All posts by marilyn jaye lewis

writer, editor, publisher, thinker -- all-around joyful gal!

Yes, Well, Update

Lunch was exceedingly interesting (see post from this morning).

Yes, rehearsals begin in late July. Yes, Florida is probably going to get bypassed entirely and Tell My Bones will go straight from staged readings in NYC & Rhinebeck,  to either Off-Broadway or Midtown Manhattan.

Yes, I need to finish revisions on the entire play before late July. Yes, I’m stressed. Yes, I want to finish Blessed By Light before that. Yes, I’m not sure how I’m gonna do that. But yes, I am going to try.

And most importantly – YES!! I have a new coffee mug!!

My new coffee mug!!

What Is It About Brides?!

I look good in the dress, you know.

I wear the wedding gown really well. But the moment it goes into storage…

Wow. I just don’t know what it is.

I’m bringing this up because yesterday was the 18th anniversary of Tom Petty’s marriage to Dana York and she posted video footage of their wedding on Instagram and those two looked happier than you can possibly imagine. (Second marriages for both of them.)

I was happier on my first wedding day than I was on my second, but that’s still not saying a whole bunch. (I guess it says that I can be persuaded to do just about anything – twice.)

I awoke at 3:46am today – yes, awash in those wonderful waves of Eros, yet again. But then the first thing I thought of was that video of Tom & Dana’s wedding and of how happy they were. And I began wondering what (if anything) was the matter with me.

I have just never been the kind of gal who thought much about the idea of getting married.  Partly because I was born in that part of the 20th Century where men still owned everything imaginable, and I thought of marriage as ownership. And I have never wanted to be owned. The thought of being an ornament on someone’s arm has always horrified me.

The other part was of course my sexuality. Even as a young teenager (when I started getting raped by guys from the outside world and then men from inside my loving home), I could already tell that my sexuality was more than most people could really deal with.

At least, in Ohio.

When I moved to NYC everything changed. It was so great, so liberating, in the truest sense of the word.  Because  NYC in the 1980s – well, my sexuality fit right in.  Everyone was off the charts. I think Manhattan was not only the casual sex capital of the world at that point, but also the extreme casual sex capital of the world.

Then, of course, most of the people I knew got AIDS and died. I was certainly spared in that regard, but it was just really stupid of me to think that I could squeeze myself down into something that could fit into a marriage.

I always wanted to have kids. Even back as a very little girl, I just assumed I was going to have a lot of children. I really, really wanted children. But I never really wanted to get married.

Instead, I got married twice and had no children.

The only marriage that ever truly appealed to me was the marriage between E.B. White and his wife, Katharine Sergeant Angell White.

E.B. White is probably my favorite essayist of all time. He also wrote children’s classics like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, but his essays are literary gems that struck chords really deep in me and have stayed with me forever. (“Once More to the Lake” is probably everybody’s heartbreaking favorite, but I also really love his essay “Goodbye to 48th Street,” among many others.)

His wife was a legendary fiction editor for The New Yorker when that magazine was in its literary golden age.  They met, fell in love, she left her husband, they got married, moved to Maine and bought a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. And then  seem to have done nothing but amazing things for each other’s literary lives.

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He was, of course, neurotic, and she was often the rudder keeping him pointed in the right direction.  But the part I always loved most about their marriage was that, in their house, they had offices across the hall from each other.  They’d each go into their offices in the morning, write all day, and then both emerge at 5 o’clock, have one martini and a cigarette, talk about what they’d written (or angst-ed over) and then have dinner together and go to bed. (Sadly, I don’t know what they did in bed, besides sleep, otherwise I would of course regale you with all those details here.)

To me, that has stuck with me as the idea of the most perfect (as well as unattainable) marriage.

Another “relationship” that has always really appealed to me was Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett’s. But it seems to have involved tons more booze & cigarettes and a lot of shouting.  I’m not big on the shouting stuff.  And they did not get married, but stayed together for 30 years and wrote various masterpieces. And that appeals to me enormously.

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I guess you can see that I am all about the writing.

It’s not that I am not all about love, or not into love, or a disbeliever in love. Love is everything to me. But love is woven in there inextricably with my writing. I don’t know why I can’t separate it. And I guess it does make me very self-involved, although I don’t feel like I am. I feel like my love is enormous and spills over into everything, benefiting everyone – and yet, more importantly, love helps me write better. And that means everything to me and so I guess it makes me self-involved.

But it’s still all about love.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog are no doubt painfully aware that I am totally, 100%, thoroughly in love with my muse. He has changed my life – and so quickly, so unexpectedly. Came into my life on all cylinders, blasted open my writing and turned it completely around.

It’s not that he is my reason for being – the kind of thing that maybe people feel when they are wearing those beautiful clothes and having weddings; but he gives me clarity on my reason for being, which has wound up being the most amazing gift I could have ever hoped to receive.

Clarity on my reason for being.

I don’t know that I would have ever realized just how much I needed that if it hadn’t happened of its own accord.

You know, I watched that short video footage of Tom & Dana’s wedding on Instagram yesterday, over & over & over. And I was simply astounded by how happy they were. (Yes, I pondered it!)  And it wasn’t any kind of bullshit – those two were incredibly happy. You could just see it.  And I felt a little bit like a failure because I can only seem to feel that happy when I’m alone, finding the most perfect word.

So I don’t understand myself and my “alone-ness” any better than I ever did, but I still feel happier than I’ve ever been and just so blessed to have the most amazing muse.

It’s probably best to just not think about it too much. Because I think it’s going to end up being something good for the whole world; I really do.

Okay. I’ve got lunch today with the director of Tell My Bones at 12:30. So I’m gonna scoot now and try to get some writing done before that. I think today is going to be just another stunning day out there. I’m so looking forward to it.

I hope your Tuesday is just as splendid, wherever you are in the world.  I leave you with this, the song Tom Petty wrote for Dana, long before they were married, back when he was heading towards some real dark times, but (he has said repeatedly in interviews) he was already in love with her & waiting. Okay! Thanks for visiting! I love you guys, See ya.


I dreamed you
I saw your face
Cut my lifeline
Went floating through space
I saw an angel
I saw my fate
I can only thank God it was not too late

Over mountains
I floated away
‘Cross an ocean
I dreamed her name
I followed an angel
Down through the gates
I can only thank God it was not too late

Sing a little song of
Sing one to make me smile
Another round for everyone
I’m here for a little while

Now I’m walking
This street on my own
But she’s with me
Everywhere I go
Yeah, I found an angel
I found my place
I can only thank God it was not too late
I can only thank God it was not too late
I can only thank God it was not too late

c-1995 Tom Petty

Just A Swell Day On All Fronts!

First off, the weather has been fantastic today.

There’s a spot out on the highway where I can see all the way to Coshocton County  when the sky is clear, and today was one of those days. The sky was just so blue. And all the hills and trees for miles and miles were so green. It was breathtaking. And it was only about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, no humidity at all.

I was driving home from giving that piano lesson. And I have to say, this new teaching stuff I’ve been studying is really just amazing.

The guy I’m teaching has no musical training whatsoever – never, none – but he was grasping so many basic concepts so quickly because I now have this new language for explaining stuff.  It cuts right to the chase.

Toward the end of the lesson, I was talking about the black keys being half-steps, and then I pointed out how B & C are also a half-step, and I said, “Like in ‘Chopsticks’ – see?” And I played the beginning of “Chopsticks” and then hit a wrong note.

And he said, “That was wrong! What did you just play?”

And I showed him, and right away, he started trying to play “Chopsticks,” and even though he couldn’t find the right note to play, I could see his mind looking for that note – trying to hone in on where it could be and match the right key to the tone he was hearing in his head.

He was frustrated with himself, but I said, “No! This is exciting! You’re hearing the right note in your head. It’s in there and it wants to come out and you’re going to find that note.  This means you’re musical!”

I don’t think he believed me, but I definitely saw it happening. I saw his mind working and I knew for sure that he had music inside of him.  And it was exciting.  Even just “Chopsticks.” Not everyone can hear the right notes inside themselves.

On a  thoroughly unrelated topic, but equally exciting – almost.

I have a new Wrangler jeans jacket. And I just love it. It fits great and it is super soft. Already. Just so soft.

I was sitting out on my kitchen porch in my new little jacket because it was chilly out and this young woman I sort of know was coming over. She smokes so we hang out on my kitchen porch so that she can smoke.

She’s a really butch dyke kind of gal. She is definitely my type but she is way, way, way too young for me – over 20 years too young. I actually have no idea if she’s coming on to me these days, or what. But she’s chatting with me a lot more.

She asked me about the Writer’s Retreat thing in Italy and when that was happening, and I said, “Next year.” And she said, “Well, what is it that you’re doing later this year?”

And I said, “One of my plays – in New York.”

And she said, “I wanna go to New York. I want to see one of your plays. I’ve been saving my money. I wanna see what a hillbilly like you looks like when she’s in the big city.”

Hillbilly??!! Excuse me? I just said something like, ” Well, I’m sure it’ll be nice.” I still can’t quite figure out what’s going on there.

I was also wearing my aviator shades and she wanted to take my picture and I hate having my picture taken. I really, truly hate it.  And I told her no. But she said, “Come on.”

I finally said that if she could make me look like a sex kitten and not a hillbilly, then she could take my picture. So she gets her phone out and, you know: click/delete, click/delete, click/delete, and on and on. And finally she said, “Oh this one’s good.”

I said, “Do I look like a sex kitten?”

She said, “No, you look like a biker.”

Jesus Christ. Go home. Smoke on your own fucking porch.  But she is actually very personable and articulate. And she wanted to use my bathroom before she went home. So we went into my kitchen and I’d forgotten that I had been listening to T. Rex “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” – it was set on repeat on my little CD jukebox on my kitchen table. And it was still playing.

And she said, “What are you listening to?”

And I thought, Oh god, please don’t tell me that you have never, ever, ever, EVER even heard of this song.

But she had never, ever, ever, EVER even heard of that song.

And I said, “It was, like, the sexiest song to come out of 1971.” (She wasn’t born yet – not even close.)

And she wanted to know what the song was about but I said, “I’m not telling you. You’re way, way, way too young. ”

HER: “No, I wanna know what he’s saying.”

ME: “He’s talking about a girl who’s built like a car, with a hubcap diamond star halo.”

HER: “And that’s sexy? Really. ”

ME: “Yes, really. Go home.”

It was too funny. I felt 177 years old.

But after she left, and I went to teach the piano lesson, I put the CD on in my car and kept playing the song over & over. It’s quite hypnotic, and I actually hadn’t thought about the song in ages. It was only that mention of “Cosmic Dancer” at one of those Nick Cave Conversations in the Netherlands that made me think of it.

And I was listening to the lyrics and thinking how I never really understood that song at all. I still love it, but it kind of makes no sense whatsoever. And even though it is a sexy little song, if anyone who was even remotely interested in having sex with me for whatever reason, ever told me I was built like a car, with or without a hubcap diamond star halo, my answer would be no.

An unqualified no. Built like a car, indeed. It’s hard enough being a fucking hillbilly biker. Jesus Christ. (But a sexy song, nonetheless.)

Well you’re dirty and sweet
Clad in black
Don’t look back
And I love you
You’re dirty and sweet oh yeah
Well you’re slim and you’re weak
You’ve got the teeth
Of the Hydra upon you
You’re dirty sweet
And you’re my girl
Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It OnGet It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Well you’re built like a car
You’ve got a hubcap
Diamond star halo
You’re built like a car
Oh yeah

You’re an untamed youth
That’s the truth
With your cloak full of eagles
You’re dirty sweet
And you’re my girl

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Well you’re windy and wild
You’ve got the blues
In your shoes and your stockings
You’re windy and wild
Oh yeah

Well you’re built like a car
You’ve got a hubcap
Diamond star halo
You’re dirty sweet
And you’re my girl

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Well you’re dirty and sweet
Clad in black
Don’t look back
And I love you
You’re dirty and sweet oh yeah

Well you dance when you walk
So let’s dance, take a chance
Understand me
You’re dirty sweet
And you’re my girl

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On…

Take me
Meanwhile, I’m still thinking

C- 1971 Marc Bolan

Oh, People! This Astounding Voyage Continues!

Around 2am, the wind kicked up something fierce, so not only had it begun to rain again, but the wind was blowing rain in on my bed. Short of sleeping in some sort of  adventurous, seafaring schooner, having rain blown in on me while I sleep is not my idea of a nice night.

So I got up and closed most of the windows again, and missed the morning bird songs and overslept again.  Awoke at 6:30am to a bright, shiny bedroom.

And to two very intense texts on my phone.

Both texts had apparently been hanging there unanswered by the soundly-sleeping me for hours.

One was from Peitor. We had been texting before I went to sleep last night at around midnight, and I thought we were done texting and so I set down my phone and turned out the light. But it seems I was wrong. Because he texted something intense, unhappy and emotional (he’s in Italy right now, checking in on his elderly mother), and I left him hanging for over 6 hours! I felt terrible.

You know – lurch yourself from sleep, start typing: Oh god, I’m so sorry. I fell asleep!

And the other text was from a girlfriend that I am very close to and we had gotten into an intense conversation late last night, because (like Peitor) she is also going through some intense family stuff. And she looked so tired and so angry and so fed up last night, and  I just wanted to fix that.

I try so hard not to tell people how to live or what to think or what to do.  And I went through all that training in Divinity School on counseling people, and all of that, and I’ve counseled a lot of people. And I can be a remarkably effective counselor if I don’t actually know you and don’t have to get emotionally involved. I’m perfectly at ease with allowing you to find your own way in life and the “f” word does not come flying out of my mouth…

However. When it’s someone I actually know and care about, suddenly I can find myself saying things like: “You need to do such & such!!”, trying to tell her how to live her own life, in an escalating tone… because I am emotionally involved and I want my friends to be happy and I think that “being happy” means thinking the way I do.

Even though we ended it in a good place, I still felt bad about not giving her enough of her own space last night.  And then her text was there from during the night, continuing some of her thoughts from the conversation and I had to force myself (not even out of bed yet) to not let my mind go to that place where I am trying to fix her life for her – even though I know full well she is not asking me to do that.

And even though I didn’t go as far as the “f” word last night, I still felt like I had. Because I truly prefer to allow people to be themselves, and to have their own thoughts and approaches to the world; and yet sometimes I don’t choose to actually do that. I jump in there and try to “re-script” them in a rather emphatic tone.  And then I don’t feel very good about myself. I don’t want to simply paste my own perceptions of the world onto people, it dismisses the importance of how they feel about living their own lives.

And that was all, you know, before I even got out of bed this morning.  I was still just lying there, under the cuddly blanket and my 1700-thread-count Italian cotton sheets, my head surrounded by all my soft expensive pillows – and I was staring at the phone, feeling like a terrible friend.

So I guess maybe it’s going to be an interesting day.

The Conversations with Nick Cave are on hiatus for a couple of weeks. Well, at least the Conversations that have an uppercase “C”. The conversations with a lowercase “c” that he will undoubtedly be having over the next couple of weeks are apparently private and his website is not revealing where he is planning to spend those evenings.  This likely also means that no one will be posting photos of their lowercase “c” conversations with him to Instagram, so I will not be able to tell you what he is wearing. Or if any of those people he converses with in private call him God.

Yes, this means I will have to fixate on other things.

Like, for instance, my own life.

On Tuesday, I’m having lunch with the director of my play (Tell My Bones) so that I can discuss with him what Sandra said on the phone the other night. And move forward. Most likely at a pace I was not anticipating even a few weeks ago. We’ll see.

I still have some writing to do on that play. Revisions, I mean.  But I’m waiting for rehearsals to start before I actually do that. And the pressure on me feels intense because the cart is officially before the horse now – meaning that a bunch of publicity about this play got “out there”  in the world and on the Internet without me knowing it was going out there.

And now people all over the place are using my “award-winning script” as a way to try to drive up the value of Helen’s paintings.

When I first wrote the story about Helen, it was a TV movie script (and it is an award-wining script now and it did well in a lot of the top contests and at the Austin Film Festival). I was working for Gus Van Sant’s production company back then, working for his amazing dad, who was his business manager and who also managed Helen LaFrance’s career and that’s how I got exposed to her truly amazing paintings.

And I wanted to write about her specifically to expose more people to her incredible paintings.  To her life.  In my opinion, her paintings need to be hanging in everyone’s homes.

And so now, to find myself in this position where, you know, the play hasn’t even been mounted yet; you can’t actually go see it anywhere yet.  And total strangers all  over the world are taking it as a given that the play will be great and that it justifies their wanting to make more money off of Helen’s paintings right now

It’s not a bad position to be in, but I am under a lot of pressure here.

Which is also why I want the novel finished and off my desk, because I need to focus on Tell My Bones, even though I love this novel and I’ve loved every moment I’ve spent writing it. I don’t really want to rush through it. But I also don’t want it being shoved to the back burner again.  I had wanted it completed by Christmas and it is practically summer already.

So that’s that. My brain on a lovely Sunday morning.  Still in my PJs and already way too stressed…

I hope that you’re having a super-duper Sunday, though, wherever you are in the world.

I leave you with this. I was actually listening to this song again yesterday, because I came across something I’d written several years ago – about how it had felt to be 12 and to love this song and to listen to it late in the night on a tinny transistor radio, after sneaking out of my house and just walking the dark suburban streets by myself, listening to the local AM hit radio station, thinking it really was going to be incredible – being a powerful woman in the world, living my dreams, making them happen… (I leave it to you to decide to what degree that has worked out for me.)

Anyway. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!

“I Am Woman”

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever going to keep me down again

Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained

If I have to I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I’ll come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained

If I have to I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

I am woman, watch me grow
See me standing toe-to-toe
As I spread my loving arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained

If I have to I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman


Blissed Out!! (Brain Like Mush!)

Good morning, glories!!

Yes, I overslept again. I am not sure why. I think it was because I got up in the middle of the night and closed most of the upstairs windows. It had gotten into the 50s (meaning, of course, the 1950s! And many a capella doo-wop groups had gathered down on the street below my window, making quite a racket!).

No, of course what I really mean, is the 50s Fahrenheit. It got chilly. So I closed the windows and apparently missed the daily wake-up call of the Muskingum County Bird Chorus and so slept straight through until 6:25am.

The sun was filling my glorious bedroom and I awoke totally blissed-out, gang. In no hurry whatsoever to get out of bed. Just totally digging cozy sheets & cuddly pillows and the wave of Eros that was all over me yet again.

However, get out of bed, I did. Cats were looming impatiently. Their opposable thumbs have still not arrived, even though I have Amazon Prime and they guaranteed 2-day shipping…

Yes. So. I had to get up, open cans of cat food and feed the cats. They don’t give a hoot about waves of Eros.

And so here I finally am and it is a beautiful morning out there today. And I feel terrific but, curiously, my brain feels mushy. It wishes me to go right back to bed and not do anything today!

However, that is so not gonna happen. I am going to dutifully work on Blessed By Light.  I’m in a challenging segment of Chapter 22, where it is basically all about sex. But unlike all those earlier chapters, when these 2 did not really know each other yet, it was a lot easier to find ways to deal with the sex.

I say “deal with” because this whole novel is written in 2nd Person. And if you’re going to write a passage about having sex in the present-tense and in 2nd Person, this means that the guy has to talk all through the sex!

I need this section to be present-tense (meaning, he’s not referring to “the sex last night” or something like that, where he can talk about “what happened”) because things are getting extremely emotional for him.  So it has to be “in the moment.” And even if he were a great orator like Billy Graham, you still don’t want him talking all through the sex!

Although, actually, no disrespect intended to the late Billy Graham, but I bet that would have been incredible – to be orated to by Billy Graham while having sex with him. He was quite the dynamo in that department (the orating, not the sex). (Although, perhaps he was really good in bed, too. I actually have no clue.) ( And when he was young – wow, he was certainly in earnest. All tall and magnetic. If you watch any of his really early TV appearances on Youtube, from like 1959 or 1960 or something like that. He definitely had an overpowering and charismatic way of honing in on what he was saying. I mean, plenty of people found God while listening to him, which would probably make for unbelievable sex.)

Well, anyway. I digress.

It is sufficient to say that I am being challenged by this segment of Chapter 22.

On an unrelated note…

Instagram made me so sick yesterday. I am so disgusted by this whole Tom Petty Trust/Estate thing.  I really am. I know it isn’t actually any of my business, but just as a fan, he was always Tom Petty “AND THE HEARTBREAKERS.” Those men meant a lot to me, too. A lot. Even when he did solo records, or Mudcrutch records, there were “Heartbreakers” in there, too, along with tons of other really talented musicians & songwriters. He was never “alone.” And to try to erase these men now just disgusts me.  Tom Petty put the lyric to the melody, for sure, but he always brought those songs in to everybody else to add to them and build on them and turn them into the hits they were. What is going on now just wreaks of greed and ego and narcissism and all that crap.

Anyway. I had to keep going onto Instagram yesterday, even though it was making me sick, because I needed to know what was going on in Sweden, for godssakes!! Where Nick Cave was having a Conversation!!

Man, the Swedes are big Instagram-posters. I mean, it’s like they had barely left their seats and they were already posting. Mostly in English, too. And in color – which, based solely on, you know, Ingmar Bergman or something like that, you’d have perhaps expected tons of artistic black & white. But no. Swedes apparently live in the here & now and know all about full color.

So that was cool.

The one thing that, of course, jumped right out at me was someone posting that “Nick Cave was in the house.” (And not the customary comment that “God was in the house.”)

Now, you’d think this meant that this particular Swede was breaking ranks and not calling Nick Cave “God.” Yet, if you ponder this more closely – as you know I did – what this Swede was really saying was diabolical indeed! Because he/she (I don’t recognize gender in Swedish names) was in fact saying that GOD HIMSELF has a new name, and it is Nick Cave.

So you can probably readily see now how this has jumped the track and is getting, well, blasphemous! Indeed!!

Too funny.

Anyway. Everyone seems to have really loved it, yet again!!

All right. I gotta get moving around here, gang.  I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from, well, breakfast. Since I was so blissed-out, I listened to one of my favorite “music to listen to while blissed-out” songs, over and over and over!! And that is, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy in New York,” from around 1970 or something like that. I was a wee bonny lass in Cleveland when it came out, I know that much for sure.

So have a blissed-out Saturday if you can, gang, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!

Ciao, Bella!

Well, the good news (sort of) is that my little cat, Daddycakes, hasn’t been gone for 2 months already; it’s only been six weeks.  So that sort of made me feel better. Perhaps time isn’t flying quite as quickly as it had seemed yesterday.

The other good news is that the headache is completely gone, finally, and it’s not supposed to rain at all today. My brain feels totally back to normal.

I awoke, though, to the eerie sight of a dense fog covering everything outside my window – for as far as the eye could see. It was too cool. It was almost 4am. Huckleberry was sitting in the window across from my bed – she also seemed quite taken with the fog. One lone bird was already singing in our maple tree – and Huckleberry, being a cat and not an actual berry, was quite taken with that, too.

AND I had once again awakened horny as heck  for some mysterious reason and so that, of course, excited me, too! Where is that coming from? I just don’t know!

AND there was already a text on my phone from Peitor! It was a photo of Mont Blanc. No, not the pen! The mountain! He’s in Switzerland and heading to Mont Blanc today.

I was, like – WTF?  Two days ago, I had awoken to this photo on my phone (a lovely boat outside his window in that Airbnb on the English Channel):

Yesterday, he was finally leaving the UK and I had texted him some work-related stuff, and asked him if he was stopping in Manhattan on his way back to LA.

And instead he texts me from Switzerland today at 4am (my time).

ME (texting at 4am, my time): Wow! I didn’t know you were going to Switzerland!!

HIM (texting right back): I didn’t either but I am having the best time!

And then nothing more… Silence. No further pings arising from the phone.

So I guess we’ll find out eventually how he suddenly wound up in Switzerland, heading for Mont Blanc, when he should have been heading for LA.

(Methinks he was in a train station and, loathe to return to Los Angeles – a city he has lived & worked in for 25 years and which he pretty much despises – saw a train heading somewhere completely other than the airport and decided he liked that idea a lot better and so, answered that clarion call of “All Aboard!!!”… But we shall see.)

Even though  I love their apartment in West Hollywood and would hate like hell to have to pay for an actual hotel in LA, I’ve been selfless enough to mention to him, you know,  that if he hates LA so much now, he should move.

And he always replies with something along the lines of: “I know you’re really happy out in that old house in the middle of nowhere, Marilyn, where it’s so quiet and nobody bothers you and there are only about 3 cars during “rush hour” and your muses are flying all over your room all the time and you’re doing your best writing ever. I’m sure that’s all really nice and that Tell My Bones will win some sort of Pulitzer Prize. However.  Some of us need to be near an airport.”

And of course he’s right about that. I’m near absolutely nothing. But I don’t mind getting into my little Honda Fit and just driving! (And driving and driving and driving… I’ve never done so much driving in my fucking life.)

And it never fails, when I go to the market and I stand there and I study my cart intently and I say to  myself: Think, Marilyn, think! Have you got absolutely everything that you need for the week because God knows you can’t possibly leave your desk again for the next 8 days…

And I study and I study, and I look and I look, and I peruse very carefully the items in my cart and with brave assuredness, I think: Yes! I am ready to checkout!

And then I am on the highway, racing 95 mph toward home, when I almost always realize that I’ve forgotten something. And so, you know, I have to go without it for a week because I am not going back. I am not that kind of gal; I do not “go back.” Plus, it’s really far.

And in Manhattan, of course, there was never such a thing as “forgetting” something at the store because you walked right past the corner bodega 1700 times a day.  If you “forget” something, you just go get it 13 seconds later.

Anyway. Okay.

People in Sweden are already posting to Instagram.  Showing where they are dining before going off merrily to have a Conversation with Nick Cave! So that seems like a good sign! (Of what, I’m not sure really. It just seems sort of good, you know?)

And I am going to get started here because the very real reality of my life is that I need to finish writing this novel. I need to seriously do this and stop staring all the time. So I’m gonna get started on that business of stopping all the staring.

I let the cats choose the breakfast-listening music today and they unanimously chose “More News from Nowhere” from Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! I thought that was pretty cool. So I leave you with that today.

(Even though the lyrics are amazing and I know every wonderful word by heart, I’m not going to post the lyrics here because they go on and on and on and on and on, and would probably end up spilling over into someone else’s blog and I wouldn’t want to get everybody all upset. So.)

Have a great Friday, wherever you are in the world, gang. Thanks for visiting. I love you, guys. See ya!

Of Gods & Men & the Undecided

Man, the stuff with the new music material is getting so interesting. I am discovering just how much I already know but that I am now gaining conscious access to in a completely different way.

Everything is getting so much more simplified. (I don’t know – can something get “more” simplified? Wouldn’t it just be “simpler”? You figure it out and get back to me. My brain’s not completely awake yet.)

I cannot wait to see how this material actually works with someone who knows nothing about music. I think it’s going to be extremely interesting, and probably gratifying.

I’m having weird sinus stuff in my head today – well, since last night. I guess pain is the correct word for it. I rarely get headaches of any sort, so when I get weirdly intense, pressure-based ones deep in the center of my head, my first thought is always that a tumor is growing. But some sort of more rational voice (a voice I rarely ever listen to, so I usually don’t give credence to it) is telling me that it’s more likely all this relentless rain and humidity over the last 5 days that’s causing it.

Whichever: Life-threatening tumor or sinus headache; all I know is that my brain is functioning at less than ideal capacity this morning.

I wasn’t even going to blog today. I was going to save my creative brainstuff for the novel, since the writing went so well yesterday. But it seems that I have to get this stream of other words out first, before the Voice from the novel kicks in.

On Instagram yesterday morning, Dana Petty posted the most amazing photo of Tom  that I had ever seen. And he was a man who had thousands and thousands and thousands of pictures taken of him in the course of his 66 years of life. And this one was simply unbelievable to me.

He looked like a Spirit.  He truly did. Like a luminous Spirit. It was taken by Dana in a hotel room in Amsterdam a few years ago. It’s actually his reflection in an enormous mirror, while he’s sitting on the end of a king-sized bed. It looks like it’s the middle of the day. He seems to be intently watching an old black & white movie on a television that seems to be just a little bit above the mirror. It’s hard to figure out in the photo because the TV is reflected on something above and behind him. The whole thing is just ghostly, really.

He looks larger than life and yet not even part of life at the same time. I couldn’t stop looking at it.  All day long, I would go back onto Instagram and look at it – pondering it to no end.

It’s weird to think that I was actually a lot taller than he was, because, in my mind, he really was larger than life. All those rock & rollers from my girlhood that I absolutely worshiped – it turned out that I was a lot taller than all of them. Even when I wasn’t wearing heels, and I’m definitely a gal who likes to wear heels of some sort.

Even Cher, who I’d loved since I was about 5 years old – I thought of her as being the tallest woman ever. And I wound up towering over her, too.  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, too. A woman of mythical proportions, frankly. And she was just a wisp of a woman.

It does weird things to you, when you’re just towering over all these people who, in your private mind, should have been enormous.

Robert Redford. I mean, my gosh. I never worshiped him, or anything close to that, but he was iconic. An iconic actor from my girlhood! And I totally towered over that guy, to the point that I felt like I needed to back away. I simply didn’t want to know that I was way too tall to be standing next to him in public. And I wasn’t wearing heels, either. And I really don’t think of myself as that tall.  It was too freaky.

Thank goodness Keanu was taller than me – even when I was wearing high-heels. I met him at a party once and he was taller than me. Even though Keanu doesn’t actually mean anything to me, personally or emotionally; for some inexplicable reason, I just don’t want to be taller than Keanu.

This height thing I have is also why it’s been impossible for me to ever have any sort of “kittenish” demeanor, you know? Especially when I’m wearing heels. I’m always greeted more, like: Oh god, here comes trouble.

Many’s the time, folks, that I’ve wished I could be greeted more as “kittenish.” For sure. (Of course, part of it is my mouth; no one ever knows when I’ll be in a foul mood and cursing like a sailor. I have a real problem with the “f” word, even on a good day.)


In addition to the music material being really incredible yesterday, the Italian lessons went up a notch, too. So that was cool.  They are no longer just throwing words at me, with the occasional phrases.  They are sneaking grammar in now, too.

I’m glad that I already did study some Italian a long time ago, and of course, I’m relying a lot on my knowledge of French, too, so none of this is too difficult. Yet. And so it keeps it really fun. It’s not stressing me out, at all.

Which is good, because I have no shortage of areas within my life that heap stress on me if I so desire them to! At any given moment of any given hour of any given day! Or night!

Plenty-O-Stress, if I want it!

And I really do want to learn Italian this time around.  It’s funny, but it occurred to me recently that the reason I was trying to learn Italian 35 years ago was because Peitor and I had become friends and he wanted me to go to Italy with him.  But I gave up on Italian very early on because I found it too difficult.

(And yet I taught myself to read, write, and speak Mandarin Chinese, so that’s really weird, right? Who the hell knows what goes on in a brain – mine, specifically.)

When Peitor and I met, it was one of those things where we became instant friends – and very good friends. And, obviously, true friends since it is now 35 years later and we couldn’t be closer. We bonded immediately, and not in any sort of amorous way. We came to the conclusion that we were likely brother and sister in another life, since there is no erotic attraction between us at all, but we’ve been incredibly close since the absolute moment we met.

Anyway, all these decades later, I will likely be going to Italy now because of him but not with him, and I’ll be speaking Italian. Isn’t life strange?


On that oft-regaled topic here of Nick Cave’s Conversations in Europe… He was in Belgium last night.  For 3 hours. Well, on stage for 3 hours. I’m guessing he was in Belgium a little longer than that, but I guess if all these people are right, and he is actually God, then maybe he’s good at teleporting or something.

HIM (as God): Into Belgium, out of Belgium, 3 hours, total.

I really just don’t know.

I do keep pondering this, though. Because so many people – in Europe, especially – refer to him in some way as God.

I woke up at 3:56am today and my first thought – aside from the aching headache that plagued me with fears of tumors – my first thought was: Does he want to be thought of as God? On some level? Maybe he is subconsciously perpetuating this idea. I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I don’t actually know.

And I don’t actually know that he isn’t God. I have no ready proof, or anything.  But I just keep coming back to this thought that he’s not God. And why would he want to be? It seems like it would surely be hard enough just being Nick Cave. (Or beautiful enough.) (And you are not the only ones I pester with these questions, gentle readers. I pester him with these questions, too.  I leave no stone unturned in my ponderings.)

However, that said. Someone posted another fantastic photo of him last night, again in black & white.  And just beautiful. But most of the postings were in Dutch so I have no clue what anybody said, except for the “3+ hours” part that he was on stage. That was in English.

All righty!!

I’m gonna take a look at Blessed By Light now. See where we’re going with that.  And I hope this headache just goes the fuck away because all I really want to do is go right back to bed.

I didn’t have any breakfast-listening music today because of the headache, but I did have staring-out-the-open-window music from last night. Another true gem (excuse the pun) from The Last DJ:  “Like A Diamond.” I streamed it about 20 times before drifting off to sleep.

And based on that ghostly photo of him that plagued me all day yesterday, it was a fitting end to the evening. It’s such a haunting sort of song about, well, not dying. Ever.

Have a good Thursday, wherever you are in the world, gang. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys! See ya.

Madmen crawl
Across the wall
Knight gets away
Kings all fall
And queens chase men
And saints all sin
And good things
All must end

But she goes on forever
She goes on forever
Yeah, she’s gonna shine forever
Like a diamond
In the sunlight

Big full moon
Above the road
I’m a long long way
From tomorrow
Gotta light my way
Down this highway
To get to her

‘Cause she goes on forever
She goes on forever
Yeah, she’s gonna shine forever
Like a diamond
In the sunlight

Deacons steal
And Ma can’t feel
If you’re lonely
And behind the wheel
When the ground gives way
You have to pray
To the unknown
And hope it’s real

But she goes on forever
She goes on forever
She’s gonna shine forever

She goes on forever
She goes on forever
Yeah, she’s gonna shine forever
Like a diamond
In the sunlight

c – 2002 Tom Petty

A Good Day And It Isn’t Even Over Yet!

I guess pressure is good, gang. Knowing that I’ve only got about 4 more weeks now to complete this novel, because my play is going into rehearsals early, is forcing a whole lot of words out onto the page.

I got a lot written on Blessed By Light today and I’m still not done. I can tell more is coming – so much more than those 2 damn words that came yesterday and frustrated me so much.

I am almost done with Chapter 22, which is in 4 parts:

  • a. Sinners
  • b. Infidel
  • c. Compadres
  • d. Diamonds in the Fire

I’m just now starting part d. Diamonds in the Fire, which I think is going to be all-out sex. We can only hope!

I posted some of part a. Sinners, the other day.  Here is part c. Compadres. Approx. 2 pages.

[Excerpt from Blessed By Light, Chapter 22/c. His daughters have left and he's pissed off at them for trying to force him to oversee a memorial service for his best friend, George. He won't have any part of it because he knows it will just be a media circus if he does. Now he's back in the bedroom with his girlfriend, trying to get back to where they were before his daughters came over and interrupted everything. (Both men are/were older successful American musicians.)]



I know you liked him a lot. More than you let on. It’s okay, honey; he knew that, too. He did. Don’t cry.

We both knew where you were coming from in all this. We put you under a lot of pressure sometimes. And you were always such a good sport.

No - more than that.

Under all those shenanigans - the three-ways, the demons, the complicated stuff and everything we’ve been through together and then with George; under all of it, you are a really good friend. To me.

And he knew that. And he loved you for it. Because he’d been my friend forever. And he saw everything in you – how much you love me, honey.

So don’t you even think about crying.

He knew. All of it. He knew.


George said to me once, “You gotta watch yourself with all these girls, man.” This was back in the early days, during my first wife. And he wasn’t getting high-minded, or anything, because George knew his way around a Divorce Court, that’s for sure. He knew about getting served – all those process servers finding their ways to him with those divorce papers when he was least expecting it.

He was no saint in the bedroom, not even close.

But he warned me that I was gonna get eaten alive by girls if I wasn’t careful.

I was cute back then, you know.

Don’t laugh, honey. I was seriously cute. (And I know you know – you look at all the old pictures. You still google me all the time – don’t lie.)

He said, “Some girls will drain you. You gotta watch out for that energy. When you’re feeling drained by a girl, just get the fuck away. Because it’s telling you something important about that girl’s soul – it’s quicksand. And if she sets you on fire in bed – be just as careful, because that one’s gonna drain you, too, in the end. When you’re least prepared, she’ll chew your balls right off with her teeth, and then what good are you?”

Of course, he was right. I still learned it the hard way, but I did eventually learn that he was right.

Then he also said, “The ones you wanna find are the angels. They are the ones who are tough, and who will kick your butt a little bit, but they are gonna be there for you when that shit train comes – and, man, it will. It just will. I guarantee you, you live long enough, get rich enough, successful enough, the shit train comes and stops right at your door. At your very feet. The angel will get right onboard with you and ride that awful train until the world starts turning your way again. She will. And it will. The world, I mean.”

He said that. He was so famous; he rode a hell of a lot of shit trains. He found himself a couple of angels, too, over the years. And they kicked his butt in Divorce Court, because angels don’t like to be cheated on any more than regular girls do, I guess.

He thought my second wife was an angel. He saw that right away, even before I married her.

What he said about you was different, though.

He and I were out there smoking cigarettes by his car – after our first three-way with you. The night he told me that I was a fool for not seeing how much you loved me – he said, “She’s in the darkness, that one. She’s dark. But she’s got wings. I felt them flutter a little bit when I was fucking her from behind. But man, when she was fucking you – those wings were in full bloom. Full bloom, man. There is an angel in all that darkness. I guarantee it.”

And he was right. You’re my angel. For sure.
Come here, now. You come to Daddy, little angel.
Just come on over here and show me those wings.

© -2019 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Me, again! Getting My Sh*t Together!!

I forgot to mention in my post last night that if you’re on your phone and you want to view the photo gallery of Villa Monte Malbe, where the writer’s retreat will be held, you have to turn your phone sideways. The photos are  down below the song lyrics.

My life got a lot better as the evening wore on, btw. Or at least more interesting.

Sandra eventually called and we spoke for about an hour. I can’t really post to my blog the details of what she said, but I’m still not sure if rehearsals for the play are being moved up to July or not. It sounds like there is a very good chance that they are, though. I still have to hear from the director.

But this of course means that I have to finish Blessed By Light really soon. Like, posthaste. This also means that frustrating days like yesterday simply have to stop.

I wrote 2 fucking words yesterday.

But part of that is because I’m starting to stress a little about the play (as well as the other play I’m writing with Sandra), and up until yesterday, I was getting good at keeping each project sort of “compartmentalized” in my brain and not letting them bleed into each other.

However, now I feel like all my projects are starting to look like this in my brain (I’m the strong, capable gal in the middle, soon to be eaten alive by all her thoughts):

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This sort of reminds me that, lately, I’ve been missing my furry little boy like crazy. He died 2 months ago, already. The time just flies. I can’t believe it.

This morning, when I awoke, I truly thought I felt him jump up onto the bed to visit me.  I turned and said, “Hi!” but there wasn’t any cat there. It was so strange. I mean, it really felt like he was physically there.

It makes me want to cry, but, you know, that doesn’t solve anything. So on we go.

After the phone call from Sandra, I worked on the new music material for teaching that guy piano, and the material is starting to go into some very interesting places. They throw out anything you ever knew about Theory & Composition (yay!), and simply distill music down to 7 notes.  (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.)

I can readily see, from what I’m learning, that if this guy who wants to learn piano, really has music in his head, then he’s going to be playing piano really quickly. He’s not going to have to get bogged down in all the stuff that I got bogged down in straight out of the gate.

I’m not going to waste time regretting anything I learned, especially since I’m still alive and can still learn this new stuff and have a new approach to music myself, even after all these decades. But it sure does feel like I wasted a lot of time on that piano, when it could have been so much more productive for me. Because ALL I had was music and rhythm in my head. And ALL of it wanted to get out. I did not understand what any of what I felt inside had to do with Bach or any of those others.

By the time I was 14, I had maybe written 3 songs on the piano, but I had written about a hundred already on my guitar. Complete songs, too: Verse/chorus, verse/chorus, bridge/chorus/out. I had a 3-ring notebook full of completed songs. Because on guitar, I was not bogged down by Theory & Composition in any way.  For me, guitar was all about the rhythm and that facilitated the melodies and then the lyrics sort of cascaded down and attached themselves to the notes, you know?

I once turned in a song as an English assignment in 7th grade, and my teacher really liked it. And he said, “Do you write a lot of songs?”  And when I told him about my 3-ring notebook, he asked if he could see it and then was sort astounded by it. The size & scope of it. I could not stop writing songs if I tried.

He was a published poet, with a PhD., and after seeing that notebook, he would spend time after class with me, helping me learn how to write poems, which in turn helped me gain clarity in lyric writing overnight. I had access to truly wonderful teachers, so it wasn’t that people didn’t care about my talent.

My songs were my whole life, though, whereas the piano had become the sort of underlying nightmare of my life. I knew how to play what they wanted me to play. And I knew how to deliver to them what they wanted to hear- tone, nuance, syncopation, feeling; but it in no way spoke to the music that was going on inside me.  And I couldn’t understand why it didn’t connect, because I loved the piano, but it became a very stressful, frightening thing to me. It truly did.

And I see now that this current approach to music that I’m learning in order to try to help this other guy learn — it would have saved me 45 years ago. My stress-load would have disappeared. (Well, with that, and if those boys at the high school would have stopped raping me for 5 minutes…)

However! If wishes were horses…. (Yes! Then this would’ve been me! Prairie Rose! Lady Champion Rider!!) All right!

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Meanwhile, on Earth…

I better get started on the novel here, gang. It’s gonna be July in a heart beat! I’m hopeful that I’ll get more than 2 words written today.

Tonight Nick Cave is having another Conversation somewhere in Europe, but in a truly odd turn of events, I can’t recall where!! I guess I finally have too much on my fucking mind… I’m sure it’s gonna be great, though. (And I’ll be darned if yet another person from the Netherlands didn’t post another photo on Instagram yesterday, calling him God….) (Wouldn’t it be funny, though, if, you know, it turned out I was wrong??  And he was God?? I guess I’d have to eat my hat. ) (I’d have to find it first…)

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c- Jon Klassen

Okay! More coffee is on my immediate horizon! I’m gonna go grab it and get to work here.

I hope you have a really good day out there, gang. Wherever you are in the world and with whatever it is that is currently occupying you!

I leave you with this! It was my pre-breakfast-listening music today.  I listened to it while feeding the cats. But then realized that the  musicians who live next door to me were either awake very early or hadn’t been to sleep yet (Methinks the latter!), and they were out on their porch, smoking at 5am. And I didn’t want to annoy them so early in the morning with my music wafting through the open windows… (Although they play death metal and practice out in their garage and are pretty much the champions at annoying people with their music.) (Although they don’t annoy me. I honestly love living next door to them and listening to them practice because they remind me of my fair & bonny girlhood as a musician in NYC and all those wonderful cigarette-smoking musician guys – and I mean that truly, in the nicest way.)

But I leave you with this. A different song about boys, and summer, and everything that they can’t deal with anymore! Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya.

She grew up in an Indiana town
Had a good-lookin’ mama who never was around
But she grew up tall and she grew up right
With them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights

Well, she moved down here at the age of eighteen
She blew the boys away, was more than they’d seen
I was introduced and we both started groovin’
She said, “I dig you baby, but I got to keep movin’ on
Keep movin’ on”

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again

Well, I don’t know, but I’ve been told
You never slow down, you never grow old
I’m tired of screwin’ up, tired of going down
Tired of myself, tired of this town

Oh, my my, oh, hell yes
Honey, put on that party dress
Buy me a drink, sing me a song
Take me as I come ’cause I can’t stay long

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again

There’s pigeons down on Market Square
She’s standin’ in her underwear
Lookin’ down from a hotel room
Nightfall will be comin’ soon

Oh, my my, oh, hell yes.
You got to put on that party dress
It was too cold to cry when I woke up alone
I hit my last number and walked to the road

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again

c- 1993 Tom Petty