It’s Been Kind of Just A Wonderful Day, All Things Considered Here

I’m still here at my desk, but I’m taking a little break.

I updated the photo of my birth father down there in the “In the Shadow of Narcissa” photo gallery. This is the photo I added (replacing the photo of him on Midway Island from 1973). My dad’s about 17 years old here, brand new in the US Navy — which means I was about 2 years old.

My birth father in the US Navy, 1962

I love this photo of my dad. One of my aunt’s gave it to me after he died. She found a bunch of old photos of him and mailed them to me in NYC. She died herself, not too long after that.  She was so sweet to me — my Aunt Jo. All of his siblings were sweet to me, actually.  But I never got to meet my Aunt Jo or my Uncle Earl, but I met the others. My Uncle Ralph, who is still a musician and used to play professionally in Nashville for a really long time — he’s still alive. I believe he’s married to a woman in Norway now.

Really early this morning — even before all the other stuff I was thinking about that I blogged about earlier today — I was lamenting that blogging has shifted me away from keeping journals. I used to keep journals, like, religiously. To the point where people I did indiscreet things with would sometimes say, “Don’t put that in your journal!”  I usually did anyway. I wrote about everything.

It made me a little sad, though, that the man from 2 summers ago who changed my life and then died — he made me swear not to ever write about it in my journal. Obviously, I didn’t blog about it. But he didn’t want me even writing privately about him, because he was married and had children and grandkids, and just didn’t want to run any risk that any of it would get back to them after he died. Ever.

I asked him if I couldn’t even write in a secret, private journal and keep it locked away somewhere, super private — because I really just wanted a written record of all we were going through together and how much he was changing me and how much I loved him. But even that, he said no. And he was really, really serious about it, too, so I didn’t write about him.

And this morning, I was lamenting that time was passing now and I didn’t want to risk forgetting anything about him and us, and I realized that I probably already was forgetting stuff. And it made me sad.

It reminded me how I recently realized that all the details of that first time I saw Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in NYC in 1989 — even though the audience made me insane — I was bowled over by Nick Cave when he came onto the stage. I was just astounded by him, even though, by then I’d been buying his records for a few years already. I just wasn’t prepared for him, how he was “live.” And I started to realize recently that I was forgetting a lot about that concert — except for those stupid crazy audience people that I hated!! And I hadn’t been high or anything — I never took drugs when I went to concerts because I just loved music so much. I wanted to be really present, you know? Still, I was starting to forget.

So I decided to dig out the diary I would have been keeping back then, to see what I wrote about the show. I found the correct journal, as you can see here!! (FYI, I was not a big Guns & Roses fan, but I did have that album and it came with a decal that I put in the inside cover of my journal.)

The inside cover of my diary from 1989-1990

I’ve read all through that journal and found nothing whatsoever about that concert because it was the year I met my birth father, and almost that entire journal is about that whole thing. Me going to that little town to try to find him; them telling him about me; him calling me from Nevada; and everything else that happened.

And one true blessing that came from re-reading that specific diary is that some key things about what happened between me and my dad that night in his trailer — when we almost became incestuous. Well, all of those details were written down in my diary. And I discovered, these 20 years later, after so many years of feeling so incredibly guilty about what almost happened — it turns out I hadn’t remembered it exactly right. We did fall in love but there had been no valid reason at all for me to feel so guilty for so long.  We couldn’t help how we were feeling and the  bottom line is that we didn’t do anything. It’s all documented there in detail in my diary.

I was so angry at my dad for dying without telling me he was sick, that he had cancer. He simply stopped speaking to me and refused to return my calls. Then the next thing I knew, he was dead and cremated and gone, and I hadn’t even known he was sick. So I spent a lot of years (20, to be exact) being really mad at him for that and then just sort of hating myself for that night in the trailer, too.

Had I thought to read my diary 20 years ago, it could have helped me heal a lot sooner. But my point here is that my diaries are more accurate than my memories are, especially now that years and years are moving on at quite a clip. So now I’ve lost the details of that first Nick Cave show, and that sucks.

And now I know that I’ll eventually forget so many details about that man who changed my life forever over a handful of months one summer, before he died. I have written a few little things about him now, but nothing at all like what I would have written had I been putting it into a daily journal, and that makes me sad.

And then I think of all the years that I’ve spent primarily blogging now, instead of journaling, and how regrettable that probably will seem down the road. But you know, I can only write just so much. I already write more than I can sometimes manage. Blogging and journaling and the plays and the fiction and the memoirs… I’d go insane.

Oh well. I guess that’s just how things are for now.

Well, I did hear from the legal department at Little Brown & Co in the UK today, regarding this problem I’m having online with so many people offering illegal downloads of Neptune & Surf.  The main culprit (the gaming site) that I found last week has now disappeared. But others have sprung up. So they are going to go after them, which means a lot to me because it is, after all, a 20-year-old book. Still, the book matters a lot to me. I really hope, gang, that if you haven’t read that book and would like to, you’ll just pay for it the right way. It hardly costs anything. (And some of those sites are scams — they just want to grab your private information and run.)

And I did notice two other novels of mine being offered for free online now, too (in addition to some of my stuff being printed on demand illegally and sold to unsuspecting customers as legally published books). But these involve titles that I own and I don’t have access to those kinds of lawyers on my own. It’s depressing to see this stuff keep popping up, and it’s exhausting and it makes my head want to explode. It can just feel overwhelming, gang. You have no idea.

So please. You know, just think about it.

Okay. I’m gonna go eat something and then get back to work here. I hope you’ve had a really good day, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

Lucie and Doris as kittens at the old house…

Such Interesting Times

I hate to get too tedious about the cats, since I am not normally a “cat blogger.” However…

I was lying in bed this morning, remembering how, when Daddycakes was still alive, a lot of the cats would jump up on my bed with him in the morning and walk all over me — as long as I was under the blankets, I mean. They wouldn’t come near me if I wasn’t. But I was thinking this morning how much I really missed that. Just even that small physical contact with the cats.

Not that I don’t appreciate this new development with Huckleberry and Doris in the bathroom in the mornings now — and this morning, they even came in after the sun had actually come up. This is a huge change — allowing me to pet them in the daylight.

But, anyway. Yesterday, a man I know just really casually — we had had lunch together a couple of times a couple of years ago. The only thing we really had in common is that we grew up in Cleveland in the same era. But he was a heavy drinker, smoker, and a meat eater. And even though I never, ever push my eating/smoking/drinking preferences on anyone else — honestly, you can do whatever you want to do, even in my house. But it probably means we won’t really spend a whole lot of time together. So that’s what happened there. I think he found me a little intimidating, actually. But I saw him yesterday — really briefly. It was so nice. And my main point is that he very lightly touched my back, just this friendly sort of gesture of “hello, I remember you” and it felt so incredible and I realized that it’s getting to be a really long time since anybody touched me — including the cats.

So this morning, I was thinking about how the cats never jump up on my bed anymore and how much I miss that — little cat feet walking all over me in the morning. And then absolutely that quickly, suddenly Huckleberry and Doris jumped up on the bed with me. And they did that thing where they knead you with their paws — Doris always loved kneading my thigh and she immediately started doing that again! They were on the bed with me for several minutes. And then Francis — the meanest cat in the world — came into the room and was staring up at us. She never comes into the bedroom while I’m in the room, ever. And yet she stood there and watched us for a little while.

I could not believe any of this. It’s been 7 months since Daddycakes died. It feels like forever. Needless to say, it made me feel really happy to finally have this cat-interaction again.

And, oddly, the guy I had last gotten seriously involved with, about 3 years ago — when I was planning to move back to New York and buy a house in Rhinebeck (where he lives — oddly, he lives about 5 minutes from Sandra but I knew him from NYC), but I ended up in the wilds of Muskingum County instead, bought a strange old house and became indescribably happy. Anyway, that guy emailed me over the weekend. That felt very strange. Not bad, but more like — wait; what?

I guess it’s just one of those junctures. Everyone’s sort of revisiting their old energy — including the cats.

Then, as the sun came up this morning — after I was done meditating and doing my Inner Being journal-thing — I was looking at the grey sky and an old Paul Simon song came suddenly to my mind: “I Do It For Your Love,” from his 1975 album, Still Crazy After All These Years. And the song brought to mind both of my wedding days and how odd it was that on both of those days, the weather simply could not have been more beautiful. (April 9, 1981, and then May 1, 1993.) And then it brought to mind how the weather is no real indicator of how a marriage is going to go. And I thought about all the various men who have wanted to marry me in my lifetime, starting from when I was 17, and how I was just the kind of girl who never wanted to get married. And yet when I did — both times, well, they were just so odd.

Both wedding nights, for various reasons, go down as two of the worst nights of my life. That feeling of lying there and staring up at the ceiling in the dark and thinking: Jesus, it’s legal now; what was I thinking? Then feeling resigned to making the best of it. And both of those particular marriage proposals couldn’t have been more strange. And yet they were the ones I accepted. (The other guys were so much more passionate — “come on, I love you, I want to have a kid with you” and that kind of beautiful thing. But I always saw ownership in that arrangement and that’s one way to make me bolt the stall in a huge hurry.) Plus, I also wound up marrying two Geminis (Geminis have that “twin” thing going on.). And for me, both times, I didn’t find the twin until after the wedding.

Just so strange that all I had to do was look out the window at the grey sky, then be reminded of an old Paul Simon song, and my mind was just off and running like that. I’m not anti-marriage at all, I just don’t really understand the point of it if real estate and children aren’t involved. It’s just such an intensely binding legal arrangement.

Anyway, I thought this would be of interest! Marriage-related photos!! The first is actually a photo of the playwright Christopher Demos Brown, but in the background — the sort of striped brick high-rise: that’s the Camelot Building, on the corner of 8th Avenue and W.45th Street. And that’s where I lived with my first husband when we were married.

The Camelot building in Midtown — so aptly named!

And below — you kind of have to look closely here — this is West End Avenue, on New York City’s Upper West Side. If you look in the center of the photo and see a dark red chimney-type thing on top of one of those tall buildings — the apartment building directly next to it, the much smaller one with a white roof (it’s only 12 stories), that’s where I lived when I was married to Wayne, on the 10th floor. He still lives there. You can’t tell from this photo, but outside of our bedroom window and our bathroom window, we had a clear view of the Hudson River and Riverside Park.

Life in the married days…

And of course, this is what it looks like where I am now — not married at all. This was the full moon this past September, over my barn.

The full moon over my barn in Muskingum County

Well, I’m just in a really strange headspace today, huh? Not a bad one; just sort of contemplative.

And I thought about that Paul Simon song, and just how long it’s been since I even thought about it. I loved that album, but the song wasn’t especially a favorite or anything. I do recall listening to it at age 15, and thinking that I didn’t really ever want to get married. And then I thought about who I am now, today, and I thought of that girl I was then. I was fresh from the mental hospital, for one thing. I was in such a bad way. I basically lived alone with my adoptive mother — my brother was almost never home back then and then he moved out for good less than 2 years afterward. But I lived in terror of that woman. Just day in, day out, anxiety, fear, suicidal depression and awfulness. I never ever knew what horrible shit she was going to throw my way next. I tried so hard to make myself just disappear back then.

This morning, remembering all that, I just wanted to let go of the past — forget it completely. But then I didn’t want to just abandon that girl who was still back there, listening to her records in her room, you know? I knew she had a whole lot of really bad shit still up ahead of her, and I didn’t want to just leave her stranded in it.

I’m just not sure how reality works in that regard. If you let go of the past, are you letting go of something deep inside yourself that still needs you, or is that just an illusion of some kind? I don’t really have a clue.

Well, okay. The director’s comments will not arrive until tonight. So today I’m going to work some more on “Hymn to the Dark.” (Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.) I hope you have a really good, thought-filled Monday, wherever you are in the world.

I’m guessing you know what I’m leaving you with today! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

“I Do It For Your Love”

We were married on a rainy day
The sky was yellow
And the grass was gray
We signed the papers
And we drove away
I do it for your love

The rooms were musty
And the pipes were old
All that winter we shared a cold
Drank all the orange juice
That we could hold
I do it for your love

Found a rug
In an old junk shop
And brought it home to you
Along the way the colors ran
The orange bled the blue

The sting of reason
The splash of tears
The northern and the southern
Hemispheres
Love emerges
And it disappears
I do it for your love
I do it for your love

c – 1975 Paul Simon

Don’t I Look Industrious?!

I’m actually still in bed!

You know, some days I just look at my desk and feel the effort it will take to move  everything that’s on top of the desk — a ton of manuscripts in various stages of completion and piles of photos of Nick Cave that I’m always printing off from the Internet and then have nowhere to pin them up because my wall is already covered with stuff. I guess I just want to use up as much printer ink as I can because I enjoy spending a god-awful ton of money on ink…

Anyway.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I have the tiniest desk known to man. I always assumed that I would one day have a very grown up desk like other serious writers do! However, my desk was a wedding gift to me from my first husband. It meant so much to me, gang. It turned out, I was never able to part with it.  That was nearly 40 years ago.  I’ve written 6 novels at that desk, and God knows how many short stories, memoirs, essays, novellas. It went from having a typewriter sitting on it, to every stage of computer, and now the laptop. So I’m guessing it is officially My Desk.

That said, though, every morning, I have to unbury the top of the desk to find the laptop, and then put piles of stuff on the floor. Some mornings— such as this one here today— I look at all that stuff on top of the desk and just feel like blogging from bed…

Well, okay!

It is supposed to get up into the 50s Fahrenheit today. Kind of hard to believe because it is only 27 degrees out there right now. But it should be another beautiful day.  I heard from the director that tonight he will have his comments for me re: revisions on the play. So I am very eager to hear just how close to completion we might be! I don’t know, I’m just feeling like a lot of weight is off of me and I’m going to have more time now, in general, to focus on other things.  Regardless, it just feels good.

Yesterday, when I was looking for that photo of Fluffy helping me put up the Christmas tree, I found a couple other photos that I really loved. Another one from the old house:

A bunch of the cats looking out the screen door at the old house.

And several of the cats on my bed at the rental house:

Most of the feral cat colony, minus 2 of them

I love looking at old photos of the cats. Especially the really old photos of the ones who are gone now. I honestly just can’t believe how quickly the time passes and things change.

Okay, well. I guess I’m gonna get going here. Because I need more coffee and so I must get out of bed!! I leave you with another really old song that’s kind of haunting in a way, but made for nice breakfast music today. Have a great Sunday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya!

A Super Saturday in the Hinterlands!!

Well, for some weird reason, the blog decided to update all on its own after I had typed only a single letter!

(The letter was “A”.) I hope it wasn’t too riveting for you…

Anyway! I woke up really daydreamy this morning and had nothing really coherent to blog about. And as the day has progressed, I find that I’m still super daydreamy. I’m in a great mood. I feel just so extremely happy today. For no specific reason, I just am. And because of that, my mind just keeps wandering.

I’m still not getting a ton of new writing done, although I am focusing on Letter #5 of Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. At least I did get that far.

I’m also really kind of waiting to hear back from the director to see if he has any additional notes on the play, because Sandra will be back in NY from LA on Monday, and she’s waiting to get a copy of the revised play, too. So lots of waiting going on here. (I’m also still waiting to hear back from various small presses re: my queries about my new novel, Blessed By Light. Small presses take forever to reply to you. It’s been 5 months. One of the small presses I queried takes a year (!!) to respond.) So anyway, lots of waiting.

If you haven’t already noticed, I started a little photo gallery for In the Shadow of Narcissa. If you’re reading this on your phone, you can’t see the gallery. It’s only visible as a web page — down on the lower left. The web site where I actually post the segments of that memoir is not very photo friendly, so I’m posting them here instead. The photo of my birth father I will probably switch out for a younger photo. I have to dig something out of storage. But the photo I have posted of him currently is probably my favorite photo of him, just generally. He was in the Navy, on Midway Island, 1973. Still about 16 years before I would meet him.

Well, even though it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, I am starting to feel excited about decorating the house for Christmas. This will be my 2nd Christmas in the house but my first year decorating. I was indescribably depressed last Christmas and didn’t actually think I would live through it.  I think I have a photo of my tree from last year. A fake tree with built-in lights. But I only had one ornament on it because my birth mother had been here and gave it to me.

The sole decoration on last year’s tree.

And as far as past Christmases go, here’s Fluffy, helping me put up a tree several years ago!! Gosh, I miss that cat. She died just a couple weeks before Bunny did. Those were very sad times for me. Selling the house. Moving away. My little cats dying.

Fluffy helping me put up the tree!

Okay. I also saw this photo from my old house. Summertime a few years ago:

Summers at the old house

If I spend too much more time scrolling through pictures this post will get unwieldy!!

All righty, on that lofty note, gang. I leave you with the breakfast-listening music from this morning, “Jesus of the Moon,” from Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.  I’ve posted it here before, but it was several months ago.  Okay. I hope you’re having a super Saturday wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting! I love you guys! See ya!!

I Guess That’s Just the Kind of Mood I’m in Today!

Some days you just wake up like this, right? Wondering about all that Action for Men!

(And I sure as heck want to know the “10 Ways to Spot a No Limit Girl,” don’t you?) (I’m guessing, the first way to spot her is that she has to live in Crazeysburg; as for the 9 other ways, I just can’t even imagine…)

I am, of course, just kidding. I have limits. (I have two, actually.)

Okay, truth be told — I did absolutely no writing yesterday!! I just didn’t feel like it. For most of the day, my laptop was actually even closed. And I spent a great big bunch of time getting back into bed. It was really fun. I was reading and stuff.  Things I haven’t had the brain-space to do in a couple months.

Today, though, I woke up back in writing mode. Still not sure if it will be the new segment of In the Shadow of Narcissa, or Letter #5 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. (Titled “Hymn to the Dark” — I get the impression, that one’s going to be sort of intense and take a lot out of me. Not sure yet why.) And I also still have Thug Luckless hanging out, waiting for more adventures. But that also takes a lot out of me, even though it’s pure porn. For those of you who think (or perhaps know first hand) that writing pure porn is easy — I beg to differ! Writing bad porn is easy; writing porn that people are willing to pay money for in this day & age of nonstop free porn, is a whole other story (pun intended, I guess). It’s just as time-consuming as writing anything else.

Well, my stupid bathroom scale claims I put on 2 more pounds during the night. Apparently, lying around and reading is really fattening. I seriously have to break down and buy another new scale — one that actually works this time. I would hate to develop some sort of weird eating disorder, all because of a diabolically Sadistic bathroom scale… (It is starting to fuck with my head a little bit. I got out of the shower and looked at myself in the bathroom mirror: have I actually put on 9.3 pounds in the past 3 days? It doesn’t look like it, and yet, my scale says otherwise. I guess those 7 almonds have to go. And the 4 ounces of organic cranberry juice; I don’t suppose I really need that…) It’s just ridiculous.

I actually do need the almonds and the cranberry juice! I am a woman of a certain age!!! Every single thing I fucking eat every single day is expertly calculated for aging as seamlessly as possible around here. You would be bored to tears (yes, you would literally cry) if I told you the really boring — and pathetically short — list of indescribably healthy things I eat around here every single day.  I really need to get rid of the stupid scale.

Okay, then. Onward!!

My progress with the cats has been sort of a little miracle around here. After 7 years. I don’t know what’s causing it, but it makes me really happy. Now, when I first sit up in bed in the morning (in the dark — it always has to still be dark out), Huckleberry and Doris now come scampering into the bedroom and then follow me into the bathroom to be petted! I can pet them kind of a lot now, and Huckleberry always purrs. And now 2 other cats are starting to join us in there — Lucie and Weenie. Although, they stay out of petting reach, but they are definitely in there now, too. They are trying to figure out what’s going on, because Huckleberry and Doris do seem to be really, really happy while they’re getting petted. (Weenie lets me pet him once a day,  as I put his bowl of food in front of him down in the kitchen, so he might actually get brave. Lucie used to let me pet her like crazy when Daddycakes was still alive, but only if I was petting him at the same time. Since he died, she has steered clear of letting me touch her.)

Huckleberry, Weenie and Lucie, back when we lived briefly at the rental house and I used to force them to work really, really hard!

I try to just be so patient with them, and go at whatever pace they’re comfortable with, because, sweet as they look, they are still wild animals and the bottom line is that they will attack — become all claws and teeth and draw blood and break skin and such.  But I can’t tell you how badly I want to just scoop them up and hug them and cuddle them, tote them with me in my arms from room to room and happily babble at them… I think they’d rather die than endure that, at this point, anyway. And perhaps even forever. We’ll see.

Okay, well. I’m gonna  get started here.  Figure out what I’m going to work on today. (Next week, I’m back on schedule with Peitor again with the micro-short script, too, so I do have to get back on track here today.)

I’m still in Ghosteen mode around here, and still listening to “Night Raid” over and over, trying to figure it out. Although, at the In Conversation at Town Hall in NYC, someone asked Nick Cave what the song “Girl in Amber” was about and he said that he didn’t know. So, you know, I could be on a fool’s errand here. Who knows. And I do know there is a fine line between pondering and fixating — it’s actually a fine line that I’m quite familiar with! In fact, I guess you could say I call that space between pondering and fixating my home away from home!

But anyway, since I am still focused on “Night Raid,” I will instead leave you with the song that was not only in my head when I awoke this morning at 5:30am, but I actually found myself singing it — which is sort of a tall order at 5:30 in the morning because it’s super passionate. It’s another song from my wee bonny girlhood. It was a hit the year I was born (1960), but I had the record as a little girl, and passionate little girl that I was, I used to love this song.  (And I think, now more than ever, for various reasons that I’m not going to blog about, it resonates with me.)

Okey-dokey! Have a wonderful Friday! Wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

“Where The Boys Are”

Where the boys are, someone waits for me
A smilin’ face, a warm embrace, two arms to hold me tenderly

Where the boys are, my true love will be
He’s walkin’ down some street in town and I know he’s lookin’ there for me

In the crowd of a million people I’ll find my valentine
And then I’ll climb to the highest steeple and tell the world he’s mine

‘Til he holds me I’ll wait impatiently
Where the boys are, where the boys are
Where the boys are, someone waits for me

‘Til he holds me I’ll wait impatiently
Where the boys are, where the boys are
Where the boys are, someone waits for me

c – 1960 Greenfield Howard, Sedaka Neil

C’è una festa qui!

Yes! There’s a party going on here today, gang! Finally – a day wherein my mind doesn’t have to do anything!

I’m still going to do something — not sure what. Either work on the new segment of In the Shadow of Narcissa, or Letter #5 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. Both of them have already begun inching into my brain. But knowing that I don’t actually have to work on that play today is like having a mini brain-vacation.

I honestly don’t know if the director will sign off on those revisions. But at least I got to the point where I felt that I had done what I was trying to do, and I liked it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I nailed it theatrically. We’ll see.

But meanwhile, it feels good. And I’m taking a break from working on the micro-short script with Peitor until next week. I just need to feel, you know — “not blocked in,” time-wise.

I’m no longer on speaking terms with my insane bathroom scale. For the last few days, it has been assuring me that I’ve gained between 5 to 8 pounds. Even though my measurements are exactly the same and my clothes fit the way they should and I eat the same damn thing every single darn day — and, on Monday, I was at my goal weight and had been for a couple of weeks.

I know the scale is fucked up and has been since I bought it. I should just stop this masochistic torture and go buy another fucking scale. The Dollar Store has the old-fashioned kind for $9. I should just go get it. But for some reason, my mind is kind of fascinated by this scale — its unpredictability.  It’s sadistic approach to punishment & reward — you know, in the true BDSM sense of that concept; where the Top makes sure that the rules remain in flux, constantly changing, so that the bottom never knows whether s/he will be rewarded or punished.  It’s fun if you’re having sex, but not so fun if you’re intensely vain, like me, and want to begin each morning knowing that absolutely everything is perfect with your meticulously tended to body.

But the new scale is so sleek and modern looking! The old-fashioned scales are not… Clearly I’m putting too much emphasis on appearances here, all the way around.

Okay! That’s my worst problem of the day, so you can see that things are pretty good here. And I found the best birthday present for Kara, so I’m super excited about that. She’s not easy to shop for because she will never ever tell you what she wants or needs, or even likes. Last year, I bought her candy — in a plastic champagne bottle. At least it was celebratory-looking. But I gave it to her, feeling like: well, here, at least I’m giving you something. But then it turned out that she actually really liked it. She texted me at 3 in the morning; she was outside on her back steps in the freezing cold, drinking an espresso, looking at the moon, eating her chocolates alone and smoking a cigarette — and was apparently in heaven.

So you never know what makes someone happy. But I did indeed find something this year that I know she will like — because it will remind her, in a comforting way, of her mom who passed away unexpectedly last fall.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that Kara is my only real friend out here in the Hinterlands, although I do have acquaintances. But Kara is so good at buying gifts! And she’ll just suddenly turn up with, like, a pair of earrings and say, “I saw these and they really looked like something you’d like so I bought them.” And then it will turn out that I love them. She’s done that a couple of times — bought me these amazing earrings that really bring out the hippy-chick in me, and then also bought me these really pretty fake pearls that are just so elegant, even though they’re fake. (I still remember how to look elegant, even though I don’t do it very often anymore.) They actually look more elegant than the real pearls I own. It’s funny.

Anyway. It’s been frustrating to not be able to do the same for her — except by accident.

All righty! I’m gonna get more coffee and think about the freedom of this day, and decide what it is that’s calling to me loudest and work on that for awhile. I hope you have a splendid little day, wherever you are in the world.

I’m still in Ghosteen mode around here in the mornings; still listening to “Night Raid” on repeat, trying to figure out that song. That line “annexed your insides in a late night raid” and then they go get something to eat. What the heck does that mean? Has she gotten pregnant or something? What is it? It seems so specific.

Anyway, I’m still pondering over that song, so I’ll leave you with a song that sprang into my head the moment I awoke at 5:30am this morning.  A super-fun song from my wee bonny girlhood! (It’s a song written by Neil Diamond, but this is the version I grew up with.) All righty! Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya!

“I’m A Believer”

I thought love was only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else but not for me.
Love was out to get me
That’s the way it seemed.
Disappointment haunted all my dreams.

Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind.
I’m in love, I’m a believer!
I couldn’t leave her if I tried.

I thought love was more or less a givin’ thing,
Seems the more I gave the less I got.
What’s the use in tryin’?
All you get is pain.
When I needed sunshine I got rain.

Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind.
I’m in love, I’m a believer!
I couldn’t leave her if I tried.

Love was out to get me
Now, that’s the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all my dreams

Oh, then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind.
I’m in love, I’m a believer!
I couldn’t leave her if I tried.

Yes, I saw her face, now I’m a believer
And not a trace of doubt in my mind.
Said I’m a believer
I’m a believer
I’m a believer
Said I’m a believer
I’m a believer
I said I’m a believer
I’m a believer

c – 1967 Neil Diamond

Okay. The Play’s done. Again.

That’s a shot of part of my family room — I might sit in that chair again some day. I remember I used to do that. Watch movies and stream all those cool British DCI shows from the BBC.

We’ll see.

As indicated above, I finished the revisions on the play and just sent them off to the director in NYC. I did what I was hoping to do, to capture, but I’m not 100% sure it’s having enough of an impact as the ending (before the final song). We’ll see what the director thinks.

I have Helen ending on a partial quote from Psalm 22. She’s on an elevated platform thing, sort of like heaven, but it’s a mental landscape that doesn’t include her wheelchair, and she’s wondering what her story is now — now that she’s paralyzed and can no longer paint –after having waited 50 years before she could afford the time to paint and had enough money to buy paints and canvases, and so many paintings are still inside her.

Wanda is down below her, talking mostly to the audience, but all these other voices from Helen’s past are also speaking, overlapping. Wanda is marveling at the story that became her own life because she met Helen, and she ends with: “I’ll ease her way. I’m strong.”

And then Helen says some stuff about Jesus going to Jerusalem even though he knew his days were numbered there. And then she ends with impassioned dialogue based on Psalm 22, ending with,  “Tell my bones, tell all my bones, people — what you think it looks like to be me!” And then everything goes to black and her best paintings are projected everywhere — lots of motion and images, and then a very young Helen is heard saying, “I am Helen LaFrance Orr, I was born in a log cabin that my daddy built on our farm in Graves County, Kentucky, on November 2, 1919…” And then the entire cast breaks into a real rafter-hitting arrangement of “I Want to be Ready to Walk in Jerusalem Just like John.”

So we’ll see.

Anyway, I can turn my attention to other projects in the meantime. And dream of that day when, you know — everything’s gonna be done! (Is there actually a day like that?)

I had a good day, though. And now I’m gonna do yoga. Think about life.

I hope things are good wherever you are! See ya in the morning, gang. Thanks for visiting.

All Righty, Gang! Here We Go!!

Well, it doesn’t look exactly like this here in Crazeysburg today — all of the snow is mostly gone now. But it is a brisk and invigorating 13 degrees Fahrenheit around here!

But I don’t have to go anywhere, except perhaps across the road to my mailbox. So I don’t mind. I am kind of wishing that the main door to my barn was fixed, though, because I’d like to put my brand new grown-up car — with its awesome sparkly paint job — in there on icy days like this.

I would really like my sister to come out here and do that for me. I don’t like to play the “Damsel in Distress” card too often, but sometimes I simply am a damsel in distress. I can’t fucking fix anything. Whereas my sister, a hardcore daddy-dyke who wouldn’t be caught dead being a damsel in distress, can fix everything. But it’s a 2-hour drive from her to me. And she has, like, a life of her own and stuff like that. And if I texted her and said: can u pls come out here & fix my barn door, she would do it in a heartbeat, so I hate to take advantage. I’ll just keep dealing with it until, for whatever reason, some day she is back out here.

(The door opens, but it’s off its roller thingy and so it has become a 2-person job to open & close the main barn door.)

Anyway, there my brand new car sits, outside my kitchen door, with ice all over it.

Well, okay. I got some very interesting progress made on the final page of the play yesterday. It sort of veered into a direction I wasn’t expecting, but I like where it went. It sort of showed me that I had a plot-line & a character arc that wasn’t getting sewn-up there at the end, so that was a good thing. However, it kind of stopped me in my tracks and I had to re-think some things.

I think I’ll get it done today, but I was at it until pretty late last night, thinking I almost had it. Then for some reason, with the script open in front of me on the laptop, I suddenly decided that if I got on pornhub on my phone for a moment, it would help me think more clearly. What it did do was help me find some girl’s “channel” or account, or whatever you call it — this young brunette who uploads her own videos, where she does this one specific thing that sort of made my jaw drop a little. So I became a little bit fixated on her (and her partner, but way less on him than on her, because, truly, it was all about her). Anyway, she was awesome. And it was late. And I’d been at my desk for over 12 hours already, so I closed the laptop and gave her my undivided attention until bedtime.

I’m not going to say what she sort of specializes in, but she has an amazing eye for color. She uses primary colors in a very startling and enhancing way. And what she does is in extreme close-up so the specific choice of color is actually part of what she’s doing, and I think that’s just amazing — that she has such an eye for how color is going to enhance what she’s filming because, you know, she can’t readily see what’s going on when it’s going on. So I think she’s brilliant.  And in a couple of the videos, you can see her face for a moment and I thought it was really interesting that she hardly wears any make-up but she does wear false eyelashes — so why that specific choice? False eyelashes when she wears so little make-up? False eyelashes are usually the coup de grâce when you’re wearing just a truckload of make-up — male or female. And she has a very unusual manicure — it’s startling. So you know she’s doing all this on purpose. I just thought she was the coolest thing (plus, she was doing something I actually really like — nothing to get squeamish over or anything — so I was very appreciative of her willingness to be such a total exhibitionist — with an unexpected eye for primary colors.)

So that was yesterday! I actually had a really cool day. And today is all about nailing that final chunk of dialogue. And I am getting the feeling I am just going to be really happy, gang.

So I’m gonna get started here.  I stayed in bed a little late this morning — it was just too snuggly for words around here! My flannel sheets were fresh from the dryer last night, and flannel sheets are always so unbelievably soft when they’re right out of the dryer.  So between that, the cold outside and the heat inside, and my cute cats frolicking hither & yon in my bedroom, attempting to get me to wake the fuck up — well, it was just a wonderful morning for laying there and feeling snuggly.

But now art awaits, and things like Pulitzer prizes and such are on the horizon, so I must get down to work. Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with my breakfast-listening music — I love this song, gang, even though I have no clue what it’s about. I think it could be my favorite on the album, but that sort of shifts around. Anyway. Have a great Wednesday, wherever you are in the world!! I love you guys. See ya!

“Night Raid”

There’s a picture of Jesus lying in his mother’s arms
Shuttered windows, cars humming on the street below
The fountain throbbed in the lobby of the Grand Hotel
We checked into room thirty-three, well well, well well
You were a runaway flake of snow
You were skinny and white as a wafer, yeah I know
Sitting on the edge of the bed clicking your shoes
I slid my little songs out from under you

And we all rose from our wonder
We would never admit defeat
And we leaned out of the window
As the rain fell on the street, on the street

They were just a sigh released from a dying star
They were runaway flakes of snow, yeah I know
They annexed your insides in a late night raid
We sent down for drinks and something to eat
The cars humming in the rain on the street below
A fountain throbs in the lobby of the Grand Hotel
A spurting font of creativity, yeah I know
Your head in a pool of your own streaming hair
And Jesus lying in his mother’s arms
Just so, up on the wall, just so

And we all rose up from our wonder
We would never admit defeat
And we leaned out of the window
And watched the horses in the street, in the street

In room thirty-three, yeah
Yeah, I know

c – 2019 Nick Cave

Just A Snuggly Little Morning!

Yes, it snowed during the night!

It’s not exactly a winter wonderland, but there is a covering of snow on everything here in Crazeysburg.  Mostly, it’s just super cold here today. The high will be 23 degrees Fahrenheit. So I’m happy to just sit here at my desk today and write — and  drink coffee. The laundry is already well under way…

I’m expecting just a really nice, quiet day.

If you saw the photo I posted the other day of the remains of the old coal bin under the basement stairs, it won’t surprise you to learn that this house is old enough to have had fireplaces in every room.  The dining room still has a fireplace, but it’s only decorative now — it was boarded up a long time ago.

The boarded-up fireplace in the dining room — another room that only the cats use because I rarely ever set foot in there!

The fireplaces that were in the two bedrooms are completely boarded up and plastered over, still, you can see where they used to be. I love trying to imagine what the rooms were like when the fireplaces were in them and in active use.

A previous owner had a wood-burning fireplace in the family room, which is now stored out in the barn. (This house was a rental property for several years before I bought it and in Ohio, it’s illegal to have wood-burning stoves in rental units.) (Fire hazards.)

I’ve toyed with the idea of having it brought inside and re-installed. The connection to the chimney is still accessible in the wall, I just have it covered over with a free-standing bookcase. But honestly — these days, I am never in my family room, either, so it would only be for the cats. Plus, I can barely find time to do things like wash my hair and make my bed. I can’t even imagine having to stop whatever I’m doing at my desk and go put more wood in the fireplace. Or — God forbid — have to go outside and bring in more wood when I run out. I just don’t see it happening. Unless I hire some sort of a permanent live-in handyman, or something. You know, to keep things looking as if someone — besides 7 cats — actually lives in here.

However, I have always loved living in places that had fireplaces, working or not. Growing up, we almost always had at least one, if not two, fireplaces in the house. And even in NYC, most of the apartments I lived in had fireplaces. That hellhole tenement on E.12th Street, where I lived for 9 intense years, had two fireplaces — one in the living room and one in the kitchen!! That was too cool. I loved that. The building had been built in 1895, and had been built specifically to house the teeming amounts of poor immigrants on New York’s lower east side, so I’m guessing that was their source of heat for a really long time.

I was the last person to live in that specific apartment before it got “gentrified.” As tenants moved out, one by one, the landlord would cosmetically update each apartment — board-up and plaster over the fireplaces and then lay down new wood floors, to make the floors seem level (which they weren’t– they constantly sloped in the direction of the East River). And then, overnight, they jacked-up the rent astronomically. And, of course, found plenty of people willing to pay for that fake “renovation.”

But as run down as it was when I lived there it sure had character. I loved those old wood floors and those fireplaces, and the old iron bathtub in the kitchen. It had a front door to the living room, and also a back door to the kitchen. And it was filled with spirits — just like this house I’m in now. Friendly and very active spirits, from a hundred years (or more) of lives being lived at whatever intensity. I loved that part about living on E. 12th Street — the spirits of old New Yorkers were so close back then.

But now it’s just gentrified. No character. Just really expensive.

Well, I know, you can’t just live in the past. Progress is usually a good thing. But in America, it’s hard to find places that retain any sort of real character. In order to do that, the people who live there have to work hard at keeping large-scale commerce out.  Fast-food chains and box stores, specifically. Keeping that stuff out really does help keep a place peaceful and sane — and low crime. Plus tons of trees. There are always plenty of tress in areas where they aren’t constantly building something.

Anyway, I like it. And it’s not as if the people here in this little village, in these intensely old, quirky houses, don’t drive nice cars and have smart phones and flat screen TVs. Everyone’s on the Internet.  In fact, one night last summer — it was so funny: everyone was out and taking a stroll, really late in the evening. I mean, like after 10 PM — so many people out strolling. Why? Because the Internet was down! And almost everyone here has the same internet provider. No TV, no smartphones. So let’s just go out and stroll and talk to each other. It was very amusing.

Okay. I’m gonna finish up the laundry and get to work on that last page of the play! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world and whatever the weather.  Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

“Our Town”

And you know the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

Up the street beside that red neon light
That’s where I met my baby on one hot summer night
He was the tender and I ordered a beer
It’s been forty years and I’m still sitting here

But you know the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

It’s here I had my babies and I had my first kiss
I’ve walked down Main Street in the cold morning mist
Over there is where I bought my first car
It turned over once but then it never went far

And I can see the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

I buried my Mama and I buried my Pa
They sleep up the street beside that pretty brick wall
I bring them flowers about every day
But I just gotta cry when I think what they’d say

If they could see how the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

Now I sit on the porch and watch the lightning-bugs fly
But I can’t see too good, I got tears in my eyes
I’m leaving tomorrow but I don’t wanna go
I love you, my town, you’ll always live in my soul

But I can see the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on, I gotta kiss you goodbye
But I’ll hold to my lover
‘Cause my heart’s ’bout to die
Go on now and say goodbye to my town, to my town
I can see the sun has gone down on my town, on my town
Goodnight
Goodnight

c – 1992 Iris DeMent

Now, That’s A Man Who Knows How to Say, ‘I Love You’…

I am speaking of Tom Jones, of course.

For some unknown reason, I woke up this morning bordering on feeling really depressed and the voice in my head was singing “I (Who Have Nothing).”   If you don’t know this song, I of course will regale you with it at the bottom of this post.

If you’ve read my novel Freak Parade (and who hasn’t? ), you no doubt already know that I love Tom Jones — and have since I was a wee bonny lass, that’s for sure. I guess that’s a polite way of saying that he’s been around forever. (Because I’ve already been around forever and he’s been around even longer than that!)

Anyway. Boy, that man can sing. And because he can be so passionate, so deep, so emotional and powerful — because of those very things, I really couldn’t manage getting on YouTube before the sun was even up in order to listen to that (really old) intensely emotional song. Even though I really wanted to, because I thought it might give me some insight into why I would wake up singing it when I haven’t actually heard that song in years.

But I really just can’t listen to Tom Jones at 5:30 in the morning. (I guess if I was married to him or something, I could listen to him at 5:30 in the morning. Of course, he’s probably not actually singing at 5:30 in the morning. Who knows what he’s doing at that hour? It could be that he’s actually just sleeping. Anyway.)

So I got out of bed instead, and tried to focus on not feeling depressed. I’ve made good headway with 4 of the cats. Huckleberry and Doris — the two who always accompany me to the bathroom first thing in the morning, are now letting me pet them several times in a row. Mind you, I have to be peeing in the dark while this is going on , but I will take whatever meager crumbs of love that I can get. But it’s really so cute. They really seem to like being petted in this small way. Huckleberry has started purring — a thing I never heard her do in these 7 years. And Doris will actually bat at my hand if I pet Huckleberry for too long without petting her, too.

But if I pet them for one moment longer than they deem appropriate, they nip at me and scratch.

And Weenie and Scottie now both allow me to pet them one time before I set their bowls of food down in front of them in the morning, but that’s it. If I try to pet them more than once, they bite. Still, it’s progress. (It only took 7 years to be able to pet a cat once….)

I’m patient, if nothing else. And that was actually kind of why I was depressed this morning — sometimes I just feel like giving up. Just that sense of “why do I do all this every day; day in, day out?” And I of course mean everything in my life when I say that — not just this business of trying to permanently foster an entire colony of feral cats.

For the most part, I’m actually really happy. But some days, I wake up and look at it all – life, I mean — and I think: not this again; didn’t I do all this just yesterday, and every single solitary other day before this one? For what? What’s the goal here? Is there in fact a goal? A reason to be here, beyond just doing the same darn thing every single day? What is life, anyway? What does all this mean?

And then I can quickly spiral downward from there, if I’m not careful. Man, it can happen really quickly.

So I do try really, really hard to distract myself from thinking like that. And the cats — as un-demonstrative as they are — they can be very good at distracting me. And I do honestly think, on some really deep level, that that’s why they’re here. To distract the heck out of me.

Anyway, after breakfast, I went back up to my room to meditate, but I just didn’t feel like it today.  So I got on YouTube and finally listened to Tom Jones sing “I (Who have Nothing)”. And, man, that fucker can sing.  I’m still not sure why I woke up with that song in my head — it did indeed remind me of Freak Parade, and of all that was going on in my life when I began writing that novel back in 2005 (or I should say, all that had happened to me before then, which made me write the novel). But maybe, on some deep level,  my ears needed to hear the entire Universe, in the guise of Tom Jones, say “I love you” in that indescribably overpowering way. (And he doesn’t seem to be straining himself, or anything, when he sings like that; it just comes out.)

Well, I don’t actually really know what anything is about. I know I have the day ahead of me and I want it to be productive and maybe even joyful. I guess we’ll see.

There was yet another Red Hand Files newsletter thing today that Nick Cave sent out. I felt terrible reading it. I shouldn’t have posted anything on my blog the other day about  some of the things people write in and say to him. So if you read what I posted, just delete it in your head. And I will attempt to mind my own business (a thing that is sometimes exceedingly hard for me to do).

Okay. I’m gonna get started here. Work on the play. Set the Italian lessons aside for a moment. Get back to thinking in English. Have a wonderful Monday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang. The video I’m leaving you with is poor quality, visually, but the sound is what’s important, and it’s incredible. All right. I love you guys. See ya.

“I (Who Have Nothing)”

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Adore you, and want you so
I’m just a no one,
With nothing to give you but, oh
I Love You

He, He buys you diamonds
Bright, sparkling diamonds
But believe me, dear when I say,
That he can give you the world,
But he’ll never love you the way
I Love You

He can take you anyplace he wants
To fancy clubs and restaurants
But I can only watch you with
My nose pressed up against the window pane
I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Must watch you, go dancing by
Wrapped in the arms of somebody else
When darling it’s I
Who Loves you

I Love You
I Love You
I Love You
c- 1970 Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Giulio Rapetti, Labati Donida