A Little Too Industrious For My Taste!

Wow, gang.  When it was all said and done, yesterday sorta, kinda sucked.

I probably shouldn’t say it like that and should look at the positive stuff instead, but for whatever petulant reason, I don’t feel like doing that right now.

Just as I was getting down to work on the play yesterday, something — I don’t recall now what it was — reminded me that I had to update the Life Story Rights for two (living) people who are characters in Tell My Bones and that I also still needed to send them their additional option money. And if I don’t do this stuff, it doesn’t matter how good the play is, no one will produce it.

Funny how you can sort of happily overlook stuff like that in your creative frenzy of being a writer!

What this means is that I had to stop everything and do a whole lot of fucking typing yesterday. Boring legal typing. Pages of it. So boring that you would rather do anything else imaginable.

I would type about half a page and then have to flop down onto the bed and stare out the window, I was so bored. Or take a nap. Or go take a shower. Or discover a Pinterest page with a whole lot of sexy photos of the (now very) late Tom Petty from when he was about 31 years old and try not to cry.

You know, really important stuff like that.

I didn’t finish typing the darn documents (10 pages) until after 6pm. It dragged out for the whole darn day because I just couldn’t stay focused. It was just so boring. (And every single word has to be correct or it won’t hold up in a court of law, which you hope it won’t come to anyway.)

And then I realized that I am still sort of grieving. Definitely, things are still not 100% right with me, emotionally. And I did that thing again, where I ate half a bag of tortilla chips last night instead of forcing myself to eat a real dinner. I hate when I do that because it just ends up making me feel sick. Even though they’re organic, non-GMO, multi-grain chips, they still have a ton of salt and carbs. That’s the 2nd night this week that I’ve done that, so I think I just won’t bring those chips into the house anymore. (Depriving myself of something I love is always my “fallback” response.)

Normally, I have the most stupidly healthy diet that you can possibly imagine. You wouldn’t even want to imagine it because it would just bore you to tears. (For instance, if I do eat chips, I eat only seven, because it gives me 3 grams of protein and not too many calories. I am that weird — seven chips. I count them out and then that’s what I eat.  Or I allow myself 28 grams of dark chocolate a day — primarily for brain health, although I love dark chocolate. This amounts to 5 tiny squares, that I space throughout the day.  It’s really that insane around here.) But because of that, a half a bag of chips at once is a real assault on me now and it made me feel so sick. For hours.

(And I don’t think of this as being neurotic, per se. And it’s not that I wish to live forever, because I sure don’t. But if I’m going to be even still alive next week, I want to be healthy and look as good as I possibly can. I’m fucking past middle age here. This is about vanity, gang; not neurosis.)

Crap. Anyway.

But grief is so weird, right? It just gets in there and short-circuits your brain. Even while you can see it happening, you just don’t get in there and stop it. It would take too much out of you. (Or out of me, in this instance.)

I wound up going to bed at 9:30pm because I was just so emotionally exhausted. I didn’t want to cry or be depressed; I just wanted to sleep and forget. And I turned out the light and THEN I happened to glance at my phone (ringer off) and noticed a TON of texts! From my friend in Houston, battling the cancer; from my sister, going in for surgery today. From some people I don’t know on Instagram. It was crazy. I was trying so hard to be polite, you know? Reply to the texts, then turn over and try to go to sleep. But I’d turn over and only see that whole corner of the room behind my head  light up with more texts.

Jesus, this went on for over an hour. All these texts. And a couple of the conversations were upsetting me — and I was trying to tell myself not to judge; to be tolerant. To just let people live their own lives and make their own choices.

But then I thought, I better make sure my (birth) mom is okay, so then I texted her. But she of course is more rational and didn’t reply; she was likely having a beer and a cigarette and thinking: fuck if I’m gonna get in the middle of these crazy-texting daughters of mine…

Anyway, I finally fell asleep while in the middle of my friend in Houston sending me photos of meteorites and chondrites that he works on at NASA that have fallen from the sky and are billions of years old… (It was actually cool but I fell asleep anyway.)

So that was me, yesterday. I got a lot done but I went kicking and screaming into doing it. (Oh, except that I am now up to Episode 4 of Ken Burns’ Jazz and it is just a great episode. Each episode is about 2 hours, so it’s taking me awhile.)

One really cool thing that happened yesterday: Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files thing was amazing! He essentially gave a fan in Serbia the clothes off his back!! You can read it here.

Tonight, his Conversations resume in Essen, Germany.  I’m guessing no one can top that theater in Wiesenbad, though. So far, Wiesenbad, Montreal, and (I think) Helsinki (?) had the most beautiful theaters.

Oh, and if you check out the a1000Mistakes blog out of Australia, he has a link to a long but really cool bunch of interviews regarding an upcoming tribute to Rowland S. Howard: Pop Crimes — The Songs of Rowland S. Howard. You can read it here.

Rowland S. Howard_4

Okay, well. The director of the play just texted me from NYC and asked how I was doing with the throughline of the new character arc, so I have to get moving here. Because my reply to his question was probably not as forthcoming as it could have been… So let me get at it here.

I hope Thursday is good to you, gang, wherever you are in the world. We don’t get out of this world alive — as we all know if we read that Jim Morrison bio from about 30 years ago:


However, it still seems like a wanted thing — making the best of being here while we are. So I hope you have a good day. I leave you with more Duke Ellington, just because it makes me feel good. If you’re having an iffy sort of day, give it a spin and it’ll get you on a better track — all puns intended. All righty. I love you guys. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

Just So Intensely Strange — Even for Me!!

Okay. Well. I’m having a good morning here.  I honestly am.

I slept in until 6am. Awoke happy. The first thing I did was start streaming “Clementine” by Jean Goldkette & His Orchestra, featuring Bix Beiderbecke (1927).

If you don’t know this tune then that’s probably why there’s a big hole in your life (listen now and everything will finally be fine!):

Anyway, I continued streaming it while getting the cats fed and getting my own breakfast together. (And it was quite a surreal tune to listen to while watching 7 feral cats pace about the floor in anticipation of breakfast.) But I finally turned it off while I was actually eating my own breakfast.

But the whole time, I was thinking intensely about Nick Cave. (I want to say again that the theater he had his Conversation in last night, in Wiesenbad, Germany, was just jaw-dropping. All the Instagram posts were so beautiful. There were quite a few more posts by this morning.)

After breakfast, I took my coffee cup and went back upstairs to meditate, like I always do. I set my coffee cup on my night table and suddenly realized that I had a totally different coffee cup from the one I thought I had!

This is really intensely bizarre for someone like me, because I guarantee you my cups and my breakfast bowls always match, and they are always seasonal. For instance, I would never, ever in a million years, use my summer coffee cup with the brightly colored flowers on it in the dead of winter. It’s just never gonna happen. Ever.

But I thought I was drinking out of my red vintage  Kellogg’s mug that I use all during January, when I suddenly realized I was drinking out of this one instead — and  I’d been drinking out of it for nearly an hour already before I noticed it:

I don’t know. You’d think I would sort of notice a skull & cross bones at my breakfast table. Yet, I didn’t.

If you’re new to this blog — like, if this is your first day here — you’ll just think I’m superficially crazy. But I have a thing about dishes. A seriously deep-rooted addiction to them. I’m deeply crazy — it’s not superficial. I would never sit down to breakfast (in my own kitchen) with a cup that didn’t match my bowl.

And this one is my pre-Easter coffee cup. I use this cup and its matching bowl from Mardis Gras up until Easter. (Seriously — and on Easter morning, I change to the pastel yellow set with the single bas relief fleur de lis on it.)

So weird that I reached for this one today, filled it, drank from it, re-filled it, took it upstairs…. without noticing I’d done it. But what’s even sort of weirder, in my opinion, is that it’s the only coffee cup I own that was made in Germany.

I was thinking about Nick Cave in Germany and I picked up that cup! And it was made at Waechtersbach, which is only about an hour from Wiesbaden. Don’t you think that’s so weird?

Well, anyway. I do.

So, what I was thinking about Nick Cave is that these snippets of him singing (on Instagram) — the songs are all slowed down from their normal tempos (as were yesterday’s posts from Baden-Baden). And I keep feeling like he’s sad.

And then I think that I’m just projecting something on to these songs because there’s no way to really know, since the videos are micro-short, and none of the videos are of him talking to the audience.  The photos of him talking to the audience are really lovely, though, even though he’s not smiling in any of them, but then he almost never smiles. (I don’t know, maybe at home he smiles constantly so, by the time he’s out in public, he’s just tired of it.) Although, here’s a photo I love. I don’t remember when this is from, but it’s not that long ago.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a Nick Cave tribute or anything. I was actually really thinking about the difference between projecting feelings that come from within us, and receiving information that comes from outside of us. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say: receiving information that comes from deeper within us.

Receiving is just way more accurate than projecting, but you really have to tune in to your feelings, or thoughts, and get clarity, you know? Is this feeling coming from me — a sort of reflexive reaction from my brain– or is it coming to me from somewhere deeper?

This is something I think about a lot — ever since I began keeping the Inner Being journals every morning.  It’s been 7 months now that I’ve been doing it — what I call “dialogues” with my Inner Being. Writing them down, right after meditation. Or, if for some reason I don’t meditate (which is rare, but it happens), then I do it right before I sit down at my desk.

I haven’t missed a day dialoguing with my Inner Being in 7 months.

And I am really learning to be wary of coming to conclusions that are based on projecting rather than on receiving. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with always wanting clarity on everything, but I am. Which was why this thing with the coffee cup this morning just really startled me. I’m usually just so intensely aware of every single fucking moment

I know! You’re wondering: Gosh, how come she lives alone? She’d be so nice to come home to!!

In fact, I don’t usually even say “hello”. Instead:

ME (seeing you coming up the walk from a long, hard day, then I open the screen door): “You know what I was thinking?” (then I proceed to tell you exactly what I was thinking. All day.)

YOU: (complete silence, as you hope against hope that there’s still beer in the fridge.)


Well, this is something else I’ve been curious about.  I have this sort of pronounced feeling that “all is well” in my life now. And it seems to be coming from this relationship I have with my adoptive dad, which, to put it in the tiniest nutshell you can possibly imagine, has not been easy.  And this morning, I was wondering why I’m feeling that way right now, and I realized that this is the first time, since I was a really young girl, that there hasn’t been a wife between him and me. (This doesn’t include my adoptive mother because he was actually the person who protected me from my adoptive mother.) Even though I loved both of my stepmoms, I really did — they were both really nice to me. It just feels different now that the wives are gone. There’s no longer another person there that, you know, means everything to him. (Even though, obviously, he’s still thinking about my stepmom constantly, and grieving deeply for her.)

But this is a new feeling for me. Almost like I exist again. Something like that.

Okay. I’m now seeing that there’s a new Red Hand Files thingy from Nick Cave in my inbox! I shall go investigate it. And then get on with my day. I’m expecting to get some really good stuff done with the revisions of Tell My Bones today, because I finally got some good insights yesterday.

Have a great Wednesday, wherever it leads you! Feel free to come visit, if you’d like to know every single thing I’ve been thinking about while you were away… (yes, there’s beer in the fridge — leftover from when my birth mom was here). I leave you with what I was listening to last night, while drifting off to sleep. “Black & Tan Fantasie” by Duke Ellington, 1928. An erotic little tune, actually. (Although, probably my favorite Duke Ellington song is “Take the A Train.”) All righty. I love you guys. See ya.

Tiny Little Updates

Wow, that Wiesenbad theater was unbelievably beautiful. (Meaning Nick Cave’s Conversation in Wiesenbad, Germany tonight.) It looks like it was just a stunning place. Several people began posting to Instagram right away, and each photo was prettier than the next.

Oh man, there were a couple of photos of him that I just wish I could figure out how to get off of Instagram and onto my phone!!

Well, I made some good progress with Tell My Bones this afternoon. I’m pretty sure now where I want the new song to go (well, the song’s not new — it’s from 1828. But I only recently decided to add it to the play). I think the placement of the song — almost at the end — is going to help make its message that much more pronounced. (Racist “Jim Crow” stuff.)

So I feel encouraged about that.

This evening, I watched Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, finally. I thought it was way too long but it was, nevertheless, really good. I’m not sure how younger people react to the film — people who weren’t alive back then, who don’t remember what it was like, culturally, or how horrible what happened actually was. For me, though, it felt sort of cathartic — possibly even for the whole nation — to have those key members of the Manson Family so brutally killed.

I don’t like violence and, even while I usually really love Tarantino films, his violence is always just off the charts. But in this film, there was a sort of need to see those killers be pulverized. Just that deep-rooted need to see Sharon Tate’s killers utterly destroyed — even for a pacifist, like me. And even though it was just a fantasy. The ending of the film was just sad to me, bittersweet; it brought tears to my eyes. Those poor people, in reality, were just so brutally murdered (as well as the Labiancas) and a Hollywood fairy tale obviously can’t ever erase that.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally saw it. Next in line is either The Joker or Rocketman. Although I’m still watching Ken Burns’ Jazz.

If you saw one of my posts while I was away for the funeral, you saw that I am now the owner of my late stepmom’s large flat screen TV. It turns out that it’s a smart TV, with a built-in DVD player, too. However, my dad neglected to give me the power cord to plug it into the wall. Hopefully he has it in the house somewhere and can just mail it to me. I don’t really like smart TVs — I don’t like any kind of potential eavesdropping devices in my home because I’m paranoid. But we’ll just see how that unfolds.

And my hair stuff did indeed arrive. It burns my scalp a tiny bit, however, it’s already working. I mean, it hasn’t made my hair grow yet, but it did make the roots look thicker within a couple of hours, without making my hair look frizzy. Kind of amazing. So we’ll see how it goes.

If it really does work, I’ll probably have to use it every day now for the rest of my life, but at least it’s not very expensive. Kind of a drop in the bucket when you add up everything else I use each day: eye creme, face creme (separate cremes pour nuit et jour!), hand creme, foot creme, cellulite-appearance reducing creme, lip plumping balm!! (Wouldn’t it be cool if writers could apply for “vanity” grants? It costs a lot to keep this aging physique looking 43 and a half years old… Now I have to win a Pulitzer Prize in order to afford to keep looking so fucking youthful and lovely! You betcha!!)

All righty. Have a good night, wherever you are in the world. I did my yoga and now I’m gonna go watch some Jazz. I love you guys. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

Image result for ken burns' jazz
Ken Burns’ Jazz, PBS

Getting My Quite Comely Behind Outta Bed

Yes, a  flock of noisy blue jays landed in the maple tree outside my window and finally got me out of bed.

If you aren’t familiar with blue jays, they screech really loudly.

As you know, I love birds, though. All kinds of birds. And so when the blue jays alighted, I got out of bed to get a better look at them. And they made me feel so happy and then I managed to not get back into bed.

I’m doing a lot better today, though, overall. I had a ton of dreams early this morning that seem to have done wonders for me, emotionally.

At about 3am, I awoke and my mind immediately started slipping into those dark places. I tried to focus on Nick Cave’s Conversations — he’s going to be in Wiesbaden, Germany,  tonight. But even that was making me sad because I wished I could be there. (I wish I could attend every one of those things, but I have this issue, you know — it’s called “my life.” I sort of have to actually live it.)

But even though I am so much better at reining in my thoughts before things get too dark — my thoughts are still like a box full of puppies, you know. They keep wanting to get out of the box and scurry off and I have to be keep grabbing at them and putting them back in the box. So, even while I laid awake for over an hour, trying not to feel sad and lost, I did do a good job at not letting it get out of control. I’ve just gotten so much better at it.

Eventually, 3 of the cats jumped up onto the bed and started walking all over me, which I love, and so I calmed down and I drifted back to sleep. But then I had some pretty intense dreams. Full of tears and sorrow and feelings of defeat and helplessness and even a lot rage. It was all family-related stuff, too. (Adoptive family stuff, only. Cousins, aunts, uncles, my mother.)

There was only one person in those dreams that was not related to me — this young black woman I’m friends with, who I’ll say more about in a minute. But my whole family had gathered out on the front lawn at this enormous table (it was my own house — not the one I live in, though) and I was supposed to feed all of them. Well, you know how I am about my dishes, and I was searching for a specific set of dishes that I wanted to put out on the table and I couldn’t find them anywhere. The girlfriend was trying to help me locate the right dishes in all these various cupboards in my kitchen,  but I just kept finding the wrong ones.

Then I happened to glance out the window and I saw that my family had just used any old dishes and were starting the meal without me. And I just started sobbing. I felt so frustrated and defeated by all of them. (Which is how I feel about my adoptive family in real life. I haven’t talked to most of them in many years now.)

Anyway, the dreams progressed to something pretty awful — my adoptive mother purposely poisoned one of my cats and I watched her do it and couldn’t stop her. I was so filled with rage and grief that I attacked her.

But you know, dreams full of crying and rage and bewilderment — I woke up feeling really in a much better place. Just worlds better. So I guess I was able to work out a lot of my grief that way. So that’s good.

And I talked to my dad this morning and he sounded really good, as well. I mean, all things considered. He’s going to go play poker — he always plays poker on Tuesday mornings, and then some people are taking him out to dinner tonight. So I felt really good about that. He wasn’t going to be just sitting at home, crying.

He did inform me that all of my step-siblings and their spouses will be flying back this summer to celebrate our birthdays. (I will be 60 and my dad will be 90.) I was kind of stunned by this. I’m not a big birthday-celebrator type of gal. Normally, I like to either be alone, or just with one other person or just something small. But obviously I’m not going to refuse to attend. Unless I have to be in Toronto, but otherwise, I guess I know where I’ll be on my birthday this year. So strange. My stepbrother lives out in Northern California so, honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever see him again now that his mom has died.

Well, on an entirely different topic (my vanity), but involving the girlfriend I mentioned above. At some point, she had either a hair weave or braids or something, that were too tight and she lost a patch of hair, and she used this all-natural biotin-based hairspray that made all her hair grow back, so I bought some and it should be delivered today! I am losing hair all over the place these days.

Until recently, I took biotin supplements, and they do work but they make hair grow all over your darn body, not just your head — which is the only place I wish for more of it to grow. Since I really don’t have time to devote to 24/7 hair removal, yet I am entirely vain, I finally got fed up with having thick, luxurious hair all over my body and I quit taking the fucking biotin. But then, of course, my hair started falling out again (they call it “thinning,” whereas I call it falling out. Everywhere.). So I’m excited to see if this topical stuff will work. We shall see! God knows, my hair is stupefyingly important to me.

Okay. I’ve got the laundry almost finished here. I’m gonna get back now to the new character arc in Tell My Bones. It’s been about a week since I could focus on it.

I leave you with one of my most favorite songs from my wee bonny girlhood — “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. It’s a song I always think about now when I remember that Conversation with Nick Cave at Lincoln Center last September. (I didn’t actually feel exactly that way after the show was over, but I kinda did.) Seeing all the posts to Instagram from his Conversation last night, made me play this song during breakfast this morning. So enjoy, okay? Thanks for visiting. Hope life’s good, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys. See ya.

“I Could Have Danced All Night”

Bed, bed I couldn’t go to bed
My head’s too light to try to set it down
Sleep, sleep I couldn’t sleep tonight
Not for all the jewels in the crown

I could have danced all night
I could have danced all night
And still have begged for more
I could have spread my wings
And done a thousand things
I’ve never done before

I’ll never know what made it so exciting
Why all at once my heart took flight
I only know when he
Began to dance with me
I could have danced, danced, danced all night

(It’s after three now
Don’t you agree now?
She ought to be in bed)

I could have danced all night (You’re tired out, you must be dead)
I could have danced all night (Your face is drawn, your eyes are red)
And still have begged for more (Now say goodnight, please, turn out the light, please)
(It’s really time for you to be in bed)

I could have spread my wings (Do come along, do as you’re told)
And done a thousand things (Or Mrs. Pierce is apt to scold)
I’ve never done before (You’re up too late, please, fix your estate, please)
(You’ll catch a cold)

I’ll never know what made it so exciting
Why all at once my heart took flight
I only know when he (Put down your book, the work’ll keep)
Began to dance with me (Now settle down and go to sleep)
I could have danced, danced, danced all night

(I understand, dear
It’s all been grand, dear
But now it’s time to sleep)

I could have danced all night
I could have danced all night
And still have begged for more
I could have spread my wings
And done a thousand things
I’ve never done before

I’ll never know what made it so exciting
Why all at once my heart took flight
I only know when he began to dance with me
I could have danced, danced, danced all night

c – 1956 Lerner/Loewe

I Think I’m Actually Grieving

I’ve had a very disconcerting day. Got nothing done. Did go grocery shopping this evening, but then  came home and ate tortilla chips for dinner. I never do that. But I just couldn’t really face food.

I’ve wanted to call my dad all day, but I don’t want to suddenly inundate him with “how are you doing”.  I called him yesterday after I arrived home. And I know my stepsister was going over to check on him today.

Sort of like with my friend in Houston who has cancer — I’m trying to find the best rhythm or whatever you’d call it. Don’t want to smother anybody with my constant inquiries.

By the way, for now, my friend’s chemo treatments were effective. However, now they’re waiting to see if the tumor grows back. And he still can’t eat, but at least for now, it seems sort of positive. I texted him earlier this evening because I need to check in on somebody, right? If I can’t pester my dad and see if he’s okay, then I must pester my friend and see if he’s okay. I’m definitely a mother hen with no little chicks in sight today… I have to fuss over something though; I just feel so sad.

Related image

Well, my friend told me in one of our texts that 2 of our mutual friends from school turned 60 today. (It’s also Sandra Caldwell’s birthday today — but I think she’s only turned 14. I know she’s a little older than I am but not by much.)

So. The roses survived the trip home. I have them in my bedroom and they just look so pretty. Several of the cats have checked them out, but luckily they don’t like to eat roses.

Roses from the funeral, along with the little carved angel from my stepmom’s casket.

On a more uplifting note, though, when I was watering the plants today, I saw that my lemon verbena is shooting forth, after it’s autumnal pruning. That made me happy — to see life in action. That little plant is 14 years old.

Verbena springing back to life

And I have a poinsettia that’s several years old now, too. I don’t keep it in the dark or anything, so it doesn’t look like how you think poinsettias should look. But today I saw that it is covered in buds! You can’t really see all the buds from this picture, but here it is anyway.

And I found a little black beetle down on the floor of my laundry room this afternoon. He was on his back, his little legs flailing like mad. So I let him climb onto my finger and I put him onto a surface where he could get better traction than on the laundry room floor. Eventually, he flew off into anther room. So I guess he’s fine.

But it’s great to find unexpected life thriving when you’re feeling sad, isn’t it?

Well, plenty of folks in Baden-Baden posted to Instagram, already. They began posting within 28 minutes of the show ending (not that I was looking at the clock or anything. I just sort of happened to notice the time.). Anyway, though, it was considerate of them to begin posting right away. Saves me from having to scroll through Instagram at 3:02am, if I were to get up and go to the bathroom or something.

Nick Cave seems to have worn a black suit — or maybe dark grey. Hard to tell in the lighting. But many happy campers were in attendance, for sure. There was a total of about 40 seconds of video posted, from 2 different songs he sang. Both of them really slowed down versions of the specific songs. So either he’s deeply depressed or I am. (I’m just kidding. Obviously, I’m the one who’s sad here.)

I did take yet another stab at trying to watch Season 1 of Fleabag tonight. And I’m still just not crazy about it. It’s amazing how much her character evolved by the second season.

My friend in Houston just now texted me again and said that he will turn 60 in late May. I had no idea he was a Gemini. But this of course explains a lot — you know, that Gemini “twin” thing. Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I knew my friend (quite well, I thought) for many, many years before I found out that he was gay. Which is just so weird, since I couldn’t be more pro-gay if I tried. I’ve been in the LGBTQ community since before there even was one. I’d always just been so out and above board about myself. Even back in high school, when it used to be really hard for a lot of teenagers to come out as gay, it seems like everybody always felt comfortable confiding in me if they were gay.

I remember back when I was 15 — after I got out of the mental hospital, I went into high school. And all my girlfriends there were either cheerleaders or on the drill team. Just super gung-ho about all that varsity football stuff and I could not have cared less about any of it. By then I had a girlfriend already, and it really bothered these other cheerleading- girls that I was bisexual. It irritated them, because they wanted me to have a boyfriend who was a football player — like they had. They got really insistent about it, and even tried to push me together with this football player named Michael.

I liked him a lot. He was cute and really nice, but I just wasn’t attracted to him at all and I could not care less that he played on the football team. But all of our friends forced us to be alone together in one of the girl’s family rooms. So there we sat; alone together on a Friday night. Very awkward but trying to be nice. And finally he sputters a bit and says, “Marilyn, I know what’s supposed to happen here. And you’re really nice. I like you — but I’m gay.”

Oh my god, I laughed so hard! I told him about me, of course, and why my girlfriends were trying to fix us up. And then we agreed to just tell them we didn’t really hit it off and I kept his secret all through high school. It was too amusing.

Anyway. Here I’d thought I knew who all the gays were in high school, but here one of my closest friends was gay, and I never had a clue.

Oh well. My stomach’s a wreck, gang. I’m so sad. I’m gonna close this. And maybe tomorrow will be better.  On a sort of bittersweet note, apparently Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks was released on this day, 45 years ago. Jesus. That was the primary record me and my birth dad listened to when I first went to visit him in Nevada. We played a lot of Country & Western music, too. But he also loved Dylan, as I did. And Blood on the Tracks was always on his little cassette player in his kitchen.

So let’s close with that. I loved that album so fucking much. Have a good night, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys. (Btw, “Ashtabula” is in Ohio! Just northeast of Cleveland.)

“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”

I’ve seen love go by my door
It’s never been this close before
Never been so easy or so slow
I’ve been shooting in the dark too long
When something not right it’s wrong
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Dragon clouds so high above
I’ve only known careless love
It’s always hit me from below
This time around it’s more correct
Right on target so direct
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Purple clover Queen Anne lace
Crimson hair across your face
You could make me cry if you don’t know
Can’t remember what I was thinking of
You might be spoiling me too much love
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Flowers on the hillside blooming crazy
Crickets talking back and forth in rhyme
Blue river running slow and lazy
I could stay with you forever
And never realize the time.

Situations have ended sad
Relationship have all been bad
Mine’ve been like Verlaine’s and Rimbaud
But there’s no way I can compare
All those scenes to this affair
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Yer gonna make me wonder what I’m doing
Staying far behind without you
Yer gonna make me wonder what I’m saying
Yer gonna make me give myself a good talking to.

I’ll look for you in old Honolulu
San Francisco, Ashtabula
Yer gonna have to leave me now I know
But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass in the ones I love
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

c – 1975 Bob Dylan

Sounds Like Floaty-Mind Syndrome, If You Ask Me

Jesus. I really do just drift.

I start thinking about something that’s really important to me — for instance, what I’m planning to work on today; what I want to get done. The next thing I know, my mind has drifted far out to sea and a couple of hours are already gone.

I was impressed, though, that this morning, I was able to remember  a lot of stuff. Old foreign movie titles, mostly — and sometimes even the names of the directors of the movies. I was, of course, thinking about Baden Baden, Germany pretty much the moment my eyes opened — at 4:44am. (Nick Cave is having a Conversation there tonight.) I seemed to recall that it was a sort of “spa” town.

And then I wondered: what was the name of that movie — I think it was French. And people seemed to be at some sort of resort — was that Baden Baden? And I recalled that at some distant time, Keith Richards had talked very positively about the film in an interview. And it seemed like it was an interview from before he become just a relentless heroin addict — wherein he hardly gave any interviews. (And after he got clean for real, he became the chattiest guy, ever, hence his memoirs being 547-delightful- pages long.)

Anyway, the title of the film came back to me: Last Year at Marienbad. (I sort of got the “bad” part right.) It was directed by Alain Resnais, but I had forgotten that it was written by the truly iconic writer, Alain Robbe-Grillet, which, alone, explains the entire movie. (Even though it was made far back in 1960, you probably wouldn’t want to watch it nowadays while on drugs — it’ll only make you want to shoot yourself; trying to keep up with it. But if you’re totally sober, man, what an interesting premise. And I think it’s what “real life” is actually like — all the probabilities of physical reality, playing out at once.)

Well, anyway, I drifted far afield from Nick Cave in Baden Baden and was then thinking about The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (French, 1972, but directed by Luis Buñuel, who was Spanish). And then recalling Murmur of the Heart and how much I loved that movie (French, 1971, Louis Malle). And then I started wondering if anyone still makes movies anymore that treat incest in a positive, thoughtful way — within an intensely complicated, affluent family. (In this case, mother-son incest, where the dad’s a successful gynecologist.) And I figured, probably not, because nowadays, everything is all about how horrifically we’re all treated, assuming we aren’t just making movies about comic book Super Heroes, fighting against Evil.

I don’t know, it seems kind of regrettable to me that the nature of storytelling in film has changed so drastically — in a way, exploratory thinking itself has sort of been censored. And also this seeming need, at least in the Western world, to be so critical and eager to lay blame on others and on Governments, without wanting to spend too much time wondering what delicate thing we might have learned on our difficult journey…

A thing I don’t seem to be able to ever stop doing…

Anyway, a couple of hours zipped by. I was still laying in bed, in the dark, drinking my coffee. These thoughts just kept coming. Then I forced myself to get out of bed — and stay out of bed — and then found myself sitting on the end of the bed, halfway between being still in my PJs and out of my PJs, and found myself thinking about this nature of probabilities and wondering how many various probabilities could be at play in my own life — you know, if my mom hadn’t given me up for adoption, or if I’d been adopted by different parents, etc. How are those probable lives for me playing out? Are they affecting how I’m thinking right now? Did I have a drastically different past? Am I already dead in some of those probable lives?

And then I found myself on this other path, wherein I decided I wasn’t looking back anymore. You know, not going to think about the past, or if I did think about it, I wanted only to imagine how it would have felt had it gone differently or gone better. But mostly — just don’t think about the past (“that was then, this is now”). Only see here & now and look forward, imagining the best outcomes from now on.

But then almost another hour had passed and I was still sitting there, half-undressed on my bed.

(I also sort of wonder about how to contend with writing two memoirs if I’m not going to think about the past. Could get tricky.)

And here’s a photo of Weenie, sitting on my night table as the sun was coming up:

Weenie at sunrise

Okay, well. My “ex” in Seattle did indeed send me a number of links about the predictions for the Year of the Rat. They seem pretty positive in regards to my career. Actually, really positive about the career. Not so positive about anything else, so I decided to ignore what I didn’t like. But both East & West zodiac systems seem to think my career will go well this year.

One of the Chinese sites predicted that my love life would be very interesting, in that I would  fall in love with someone who was exactly like myself and the relationship would be like a Hall of Mirrors. (They said this like it was a good thing.)

Well, that certainly gave me pause, as I tried to figure out what the hell that meant.

I did like the idea of a relationship that was like a Hall of Mirrors — well, I liked the sound of it; I liked the imagery. But I can’t really grasp what it’s supposed to mean, besides constant reflections, back & forth.

And it’s interesting to think that it’s a prediction meant for everybody who was born under the sign of the Rat. (In my case, the Metal Rat.) Every 12 years, a ton of people are born under the sign of the Rat, and all of us are going to be engaged this year in a positive relationship that will be like a Hall of Mirrors.  That’s a heck of a lot of people walking around the planet who won’t really know where they’re going, lost in that Hall of Mirrors and all. So I’m guessing life is just going to get interesting for absolutely everyone in 2020, if only by default.

(And isn’t a Hall of Mirrors a Western thing, or did we get that from the Chinese? Do they have Fun Houses? It’s kind of hard to imagine that. I don’t know.) (Although, back when Neptune & Surf was first published, another writer who’d tried to read it said that it was confusing — “like a Chinese Fun House” — with the opium den, the Chinese prostitutes, the Cuban guitar player, the Tilt-A-Whirl, the fire at Dreamland…)

Oh well. Can’t please everybody.

On that note, though, I did manage to eventually get dressed here, brush my teeth and all that. And I do really have to get the day started!! (Although everything just feels different today, you know? Like I woke up in a different reality, somewhat similar to the one I recognized last night, but somehow different. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though.)

Okay. Have a good Monday wherever you are in the world. (It’s a holiday here in the States — Martin Luther King Day. Although I’ve noticed that now people just call it “MLK.” They don’t say the whole name anymore, or even the “day” part. Just “MLK.” I guess there’s not enough time to say the whole thing anymore because it would give us less time to look at our phones.) All righty. I was back to George Harrison this morning, for whatever reason — probably subconsciously thinking about Jesus and how glorious it felt to see those icons of him in the church at my stepmom’s funeral. So I’ll leave you with that. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

Okay, Home Again

Well, it did snow for the entire drive back, but so far, it’s not really accumulating. Nothing like what the northern part of the Midwest has gotten.

Anyway, I wanted to post those links from Friday.

The Finest Example posted an excerpt from my new novel Blessed By Light. The excerpt has been posted online before, but in a slightly different version. The excerpt is titled, “The Guitar Hero Goes Home.” You can read it here.

The Finest Example is a brand new online zine out of Wales, and is actively seeking art, stories, poems. So check them out if you want to contribute something.

And also on Friday, Nick Cave posted a new Red Hand Files response. It was mostly about how he and The Bad Seeds feel about their ever-evolving musical sound and how the fans (may or may not) have reacted over the decades.

It was interesting. His usual eloquence and amazing choice of words.

For me, though — wow, I can’t imagine not wanting to evolve with a band or songwriter as they evolve. Assuming they do evolve. If the music stagnates, or perhaps de-vovles, I do lose interest. But, obviously, I never lost interest in Nick Cave — or in Lou Reed, or in Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — and they changed year after year after year. The Heartbreakers’ last records could not have been more different than how they sounded in the beginning.  For instance, there’s no way to even compare an album like You’re Gonna Get It, from 1978, with Mojo, from 2010, or their last studio album, Hypnotic Eye, from 2014.

(Which also reminds me that Mike Campbell has a new band now (and a new video — and a new album coming soon). He did about 2 years’ of touring as a guitarist with Fleetwood Mac, but now he has his own thing — The Dirty Knobs! They will be on tour this whole upcoming year.)

Okay. I’m gonna, scoot. Gotta pay bills. Collapse. Stuff like that! See ya, gang.

Leaving you with three things:  one of my favorite songs from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ second album, You’re Gonna Get It; they’re perennial hit, “I Need to Know” from 1978.

Probably my favorite off of Mojo, from 2010, although it’s hard to pick an actual favorite. It was an incredible blues/rock album. The song is “Runnin’ Man’s Bible”:

My favorite off of Hypnotic Eye, 2014 — “Full Grown Boy”:

Life Resumes

Well, through some quirk or miracle, all the snow has bypassed us. So, even though I love snow, I guess that’s a good thing today. I have to head back home as soon as the sun comes up. I have 7 cats who have been on their own for a couple of days now. (They have plenty of food and water, I’m just worried about the litter boxes…)

It did get really cold here, though. My dad being just shy of 90,  turned the heat way up. Luckily my bedroom is in the sunroom — walls of windows. So it’s a lot colder in here than in the rest of the apartment, which feels almost unbearably hot to me! Anyway. It is cold outside today and very windy.

So now we officially embark on a new era. My dad as a widower. And a widower who will have way too much time on his hands, so he’s already worrying about that. I am, too.  I asked him if he wanted to come live with me, but he declined. Not just because of the 7 cats, but mostly because he can’t imagine living in the middle of nowhere.

Here, he lives in an Independent Living complex — which means that as soon as anything goes wrong with him physically, the nursing home guarantees him a room. This whole area where he lives is just a massive compound dedicated to old age and dying. (It’s also really nice and really expensive.) But I guess it’s best for him to just stay put here, even though he’s by himself now. Obviously, though, I’m going to have to make a lot more trips back here from now on.

Which is good, because I only have to go to NYC, Toronto, and LA a lot this year… Anyway.

My first husband,  being Chinese, alerted me yesterday in an email that the Chinese New Year is almost upon us and it is once more time for it to be the Year of the Rat!!! Which is my year!! He is currently trying to locate my forecast for the year.  He said that, in general, though, it’s going to be a good year for all the signs.

I can already feel that this is a transformative year for me — work, money, emotional well-being. Those things are already changing in a pronounced way and it’s only mid-January. I guess maybe I need to figure out what to do about my “love” situation. I don’t know.  The man I love couldn’t be more married and unavailable if he tried. I think priests who are married to God are technically more available than he is, so my love is absolutely just thrown into my work. I try to at least put my love into the world, in that way, because that’s sort of the only real place it can go.

Sometimes it makes me feel indescribably insane, though, so maybe this will be the year that I deal with that, too. I honestly don’t know. But everything else in my life is truly transforming. And for now I’m okay with love being an intensely private thing that only goes out into the world. It certainly helps my writing. So we will see.

Okay. Well.

Its been an intense trip. A lot of old painful family issues hovered close to the surface for me this whole time, but I was able to not be held prisoner by them, and to let the past be what it was and just move on. The one glaring constant reminder of old history was that my older brother isn’t here. And even though I haven’t seen him in many years, not a soul even asked about him or mentioned him.

Maybe I will go into more detail about all that some other time, I don’t know.  I did find it disconcerting that everyone kept thanking me for coming to the funeral to support my dad or to support them in the loss of their mother. No one seemed to notice at all that she had been my stepmom for over 30 years. Stepmothers are big deals, you know?  Think of it — Cinderella  had quite a monumental stepmother; so did Snow White!! My stepmother happened to be incredibly kind and loving to me— and considerate and compassionate. For some reason, that doesn’t seem to have made an impression on anyone else.

Anyway, I think that metaphysical pondering is best left for another blog post. I need to get moving here. Have a good Sunday, wherever you are in the world! Nick Cave resumes his Conversations in Europe tomorrow, so that will give me something wonderful to ponder again for a couple weeks! Meanwhile, thanks for visiting!! I love you guys. See ya.


Truly Beautiful

My stepmom’s funeral was truly beautiful.

She was Italian, intensely Catholic — did the rosary ever day. The church was breathtaking, really. Modern. Spacious. Filled with natural light, even though it poured rain outside the entire time.

The priest did a really moving ceremony— he knew my stepmom really well and so was able to really give of himself in a personal way. And he was extremely considerate of my dad’s being Jewish among all those Christians.

At the last moment, I took the priest’s blessing rather than take the Holy Eucharist. I don’t believe in transubstantiation. I was going to just consider it “Communion”  but then changed my mind right when the priest was handing me the blessed wafer — I knew he considered it Christ’s body and I didn’t. I didn’t want to be disrespectful. But being around all the icons of Christ today and knowing His presence was there for my stepmom made me feel just really, really blessed and at peace.

A long, long day though. My dad is exhausted. He assumed I was staying another night and leaving in the morning, so I guess that’s what I’m doing!

It’s been an extremely intense time for me, for reasons I don’t want to blog about, but I wouldn’t have missed the funeral for anything. She was a wonderful woman and always really good to me.

Here’s the Lord’s Prayer Mass card for her and one of the stone angels from the corner of my stepmom’s casket. There was an Angel on each corner of the casket. Each of the (adult) children got one.