Oh Man, I Knew It Was Gonna Hurt…

I actually did get to listen to Ghosteen last night — the new album by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.  It was still available on YouTube once I got home and was safely in bed. In my room. The only place in the world that protects me from the world. Usually.

You perhaps recall that when he first announced the new album last week and described what it was going to be about, my initial, sort of primal reaction was, Oh no, now what. A sort of “please keep that away from me” kind of feeling.

I had barely survived the first time listening to Skeleton Tree. It took a long time for me to be able to listen to that album without feeling like the world was being pulled out from under me. And I was worried that Ghosteen was going to be worse. Meaning, just too emotionally intense for me.

And guess what, gang??!!

I was right.

It’s really just a beautiful, beautiful album.  Just stunning. On so many levels. But I’m wondering, would I rather be hit by a freight train, or listen to this album again?

I’m thinking freight train. But I’m not 100% sure. I mean, luckily, God saw to it that I have ready access to a freight train — it runs right past my door, sometimes several times a day. And night. I already pre-ordered both the MP3 and the CD of Ghosteen. So when one of those things arrives, I’ll wait to press the “start” button until I know for sure a train is coming, and then decide at the last minute…

Jesus Christ, right?

It is just too beautiful. And part of what tormented me most is that, a huge portion of it, I don’t understand. The whole first album, which is being told by “the children.” Or it simply is “the children.” And I don’t understand why it’s “the children.”  I couldn’t figure that part out.  Why is it “the children”? And I’m thinking it’s maybe because I never had any so I’m not able to access something important there. And that alone, that state of being childless, is just something that’s unbearable for me, on any given day, at any given time, in any given year.

So that got triggered, and from there, everything sort of spiraled down for me.  The only way I know how to handle that whole subject is to close the door and walk away. But, come on! It’s a Nick Cave album! He hasn’t had a new album out in a couple of years. I don’t want to just close the door and walk away.

The second half, the part about “the parents” was easier for me to at least maybe understand.  I could understand why “the parents” were saying that second part.

Well, anyway. I’m sure I will adjust over time. Find my way back from the train tracks and maybe not be any worse for wear. Or, maybe even create great art. That would be cool. (I’m being sarcastic there because, of course, I think that’s the sole reason I even exist — to create art.  And it gets tiring. Wouldn’t it be cool if God had created me for something/anything else?  You know, like: Let’s let her have this great LIFE so that she doesn’t have to create art in order to process the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning…)

So, anyway. In all honesty, it is a beautiful record. Majestic and exquisite. Just so beautiful. And whether or not I can process it, isn’t the actual point, is it? Great art is supposed to make you feel something, so in that respect, it was a truly GREAT work of art. (And I did, indeed, see that coming.)

Okay.

So Sandra texted me yesterday and guess what? She’s working on a new play. Writing a new play, I mean. I am her collaborator on theater projects so this means that I, too, am working on a new play.

We have two other plays on the back burner, that are just barely even developed. But it sounds like this new one has her complete attention. Even though she’ll be going to Stratford to play the role of Mama Morton in “Chicago” at the same time that we’ll be doing the full-length staged reading of Tell My Bones in NYC; and we have our other play to do in Toronto, although that one has come to a little bit of a standstill right now, awaiting words from lawyers and accountants. Apparently, we will be undertaking another new play.

You know, when she texted me that, I wanted to just lie down and refuse to get back up. I’m sort of wiped out. These new Tell My Bones rewrites are probably the most important work I’ve had to undertake in my entire career. I need to focus.

This is when it would be good to just say “fuck the world,” and just  drink & smoke.

But I don’t really do either anymore. So, onward.

The morning here — meaning 5:30 am — was quite, quite lovely. There was something sacred in the stillness. The heatwave broke. Fall is really here. Another opportunity to try to figure out what the heck any of this all means, and why love seems to still be at the root of all of it.

I woke up crying. Not sobbing, or anything, but tears were in my eyes from the moment I awoke and they stayed there all during breakfast.

But I stayed in bed for a little while, wondering about the “story” of a person’s life, juxtaposed against how that life might have felt to be lived. F. Scott Fitzgerald came to my mind. He is now considered one of the greatest literary writers of the 20th Century. If you know his life, his career, at all, you will know that his outrageously uncontrolled alcoholism defined him while he was alive. And his wife was nuts and every extravagant thing about her cost him a fortune. It wasn’t until he died that his writing, alone — his creations, his art — could stand on its own, without the pain of how his life felt to be lived. (I’m not even going to try to talk about Zelda and her tragic fate because now she’s too bogged down in revisionist, feminist theory kinds of stuff.)

But there was the “life” he was creating while he lived. Meaning his endless and amazing short stories (that he wrote to keep himself afloat financially) and then his beautiful novels — that not only document the times he was living in, but created them at the very same time: The Jazz Age.

And then there was his actual life. Complicated, frustrating, passionate, tragic, short. And absolutely saturated with booze.

I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately because I am so very, very tired of “my life” and how it lived. But because I know how to write, it “saves” everything, you know? I can create a reason for life to feel worthwhile. And most days, that’s enough for me. Other days, nothing’s enough.

Okay, I’m gonna scoot. Get more coffee. Look at the beautiful, sacred morning some more. Embrace autumn. Let love be enough. Thanks for visiting. I love you, guys. See ya.

“Bye Bye Blackbird”
c – 1926

Blackbird, blackbird singing the blues all day right outside my door
Blackbird, blackbird gotta be on your way
Where there’s sunshine galore
All through the winter you just hang around
Now you’re going back home
Blackbird, blackbird gotta be on your way
Where there’s sunshine galore

Pack up all my cares and woes,
Here I go, singing low,
Bye, bye, blackbird.
Where somebody waits for me,
Sugar’s sweet, so is he,
Bye, bye, blackbird.

No one here can love and understand me,
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me.

Make my bed and light the light,
I’ll arrive late tonight,
Blackbird, bye, bye.

Pack up all my cares and woes,
Here I go, singing low,
Bye, bye, blackbird.
Where somebody waits for me,
Sugar’s sweet, so is he,
Bye, bye, bye, bye, blackbird.

I said, no one here can love and understand me,
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me.

So, make my bed and light the light,
I’ll arrive late tonight,
Blackbird, bye, bye.
Make my bed and light the light,
I’ll arrive late tonight,
Blackbird,
I said blackbird,
I said blackbird,
Oh, blackbird, bye, bye.

c – 1926 Henderson -Dixon

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