, kidding about that. There is no special International Customs dispensation for that. Instead, I opted for the Special Notarized Document showing that I did everything the FBI asked me to do so please leave me alone now. That only cost me an additional $2, so I opted for that.) (I am of course kidding about that, too.)

What I am doing, though, is just trying to let everything go. And fly in airplanes again and stuff like that. I realize that being out of my mind half the time is just part of my charm, but it sure gets tiring.

And I have also discovered that I don’t really like those new hair-volumizing products from France that I posted about recently.  They smell great and they do give me volume at the roots, but like most hair products that allegedly give one’s hair volume, they make the rest of my hair super frizzy. I can’t stand that.  So rather than get rid of all my mirrors, I’ve decided that I’m once more going back to my tried & true Avalon Organics. Honestly it’s the only stuff that works. (If you don’t have untreated silver hair, let me tell you, it’s really frizzy. It’s nothing at all like the hair you had as a wee bonny girl — or even as a wee bonny 30-year-old.)

(Me, as a wee bonny 30-year-old. Say goodbye to that hair forever.) (Heavy sigh)So, even though I have not yet cleaned my house (and this is really just getting beyond ridiculous, gang — the dust and the cat hair — but I know I will have to clean it top to bottom before I go to NYC because my birth mom will be staying here to take care of the cats and I don’t want her coming in my kitchen door, seeing the disaster and then turning around and leaving. Actually, what she would do is clean my house and I don’t want that, either.).

But anyway, aside from my house needing to be cleaned, I am really starting to feel like a regular person again. Even though I’m still working on rewrites of the play.

And of course, on that happy note, I’m gonna get back to it. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music, the song about the Lime Tree Arbor. A beautiful song. I’ve been playing The Boatman’s Call since Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files newsletter the other day. I guess it’s an appropriate album to listen to as summer departs. (His Conversations will be back in Norway tonight. We’ll see if the Norwegians continue to post pictures to Instagram in black & white, or if that other time was just done specifically to drive me mad…)

Okay! Thanks for visiting, gang. I gotta get moving here. Have a really nice Thursday, wherever you are in the world!! I love you guys. See ya!

“I Do Love Her So (Lime Tree Arbour)”

The boatman calls from the lake
A lone loon dives upon the water
I put my hand over her
Down in the lime tree arbour

The wind in the trees is whispering
Whispering low that I love her
She puts her hand over mine
Down in the lime tree arbour

Through every breath that I breathe
And every place I go
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so

There will always be suffering
It flows through life like water
I put my hand over hers
Down in the lime tree arbour

The boatman he has gone
And the loons have flown for cover
She puts her hand over mine
Down in the lime tree arbour

Through every word that I speak
And every thing I know
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so

c – 1997 Nick Cave

Excerpt 2. Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse

Okay, so, that Conversation Nick Cave had again in Helsinki last night looked like it was just incredible.

Even though people were clearly stating that they weren’t permitted to use their phones during the show, several of them just seemed overcome and like they just had to do it, you know?

I, for one, don’t like to encourage bad behavior, but, wow, I was thrilled that some of them broke some of those rules. He did an amazing version of “Stagger Lee.” I got to hear about 40 seconds of it on Instagram. And then he sang “Mermaids” to this young girl who had a bow in her hair and who sat next to him on the piano bench!!!! (“Mermaids”? Really? We’re going there, and she’s still young enough to have a bow in her hair?? I loved it.)

Next is Norway, I think. (I think it was the Norwegians who were diabolical last time and posted all their Instagram photos in black & white, making me fitfully unable to figure out what color his suit was. But I’ve moved on. I’ve accepted it. For whatever reason, he steadfastly refuses to where that beautiful blue suit when he’s in Conversation. He does the tan-grey-brown thing, instead.)

Okay. I’ve been working on the 2nd Letter for my memoir-in-progress,  Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. It’s posted below. It’s a work-in-progress, gang, so please overlook any typos or anything. And now I must get back to revisions of Tell My Bones. I will be in NYC in 21 days… Right.

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

(Excerpt from Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. Contains sexually graphic material and won’t be appropriate for all readers.)

A Beach to His Waves

Ten plus three; I see now that it’s only a handful of years. It was how long I waited. Thirteen years. I don’t know where you were or what you were doing when I was thirteen, but I was in a heck of a panic. I was in love with a boy who wanted to have intercourse and I did not know what it was. I did not know what that meant – to “fuck.”

I was naïve. And that made him impatient with me.

That summer afternoon, he walked off in a huff; fed up with me. My pants were still down around my knees. I did not know what I was supposed to do, what it was he wanted – this thing that I knew darn well other older girls were doing with him.

In a sleeping bag, after midnight in someone’s backyard, for instance. I heard those girls talking on the school bus.

That boy I loved was so beautiful that those girls on the bus were jealous of the girl who’d been in the sleeping bag. They were all older girls; they didn’t even know I existed or that I was listening to them. They had no clue that he was spending any time with me.

I wanted to be that girl he’d been with in the sleeping bag, but I didn’t understand anything. “You’re too young,” he snapped at me when he realized I did not even know what an erection was for and so he put it back in his jeans.

Still, in that way I had of loving back then, and now always will love, I wanted to give to that boy whatever it was he wanted. I just needed to figure out what that was.

*          *          *

You should have seen her. My best friend’s older sister. She was the sweetest, prettiest girl you’ve ever laid eyes on. She was 15; she had tits & hips to die for, to envy whenever she showed up at the local swimming pool in her snow-white bikini and all the boys went haywire.

She had already gone with a couple of them to that grassy lot behind the movie theater, after dark on Saturday nights, so I knew she would be the one who could tell me what it was I needed to know.

She told me, all right. I could not believe my ears. That thing’s gonna go where? How? 

She had the prettiest smile; to see it could make you light up inside. She laughed at me. She said, “Don’t worry. You get wet – you know? It’ll all work out.”

That part I did know, that getting wet business. I didn’t understand that at all, either.  But it was a relief to know that somehow, she knew.

*           *          *

That summer, the boy taught me how to play euchre, and how to play poker, and we drank whisky and played records and smoked cigarettes together.  Sometimes we smoked weed with other boys he knew, and one evening, a sixteen-year-old threw himself on top of me and tried to fondle me, with force. The boy pulled him off and said, “Stop it, you’re hurting her!”

And in private, when I would hope he’d touch me again, he still told me I was too young.  But if he wouldn’t even try, how was I ever going to learn? And I wanted to make him happy, so that he wouldn’t go off with the older girls.

So, I found an older guy – a grown man, in fact – who was willing to help. I was tall. He thought I was seventeen; old enough to have what it was I wanted.

When he found out I was thirteen, we were naked on his bed and his dick was getting ready to go in.

What the hell? He was stunned when he found out how old I was. He told me to go home.

I hadn’t meant to deceive him. It just hadn’t come up – my age. “No! Please please please, don’t make me leave. I need you to show me how to do this thing. I really really need your help.”

I literally begged him. So he showed me how it was done and it was the last time I had to beg a man to do it.

*          *          *

From the beginning, I didn’t like intercourse. I could not understand what the big deal was. It hurt and that was about it. But the boy really liked it and that made me happy, to finally be able to do that for him, and so we became inseparable.

Until he died. Later that summer.

After him, it was just fucking. For the longest time.

*          *          *

I remember all the guys I fucked, of various ages, when I was a teenager (8). I remember the guys from the high school who raped me (2). I don’t really remember all those guys who assaulted me after school, that autumn in the woods after the boy died, because there were too many in that pack – I only remember that, at the time, I knew every one of them.

I remember every girl I kissed (4), and the ones who kissed me – really kissed me – back (2).

I remember the girl with the long red hair, who was covered in freckles, who begged me not to leave her bed when we were in college. That narrow, single bed we tried to sleep in together. Luckily, we were both skinny. But I had a broken heart. Another girl, one I had loved, had turned on me – one of the ones who wouldn’t kiss me back.

That was all by the time I was eighteen.

I remember a full moon in February that shown down on the frozen snow the following year, and the trap that was laid for me that night. An urgent phone call from my mother’s boyfriend: he needed to tell me something important about my mother. He was crying. A grown man, crying on the phone. I was alarmed. I met him in a parking lot that he had picked out and I got into his truck. We drove and drove and drove, while he told me his sad story. He took me to a farm in the moonlight. In the old farmhouse, he offered me something to drink so I took it. He’d drugged me; just that quick. Then stripped me out of my clothes. Raped me for 8 hours, on the cold floor in that old house on the moonlit farm in the snow. I still have no idea where we were. And everyone said I’d seduced him, even my friends said that.

So I left Ohio and I went to New York, where people defined that word seduction very differently.

*          *          *

“Aren’t you afraid of going to New York City all alone; a girl like you?”

Everyone asked me that, as I was packing to leave.

I was more afraid of staying in Ohio.

*          *          *

The men in New York. They did Life in a whole different way. Kinky ways. Inviting ways. And sometimes things that sounded brutal to me at first, ended up being really fun. A lot of the men even made love and that was something I’d never experienced before; real lovemaking. Sophisticated stuff.

The women in New York were the same way.  They were tough but they made love. And they owned fake dicks – in all shapes and sizes and colors. I’d never seen those before. At last, I learned to love intercourse – from being with women, even though their dicks were fake. They knew how to use them on a girl, and better than some of the guys I’d known who’d had real ones.

Intercourse is a strange thing. If you think about it too much, it can make you crazy. Why does the girl have that hole, and why does the guy put his thing in it? Who thought that up? It’s kind of creepy. And why do some women decide that they don’t need a man to do that and go buy something at the store instead?

Fill that hole. Why? And why does it suddenly feel so good once you finally learn how to like it?

*          *          *

For a long time, I was only comfortable doing it with men the way dogs did it – from behind. I needed sex; as much as I could get. But I didn’t want men getting too close – and intercourse, the sheer closeness of it? Too intimate. I needed men to keep their distance; stick to the other side of the barricade, please. I had a heart that was too breakable, secured precariously behind walls of steel.

Whenever possible, I’d turn my back on men when we fucked. It was the only way I could really relax about it.

By then, I didn’t really trust anybody.

Most of the men I was with were fun. I knew how to have a lot of sex without letting anything matter. Actually, I didn’t know how to let anything matter.

I didn’t know how to love men. As far as I could remember, I had never really been loved. Oh, maybe once, by a boy. But real love? That was a skill I had never been taught.

*          *          *

This is what sex looks like when you’ve made a career out of not being in love. And watch out, it’s coming right at you. Dirty words, patiently crafted, carefully chosen to assault your brain. Freeze it there, right on that filthy word. Vulva, in this instance.  Now that’s a weird word. No, it’s not. Look what it does when you touch it – your fingertips almost weightless upon it, just lightly petting over those impossibly soft lips once you’ve pulled her panties down just a little bit. She’s vulnerable like this, exposed from her hips to her knees, so you whisper in her ear and kiss her neck just below her earlobe, where you know she likes it. She smells good there. She did that for you, you know – made herself smell good where she knew you would probably kiss her. You’re gonna get her to agree to all sorts of naughty things now because of what you’re doing; kissing her, lightly stroking those pussy lips. She trusts you. And now she’s tugging her panties all the way off, kicking them to the floor and her thighs are parting. And that vulva, it spreads open for you; revealing that slippery world that sometimes seems so unfathomable with all its folds: lips engorged now with lust while she kisses you back – lust that you caused because you touched it, her secret place. There it is under your fingertips, her clit, slippery and stiff now, easy to find. Just wiggle it a little. It’s almost too responsive. The gasp that comes out of her mouth when you rub that stiff little thing sounds almost scary; it’s too breathless, too passionate as she holds you tight, her legs spread just for you, for your fingers. She sounds so much like a woman now, gasping right there in your ear – like maybe she’s gonna want you to marry her. But don’t fall for it. Your dick’s on a mission and we’re gonna get you there. Move you past her little piss hole that’s so easy to see now because she’s got her legs spread that wide, she’s that shameless, her knees to her tits, and so you can see everything, even that tiny piss hole that sometimes makes you wonder in your delirium what would it feel like if she planted her soaking pussy right on my mouth and just pissed in it? We won’t tell anybody you’re thinking that, though; this story is just between you and your brain. And now here’s the main hole, the hole your dick came for; it is wide open and waiting, that hole that dreams are made of. And she is fully aroused. She’s so wet, it’s dripping out of her. Your dick is gonna slide right in. Now she’s likely to do anything.

It pinches off your reason, those dirty words, while your dick just floods with it – pay dirt.

It’s not as immediate as a dirty picture. It’s not some girl with her shaved pussy spread open, getting stuffed for the camera. Words don’t jump right in your face. They inch in and make love to you, through neurons and synapses and – oh god, here they come – hormones. Now you’re in love. In love with yourself and with all those dirty pictures in your head that know just who you are and how you like it. What she’s willing to do when nobody else is around. She’s gonna take it where? It’s gonna feel how? They will make it feel smooth as silk – those dirty words that weave into pictures that nobody else but you can see.

Then it goes down a step deeper – dirtier words, forming sentences that are creating pictures that not even you can believe. Oh man, this girl’s really going for it, like some dog in heat.

No, she’s not. It’s just a picture in your head, but it feels so magnetic because it came from inside of you. That’s right, down inside of you. Where God lives.

But don’t try to touch me in real life. I don’t go there.

*          *          *

When I entered my fifties, I met a man who was getting ready to die. When we started having sex, he said, “I love you, Marilyn.”

I didn’t believe him, even though I wanted to.  I wanted to believe him but my brain was too filled with doubt; it was the one thing I knew how to feel towards a man. So I would just look away.

He said, “Look at me. No, just look at me for a minute. What’s with you? I love you, Marilyn. Why is it so hard for you to accept that?”

It just was. I didn’t want to tell him why. Who wants to talk about rape when a man is looking at you like he thinks you’re beautiful?

Look at me. I love you. Don’t turn away.”

But who was I to make eye contact? I still hadn’t conquered my fear of being held.

We had a lot of sex; a lot of it. Two, three times a day. Because he was going to die. And it was the best sex I’d ever had in my life. Just the best. Because he forced me to look him in the eye and really hear him when he told me that he loved me. Eventually, he had to shout at me; to demand that I be there with him in the intimate bond that his last understanding of physical life was depending on. And I finally heard. By then, I’d been having sex for nearly forty-five years, and my heart finally came into the bed.

It seemed like bookends, really: one boy was young and so full of life; I loved him innocently and he led me into sex and then died. The other was an older man, at the end of life. And he taught me how to accept sex that involved being loved, and then he died.

This is what I learned, finally: Love will save you. It’s that simple. Love will restore you to yourself. A man on top of me, a man in my arms, my legs wrapped around him as he has intercourse with me and if I allow myself to love him – it’s the best feeling there is.  I become a beach to his waves. A place that’s open and endless and taking that repeated pounding; those eternal waves of love.

*          *          *

When I was a young girl, love came so easily to me. I saw a boy and that was that. I loved him and I knew it. I was not plagued with doubt. I was in, sink or swim; a young beach to his waves without knowing it. And now, I see you and it feels just as easy. It has become simple again. I love you. I’m in, sink or swim. Ready for you, that wave of you, to crash into the depths of me.

© – 2019 Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse

6:15am — In Case You’re Curious!

Meaning, the exact time that the first bird starts singing around here in the mornings now.

A far cry from 4:15, which is when they would begin singing in late spring — that heady season when I felt like I had all the time in the world.

Even though the director texted me late last evening and relieved some of my pressure — saying that he really loved where the new pages in the play were heading,  giving me that insight I needed to give the section more emotional depth; none of it changes that the summer really is almost over and I have way too much of the play left to rewrite.

Not that it’s so many pages; it’s that the pages left are crucial ones that need an indescribably focused amount of my concentration.

However, this morning, when I awoke stressed at 4:28am, I realized that I needed to change everything. Well, not everything. I just needed to change the angle from which I was looking at my trip.

There’s just no way I can be in any kind of meaningful “rehearsals” by mid-September when I still have all this contractual stuff with the director to work out before hand, and now the budget is really huge so I have no clue what Sandra’s going to want to do regarding staged readings. So I decided to just let Cosmic Timing take over and step back and allow something higher to figure out my life and stop trying to constantly connect the dots.

And I decided I would talk to my sales rep at Honda and just let him decide if I should lease the new car before I went to NY or after I came back. I have to stop worrying about the car.  I’m turning it into a drama in my head and it just doesn’t need to be one.

And then I decided I want to get rid of that idea of staying in 2 different hotels when I’m in the city for Nick Cave, even though one of the hotels is the Algonquin. I decided to get an airbnb, instead, and just stay for 3 nights in a row — in Manhattan: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and just hang out, have the meetings with Sandra and the director and then just do whatever I want. Not worry about going back and forth to Rhinebeck in the middle of those 2 Nick Cave shows. It just wasn’t making any sense to do that. It was making me nutty.

So I just gave up trying to connect the dots. Just let life happen because it’s going to happen anyway.

I also decided that I’m not going to the cemetery today. It’s funny how, some years, I will just barely notice the anniversary of Greg’s death; and other years, it becomes very active in my memory; and sometimes I’ll go to the cemetery; other times, I don’t. I don’t know why that is.

I do know that going to the cemetery makes me sad because it always becomes so clear to me, when I’m there, that everybody else forgot about him a long, long time ago. No flowers there, ever. No nothing. Just grass growing. It has been just so many years. Life went on.

I have a hard time with certain aspects of that, even though, overall, I understand that’s just the way things are. I don’t want to get morbid about any of it. But sometimes life just confounds me. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. What the heck is it — life, I mean. You know? What is it?

Plus, I’m not ready to find out if his mom has died now, too. That would be sort of final, right? His long ago doorway into this world being gone forever now, too.

This summer, he has been all over my thoughts. I just don’t know why. Late yesterday afternoon, I decided to set Tell My Bones aside for a minute, get it out of my brain completely and work on one of the chapters in Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. They aren’t actually “chapters,” they really are more like letters; creative nonfiction memoir type letters. Anyway, the next “chapter” has been sitting on my desk, halfway finished for months now and it’s one that has a lot to do with Greg. It’s about sexual intercourse — the specific actual thing. It’s titled “A Beach to His Waves.” And while working on it for about 8 hours last night, it was funny to see how, when I am in love with a guy, I will just do anything for that guy.  Anything. My focus becomes like a laser beam and nothing peripheral exists, really, except my love for that guy.

I find that so curious since, when I don’t love a guy (which is almost all the time; I don’t fall in love easily), I am indescribably independent. Self-involved. Uninterested in anything besides the constant creative thoughts that are in my head. Live alone; die alone; just be a sort of constant, eternal loner. But, Jesus, fall in love with a guy? Suddenly it’s like: Oh, yeah; my very reason for being; I forgot I had one. And then almost nothing else matters but “the guy.”

Anyway, so I’m going to be working on that chapter again today, too — the 45th anniversary of his death.  Even though the chapter is only partly about him, it’s still kind of fitting.

There’s another Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave in my inbox. It has something to do with PJ Harvey because I saw the picture at the top, but I haven’t read it yet.

And people in Helsinki like to post to Instagram!! Everybody loved the Conversation that Nick Cave had there last night. Even the ones who didn’t post in English — judging by the amount of exclamation points and the many rhapsodic emojis… Everyone seemed incredibly blissed out. And I mean incredibly. He is giving another one there tonight.

So, that’s me, for now. I gotta scoot. I’m just gonna let life happen to me today.  I’m just gonna write. Do yoga. Do laundry. Stop trying to figure everything out. It is utterly impossible anyway.

I leave you with this, it was my favorite record at the time of Greg’s death. He didn’t care one way or the other about David Bowie, but he didn’t mind that I played the record all the time. Obviously, since Greg had very long blond hair and blue eyes, you can guess why this song became really difficult for me after he died. But it’s still a really, really cool song.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you more than words can say, guys. See ya!

Where Does it Go?

Man, I woke up this morning finally feeling defeated.

For the third morning in a row, the house was really cold and I had to face the fact that I needed to close some of my windows.

It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s still only August and it feels like the whole Universe is trying to tell me that the summer is over. How did it slip through my fingers like that? It makes me so incredibly sad.

And I texted Sandra, finally, because I needed to face the fact that I have to talk on the phone with her as soon as she’s back in New York and discuss these many revisions I’m doing to Tell My Bones and just see what she has to say about it, and I am well aware that this could drastically change the scope of my entire trip to NYC in a few weeks. (Plus, I have to get a new car and I should probably do that before I go to NYC. Just all this major stress stuff.)

The director should be emailing me this morning about my most recent pages, and hopefully have some suggestions about how I can best proceed out of the morass I’m currently in with the script.  So I know that will help combat my feelings of defeat. Plus, the guy I was giving piano lessons to — he actually put his house up for sale many weeks ago, and he has finally moved to a new house and is unpacking so, soon, the piano lessons will resume and that will make me feel happy.

However, these things won’t make the summer last longer.

During breakfast, I kept thinking about this time last year, and how incredible it was. I suddenly began writing Blessed By Light, a novel unlike anything I’d ever written and my life began to get magical. And also during the last 2 weeks of August last year, my house was filled with all those amazing furnace repair guys. They were updating all the ducts and upgrading my furnace and they were just such amazingly cool, good-looking Hillbilly-Deluxe hippie guys — I loved having them here, even though I was trying to write a new novel the whole time.

But it had felt like fucking summer still, you know? Last year, the summer lasted all summer.

I just can’t get used to how quickly time flies, the older I get. It’s the only thing about getting older that I can’t handle so well.

After breakfast, I did my meditation but it didn’t help. My thoughts wound up drifting right back to the weather. You know, I look at the weather forecast for the upcoming week and it will be, like, the most perfect weather imaginable: 80s Fahrenheit in the daytime and down to the upper 50s at night. Perfect weather. My absolute favorite kind of weather. Why am I so depressed about it? It’s all about my windows: I just hate having to close my windows because that just makes me feel like it’s Fall. It’s hard to believe that closing some of my windows could make me feel this depressed.

I finally gave up trying to meditate because it clearly wasn’t happening today. I laid in bed for awhile, just thinking about feeling so defeated.  Why does my brain suddenly take these hard detours down paths that aren’t good for me to think about? It doesn’t help anything.

And then I suddenly remembered that tomorrow is the anniversary of Greg’s death. It could be that that’s what is underlying all this. I remembered what the weather was like that week he died. So hot, so sunny. Back then, no one went back to school until early September, so it was still very much “summer.”  I remembered going to the corn festival the night after Greg died — a sort of County Fair — and how intensely difficult that was for me to process; all that frivolity and yet Greg was dead. I remembered going to the funeral home, too, and not expecting it to be an open casket since he had been killed in an accident. But the damage had been done to the back of his head, so his parents had an open casket viewing. And when I walked into that funeral home and unexpectedly saw him there, I wanted to die myself and the hardest part was knowing that I wouldn’t. And the funeral itself was on the most beautiful sunny, hot summer day.

Jesus Christ. 45 years ago. I don’t understand where that time went. As I was lying in bed, I was thinking about some of my friends from that era, and most of the girls I knew back then are all grandmothers now. And I still feel 12. I don’t understand that. I don’t know why I can’t grow up, like everybody else did. It made me feel really, really sad this morning. I got older, but I didn’t grow up.

Anyway. Hopefully, as the day goes on, I will feel better about everything. Nick Cave is in Helsinki tonight so there should be stuff on Instagram. I always love that. A couple of people have posted from there already. Currently, some one has posted that he/she is absolutely thrilled about tonight. I don’t know the gender of Finnish names, but whoever it is, this person is extremely happy and is on a train heading there as I type!

So, well, life goes on.

Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

Si! Li Prendo Tutti!

Yes! I’ll take them all!

I like to imagine what sort of scenario would elicit this response from me in Italian.  Or in any language, for that matter.  Whatever those things are that I want all of, I bet they’re going to make me really happy.

Honestly, I actually almost never want anything, anymore. Probably because I’ve moved too many times. “Things” just make me imagine having to pack them, move them, unpack them… Things exhaust me now. Even my beloved dishes.

I actually have service for 8 in the Lenox Imperial pattern  — which is an indescribably similar pattern to another set of fine china I have that serves 12 — and I keep the Lenox china, service for 8, on the floor of my bedroom closet.

Because I have no room for it.

But I cannot part with it.

Because it was Gus Van Sant Sr.’s wedding china!

Honestly, would you part with that? Even though there’s no reason on Earth why you need it? Or any possible scenario you can imagine where you would use it, since it now requires that you have to go get it from the floor of your upstairs closet when you have complete service for 12, and two other different complete services of fine china for 8, down in your dining room?

Yes, I wasn’t kidding when I said I had a problem with dishes.  (And I left a ton of dishes behind when I left Wayne.)

But honestly. Gus Van Sant Sr.’s wedding china? How could I have refused that when he offered it to me?  Even though, when his sister-in-law in Kentucky was kind enough to allow me to stay in her lovely home when I went to Kentucky to interview Helen LaFrance, I saw some of the missing cups & saucers from Gus’s set in her china cabinet; I still needed to have his wedding china (minus the couple cups & saucers).

And, yes, it took every ounce of good manners that I could muster to not ask his sister-in-law if I could have those cups & saucers back because they were now, technically, part of my china.

And, yes, if you invite me to stay in your home, I will peruse your china cabinet. Assuming you have the kind of cabinet with glass doors . I’m not likely to do it if you’re watching me, though, so the key thing is to not stop watching me if I’m staying in your home.

(And, yes, if you invite me to dinner, before there’s any food on my plate, I will turn the plate over, whether or not you’re watching me. Not because I want to know how expensive your china is or isn’t; but because I’m addicted to knowing the name of the pattern of any dish that comes anywhere near me. I’m so serious; I’m addicted.)

However, dishes are a pain in the ass to pack and to move and to unpack. And I love my dishes almost as much as I love my books & records & CDs. So acquiring anything else again, ever, just doesn’t appeal to me. So when that sentence came up in my Italian lessons yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder what on Earth I would ever want all of ever again.

And I suspect that’s a sign that I’ve gotten old…

I’ve posted here before about how my addiction to dishes & to vintage crystal bar ware used to drive Wayne nuts. And I mean, really nuts.

We used to love to drive up to the mountains and stay in cabins in the woods over long weekends. And those little mountain towns in NY State and in Pennsylvania always have the very best antique stores.

But I can still see the expression on his face. And I wasn’t doing it just to piss him off, either. I would see this amazing stuff in these antique stores and be absolutely unable to resist buying them.

HIM (always, without fail): “Marilyn! Where are we gonna put this stuff? We have no more room.”

ME (always, without fail): “I don’t know, but look at the amazing detail in this design!”

But, you know, all these many moves later (I’ve moved 5 times since we split up), I have now come to the clear understanding that I am capable of reaching a point where I have too much stuff. Dishes, in particular.

As an aside, I do keep thinking about that comment I posted yesterday, wherein he once told me that he wanted to push me down the stairs. I know it had nothing to do with dishes, but I have no recollection of what it was I had done. It seemed like there was always just a multitude of choices; always just a bunch of stuff I was doing that got on his nerves.

But that specific comment — you know, I’m not someone who holds grudges; I really can let things go. But that comment I thought was just so mean that I never forgot it. It just astounded me.

But anyway. On we go, right? And I am really curious to find out how he came to be listening to one of my very old songs while in a cafe in Nepal. I don’t think he ever even knew that song.

Okay, well, I made a little progress on this truly difficult segment of the play today, but still not enough. I’m not sure what’s holding me back. I need an emotional depth to the scene that I am just not finding words for yet. I decided to stop getting so frustrated with it and maybe that will help it just come of its own accord.

We’ll see. But this rushing onward of time, this ending-of-the-summer business has got me really stressed, too.  I wake up most days really calm and happy and so certain that today will be the day that I have my breakthrough, and then by the end of the day, I’m stressed all over again. Today, I texted the director for his input. I’m guessing he’ll have more clarity than I have regarding why this scene isn’t working yet.

Meanwhile, tomorrow Nick Cave’s Conversations resume in Finland, so I’m excited! (I’ve actually always wanted to go to Finland. It’s one of the few places left in the world that I still want to go to that I haven’t gone to.) (I used to want to go to all sorts of places, but now, after the Exeter, England airport incident regarding my overall illustrious pornography career, I have that fear of going through Customs now.) (But I’d love to go to Finland anyway, and also to Lapland and see the Northern Lights.)

Okay. I’m gonna close and enjoy Sunday if I can. Hope you’re enjoying it wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with this just because I’m feeling a little disillusioned with the past today.  But I’ll get over it. I love you guys. See ya.

“Icy Blue Heart”

She came on to him like a slow moving cold front
His beer was warmer than the look in her eye
She sat on the stool, and said, What do you want?
She said, Give me a love that don’t freeze up inside
He said, I have melted some hearts in my time dear
But to sit next to you, Lord I shiver and shake
And if I knew love, well I don’t think I’d be here
Askin’ myself if I had what it takes
To melt your icy blue heartShould I start to turn what’s been frozen for years
Into a river of tears?

These days we all play cool calm and collected
Our lips could turn blue just shooting the breeze
But under the frost, he thought he detected
A warm blush of red, and the touch of her knee
He said you’re a beauty like I’ve never witnessed
And I’ve seen the northern lights dance in the air
I’ve felt the cold that can follow the first kiss
And there’s not enough heat in the fires burning there
To melt your icy blue heartShould I start to turn what’s been frozen for years
Into a river of tears?
To melt your icy blue heart

c – 1992 John Hiatt