Big Bunch of Stuff On A Rainy Day

In case you’re not among the nearly 70,000 people who already know this, Nick Cave dropped a new “official video” yesterday on YouTube. His cover of T.Rex’s 1968 song “Cosmic Dancer.”

It is really, really lovely. Not only Nick Cave’s singing, but the whole video is lovely — it includes some really uplifting footage of Marc Bolan, both onstage and off. You can watch it at the bottom of this post.

The song is apparently to be included in a  Marc Bolan tribute album coming in September, with a big bunch of other people contributing songs, too. I am not a fan of tribute albums in any way whatsoever — like, not even close. But Nick Cave’s cover of “Cosmic Dancer” is beautiful and so is the video.

And speaking of videos…

Last evening, I watched My Darling Vivian on Amazon. It is streaming free this week, as part of Amazon’s support of the SXSW 2020 Film Festival that was canceled because of the virus — it gives filmmakers a chance to have their films seen despite the cancellation of the festival, so check it out. There are lots of films being shown. Not just documentaries.

That said, though, My Darling Vivian is a documentary about Johnny Cash’s first wife, Vivian Libretto. And if you like Johnny Cash, you kinda have to make yourself watch this. And try not to sit there with your mouth hanging open. And then you kinda have to ask yourself how on Earth did Vivian manage to survive her marriage to Johnny Cash and go on to live as long as she did without shooting herself?

The documentary is told by Johnny’s 4 daughters — Roseanne, Cindy, Kathy, and Tara. And Johnny does not come off like some sort of true bad guy; he comes off as someone who had a lot of problems with drugs and fame. However, if you liked June Carter Cash (Johnny’s second wife), get ready to not like her so much anymore.

I thought it was just a really well done documentary. I don’t love Johnny Cash any less. But it was still illuminating — what he allowed to happen to his first wife and the mother of 4 of his children. And what the press can do to absolutely crush a defenseless woman and how it can make her utterly disappear when the second wife is someone famous.

On another super cheerful note… Dana Petty announced on Instagram yesterday that her and Tom’s beloved dog, Ryder, died in her arms late Tuesday night. So fucking sad, right? Though Tom adopted Dana’s son, Dylan, from a previous marriage, they didn’t have any biological children between them, but they did have dogs. Plenty of dogs. Tom Petty loved dogs — like, seriously.

When Tom Petty and his first band, Mudcrutch, got their first record deal, he loaded up the station wagon with his gear, his dogs, his new (and newly pregnant) first wife; left Florida and off they all went to LA. The first album bombed, and so, unable to feed a wife and brand new baby, Tom sent them back home to Florida until he could afford to feed them — but he kept the dogs. I mean, how much can dogs eat, right — besides everything in sight??

Anyway. Tom always loved his dogs.  And Ryder was Tom’s final dog before he died, 2 years and 8 months ago.

So now Ryder is at play eternally with Tom in the fields of the Lord, but Dana is going through even more loss right now and it’s just so sad. (And things always feel doubly sad when you read about them in the middle of the night on Instagram, don’t they? And all the photos, too?)

Together again now, forever.

Okay. On the good news front…

I had a really great phone conversation with the director of Tell My Bones yesterday, and the plans for doing the Zoom version of the staged reading continue to move forward and his plans for the production of it are making me really, really happy, gang. I will go over more of the details when it feels appropriate to start blogging about it.

On the virus front…

I was finally feeling pretty good today. My lungs felt reasonably clear. So, for the first time in over a month, I took Flonase for my allergies. I’d been afraid to take it until now because it’s a steroid and I was really wary of what a steroid taken through the nose would do to a bat-borne virus that lives in the nose and lungs.

So far, I’m okay. But when I first took it, man — I thought my lungs were going to explode and I’d have a heart attack or something. And I stood in the kitchen, in front of an open window, trying like crazy to breathe, and I thought, well, today’s as good a day as any to die. But then  it settled down and I was able to breathe again. And so now we’ll just see. The Flonase was probably not a good idea yet, but so far, I haven’t died.

I did drive into town yesterday to get the groceries. And the market is right next to a Home Depot, which is where I buy all my flowers every spring. I always wait until Memorial Day to get the flowers because the frost is completely done by then and the flowers are all on sale for the holiday. But yesterday — man was I tempted to get an early start this year! Brighten up my porches!

However, I have to spend a lot of money on the barn over the next few weeks, so I’ll wait until that’s done. But I am so ready for flowers around here, gang! (I’m so ready for a lot of things. Aren’t we all?)

All righty. Well, I guess I’ll close this. then call my dad and get the weather report!! (Honestly. What is it about dads and weather??) I hope you enjoy your Thursday as best you can, wherever you are in the world.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with this lovely version of “Cosmic Dancer.” Enjoy, okay? I love you guys. See ya!

Cherish the Morning and Release the Day

What a beautiful morning I’ve had here so far.

And it didn’t start out too great. I woke at my usual 4:44am, sort of dreading the fact that I have to drive into town later and buy more groceries. Even though I likely have antibodies for the virus now, it still just freaks me out because going into town (in the next county) was how I caught the virus in the first place. (And just FYI, the virus has flattened here in Ohio and Muskingum County still only has 10 confirmed cases. So I probably should have gone to the markets here in this county instead of the next county, where they have 114 cases, but oh well. Too late.)

Plus, I was just feeling really at odds with myself this morning — not understanding who I really am, or what my purpose is in the world. (I love when my mornings start out like that and the sun isn’t even up yet.)

Yesterday, Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files letter regarding plagiarism versus the tendencies of indigenous types of music (like rock & roll, jazz, blues, etc.) to progress upon the shoulders of songs that came before it. (I’m using my own words there — not quoting him.) (You can read what he actually said at that link there.)

In it, he briefly mentioned Arvo Pärt, and it made me think of Arvo Pärt’s piece “Spiegel Im Spiegel,” which I used to play a lot but hadn’t listened to in a really long time.

So after my breakfast, and after making entries in all my many little journals that I write in at the breakfast table each morning to keep me from drifting too far from Sanity’s shore, I went back up to bed with my coffee cup in hand and put “Spiegel Im Spiegel” on repeat on my phone and listened to it as the sun came up.

And, as always happens in my contemplative life, a ton of beautiful memories came streaming back.

The reason I used to listen to “Spiegel Im Spiegel” all the time was because of a poet I used to know. We met when we were in our late 40s. She was incredibly gifted. She’d had several poetry collections published by then, and was bilingual in Russian — wrote poems in Russian, also — and her work had won some prestigious poetry prizes.

I liked her a lot, just as a person. But as a writer, I absolutely loved her. Her way with words.

She spent most of each year living in St. Petersburg, Russia, which is one of the few places in the world I have always wanted to visit. Like, passionately. (Helsinki and St. Petersburg are probably the two places on Earth that I haven’t been to yet that I have always wanted to visit.) During the months she would live in St. Petersburg, she would write the bulk of her poems each year. And, honestly, I cannot tell you how much I loved her poems.

One day, I asked her about her inspiration — where it came from; that kind of thing. And she said that she listened to a lot of Arvo Pärt and, at that particular time in her life, “Spiegel Im Spiegel”  was what she listened to the most.

“You’ve got to buy it, Marilyn, and listen to it. It’s so inspiring!”

So I bought it and I did indeed listen to it. And this morning, as I was listening to it again, I got a few of her poetry books down from my bookshelf. And I drank my coffee, and listened to “Spiegel Im Spiegel” and read her amazing poems in bed. And renewed my decision that she is a truly gifted writer.

I broke off contact with her several years ago. She knew how much I had always wanted to go to St. Petersburg, so she invited me to come there and live with her for a few months. Just hang out with her and write all day. Cook meals. Drink wine late into the night.

I remember that she said, “You’re going to have to surrender your passport once you get here, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. I speak fluent Russian. They know me here. They will give you back your passport when you leave. I promise you.”

As much as I wanted to go (and I came very close to making that trip) I knew I was falling in love with her and that if I wasn’t in love with her yet, living with her for a few months in St. Petersbrug, writing all day, cooking meals together, drinking wine long into the night… Well, I would be in love with her for sure and she was absolutely 100% heterosexual.

By the time I was in my late 40s, I knew beyond all doubt that falling in love with straight women was a serious dead-end street. Just in a hugely BIG way. So I didn’t make the trip and, almost immediately upon realizing what my heart was doing, I stopped being in contact with her.  Didn’t go visit her even in America anymore.

I don’t know if she ever wondered what suddenly happened to me — we had a couple of writer-friends in common in NYC and in LA, but I never actually heard anything from them about it. I’m guessing she just assumed I was nuts , which is generally a good assumption to make about me. However, it leaves out some of the key things that drive me to nuttiness. (L-O-V-E, in particular.) But it’s okay, I guess.

Still, wow, was it beautiful this morning. It was mild enough to have a window open, so I heard  the birds singing as the sun came up, too. And that music and those poems? My goodness. What a lovely morning. Life is so beautiful, isn’t it? And before I knew it, the tone of my whole morning had completely shifted in the direction of love.

So, I’m going to get started here. I like to get to the market close to when it opens, since there are fewer people.  I did sew a new mask yesterday, btw. I no longer own a sewing machine, so I sewed it by hand and it took forever. But I watched Bad Seeds TeeVee on my phone the whole time, which made “forever” go a lot faster.

Life has just gotten so weird, hasn’t it?  Sewing little cotton masks while endlessly streaming intensely intense songs by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds? (There’s poetry in there somewhere, I’m sure of it.)

Anyway.  Okay. Thanks for visiting, gang. Enjoy Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with 9 minutes of stellar beauty. Perhaps it will inspire you to write award-winning poetry, too. Who knows?  You might even be fluent in Russian and not even realize it yet! Go on — put pen to paper, hit “PLAY” and see what comes out! I love you guys. See ya.

Yet Another Most Triumphant Day!!

Okay! So the Amish guys were here, bright (well, rainy) & early! They gave me the estimate and will give me that new roof in about 12 days — weather permitting.

And I am so excited. I’m getting a forest green metal roof, which was what I’d been sort of dreaming of all this time — a dark green roof and a bright white barn. (The paint will come later.) (Oh, and they think they know someone who would want the huge dead oak tree, so we shall see! I’m guessing that, as they begin the work on replacing the roof, they will encounter the annoyance of that huge pile of dead tree at every turn, so they likely won’t forget that I need that tree hauled away.)

And as if that weren’t exciting enough for me!!

My friend Kevin called last evening, out of the blue. Wanted to see how I was doing.  This is the guy who stores his vintage 1965 VW camper van in my barn all summer while he goes off to Montana. I was so excited to tell him that I was finally getting a new roof on the barn. And he said, “Let me know what the estimate is and I’ll help you pay for it.”

Is that, like, indescribably amazing, gang? He’s doing it because I never charge him to store his van all summer! My barn just sits there empty, so it’s no trouble for me to have it parked in there. It would never occur to me to charge him. And now — voila; he wants to help pay for the new roof. I think that’s just so nice.

If you’re new to the blog, this is what his camper van looks like — same color and everything — but this is not his (I love this thing!!):

1965 VW camper van

This past fall, Kevin’s teenage goddaughter was going to a Halloween party with some friends and they were going as hippies (!!), and they asked if Kevin would drive them to the party in the van as part of their “costume.”  I thought that was the cutest thing. And he had a blast. He said that all the kids wanted pictures of the van — they were all about 14 years old. So, to them, a 1965 VW camper is, like, from pre-historic times.  So funny.

I remember when I was about 7 years old, one of my girlfriends who lived across the street had a father who dealt in classic cars. And one day, he brought home a 1918 Rolls Royce. It was amazing. Truly. He took it for a drive around the block and let us ride in the back of it and it was the coolest thing ever. Like being in an old movie. I never forgot that car. It looked similar to this, except it was all black:

Archivo:1920 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.JPG - Wikipedia, la ...

At that time, the car was about 50 years old. The same age difference between Kevin’s goddaughter and the VW camper van! So I know how excited they probably felt to see that “ancient” van.

When I was growing up in Cleveland, my parents would sometimes take us to the Auto Museum at the Cleveland Historical Center. I used to love that museum. It had tons of really old, classic cars. Now it also has old airplanes but I don’t think they had those back in the 1960s. If they did, they paled in comparison to the old cars because those cars are what I remember most.

At this link here you can see color photos of a lot of the old cars they have in their collection. I just loved those things. Just works of art, really.

So, anyway, I’m happy!!

I’m on my last of the “Suspicions of Mr. Whicher” movies. I have really, really enjoyed those, gang.  Once I’m done with this final one, I’m going to watch the documentary about Johnny Cash’s first wife. And I am still reading Love in the Time of Cholera — it’s a long book — really dense, descriptive storytelling. You can’t really just zip through it. But I am really loving the process of reading it right now, during a pandemic (thankfully not cholera), and also while being in some form of rapturous love that almost totally consumes me  (when I’m not feeling rapturous about my barn, that is!).

Sadly, though,  I am still spending most of my time in bed!! I do think that the sunnier, milder weather helps my breathing, because yesterday, which was a gorgeous day, I felt almost completely normal. Today — cooler, with lots of rain — and my lungs feel a little heavy again. But still not like it was. So I am definitely getting better.

I did maybe two whole minutes of editing yesterday and then gave up. So who knows what today will be like. As much as I would like to sit at my desk and be productive again, I guess I’ll just take it as it comes, right?

I think that, today, maybe I will sew some new face masks. That is definitely something I can do in bed.

All right, gang. I’m going to close this and finish up some laundry. I hope you are having a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world! I’m still listening to the aria from Offenbach’s opera,  Tales of Hoffman, that I posted yesterday. (Btw, the video I posted yesterday is only the music, not the actual aria — I do play both, depending on my mood. Normally, I prefer just the music, but it kind of depends on who the singers are.) So I leave you with nothing today! But thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

A Triumphant and Most Excellent Day!

Well, after having an all-out coughing fit late last night and then sleeping for 10 hours, I appear to be 99.9% over this fucking virus, finally!

I sure hope so. It has been over 3 weeks already. I am not at 100% yet but the difference in my breathing between today and all the other days that came before it is huge. So I’m hoping I don’t regress again.

The past two days, I started doing yoga again — but only 15 minutes each time, and only stretches that focused on my posture, my abs, my rib cage; trying to get some strength around my lungs and it seems to have helped a lot.

The Amish roofing guy called this morning to confirm that he’s coming by bright & early tomorrow morning to discuss the new roof for my barn!! I’m so excited, gang. It’s really happening. (And knowing the Amish and their amazing craftsmanship with wood, I’m hoping against hope that he might know someone who will want to come haul away the dead oak tree for not too high a fee. We shall see!)

For those of you who are Johnny Cash fans, I made a mistake yesterday regarding the new documentary about his first wife, My Darling Vivian. It actually starts streaming today on Amazon, not tomorrow, and then streams for the next week.

It is a truly gorgeous morning here, gang. I feel really optimistic again about everything. Plus, I also started streaming the “Suspicions of Mr. Whicher” movies last evening (BBC 2011- 2014). They’d been in my queue  for a few years already and I’d forgotten all about them. Wow, I love them! They are so fun.  I don’t want them to end. (Do you even remember what it was like in the years before we were able to binge-watch stuff? How it would take us months, if not an entire year, to get through a series? I regret that I can go through a series at breakneck speed now and then, suddenly, it’s over and there’s nothing left to watch… But I still love being able to do it. Especially in lockdown.)

Well, I don’t know what I’m going to do today. I want to try to take it really easy even though I feel worlds better, because I don’t want to go into reverse again. So we’ll see how the day plays out.

Meanwhile, I will get going here. I hope you have a really good Monday, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with my listening music from last night, as I was falling to sleep. It is Jacques Offenbach’s “Barcarolle,” from his opera The Tales of Hoffman. It is probably my favorite opera. I’m not a huge opera fan, but I love this one. And the aria, “Barcarolle” — if you aren’t familiar with it at all — is just stunningly lovely and it underscores an orgy in the beginning of Act 3, “Barcarolle” is also known as “Beautiful Night, O Night of Love”. (I saw it staged by the Met in NYC and it was probably the most eloquent and moving orgy I’d ever seen….)

Anyway. It’s beautiful, and I drifted off to dreamland last night while listening to it over & over. Enjoy. And thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour
Souris à nos ivresses
Nuit plus douce que le jour
Ô,belle nuit d’amour!
Le temps fuit et sans retour
Emporte nos tendresses
Loin de cet heureux séjour
Le temps fuit sans retour
Zéphyrs embrasés
Versez-nous vos caresses
Zéphyrs embrasés
Donnez-nous vos baisers!
Vos baisers! Vos baisers! Ah!
Belle nuit, ô, nuit d’amour
Souris à nos ivresses
Nuit plus douce que le jour,
Ô, belle nuit d’amour!
Ah! souris à nos ivresses!
Nuit d’amour, ô, nuit d’amour!
Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah!
©  approx. 1864 -Jacques Offenbach

Just Sewing Some Buttons Today…

(Who knew sewing could be so sexy? It might even make this coronavirus look sexy…maybe we’ll find out — I’ve got some buttons around here that need re-attaching!!)

Alas, though, I actually got dressed here this morning. For a change, I am not in my chemise. I am in real clothes. For now, anyway.

It was one of those mornings where I woke up and felt like I was finally totally fine. But once I was actually out of bed and walking around… How long is this fucking breathing problem going to last? This virus just doesn’t quit.

Okay. Well. Happy Sunday!

It’s rainy here today but still really mild, so some windows are open and the cats are happy, so that means I’m happy, too!

So, yes, I got dressed and I’m planning to work at my desk for a while today. At least do some editing if not some actual writing. We’ll see how it goes. I really just want to be back to normal around here. It’s so frustrating.

However, there was more good news regarding the upcoming staged (taped) reading for Tell My Bones. I can’t really go into it on the blog yet, but I spoke with the director again yesterday and the call made me just unbelievably happy. I’m really just so blessed, gang.

And even amid this whole lockdown COVID 19 thing, I was able to get those updated Life Rights contracts signed by everyone and returned to me and options got paid and everything is moving ahead smoothly regarding the play. Just weird, right? Things still got done, even though I was basically in bed for 3 weeks straight.

Oh, and yesterday, more new luggage arrived! This was a 3-piece set. Heavy duty luggage this time. The kind with the hard outer shell and large enough that you could go away for a couple of weeks.

If you are new to the blog, back before I bought this current house, I rented a friend’s house for almost 2 years. And had to put most of my life into storage. When I was cleaning out the old house, I was in a very bad mental state, and a lot of things I wanted to put into storage accidentally went off to Goodwill instead.

Once I got settled down into this house and had to start traveling again, I discovered that I had absolutely no luggage. None. At all. It had been given away to charity by mistake.  I had one small flight bag to my name. So, little by little, I’ve been replacing stuff. Overhead carry-ons, under-seat carry-ons, and now actual luggage. So I’m set.

It was pretty exciting when the stuff arrived yesterday because it made me feel as though, one of these days, I actually won’t have the virus any longer, and the theater stuff will be happening in NYC again and not on Zoom, and the film stuff will be moving ahead again in LA, and I will be traveling again. Yay.

Here’s some more exciting news — a new documentary about Johnny Cash’s first wife, Vivian, will be streaming free on Amazon for one week, beginning this Tuesday, April 28th. The film, My Darling Vivian, told by their 4 daughters, has gotten incredibly terrific reviews. I can’t wait to see it!

My Darling Vivian - Cleveland International Film Festival :: April ...
Johnny and Vivian Cash at home with 2 of their daughters

She’s another one of those first wives whose reputation in the minds of the public has been seriously tarnished by the PR machine. Apparently, this documentary undoes all that damage. I can only imagine, you know — during that whole first marriage, while he was getting famous and traveling constantly, he also did just an enormous amount of drugs & drinking. Just off the charts. That first marriage must have been just unbelievably difficult.( I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday.)

(He had his demons, for sure, though — if you’ve read any of his memoirs. For one thing, he had an older brother whom he idolized, who got killed early on in a horrible accident at a saw mill– basically got cut in half.)

When Johnny married June Carter, later in his career, he sobered up and found Jesus. (Which was great, because a lot of us were looking for Jesus and didn’t know where he was — but Johnny found him. It turned out, he was right where we’d last left him– in that top drawer in the kitchen, right next to the stove!) (Okay. Just kidding.)

All righty. I’m gonna scoot. I really, really hope to get some actual work done here today. Even if it’s just a little tiny bit of editing. It would feel so good!

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday, wherever you are in the world! As far as music goes, I’ve still been just watching Bad Seeds TeeVee around here.  And since I tend to prefer listening to audio tracks and not watching “official videos,” there are a ton of Bad Seeds videos out there that I’d never seen. It’s been very fun.  There was even one in clay-mation with 3 Barbie doll/mermaids that was just too cool!! Just unbelievable stuff. However, I will leave you with a very early Johnny Cash televised performance from 1958 here this morning.  Enjoy, gang! Stay well!! I love you guys. See ya!

Oui, c’est moi!!

Yes! That’s me, at age 13. In 1973.

And — oddly enough — that’s me sitting at my desk in 1973! Some things absolutely never change, apparently. (And I still have a tiny desk — even 47 years later.)  (And, gosh, I wish I still smoked.) (I loved smoking, even though I only ever smoked occasionally, even as an adult. However, as all things go with those occasional loves — it stopped loving me first.)

I bring up me at age 13 because last night I watched that documentary, The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971-1973.

Wow, was it interesting. And it focused primarily on the years 1971-1973. Although, they went into a lot of earlier background on Bowie that I only vaguely sort of knew.

I’m guessing that since Bowie always had this reputation of being really controlling about how his public image was portrayed, this is the kind of documentary that only could have been made about him posthumously. Not that it said anything bad about him, really. But it showed a different side to him. And Angie Bowie was in it a lot. And she came off really great. It was kind of amazing, really. The PR machine has sort of religiously tried to discredit anything she’s ever said publicly — ever — since she and Bowie split, a million years ago.

Back in the early 70s, I didn’t really understand the connection between those three men: Bowie, Iggy and Lou Reed. I knew they knew each other, but only because it seemed like all the rockstars I loved back then knew each other.  They were always photographed together, doing stuff in London or NYC that was nowhere near a concert stage.  And then there was also a Berlin connection a few years later. So I never really gave it any thought at all — the actual connection they had within their careers.

And it’s kind of ironic that just a couple of days ago, I started playing Lou Reed’s Transformer record again. (The record was produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson in 1972 — and that’s the record that had Lou’s hit “Walk On The Wild Side” on it, which I heard on the AM radio when I was 12 and absolutely could not believe. I’d never heard any song like it in my life. ) (And then in my mid-20s, during the AIDS epidemic in NYC, I was a volunteer with the Visiting Nurses of NY and one of the patients I was assigned was the photographer Peter Hujar, who had taken so many of the iconic photographs of all those people Lou sang about in that song.)

Anyway. I felt such an unexpected connection to that documentary. I was kind of stunned. I was only peripherally aware of it — I’d seen some things mentioned about “The Sacred Triangle” on Instagram, but I thought it was in connection to one specific famous photo of the three men that Mick Rock had taken back then.

And there the movie suddenly was, available to stream for free on Amazon last evening. And it seemed like a nice moment to pause Bad Seeds TeeVee for 90 minutes… (man, that is an addicting channel. It’s just awesome. I went to sleep last night, still staring at Bad Seeds TeeVee on my phone in the dark.)

Okay. So.

I’ve started some initial discussions with Valerie about the small press I want to start up here (to self-publish all 749 million of my books, past & present). She helps me design covers for some of my eBooks, so I’m hoping she can also help me design covers for the actual books.

I’m wanting to have one basic sort of design “feel” — if that’s the way to describe it. Sort of how New Directions Publishing was in the old days, where all of their book covers had a similar look to them. Not a lot of color, almost black & white. The same font all the time.

I’m kind of wanting to go with something like that. My goal is to have erotic books that don’t have girls in their underwear on the covers, so that people can read the darn books anywhere they want to. Women especially. (I had female friends in the past who had to make book covers out of paper bags, in order to cover up the photos of practically naked women on the covers of my books, so that they could read my books on the subway without feeling harassed. I also had a friend here in Ohio who did that with a cut-up paper bag so that her husband wouldn’t know she was reading my book Stirring Up A Storm — which was nominated for 3 Pushcart Prizes for fiction, for godsakes, you know? Take the fucking naked women off the covers and more people will read the darn books.)


I’ve also come to the understanding that Blessed By Light is probably not a good title for that novel. Too many people have thought it was a Christian novel of some kind. So I’m thinking maybe I should call the whole book The Guitar Hero Goes Home (which is currently the title of Chapter 18 in the novel).

Plus, I want to go with a different cover. Valerie already designed one last year that had a guitar on it and a Hellcat (car) and a guy smoking a cigarette. I want to change that all up now.

So she and I are working on that.

Peitor and I texted a lot yesterday, but we never actually hooked up over the phone. We are hoping to do that today, so we’ll see.

And even though it sounds like maybe I’m working a lot, or whatever, sadly, yesterday was one of those days where I ended up back in bed for awhile by mid-afternoon. I am hoping that today will be better. I am certainly feeling better today, at least. So we’ll see. I’m hopeful.

On that note, I guess I will close this and see what the day brings. It’s a gorgeous day here today and the temperatures are going to be mild enough that I will be able to open some windows later. So I’m excited! (And I can’t tell you how excited I am about that barn, gang!! I can’t wait!! My neighbors are gonna fall over and die when I finally fix that darn barn!)

All right. Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with something truly awesome I just now listened to on Bad Seeds TeeVee, “Give Us A Kiss” from 2014. The lyrics are in the video. Enjoy your Saturday, in the best way you know how.  I love you guys. See ya!

Help Me!! Please!!

Okay, now this totally sucks!!

There is now a 24 hour Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds stream on YouTube. And it’s totally addicting. (Bad Seeds TeeVee). I have stuff I need to do, you know? I need to lie around and stare out the window and sometimes read. I have to scroll mindlessly through silly cat & dog videos on TikTok. I have to scroll through Instagram.  Watch 9-minute episodes of “Agua Donkeys” on Quibi.

In fact, I even have to write this blog post and I keep switching over to the window that is now always running Bad Seeds TeeVee

I can already see that this is sort of going to become a problem.

All right. I paused it.

Good news on the Amish front! He is coming next week to discuss my roof options and then we will proceed from there. (I can’t decide whether I want another metal roof, or a shingle roof.) I am so excited, gang! A new roof on my barn. Finally. After two years of living here, already. God bless those high winds that removed segments of my roof for me and blew them off into my backyard, or I would probably have just kept putting it off.

Plus, last week, from one of my bedroom windows, I watched a house across the street get a beautiful new roof. And I mean, it is a beautiful roof. And the roofers did it in under two days. And I just sort of watched their speedy progress, and I watched the gorgeous roof become a reality. And I thought to myself, Oh god, that is what I need for my barn! I have got to do something about this. Where are the Amish when you need them?!

Of course, my barn is the fraction of the size of a house. It’s a small horse & buggy barn. The side where the horse used to be kept is now more of a garage, but the insides of the barn are exactly as they were when it was built in 1910.

The side that was meant for the buggy is where I want to put together a sort of potting shed. I store all my gardening stuff in there in a sort of heap right now (including my beloved rake (!!) which I am going to have to actually use once I can safely start moving around again). The raccoons got in there during the winter and pushed through some of the wooden slats of the outside wall. They didn’t actually do any damage, they just loosened the boards. So it has to be fixed up a little bit, but I am getting there. Finally. And I am super excited!! I love that barn.

I am now on Day 4 of feeling almost better. In fact, yesterday, since I went into town to get groceries, I obviously got dressed and then I stayed dressed for the entire day. That was the first time in 21 days that I actually was able to stay out of bed for the whole day. So I am indeed getting better.

I am sure hoping this breathing problem is not going to last for the rest of my life. It feels like it will, though. It’s a little discouraging.

My biological dad lost half of one of his lungs in the Vietnam War. He was injured on a flame thrower during a skirmish on the Mekong Delta.  And especially in the mornings, he had trouble breathing. I  always think about that now and I wonder how he stood it for all those years. (Plus, he kept right on smoking. I can’t even imagine it.)

Well, exciting news on the Tell My Bones front, regarding the staged reading now moving to the Zoom platform. The director and I had another long chat on the phone this morning, regarding his ideas and some technical people he wants to bring on board. I am feeling really positive about it. I’m going to have to do some minor editing to the script — just to scale it back for a reading. No actual rewrites. But I am pleased to announce that I will not be involved in any of the on-camera stuff for the Zoom reading. The director will handle all the on-camera stage directions, background info, etc.

I have no problems being on an actual stage, but I hate to be photographed, and even worse — I hate being on video in any way. I just can’t stand it. It makes me nuts. So I feel doubly excited that this reading can get pulled together with my staying completely in the background. It is a huge relief to me.

And all of that stuff is going to start coming together this weekend. Isn’t that insane, how quickly things get pulled together? (We still don’t have any actors yet besides Sandra.  I just mean the technical stuff is going to be pulled together over the weekend.)

Well, I guess that’s kind of it. It’s Friday, which is usually an Abstract Absurdity Productions day, but we haven’t worked in over a week, so I don’t know if we’ll work today or not. I just sort of leave it up to Peitor right now. And of course eventually, I’m going to have to get back to working on that website — which technically I can do now, since I no longer have to stay in bed all day.

Okay, well! I’m gonna scoot. I hope your Friday is a  good one, all things considered, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music. I am a huge fan of all the early Emmylou Harris records. I know them backwards & forwards; every note, every nuance. She sang with some incredible musicians back then; worked with incredible songwriters. “If I Could Only Win Your Love” is an old song, written by the Louvin Brothers. It was on her Pieces of the Sky album, from 1975. Enjoy, gang. She sings like a country angel!! Okay. I love you guys. See ya.

“If I Could Only Win Your Love”

If I could only win your love
I’d make the most of everything
I’d proudly wear your wedding ring
My heart would never stray when you’re away

If I could only win your love
I’d give my all to make it live
You’ll never know how much I’d give
If I could only win your love

Oh how can I ever say
How I crave your love when you’re gone away
Oh how can I ever show
How I burn inside when you hold me tight

If I could only win your love
I’d give my all to make it live
You’ll never know how much I’d give
If I could only win your love

Oh how can I ever say
How I crave your love when your gone away
Oh how can I ever show
How I burn inside when you hold me tight

If I could only win your love
I’d give my all to make it live
You’ll never know how much I give
If I could only win your love

© 1958 Charles & Ira Louvin

An Awesome Adventure

Yes! I left home this morning! I drove into town and bought groceries.

My breathing is better than yesterday, so this makes 3 days in a row when I haven’t gone in reverse with this virus. I’m still trying not to push my luck, or anything. But it was great to go into town and buy food.

AND!!! On the drive home, I saw an eagle! I don’t know if it was a golden eagle or a young bald eagle, because they sort of have similar coloring. It was sitting high up in a tree that didn’t have any leaves yet. And I was driving by on the highway, so it was just impossible to really tell. But, boy, was it an eagle! I was so excited.

And then, when I got home from the store, a neighbor came by and asked me if I wanted him to cut my (still horrible) grass. He charges less than my usual lawn guys, who still haven’t gotten back to me about when they’re coming out here. I texted them yet again. So we’ll see. I might be saving money on lawn care this summer.

AND!! I found an Amish guy who can likely fix the roof of my barn!!

Honestly, do days get better than this?? I don’t think so.

Last night, I heard from both Sandra (the actress in NY that I write theater projects with) and the director of Tell My Bones, who is here in the Hinterlands until the end of August. And it looks like we are going to be doing the staged reading of the play on Zoom, rather than waiting indefinitely to mount it in real life in NYC. So that is a huge switch-a-roo, But on we go, right? I’m just trying to stay adaptable.

The last time I made the drive into town was before I got the virus, back when the dogwoods were all in bloom. Well, now it’s the fruit trees everywhere, blooming. And around this part of Ohio, there are a lot of crabapple trees, which I just love.  There are a number of different varieties, but they essentially look like this, in case you’ve never seen one (and the older trees get really huge; not tall but really wide):

Prarifire Crabapple Trees for Sale –

I just love them. And today, they were everywhere.

Oh, and the gas price in town is now $1.49 a gallon. I have no idea what the heck that price even means, you know? It just keeps getting cheaper. So I stopped and got gas for the car, too.

Okay. Well, I’m super hungry and my morning is now entirely gone so I’m going to go down to the kitchen and make some lunch!

I hope you guys are having a great Thursday, wherever you are in the world. I might check in again later, I don’t know. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting. I leave you with my “driving to town song” from today. It’s from the 2003 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album, Nocturama — which I don’t hate. It has a number of songs on it that I really like, including this one (I actually love this one) — “He Wants You.” So enjoy. Stay healthy. Stay socially distant!! Don’t watch the news more than once a day! And keep wishing for those things your heart desires, because they come true!! (I mean, honestly, when was the last time you wished for an Amish guy to fix the roof of your barn and then found one??!!) (And other beautiful desires come true, too.)

Okay. I love you guys. See ya!!

“He Wants You”

In his boat and through the dark he rowed
Chained to oar and the night and the wind that blowed
Horribly ’round his ears
Under the bridge and into your dreams he soars
While you lie alone in that idea-free sleep of yours
That you’ve been sleeping now for years

And he wants you
He wants you
He is straight and he is true
Ooh hoo hoo

Beneath the hanging cliffs and under the many stars where
He will move, all amongst your tangled hair
And deep into the sea
And you will wake and walk and draw the blind
And feel some presence there behind
And turn to see what that may be
Oh, babe, it’s me

And he wants you
He wants you
He is straight and he is true
Ooh hoo hoo

© 2003 Nick Cave

All Things Considered, Yesterday Was Basically Perfect

I felt really pretty good yesterday. Well enough to spend a lot of time downstairs at my kitchen table. The breathing issues were hardly noticeable. I was able to have a window open all day and the fresh air really helped.

I even got dressed in order to take my trash bin to the curb and it felt really great to be in actual clothes for a while. I hadn’t been in real clothes since I ran that errand to the dollar store the other day.

I’m hoping today will be similar, but I can’t open the windows because it’s super cold again — and I think that fresh air really helped.

Anyway. Another day is upon us!!

Last evening, I began watching that movie The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019), starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. The cinematography is incredible and the movie is delightfully creepy. I’m not done watching it yet, but so far so good. It’s streaming free on Amazon right now.

I am sort of a solitaire addict. I play it on my iPad a lot while listening to music.  I find that my brain really processes things well when I’m doing that. I get a lot of thinking done while playing solitaire.

Back before things like iPads or even computers, I used to play a lot of solitaire the old-fashioned way — meaning with an actual deck of cards. Yesterday, while sitting at the kitchen table with nothing to really do, but I didn’t want to get back in bed because the weather was so beautiful and the kitchen was so sunny — I remembered that I had an actual deck of cards in a kitchen drawer, so I got them out and played solitaire at the kitchen table for awhile.

And then a whole slew of memories came back.

When I was a little girl, growing up in Cleveland, a couple times a year, my family and I would go to stay with my adoptive mom’s parents. I believe they meant well, but they were intensely controlling people — especially that particular grandmother. She was really unbelievably rigid and inflexible. (She suffered from mental illness but I didn’t know that when I was little).

They were both Russian immigrant Jews who had come to America in the early 1900s. My grandfather’s mother died in the flu pandemic of 1918, actually.  My grandfather did not have much schooling. He left home and had to start working when we was only 13. But he eventually became a millionaire.

When I was growing up, my grandparents were the first people I knew who could afford a color TV and Central Air Conditioning. Going to visit them was always so intense. We had to dress for dinner and not speak unless spoken to at the dining table — the whole 9 yards.

My grandmother had this weird rule that I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed in the morning until the housekeeper had gotten up, taken her shower, and gone down to the kitchen. I have always had a bladder the size of a mustard seed, and I have always been an early riser– waking up before anyone else on Earth. So to have to lie there with a bursting bladder, for over an hour before the housekeeper got up, took a shower, got dressed, and went downstairs — it was torture for me. Absolute agony. Because wetting the bed was out of the question, too. It would have been like the Wrath of Khan x 2 (meaning first, my grandmother and then my mother, because I would have made my mother look bad).

I honestly don’t believe my grandmother meant to be abusive or anything. She just desperately needed to control everything in her home. Everything. She was afraid of the entire world, and I’m not exaggerating.  (Among other things, she had severe agoraphobia.) (She was also the first person I knew who had a Camaro convertible. In 1967, my grandfather bought it for her, hoping that a sporty little car might help her want to leave the house. It didn’t. It stayed in the garage for decades, until she died and one of my male cousins inherited it. By then it was a highly valued classic car, and it was in mint condition.)

So they had money and they had a live-in housekeeper.  The housekeeper was white, Christian, single, and I thought she had sort of the saddest life. I don’t know how she put up with my grandparents. She worked for them — and lived with them — her whole adult life. She died in her 60s, while still working for them. I was already living in NYC by then.

Oddly enough, the housekeeper was buried in the same cemetery where Greg was buried — my boyfriend who died when I was 14. Once, on a trip back to Ohio from NYC, I made a trip to the cemetery to visit Greg’s grave. I wasn’t 100% sure where it was, but I knew the general area.

I parked my car, got out, and started heading in the direction of Greg’s grave and then suddenly stopped. Looked down. And right there  at my feet was the grave of the housekeeper!! And literally thousands of people are buried in that cemetery. I believe that in spirit, she did that. You know — she stopped me. A way of saying hello.

I always felt like she was a sort of guardian angel to me, even when she was alive. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned she had gotten pregnant out of wedlock while working for my grandparents. She was sent to the same county home for unwed mothers that I wound up being born in a couple decades later. She gave birth to a baby girl that she gave up for adoption. (I heard that the man next door to my grandparents had been the father of the baby but I don’t know if that’s true or not.)

So, I didn’t know of that connection until I was grown and the housekeeper already had passed away. Obviously, she felt connected to me because I was a baby girl who had been adopted into the family.

Her bedroom was at the back of the upstairs hall in my grandparents house. And it was furnished with the bedroom furniture my grandparents had gotten when they’d gotten married in the 1920s.  It was simple but lovely mahogany furniture. And, as was the custom back in the 1920s, it had a vanity with a mirror and a little upholstered bench. When she was taking breaks from housecleaning, I would go into her room and sit on that little bench and talk to her, while she smoked her Belair cigarettes.

She was just so sweet to me. So intensely different from my grandmother (or my mother for that matter — in fact, if you are a reader of my in-progress childhood memoir, In the Shadow of Narcissa — the first time my mother was excessively abusive to me occurred when she was trying to potty-train me. After she did what she did to me, my dad took her away on a vacation, to try to calm her down. And my grandparents’ housekeeper was sent to Cleveland to stay with me and my brother while our parents were gone. And the housekeeper had me completely potty-trained before my parents even returned from their vacation.)

Once, when I was 8, and sitting in the housekeeper’s bedroom, talking to her while she was on a break, she gave me a gold ring. She took it out of her vanity drawer and said, “Here, I want you to have it, but don’t show it to anyone, okay?”

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was real — a 10kt. gold band with real diamond chips in it. I’m guessing she wore it while she was pregnant — on her days off, when she would go downtown and go shopping. It likely kept people from thinking she was unmarried and pregnant, which was incredibly scandalous in the 1940s. (In my teens, one of my girlfriends got pregnant and I gave her the ring for the same reason — so that she could wear it in public and people wouldn’t think she was unmarried and pregnant. But at that point, I didn’t yet know that the housekeeper had ever been pregnant.)

Well, my point is that, during the evenings, when all the dinner dishes were done and put away, the housekeeper would sit alone at the kitchen table and play solitaire for hours, until it was time for her to go to bed. Whenever we’d be visiting, I always liked to sit at the kitchen table with her and watch her play until it was my bedtime. She taught me how to play, in fact.

So, yesterday, sitting at my own kitchen table — almost as old now as she was when she died — playing solitaire the old-fashioned way… well, all those memories came back. She’s been gone about 35 years already. (Oh, and just FYI — each time I’ve been out to the cemetery to visit Greg’s grave since then, I have looked for the housekeeper’s grave again and have not been able to find it!!)

All righty. Well, here’s hoping that I continue to breathe sort of normally today. Two days in a row would be so cool! I hope you have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with my late-night/breakfast-listening music: “Moonland,” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Oddly enough, YouTube told me to start listening to it yesterday. I got an alert first on my iPhone, then on my laptop, and then on my iPad. It was the strangestly persistent thing. So I started listening to it yesterday on YouTube (which is not how I usually listen to it).

But anyway. It is from their 2008 album Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! — another album that I absolutely love. I really, really do. It has some amazing songs on it. (Apparently, the song was also in the second season of the TV show Californication, which I also loved!)

Okay, well, thanks for visiting, gang. Stay healthy. Stay hopeful. I love you guys. See ya!


When I came up from out of the meat locker
The city was gone
The sky was full of lights
The snow provided a silent cover
In moonland
Under the stars
Under the snow
And I followed this car
And I followed that car
Through the sand
Through the snow
I turn on the radio
I listen to the DJ

And it must feel nice
(It must feel nice)
It must feel nice to know
That somebody needs you
And everything moves slow

Under the stars, under the ash, under the sand
And the night drifts in
The snow provided a silent cover
And I’m not your favourite lover
I turn on the radio

And it must feel nice
(It must feel nice)
Oh, very, very nice to know
That somebody needs you
And the chilly winds blow

Under the snow, under the stars
The whispering DJ on the radio
The whispering DJ on the radio
I’m not your favourite lover
I’m not your favourite lover

And it must feel nice
(It must feel nice)
To leave no trace
That somebody needs you
And that somebody is me

Under the stars, under the snow

Your eyes were closed
You were playing with the buttons on your coat
In the back of that car

In moonland
Under the stars
In moonland
And I followed that car

© 2008 Nick Cave, Jim Sclavunos, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey

I’m Guessing It’s Windy!!

Yes, well. I am sort of reduced to telling you about the weather here every day, because I’m not doing a whole lot right now with which to regale you.

However, it is a sunny day here again — a little chilly, though, and very windy.

So there you have it!

And this also gives you an idea of every single morning phone call I have with my dad now, too. But in his case, he’s kind of depressed, so when the weather looks rainy and likely to keep him from taking his walk and being able to chat with other people in his assisted living compound, it turns into a long, depressing day for him. So the weather has become a huge deal.

I, of course, love the sunny mild days so that I can open the windows for the cats — they love that so fucking much; it’s almost what I live for. But other than that, I don’t care that much about the specific weather, because I love all weather. I get a little anxious when it’s super windy and pieces of the roof of my barn go soaring away. Or if we get a torrential downpour with high winds, then it grieves me to find pieces of the bathroom ceiling on the bathroom floor. Other than that, I’m just a big fan of weather.

Anyway. So now I’ve talked about the weather. (Oh, and that reminds me, there was a really funny video on TikTok that I saw this morning by @TylerJarry — “When Dads talk about the weather.” It was just hysterical. I think his videos are always really funny — such intensely silly stuff about suburban parents that is so spot-on.) Well, it felt good to laugh out loud.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I had such high hopes for it, but by early afternoon, I was back in bed, with more difficulty breathing. And even though I try so hard to be optimistic and upbeat and all that crap — I finally just broke down and cried.  I am just so fucking sick of this virus. It is now 18 days.

I know I have it better than so many people — and aside from the breathing, my life is actually kind of perfect. So I hate to resort to tears, but yesterday, I had just had it.

I’m trying again today, though. So we shall see. I’m supposed to work with Peitor on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff. I’m breathing pretty good right now, so I hope it stays that way by this afternoon.

Well, I watched the first episode of “Dummy” on Quibi yesterday (the comedy about the woman who becomes friends with her boyfriend’s AI sex doll). There were things about it that I liked, so I’ll keep watching it to give it a chance. But even though the show was created by and written by a woman (Cody Heller), I really just hate when smutty dialogue is passed off as “empowering to women.”

After having lived most of my adult life in various areas of the sex industry, I know for a fact that women can talk about sex and their identities relating to sex, and be frank and open and maybe even talk like a sailor, without actually being “smutty,” you know? I don’t think that speaking coarse about sex empowers women at all.

But it was only the first episode, so we shall see.

I’m still a big fan of “Agua Donkeys”, though. That show cracks me up. (And the writing on that show actually does empower women.)

Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files letter today. It’s about his song, “Palaces of Montezuma,” on the Grinderman 2 album. It’s a song I really love — and I think I’ve posted it here on the blog a couple of times. But in his letter today, he drew a comparison between that song and Lou Reed’s song, “Andy’s Chest,” — from the Transformer album. And I’m really surprised that I had never seen the similarities before, but they are indeed there. So very interesting.

Many decades ago — particularly during the years when I lived in the hellhole tenement on E. 12th Street in the East Village — I played that record Transformer a lot. But oddly enough, I am not a fan of Andy Warhol, so I think I probably blocked out “Andy’s Chest”(which was written for Andy Warhol).

I met Andy Warhol a number of times at art gallery-type functions in NYC. And I also worked at the Museum of Modern Art, and met him there, too. I didn’t know him, or anything. I simply “met” him — repeatedly. And he always seemed really, really nice. He really did.  And I sort of appreciated his approach to his Pop Art paintings. And I did see a number of his movies in cinemas in NYC. And I bought his (often expensive) books.

But I still kept feeling that his forte was exploiting people when they were vulnerable. And I’m guessing that a whole lot of those people wanted to be exploited — still. It just felt like a no-brainer to me, you know? Is exploiting people actually art? I honestly don’t know the true answer to that. Defining “art” gets murky indeed.

But it was still sort of bittersweet to hear all those other songs on Transformer this morning. Songs that I used to just love that I had kind of forgotten about because eventually I wound up gravitating more to some of those amazing albums he did in the 1980s. But to hear Transformer again — it was that repeated feeling of: Oh my god, I know every single word to this song… and trying to remember when that had happened. At what point had I memorized every word? And at what point did I move on?

Anyway. If you’d like to read Nick Cave’s comments about his song “Palaces of Montezuma,” it’s at that link above. (Or here, to make it easier.)

Well, truth be told, I had a very slow start this morning because I had some trouble getting out of bed. And so I’m posting this a lot later in the morning than I usually post, so I’m going to get going here. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world. I hope you’re staying hopeful and healthy, and getting a good grip on the weather!

I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning. I hadn’t listened to this song in a really long time, but I always loved it. It’s such a great song to listen to when you want to feel hopeless about love! However, today it came to mind because of the lyric “somebody can’t breathe” — and I’m guessing you can figure out why that specific lyric popped into my fucking head!!!

And on that note… Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

“Somebody’s Me”

You, do you remember me
Like I remember you?
Do you spend your life
Going back in your mind to that time?

‘Cause I, I walk the streets alone
I hate being on my own
And everyone can see that I really fell
And I’m going through hell
Thinking about you with somebody else

Somebody wants you
Somebody needs you
Somebody dreams about you every single night
Somebody can’t breathe, without you it’s lonely
Somebody hopes that one day you will see
That somebody’s me
That somebody’s me

How, how did we go wrong?
It was so good and now it’s gone
And I pray at night that our paths soon will cross
And what we had isn’t lost
‘Cause you’re always right here in my thoughts

Somebody wants you
Somebody needs you
Somebody dreams about you every single night
Somebody can’t breathe, without you it’s lonely
Somebody hopes that someday you will see
That somebody’s me
Oh, yeah

You will always be in my life
Even if I’m not in your life
‘Cause you’re in my memory
You, when you remember me
And before you set me free
Oh, listen please

Somebody wants you
Somebody needs you
Somebody dreams about you every single night
Somebody can’t breathe, without you it’s lonely
Somebody hopes that someday you will see
That somebody’s me
Somebody’s me
Somebody’s me
Somebody’s me

© 2007 – Enrique Iglesias, John Shanks, Kara DioGuardi