Of course, I was trying to make up my mind about what my Top 5 favorite Tom Petty songs would really be and they just kept shifting around. There were simply too many of them over a 40-year period.
So then I tried to figure out what my Top 5 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds songs would be and that was sort of impossible, too. Although I know that my #1 favorite song of theirs is “Hallelujah” from 2001. For some reason, that’s just my favorite. I guess because that’s the one that feels most like me, inside.
But then the next 4 sort of are in a tie. I can’t really decide what number they would get, but I think they would be:
Brompton Oratory, 1997
Up Jumped the Devil, 1988
Do you Love Me? (Part 2), 1994
Jesus of the Moon, 2008
But then right after that, it becomes just a massively huge amount of songs that I really love by them, so it becomes pointless to try to list them.
You can see that I’ve had a really productive day, all the way around…
I’m a little bit mad at myself over this Thug Luckless development. I really thought that one would be off my plate reasonably quickly. But now I’m not sure I can see that happening, but I guess you never know.
Okay. I guess I’m actually going to go to bed now and think about stuff, and then see what life looks like in the morning. Sweet dreams, gang! See ya!
Not only do I need a keeper (and a handyman) but now I think I could use someone who limits the number of ideas my brain is allowed to have in any given year. Or day. Or perhaps every hour.
I’ve been working on Thug Luckless today and feeling like I don’t want him to just be a porn novel. Because I love this character. (He’s an AI sex robot in a post-apocalyptic town full of jaded, sex-starved broads.) And I’m really unsatisfied with everything I’ve written so far, because I want to rewrite it now with an actual story arc and a character arc, even though I want to keep the overall plot the same.
I simply cannot continue with it without making it a better book.
And then, of course, once I realized that, I wanted to bang my head on my keyboard because that means a whole lot more work — meaning brain work — is going to be involved. So, like, what the fuck?? Right? I have so many fucking projects.
But now that I’ve come to this understanding about Thug nothing less is going to satisfy me. So it’s just frustrating, you know? Especially since I live in a drug-free world and have to rely strictly on the adrenaline I was born with — except for caffeine…
Which reminds me that there is this Nick Cave thing on Instagram and I can’t really figure out what it is. (BTW, this sudden segue has nothing to do with drugs, it has to do with ideas.) Every Saturday, it posts a brief audio clip from one of his In Conversations. And even while I like listening to it (today he was answering a question that had something to do with his ideas), but it makes me ponder where this audio recording comes from. (The last several have been from his Conversations in NYC. With one from Helsinki.)
I’m not sure why I have to ponder absolutely everything. I can’t just, you know, accept a thing at face value and move on with my life. I have to bring everything to a grinding halt and look at it and examine it and wonder: Who’s doing this? Where’d they get this from? How come they’re allowed to upload it? How come I’m following this — how did I find it in the first place? I have no clue; I only know I’ve been following it for a while. And its tag line is “The Secret Red Hand Files” — so what does that mean?
Anyway. It posts every Saturday. And I thought today was interesting in that I, personally, am getting a little overwhelmed with ideas, here, that could easily take me to the end of my life.
So, as I completely re-think Thug and try now to sort of outline it as actual fiction and not simply regard it as “porn,” I find my mind just wandering like crazy. You know, I start just staring at the wall and suddenly wondering if I could name my Top 5 favorite Tom Petty songs. I’ve never tried to do that before and it turns out that it’s really hard. I would need to have room for at least 10. Because, you know, my Top 4 would probably be “Runaway Trains,” “How Many More Days,” “Rhino Skin,” “You & Me,” and then suddenly I need to cram about 6 more songs in the number 5 slot. And then I’d have to cram the entirety of his album Hard Promises in there, too.
And meanwhile, Thug Luckless is not getting re-written, and the director is texting to schedule a chat with me for Monday so that we can get a plan in place for the first workshop in NYC re: Tell My Bones, and Sandra is texting about the Christmas promotion and my brain starts wondering when I’m going to do those final needed revisions on the play?
So this is where I decide that I’m gonna go take a shower…
Okay. Hope Saturday’s been good for you! And if you’re one of those hardcore football fans (which I am not), I hope your team’s winning. See ya.
Do people still even use the word ‘hootenanny’? Don’t answer that, because I really don’t need to know exactly how old I am…
Things here are just sort of ridiculous, regarding me and more of my bills. It’s almost like two parallel planets are happening here. This morning, I awoke thinking about it and was beginning to consider that perhaps I have some sort of split-personality thing going on — you know, the part of me that takes care of paying the bills has completely dissociated from the other me that I generally think of as “me.” (I’m just kidding — although I did, for a moment, consider this morning that it could be true.)
But I’m still trying to take care of the glaringly insane thing I did the other day (involving me losing track of about two weeks worth of November and so I screwed up a couple of huge things). And then in yesterday’s mail, the 4th letter from my healthcare providers arrived, indicating that I am still 2 months behind and I am still under the impression that this is completely impossible, because they are supposed to auto-deduct every month and it seems as though they are doing that, based on my statements. But every time I call them I get the voicemail thing, and since it was still the holiday weekend yesterday, no one would answer the phone at all.
I hate all this weird kind of stuff. I seriously do. Bills going awry, and all that weird cancer stuff coming into my world by mistake.
I’m the kind of person who needs the foundation of my world to be completely in order, because you know, the rest of my world is sort of in the realm of the highly imaginative and intangible. So I need the basic things to be on track and to make sense and to not throw me in any way. Because it is so easy for me to start to doubt my sanity.
Another reason why having a keeper (and a handyman) would be just a really great idea!
And yet, weirdly…
I was talking to this young woman two days ago — I don’t actually really know her, but she wanted my advice about how I manage to be a woman and live on my own and stuff. (She still lives at home and is, basically, afraid to go out into the world.) I won’t go into all of it because it’s private to her, but I wound up telling her that she simply has to leave home, go out into the world and find out what she is capable of. That’s the only way.
And privately I wondered what all these total strangers here are thinking about me when they consider me here alone in this town, alone in this sort of big house (by the standards of the town, that is) — and we have already well established here on the blog that I have a very grown-up car now, too. It just struck me as so weird, because I really do honestly feel about 12 years old. So I have no clue how to answer questions like that. You know: “Just go out and fucking do it. Try — see what happens.”
That kind of describes my entire life right there. I just go out and do it; I try. I see what happens. I end up needing a keeper and a handyman, neither of which I will be getting anytime soon, but I just keep trying.
It gets tiring sometimes — to be honest. I see my female friends unhappy in their marriages or long-term relationships, yet staying in them because they can’t imagine surviving in the world on one income, with no one to help manage things for them. Seriously. To me, that’s like the Dark Ages type of thinking. And I don’t know that it’s very fair to the man, either– that you’re privately only staying with him for his income and because you need help. But perhaps the guy is staying for similar reasons. Obviously, I don’t know. And I don’t really want to judge, so I don’t say anything.
But inwardly, I just marvel at that kind of thinking. It’s your life you’re talking about, and it flies by so fast. Don’t you want to spend as much of it as you can feeling happy?
I left 2 husbands (and I didn’t do it cavalierly; the decisions were really difficult and heart-wrenching) and I went back out into the world and started with nothing again. And both of my ex-husbands were extremely unhappy with my decision but now they each are in really loving, happy relationships, and having good lives, and I’m really happy with my autonomy. I get lonely, but overall, I’m happy, too. And I’m still friends with both of them.
So I just don’t know. My god, it really just flies right by. Why wouldn’t you want to at least get out there and try?
Okay, well. Today I’m going to TRY to not worry about the insanity of my bill-paying techniques, and just sally forth into this wonderful (gray, rainy, cold) Saturday! I’m so excited about Christmas this year. About decorating the house and being with Cherie (my birth mom)! I just can’t wait.
I did get a stern talking-to from Kara yesterday, though. She told me to stop putting any of my new writing online (meaning here on the blog, or over at the Shadow of Narcissa site) and just focus on finishing stuff and getting it published the regular way so that I can get paid… I see her point, but still. My blog is my little world! Well, anyway.
The main point is that I have to complete some of these projects and get them off my desk and out into the world. So I’m gonna scoot and get going with that!
Have a super Saturday, wherever you are!! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with a song I haven’t thought of in a long time, but I used to love this song as a wee bonny lass and I would sometimes lie in my bed at night and sing it at the top of my voice and it made my brother absolutely insane. (I didn’t do it to make him insane, I sang it because I loved the song!) (Lyrics are in the video.) Okay, gang! I love you guys. See ya.
I am of course going to wait to decorate the house & the tree until my birth mom gets here (in 2 weeks). (Her name is Cherie, btw, so I guess I can just call her Cherie here, but then I’ll worry that it’s your first time reading the blog and won’t know who Cherie is, and I’ll end up calling her “Cherie, my birth mom”.) Anyway. I do want to at least switch out the autumnal wreaths on the door for the Christmas ones. And put the Christmas bedding on both of the beds.
At least get started on some stuff. Because I’m feeling a little merry this year!
Just so much better than last year — it’s like I’m not even on the same planet. Which is just a really, really good thing, gang.
I’m going to mention here, that my grandfather (Cherie’s dad), named her Cherie after a girl he fell in love with in Paris, when he was stationed there during WWII. (She used to call him, “chéri“.)
Mind you, he was already betrothed to my grandmother back in the States. So, naming their daughter after the girl he’d fallen in love with in Paris was a big secret for, like, decades. My grandparents did get divorced early on in my mom’s life. But how unfortunate, right? To have a child with a man and have him secretly name your child after a woman he loved more…
When I was adopted, my adoptive parents changed my name to Marilyn. My adoptive mother wanted to name me “Molly,” but my dad won out; he really wanted to name me Marilyn. When I was 11, he confided in me, one Saturday afternoon while I was in the family room watching an old Marilyn Monroe movie on TV — she had been dead for almost 10 years by then, and I had no real understanding yet of who she’d been. Anyway, my dad passed through the family room, saw what I was watching on TV, smiled sort of wistfully and told me, confidentially, “I named you after that woman — but don’t tell your mother.”
So perhaps this is common? Maybe I should take a poll: Did you name your daughter after a woman you loved more than the child’s mother? (There’s an “Add Poll” thingy here on my blog but I don’t know how to use it…) So I guess just think about your answers quietly amongst yourselves.
Loyal readers of this lofty blog are likely aware that my birth mom named me Dory. I don’t know why, or if there was a specific reason. She was 13 when I was born so there was likely some sort of romantic thing in her head. I don’t know. I’m afraid to ask her because I still worry that if I draw too much attention to myself, she’ll remember that she gave me up and ask me to leave her alone. Much like why I’m still afraid to call her on the telephone and only do it if I absolutely have to. (I’m actually really serious about this. Even though she’s been back in my life now for 34 years, I still worry that she will give me up again and that I will lose her.)
But Dory is the name I actually identify with privately in my head — you know, like, spiritually or something. I don’t go by that name at all in real life. However, I don’t relate to the name Marilyn at all. I just don’t and never have. I think it’s a complicated name, and then, once I understood who Marilyn Monroe actually was, culturally, well, that’s just too much to have to identify with — even though I love Marilyn Monroe, plus it wasn’t even her real name. Still. Just way too much going on there.
So. I’m guessing I digressed…
Mostly, I’m just kind of feeling a little untethered here; not sure what I want to work on today. I’m feeling like I need to make some progress with Thug Luckless — even though I love that character so much, I can’t emphasize enough just what a commitment it is to write about him. It requires 110% of my concentration, and I’m kind of feeling a little Christmas-y here, today. Not sure I can commit to writing several hours’ worth of porn. I guess we’ll see!
I do want to mention here that the horrible wind storm we had here all day Wednesday– even into the wee hours of yesterday morning– the winds were up to 60 mph. Anyway, it was God’s way of ensuring that the super enormous pile of dead leaves that were in my front yard were more evenly distributed among every single solitary house all up & down First Street. And for this dispensation from Heaven, I am profoundly grateful. Even while the high winds also got me some loose siding on my house, it is a small price to pay for not having to rake any of my fucking leaves! They are, essentially, all gone now! Yay.
Okay, gang, I’m gonna scoot. Put up a wreath or two, change the sheets, think about the day before me and what I might want to do with it!
The breakfast-listening music today was once again “Night Raid” from Ghosteen, which I posted here just the other day. (And I gave up trying to figure out what the song means; all I know is that it’s a beautiful song and I love it, and whatever I might decide it means– well, I will be hopelessly wrong. So I’m just listening to it now without trying to figure out what it means.)
So, since I posted the song here the other day, instead, I’ll leave you with what I was listening to yesterday while eating my dinner! Alone!
“Scare Easy,” by Tom Petty, from the Mudcrutch album in 2008. (It was also in a movie, but I can’t recall now which one.) Anyway, so I leave you with that. (The video is a live concert of him reunited with Mudcrutch in 2016 — this is not the Heartbreakers, even though it includes Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench. Mudcrutch was their first band together back in Florida in the late 60s-early 70s.)(In fact, Tom Petty’s final studio album was a Mudcrutch album and not a Heartbreakers album, oddly enough. Coming full circle, as it were. My favorite song of his on the final album is “Beautiful Blue,” which, for me, means that this is the final beautiful song he ever wrote. So I’ll post that, here, too.)
Okay! Have a terrific Black Friday wherever you are in America, and have a nice little regular Friday wherever else you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!
My love’s an ocean, you better not cross it
Yeah, I’ve been the distance and I need some rest
I had somebody once and damn if I lost her
I’ve been running like a man possessed
I don’t scare easy
Don’t fall apart when I’m under the gun
You can break my heart and I ain’t gonna run
I don’t scare easy for no one
Yeah, I’m a loser at the top of my game
I should’ve known to keep an eye on you
Now I got a sky that ain’t never the same
Yeah, I got a dream that don’t ever come true
I don’t scare easy
Don’t fall apart when I’m under the gun
You can break my heart and I ain’t gonna run
I don’t scare easy for no one
Sun going down on a canyon wall
I got a soul that ain’t never been blessed
Yeah, and I’m a shadow at the back of the hall
Yeah, I got a sin I ain’t never confessed
I don’t scare easy
Don’t fall apart when I’m under the gun
You can break my heart and I ain’t gonna run
I don’t scare easy for no one
I don’t scare easy
Don’t fall apart when I’m under the gun
You can break my heart and I ain’t gonna run
I don’t scare easy for no one
Before I forget, I believe I have finished tweaking “Hymn to the Dark,” which is Letter #5 in Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.
I wanted to make it more like Novalis’ Hymns to the Night, and I think I did that. Without bringing Jesus into it, of course.
I re-posted it at its original link, which is here, if you feel like reading it again.
In an oddly creepy twist, I got a call on my cell phone earlier — a number I didn’t recognize so I didn’t pick up. But they left a phone message. It was a cancer center in the town I used to live in, saying that they had all the information they needed from me.
Too fucking creepy. First my friend calls to tell me he has a horrible stage 3 cancer. Then UPS leaves a colon cancer kit on my kitchen porch, for a man I don’t know whose only known address is here at my house. Now a cancer center in the town where my old house was, calls to tell me they received all the information from me that they need.
All within under a week.
I’m super done with this whole cancer idea…
Okay. Well. Several friends from the NYC area called today to wish me a happy Thanksgiving and so that felt really good. It cheered me up to know that people are at least remembering how much I loved this holiday, even though I am alone, for now, and not celebrating it — for the 3rd year in a row.
But Valerie in Brooklyn was one of those friends who called and she said, “Don’t worry, Emmy; this will be the last one like this. Next year, everything is gonna be different for you.”
And I know she’s right. I will most likely be in Toronto this time next year, finally becoming a produced playwright with Sandra, in The Guide to Being Fabulous, at the Soulpepper Theater Company there.
So we’ll see.
And I washed all the lace curtains today so that they’re really white again, and the table runner in the dining room — slowly but surely getting ready to get this house decorated for Christmas once my birth mom gets here.
Trying to just let myself get excited but what I am really is kind of exhausted — just from life being so endlessly perturbing to me.
And I nearly fucked up on a couple of my bills again, this time in a really huge way — I might not be out of the woods yet, but fingers-crossed. I have got to stop all this dreamy, weird-ass brain shit that I keep doing — losing track of what day it is, what week. Sometimes even what month it is. I seriously need a keeper. I really do.
And the weather here today has been intense — the worst wind imaginable. It’s pulling some of the siding off one section of my house and I now need a really tall ladder to get it back in place. (And it blew down 3 huge sections of my neighbor’s fence, but they’re out of town for the holiday. They will have an interesting surprise when they get home and look out their kitchen window.)
But I really need that live-in handyman now. A keeper and a handyman, and then I’ll be just fine.
All right, well. I think I’ll go down and see what there is to eat around here. Then wash my hair!! And then I think I’m going to just hang out and read. And wait for tomorrow to just disappear and think, instead, of how cool next year will be.
Have a great rest of your Wednesday, wherever you are in the world!! I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning. Still in TheLyre of Orpheus mode around here. The song is “Babe, You Turn Me On” (2004), which I’ve posted here before, I’m pretty sure. (I love the line about the deer and the flowers, and the image of the atom bomb.) Okay. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys! See ya.
Here in America, tomorrow is a big national holiday — Thanksgiving.
It used to be my favorite holiday — I am actually a really good cook and used to be a really good baker, too, but haven’t done that in a long time.
But for several years in a row now, I’m choosing not to celebrate. It’s making me a little gloomy today. But, you know, you make choices for specific reasons, and in the long run, I know this life I’m living now is going to be better for me. And I know it isn’t always going to be like this — so isolated.
I think I have finally signed off on Letter #5, “Hymn to the Dark,” for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. I’m going to read it over again after I post this, and then see how I feel. Maybe I’ll tweak it some more; maybe move on to something else. Thug Luckless, maybe? Not sure. I might be a little too gloomy for Thug today.
However. Before I decide about all that, I thought I’d regale you with all my many dishes. You know, just give you an idea of a mere fraction of my dish-addiction insanity– of what is left of it. But also, you’ll get an idea of just how much I used to love to entertain.
I left a ton of dishes behind with Wayne when I left him. And then when I sold the old house here, I got rid of a lot more dishes because everything went into storage for over a year. But what remains will still be of interest! I have chosen not to include a photo of Gus Van Sant Sr.’s wedding china — complete service for 8 of Lenox Imperial — that he gave to me, which is on the floor of my bedroom closet since I have no room for it anywhere else… It would only confirm for you that I am completely out of my mind when it comes to dishes.
Okay, gang. Break’s over. I’m gonna get back to work here!
Okay, my TV set is not that old, it is at least digital. But since I don’t watch TV anymore, I have not yet upgraded to a flat screen TV.
Well, I did upgrade many years ago, but I let Mikey Rivera have it when he left me for another woman that he was deeply in love with. (No sour grapes here, gang!) But he loved that TV set and I was , just — what the fuck; I’ve lost everything else, just take the darn TV, too.
Anyway. Wow. I digress. And so quickly!
What I meant to focus on is that for the first time in over a year and a half, I sat in my family room this afternoon and watched a movie on my TV set. Actually, I watched a video. I still have a cool VCR. And a DVD player, too, even though all I ever really do anymore is stream stuff online. Still. I have all this stuff.
I was driving into town to get the groceries and I was listening to “The Lyre of Orpheus” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (posted below). It is a really cool song. (I know, I always say that everything Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds do is great, so just to preserve my credibility, one day I’ll talk about something they did that was lousy. Off the top of my head, I can’t think what that would be — and it wouldn’t be Nocturama because I actually like that, too.) But it’s a really cool song, and it’s of course, quite different from any version of the myth of Orpheus that you probably recall from school, and it made me think of Cocteau’s amazing film from 1950, Orphée. But then I also recalled Cocteau’s final film, Letestamentd’Orphée, from 1960, which was a movie that had astounded me when I first saw it 25 years ago.
I have the film on video and I wondered how I would respond to it all these years later, so I actually got it out, sat in my family room and watched it. (You can see the whole film for free online, but I wanted to watch my own video of it; the one that somehow embodies all my memories.) Here’s my favorite still from the film:
Jean Cocteau wrote the film, starred in it and directed it. But a lot of really cool people make cameos in it, as well. Including Picasso.
This film reminded me of why I used to love the cinema and don’t really love it that much anymore. At least not in the same way. And I still love some of the wisdom in this film — one being that no matter what an artist tries to draw (or to create) he will always just draw himself.
And also that a time may come when your creations will stand in judgment of you. (Here’s one minute of his character of Orpheus coming back to life to judge him.) (The actor here, Jean Marais, was Cocteau’s lover and celebrated Muse until Cocteau’s death.)
But overall, 25 years later, I found so much in the film that was really delightful and amusing. Plus, it was kind of a reawakening for me, in that I gradually remembered that I had seen every film that Cocteau had made; that I’ve read all his novels, and read (but never seen) most of his plays. I’d forgotten this about me. I used to love Cocteau.
It made me realize (regarding Tell My Bones) that, with the encouragement of the director, I was able to really let my imagination free itself from time and space and create a true piece of theater, as opposed to a linear “play.”
And now I see that dwelling underneath all that was this kind of Cocteau stuff that I used to just devour. So it was sort of illuminating. I guess not an accident that I took this movie out today and watched it.
I’m super excited, also, to finally say here that Tell My Bones now has a costume designer, a lighting designer, and a scenic designer.
I’m just really happy, gang. Okay, I’m going to get back to work here. Hope your evening has been splendid.
Yes, Tuesday is laundry day around here! So that’s already underway.
And it’s also the day I have to drive into town and get groceries. All I have left around here are arugula and tomatoes. Healthy as I am, even I need a little more excitement than that. (Well, a lot more excitement than that, but we’re talking about food right now.)
Sometimes that part of living in the middle of nowhere gets a wee bit old — having to drive 25 miles & back to get the food. Because I spend maybe 20 minutes in the actual market. Then an hour driving. And then about 20 more minutes putting all the groceries away.
And I’ve already spent a chunk of the morning going over stuff with the director again for Tell My Bones and our Christmas promotion. And so I’m just now sitting down to blog at an hour when the blog is usually already posted.
So my day’s gone.
I’m going to spend what’s left of it (after the shopping trek) doing some more tweaking on Letter #5 from Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. And then, if I have the right headspace after that, I’m going to work some more on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town. I just woke up in that kind of a mood.
Working with Thug takes a lot out of me, though, and if I’m not in the right headspace then it’s just useless. Writing that kind of porn (meaning the kind people wish to actually read) is like neurosurgery with words. Even though 99.9% of the words are filthy dirty & disgusting, they still have to be incredibly precise and in the exact specific place in the sentence; and then each sentence has to be precisely right. And then you can’t have too many words or it ruins everything.
So it’s a lot of work. However, it’s a task I’m willing to undertake for the sake of mankind (and good porn).
William at the A1000Mistakes blog in Australia (my favorite blog for learning about cool music I’ve never heard of before!), commented here yesterday about the unfortunate situation on the Internet and artists getting ripped off, etc.
What’s happening to me now is just sort of getting out of control. It’s never been this bad — where so much of my stuff is illegally being offered for free or for sale, all over the world. I have enough of an enormous ego to feel flattered, you know — if you want it that bad, then, great. However, it truly erodes my income. But at the same time, these are really old stories and novels and novellas, and so it sort of just makes me feel like I have to focus my energy on the new work and let go of these things I can’t control.
The truth is that without the Internet I never could have gotten as popular as I did, as quickly as I did — all over the world. I loved the World Wide Web. I thought it was the most awesome thing back in the late 1990s. And back then, it went hand in hand with driving sales of actual books in bookstores.
And, because of the kinds of books I primarily wrote, Amazon was also a godsend to me. Most people did not want to go out to a public bookstore and openly buy the kind of books I wrote (because publishers usually put such horrifically tacky covers on them!!). So the privacy factor of Amazon really helped put me on the map, 20 years ago.
Still, as much as I personally love the ease of Amazon, they were also the beginning of the erosion of my earnings, way back when, because they were the ones who started to make it so fucking easy for people to buy cheap used copies of my stuff, that I got no royalties on whatsoever. Eventually, the Internet and eBooks helped put all of my publishers out of business (small presses, primarily). So this disruption of my career has been going on for quite a while now and, for the most part, I’m used to it.
This sudden onslaught of so much of it at once is a little hard to take, though. However.
I made the decision a long time ago that I was going to be a writer, no matter what. I’m used to the winds of fortune constantly changing. I would not recommend being a professional writer to anyone on the planet, though, unless you can stomach that.
A few years ago, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a national newspaper of the Philippines, interviewed me in the late Spring, as students were graduating school, and among the questions they asked me was what I would advise these students who might want to make a career out of writing literary erotica.
I was dumbfounded, you know? Why on Earth would they ever want to do that? You’ve got to be out of your fucking mind to, you know, willingly choose this if you had even the remotest option of doing something else. And if, for whatever reason, like me, you know you don’t really have an option: you either write what’s in your head, or you blow your head completely off. Well, if that’s the case, then nothing I say is going to persuade or deter you.
But anyway. I’m used to things being less than perfect. My main goal is to write something good enough that somebody somewhere likes it so much that they want to keep it. Because it only takes one copy of something to be buried away for safe keeping — like a scroll in a clay jug in a cave in the cliffs over Qumran — to help it be part of the physical world for a really, really long time.
That’s the goal, anyway, when I put a word on some sort of page. And the Internet and everything that comes along with it, is part of that; be it good or less than good.
Okay. Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files thingy today! It was all about:
Had I known he was actually going to eventually tell us what Ghosteen was about, I’m thinking I might not have spent all those hours pondering it while listening to it in my bed, or at my desk, or in my kitchen, or while I was doing yoga, or driving all over Muskingum County, or while I was taking a shower….
However, that’s all water under the bridge, as it were. What matters more is that I still look really young for my age so not too much time was lost there.
I’m just kidding, of course. Mostly. Anyway. You can read it here if you so choose! As always, he’s eloquent and thought-provoking. And the album is just breathtaking, however you interpret it (or try to).
FYI: “Spinning Song” is a song I really love. I have no clue what it’s about. It is not one of the songs that breaks my heart or anything; I just really like the imagery, even though I don’t understand it. At all. But it seems to be a little bit about Elvis. And “the Queen” whose hair was a stairway, makes me think of Priscilla — not just on their wedding day, but more specifically, in the official photo from when the baby was first born: Priscilla’s hair is not to be believed. I never could understand her hair in those days. As a young girl, her hair actually kind of frightened me. (But then it turned out, in the 1980s, that she just had regular hair like everyone else.) (And that she was also incredibly funny and cute.)
Okay. I’m gonna scoot. The day is practically over already!!! Have a perfect Tuesday, wherever you are in the world, and whatever it finds you doing. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.
And even while I can sort of totally base my life on that musical, I’m actually just trying to get my shit together here today. I really, really am.
I have a phone meeting with the director in NYC this morning and need to kind of be like a “complete person” before that happens, because there are a lot of little things I need to discuss about the play, about the Christmas promotion, about bringing the first actors together and getting the workshop underway there for Tell My Bones. So I really need to have a functioning brain when I’m discussing all this.
Back when I was in Divinity School, I was trained in grief counseling, and so all the things I learned there (and practiced — I’ve been an effective grief counselor for others) — well, I need to do this for myself. Again. Counsel myself through this. And the first and most important thing, is not to meet myself at the level of my grief. It’s kind of convoluted to counsel myself as if I’m two people, but in a way, I am because my grief has me behaving like a separate person here. One that I can stand back from and look at it in my head. And I know it isn’t going to help anyone at all, least of all him, if I don’t just get my shit together and get back to work around here.
And I have to stop worrying so much about how to behave towards him. I happen to be a really compassionate person and if I end up annoying him by hovering too much, I know him well enough to know that he will let me know if I’m annoying him.
This morning, I decided it was time to get the Christmas breakfast dishes out. Because how can you feel sad or dissociated when this cute guy’s looking at you, bringing you your coffee??!!
And it actually did help — having breakfast with the moose. He’s on my breakfast bowl, too. And his sweet little face is adorable.
And for some reason, I keep listening to that old Bruce Springsteen song (I posted it here over the weekend) over and over. And before it popped so suddenly into my life the other day, I hadn’t thought of it in 40 years. Now I can’t stop playing it.
Loyal readers of this lofty blog can probably already figure out that the song pushes a lot of the wrong buttons for me, and yet there is something about this song — melody, tempo — that I really love.
And I was sitting at the breakfast table this morning, listening to it for the millionth time, trying to pinpoint what it is, exactly, about these kinds of sentiments about marriage that rub me the wrong way. And I have always been like this when it comes to marriage.
Back when this particular Springsteen album, The River, came out, I was at the tail-end of trying to make a key relationship in my life work. It was a guy I was really in love with, and had been for 5 years, but we argued so much, that we were always breaking it off, then getting back together.
He was from West Virginia, from a small town right on the Ohio River, so I only got to see him on weekends if I got to see him at all. And even back when we were teenagers, still in high school, he wanted to get married. Meaning, he wanted me to drop out of high school, move to West Virginia, live there with him and his mom, be married to him and start having babies. Right away. (And his mom was in full support of this, so that didn’t help.)
I know I don’t even have to tell you what was wrong with that picture for me. Especially since, by then, I already knew, by age 16, that I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and move to NYC, once I was out of school and could figure out how to do that. But I really, really loved that guy, so it was hard to simply just walk away. And so, instead, we tried to stay together and just argue, constantly.
One time, the summer when I was 16 and he was 17, he and I went to a drive-in movie and of course we were fooling around in the car — we had more sex than you can possibly imagine. In fact, he was actually the first guy to give me an orgasm — and on purpose. Meaning, he knew his way around that whole “clitoris” thing and when that had first happened between us, I was only 15 and it was a huge, happy thing for me, especially since Greg had only been dead for a year by then, and the rapes had happened. But anyway, I digress.
We were at the drive-in movie, fooling around, and I told him I couldn’t have intercourse that weekend because I was ovulating. And then he was like a man on a mission, you know? And I was a girl on a mission in direct opposition to his mission. It got really dicey in that car that night, I can tell you. Man. I mean, I was super horny, because I was 16 and ovulating — the worst combination to be if you’re with your boyfriend in some car at the drive-in and not wanting to get pregnant.
It is sufficient to say that I really wanted to kill him that night. I was so pissed-off at him. And even though it seems like most 17 year-old boys don’t want their girlfriends to get pregnant, if you happen to have one of the weird ones, don’t — even for a moment– believe him when he says, “I promise I won’t come in you.” Instead, just put your jeans back on, get out of the car and just walk the fuck home.
Anyway. In early 1980, he and I were still in that constant struggle of trying to be together, long-distance, with me not wanting to get married.
HIM: “Why do you have to go all the way to New York City and sing in some bar? We can get married and you can sing at home. I’ll buy you a trailer and your own washer and dryer.”
ME: (various expletives spluttered really loudly and with deep consternation and disbelief. Even when I was totally sober.)
What’s odd, though, is that after I moved to NYC in November of 1980, I was actually married 5 months later. To this really amazing Chinese guy from Singapore. And even though the marriage didn’t work out, I loved him and still do; he always tried to help me find my way in the world. (And still does, actually.)
So it’s just fucking weird — me and marriage. And whatever the hell goes on in my head about that. Primarily, I just don’t want to be owned, you know? Because then you can always be discarded. For some reason, it’s very hard for me to see past that one specific thing. The discard.
Well, the Bruce Springsteen song, in my opinion, is all about marriage as ownership, but it’s still a sweet song that’s hard not to want to buy into, even knowing all that I know.
Oh, before I close! I want to point out that there is going to be a book by Nick Cave to coincide with the exhibit in Copenhagen, Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition. Back, over 30 years ago, when I worked at MoMA and books were published that supported a special exhibition, the books were only for sale at the museum. Not in bookstores or anything. So I don’t know if this particular book (which I know will be amazing) will be available for regular people to buy (meaning myself specifically.)
Normally, in a year when I’m not planning on being in Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York City repeatedly, with pretty much all of my published books and stories being rapidly consumed free of charge all over the Internet by everyone in the world and so money is becoming a real pressing THING in my life (although I still got some royalties from Amazon this month, so thank you, people, who are actually purchasing stuff)… but normally, when all that’s not going on, and an amazing museum exhibit is going on somewhere in the world, I will go to it! But this one just can’t happen for me. That so sucks… But I know it’s gonna be really, really cool. And hopefully, that book will end up being for sale all over, at some point.
Okay. I gotta get ready for my phone meeting here. Finish my coffee. Brush my teeth. (I never feel like my day has officially started until I brush my teeth!!)
So I’m gonna try to be cool today, and stop being so irrational with my grief, and try to find a more productive way to behave about my grief because I know for sure that the success of my writing is also really important to my friend, whether or not he has cancer that does not seem likely to be cured.
So, thanks for visiting. Have a really good Monday, wherever you are in the world. I’ll leave you once again with the Springsteen song, so that you don’t have to scroll down. Plus, I’ll also leave you with my “answer song” and then my absolutely MOST FAVORITE song for when I’m in love and will follow a guy anywhere (even into marriage…). (And if you can’t figure me out then imagine how it feels to actually BE me!!). Okay. I love you guys. See ya!