Tag Archives: marilyn jaye lewis

Wherein We Bid a Fond Adieu to the Rotten Fence!!

Yes, tomorrow the rotten fence is coming down and being hauled away!

I thought I would share with you the lovely view from my backdoor as the fence stands now. And if you notice the small slab of concrete way in the foreground of the photos – this covers up the original well from when the house was first built in 1901. You can easily pick up the cement slab and see the old well.

View with the back side of the horse & buggy barn (and my neighbor’s car, parked in the alley).

 

Soon we will have a view of Basin Street and the alley in front of the barn!

I am really excited about this, gang. I’m glad the fence doesn’t have to go through yet another winter. Really, all you have to do is touch this thing and sections of it fall over. And when the winter winds blow, forget about it…

My mother is probably coming the first week of November, so this means the fence will be long gone. Yay.

Okay. Thanks for stopping by. Have a terrific Monday, wherever you are in the world! See ya.

Wherein the Muse Switches Gears & Asks “What the fuck do you really want?”

My reply to the Muse was, “Surely, I only want what You want.”

Which sometimes is not true. Sometimes, it seems I only want what I can’t possibly have at that moment.

This goes back to the day after my most recent post, wherein I had such a difficult time with Chapter 12/b. of Blessed By Light. And was perturbed by the disappearance of 17 hours from my getting-shorter-by-the-minute life, when I felt I should have been working on the revisions of the TV pilot instead. (I guess I’m going to turn my creativity into a moral issue now. Sounds healthy.)

The following morning, out of bed I leapt, knowing that the remainder of Chapter 12/b. was awaiting me!

Well, 2 pages came out immediately but then – nothing. Suddenly, out came revisions for the TV pilot.

I’m not knocking it, because they’re good revisions. They had way more depth than I was expecting. But still. I was, like, “But Chapter 12/b. is still just hanging there…”

The Muse: “But yesterday you carried on like a big baby, wanting the TV pilot, blocking me at every turn while I tried to give you really good pages on the new novel.  So, today I’m giving you the pages of the TV pilot – pages you cried and carried on about for 17 hours yesterday – and now you’re getting all pissy because you want the rest of the novel. Why don’t you just tell me what the heck you want? Hm? How ’bout it? Tell me: what the heck do you want? Why don’t you just give it some thought – you know, get some of that clarity you’re so famous for – and then get back to me once you figure out what the heck it is you want.” (Contrary to the title of this post, my Muse does not actually use the “F” word – I’m the only one in the room who uses the “F”-word – and, at that, quite constantly.)

Then he went on a little holiday for a couple of days, wherein, I sat in the room alone and fumed and became complacent and worried and did some other stuff.

Well, today we’re working again on the TV pilot, because the Muse and I had a little chat last night while I was driving home late in the car; wherein, I said, very compliantly, “You just choose what we’re working on tomorrow, and when I wake up in the morning, I will know what you’ve decided we’re working on and whatever you decide, I know I am going to be really, really happy about. How does that sound?”

I’m actually not really kidding.  This Muse I’ve got now is full of vitality, and personality, and emotions. I can actually tune into him when he’s around. It’s remarkable and it’s amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

(Yes, in case you’re curious, I do sometimes wonder if I’m completely fucking nuts. However, I figure that if I’m getting good work done, and I’m still able to function as if I at least look completely normal – i.e., pay bills, do chores, show up for work – then it doesn’t actually matter anymore if I am nuts. It’s all about the writing now.  I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’m a very late-fall chicken, heading into early winter. All I really care about anymore is to get my work done.) (Okay, well, that and sex.)

Me as a spring chicken. Cleveland, 1962 or 1963. I’m with my older adopted brother. I have not seen him in literally decades.

In My Life, Coffee Never Changes

But, of course, everything else does.

I’m one of those old-fashioned coffee drinkers and I steadfastly refuse to allow this to change.  Meaning, I drink an old-fashioned style of coffee: percolated Chock Full o’ Nuts. And that’s how I start every single morning, and have for literally decades.

And thank God for that. Because, at least, you know, there is something I truly love that I can just always reach for. Nothing else really remains, does it?

Wow, yesterday was difficult.

I awoke at 4 A.M. with Chapter 12/b.  of the new novel, Blessed By Light, waiting there in my brain. I could tell I had sort of “downloaded” it during the night. And I was really excited. I could sense what it was going to be about, I knew it was in there. I got out of bed, made coffee, fed cats, etc., sat down at the laptop and —

17 (!!) freaking hours later, I had managed to get 3 and 1/2 pages out. You know, what is that?? I like the pages I finally ended up with, but the 17 hours part is the part that confounds me.

I had expected it to be a relatively simple thing, and then I would switch to working on the revisions for the TV pilot, which are truly pressing and really, really difficult for me. But an entire day was spent writing 3 and 1/2 pages.

I was just so frustrated with myself.

Twice I even took these really strange naps. Meaning, I would suddenly feel like I had to collapse. I’d go over to the bed, lie down, and be out like a light for maybe 10 minutes. Just a really deep sleep. Then I’d pop awake and realize that I needed to add a sentence about the view from the balcony in Paris at night.  You know – you can’t just stand there on the balcony and smoke without saying something about the view because it’s Paris, right?  Seemingly important stuff like that, but it didn’t really get me much farther.

I was getting sort of depressed. Plus, I’ve also made this pact with myself that I am never allowed to have suicidal thoughts again. I need to just stop it, forever. And that’s really difficult, too, because now where is the closest exit? Nowhere. That’s where. You have to just sit and get the writing done. As Sartre warned us: No exit, baby.

Around 6 PM, I took a break and walked to the cemetery. This is the resting place for most of my characters in the other new novel I’m writing,  The Hurley Falls Mysteries: Down to the Meadows of Sleep, and I thought it would help to be out among friends.

It did kind of help, frankly, but more than that, it was just sobering.  I mean, there were all the men, the founders of the town I live in, along side their wives. Most of them dead for well over 200 years now.  And yesterday, I noticed that most of them died either right around the age I’m at now, or even younger than me.

Okay, well, thanks for that head’s up. I have so much writing I still want to get done, you know?  Projects sitting here waiting for my complete and undivided attention. I don’t mind dying, but I do mind not getting any more of my work done.

And then, of course, my eye falls on the occasional tombstone of a baby who lived about 2 weeks, or maybe even a day.  And this, about 200 years ago, as well.  I mean, it’s so heartbreaking, but it’s also, like, well okay, why am I here? (I mean that existentially; not why am I in the graveyard.)

I stood there on that hillside, looking out at the valley below me – all the cornfields that have been harvested and are now ready for winter to come (even though I can’t remember when summer ended and it became fall); the foothills all around for as far as I can see are gorgeous. An old church. A few old houses. Trees galore. Just beautiful country. Just lovely. So contented and peaceful-looking – so unlike moi.

And I thought to myself, you are not really going to just stand here in this old graveyard on this hillside and cry are you? That will not solve anything at all. Go back to the laptop, sit down in front of it and get those words to come out. Just do it.

So I walked back home, made myself eat something (about 4 tortilla chips and maybe a tablespoon on guacamole – I have lost almost 20 pounds since the Muse arrived during the summer and I kinda stopped eating), I got the coffee set up for the morning, closed down the house for the night and went back upstairs for the duration.

You know, I sat there for a few more hours, polished what I had already gotten down on the pages, but the rest of it – words that I could tell were still in there – refused to come out.  So I just went to bed.

This morning, you know – a second chance to maybe get it right this time. And thank God, the coffee was there. An anchor to all my Great Expectations.  So we’ll see, gang. We’ll see.  (And my mother will be coming soon. I seriously need to clean this house.)

Where it Goes

I am, of course, talking about Time. (I want to add that this post contains a topic that might be really, really offensive to readers. Sorry in advance.)

I woke this morning at 3:38 AM and Instagram ping-ed me and told me that people were updating. Of course I immediately wondered, what are you people doing up at this hour and what are you doing on Instagram, for Christ’s sake? But I looked at the posts and was sadly reminded that today is the 1st anniversary of Tom Petty’s death.

For me, the saddest part of Tom Petty’s death is that he left behind a wife, children, grandchildren, and really close friends.  One of the things I saw on Instagram was a photo one of his daughter’s had posted. He’s much younger in the photo and the lullaby he wrote for her many years ago when she was a baby is posted there (a really beautiful song – one of my favorites) and I thought, okay, can this BE more painful at 3:38 AM, as I lie here in bed in the dark?

And I thought, it must be so sad to lose your father when he’s relatively young. And then, with a sense of complete astonishment, I realized that I had lost my(biological) father when he was relatively young.  I was 38 and he was 53.  Lots younger than Tom Petty was. What a feeling of disconnection, that I could forget something like that about my own life.

I’m now 5 years older than my dad was when he died, and I find this barreling-forward of Time just incomprehensible.

The hardest part to accept is that he’s now been dead for nearly 20 years, and that I actually knew him for 10 years, and that means that the 28 really painful years of my life that I didn’t know him are now superseded by these 2 other facts.  How can that possibly be? Where did the Time go?

From the time I was 5 years old up until what felt like forever, my biological father was the most important person in my world. I’m not over-stating it when I say that finding him was the most important thing for me about being alive.  I have one of those really sad birth certificates that says “Father Unknown,” and my mother steadfastly refused to ever tell anybody who my father was. So the odds of me ever having found him were so not in my favor, that the only thing on my side was God. And luckily God is usually all you need. God & faith in God. And when it came right down to it, my father actually found me. (My novella, Ribbon of Darkness, is about 98% nonfiction. It comes really close to documenting what actually happened.)

Long-time readers of my erotic writings (life) know by now that I’m a hardcore submissive with seriously complicated daddy-issues.  I’m okay with this, and I’ve written a  lot about it over the years. I’ve sort of untangled a lot of my own questions about it and I can accept this about myself. It’s who I am.

But probably the hardest thing about my dad and I finding each other (I was 28, he was 43) is that we fell in love and got extremely close to becoming incestuous. And that’s when “daddy-issues” get amazingly complicated and overwhelming.  I would have done anything he wanted to do; anything. Luckily, he had a sense of integrity that was not to be believed.

He had been career-Navy. A Navy SEAL in Vietnam, from 1965 until Saigon fell in 1975 . And even though Vietnam left him a boundless alcoholic, being career-military gave his character really strong underpinnings of knowing right from wrong.

Our most harrowing moment: We were sitting at his kitchen table in his trailer in the middle of the Nevada desert; drinking, smoking, the only 2 people left alive on Earth – or so it felt.  We were so in love. And it kept getting later and things kept getting deeper, until I finally said, “It’s okay if you want to sleep with me.” Even though, with every fiber of my being, I did not want to say that.  It came out anyway, and the world just stopped, you know? We just looked at each other. As they say, I was all-in; my cards were on the table. I didn’t regret saying it, really, but I did regret the position I had then put him in. It was so difficult. Just so fucking difficult. And he said, “No, it’s actually not okay if I want to sleep with you – you’re my daughter.”

The last really meaningful conversation my dad and I had, in the late summer of 1989, was heart-wrenching.  We were on the phone – he in his trailer outside Reno, me in my tenement apartment in NYC. It was god-awful hot, a huge harvest moon – the kind where the moon just glows and seems unimaginably enormous, and so close to the Earth. And my dad was crying and he told me he was in love with me, that he wanted to marry me and spend the rest of his life with me but that he knew this was impossible, and he knew that I needed to be with some other man eventually and that he couldn’t stand the thought of me being with anyone else, and that he didn’t know how he was going to survive it.

I had no way of handling that conversation. I felt so terrible.  He wound up going out and getting mind-numbingly drunk, got a DUI and spent quite a number of days in jail.  And all that time we had spent being just so joyfully  in love, though not having ever had sex – well, it was as if the life-line to all that was severed and just sent drifting out into nothingness; un-claimable.  Eternally.

After he got out of jail, he was basically more angry than anything, really. Our relationship changed. When I told him I wanted to write about him (non-erotically) because he truly had had a remarkable life, he told me that if I ever wrote about him, he would stop speaking to me.  Because he was really, really private. And the things he’d told me about himself, his life, he felt he’d told me in confidence.

I agreed not to write about him, and put all my notes away – for good. When he got sick with cancer (from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam), he stopped speaking to me anyway. He didn’t tell me he was sick. He didn’t tell me he was dying. He went to live with one of my step-sisters, whom I despised (if only because he had raised her and hadn’t raised me. I was so envious of her and her sister and brother – all of whom I just detested and they didn’t like me at all, either). Still, my dad chose her as the daughter who was going to be there for him in his final months on Earth. (Under it all, though, I got the feeling he didn’t want me to know that he wasn’t larger than life; didn’t want me to see him as simply a human being; one that was being devoured by cancer.)

Regardless, my step-siblings didn’t even tell me that he had died. And after he was cremated, his ashes scattered over the desert; when my uncle (whom I’d never met) went to Nevada to go through my father’s things, he found a whole stack of stuff I’d given my dad that my step-siblings were going to throw away. At that point, my uncle found out that no one had told me that my dad had died, or that he’d even been sick. He found a publicity photo in among the stack of stuff I’d given my dad, and my uncle called my publicist in New York City. How fucking wonderful, right? To get a call from my publicist. “Marilyn, I hate to tell you this, but your dad is dead.”

My publicist, for Christ’s sake. My step-sister had my fucking phone number and my address.

Once my dad died, and died in this way that was so far removed from me, I felt that all bets were off, and I chose to write about him. And am still writing about him, obviously. And will write about him again in my memoirs.

But this morning, thinking about Tom Petty and how sad his daughter was, and all that; what came back to me was how deeply and desperately obsessed I was with my dad when I was 12 years old. He was the center of my world and I had no clue who he was. At the time, the Beach Boys had a hit song on the radio, called  California Saga. For some inexplicable reason, whenever I heard this song on the radio, when the Beach Boys would sing the lyric “have you ever been south of Monterey?” it made me think of my phantom father and I would start to cry. Literally, I would sob. I would sit alone in my 12-year-old, white & pink bedroom and sob.

Years later, when I finally met my dad, I found out that back when I was 12, he and his 2nd wife (who had died before I met him – the mother of those 3 step-siblings I hated because he had raised them), were living around Monterey, CA. (You have to listen to the song to get this part.) Jesus. You know? He split his time back then between Monterey and Midway Island, because he was still career-Navy.

And in another odd twist, he gave me a photo of himself from that very year of the Beach Boys’ song, when he was on Midway Island, but living around Monterey. The irony was just so spooky.

My father was a blue-eyed blonde. Here he is on Midway Island at age 27, when I was 12.

I never told him about the Beach Boys song, or what it did to me when I was 12 whenever I heard the song on the radio.

But this morning, at 3:38 AM, when all of this came back to me, all these intense years later, I knew that, as difficult as so much of it became, God had answered a 12-year-old girl’s prayer in spades.

I found my father, and he fell in love with me. I’m going to just forget everything else that came after that.

 

The Homecoming!

No, not this one (although I really, really loved it a lot when I was 11 years old):

The first “episode” of The Waltons: The Homecoming, 1971

But, rather, my little family of raccoons (!!) came back to the maple tree outside my bedroom window this morning.

About 10 days ago, the little cubs were old enough to leave the hollow of the tree, and the mommy racoon took them off to go adventuring. I thought I might not see any of them again until the Fall.

But, around 7 AM this morning,  suddenly they were all back in the tree and just as cute as could be! So playful. And still no damage to my roof, so — YAY.

I think it’s  true, that out here in the country there are lots more interesting things for raccoons to get into than to spend time destroying my roof. (See a post down below somewhere re: how destructive the adorable raccoons were to my old house in “the city.”)

On another note…

I wish I could have gotten a photo of that full moon last night for you!  It was unbelievably breathtaking — so huge, way off in the distance, cresting on the hillside in the darkness, overlooking the miles and miles and miles of farms in the valley. I was driving alone, out on an old two-lane highway here in the Hinterlands.  It was pitch dark out except for that amazing rose-hued moon (and a bunch of fireflies).

I’m guessing you probably saw the moon yourself, wherever you are in the world. But something about beauty and human nature; you want to capture it somehow and share it with everybody, even if they’ve already seen it with their own eyes!

Okey-dokey. I gotta get back to the manuscript, gang.  It’s going good, but I’m at one of those junctures where I don’t have a freakin’ clue what happens next, so I’ve gotta sit here patiently and stare at the blank page. Eventually the characters will wake up and tell you what you need to know. It’s best to be paying attention when that happens!

So, have a splendid Saturday, wherever it takes you, folks! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

USA Today

 

 

 

 

That snag in the road

I realize it’s a mixed metaphor.

It stands for when you’re just tootling along on the computer keyboard, happily writing your new novel, when a single word stops you. Brings you to a sudden halt.

You ponder that word. You know it’s not the right word. But what is the right word? What would be the perfect word? Then you realize, No it’s not the word that’s wrong; it’s how you’ve structured the sentence… Hm. How to re-structure it, then?

And the next thing you know, you’re dissecting whole paragraphs and suddenly everything seems to be written in a different language than the one you thought you were writing in and the whole manuscript begins unraveling. How did that happen?

Before you do anymore damage to your otherwise perfectly reasonable manuscript — STOP. Just stop it. Stop tinkering. Close the laptop and walk away!! You are clearly not in alignment with it and nothing good can come from that.

That was yesterday, folks. I had that kind of strange writing day. Luckily, I’m 110 years old now and have had many of those types of days before and know that it will pass. I’m hoping today will be better. I’m hoping that when I open the Word file and look at the Hurley Falls manuscript, it will be back in English, the language I’m most comfortable writing in…

Actually, my secret is (and I teach this to all my writing students), there is a completed, perfect version of your book, script, poem, whatever, already in existence and all you need do is tune into that version and let it flow through you with confidence into this reality.

That’s why it’s best to walk away when you’re feeling out of alignment with something because you actually are out of alignment with it, for now, so stop trying to “fix” it and go do something fun instead.

And I did!!

I had another splendid time at the theater last night!

I saw I Hate Hamlet (Paul Rudnick, 1991). I’d never seen it before and wasn’t sure what to expect, except that it would be a comedy and that it had key elements that I would probably really enjoy (i.e., I’ve always loved John Barrymore. No, I’m not that old; he was dead before I was born, but only by about 18 years, so his reputation was still part of the overall movie and theater culture when I was growing up).

I wasn’t expecting the John Barrymore character to have so much depth, though, since the play was a comedy.  But depth it had. And I came away feeling they did a great service to John Barrymore by not simply treating him as a lush-has been.

As happened in A Chorus Line a couple weeks ago, actors who are really young (very early 20s) are in the key roles and they blew me away. An actor named William Joseph Bureau played Barrymore last night and I was really impressed with his ability to tap into something timeless and have such compassion, passion, and humor. He isn’t even out of college yet. How does that happen?? Well, happen it did!

And Jack Baylis, the young man who plays the LA actor who moves to NYC and tries to take on the role of Hamlet (under the tutelage of Barrymore’s ghost), was part of last summer’s company and was my favorite last summer.  Though last night’s play wasn’t a musical, Jack Baylis had the part of the lieutenant last summer in South Pacific and had the most beautiful voice. Literally. Clear as a bell. So suited to Broadway.  When he sang, Younger than Springtime, it was truly the highlight of my whole summer.

It’s a moment I actually keep remembering, in fact. I’m guessing that, the older I get, I’ll keep remembering that moment — when someone really young and gifted was singing Younger than Springtime and time stopped. I’m guessing I’ll keep remembering it until I can’t remember stuff anymore.

That’s what is so great about live theater — those truly magical moments stay with you long after all the useless, or unhappy, or disappointing moments of everyday life have slipped away.

Okay. I gotta get crackin’ here and take a look at Hurley Falls. Have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are in the world, gang, and enjoy whatever you’re doing! (And if you’re not enjoying it, walk away and make room for the miracles!) Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

It’s getting to be that time of the summer!

Yes! That time of year where YOU, the gentle reader, gets to rob me blind!!

Yes, I’m talking about the Smashwords 10th Annual Summer Sale, and it begins July 1st, ending July 31st. I will post the links here on the blog at the beginning of the month.

All my titles published on Smashwords, in all eReader formats, will be entirely free to download for the month of July. My titles on Smashwords are:

  • Twilight of the Immortal
  • Freak Parade
  • The Muse Revisited, Volume I: Early Erotica
  • The Muse Revisited, Volume II: Early Erotic Novellas & Longer Works
  • The Muse Revisited, Volume III: More Early Erotica

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I’m not a super huge fan of the Smashwords giveaways, primarily because my books are often downloaded there when they’re for free, but rarely ever purchased there when they’re not for free. (In case you’re curious about stuff like this:  I sell more eBooks on Amazon.UK, and regular print books in Germany, than anywhere in the world.)

An example of what I mean re: Smashwords: The eBook edition of my super-duper award-winning erotic novel, Freak Parade, has been downloaded for free nearly 1000 times during the giveaways since it’s publication there in 2010 –yes, nearly one thousand free downloads; think of the royalties I didn’t get!! And it has sold there 56 times. And it has only been reviewed there once  by someone I didn’t actually know.

And yet, I still publish on Smashwords and I still participate. All these books and short stories are really old now anyway, so it doesn’t really matter that much to me, and it’s allegedly good for PR. Although I can’t really imagine anyone downloading an erotic book for free and then, if they liked it, not giving it away for free to someone else. I wasn’t born yesterday, gang.

In fact, in the early days, when my writing first became popular (in the late 80s & early 90s), many people Xeroxed my magazine stories and faxed them to other people all over the country. It was 100% completely and entirely pointless to think I was going to get paid for any of that. (I did, however, get a visit from the FBI because one of my early Xeroxed & faxed stories had inadvertently attached itself to a bunch of pedophiles, so that was fun…) However, at the peak of my erotica-writing career, my 100% completely, certified-non-pedophile essays, short stories, novels, novellas, and edited works, sold nearly 100,000 copies, all of which I did get paid for. So I think that, back then, royalty-free Xeroxing & faxing created pretty good word-of-mouth for me in the long run.

So I don’t really mind that much about Smashwords. It still matters more to me that a reader somewhere likes something of mine they’ve read — that matters more to me than what they might or might not have paid, when you get right down to it.

That said, here’s another topic that long-time loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recognize: how much collectors’ copies of my old books sell for on Amazon! If you clicked on the link to Twilight of the immortal in the blog post from the other day, you probably  spotted a print edition  selling there for $491.11 (!!!!) This is a TERRIBLE edition, filled with typos (it’s why I no longer allowed it to be sold in print by that publisher and ended up publishing it myself), but more than likely it was autographed by me at some point, probably in London several years ago. And that’s why these really old books of mine have inexplicable price tags.  I’ve signed an awful lot of books.

All righty! On that happy note, I’m going to dive back into writing the Hurley Falls Mysteries: Down to the Meadows of Sleep, then I’ll drive into town after dinner to see I Hate Hamlet! Sounds like a blissful Wednesday, if you ask me. Hope yours is likewise!!

Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya!

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t be happier, gang!

First off, I finally have a haircut. And I got it by way of standing in front of the bathroom mirror this morning and simply snip-snip-snipping it off with a small pair of barber’s scissors.

I am so darn busy — and seemingly have been since last November — that I can’t ever get myself to the hair salon in a timely manner to get my hair trimmed. Yes, just a trim. That’s all I ever need. And now the salon is but a mere 5 minute walk from my house and I still couldn’t get myself over there. So, following in the footsteps of one of my many muses who happens to cut her own hair —

K D Lang

— I finally decided that enough was enough. That I could no longer leave the house with a mile-long bunch of dead, split-ends anymore, so off they came!! (But only about 2-inches. I’m not likely to ever be as drastic as KD Lang is when it comes to hair…)

I instantly felt several pounds lighter, at least in spirit. And when I sauntered out into the world to run my errands, everyone at the gas station and at the grocery store was visibly relieved that they no longer had to look at my unsightly split-ends anymore.

Yay!

The other thing that I’m really, really happy about is that the complete revision of my mystery novel, once called The Miracle Cats, but now called The Hurley Falls Mysteries, at last started coming out onto the page on Thursday. I’m really, really happy with the new direction it’s taking, gang. I’m finally back in that space where I can’t wait to get in front of the laptop in the morning and start writing.

This first book in what I hope will be a series of Hurley Falls Mysteries, is titled: Down to the Meadows of Sleep.

The other thing that I’m super excited about is that this Wednesday, I have my ticket to the theater again. They’re now doing I Hate Hamlet (Paul Rudnick, 1991).

Loyal readers of this lofty blog — well, really long-time loyal readers of this lofty blog, who remember when I was in the throes of writing Twilight of the Immortal, my novel about Hollywood in the late nineteen-teens, early 1920s; the very same novel that, upon completion after my ten years of writing it, my agent took me to a celebratory dinner at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood and declared, “Marilyn, this book is your masterpiece! The only thing I can compare this to is F. Scott Fitzgerald…. but unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. No one’s buying novels like this right now” — and she turned out to be 100% correct;  well, long-time loyal readers who remember all that, will no doubt recall that I love old Hollywood.

I Hate Hamlet is, loosely, about a modern-day LA actor moving into John Barrymore’s old apartment in NYC; an apartment haunted by Barrymore, and then shenanigans ensue. Here’s a shot from the theater’s Facebook page!

I Hate Hamlet at the Weathervane Playhouse; William Bureau playing John Barrymore’s ghost.

I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

All righty! On that happy note, I gotta go downstairs and finish doing the laundry, and then get back at The Hurley Falls Mysteries and get some good work done on that, because tonight, Endeavor returns to PBS! I need to be front & center for that, gang!

Have a great Sunday, wherever you are! Keep those miracles coming, gang! And thanks for visiting. See ya!

Shaun Evans playing Endeavor on PBS

 

It doesn’t take much to make me happy!

No, it doesn’t take much to make me happy, which does not mean that I would shoo away a great big bunch of stuff that would also make me happy!

But, in this instance, I’m talking about 3 specific, small happiness-deliverers.

One, is yesterday’s delivery of this:

 

Truly the most awesome fan, ever. It’s made by Lasko. I have a more traditional-style, small rotating Lasko fan that still works great and that I’ve had, literally, for 20 years already. With that kind of track record for Lasko fans, it could very well be that I will die before this new fan ever wears out.

However, I digress…

Several friends told me about this miraculous fan once they knew how god-awful the humidity was in my new (very old) house. I didn’t want to invest in any kind of AC unit yet, because my house won’t be getting new insulation until the early fall, and the new furnace will also be completely re-installed then. It’s not running correctly. But investing in a new fan, one that everyone raved about, seemed like a good idea. And I have to say, it truly is an awesome fan, gang.  Somehow, it puts out incredibly cool air.

It is super quiet,  rotates, has 3 speeds, has an ionizer thingie, and a remote control. I never dreamed that I could ever be lazy enough to love a remote control for a fan, and yet… ! It appears I am.  I can lay in bed in the dark, aim and just go: click, click, click. Too fun! So if you, as I do, suffer from the brain-deadening affects of overwhelming humidity, you must buy this fan. It is a little pricey for a fan, but a lot of places have it on sale right now.

The other small thing that happened yesterday that made me happy is this:

Yes, that is a kitchen sink drain.  One side of my kitchen sink has been leaking since the day I moved in. The kitchen sink has all new pipes underneath it, but someone did not install one of the sink drains correctly.

My friend, Diane, came by yesterday and installed a brand new one! Now I don’t have to keep a bucket under the sink and empty it out at the curb every 2 days…

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with all that extra time. Perhaps just sit in front of the new fan.

The 3rd thing, is that the brand new outdoor hose spigot that came with the house, was also not installed correctly.

At the start of the spring, I bought a brand new hose and a new sprayer, and, as seen in a post below somewhere, I bought a lot of flowers. I excitedly connected up my new hose only to discover that the bright shiny new spigot does not work! (I think I moved into a fake house, gang.  Things are shiny and new on the surface, but don’t actually work…)

(This also happened when my new gas stove was delivered the day I moved in. When the guy tried to install it, he discovered that whoever had installed my new electric water heater in the basement had capped off the gas line, without even installing a valve to open it again!  200 and 50 additional dollars later…)

(To learn about my electrical-wiring nightmare, and the situation with my water meter being put on backwards so that the meter ran in reverse, alarming city hall, see various posts below.)

Anyway. I digress yet again.

Diane took the new spigot apart and discovered that whoever had installed it, had damaged it. While we ran  out of time yesterday, she will be coming back out to the Hinterlands with one of these::

I told you that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. I cannot wait until I no longer have to make nine (9!!) trips to the (no-longer-leaking) kitchen sink with my watering can just to water all my flowers in front of the house. (This doesn’t count the flowers on the kitchen porch, but it’s a lot easier to get to the no-longer-leaking kitchen sink from the kitchen porch…)

Okay! I’ve tarried here long enough. I’ve got to get some writing done while the caffeine is still in high gear.

Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a thoroughly terrific Thursday, wherever you are in the world! See ya!

 

 

It’s gonna be a great summer!

Wow, gang. It’s already shaping up to be quite a terrific summer out here in the Hinterlands. Except for that pesky humidity…

(Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I just recently bought a very old house (117 years) out in the country that has no central AC. It has 22 large windows, though, so I’m not dying yet, technically-speaking.  Not yet, anyway…)

And those same loyal readers will also recall that while I wait to hear from seemingly every TV producer on the planet re: my TV pilot, Cleveland’s Burning; and while I await revision notes on the one-woman musical I wrote with NYC-based actor, Sandra Caldwell, (we are gearing up to workshop it Off-Broadway); I decided to go back to working on that illustrated novel-in-progress, The Miracle Cats — the mystery novel that I’m writing and that my pal, Val in Brooklyn, is illustrating.

Well, since moving out here to the Hinterlands, I’ve become very inspired to make significant changes to the premise of the The Miracle Cats. (The main one being that rather than have it be a “Miracle Cats” series, it’s now going to be a “Hurley Falls Mystery” series, although there will still be cats in it.) And the fictional Hurley Falls will now be based on this tiny village I now live in, rather than having it be a strictly fictional town, based on nothing real at all.

I’ve been doing research the last several days, trying to find out more about the history of this village, and I stumbled upon some really cool stuff, gang! One being that all these ancient burial mounds around the county were built by some really tall people! Charred skeletons and various burial-related accoutrements were excavated around here, nearly 200 years ago, and the excavations revealed that the skeletons were all between 8 feet and 9-feet 4 inches tall. Including an infant skeleton, 3 and 1/2 feet tall.

It just staggers my imagination. Of course, this is going back well over 2000 years, but those really tall people were walking around all over (what is now) this village.  Just too cool to imagine. And they didn’t appear to be related to any Native American tribal people. They were sun worshipers, more closely related to people from ancient Greece and Egypt.

Then I also did some research on the more modern-day founders of this village, nearly 200 years ago, as well. And to my delight, discovered that most of those early pioneers are buried in the cemetery a few blocks away from my house! It really brought everything “to life,” as it were.  I was so excited to discover all those graves so close by.  I walked around the cemetery, with my handwritten list of names, and it was like discovering an old friend each time I found a tombstone that matched a name that was on my list. (Another cool thing, is that you can find the grave of someone who died in 1817 and they’re buried not too far from someone who died in, like, 2005. You just don’t see that too often in places where I’ve lived in the past.)

In a sort of “Our Town” type of thing, or “Spoon River Anthology,” the spirits of the people who once lived in the town are part of the Hurley Falls Mysteries. So after I checked off all those names of those people who’ve been buried a really long time, I told them (out loud, unfortunately), “Get ready, guys!! You’re going to live again!!”

However, all that exciting stuff said, it was ridiculously humid out while I was doing all this tracking down of tombstones, and I had tickets to the theater last night. When I got back from the cemetery, drenched in sweat, I took a shower and was still drenched in sweat!

I thought to myself, I cannot possibly go to the theater tonight. I have to sit here for the rest of the night, completely motionless, and just try not to sweat…

However, since I already bought season tickets, it seemed ridiculously wasteful not to load my sweaty self into my air-conditioned Honda Fit, drive into town and see the show.

I am SO GLAD I did, gang. They were opening the season with A Chorus Line.

I saw the original NY road show of A Chorus Line back in the mid-70s, and it was a show that meant so much to me. And within a couple years of that, I was a professional singer, living in New York City, and a lot of my friends were on Broadway working  in chorus lines, some of them graduates of the old High School of Performing Arts, so wonderfully immortalized in the song “Nothing,” and while I never wanted to be in an actual chorus line, so much of that show became part of how life actually was for me and my friends in NYC — many of those friends having since died from AIDS 25 to 30 years ago.

Last evening, as I was cooling down in my air-conditioned Honda Fit, driving the 15 miles to the theater, I could not imagine a summer stock version of the show capturing anything close to what the original show had meant. And yet…

I have to say…

that I think the version I saw last night…

this version where all of the actors are only in their late teens, early 20s, and so were not even an idea in God’s mind yet, 40-some years ago during the show’s original run…

this version was even better. And it wasn’t “updated” for today’s audiences, or anything. It was the original show. Wow, gang.  It was wonderful!

Well, I leave you with this awesome song from the original 1975 Broadway Cast. Have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are, gang.  Go out there and expect some miracles! Thanks for visiting. See ya!