A Modern Ghost Story?

I came across this short story I wrote 12 years ago, for a lesbian fiction anthology,  Haunted Hearths & Sapphic Shades, for Lethe Press. It’s a ghost story.  And it is suitable for all readers. (It’s approx.  7 pages.) I guess it makes for good reading in October.


A Path to the Woods
© 2008 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

 Like Rose up at the house lying alone in what used to be our room, our world, but is now only spoken of as her “sick bed,” the roses here along the path are also dying. Fall does that to so many vibrant things; it pulls the warmth from them little by little until one night, what was once so gaily blossoming in the sun is suddenly deep into frost and beyond saving, beyond life itself.

Pink rose petals are now strewn all over this footpath – the one in our back garden. Even in near darkness, the fallen petals are heartbreaking, making it look as if a gentle pink snow has blessed us – an ethereal dusting from Heaven; something sacred and eternal and not just the ordinary death-knell of autumn. Well, maybe it’s true that we’ve been blessed, but regardless, this too – this snow of dying rose petals – will be so fleeting. Damn it. Everywhere my eyes look in fact, the fleeting beauty I find there pierces my heart and tears it to pieces. It is all in motion, the forces of life, and all of it separate from me. I am so small and alone here; so incapable of mattering. The tall trees towering overhead, so cleanly outlined against the black depth of a faraway sky are starkly profound. Trees survive us so effortlessly; Rose, me, everything. They dig deep and branch out and then just keep growing.

Tonight, there is only a slice of moon peeking through the trees. I sway a bit, looking up at it. I’ve officially given up all hope tonight, all expectation of miracles. I’ve given up my meager efforts to find strength and to be kind; I’ve abandoned all of it to the vast emotional wasteland of hopelessness. And in support of choosing to kill my heart, I’ve once again returned to the wine. I’m drunk. And I’m out here in the garden in the dark searching blindly for some spiritual corroboration that giving up is wiser now. I can no longer fool myself into thinking that Rose is not dying (or in truth, is as good as dead), and that I’m not alone.

I wish I could simply pull the plug on Rose and then claim that I’d had nothing to do with the lifelessness that would rush in to finally claim her. But Rose is not plugged in to any medical machines; there is no cord for me to pull. She is simply lying there in our old bed, drugged and laboring to breathe.

It has gone on too many days already, this feeling that her death is imminent. If only I had the strength to do what they did in old movies: ease the down-filled pillow out from under her delicate head and then smother her out of her misery. Do the right thing for once, no matter how legally wrong it was. Be courageous – help her. But I have no courage; it’s been my eternal downfall. If I were brave would I be this drunk right now? I hardly think so.

Beneath the blanket of dead rose petals, our garden path is paved with white pebbles. Lit every few feet by lamps that glow an eerie runway blue at night, the pebbled path leads down our yard and into the woods, where the crunching pebbles under foot abruptly become dirt. I follow it all the way tonight, wine bottle in hand. I like how it feels to be on the dirt path for a change – like walking off to oblivion; dense trees immediately enclosing me overhead, protecting me from everything heart-wrenching, inescapable and inevitable. Rose and I rarely ventured into the woods in daylight; we certainly never did it after dark. However, I need this feeling that all of the sorrow is obliterated now in order to ease the guilt I’m feeling over leaving the house at all. I know she’s in there rattling at death’s door. It’s bad enough to have gotten so drunk when she might go at any moment. It is worse yet to physically abandon her; to secretly hope that she will die while I’m far away from her, to save me from having to witness the worst of my fears: me standing impotently by in a world that is so suddenly without Rose.

There’s a small clearing somewhere in these woods. I remember it from one of our rare sojourns. I have no idea how far into the woods it is, or even if I’m going in the right direction. I’m hoping to find it not because it’s particularly beautiful, but only because there are large rocks there that I can sit down on. Then I can be far enough away from the house that the death rattle is no longer in my ears. I can sit and drink and cry and no one will hear me and I, in turn, will hear no one.

The slice of moon overhead is following me, gliding in and out of treetops. I can’t keep looking up at it, though. I’m stumbling drunk as it is; I don’t need to stumble literally and then fall and perhaps break an ankle out here in the dark. It’s a good sign, I suppose – I’m trying to keep at least some kind of grip on acceptable behavior. Rose would have been impressed.

Shit. Now they’re coming, all those tears that I’ve been trying to swallow, to keep at bay. God. The sound of my own crying breaks my heart even more. I am going to be so alone without her. I don’t want to be here without Rose. She is the love of my life. Before the illness ravaged her, she was so dark and lovely and transfixing – her soul was like that proverbial well, some kind of deep, dark water you would only find in a dream. Her brown eyes looked out from an ancient place, a place mysterious and bottomless. I worshiped her.

Why was I always so intolerant of her weaknesses, then? Why couldn’t I just love her? Why was I always so hard-hearted and mean? “Please tell me that wasn’t all I was!”

I’m crying out loud to the trees now when I should be up there in our old room, saying all this to Rose.

But she doesn’t hear me anymore. The Rose that could have responded to me is gone now. There’s only a shell up in our bed. I should have had the courage to say these things when she was still cognizant and able to give a reply; to forgive me.

What the hell is that? There’s an echo in these woods. My cries return to me a moment after they’ve left me. It is disturbing to hear. In fact, it’s scaring me.

Sniveling, I abruptly stop crying altogether but the echo continues. Oh my god, I realize; I’m not alone in these woods. Someone else is here; someone else is also crying.

I turn back toward the house to leave whomever it is that sounds so miserable, alone with her sobbing heart. I don’t want to invade someone else’s sorrow. I want to respect the stranger’s grief.

But no, that’s not really it, is it? I’m afraid of being needed. I always have been. I’ve always demanded that others be strong, as if it were something virtuous when, in reality, I was only in doubt of my heart’s ability to carry the burdens of others.

The sobbing continues. It’s a blessing in a way; it’s taken my attention off of my own breaking heart – finally. It’s a woman, I can at least tell that much from the sound of her cries.

I turn around once again and follow the path in the woods to the clearing I’d been searching for, and there she sits on a rock as I would have done, alone and sobbing. A woman with white hair; a thin, almost skeletal woman; her skin is luminous – too luminous to chalk up to only the hint of moonlight. I am compelled to approach her, even though it becomes quickly apparent that I’ve scared her to death.

“Christ,” she cries. “Stasha, where did you come from?”

She knows my name. Good lord, who is this? She looks so much like Rose. “Rose?”

She sniffles. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to find me like this. I was trying so hard to be stoic, you know? You seemed to be holding up so well and I wanted to be like you.”

“Rose, what the heck are you doing out here? And what’s happened to you?”

“What do you mean?” she asks, frantically wiping her eyes in a pitiful attempt to make it seem as if she hasn’t been sobbing her heart out. “I just needed to cry a little,” she defends herself. “We all need to from time to time.”

“I don’t mean that; I can see you’re crying. I was, too. But…” My voice falters. I am completely bewildered here. I set down the bottle of wine, feeling thoroughly spooked.

“Are you drunk again?” she asks. “Stasha, what is the matter with you?”

I try to pull myself together, at least together enough to speak. “Rose, how did you get out here? How did you even manage to get out of bed, let alone walk all the way down here, by yourself, and without my seeing you? And what’s happened to your hair? And where’s the nurse?”

“What? Am I a prisoner now? I’m not allowed to leave the house by myself, without your permission? I’m just sick, Stasha, that’s all. I’m sick. Everyone gets sick from time to time. It’s not like I’m dying. Yet.”

Oh god. These are the very words she said to me right after we’d learned about her illness and the unbearable prognosis.

“I still want to take that trip, you know,” she goes on insistently. “I’m scared; I admit it, but I’m not going to let this death sentence completely stop what’s left of my life. I’m going, even if I have to go by myself. That said, though, I still want you to come with me.”

“Come with you where?” I ask in horror – I know what she’s going to say because we had this conversation once before.

“To London, obviously. We have the tickets already. I’m going, Stasha. I don’t care what the doctors say.”

“Rose,” I say cautiously, “we already went to London – a year ago, Christmas. You got really sick there, remember? We had to take you to a hospital.”

She studies me strangely, as if I’m the one who’s out of place here; whose words are incomprehensible to her. “No,” she says, with faltering conviction. “That’s not true. The plane tickets are upstairs on top of the dresser.”

My mind goes to the dresser in our room and then I re-encounter the specter of her nearly dead body lying in our bed, laboring to breathe; the same bed where she’s been lying incurably ill for several months; nurses coming and going. I suddenly feel like I’m going to faint. Who is this woman who seems so like my Rose?

“Stasha, what’s happening to you? Why are you acting so crazy? I thought you were going to quit drinking, at least for my sake, until we got through this ordeal. I need to be able to count on you – to count on you being sober, being present for real, not just physically in the room. Or in the woods – well, you know what I mean. But look at you: you’re drunk. Goddamn you.”

I’m drunk, that’s what this is. I’m really drunk, more so than I think I’ve ever been. That’s what’s causing all this insanity. I’m drunk. I should never have betrayed her trust in me; I swore I would be right there with her when she died; that I wouldn’t leave her side. This is my punishment for leaving the house. This is my guilty conscience rising up from my dreams or something.

“Stasha, I am so disappointed in you,” she goes on. “I need you to be sober now. I really need you.”

“I’ll go back to the house, Rose, I swear. I’ll go right now and I’ll leave the wine here.”

“No! Don’t leave me,” she suddenly screams. She bolts toward me. “I know what’s up there! I know what’s in that room!” She grabs my arms to keep me from leaving. She is real. She is no dream. Up close like this, I can see into her eyes. Even in the dark, I recognize Rose. It is too alarming. How did she get here? And how did her damn hair get so white? “But you were in the house, Rose,” I splutter. “That was you in the room.”

“I know,” she says quietly, still gripping my arms tight. But she looks so desperate and defeated now, so tragic.  She says it again, “I know.”

I stare at her, unnerved. She hasn’t been this alive, or this strong, in many months.

“I’m not going back in there, you know.” She is barely audible now. “I know what’s going on up there – in that room, that bed. Why did you leave?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean, Stasha. You left me there. Alone. I was –” Her voice falters. She lets go of my arms and turns away. “I was dying. Shit. What’s happening to me?” She looks around us at the surrounding trees then up at the black sky. “How did I get out here? Stasha, what’s going on? Help me. Please. I don’t want to die. I don’t know how to die.”

Out of habit, I reach down for the wine bottle. It is always my instinct: to get drunker still. But I offer her some first. “Maybe a drink would help?”

She looks at the bottle being offered to her. “Maybe,” she consents. “Maybe it will.” Rose takes the bottle and helps herself to a healthy swig of wine. “We need to figure this out,” she says. “We need to be rational and we need to be calm, right?”

“Right,” I agree without even thinking. If I were thinking, rational and calm would easily give way to panic and alarm. She admits that she was up there in the room dying, and yet she’s right here with me, asking for my help. It makes no sense.

“You could do the pillow thing,” she suggests.

“The what?”

“You know, put the pillow over my face. I know you want to; you’ve thought of it.”

“Rose –”

“It’s okay, Stasha. You don’t have to deny it; I want you to do it. I don’t know how to let go, that’s my problem. I can’t find that light to go toward, that beacon we’re all supposed to see? I don’t see it. I can’t figure out how to cross over – cross over what, to where?”

She’s asking me to kill her, or to at least assist her in suicide. This is terrible. “Rose, maybe you’re just thinking too much about it. You sometimes do that. Maybe you just need to calm way down, you know? Get super calm and it’ll be like falling to sleep. You won’t even notice it. It’ll be very peaceful; you’ll cross over and then you’ll be dead.”

“I’ve tried it, believe me. I’ve been trying it for what feels like weeks already. I’m drifting to sleep and then I get to that point, that cliff – I feel like I’m falling over it, and then I feel like I’m suffocating; I can’t breathe. I’m falling to my death and I can’t breathe. Then there’s that jolt of fear and I’m back again. I’m still alive. I’m back in that damn bed and you’re standing there, staring down at me with a look on your face that tells me I must be pretty repulsive to look at now. You look at me with such – I don’t know – horror. And I know from that look that I need to get on with it already, that I need to just go now. But I can’t. I don’t know what the fuck to do.”

She’s crying again.

“Rose, honey. Don’t cry.”

She’s weeping in the same way that I’ve wept, night after night, alone in the guest bedroom, praying that the night nurse won’t hear me. Well, she has to have heard me, but I was at least praying that she wouldn’t come in. She never did.

“Rose,” I say. “What if I hold your hand? What if we go back to the house together, right now, both of us; we go back to the bedroom, you get back in bed and try to just fall peacefully asleep. I’ll hold your hand. It won’t be painful. You won’t fall from any cliff. You’ll just cross over, like you’re supposed to. You won’t even notice it.”

“How do you know? How can you possibly know?”

I admit that I don’t know. “It’s just a hunch. It’s what I think dying is like. Let’s at least try it, okay? You’ll hold my hand.”

She takes one final swig of the wine and drains the bottle. I have a quick pang of regret, I would have liked at least another swallow, but I don’t want to be selfish. It’s unbecoming to me and inappropriate to the weightiness of the situation. Let her be blissfully drunk when she dies, I figure. Let her at least have that. “Okay,” she finally says, gathering her courage. “We can try it.”

Together, we walk back through the dark woods, finding our way on the dirt path to the beginning of our backyard.

“Look at that house,” she says. “Isn’t it charming? I’ve always loved this house, Stasha. I’ve loved my life here with you. Every minute of it has felt effortless. Even those times we fought, I still felt like my soul was at home here – in this house, with you.”

“I think I’ve felt that way, too, Rose. I just didn’t know how to put it into words.”

“Then why do suppose you were always drinking? What was it you thought the wine could give you that you couldn’t simply feel by being here, alive, with me?”

“I don’t know, Rose. I honestly don’t know.”

“Be straight with me, okay? Is tonight the first night you’ve gotten drunk since we found out that I was sick? Did you keep your promise to me, for the most part?”

I take her hand. It is ice cold. I lead her up the white pebbled garden path. “I swear, Rose. This was the first time. I kept my promise.”

As we get closer to the sliding door that leads in to our kitchen, Rose holds back. “Look,” she says. “Someone’s in the kitchen. Is that nurse in there?”

“Probably, why?”

“I don’t want her to see me, or to be in the room with us. She makes me nervous, Stasha. You go in by yourself and tell her you want some time alone with me, okay? I want to try it with just you and me. No strangers. This is my death. It’s important to me.”

“Okay,” I agree. “I’ll tell her.”

“I’ll meet you upstairs in the bedroom, then.”

“Okay.” I have no idea how Rose is getting into the house, but I’m guessing she knows a secret way. I slide open the kitchen door and the nurse smiles at me. She’s having a cup of tea at the kitchen table. She can tell I’m drunk; it’s obvious. But she’s very polite about it. “Getting some air, Stasha?”

“Yes,” I say.

“That’s good.”

“Listen, I want some time alone with Rose now. I’m ready to tell her good-bye. I think she needs to hear me say it. I think I need to hear myself say it.”

“I think that’s very wise, Stasha. I know it’s a very sad time for you, but I think this idea is best for you both. Call for me if you need me.”

“I will.”

I go up the stairs alone. For the first time in weeks, I am not dreading getting to the top of those stairs and seeing the door to our room standing open, revealing a near-lifeless Rose in our old double-bed. What does startle me, though, is that the more luminous, white-haired Rose is now standing next to our bed but the dying, dark-haired Rose is still in it.

“What’s going on?” I say quietly, but I’m starting to panic. “Who are you really?”

“I’m Rose,” she insists.

“Then who’s in the bed?”

“Me. I have to get back in that thing. God, look at me; I look awful. I used to think I was so beautiful.”

“You were,” I assure her. “I mean, you are. Even with all that white hair.”

“What do you mean?” Rose turns and finally sees herself in the mirror. “Shit,” she cries out. “Is that me? What the hell happened to my hair?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “You must be, like, the ‘soul’ part of you now or something.”

“I guess,” she says doubtfully.

“Well? Are you ready?”

“I think so, Stasha. I think so. I’m really going to miss you, you know.” The sound of tears is creeping into her gentle voice.

“Don’t,” I say. “If you start weeping again that nurse is liable to come running.”

“You’re probably right.” She stops a minute to compose herself and then she sits down on the bed next to her useless and now haggard body. “I guess I just sort of –” She makes a sweeping gesture with her arms. “I kind of just swoop in there, huh?”

“I guess. I was assuming you knew.”

“Hmm.” She studies the situation. “I wasn’t really counting on this part.” She looks up at me. “I actually have no idea how to get back in there.”

“Well, don’t look at me. I don’t even know how you got back into the house.”

She sighs. “Stasha?”


“Let’s do the pillow thing, okay? I think it’s going to be easier.”

“I can’t! I can’t do that to you.”

“You wouldn’t be doing it to me, really. I’m right here. The real me is, anyway. I mean, this would just be for the sake of convenience. I’m going to be right back out of the body again anyway, right? This way, I’ll just go directly from here. I’ll cross over like this. What do you think?”

“No, Rose, I can’t. I can’t kill you. I think we need to stick to the plan, do it the right way.”

“But I don’t want to get back in that thing, Stasha. I’m sorry; I just don’t. You have no idea how creepy it feels in there. It’s dark and clammy and cramped, and I can barely breathe.”

She gets up off the bed and slides a down-filled pillow out from under her body’s head.

“Stop it, Rose,” I shout. “Don’t do it. Don’t!”

But she’s doing it anyway; she’s smothering her near-dead form with her own pillow.

“Don’t! Rose, please.”

I struggle to tug the pillow from her grasp but she’s determined; she’s quite strong. “Rose, come on – don’t!”

But it’s too late. The shell of a body gives up with barely a noticeable struggle. She’s dead. She’s really dead. And the white-haired Rose is gone, too. I’m standing alone in the room in shock, in horror. She’s crossed over. And it all happened so quickly. I didn’t even get to say good-bye. It’s breaking my heart all over again. I look down at the love of my life, dead now; a fluffy white pillow over her face. I’m sobbing uncontrollably.

The nurse walks in and startles me from my grief. “Stasha!” she cries. “What have you done?”

“My god, no,” I insist, turning to look at her, but even I am having trouble believing it.

© 2008 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

We’re Gonna Try Again Today

Yesterday was intense, gang.

I don’t know if that full moon was factoring in to things, or not. But emotionally, I was all over the place yesterday.

The happy stuff was that my lunch with Kevin, the director of Tell My Bones, was so much fun. He had some initial casting questions, regarding actors, but other than that, we just talked about all kinds of stuff and laughed a lot and had a really nice break from the intensity of our lives.

And then, almost the moment I got back home, my ex-husband in NYC called to chat. He actually bought the print edition of The Guitar Hero Goes Home and was reading it!!

He said he would give me his feedback when he’d finished reading it, but he asked, “How can people think there isn’t a lot of sex in this book?”

Well, by the standards of “erotica” there’s not a lot of sex in it. By anyone else’s standards, I guess there’s a ton of sex in it… (I do have it listed as “appropriate for over 18 only”)

I give up, though — trying to figure how to market anything I write. There’s always either too much sex or not enough.

But it was so nice that he actually bought the book.

And then my other friend Kevin called! The one who lives in Montana most of the year (and the one who my ex-husband visited while on his vacation out West this summer!). It was so nice to chat with him. He’s planning to come back to Ohio soon, but only for one month and then he’s planning to go off to Chile and Argentina for a while, if COVID doesn’t get in the way of that. So I’m not sure if that vintage 1965 VW camper van of his will remain in my barn indefinitely or not.

So that was really just great — to have all those people to talk to you yesterday, including actually seeing another human being!

But in between all that, I would sink rapidly back into a depression.  For a few reasons, many of which involve people who are not getting back to me about things that are very important to me (some other things I wrote, and also stuff related to another play). I’m beginning to feel like I don’t exist.

But part of me is trying to convince myself that “not hearing from people” is actually a good sign…

And I’m still trying to get them to come pick up the 8 yard waste bags filled with dead hydrangea blossoms that are sitting at the curb (since Tuesday). 6 phone calls. Each phone call guaranteeing me that the truck is coming, and it never comes… Yesterday afternoon, the customer support person said the truck came by and couldn’t find any yard waste.

How can you not see 8 enormous brown yard waste bags filled with enormous hydrangea blossoms at the curb? Finally, the last phone call I made to them yesterday to see if they’d get here before the weekend started — the lady told me I’d be better off just putting them in my trash bin and having them picked up as trash on Wednesday.

It broke my heart, you know. Literally. Because I’m neurotic and I can’t treat all these beautiful blossoms like “trash.” But now I have to. So I stuffed them into my trash bin and now there’s no room left for my regular trash between now and Wednesday.

I actually cried doing that — not only because that’s how fucking sensitive I am, but because, you know, why didn’t the guy who picked up the trash on Wednesday — yes, the very same guy who moved all 8 yard waste bags one foot away from my trash bin — just put them in the garbage truck, since he was actually holding them??

I hate when things make no sense and then I’m the one who ends up feeling crazy.

Well, one nice thing — I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner and trying to stop streaming that Brian Jones documentary because it keeps making me so fucking sad: I saw a woman walk by on the sidewalk and then she stopped and pulled one of the yard waste bags from out of my bin and took a whole bunch of those hydrangea blossoms home with her. I don’t know if she’s going to dry them or what. But I felt so happy that someone was going to use them, probably as decorations in some way.

I can’t bring anything like that indoors because all 7 of my crazy cats destroy that kind of thing over night.

Another nice thing is that the little house across Basin Street is finally going to get some inhabitants!

When I first moved in here, the woman who owned that little house was in a nursing home, and she has since passed away. Her son comes by periodically to take care of the grass, etc., but it’s been a totally empty house. But the son has been getting it ready for some people to move in — an older couple, it looks like.  It will be so nice to finally have some life over there.

Here is the little house, this morning, as the full moon was just barely visible through the fog. It looks like  a really weird house from this side of it, but it’s actually really cute.  And has 2 porches and a deck.

Little house across the street.

At one point, I was hoping my birth mom could either rent that house, or we could buy it for her. But my sister didn’t want her living that far away, and I don’t think my birth mom wanted to live that close to me, 24/7 — because I’m sort of crazy, in case this blog has not alerted you to that.

Whereas, both of my sisters are intensely not crazy. They’re super grown up and serious about everything. (And I’m actually the eldest.)

Well, okay.

Last night, I was listening to some lovely Morgana King music in the dark, in my bed. Trying to seek out reasons to be really happy about all these people who are treating me like I’m invisible. (This song in particular, is so lovely):

And then I started poking around in my music, and I discovered that Bruce Springsteen has actually dropped another new song for his upcoming album, Letter To You. It’s called “Ghosts,” and it blew me away for 2 reasons: one, being that it was that anniversary of Tom Petty’s death yesterday and it made me think a little bit of Tom Petty.

But it also made me think of The Guitar Hero Goes Home — my new novel. It really did. It just kicked my heart so hard.

Because, you know, it’s always just me and the thoughts that are in my head. It’s been like that for as long as I can even remember. I’ve always been very isolated by my thoughts, even as a really little girl. And then at some point, my thoughts make it on to paper and go out in the world, and they either sell or don’t sell, but then I’m always right back to being alone with the thoughts that are in my head.

But even though The Guitar Hero Goes Home is fiction — I made it up, it just came to me out of the blue two summers ago, when I was so in love; but even though he’s fiction, that guy in that novel is so real to me. Just so real. For me, he lives. And I love him like he’s “real.” And so that new Springsteen song “Ghosts” just hit me so hard.

And not in a bad way, but a very intense way, and it reminded me of how isolated I really am. And I don’t guess that, as this point, it’s going to ever really change. I guess that this particular lifetime is just all about managing alone.

Okay, well. I’m going to get started here. Yoga and then put some more of those thoughts down on paper and call it a short story.

I hope you have a great Saturday underway, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting!! I love you guys. See ya.


I hear the sound of your guitar
Comin’ from the mystic far
Stone and the gravel in your voice
Come in my dreams and I rejoice

It’s your ghost moving through the night
Your spirit filled with light
I need, need you by my side
Your love and I’m alive

I can feel the blood shiver in my bones
I’m alive and I’m out here on my own
I’m alive and I’m comin’ home

Old buckskin jacket you always wore
Hangs on the back of my bedroom door
Boots and the spurs you used to ride
Click down the hall but never arrive

It’s just your ghost moving through the night
Your spirit filled with light
I need, need you by my side
Your love and I’m alive

I can feel the blood shiver in my bones
I’m alive and I’m out here on my own
I’m alive and I’m comin’ home

Your old Fender Twin from Johnny’s Music downtown
Still set on 10 to burn this house down
Count the band in, then kick into overdrive
By the end of the set we leave no one alive

Ghosts runnin’ through the night
Our spirits filled with light
I need, need you by my side
Your love and I’m alive

I shoulder your Les Paul and finger the fretboard
I make my vows to those who’ve come before
I turn up the volume, let the spirits be my guide
Meet you, brother and sister, on the other side

I’m alive, I can feel the blood shiver in my bones
I’m alive and I’m out here on my own
I’m alive and I’m comin’ home
Yeah, I’m comin’ home

© 2020 Bruce Springsteen

I Found A Little Tiny Place That Saved Me

Finally. I found a teeny-tiny link that would let me access the classic editor.

To be fair-ish, I think that WordPress thinks there are readily accessed links to get to the old editor but none of those links worked.  Hence, my complete meltdown this morning, after clicking link after link after link…

But anyway. For now, I have my blog back and I cannot imagine why anyone on Earth thinks the new editor is easier to use than this older one is.

I’m going to try to have a good day here. But it’s sort of been a battle since waking up this morning. Regardless of the whole blog incident. Trying to see certain people in the best light. Trying to just have faith, trust that things will go in the best direction for everyone even if it means letting them go, try not to think that people you rely on to be decent and be your “friend” totally have their own interests at heart.

That kind of of thing.

Most days, I can handle it, because it’s called “life”. Other days, it adds to the piles of straw that breaks the wee bonny camel’s back.

The bright spot on the horizon today is that I’m having lunch with the director of my play, Tell My Bones, and I am really, really looking forward to being in the presence of another human being. (And a human being who has actually been really, really supportive of me from day one.) As I said yesterday, it’s been 3 months now since I’ve seen anyone that I actually know. (Texting and talking on the telephone is great but it doesn’t actually count, you know?)

I do like living in the middle of nowhere, gang, but I don’t like having no meaningful or even just fun interactions with human beings. It is going on 7 months now, this whole virus thing. (As if you didn’t know.) And even though I know that for a few people I know, the virus has caused them to be in really close quarters with people they love or are married to and it has driven the relationships to the breaking point — it’s still people to interact with!!!!

All I have are cats — and they aren’t even domestic cats.  So, basically, they all run away from me when I enter a room (unless it’s time to eat). Sometimes, it just feels like too much. That this virus crap is never gonna end.

Okay. Onward from that.

This is not actually a topic that is any cheerier, but I did see the results a survey this week, of 20,000 American college students regarding their thoughts on freedom of speech & expression, and tolerance vs. intolerance, violence as a suitable option against people who disagree with you, and how your specific University handles all that.

The majority of students who responded said they felt they did not feel comfortable expressing themselves to other students or to faculty. Which is so sad. The worst colleges for safe self-expression tended to be Liberal ones, as well as in the Ivy League.

The University of Chicago got the highest rating for protecting the rights of its students & faculty, though.

But what I found really interesting — and not in a good way — when it came to intolerance of other students and faculty, liberal female students were the worst offenders, followed closely by LGBTQ+ students.

Intolerance is just an outcropping of fear. So this sort of shows that we haven’t made any real progress at all in “equality,” have we? We just somehow managed to instill in liberal women and people who identify as LGBTQ+  (these are both categories that I fit into, btw) that intolerance and violence are the necessary means for shutting people down who threaten your sense of yourself.

It is just amazing to me. And it’s also been interesting to see, over this summer of all these riots, looting, hate, anarchy, etc., that young conservative female students who have spoken out all seem to be much more emotionally centered, self-confident, and tolerant. So, everything from the “old days” seems to have reversed.

It’s just very, very interesting.

Okay. So. More “coming soon” things on Nick Cave’s Cave Things that are really cool!! You might want to go check them out. My favorite thing so far is a china milk jug!! However, me thinks it will once again be way, way, way out of my price range, but do not let this deter you!!

And also something that is sort of related, but not really — Warren Ellis and Blixa Bargeld are now both on Instagram!

All righty. That’s really kind of it here today. Due to my time-consuming meltdown here this morning, I have not yet done yoga. So I want to get going with that and then get a little writing done before heading out to meet Kevin for lunch.

It is indeed the 3rd anniversary of Tom Petty’s death today.  What I prefer to focus on is that new album of his coming out in 2 weeks. They’ve dropped another new song, his own demo version of “Leave Virginia Alone,” which was a hit for Rod Stewart. (I pre-ordered the album, of course, so I get all the songs as they drop. I also pre-ordered Bruce Springsteen’s new one, Letter to You, and of course Nick Cave’s new one, Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Berlin Alexanderplatz.) (Just kidding — it’s Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace.)

However, all that said, I have decided to leave you with my breakfast-listening music from today, a very old Rolling Stones song, “You Better Move On.”  I have loved it since I was a wee bonny girl. (Released in the UK in 1964, and in the USA in 1965, on their album December’s Children.) It was written by Arthur Alexander.

Okay. Enjoy. And thanks for visiting. I realize some of you have visited 3 times already this morning (!!) — I deleted the meltdown entries, though, and this is the official entry for today. So thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

Coffee, Sunrise, Fall

What could be nicer, right?

I’m trying to not notice the lack of summer around here and focus only on how beautiful the morning is here in Crazeysburg. And it is actually really beautiful. And it’s already gotten up to a walloping 50 degrees Fahrenheit!! Yay!


Yesterday was so weird.

I got a lot done. Finished the rather complicated manuscript formatting they needed for 1954 Powder Blue Pickup and then sent it off. I will keep you posted!! (I never like to be 100% sure about something until I have the signed contract.) (I did get the signed contract back for “Half-Moon Bride” on Tuesday, btw. So that’s a go!)

Then I FINALLY fixed the formatting for the print edition of The Guitar Hero Goes Home !!! And I uploaded it. Hallelujah!! However… the new cover design Valerie did that fixes the problem of the old cover art skewing once it was in the Amazon template, was saved in a format that was enormous. And I mean, enormous. The only thing that fit into the template when I uploaded it yesterday was the barcode. Seriously. That’s how huge it was. The entire cover was a giant-sized version of the barcode.

So, since Valerie is obviously not working these days (her mom’s funeral is today), I left the original cover art for now. But the inside of the book finally looks perfect. I was so happy.

But then, for some reason, when the trash pickup truck came to collect stuff yesterday, they didn’t pick up all the clippings from the hydrangea (8 bags worth). And this really upset me because I don’t want to keep looking at all those dead hydrangea blossoms — they make me so sad. So I called the company and they said that a different truck was picking up yard waste and would be over before 5:30pm, but I just knew that they weren’t going to come, and they didn’t.

So they are supposed to come today and get them — and they were really nice about it. But for some reason, it just made me so sad yesterday. I couldn’t really snap out of it. (The amount of windows I have in the house makes it almost impossible to not see 8 yard bags filled with dead hydrangea blossoms sitting out by the curb everywhere I go in the house. Plus it was drizzling rain all day, and cold. And I kept feeling like the flowers were blaming me for killing them and tossing them to the curb…)

And then I wanted to set up the web site for Marilyn’s Room Books yesterday, but I have to wait until Oct. 5th before I can redirect the domain to WordPress, and mapping the domain instead just got way too complicated. So that didn’t happen.

And then I decided to re-watch that Brian Jones documentary, which I’d forgotten to say was really, really good. Very disturbing, though, since they provide a good argument for saying that Brian Jones did not drown in his (chlorinated) swimming pool from an asthma attack and too much alcohol, but was in fact murdered in the little fresh-water trough at the side of his house by the builder whom he had just fired. (His autopsy does state that there was fresh water in his lungs, not swimming pool water, but his whole case has been mysteriously sealed for 75 years, of which there are still 24 more years to go!) The whole documentary was just really well done. but sad, and I watched it again.

Obviously, none of this is unbearable awfulness, but for some reason, it just contributed to me having a yucky day.

But today just feels world’s better. It really does. Today, I’m going to be working on a new erotic short story for the upcoming Muse Revisited Volume 4 — which will now be “Selected Taboo Erotica” from 1994-2020. (6 previously published stories, and one brand-new one, all of them D/s and pushing the boundary of questionable consent. It will be about 200 pages, 75,000 words.)

So I’m guessing I’ll have a really fun day.

And tomorrow, I’m having lunch with Kevin, the director of my play! So I am really looking forward to that. I have not socialized with a soul since the July 4th weekend, when I had dinner with Kevin and his husband at the Granville Inn.

Since today is October 1st, folks, that means it’s been 3 months since I’ve seen anybody. Well, I mean, anybody that I actually know.

Very early this morning, I had a very interesting dream, though. I dreamed that one of the Nick Cave sites I follow on Instagram posted the lyrics to “The Train Song.” And I was dreaming about the song (and then the train actually went by outside my window, too, which is nowhere near as sleep- disturbing when all the windows are closed).

But the dream was actually really cool. Even though I was back living with my adoptive mom, she wasn’t  home. And it didn’t seem as if she was ever going to come back, but she’d left behind all her diamonds — plus she’d left the house in a big mess. (I’m guessing that all symbolizes my consciousness re: her.)

But it was really sunny and I had a big wooden deck out back, with a patio and a big privacy fence around the patio, and it was filled with all these young friends. (Which in itself made for a great dream because I have, like, 3 friends left in the whole world now.)

Everyone was socializing and happy, instead of practicing social distancing and wearing masks. And a young lesbian black woman  brought me a gift — a pruned rose bush that was still young — in a flower pot. And she gave me all the instructions I needed for it to bloom. I was so excited. (Roses are my favorite flower, followed closely by lilacs.)

Inside the house, I had a pet bird in a cage. But the bird somehow got out, but I was able to easily get it with my hands and put it safely back in the cage and take it out to the back patio with me. (It was so cool to have a bird that wasn’t afraid of me.) (Plus, when I woke up, I was immediately thinking about that phrase, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”)

Anyway, I woke up feeling really happy.

And on that happy note…

I’ll get to work here on the new erotic short story. And get the day happening around here. I hope you’re having a nice Thursday, wherever you are in the world. I’m leaving you with “The Train Song” since Disc #1 of B- Sides & Rarities was already in the CD player in the kitchen anyway! How fortuitous! So enjoy, gang. And thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

“The Train Song”

Tell me how long’s the train been gone?
Tell me how long’s the train been gone?
And was she there?
And was she there?
Tell me how long’s the train been gone?

Tell me how many coaches long?
Tell me how many coaches long?
What did she wear?
And what did she wear?
Tell me how many coaches long?

Tell me when did the whistle blow?
Tell me when did the whistle blow?
And did she tie her hair?
And did she tie her hair?
Tell me when did the whistle blow?

© 1990 Nick Cave