Tag Archives: In the Shadow of Narcissa

Let’s Keep Washing, Gang!!

I am definitely not a germ-o-phobe by any stretch, but this virus is starting to push the limits of my non-germ-o-phobia, that’s for sure.

I did three teeny-tiny loads of laundry yesterday, only because I kept wondering which clothes the clothes I was wearing might have touched or brushed up against, even by accident, when I came in from my big trip to town yesterday. (If you’re using google translate, good luck with that paragraph.)

And then I kept washing my hands — did I touch that when I came in? Oh, but now I’ve touched it for sure, should I wash my hands again? Better safe than sorry.

And then: Is my throat sore? Am I getting a sore throat or does my throat always feel like this? I seem fine but my throat feels like it might be getting sore…

All fucking day. I did manage to keep it from getting out of hand, but still. Just that one quick trip into town to go to the market and my mind started to unravel.

Luckily, I am only going to have to make one trip into town each week.

Here’s something I’m going to tell my dad today and I’m sure he’ll be pleased as punch to hear it: the World Health Organization has issued a recommendation that people not listen to the news more than twice a day. I’m sure he’ll point out that he only turns the news on once and then turns it off, however, in the middle of that is the entire day.

Anyway, I’ll give it a shot and we’ll see how it goes.

I did have sort of a rough evening last night. I watched the second half of Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (BBC, 2019) and I saw why people gave it such bad reviews. I still enjoyed it overall, but the second half had a lot more violence in it, and the ending was so rushed it was almost incomprehensible. It would have benefited from being a 3-part show instead of a 2-part show. And I wound up feeling like the original version the BBC did probably about 15 years ago or so was a lot better, even though it veered widely from the original story.

Then I switched over to the reruns of DCI Banks and, oh my god, the episode that started streaming automatically started out so bloody and creepy and then turned out to be all about rape. Which you can guess, I just enjoy the hell out of. (And it isn’t so much the actual rape stuff that bothers me, it’s the fact that everyone cares so much that the rape happened and they all need to band together to get the rapes to stop because it is just so terrible and it’s enraging everyone; whereas in my own experience, no one at all cared in the slightest bit that I had been raped — and more than once. Culturally, nobody gave a shit about rape back then. That’s the part that is hard for me to handle, even after all these decades.)

I finally made myself turn it off, but I was only 20 minutes from the end of the show. So I had sat there for quite a while last evening (nearly 3 hours), creeping myself out and wondering the whole time: is my throat getting sore?

But I slept great and I am very happy today, and my throat is absolutely not sore and I’m not stressing about anything at all. I’m planning to get some good work done on In the Shadow of Narcissa today, too.

Oh, plus, I forgot to thank whoever that was on Saturday night who downloaded a free copy of Twilight of the Immortal!!!! That was really nice to see. Thank you.

I’m not going to keep posting all the numbers re: the pandemic, but I will say that over 100,000 people have now recovered from the virus, and overall, we are still holding at 95% of the active cases worldwide being mild. So, you know, keep washing, but it’s in the process of moving through. Never lose sight of that.

I thought you might like to see a photo of the inside of my refrigerator.  I had my phone with me at the kitchen table this morning and when I opened my fridge, it was almost too much. it’s just so fucking healthy, who the hell wants to eat anymore?

Inside my boring fridge!!








Okay. On that lofty note!

I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning! Thanks for visiting, gang, and have a wonderful Monday, wherever you are in the world! Try not to get stressed. Stay focused on the miracle of the human body, and on the undercurrent of love that runs throughout our very beingness; let it all work its unfathomable miracles in this crucial time, okay? I love you guys. See ya!

All righty, gang! Here we go!

Ohio is still holding at 247 known cases of the virus, but of course the day is still young…

However, that said, I gotta drive into town and go to the market. My first time actually in and among a group of total strangers in 8 days. So I’m gonna go early and hopefully beat the crowd of Sunday shoppers. (Still no known cases in Muskingum County, though.)

It’s a gorgeous day out there today, but still really cold. But it will be a pretty drive into town.

Confirmed cases are up all over the world: approximately 206,000 now. However, almost 95% of those cases are considered mild: 196,442. And we’re up to about 96,000 recoveries as of right now (3/22/2020).

And now there is that horrible earthquake thrown into the mix in Zagreb. It does indeed keep seeming Biblical out there, doesn’t it, gang?

Here, in Crazeysburg, everything is still normal. The Evangelical Community Bible church here, which is right across the road from the dollar store, has a sign out front now that says: Stock Up On Jesus.

I feel pretty confident that doing that can only help.

Well, today I’m going to continue working on the outline for In the Shadow of Narcissa, since now my main goal is to get that chapbook finished and off my desk by late Spring.

I will likely post again later this evening. Perhaps something amazing will happen at the market in town that you’ll all want to know about!

For now, I’m leaving you with this! A gem from my wee bonny although very-much-disturbed teenhood. I always took the message of this song to heart and I still do! I’m so serious. (If you weren’t aware of it, Kenny Rogers passed away yesterday at the age of 81.) Thanks for visiting, gang. I’ll be back. I love you guys. See ya!

“The Gambler”

On a warm summer’s evening
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with a gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us
And he began to speak

He said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
And knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes.
So if you don’t mind my sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I’ll give you some advice.”

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his face lost all expression
Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy,
You gotta learn to play it right.

“You got to know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done.

“Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep.
‘Cause every hand’s a winner,
And every hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep.”

And when he finished speakin’
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
And in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep

You got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
(When to hold ’em)
Know when to fold ’em
(When to fold ’em)
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done

You got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done

© 1978 Don Schlitz

A Fond Goodnight to An Interesting Day!

I spent almost the entire day working on In the Shadow of Narcissa, trying to outline it, actually. Sort of “do the math” on it. It covers my childhood in 3 houses, over the space of 9 years, and I want it to be less than 40 pages.

So it seems like there could be a tidy math equation in there that could help me structure it.

I’m still a bit stymied, but I think I’m at least focused in the right direction. I’m feeling like I’d like to get that book finished and start circulating it with publishers by late Spring.

Well, okay.

Here in Ohio, the virus has ballooned to 247  confirmed cases today. Most of them seem to be in the northern part of the State, or concentrated in nursing homes. 3 elderly people have died –aged between 76 – 91.  If you don’t live in America and don’t know Ohio, it is densely populated — about 11.75 million people live here (although almost no one lives in Crazeysburg).  And even though there is a lot of farmland in the State, just a heck of a lot of people live in the main cities (i.e., Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus). And each city has (or had until recently) a busy international airport.

I’m hoping my dad won’t go out now for a few days. He has people to buy him groceries so he shouldn’t need to go out. But he is going really stir crazy. It just feels like the virus is peaking now, though, and he is almost 90.

This evening, I started watching a new version of Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (BBC).  For some reason, it got bad reviews, but I’m really loving it. It’s nothing at all like the original but I think it’s really fun. And the acting, of course, is through the roof. As it usually is on all these BBC whodunits. (And a lush budget, of course — the cars, the costumes, the sets!). It’s a nice way to pass the evening.

I cannot remember now why I was thinking about this, but earlier today I was thinking about that song called “Sodomy,” from the Broadway musical Hair. It’s a really short song but it’s full of nothing but dirty words. When I was 8 years old, I knew that song (and almost all the songs from Hair) by heart. I had no clue what any of those songs meant, although my brother seemed to know. (My older brother and I played that record all the time and for some weird reason, our mom let us.)

(It’s so strange, when you think of how intolerant she was about so many things, but never about art or theater or science.)

Well, today,  it struck me as really amusing that I would sing that song at such a young age, even though I had no clue what any of the words meant. Not at all. I was just singing the sounds of the words, you know? I liked how the words sounded. But I must have sounded just hysterically funny to any adults who might have overheard me. I mean, I was 8, with long brown hair, my little stretchy hairband, big brown eyes. Little saddle shoes, knee socks. The works. And I had one of those high soprano voices and I would sing my heart out!

I eventually re-discovered that song in my teens and by then, I knew what all those words meant and I almost died when I realized what the song was about.

Anyway, I have no idea why I was remembering that today, but I was.  Clearly, I was destined from birth to fill up my entire life with dirty words.

Okay! I finished that poetry book I bought recently — the award-winning chapbook I mentioned, where the poet had written the best inscription ever. Anyway, it’s really good. It’s called Acadiana, by Nancy Reddy.  

It is inspired by folklore and hurricanes in Louisiana, so it’s intense. And it has some incredible imagery involving the folklore of girls  that I just loved, even though a lot of it was sort of starkly merciless and maybe emotionally brutal? Not sure if that’s the right word. But I really liked it.

(Actually, the imagery often reminded me of Nick Cave’s novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, except that Acadiana is only about 29 pages.)

All righty! So that’s Day 7 for me in quarantine.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings, right? Have a good night, gang, wherever you are in the world!! Sleep tight. I love you guys.


Sodomy, Fellatio, Cunnilingus, Pederasty
Father, why do these words sound so nasty?
Masturbation can be fun
Join the holy orgy Kama Sutra

© – 1968 Galt McDermot, Gerome Ragni, James Rado

You’re Not the Boss of Me!!

Just no way do you get to tell me what to fucking do! Yay!

That’s pretty much the attitude of most of the people who live in Ohio, which is of course why so many people (moi aussi) continued to congregate in groups way larger than 50 until the Governor had to step in and issue actual mandates that forced people (like me) to not only stay home but to not even be allowed to vote. Wow. Talk about getting your privileges suspended…

So when the number of confirmed cases of the virus basically doubled overnight in the State, it was not a surprise to me at all, not in any way whatsoever, so I have to wonder how come “officials” found this leap “startling”?

I love when the “people in charge” have no real clue what the “people they are in charge of” are doing.

(A good example of that, you know, was when Trump won the Presidency. A lot of people in Ohio voted for him. I know it won’t shake you to your very core to learn that I did not vote for Trump. But, still, he won. And in my opinion, he’s the President of the United States. Because people voted for him. I know for a fact that they did. And it’s why I’m so sick of the Democrats because they spent the past 4 years submerged in this infantile outcry, stamping their little feet, wasting everybody’s time & money, trying to remove him from his elected position, rather than spending all that time & money making America great again in ways that were more in keeping with their own beliefs about America.) (Which is why, in my opinion, America is a great country– you’re legally allowed to have whatever opinion you want and you’re allowed to publicly say whatever you want to about the President without fearing for your very life and liberty. And it’s odd how so many people who are not Democrats tend to see that fact really clearly and so they continue to vote in that direction.)

Anyway. No one has died from Covid 19 yet in the State of Ohio. But we are up to 67 confirmed cases. Way more than Kentucky and Indiana have, combined. So, on we go.

It will, alas, perhaps come as no surprise to you to learn that my table-read in NYC for Tell My Bones has ground to a thorough and complete halt. So much so, that the director of my play texted me last night to say he was flying back to Ohio first thing this morning to spend the Spring and Summer here in his mansion on the hill.  He will be here until late August, just to get clear of NYC and the virus there. (Here in Muskingum County and also in the county where the director has his other home, there are so far no known cases of the virus.)

So the table-read in April is one less thing I have to do. And then that Literary Arts Fair in June that I backed out of because of planning to go to Zurich to make new friends and see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, means two less things that I have to do.

And of course I scan the Nick Cave web site daily for any indication whatsoever that he might be postponing the European start of the Ghosteen Tour, and so far he his hanging tough — the only one in the world who is, actually. But that might be a third thing I won’t be doing this Spring/Summer if he does end up postponing the tour.

And of course the meeting with the TV streaming platform for Abstract Absurdity Productions in LA has been postponed until after the international quarantine is lifted. So that’s another thing that I won’t be doing this Spring. Although, for now, the film shoots will still be happening in Los Angeles this summer.

Sandra called last night and we chatted for quite awhile. Yesterday, the production of “Chicago” that she’s been rehearsing up in Stratford, Canada got closed down and so she will be back in Rhinebeck by Monday. (So, now that her schedule will be indescribably free for the table-read of Tell My Bones, there isn’t going to be one until the Fall.)

The only thing that remains in place for me, career-wise, is that our other play is still slated for production in Canada at the end of this year. And this sudden freed-up schedule for both Sandra and me, means that we can tackle some of those massive re-writes for that other play. And we’re both feeling really excited about that. We’ll probably just do it on Skype; I’m not planning to go back to NYC now before the Fall. But I’m still feeling really excited about getting back to work with her on that play.

So, all those things that I was worrying about having to do all at once, have now basically entirely disappeared.

And now all I have in front of me yet again is time to sit at my desk and write.

I made some progress with my broken heart during the night. Turned a little corner. Release people to what they need in their own lives and just open up my strange little path and embrace whatever comes along on it.

I’m not able to stop loving someone once I love them, but I am able to find a different place for it inside and then keep going.

Listening to the Bee Gees of course while you have a broken heart is never a good idea. We all know this. It is a documented fact that it only makes your heart break more. And yet, I guess I’m an Ohio girl after all, because I’ve been listening to the Bee Gees “How Can You Mend A  Broken Heart” pretty much non-stop for a few days. (That’s correct: No one in the universe is the boss of me. I will listen to the Bee Gees if I so choose!!!)

You know, I don’t ever want to be Albatross-y to anyone, least of all, to someone I love. So I have been trying really hard to keep myself contained (in a non-Covid 19 type of way, of course, because when it comes to the virus, I want to be sure to interact closely with everyone imaginable, until the Governor himself steps in and says, “No, no, no! Bad dog!! Bad, bad dog!! Now you have to stay in your little pen and you don’t get to vote!!”).

Anyway. I’m trying to sublimate whatever I’m feeling and turn it into something that can have it’s own beauty and go out into the world in other, more acceptable ways. It’s why I’m a writer, I guess.

And last night, lights out. Dark bedroom. Shattered little heart that I was trying once more to get a grip on. Suddenly, loud and plain as day, I hear singing — music. It was so familiar to me. But it was coming from somewhere inside me.

And I thought: What is that? I know that song.

And I suddenly realized it was the chorus from Tom Petty’s song, “You & Me.” Which happens to be the last song that Tom Petty actually listened to before he died. (According to his wife, Dana, who was there with him on the bed, watching the video on YouTube, and then later he had the heart attack and did not recover.)

But it’s also a song that I really love and that man who died a couple of summers ago used to indulge me and even while he also liked Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers a lot (he was older than me, but we were in the same generation, music-wise). Anyway, we played Tom Petty songs almost exclusively while he was here in this very room with me, making a whole lot of love (before he, too, died).

So “You & Me” is a powerhouse of potential heartbreak for me, but when I suddenly realized that it was the song coming through the ether to me last night, I grabbed my phone from the night table and streamed  “You & Me” on repeat. And almost instantaneously, the energy, spirit, whatever you call it, of the now-dead guy that I loved was all over me. There was so much joy. It was like a tidal wave of it, all over me in that bed.

I knew he was with me. I could almost see him, you know? Almost. And he was just filled with joy and I couldn’t help but be swept up into it, too. And even though I don’t actually “hear” voices, I feel his voice pretty loudly inside me. I can hear/feel the words. They were undeniably him and he told me stuff that was just filled with love. So much love. And he also said, “You gotta leave that guy alone now, Marilyn. Remember the boundaries.”

He actually said that. And then I fell dead asleep — if you’ll excuse the weird pun. At one point, I remember that I turned off the music on my phone. But I slept 8 whole hours. I haven’t done that in a couple of weeks, really.

So I’m feeling better, you know? Love in the Time of Cholera and all that aside — I am feeling better. And so on we go, right, gang?

You know of course what I am leaving you with today! Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Rejoice, even. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!

“You And Me”

Take a look
At what I got
I can’t promise
You a lot

But you and me
And the road ahead

I can’t save
You from yourself
You gotta want it
All that’s left

Is you and me
And the road ahead

Wherever that wind might blow
Wherever that river rolls
You know I will go with you

Lookin’ over
The mountain’s crown
The water roars
And tumbles down

Like you and me
And the road ahead

Wherever that wind might blow
Wherever that river rolls
You know I will go with you

Just you and me
And the road ahead

Just you and me
And the road ahead

© 2002 Tom Petty

Celebratory Times indeed!

Happy 7th & 8th birthdays to my many beloved cats!

They’re happy here and festive today, even while they have nowhere to go and pandemic viruses to keep well clear of.

Still, they are partying hard, as usual!!

A reasonable facsimile. It is not actually sunny here today! And we don’t even live in that house anymore! Plus, I have 5 other cats who aren’t pictured here!!

Well, yesterday, I suddenly felt the overwhelming desire to focus on In the Shadow of Narcissa and maybe even finish writing it during this period of global house arrest caused by a virus.

And then suddenly, early this morning, I got word that the web site for AbstractAbsurdityProductions is finally ready for me to begin working on. Wouldn’t you know it?

I’m going to try to split my time between the two projects, though. We’ll see.  I will meet with Peitor over the phone for several hours this afternoon. We are hoping to finish the “Lita” script, or get close to finishing it. We are on the final scene.  (I know, even under house arrest, when I should be taking a sort of “enforced vacation,” I still have too much to do.)

I went to vote this morning, only to discover my polling place was closed. So there we have it. A true pandemic. I can’t even exercise my right to vote.

And today will likely go down as the quietest St. Paddy’s Day in the known history of the Christian world.

Sorry. This is sort of a weird, convoluted, short post. I keep getting interrupted here. And I’ve got way too much on my mind right now. Perhaps I will post an update later!

Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by for cake & ice cream!! I love you guys. See ya.




More Miracles Approaching!

And, no — by “miracles” I don’t mean that my cats are finally cleaning!

What I do mean, is that I have to clean — well, that’s not the miracle, either. I do try to keep my humble, cat-infested abode clean. But I haven’t actually vacuumed in weeks.

The last time I vacuumed, some sort of pebble-thing got sucked up into the vacuum and kept rattling around in there and freaking me out. So I figured that if I just let it sit quietly in the dark hall closet for many weeks, it would fix itself.

I feel pretty confident that it did.

But that’s not the miracle, either.

The miracle is that I happened to see a mortgage-banker that I know casually and as I was saying hi, I suddenly asked him if he knew a reputable & affordable plumber who could fix my upstairs toilet, since he deals with home mortgages and all that. And he said, “I’ll do it. Just take some photos of the parts you need, text them to me and I’ll swing by on Sunday and fix it for you.”

Whoa. (That’s the miracle part there, in case you didn’t recognize it. He’s saving me a fortune!)

He’s friends with my friend Kevin — not the director of the play, but the other Kevin, who stores his vintage 1965 VW camper van in my barn all summer. So he’s bringing Kevin along with him. And since this constitutes “people in the house,” I decided that I’d better fucking vacuum today.

I figure the pebble-thing has certainly had plenty of time to de-manifest from the vacuum cleaner by now. I guess we’ll see.

This has already made me feel very spring-cleany-ish, though. I put the Easter wreath up on the kitchen door this morning (yes, while it was still dark out — God knows, you gotta put your Easter wreath up at 5am on a freezing cold February morning…) and I put out all the little spring/Easter things in the kitchen. Not sure what the hurry is, it’s not even Mardis Gras yet. I think it has something to do with all the birds returning.


Today is my older brother’s 61st birthday. (Yes, there is a mere 49-year age difference between him & me.) (And what’s even odder — when I was first adopted, there was only a 17 month difference in our ages!) (And what’s even more weirder – I will still be 12 on my next birthday!) (I know — like, how weird is that? Just one of those mysteries of life that’s best left un-pondered.)

Anyway. My indescribable immaturity aside. I haven’t seen my older brother in 26 years. I know he’s still alive. And he’s happily married — and has been for 26 years. (Yes, I haven’t seen him since his wedding, however, I was actually invited to that wedding.)

(That was his second wedding — I wasn’t invited to the first one because our adoptive dad paid for that wedding and it was one of those years where being really mean to Marilyn was seriously in vogue with my adoptive dad.)

(Honestly, I have no idea why I wasn’t invited to my brother’s first wedding. I wasn’t invited to my dad’s 3rd wedding, either. I can understand not being invited to my dad’s first wedding, because I wasn’t born yet. And I can understand not being invited to his second wedding, because it happened hurriedly, the night before I moved in with him, briefly, when I was 14, and he decided that to remain shacked up with his 27-year-old cocktail waitress girlfriend while I was living there with them would set a bad moral example for me. (I know — don’t laugh. To see those words “moral” and  “me” in the same sentence, but he tried.) (And I have to say that after I did move in and my new 27-year-old stepmom and I were hanging out together in the living room, smoking cigarettes while my dad was out on the road, and she was having a cocktail and sort of sharing it with 14-year-old me, she said, “Thank you so much for moving in, Marilyn. I didn’t think your dad would ever marry me.”)  Anyway, there are just a whole bunch of family-related weddings that I wasn’t invited to, even though I behave really well in public. I do. I’ve got that whole “how to attend a wedding” thing down. I know how to dress, what to say, I’ve got table manners and stuff. And I bring gifts. So who knows.)

Well, so, I digress.

My older brother is 61 today and I haven’t seen him in 26 years.

He used to look like this, though (and I used to look like that):







And of course, all of this makes me wistful — I really don’t know my brother as a grown man; I know him more as a little boy — and it makes me want to spend some time working on In the Shadow of Narcissa. But I’ve still got to finish up the new Life Story Rights documents for Tell My Bones and get those off in the mail. And the longer the files stay open on my desk top, the more I seem to resist them. So I really have to just force myself to get those finished and back into the mail.

After I vacuum, though.

And do Booty Core.

My Booty Core program is almost over, by the way. 4 more days. Then I will just do it maybe 3 times a week and do yoga the rest of the time. And then just sail off into old age as a sort of splendid swan.

Oh, and I finally broke down and bought glucosamine chondroitin supplements, too. So I guess we’ll see how that goes. I’m really not trying to stop myself from aging. I’m just trying to, I don’t know, keep walking? Stay on good terms with my lovely legs? When I bought this house, one of the reasons I bought it was because the dining room can easily be turned into a first-floor bedroom (and I think it was one in the past) and there’s a full bathroom on the first floor, too, so in case my now elderly adoptive dad wanted to live with me as he got elderly-er, he could have these things. I didn’t get that stuff so that I could be elderly here, you know? It was for him. But, for some hard to discern reason, he doesn’t want to be elderly here in the wilds of distant Crazeysburg where there is absolutely nothing at all…

Well, the script work with Peitor went very well yesterday.  We got a lot done. On Tuesday we will finally begin working on my very favorite scene in the whole 8-minute  film! The only scene in it where there is a person who actually has lines of (erotic) dialogue!! I cannot wait!! (Honestly, it is going to be so fucked up and so cool!!) This is one of the reasons why I love not living in the regular world. You can just open up your mind and the most entertaining stuff comes out. Seriously.

I haven’t lived in the regular world in such a long time. Actually, I don’t think I ever did. But for a lot of those years, people thought of me as mentally ill. But I’m not ill. I’m just not able to live in a half-sort of world, where you have to squish yourself down and worry all the time about what other people might be thinking of you. Of course, when people think you’re mentally ill, they can just say, “Oh, she’s like that because she’s crazy,” and give you all sorts of leeway and social dispensations and still invite you to parties and stuff. But when you’re not crazy, people don’t know what the fuck to make of you so they just give you a wide berth and leave you mostly alone.

But I don’t really like parties anyway.

However, one part of the regular world that I do live in involves having to deal with that pesky film budgeting stuff. Peitor and I discussed that yesterday, too. And it seems that MovieMagic budgeting & scheduling software is the industry standard and people will be expecting us to work with that, so we will breakdown and buy it (it’s really expensive) and then I will break down (hopefully not in tears) and learn how to use it.

And we shall sally forth into the great creative unknown!!

Well, on Instagram yesterday — quite a bevy of happy folks buying tickets to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds on their North American tour! Tickets went on sale yesterday. That was so cool to see, even though when I saw someone post a receipt for their ticket to see them at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, my heart kind of, you know, winced a little. However, I am extremely happy with how things are turning out for me, regardless. But what’s weird, though, is that I know for a fact that the guy who bought that ticket for the Nashville show lives in fucking Australia. Isn’t that funny?  People going all over the world to see stuff? (You can  buy tickets at that link there, btw.)

Meanwhile, I must get going here!! Jesus. I’ve been working on this post for 3 hours already. I’ve got to get this house clean!! Okay!! Have a great Saturday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys! See ya!!!

Don’t Puke — It’s Art!

Jesus Christ — what a fucking day.

I have spent the entire day at my desk, working on In the Shadow of Narcissa (the memoir about my early childhood). Or trying to.

Primarily, I was just going to reformat it today from web pages into a traditional manuscript format, but then I realized that I need to re-write the opening segment somehow, because it sounds more like a prologue right now. I’m not sure if I want to keep it as a prologue. Ideally, I want it to have the present-tense approach that the other segments have except that the first segment happens when I am only about 18 months old. And even though I remember when it happened, I’m not sure how to write from the POV of myself at 18 months old.

When I gave it a try, though, I discovered that putting myself directly into that headspace of myself at 18 months (the first time my adoptive mother physically abused me) really upset me and I spent several hours after that just wanting to throw up.  And wondering why the fuck am I writing this damn thing? Why revisit all this? But also feeling like it’s my life and all I really know how to do is create from my life. And for whatever reason, I feel it’s really necessary for me to write this little book.

My childhood — it had moments that were so beautiful. And they were the last beautiful moments I had until I got well into my 50s. Which, of course, sucks. So I want to write this darn book. Process the whole darn thing. But it also kept making me feel like vomiting.

And I also realized today that Thug Luckless is me, as well — in the sense that he’s this robot on the outside that becomes this deeply sentient thing on the inside, through sexual contact with a whole fucked-up town, whether he wants it or not. You know — I saw weird parallels with my own life. I’m okay with that, though, because he’s a character.  So I can “act out” through him. Whereas the Narcissa book is a memoir. It’s me. When I first began writing it this past summer, it didn’t bother me like this. And it’s really just this opening segment that is upsetting me so much today.

As the sun was going down, even though — or maybe because — it was getting pretty chilly out, I decided to take a walk. Just get air, you know? To stop this desire to vomit.

And, my god, I love this town out here in the middle of nowhere. First off, I headed directly across the street from my house and then stopped in the middle of the train tracks. I looked west and saw the sun going down in the distance, over those tracks that just go on and on through the rest of the entire state. It was so fucking beautiful. All the old houses in stark outline along the tracks. And the trees. The clear sky with those streaks of amber and orange, sinking way down.  And the tracks receding forever into it. A couple stars coming out. Amazing. I wished I’d brought my phone to take a picture.

And then everywhere I looked as I walked, I was just struck by the age of this town and how stunning it looked at that specific hour of twilight. Everything so darn quiet. Such old houses. Such unexpected architecture. And the sidewalk is so close to the houses that you can  look right into them. (A lot of the sidewalks are still the old brick ones from well over a hundred years ago.) I also noticed tonight that a lot of people here have dogs.

In one house, the front room light was on, the curtains were open. I saw an old man sitting at his dining table, writing something. He had tons of books everywhere.  And two boxers were right there in the window, staring at me! They startled me, because I saw the man in the background first, before I saw the two dogs. You know how they get so tense when they stare at you. And suddenly, there they were. I just love boxers.

So many dogs, watching me along the way. Too cute.

And then I turned back onto Basin Street, heading in the direction of my house, and I suddenly realized — wow, there it is. On the corner. Lights on down in my kitchen, lights on up in my bedroom. My home, you know? I finally have a home — and peace from that mercilessly mean woman who raised me.

Somehow, I am going to write this book. For heaven’s sake, it’s only going to be about 40 pages… and it deals with her in what I consider her “best ” years. I’ve got to figure out how to deal with this.

Well, when I went back inside, I sat at the kitchen table and read a new issue of Mojo that came in the mail yesterday. And watched a couple more of those old episodes of Black Books and laughed really hard. And also saw that I can stream Rocketman and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood now– two movies that I really wanted to see. So that made me happy.

Then I went back up to my room, to my desk, trying to figure out how to approach that first prologue/segment of In the Shadow of Narcissa without losing my mind, and right then, as I sat down, a little ladybug was scurrying across a photo of Nick Cave that’s sitting on my desk.

The little beetle was just there, walking across his face. And of course, it instantly reminded me of one of his Red Hand Files letters from the summertime, when he wrote about ladybugs in connection to his dead son, Arthur, and how believing in something (in signs) helps us survive.

So, I took it as a sign, you know? I tried to take a picture of it before it walked off and went down the side of my desk:

The ladybug is there on the left, getting ready to walk off of the picture.

So that’s been my day. Illuminating, I guess. I’ll try to deal with the memoir again tomorrow, before I go off to meet with the director and focus on Tell My Bones.

And now, I’m gonna go crash on the bed, turn down the lights and stream something.

I hope Tuesday was good for you, gang, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys. See ya.

Part of Basin Street, during a full moon this past September.

Everything Went Its Own Way!

You know, yesterday, I took a look at what I had already written in Letter #6, “Captivity,” (Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse), and I actually liked it more than I thought I did. But I still think it needs to be completely re-written. Well, it’s only 2 pages. What I mean is that the voice needs to change — the rhythm of it. It’s too linear the way it is right now. I feel like this is one of those chapters that needs to be more stream-of-consciousness.

So, as I sat and thought about it, more images or thoughts or vague perceptions — I don’t know what to really call them — for Thug Luckless continued to creep in around the edges of my brain. A sort of brain-landscape getting underway there. And it couldn’t be more different from what I’m trying to capture in Letter #6 for the other book. So there was a lot of maneuvering for brain space going on there, but Thug won out, for a little while.

Thug just gets more interesting to me every day.  The strangest things inspire me:

Those (in my opinion) hideously huge monogrammed, square-toed  Balenciaga boots for men. (They look huger on the models than it looks here.)

Image result for balenciaga logo monogram boots for men 2020

The old Rudy Vallee smash, sort of haunting, hit song, “Just An Echo in the Valley” from 1933.

And of course, the tone and overall temperament of Jean Genet’s ode to death & rape in Occupied Paris in the summer of 1944, Funeral Rites.

Image result for funeral rites jean genet

And then add the post-Apocalyptic urban backdrop of P-Town where most of the men were killed in the Apocalypse and there is no longer any working indoor plumbing so all the women are pissing in the streets, and then the pornographic premise of the AI sex robot, endlessly wandering around because the woman who bought & programmed him, died, and none of the other women know how to un-program him, so he’s fucking everyone, and gradually morphing from artificial intelligence into sentient intelligence strictly through sexuality. But nobody knows this is happening to him, or ever knows, and it’s sort of a tragedy. But beautiful.

It’s just an amazing hodge-podge of stuff swirling around my brain regarding Thug –and creating yet another one of those universes that sort of isolates me from everything and everyone around me… but I still love it. It just excites me to no end.

And yet, I awoke at 5:30 this morning,  suddenly feeling like: Okay, gotta get In the Shadow of Narcissa into some kind of manuscript shape today.

WTF??!! Where did that come from? That memoir could not be more different from the other two projects. And I really thought that the other two were on the front burners for now. But apparently they aren’t, because I was lying there in the dark, completely focused on Narcissa.

So there you go. All these projects that sort of lurch forward at the same time around here. And tomorrow I need to focus on Tell My Bones because I’m meeting with the director. And I’m thinking that I’m supposed to be planning on being in NYC next month to begin the table-read process so that I can rewrite the final act of the play and fix one of the main character arcs. Time is flying. And then at some point I have to be in Toronto with Sandra for the round table with the producers and the director for The Guide to Being Fabulous.

I still have no idea when that’s supposed to get underway. I only know the show is slated for the upcoming season, beginning in November, and I have a ton of re-writes still to do on it. But I won’t have any idea what those specific re-writes will be until we do the round table. And Sandra has to be in Stratford (Canada) beginning in April to be in the musical Chicago all spring/summer. So, um, hmmm….

Here’s a handy definition to have:

flex·i·bleˈ fleksəb(ə)l

adjective: flexible
capable of bending easily without breaking.

All right, well.  We’re certainly going to find out about that.

Here, the laundry is just about done. I’m thinking that later today, I’m going to drag the boxes out of the storage closet and take them downstairs and pack up all the Christmas stuff, while streaming more episodes of Black Books. (The dining room currently looks like some sort of Christmas thrift store, everything’s piled everywhere.)

But meanwhile, I have the segments from In the Shadow of Narcissa open on my desktop and I’m going to go over those now and format them into one manuscript and get a feel for how that reads (currently 9 pages).  And then maybe even write a new piece for it (and post it to the site). I’m not sure. Overall, since I want it to be chap-book length, I don’t see it being longer than 40 or 50 pages. I guess we’ll see.

So have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re working on while you’re there! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with yet another cool Tropical Fuck Storm song, “Aspirin.” (William over at a1000mistakes blog in Australia had it as one of his top songs for 2019.) It’s off the TFS album Braindrops, released this past August. Okay. I love you guys. See ya!


[Verse 1]
The last summer that I saw you
At the BP with no cash
You were burnt out like an aspirin
And I was melting on your dash
And this was years ago when Richmond
Was way out on the astral plane
But it was fine ’cause I could see there was a light up in the tunnel
It’s okay, you know I remember how you used to say

[Chorus 1]
When you finally go
You’re gonna find out who you’ll miss the most
Well, I guarantee you’ll find it is not me
It won’t be any of the usual suspects, but whatever, man
Soon enough you’re gonna find out who I mean
When you go, you get to finally meet the one who tortured you
The one who hurt you worse than anyone, even me
And I’m just sorry that I won’t be there to tell you that I told you so
But soon enough you’ll leave, and then you’ll see

[Verse 2]
You’re the old sneakers on the floor, the coat by the front door
The ashtray by the milk crate in the yard
And you’re the dead fern in the hall, all the blanks in my recall
The old Toyota van I sold for parts
You were the house that they tore down
It’s now a vacant block of land
The ache I try to shake when I drive by
And you’re the dog ear in the book
I didn’t even know you looked at
And then other times, you’re furthest from my mind

[Verse 3]
Then I got something in the post, and there it is, your legal ghost
And just goes to show, you know
You’re kinda hard to leave behind
I don’t wanna go out no more, just the thought makes me recoil
It’s like that feeling when unwanted guests
Come banging on your door
They’re either too smart or too dumb
Or they’re too weak or they’re too strong
You said I’d be okay without you, yeah, you’ve been here all along
You were the best time I remember, and I do ’cause life is dull
It’s like you’re half the fucking neurons in my skull

[Chorus 2]
When you finally go, you’re gonna find the only thing you needed
Did exactly as it should and got you through
You did not need nobody’s help, just the idea of being helped
Though at the time it wouldn’t have felt like that was true
And when you go you’ll get to finally meet
The one who tortured you
The one that hurt you worse than everyone, even me

But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon for me
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon to me
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon

c – 2019 Gareth Liddiard

We’ve Got 15 Feet of Pure White Snow Out There, Gang!

Oops! Meant to say 1/15th of half an inch of pure white snow…

Meaning, we got a really lovely little dusting of snow last night. It’s basically all gone now, but it was really just so pretty last evening.

I was on the phone with my father and all the blinds in my room were already closed, so I had no clue it was snowing. In his advanced age, my father seems to have become one of those people who is constantly checking my weather forecast. You know, he always knows what kind of weather we’re expecting out here in Crazeysburg, whereas I almost never do. I’m not much of a weather-checker, beyond sort of glancing out the window and looking at what it’s doing out there and then making a sort of mental assessment. If things are wet, it’s raining. If things are dry, it’s not. If huge gusts of billowing dead leaves are blowing all over the place, it’s windy and all my neighbors are wishing that I’d fucking raked before the wind set in.

And if things are white, it snowed.

So last evening, when the phone conversation had wound down and my dad said, “Okay, well be careful in that weather,” I just assumed he was being weirdly strange and so I ignored it and said, “okay, well; bye-bye” and then I hung up.

A few hours later, when I went into the cats’ room to turn off their nightlight (not that I think cats need a nightlight, I just like the ambiance of it), I noticed that the streetlights outside their window were sort of blurry looking, and it reminded me of some of those Brassai photos of Paris in the 1930s. And I told Huckleberry, who was curled up on the bed, “It looks like Paris out there!” and when I went to get a closer look, I saw that it had snowed! It looked so lovely.

And then I realized that that’s what my dad had meant — Crazeysburg was receiving snow.

I think it’s sort of strange, how my dad has the most minor interest in me that you can possibly imagine, but he always knows what kind of weather I’m having.

My stepmom takes up 99.9% of his attention. She’s extremely ill and in a long-term care facility directly across from where he now lives. He moved into an independent-living facility on the same grounds as my stepmom’s nursing home because he basically spends every single day visiting her. This has been going on for about 7 years already. She’s a wonderful woman, she really is. I love her and it’s heartbreaking to see her deteriorate (she has MS), but even before she got sick, she had 99.9% of his attention and the remaining 1/10th of a percent of his attention went to her children. So I’ve gotten used to him barely noticing that I’m alive, unless of course  he’s in the mood to dash all my hopes about something.

It was like that with my first stepmom, too. But the situation with her had started out really differently. And I was thinking about that last night — when I saw that it had snowed and my dad, who lives 3 hours away, had known it was snowing outside my very windows before I did. But that he could barely care less about anything else going on in my world.

I was remembering what it was like when he used to be interested in me. It was when I was 12.  He became really interested in the things I thought about, what I was doing, what I wanted to do with my life. At that point, he was really supportive of my wanting to be a songwriter. (That changed when I actually moved to NYC and became one, but anyway.) When I was 12, he was having an affair with a 25-year-old girl. At the time, I didn’t know how old she was (or wasn’t), but I did know he was having an affair. I had figured it out and I was the only one who knew. I didn’t say anything because I was cool with it. I was happy for him, actually. I knew that my mother made him insane.

In hindsight, last night, I suddenly realized that he had become interested in me when I was 12 because I was practically as old as his girlfriend. He was probably trying to figure her out because he was in his 40s by then — and back in those days, that was a much older generation from a 25-year-old.

Even though she and I ended up getting along really, really well after he married her, he eventually just found me really distracting. I mean, to be fair, some really, really horrible stuff was going on in my world at that point and I wasn’t able to speak about any of it, so he didn’t know. He just found me really distracting and he wanted to focus on his new wife and so everything between him and me changed. That is a long time ago. It never changed back. Mostly, it got a lot worse. Now we’re just at that point where we acknowledge that the other one still exists and that’s about it.

So I find it really perplexing that he’s so interested in what kind of weather I’m having. And what’s also disheartening is that, in so many key ways, I’m exactly like my current stepmom. I actually am. She and I are very similar and my dad has no clue. He’s aware that I have a play that I have to keep revising and he’s aware of what kind of weather I’m having. And that’s about it.

But rather than get too bogged down in all my various stepmothers last evening, I decided to just look at how pretty the snow was and try to move on from there. It was a little disappointing to wake up and discover it had mostly all melted already. But last evening was really just lovely around here.

Okay. Well, I’m gonna get going here and get down to work. I’ve already spent a good chunk of time this morning trying to figure out if I want a new template for the In the Shadow of Narcissa website. I find the current template just so impossible to use. So unbelievably not user-friendly. But I eventually gave up because all the other templates seem too image-oriented. It’s a little frustrating. But onward.

I have an intense phone call with the director coming up later today, but beyond that, I think the day will be all about Thug Luckless. So I’m excited.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning, “15 Feet of Pure White Snow”!! (And even though I’m not a huge fan of videos, I love this video!) From the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds  2001 album, No More Shall We Part (which pretty much has nothing but incredibly great songs on it). And I was also thinking this morning about how much I love the word “mittens.” I really do. Okay! Have a  super Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys. See ya!

“Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow”

Where is Mona?
She’s long gone
Where is Mary?
She’s taken her along
But they haven’t put their mittens on
And there’s fifteen feet of pure white snow

Where is Michael?
Where is Mark?
Where is Mathew
Now it’s getting dark
Where is John? They are all out back
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow
Would you please put down that telephone
We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow

I waved to my neighbour
My neighbour waved to me
But my neighbour
Is my enemy
I kept waving my arms
Till I could not see
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Is anybody
Out there please?
It’s too quiet in here
And I’m beginning to freeze
I’ve got icicles hanging
From my knees
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Is there anybody here who feels this low?
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Is it any wonder?
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord

Doctor, Doctor
I’m going mad
This is the worst day
I’ve ever had
I can’t remember
Ever feeling this bad
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow
Where’s my nurse
I need some healing
I’ve been paralysed
By a lack of feeling
I can’t even find
Anything worth stealing
Under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Is there anyone else here who doesn’t know?
We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow

Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Raise your hands up to the sky
Is it any wonder?
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!
Save Yourself! Help Yourself!

c – 2001 Nick Cave

And So The Voyage Begins!!

I’ve started all the housecleaning stuff here that I wanted to get to before my mom arrives.  After all, when she left here back in late September, she was leaving a really clean house. I came home from New York to the tidiest house imaginable. It made me so happy.

I wouldn’t want her to arrive next Monday and think, you know: Jesus, doesn’t this gal ever clean anything?

Because, truthfully, when I’m not working on a project (or seven) I’m a bit of a cleaning freak. To the point where I can sort of be annoying. I’m one of those people — I might not actually say it to you, but I’ll be privately thinking it: Wow, did you just move something a fraction of an inch from where I had it?

You’d think I wouldn’t be so — well, I guess anal-retentive is the phrase for it but it sure is unattractive — but you’d think I wouldn’t be like that, since I have 7 cats who usually decide that everything pretty much goes wherever they want it. Still. I do notice when things aren’t exactly where I last placed them.

However… Cleaning is not the voyage I’m speaking of, up there in the title of today’s post!

I’m speaking once again about Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town, the new novel that is fully underway in my brain.

It’s exciting. That whole process of writing a new novel — how the ideas begin to just sort of tumble down into my mind. Sort of like clothes falling down a laundry chute or something. Ideas just tumble in and I have to keep running to my notebook and jot down notes. That’s when I know for sure that a full-blown novel is actually in there, preparing to come out. It just really excites me.

It’s such a different process from, like, Girl in the Night, where I have no clue what I’m going to write, or when I’m going to write it. I only know that I want the book to be under 200 pages, so that means about 18 “Letters” total, depending on the length of each one.

Beyond that, I don’t have any clue what the “Letters” will focus on. The book is just a great big blank in my mind, extending before me. Then, suddenly the next title for a “Letter” will emerge, and maybe a color or a tone will accompany the title. But I won’t really know what it’s going to be about until the piece completely arrives, sort of like a mist rolling in at the edges of my awareness. And then, suddenly, the whole piece will sort of “download.” It could be weeks between title and download, though.

In the Shadow of Narcissa is a similar feeling, but it’s a lot simpler, since each of those pieces is only about 600 words. The only difficult part of that book is to try to retain the perspective I had as a toddler, when the inside of our house was pretty much my whole world, and everything about being alive was brand new and I didn’t understand anything.

I still don’t understand anything, but nothing is brand new anymore.

Well, I shouldn’t say that; I still have feelings about things that I’ve never felt before. So that’s cool.

Anyway, it’s a wonderful feeling — to have all these ideas rushing at me about Thug. It feels like it’s going to be a really complex, dark, amusing, intense sort of filthy book.

You know, in the old days, I used to have to write with the voices of my publishers in my head and their financial agendas looking over my shoulder — which also meant that my agent was looking over my shoulder, too. And that meant I had to seriously rein-in some of the things I wanted to write. Even though I seriously miss having publishers, it really does sort of free up my mind. My imagination. Since the small press market has shrunk so drastically, and each press is just glutted with writers trying to get a deal, I just write what I want to write now and then worry about who there might be to publish it after it’s done.

It just feels so good. Really liberating.

All righty. It’s Tuesday yet again, which means I have no food in the house!! So I gotta drive into town and do something about that. For some reason, the main road out of here is closed. So I have to sort of go the back way — the road that winds along where the old Erie Canal used to be about 200 years ago. And it’s a lovely, narrow old road. However, it takes long enough to get to town and back on the regular road.

Meanwhile…Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files letter thing this morning. He actually touched on some things I think about a lot. You can read it here. Today it’s about grieving — having to grieve publicly, I guess is how you’d describe it.

Okay, I gotta scoot! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang! I leave you with nothing today because I didn’t listen to any music at breakfast. I just sat there quietly and looked at the cats eating while I ate and I wondered how I got here (to Earth) and how they got into my life and where we’re all going to after this… I love you guys. See ya!

The cats eating breakfast in their corner of the kitchen, 2 summers ago, before Daddycakes died.