Tag Archives: EdgeofHumanity.com

Wow, My Apologies

I just now discovered that Edge of Humanity Magazine published my most recent installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa (my memoir about my childhood)  in their online zine all the way back on July 3rd.

I had no idea this had happened because their note went to my spam folder.

Well, I am so appreciative. If you would like to read it, it is here.

Thanks, everyone.

Oops! Forgot to Title This One!!

First of all, I want to thank Edge of Humanity Magazine for publishing the 3rd segment from my memoir-in-progress In the Shadow of Narcissa. It was posted online last night.

The new segment is titled “I’m Crying Because the President has been Shot” and it’s posted in the Human Condition section. You can read it here.

They also have some really cool new photo-journalism pieces, so if you’ve never checked out Edge of Humanity Magazine, you should.

Well. Yesterday was interesting. For reasons I won’t go into on the blog, I spent the entire day struggling with the revisions on the play because my brain was completely distracted by something else. And I mean, for 8 hours. I could not focus. I was making myself nuts — plus, it was 2 days in a row that I was getting nothing done, for 2 entirely different reasons.

But then, by around 6pm, I finally forced myself to just deal with all the stuff that was in my brain. I sorted it out. And then — presto-change-o! — everything inside my head was fine. I spent the next 4 hours at my desk and all the revisions just flowed. All of them. I got them all done, plus I was really happy with how they turned out.

I sent them off to the director, and now, today, I have to come up with the next new segment because I’m meeting with him again tomorrow and I don’t want to show up with nothing new.

So here’s hoping that today will just flow.

It’s a gorgeous day here today, gang. It’s sunny and only 65 degrees Fahrenheit!

It’s been a beautiful summer, overall. Although nothing like last summer was, where all the old Spirits in this town came out to play. Constantly.  But I have been assured by those same Spirits that it’s my fault; they’re ready and willing to come out to play with me but I’m always at my desk, working.

I haven’t even been to the graveyard once this summer. If you’re new to the blog, the graveyard here is wonderful. It’s just down the street from me. All the founders of the town are buried there and have been for going on 200 years. They communicate with me when I go over there. They are really lively. I’m serious. I started writing a really fun, sexy magic realism/murder mystery, based on them and this town, called Down to the Meadows of Sleep: The Hurley Falls Mysteries. I got about 50 pages into it last summer, but then other projects took over my life and so it sits, awaiting my attention again at some point.

The novel takes place in the summertime, so I equate the whole project with summer. I can’t imagine working on it in fall or winter, so it might be another year before I get back to it. We’ll see.

All I know is that I absolutely love summer in this town. And I have always been someone who hated summer, because I can’t stand heat and my brain malfunctions in humidity, and my skin reacts badly to relentless exposure to sunlight, and I get weird reactions to sunscreen. So summer was just never my season, even though I was born in late July.

But being here, in this town, with all these amazing old trees and cornfields and green hills, and Spirits that are just right there, happy to chat with you… Well, now I live for summer. I can’t wait for it to arrive and then I don’t want to see it end.

For some weird reason, the schools around here go back in session in two weeks! Can you believe that? For those poor kids, the summer really is almost over. Everywhere else in the country goes back to school after Labor Day, which is what it used to be like here in Ohio, too. Not anymore.

But I’m going to cling to summer, because it isn’t officially over until mid-September. And I just don’t want to see it go (even though, when fall officially starts, I’ll be in NYC, for rehearsals of my play (!!) and to see Nick Cave twice. And to stay in a suite at the Algonquin Hotel!! And I’m staying in some other hotel for one night, too, but I don’t remember now which one. I only remember that it’s close to Lincoln Center.) (Which reminds me, so far only one post to Instagram from Melbourne last night, but that was before the concert began. I guess everyone there is sleeping now? What the hell day/time is it in Australia anyway??!!)

So, if summer does indeed have to go, at least fall will be arriving on its heels in a most beautiful way.

Okay. I gotta get working on that play now. Tomorrow will be here in a heartbeat and I refuse to be empty-handed when it arrives.

Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with one of my favorite summer songs from my wee bonny girlhood! I  love you guys. See ya!

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long?
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong?
You know it’s gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new?
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through?
Happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray
It might come true (run run ooo)
Baby, then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married (we could be married)
And then we’d be happy (and then we’d be happy)
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But let’s talk about it
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
c- 1966 Brian Wilson, Tony Asher, Mike Love

Yeah, Baby! You Know What Those Little Happy Cats Mean!

It means it’s laundry day around here!

Am I the only person who loves doing laundry??

I actually love doing laundry. I think because I spent a couple of decades in New York City either having to lug all my dirty clothes to the laundromat, or to the laundry room of the basement of the apartment building.

And now I have my own GE energy efficient washer and dryer, just off of my kitchen! I can do laundry anytime I fucking want to!! And I don’t have to save quarters all week long. (Or all month long, depending on how long it took me to get myself to the laundromat.) (I was definitely one of those people who kept going to Woolworth’s to buy more underwear all the time because I couldn’t manage to get my laundry done in a timely manner…)

But no more! I’m not exactly Susie Homemaker, or anything (although I’m not Susie Homewrecker, either!), but I always have clean laundry.

Okay!!

My second installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa was posted at EdgeOfHumanity.com last evening. You can view it here, in Personal Stories.

Thanks for being supportive of that, gang. It means a lot to me. I will be working on my third installment for that memoir later this week.

Meanwhile, of course, I must get back to rewrites of the play. I spoke briefly with Gus Van Sant Sr again last night. (In case you don’t know or don’t remember, he used to be Helen LaFrance’s business manager — she is the painter that my play, Tell My Bones, is about.) He had sent me over a document that’s going over to the lawyer, about his past history with Helen and her art, and her family, etc. It was fascinating to read.

He is a wonderful man. Really, just the most considerate human being, ever. He once gave me a job when I really, really needed one and he didn’t know me from anyone else on Earth.

I only casually knew the woman who cut his hair at his country club. (He used to be a fanatical golfer.) The reason I was back in Ohio is a long, painful story (if you know anything at all about narcissists and “the discard” you can piece together what ultimately happened with me and my aging, adoptive mother). But that aside, I’d had no idea that the business office of Gus Van Sant’s movie production company was 7 minutes from my house.

At the time, I had been back in Ohio for less than 6 months, I had a new home and a 5-figure mortgage, and then the economy tanked, and the publishing industry practically imploded. 4 of my primary publishers went out of business on the very same day, and even the publishers who published me occasionally either folded, or began paying horrible money as they tried to just survive.

At the same time, I was living with a man I trusted, who moved with me from NYC, but I had no clue he had a horrific gambling problem from long ago that was in remission. The city in Ohio that we moved to had a brand new casino. In record time, behind my back, he gambled away my entire savings. All of it — gone. And I had a new mortgage and no publishers left.

It was really just the best year.

But this hairdresser who hardly knew me but knew I was a writer who had moved  to Ohio from NYC, told Gus I needed a job. Sight unseen, he hired me because he needed a new assistant. He truly kept me from going under. And even though he couldn’t solve all my problems for me, he was really just a solid emotional anchor for me when I really, really needed that.

And then the whole Helen LaFrance project was born from that work relationship, so meeting him really was probably the best day of my life.

And the worst year, in hindsight, was likely my best year.

However, on that note, I really gotta get going here! The director wants to meet “in a few days” to go over my re-writes so far, so having some would be ideal, don’t’cha think??

Okay. Thanks for visiting! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world! I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning. I think there’s a Country band who has a remake of this song out there somewhere now, but I love this version from the 1980s. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, singing Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” I love you guys! See ya!

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere”

Clouds so swift, the rain won’t lift
Gates won’t close, the railing’s froze.
So get your mind off wintertime,
You ain’t going nowhere.

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Buy me a flute, and a gun that shoots
Tail gates and substitutes
Strap yourself to a tree with roots,
You ain’t going nowhere

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Well I don’t care how many letters they sent
The morning came and the morning went

So pack up your money, and pick up your tent
You ain’t going nowhere

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

And Genghis Khan he could not keep
All his men supplied with sleep.
We’ll climb that hill no matter how steep
When we get up to it

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Ooooo ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s gonna come
Oooo are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

c- 1967 Bob Dylan

Si!! Per due giorni non ho studiato italiano!!

Yes! That’s right!

This morning, I realized that I hadn’t studied my Italian lessons for the past 2 days. Which also means I missed my Sunday quiz!

Ack!! I’ve been so caught up in revisions of the play, as well as the profoundly intense heat wave, that everything else fell from my awareness.

I’m not gonna spend the rest of the summer giving you the weather report for around here, but I do want to at least say that it is an unbelievably beautiful day here, today. All the heat and thunderstorms are completely gone.  It is sunny and mild and supposed to stay that way all week. And by mild, I mean it’s going down into the high 50s Fahrenheit during the night! I feel transformed because of it.

I did not feel transformed yesterday, though.

I had a very challenging day with the revisions for Tell My Bones.

I was getting good work done. I liked what was coming, but it was painstakingly slow going. And I am still having trouble going back & forth between the new revisions for the overall play, and the staged reading version of the play , which is condensed and shorter, less music, etc.

And as I make the revisions to the overall play, I then have to go back to the staged reading version and make sure it gets updated. So the constant switching back & forth was extremely distracting.

After I was at it for 8 hours, the director of the play called to wish me a happy birthday and to confirm our lunch appointment for today — AND to say that he was reading the screenplay version of Tell My Bones and that it was incredibly wonderful and he told me all the reasons why he thought so and that he lamented that the play couldn’t capture a lot of that because they were two different media.

(The screenplay scored really well in several high-profile screenplay competitions the year I wrote it, and won Best Voice of Color at the Cleveland Independent Film Festival the following year.)

While we were talking, I was already so incredibly exhausted from laboring over the revisions of the play for 8 hours, that my “take away” from the phone call was that the play was nowhere near as good as the screenplay and so I had to start from scratch or something.

It blew my evening right out of the water, and not in a good way. I stayed at my desk for 3 more hours wondering, what am I supposed to do here? How do I turn this into the screenplay?

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that Sandra and I struggled with just that very thing for a couple of years before I came to the conclusion (with input from Peitor in Los Angeles) that I had to let go of the screenplay entirely, and approach the play from a whole new perspective. Because it wasn’t working for the stage.

Last night, though, I kept feeling that there must be a way to sort of layer aspects of the screenplay on top of the play…. and have a 90 minute full-cast dramatic screenplay magically become a 90 minute one-woman play with music.

I’m sure you can readily see that I was completely out of my mind.

Eventually I realized that I was starving and needed to eat dinner. So I finally closed the darn laptop and walked away.

This morning, though, I had an entirely fresh perspective on all of it. And I know something magical is going to transform or infuse the play with aspects of the screenplay. I don’t know yet what that is but I can feel it sort of hovering at the edges of my mind.

Even though this also means that at my meeting today, revisions to the script will not be finished. But it isn’t the end of the world. I still have  2 weeks before Sandra gets here to begin the initial rehearsals.

(Here’s something interesting that I just noticed: Whenever I need to type the word “being” it always comes out as “begin” and I have to fix it. But just there when I needed to type the word “begin” it came out as “being”! Clearly, I know how to type the word “being” so why can’t I just type it the right way when I need it??!!)

Anyway. Hey, thanks to new readers who are coming here through the post over at EdgeofHumanity.com yesterday. I appreciate it.

I thought it was kind of interesting that yesterday was my birthday and the first excerpt from my childhood memoir-in-progress, In the Shadow of Narcissa, went out on the EdgeofHumanity.com feed.  I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting that. I knew it was coming out this week, but I didn’t think it would be on Monday.

I have emotional issues with In the Shadow of Narcissa, only because it is very hard for me to write.  It’s hard for me to emotionally claim all the stuff I need to in order to write it. But I do feel 100% sure that I need to write it, so I’m not going to allow my emotions to get in the way of that.

Still, seeing something so personal to me arrive as another entity’s web update in my inbox, was startling. Partly, you know, I just want to remove myself from it. It’s the only way I can handle it, really.

I appreciate so much that they are wiling to publish it over at Edge of Humanity, though, because I think it’s helping me stick with the process of writing it.

Okay, gang. I’m gonna get started around here now because I have to have that lunch meeting in a couple of hours. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world!! I leave you with the breakfast listening music from today! “Opium Tea” from B-Sides & Rarities. A song with an hypnotic, groovy little groove to it. Thanks for visiting! I love you guys! See ya.

“Opium Tea”

Here I sleep the morning through
‘Til the wail of the call to prayer awakes me
And there is nothing at all to do
But rise and follow the day wherever it takes me

[Chorus]
I stand at the window and I look at the sea
And I am what I am and what will be will be
I stand at the window and I look at the sea
And I make me a pot of opium tea

Down at the port I watch the boats come in
Oh, watching the boats come in can do something to you
And the kids gather around with an outstretched hand
And I toss them a dirham or two

[Chorus]
Well, I wonder if my children are thinking of me
Cause I am what I am and what will be will be
I wonder if my kids are thinking of me
And I smile and I sip my opium tea

At night the sea lashes the rust-red ramparts
In the shapes of hooded men who pass me
And the mad moaning wind laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs
At the strange lot that fate has cast me

[Chorus]
The cats on the rampart sing merrily
That he is what he is and what will be will be
The cats on the rampart sing merrily
And I sit and I drink my opium tea

I’m a prisoner here, I can never go home
There is nothing here to win or lose
There are no choices need to be made at all
Not even the choice of having to choose

[Chorus]
I’m a prisoner yes, but I’m also free
Cause am what I am and what will be will be
I’m a prisoner here but I’m also free
And I smile and I sip my opium tea

c – 1996 Conway Savage & Nick Cave

Don’t just sit there reading this, dust something!!

Yes! So far, it’s a terrific Tuesday! I’m teaching the cats how to use a vacuum cleaner!  (It seems fair, since they shed more than I do and I have way too much to do and they’re always just sitting there, staring at stuff.) (At dust, most likely.)

Oh, before I forget, I uploaded another old song. (If you’re on your phone, you have to turn it sideways to see it.) This is a really terrible demo, which is unfortunate because I love this song. But it’s the only version of it that was ever transferred to MP3.  The demo was made back in 1985 on the 4 track in my bedroom, and then we took it to my boyfriend’s bedroom (a drummer), to his 4 track at his place, and he added some drum & synth stuff.

We had a really fun time making it, but it was only ever intended to be a reference demo to take to the studio. And, alas, it shows! But if you listen to it, try to hear the fun & not the horrible quality of sound!

Anyway! Yes, it’s Tuesday!! And I approach this day knowing full well I have too much to do!

In another brief conversation I had with Gus Van Sant Sr. the other day:

HIM: “Well, who’s your agent now? Who’s managing you?”

ME: “Nobody. I suppose I’d better do something about that, but I just, you know – me and agents….”

HIM: (laughter — too much, in fact)

I won’t repeat the rest of the conversation!! It is sufficient to say, I need to bite the bullet and stop doing everything myself because my life is getting a wee bit unwieldy over here.

Yes! I will indeed be contributing a brief segment of my new memoir-in-progress, In the Shadow of Narcissa, to Edge of Humanity Magazine once a week or so. This will be a condensed version of what will appear on my own site.

Yes! This means I have to be sure to write something new (& publishable) at least once a week, and I am now up to my eyeballs with revisions of Tell My Bones because Sandra will be arriving pretty much any moment now to begin rehearsals.

If you don’t follow EdgeofHumanity.com, they feature a lot of really cool photo journalists from all over the world. I really love the photographs on that site. Plus, there’s poetry, people’s music playlists, and occasional nonfiction stuff.  Which is where my pieces from In the Shadow of Narcissa come in: occasional nonfiction stuff.

I’m excited.  I’ve been following them for a while and it’s a whole worldful of other readers.

I’m not really sure why I suddenly found this memoir of my childhood springing out of me, or why I felt I needed to lock myself into a weekly publication schedule for it. I’m still doing my Inner Being journaling every morning, and re: the new memoir, it said: “To a point, it serves you to examine these things because it is assisting your journey out of the DARKNESS.” (That word actually came out capitalized.)

(You should keep one of these journals, gang. They are  incredible and surprising and illuminating.)

I don’t consider myself someone who is still in darkness. However, by writing this memoir, and facing things about my adoptive mother — I have always tried to focus on the good side of her and block out the bad, but that was part of her narcissism: training me to do that — more and more I see that it is in fact a miracle that I survived my childhood. I did attempt suicide twice, but my will to live, which was always bubbling underneath the nightmare, was just ridiculously strong. It’s sort of startling to recognize that now; to marvel at the odds that I am even still here. So I guess that’s the purpose the memoir is serving for now.

Obviously, I’m hoping that the memoir will be helpful to someone else out there who will read it. Assuming I manage to drag something uplifting and helpful out of that whole mess.

Yesterday, Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files newsletter brought up some really difficult memories for me re: my mother and the death of my boyfriend back in the summer of 1974. (The newsletter was about the death of his own son and the death of someone else’s son.) And I just could not shake the memories for the whole day.

Still, it was good to sort of see it. Not to dwell on it, but to acknowledge it and try to process it somehow.

Yesterday was actually the “anniversary” of me being committed to a mental hospital after my first suicide attempt in 1975. I was put in there right before my 15th birthday. They actually gave me a birthday cake in there. However, I was on “suicide precaution,” which meant that for the first several weeks of my incarceration (I was literally incarcerated – I was there against my will and in a building where we were literally locked in and the windows were covered in this heavy mesh stuff that you couldn’t break out of.  And everything inside the place was locked. Everything.  Every drawer, every cabinet, every door, every window. And any room where you could possibly be alone in it — that was also locked. In that building, we were treated like criminals but it was only because we were all suicidal.)

Anyway! That’s cheery, right? But I digress.

On my 15th birthday, they gave me a piece of birthday cake (the rest of my cake, they gave to everybody else), but I was confined to my room because I was brand new there and on “suicide precaution.” And I was only allowed to use a spoon. For several weeks, I was only allowed to use a spoon because forks & knives were elements of destruction.

Those first few weeks in there were so frightening to me, because I was always confined alone in my room. And of course, everyone outside of my room was “crazy.”  And if I needed to use the bathroom, Security would accompany me. It was a communal bathroom, which in and of itself I hated. Just no privacy at all. Ever. And the Security person (a man) would follow me right in to the bathroom and just stand there while I tried helplessly to just do what I needed to do in there. He was protecting me from myself, I guess. But it was awful because I was only 15, and really shy, and of course my period had come because it always managed to come when it was least wanted.

It was just awful, those first few weeks.

But what eventually sank in was that my mother was not able to get at me in that place — they wouldn’t let her visit me for a long time– and for the first time in my 15 years of life, I had a sense of peace. It didn’t last long, but it did come.

Anyway, I have to scoot. I have been alerted via a text from Sandra that we are having a phone chat in 5 minutes…

Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world, gang! Thanks for visiting. I’m going to leave you with this unlikely song. I actually listened to it last night for the first time in over 40 years. It was the song that was playing on the AM radio when they were telling me to get into the car because I was being taken to a mental hospital, for my own protection or something insane like that. It was a song I associated closely with Greg, my boyfriend who had died. By then he had almost been dead one year. And the song was unbearable for me to hear, even on days when I wasn’t being scurried off to a loony bin .

But I played the song last night, and I lived through it. I’m hoping you will, too. I love you guys. See ya!

“Please Mr. Please”

In the corner of the bar there stands a jukebox
With the best of country music, old and new
You can hear your five selections for a quarter
And somebody else’s songs when yours are throughI got good Kentucky whiskey on the counter
And my friends around to help me ease the pain
‘Til some button-pushing cowboy plays that love song
And here I am just missing you again

Please, Mr., please, don’t play B-17
It was our song, it was his song, but it’s over
Please, Mr., please, if you know what I mean
I don’t ever wanna hear that song again

If I had a dime for every time I held you
Though you’re far away, you’ve been so close to me
I could swear I’d be the richest girl in Nashville
Maybe even in the state of Tennessee

But I guess I’d better get myself together
‘Cause when you left, you didn’t leave too much behind
Just a note that said “I’m sorry” by your picture
And a song that’s weighing heavy on my mind

Please, Mr., please, don’t play B-17
It was our song, it was his song, but it’s over
Please, Mr., please, if you know what I mean
I don’t ever wanna hear that song again

c – 1975 WELCH BRUCE, ROSTILL JOHN HENRY