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Excerpt: Blessed By Light

Chapter 18: The Guitar Hero Goes Home

[Currently live at the Exterminating Angel Press Magazine]

The Guitar Hero Goes Home.

by Marilyn Jaye Lewis.

IT’S JUST LIKE THEY SAY IT IS. You’re floating. You’re going to the light. And then you’re looking down on yourself, at all the men, slamming the palms of their hands into your chest with all the strength they’ve got. I could hear them talking, calling to me to come back. Saw all those lights flashing on the highway. Then they got out that horrible little machine. I could see my chest lurching. I could see you crying. No one seemed to notice that all you were wearing was a little blue trench coat, nothing under it. No shoes, even. Standing there barefoot on the shoulder of the freeway at 3 in the morning.

And George sure is a good friend. I know that now without doubt – not that I ever really doubted him.

I’m glad I’m back, but I didn’t wanna come back. Not when I was out there looking down, because, honey, my god, was it peaceful out there. Just so peaceful.

Not that I wanted to leave you. It wasn’t like that. It was just that peace. It felt like something I had always known and yet had just suddenly remembered. It was all around me. I hated to leave it.

*  *   *

Do I really wanna keep on living if I can’t smoke? Jesus.

Come on, honey. I didn’t mean it like that. Yes, I know this is crucial. It’s important stuff now. I have to make some serious changes here, but goddamn it, I’ve been smoking since I was, like, 10 years old.

And what the hell are all these things on me?

Get me outta this fucking place.

Please.

*  *   *

An angel came to me when I was just a little boy. I was in my bed. A winter morning was just barely creeping through the window shades. It was quite early. My little brother was sound asleep in the bed across the room from me.

She was blonde, the angel, and just so pretty. And she told me things I eagerly believed. All about destiny and dreams manifesting, hearts rejoicing and being fulfilled. She told me this in pictures, you know; not words, as such.

It had something to do with a guitar.

So I begged my dad to buy me one. He said no. I begged again. He said no. I begged some more and he said, “If you don’t shut the fuck up, Christmas is never gonna come.” And he kicked me.

Right on my little shin. My left shin. It hurt like hell. I was just a little boy.

But Christmas morning came and there it was. A big red bow stuck on it and everything. A beautiful acoustic guitar. I don’t know how he afforded it. He worked, and all that, but, man, booze is expensive and he was always drunk.

And then he helped me learn how to play.

He sat me right down on the couch in the front room there, and he taught me C, D, and G. And he said, “These are easy chords. You learn ‘em and you can play about 50% of everything. So just learn ‘em.”

I was stunned, you know? I had no idea he knew how to play a guitar. There were no musical instruments in our house at all. Nothing to indicate I’d come from any sort of musical lineage.

But that Christmas morning, he lit a cigarette, sat down on the couch with my brand new guitar and said, “Sit right next to me here so you can see.” And so I sat down next to him.

He put the neck of the guitar in front of me, his arm came around me – a man who never even hugged me or got demonstrative in any way. His arm goes around me and he takes my little left hand in his and with his what seemed to me to be huge fingers, he helped me shape the chords right there on the frets of the guitar. And by lunch time on Christmas Day, I was playing it. Really playing it, you know?

Because he was right. You can play 50% of everything that’s worth playing in rock & roll with those three chords.

“Oh yeah, your daddy used to play,” my mama said a little while later, while she and I were sitting at the kitchen table, alone. “He played all the time when we were first dating.”

This, of course, was startling news to me. “But it bothered him, you know,” she went on. “Because his daddy – your grandpa, who you never met because he died so young – was a drunk. He drank himself to death when he was 49 years old. And all he did when he was alive was haul your daddy around with him – a beat-up guitar and your daddy. And he’d go hang out in this little bar called the Pissin’ Weasel.” My mama laughed then. She was so pretty when she laughed. “It wasn’t really called that. It was something like the Piston Wheel, or something similar. But your daddy always called it the Pissin’ Weasel. Your daddy’s so funny.”

My daddy was funny? The same man who kicked me on my left shin because my wanting a guitar had irritated him?

“Well, your grandpa would play that guitar for hours on end in that bar and just get so drunk. Made your daddy stay there with him, hour after hour, listening to your grandpa sing those old hillbilly songs. Your daddy didn’t call it singing, though. He called it caterwauling like a drunk skunk in a steel leg-hold trap. And then when it got near closing time, your grandpa would make your daddy drive them both home. Your daddy was just a child. A little boy. He could barely see above the steering wheel!”

My mama went on to explain that it hadn’t mattered at all how angry that whole scene had made my daddy as a little boy, he still grew up playing the guitar. And before long, he was playing it and singing in bars.

“And that’s what he was doing when we met,” she said. “I thought he was the best looking young man I had ever seen. And the way he sang could just melt your heart. I always tried to dress up as pretty as I could – well, as I could afford to, at any rate. And I’d go listen to your daddy sing and hope that he would notice me. And of course, he did. Because I was always there. And then, you know…”

She sat there at the kitchen table and smiled at me in the most beautiful and yet peculiar way. And in the softest, prettiest voice, she said: “Now, don’t you ever tell anybody on Earth that I told you this. But it was right around the time that your daddy and me got married – right around that time; very, very close – we found out I was gonna have you.”

Then she winked at me! I was way too young to have any clue what she’d meant by that. That cute little wink just stumped me. I’d never seen my mama do a thing like that before. It wasn’t until I was a little older and just by accident happened to do the math regarding their wedding day and my birthday. Then it all came together and made great big sense.

They’d been doing it before they got married.

And I was the reason they’d gotten married.

And having a new mouth to feed is what caused my daddy to quit playing his guitar and singing in bars and to go to work at a regular job, because he didn’t want to end up like his own father had – a drunk, caterwauling in a bar, dragging his son around so that he could get a sober ride home at closing time. But instead, my daddy became a drunk who had a regular job that bored him to tears and dreams so dead it filled him with nothing but anger.

Anger and a little rage.

But that Christmas morning, he was patient with me. For the first and last time, if I remember right.

He took my fingers in his and pressed them down on the strings against the frets and said, “No, son, like this. Press a bit harder. Let each of those notes really ring. It’ll hurt, at first, but you’ll get callouses and it’ll be fun to play. You won’t notice any pain.”

Right away, I started writing songs. But I didn’t tell anybody. My brother knew, but I made him swear not to tell a soul. I’m not sure why it bothered me that I was writing so many songs, or why I didn’t want anyone to know. I guess because, down in my heart, I knew I really, really wanted to go hang out in bars and sing and play my guitar. And I knew that wasn’t gonna go over at all in my house. Just not at all. And I was right. Because as soon as I got just a little bit older and started playing music with my buddies and practicing out in the garage like everybody else was doing back then, it pissed my daddy off to no end.

Even though he let us use our garage most of the time. I could tell it made him mad. My grades were suffering and he could see I had no thought in my head about getting a regular job, or going to college, or anything like that.

When I was 18, I left home with my guitar and a couple of the guys I’d been playing music with around town, and my girlfriend – who later became my first wife. We were all going to New York because I was gonna go get famous. I knew I would. I knew I had it in me. I knew my songs were good. But when I was leaving, my daddy took me aside and said, “Just try to keep it in your pants, son. Because there’s no quicker way to kill a dream. You will kill it quick and hard if she gets knocked up. It costs money to feed a kid. More money than you’ve ever seen.”

We all piled into the van and I left my daddy standing there in the driveway, just standing there, staring at me, a look on his face that seemed to say that, even though my little brother had eventually come along, too, and my little sister after that, it was me; I was the one whose mouth had been impossible to feed. I was the one whose hunger had cost him more money than my daddy had ever seen.

When I got a record deal, and when my songs got on the radio, and I got written up in magazines – it made my dad happy. It did. You had to know him pretty well to see it. It wasn’t easy to see the difference in my daddy looking drunk and angry and my daddy looking proud of me. But I knew the difference, and that’s what mattered.

By the time my daddy died, I was really famous. Famous, with two little girls who always had food in front of them whenever they sat down at the table. Girls who’d been conceived in love. Who were sheltered by love. Who were nothing but love to me.

It didn’t hardly cost me anything to feed those girls.

*************

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Non parliamo di Trump o del tempo! Parliamo dell’amore!

Yes, indeed! Why talk about Trump or the weather, when we can talk about love??!!

I’m not really sure what to do about me and my Italian lessons, gang. I do great on all my many quizzes.  But the moment I’m not looking at the app, I pretty much forget every single Italian word I know.

Okay. The Fall Issue of The Exterminating Press Magazine, Heavens Revealed,  is now online.  So, at long last, here is the link to the excerpt they published from my new novel, Blessed By Light. It is Chapter 18: The Guitar Hero Goes Home.

The Guitar Hero Goes Home.

Well, apparently every single solitary soul in Minneapolis follows rules to a “t”.  Because not a single solitary post from inside Nick Cave’s Conversation last night has been posted to Instagram. Only photos from outside the venue have posted. These, of course, are meaningless to me!

However, people did indeed say that the show was incredible. So I’m going strictly on word-of-mouth for this one, gang. It’s really nice, though, that people are finally putting their phones away. (I’m guessing this means that we get to redo the Town Hall show in NYC, and this time have it be phone free!! Yay!! I’m so excited!!)

Okay, well. As I sit here waiting for pigs to fly… (Honestly, I wouldn’t trade the memory of Town Hall for anything, even with its annoyances. Of course, I had that amazing time at Lincoln Center, too, so it’s not like I’ve been deprived of anything.)

I’m doing really good here today, gang. I’m feeling really quiet at the soul level.  I finally slept good. No coughing at all, so I think the cold is at long last gone.

At the breakfast table this morning, listening of course to Tom Petty and thinking about the nature of Life and how it not only ends and moves on but it also constantly circles back in these predictable seasons; I noticed that the sun is taking a while to come up now. At 7 a.m. the sky was just barely light, so it is clearly really fall.  And I am doing okay with it. With the summer being gone, I mean.

I’m feeling like I can handle everything again.  Or maybe even for the first time, ever. I think that it actually is for the first time ever. What I have normally done all my life is cope and survive. And now what I feel like I’m doing is actually living. So that’s pretty cool, right?

I spent several hours hanging out on my bed in the dark last night, being okay with saying goodbye to the wonderful “dead guy”. I didn’t even feel his spirit in my room, as I sometimes do. But I was okay with it. And I was remembering the most amazing summer of my life with him (spent entirely in my bedroom and in my kitchen). And I cannot tell you just how grateful I am that he even came into my world so unexpectedly and so briefly, because it truly changed me.

I was sitting on my bed in the dark, looking out my window at the night and thinking about just how different I actually am now. He taught me so many things about myself. Things I wasn’t happy with and so I changed. I actually changed.

One thing he did was taught me about boundaries, in this very interesting way. Very self-affirming. I had this way of making self-disparaging remarks and it really bothered him that I did that. And I had no clue just how often I did that — said negative things about myself. Early on, he said there were going to be boundaries — things I wasn’t allowed to say anymore.  I simply couldn’t say them; he didn’t want to hear these things coming out of my mouth ever again.

So then, when I would even start to make a negative comment about myself, he would just say, “Boundaries…” and I’d have to shut up. Like, immediately. And that was when I realized just how negative I was about myself, you know? Because he was constantly saying, “Boundaries…” and I’d have to shut up.

And then when I would shut up – you know, sudden dead silence — then I’d be forced to think about what I’d been getting ready to say. And it totally trained me to stop talking that way about myself. And eventually, I  stopped even thinking in that really negative way.

The hardest thing I ever had to do was this other thing he came up with. I had this deep-rooted understanding about my life, as I was growing up, that I was not loved. And from that, I determined that I was never going to be loved. Love just did not exist for me. I knew people felt grateful to me, appreciated me, and all that, and I had a huge capacity to give love, but being loved never entered into it. I could not even imagine being loved. 57 years of that.

My mind could go to some really dark places very quickly back then. My whole demeanor could turn on a dime. Stuff that really alarmed him because he was just not a negative person, at all. I really wanted to be loved. I really, really did. But I literally could not believe that I was. Long story short, whenever I would even begin to go someplace dark or say something that indicated I couldn’t accept that he loved me, I had to make direct eye contact with him and say to him, “Thank you for loving me” ten times!!

I actually really had to do this. He would count up to ten! And I can’t tell you how difficult it was for me to do that those first few times. It was nearly impossible. It was as if my brain was completely re-wiring itself. It was so hard. But as the process went on, it not only became easier, but I actually believed him. And things inside me permanently changed. I finally understood myself to be someone who was loved.

Anyway. That is only a drop in the bucket of things he helped me break free of.  Helped me restore to myself. And I know that it’s important now for me to live my life — to actually live it and not go on to the next realm prematurely. But stay here and get the most joy out of being physical as I can until it’s really time to go.

So. Back to Tom Petty. Back to October — the month that he was born in and died in. I’ll close with the song that ended up really defining him — the song he wrote when he was finally able to process the death of his mom. He allegedly wrote the song in one fell swoop. He woke up at 3 in the morning, hearing it inside his head. Got out of bed, went to the piano, turned on the tape recorder and the entire song just came out; he never had to change a word. Then he went back to bed and woke up his wife, Jane, and said, “Listen to what just came out of me!” And so she listened to the tape and said, “That’s nice, dear,” and rolled over and went back to sleep.

And the rest is history. There isn’t a single Tom Petty fan anywhere who doesn’t know every single word to this song –we could sing it in our sleep. And we process his beautiful mom’s death right along with him, eternally. Forever and ever.

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

“Southern Accents”

There’s a southern accent, where I come from
The young ‘uns call it country, the yankees call it dumb
I got my own way of talking, but everything gets done
With a southern accent, where I come from

Now that drunk tank in Atlanta, is just a motel room to me
Think I might go work Orlando, if them orange groves don’t freeze
Got my own way of working, but everything is run
With a southern accent, where I come from

For just a minute there I was dreaming
For just a minute it was all so real
For just a minute she was standing there, with me

There’s a dream I keep having, where my mama comes to me
And kneels down over by the window, and says a prayer for me
Got my own way of praying, but every one’s begun
With a southern accent, where I come from

Got my own way of living, but everything gets done
With a southern accent, where I come from

c- 1985 Tom Petty

Wake Up! Smell Coffee! Pay Overdue Internet Bill!!

Nothing quite like that gentle reminder from your Internet provider that your bill might be a little bit overdue… (i.e., they interrupt your service at 8 a.m. on the dot…)

You know, it isn’t actually my fault.

For years — literally — my bill was always due on the first of the month. And then, like, 2 months ago, I noticed that the due date had been randomly changed to the 23rd of the month — and they never officially told me this!! Or explained why!!

Of course, they might have told me this and explained why. I never actually read the bill. I just pay it on the first and throw the bill away.

When they changed my due date, I decided to ignore it and keep paying it on the first. This morning, they decided to stop ignoring the fact that I was ignoring them, and they introduced me to this concept of: pay your bill or we’re cutting you off.

So, anyway.  They sort of put a crimp in the joy of my first cup of coffee of the morning while I skim over email — noticing there was a new Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave in there!! Yay! And when I went to click on it and read it — Ooops! Right at that precise moment it became 8 a.m. and then no Internet connection.

Aaaaaach. Fuck you fuck you fuck you.

Of course, their “fuck you” to me carried more weight.

So I called them and conversed with the robot and paid my fucking bill.

And here I now am. Doing laundry. Drinking coffee. Once again, beginning my day.

My cough seemed to get worse during the night, not better. So I didn’t sleep too great. When I finally did get some decent sleep, I overslept and then slept in until 6:30 am. But here’s hoping I will finally kick this stupid cold today.

Okay.

Yesterday was very interesting indeed!

I went to a gas station about 15 miles from here because they had a really great price on gas yesterday. (No, I didn’t drive 15 miles out of my way and use all that gas just to save on gas; it was on the way into town where I buy my groceries.)

It was evening already — dark out. That time that I actually find a little magical at a gas station in the middle of nowhere — all those lights and very few people anywhere around. Well, this lady who’s putting gas in her own car, looks over at me. And then looks at me again. And finally calls out to me: “Do you live in Crazeysburg?”

Me, astounded that anyone on Earth is actually speaking to me, gets very excited and says, “Yes, I do!”

It turns out that she’s my neighbor — she lives one house away from me. And she loves my new car! So she didn’t really recognize me at all, she recognized the car. And so we talked at length about “the car.”

And actually, an elderly couple was coming out of the dollar store, back before I went to NY, and they stopped in the parking lot and stared sort of spellbound at my grown-up, molten lava-colored Honda Civic, and said, “That’s a beautiful car.”

And in Rhinebeck, Sandra’s husband also really loved my new car. In fact, so did my mom — that fateful day when I took that trip to the cornfields of Hell and back and then finally hooked up with her. In a gas station in a tiny town called Clarksburg, where the first words out of her mouth were, “You have a new car!! You didn’t tell me! I’ve been driving all over for a fucking hour, looking for a white Honda Fit!”

Yeah, well. Anyway.

It is so weird to me, that I could own a car that anyone would look at twice, let alone fall in love with at first sight. And to have it be a car that I don’t actually emotionally connect to. I’m gracious, and say “thank you”, and all that. But somewhere deep inside, I’m usually thinking: you should see the car I really wanna buy…

But onward! It was kind of cool speaking to an actual neighbor (whose name was Angie). And now I know that everyone is noticing my new car (all 14 of the people who live around here). (And they’re probably wondering: How come she has that spiffy new car and the roof of her barn is still a complete wreck?! Where is her sense of home-owning priorities?)

Well, you know what Shakespeare said. Some are born with great cars, some achieve great cars, and others have great cars thrust upon them by the Honda dealership even though they were happy with their little Honda Fits and the roofs of their barns are still a complete wreck.

Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files newsletter today was really beautiful. About saying goodbye. And oddly enough, while I was meditating this morning, the man I wrote about recently  — the older married guy with cancer that I fell in love with who changed my life and then died — his essence came to me while I was meditating and he was saying something about me needing to let him go.

Naturally, I immediately blocked that. That’s my fallback position whenever anyone anywhere, living or dead, suggests something to me that would be in my best interests but that I have no desire whatsoever to accept, to acknowledge, or to even listen to.  (I’m making a joke of it but it actually isn’t funny.)

Then I did that Inner Being journaling thing right after the meditation, and there he was again — it was all about me needing to let that guy go. But it supposedly wasn’t about “saying goodbye,” it was about me evolving and expanding past where I am now and who I am now and to be really joyful about it, because spirits are eternal and that guy’s spirit isn’t actually going anywhere; you know, he’ll be there forever, but that I need to sort of redefine myself now and move into my future, and not think so much about someone who has moved on to the next realm.

So I said: okay, I willthink about it really seriously.

And then I put on my less churlish, grown-up self and reluctantly said, “Okay, I will.” And that twinge, you know — of goodbye. That I actually really have to do this and how much it sucks, even though my future is evolving into something really wonderful. And then that Red Hand Files letter being all about goodbyes. It was really bittersweet. Very beautiful.

All right. Speaking of Instagram! Which I was! I was inwardly saying that while there are remarkably fewer photos getting posted to Instagram re: the Nick Cave Conversations now (and I mean from, like, 20 down to like maybe three), Chicago looked like another great show. And tonight is Minneapolis! A town I don’t think I’ve ever been to. I’m not 100% positive about that. I might have passed through it at some point in my distant past. But what matters is that I won’t be there tonight! (I don’t mean that to sound like I’m excited to not be seeing Nick Cave tonight. I mean that it doesn’t matter whether or not I’ve ever been to Minneapolis before. Being there tonight would be the important thing, you know. Anyway.)

There is also a brand new Instagram account for my play Tell My Bones. I’m not a huge social media person. So I’m not really sure how you find it. I think maybe you just go to Instagram and look for tellmybones . And then, of course, follow it.

The website has still not launched but it will soon. (I’m guessing that you can guess what the URL will be…) I don’t handle any of that side of the marketing or publicity, etc., and it is so cool to just get alerts that all this stuff is happening! That all I’m in charge of is writing the play.

Okay, on that note — I gotta go write the play! (Well, that and finish doing the laundry.)

Thanks for visiting, guys. Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world. All other things in my heart considered, I’m doing okay with tomorrow being the anniversary of Tom Petty’s death. I’m just moving on in all kinds of ways here, aren’t I? But I do leave you with this, “In the Dark of the Sun,” from their 1991 album Into the Great Wide Open. Okay. I love you guys. See ya.

“In the Dark of the Sun”

In the dark of the sun will you save me a place?
Give me hope, give me comfort, get me to
A better place?
I saw you sail across a river
Underneath Orion’s sword
In your eyes there was a freedom
I had never known before

Hey, yeah, yeah, in the dark of the sun
We will stand together
Yeah we will stand as one in the dark of the sun

Past my days of great confusion
Past my days of wondering why
Will I sail into the heavens
Constellations in my eyes?

Hey, yeah, yeah, in the dark of the sun
We will stand together
Yeah we will stand as one in the dark of the sun

c – 1991 Tom Petty

Rebels Regardless, With or Without A Cause

Still trying to kick this cold so I slept in a whole hour today.  Doesn’t seem to have done much. I’m still coughing a little and really just tired.

I woke up with the song “Rebels” in my head, which is a really unheard of sort of thing. I never find myself singing that song. And now I can’t think of anything else. (It was a hit off of Tom Petty’s 1985 album, Southern Accents.)

So I wondered why I would be singing that song this morning — I really believe that when we wake up singing certain songs, our Inner Being is trying to communicate something to us — symbolically. Almost like how dreams communicate with us. Privately giving us information, I mean, even though half the time, we don’t understand it.

I played “Rebels” on the CD player during breakfast and thought about it.  And for the first time, really, I realized that most of my ancestors are Southern — they’re from Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Virginia.  (But shortly before coming from the South, they came from Ireland and Germany.)

I don’t know much about my birth mom’s ancestors, beyond her great-grandfather, who was a Baptist preacher. Although I know that they were farmers who settled into southern Ohio after coming up through West Virginia.

On my birth dad’s side, though, the written records go back to 1530, in Germany. And they seem to have been true rebels — you know, rebelling against the Church. They seem to have been on Martin Luther’s side from way, way back.

There is a church in Alsenz, Germany, that still has baptismal records from one set of my ancestors in the mid-1600s — from the branch that wound up going to America and becoming indescribably fertile pioneers in what became Kentucky. Here is a photo of that church in Germany as it looks today. It is still a practicing church:

Evangelische Kirche in Alsenz–  some of my family’s baptismal records are still there from the mid-1600s.

I have always loved Kentucky, even before I knew that my ancestors not only came from there, but also helped settle the State — my grandfather (with about 5 “greats” hyphenated to it) worked alongside Daniel Boone, and then he wound up staying in Kentucky and settling a little area that came to be called Robinson Creek. It is still there — just a tiny area of Pike County, near — astonishingly enough — Robinson’s actual creek.

Anyway, those Mays were absolute rebels, you know. In terms of the “North” against the “South.” And also just in the way they rebelled against society pretty much at every turn. Just one particular strand of it, I mean — the one I came from, as luck would have it.

I have never considered myself a rebel — I just have always been an unshakeable believer in doing what I believe is right (even though “right” is 100% subjective), and not towing some party line because it’s expected of me.

I don’t wake up in the morning wondering what I can do to irk people or piss them off or disappoint them. I never do or say or believe something simply to be contrary or “rebellious”. Yet most people who have had to live with me treat me like I’m doing it all on purpose.

I’ve written here before about my great-great-great-grandfather — the one who was a Kentucky State Senator, and was kicked out of the Senate for being a staunch supporter of the Confederacy. Kentucky was a split State — half Union, half Confederate. And even within his own family there was a split — my grandfather’s brother fought on the side of the Union. My grandfather was killed in the Civil War — drowned during the Battle of Cynthiana.

My great-great-great-grandmother was either pregnant at the time of his death or had just given birth to another baby; I can’t remember now which. They had 7 children. In the family Bible that she kept, she wrote a detailed account about how my grandfather would break away from his regiment when he could, and he and my grandmother would meet secretly under a specific tree somewhere and make love! (They were in their 30s at the time. Married, of course.) She actually wrote about this in the Bible because she didn’t want any of us who came afterward to forget about him. She loved him so much. At least two of those secret rendez-vous’ led to pregnancies — children that my grandfather never got to meet because he was still fighting in the war and then was killed.

So my great-great-great-grandmother was left alone to raise all those children by herself. Luckily she had a lot of sons who took care of her and she lived to be pretty old.

While I love the ancestral women in my family, I really only relate to the men. Meaning that I identify with them, their spirits. And there at the breakfast table, for the first time ever — oddly enough, since all I ever do is think about stuff; you’d think this would have occurred to me before age 59 — I realized that my family were all rebels.

Actually, even my grandmother (my birth dad’s mom) was a rebel in her way. Although she wasn’t proud of it. I got to meet her before she died. She was 89 and we spent several days together at my uncle’s house after my dad had died. And for one afternoon, she and I were there in the house alone and she told me the story of her life. It was very sad but really just incredible.  She’d been engaged to be married to this “nice boy” (this was in Kentucky) and then my grandfather got a job working for her father — and the moment the two met, they fell into lust. She disappeared with my grandfather for a whole weekend even though she was engaged to someone else, and by the time the weekend was over, they had to get married.

Her first 2 babies died as infants, and my grandfather turned out to be just an incurable alcoholic, and so my grandmother always believed that it was God’s way of punishing her for betraying the “nice boy” that she’d been engaged to.

There was other, really sad stuff that happened to her, too, but that sadness aside, this morning I realized that I was quite interconnected to all those rebels — even the ones in Germany who rebelled against the Church. All of it is just in my blood. My other grandmother, my birth mom’s mom, always used to tell me that “the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree ” in regards to me and the things I said and did — and she never meant that in a flattering way.

Oh well.

I don’t know. I’m just the way I am. I do what my heart calls me to do — even when it seems completely inappropriate, even to me, sometimes.

Okay. So Nick Cave’s Conversations resume Stateside — he’s in Chicago tonight! The Instagram photos have been awesome! I hope that’s a trend that will continue. (I never mentioned that he began wearing this really nice black suit.)

And I did discover what time that Youtube thing is on Thursday, when they are going to play Ghosteen for the first time. And, yes, as luck would have it, I already know I will be nowhere near Youtube when that fucking happens!! Damn it. But the following day, it will be in my Spotify thingie so all I will have to do is figure out how to make that thing work. I mean, it works, but it so seldom plays what I’m wanting it to play.

I did pre-oder the CD but it won’t be out until November and even then, it has to ship to me from the UK. They assured me it would arrive in a timely manner, but we’ll see.

Okay. You already know what I’m leaving you with, I’m sure. Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a really, really good Monday, wherever you are in the world. I love you. XXX See ya.

Tom Petty 1978

“Rebels”

Honey don’t walk out I’m too drunk to follow
You know you won’t feel this way tomorrow
Well – maybe I’m a little rough around the edges
Inside a little hollow
I get faced with some things sometimes
That are so hard to swallow – Hey!

Hey, hey, hey
I was born a rebel
Down in Dixie on a Sunday morning
Yeah – with one foot in the grave
And one foot on the pedal
I was born a rebel

Well she picked me up in the morning
And she paid all my tickets
Yeah she screamed in the car
And left me out in the thicket
Well – I never would’ve dreamed
That her heart was so wicked
Oh – but I keep coming back
‘Cause it’s so hard to kick it
Hey, hey, hey

 

[Chorus]

Even before my father’s fathers
They called us all rebels
Burned our cornfields
And left our cities leveled
I can still feel the eyes
Of those blue bellied devils
When I’m walking round tonight
Through the concrete and metal
Hey, hey, hey

c – 1985 Tom Petty

Yeah, Well. Now It’s All About Work…

I feel like I need a vacation just from having been away for 8 days… plus catching that darn cold. But, alas. It’s not to be.

I know I’ve said this before, but I honestly can’t even imagine what a vacation would feel like, or where I would even go.

It, of course, has come to my attention that the first full-length staged reading of Tell My Bones will be happening in NYC directly before I’m supposed to oversee my first Writers Retreat at Villa Monte Malbe, so that’s interesting, right?

Not that it can’t be done. It certainly can. I’m mostly just concerned about what will likely be my intensely frazzled frame of mind. Going back to NYC, dealing with the rehearsals, then the actual reading and all that that will entail, then fly off to Italy, go deep into Perugia, all by myself, where I don’t speak the language (even though I study it every single darn day– the only way I will be any good at Italian is if everyone there just gives me written quizzes and doesn’t attempt to actually converse with me), then attempt to communicate with the staff at the retreat– the kitchen staff, housekeeping , none of whom, I’ve been assured, speak English; and then try to help about 15-20 writers that I won’t have met before have some sort of magical relaxing creative ethereal sort of experience.

You know, it’s always really important to me that when other writers work with me — either in a collaborative way, or they hire me to be their editor, or they come to me as a writing student — I always want the other person to find something truly expansive in that experience. Help people approach their writing in an empowering way, or maybe in a way that helps them understand themselves better as someone gifted and born to write. That type of thing. It matters a lot to me.  I would rather not be out of my fucking mind while I’m trying to do that.

I guess we’ll see.

More wonderful photos out of Canada last night! This time, Toronto. Although I don’t think anything is going to compare with that theater in Montreal. (I’m speaking about the Conversations with Nick Cave, in case you’re new here and wondering what the fuck I’m suddenly talking about.)

Next he will be in Chicago — a mere 45 minutes from Crazeysburg!! (By plane, that is. ) I really like Chicago. I have some wonderful memories from the old historic Palmer House Hotel there!! And their Art Institute. I wish I were going…

Anyway. I’m gonna scoot here and get to work.  I’m kinda hoping the Universe has something figured out for me because, left to my own devices, all I manage to do is work too much. Oh, and a web site for Tell My Bones will be forthcoming in the very near future, gang! Meanwhile, please follow the new facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/tellmybones/

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Okay. Thanks for visiting, gang!! Have a super Sunday, wherever you are in the world!! I leave you with this true gem from Tom Petty’s Highway Companion solo album, “Square One.” I think he wrote it about himself & Dana, but then I think he wrote everything about Dana… She was his angel. Okay. I love you guys. See ya.

“Square One”

Had to find some higher ground.
Had some fear to get around.
You can’t say what you don’t know.
Later on won’t work no more.

Last time through I hid my tracks.
So well I could not get back.
Yeah my way was hard to find.
Can’t sell your soul for peace of mind.

[Chorus:]
Square one, my slate is clear.
Rest your head on me my dear.
It took a world of trouble, took a world of tears.
It took a long time to get back here.

Tried so hard to stand alone.
Struggled to see past my nose.
Always had more dogs than bones.
I could never wear those clothes.

It’s a dark victory.
You won and you are so lost.
Told us you were satisfied, but it never came across

Square one, my slate is clear.
Rest your head on me my dear.
It took a world of trouble, took a world of tears.
It took a long time to get back here.
c – 2006 Tom Petty

Frankly, I Think We’d All Look Pretty Darn Good in There!

Wow, the photos from Nick Cave’s Conversation in Montreal last night were positively STUNNING.

The theater itself was gorgeous, and he looked incredible on that stage. (And not meaning it as a backhanded compliment — that theater was so gorgeous that I think any one of us would have to work pretty darn hard to not look kind of stunning up on that same stage.)

Anyway. Every time I think a show looks like it was incredible, another batch of photos & comments comes through Instagram that makes another show seem even better.

This is the very reason why I need to be attending every single show. But I have this pesky thing called “my life” — you know? It’s always getting in the way. Needing things, like, my presence within it.

Wow. Okay.

This darn chest cold is not yet gone. But it really feels like today will be the last day of it. Meanwhile, though, my brain has not been able to really focus on those intricate details it needs to focus on in order to get the rewrites underway. But I’m not stressing. There is still time.

Yesterday, Gus Van Sant Sr got in touch with me again re: my trip to NYC and my meeting with Sandra and the director, and he did something that I can’t really discuss on the blog, but I can say that it absolutely blew my mind. He is so kind. So generous. And it came on the heels of that intense phone call with my dad, so what Gus did just felt even more like a miracle from Heaven, you know?

That man has been such a blessing to me. I don’t even want to think about what my life would have been like if he hadn’t walked up to me out of the blue that morning, not knowing me from anyone else on Earth, only going on something his barber had told him out at his country club — “I hear you’re a writer and that you need work. Do you want to come work for me?”

Oh my god — yes. I sure do. How amazing, right?

It changed everything in my world that was truly spiraling downward at that point. He is just the nicest man.

Well, okay. I actually have to scoot here, gang. I think I need to go back to bed for a little bit. I’m still sort of wiped out.

But have a super-duper Saturday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with this. I have no idea why I started suddenly listening to Let Love In again while driving home from NY, but I just love this album. It is truly a bonanza of darkness set to really excellent music.  I love every song on this fucking album, even though I have to assume that the worst happened to every girl who’s ever left him. Like, in this song below, “She’s Nobody’s Baby, Now” — did he kill her? I mean, it seems like he killed her, right? Or somebody did. The entire album is like a Rape & Murder Festival, so it just sort of seems like she met with foul play.  And that song “Thirsty Dog” just cracks me up.  It is, like, just so deranged. The lyrics, I mean. Anyway. It’s such a cool album from God knows how many years ago now. But I leave you with “She’s Nobody’s Baby, Now”. Okay. I love you guys! See ya!

“Nobody’s Baby Now”

I’ve searched the holy books
Tried to unravel the mystery of Jesus Christ, the saviour
I’ve read the poets and the analysts
Searched through the books on human behaviour
I travelled the whole world around
For an answer that refused to be found
I don’t know why and I don’t know how
But she’s nobody’s baby nowI loved her then and I guess I love her still
Hers is the face I see when a certain mood moves in
She lives in my blood and skin
Her wild feral stare, her dark hair
Her winter lips as cold as stone
Yeah, I was her man
But there are some things even love won’t allow
I held her hand but I don’t hold it now
I don’t know why and I don’t know how
But she’s nobody’s baby now

This is her dress that I loved best
With the blue quilted violets across the breast
And these are my many letters
Torn to pieces by her long-fingered hand
I was her cruel-hearted man
And though I’ve tried to lay her ghost down
She’s moving through me, even now
I don’t know why and I don’t know how
But she’s nobody’s baby now

c – 1994 Nick Cave

Just This & That As I Get Back to Work Here!

The chest cold lingers but I slept really great, all things considered. I only did that “lurch awake and suddenly hack my brains out” once during the night! Otherwise, I slept like a wee bonny babe.

I try not to take OTC cold remedies because I use Flonase due to allergies– that’s a steroid and has some indescribably horrific bad reactions when combined with most OTC cold remedies. I found that out the hard way — twice, because I didn’t know what had caused it the first time.

If you’ve never accidentally combined Flonase with OTC cold remedies, it feels like you’re heart is going to explode and like your lungs are collapsing and your whole chest starts heaving, as you try to get air. And that only goes on for about several hours.

So now, I do the apple cider vinegar stuff, the ginger-honey tea thing, the endless glasses of water, and good old-fashioned, delightfully-scented Vick’s VapoRub!! (It works, too, because, of course, Flonase is doing all the somewhat dicey chemical stuff…) (And by “dicey,” I mean that Flonase has a potential side effect of glaucoma.)

Anyway. So I’m better and I slept great. And I felt suitably armored to call my (adoptive) dad on the phone and tell him how my trip to NYC went.

If you’re not a regular reader of this lofty blog, my adoptive dad and I have a tumultuous relationship. That is putting it super mildly. I am always either in or out of the Will — depending on things like my politics any given year, and whether or not I use the ‘F’-word constantly. And a whole lot of other, way more serious stuff that I don’t want to go into here because it will just depress me beyond your abilities to comprehend.

Anyway. I try to be nice. And sometimes, he does, too. But I can never just pick up a phone and call him without suiting up in every conceivable type of armor there is — emotional, spiritual, psychological. Protective Voodoo chants and empowering aroma therapies. (I would put on the actual armor of the knights of yore, but it would make it ridiculously hard to use my iPhone, plus I don’t own any.)

But, seriously. I really have to do that kind of protective mental stuff before even picking up the phone. And when I told him how great the meeting went with the director, and what the plans were for the next 9 months, and how the meeting was just a great success, he said, “Can you imagine how devastating it would have been if everything had gone wrong?”

ME: “God. Dad, why would I want to think about something like that?!!”

I always have to erect this huge mental blockade against everything he says. He is so negative and sort of mean. (When I was almost 15, and really just at the nadir of my existence; Greg was dead, the boys at school  would not stop assaulting me, I was taking 15 sleeping pills a day, etc., my dad was dropping me off after his monthly “taking me to dinner” and I was afraid to go back into the house and be alone with my mother, who was on this weird ‘punishment’ rampage, where I had to stay locked up in my room, 24/7, and I could only come out to eat my meals — and only when everyone else was done and had left the table; I couldn’t play records or watch TV or listen to the radio or talk on the phone or see anyone at all. Not even my brother. She allowed me to have my guitar in my room, but that was it. For a couple of weeks this went on, and my room was a hot little airless box that got up to about 100 degrees because it was the height of summer.  Anyway. I was afraid to go back in there. And cut to the chase: my dad said, “You’re on your own here. There’s nothing I can do for you anymore. If you’re going to kill yourself, just kill yourself.” So, you know, I went in there, went up to my room and tried to do as he advised, then wound up in the sunny wilds of the mental hospital…)

Yeah, so. Me and my adoptive dad… a unending perilous journey in the making. Until one of us dies.

But I got through that phone call by just not giving an inch of ground. And he attempted to point out every negative possibility for my life that he could imagine, and I kept my arsenal of handy vocabulary words as close by me as I could. And then the call was over and I could sigh and say: Okay. I called my dad. What’s next on the list of death-defying feats today?

You can see why you might not want to make that kind of phone call, though, if you’re not feeling well…

But I am feeling better!

And my cats are so frisky! Darting all over. Playing. They really love this chilly fall weather, and I think they’re actually happy that I’m home. Even Francis seems happy to see me, in her tiny mean way! She hunkers down and stares at me, growls a little, thumps her angry tail — but the fact that she does this and doesn’t run away and hide, means that she’s willing to allow me to occupy the same space as her for the time being!! A small act of love. Which I cherish.

My cats. Thank God for my birth mom, right? I’m going to have to travel so much next year. It gives me so much peace of mind knowing that she got along so well with my crazy cats.

Okay, today I am going to try to map out some of those rewrites to the play — which are actually pretty substantial. Not what has to be taken out, but what needs to be added to what’s already there. Without weighing the play down or making it go on for too long. And one of the ways to handle that is to  weave additional character development throughout the entire play. So that it doesn’t just come at you in one big chunk, you know?  Sort of like re-weaving a tapestry or something, right? Introduce the storylines sooner, without changing what’s already written there. “Expanding” what’s there, I guess is the word for it.

Then I’ll do some more notes on this new “Litany” development for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. That really came out of left field, gang, but it feels really exciting. I am really curious to see how that’s going to ultimately land on the page.

The Conversations with Nick Cave move into Canadian territory today — Montreal, then Toronto. Golly, I really wish I could be there! It’s so hard for me to believe that I won’t be able to see one of those things again, because it was so cool. But I’m guessing next in line is a tour for Ghosteen.

And next week, there is the listening event on Youtube for the record, but I cannot figure out what time zone that thing is in! Honestly. It’s some time zone I’ve never heard of before.  I’m guessing that google will attempt to help me figure that out. And I do have it set to stream on Spotify when it drops, however, me and Spotify are just not real cozy. I’ve been on there since the company launched and I still cannot really figure out how to use it. I always have to flag down some random  27 year-old guy and shriek, “Can you help me figure this fucking thing out??!!”

RANDOM 27 Year-Old Guy: “Just click this and then that.”

ME: “But I tried that and it keeps taking me back to Tropical Fuck Storm!!”

Honestly. Old as it makes me sound, I really miss the days when I just went into Woolworth’s and bought the record and took it home.

Okay! Gonna get started here. I hope you have a great Friday, wherever you are in the world and whatever it finds you doing!! The 2nd anniversary of Tom Petty’s death is rapidly approaching, but I am doing really okay about that. I really am. I was listening to An American Treasure at breakfast this morning (I was listening to it while driving across Pennsylvania — that and Let Love In and Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus for 500 miles…) and when I played the song below — a really, really great rockabilly song that they never released until after he died — instead of thinking how sad it is that Tom Petty is gone, I thought about how fun it was to listen to him in the wilds of sunny Pennsylvania, trees turning to autumn everywhere I looked.

It felt bittersweet but, overall, I was happy.

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

 

“Lonesome Dave”

Well, whatever happened to Lonesome Dave?
Used to play in a rock ‘n’ roll band
He’d be up and on the stage
All the kids would raise their hands
But oh, then disco came
Nothing lasts for long
Oh, it’s such a shame
Lonesome Dave is goneWell, he’d be up there rockin’ out
Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year
Lightnin’ Boogie and Amy’s Blues
Play it so loud that it hurt my ears
And oh, somethin’ went wrong
Yeah, the times have changed
Now it’s a different song
Lonesome Dave is gone

All right, Dave!
Yeah!

Well, three P.M. at the Holiday Inn
The room service coming on a tray
Tuna melt and an orange juice
It was heaven there for Lonesome Dave
But, oh, that disco came
Oh, the times have changed
Now it’s a different song
Lonesome Dave is gone

Well, I wish I was Lonesome Dave
I’d lay up with the girls all night
I’d run round in the parking lot
I’d drink some beer and get into fights
But oh, it’s only me
Now it’s a different song
What will be, will be
Lonesome Dave is gone

All right, Dave
Hang on, Dave, yeah!

Well, whatever happened to Lonesome Dave?
He used to play in a guitar band
Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year
God, I know, we all love him, man
Yeah, and he’d go wild
Yeah, the crowd would yell
Time is moving on
Lonesome Dave is gone

Bye bye, Dave!
Yeah
Bye bye, Dave!

c – 1993 Tom Petty

To sleep, perchance to dream! Yes, indeedy!

I got everything off to the director that he needed from me, except a current professional photo. Not sure what to do about that since I’ve only used selfies for the last several years.

But anyway. Off it all went.

For some reason, I started yet another segment of Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse today. It is not Letter #4 because, for some reason,  it came to me that between every few Letters, there will be a sort of Litany (definition here if you’re not Christian).  Only it will be erotic, not liturgical. Although it will follow a liturgical format. And only be about one page long.

Litany (One) is titled: “For His Mercy Endures Forever.” It seems like it is going to have something to do with fellatio but I’m not really sure about that…. Anyway. So I began working on that out of the blue today.

And thank you to everyone who is going over to read the new segment of In the Shadow of Narcissa, over at Edge of Humanity Magazine. I appreciate it. (Over there, the segment is titled “It’s for the Mice”/Memories of My Grandmother)

And here are some old photos that are kind of related to that whole thing, if you’re keeping up on it.

My grandmother took this photo of me and my adoptive brother outside the Cleveland Art Museum in 1963. (In front of Rodin’s The Thinker. I always loved that sculpture.) We look so formal, don’t we?
Me, very soon after I was adopted in 1960. My adoptive mother is 28 years old here.

Okay, gang. I’m just beat.  I’ve actually had a cold for the last couple days and I am seriously tired of coughing my head off. I think I’m gonna go to bed now.

Sweet dreams, gang!! See ya.

See, This is Why It’s So Darn Difficult!!

[UPDATE: My new segment of In the Shadow of Narcissa is now available on Edge of Humanity Magazine. You can read it here  if you’d like!! Thanks!]

The photos on Instagram from Nick Cave’s Conversation last night in Cambridge  — photos that, indeed, you’re not supposed to take — look like the show was fantastic. So, like, how am I supposed to not click the “like” button??!! Damn it.

When you’re sitting there, in the audience, and people have their phone’s out and are doing that, taking those pictures or making those little videos, it is beyond annoying. It truly is. It is absolutely distracting and maddening to have that going on around you — privacy issues not withstanding. And yet!! My god, it looks like it was such a great show last night!! (How would I ever know this if they didn’t do that??) (Do I actually need to know this, though? I guess not. I mean, God knows, life would go on. But I sure do love knowing this.)

What’s interesting about the comments from the American shows so far, is that a number of people seem to be going into it with a lot of skepticism. And then, literally, coming away from it saying how incredible it was and how blessed they were to be able to see it, and that they will never forget the experience for the rest of their lives.

I’m not being sarcastic here, either. A lot of people are saying that in their Instagram posts. So interesting — the American skepticism. And then it gives way to this sort of ethereal astonishment.

Well, I think it’s so cool!!

Okay!

I’m back here in Crazeysburg, in my own little world. And I have acquiesced, finally, to this fact that it is indeed fall. Yesterday, in Rhinebeck, as I stepped out onto the front porch with Kenn (Sandra’s husband – Sandra was sound asleep in the boudoir, so I didn’t see her when I was leaving). But he and I stepped out onto the porch at around 7am and, man, it was totally fall. You know that feeling? It’s really crisp outside, there’s that chill in the air. The leaves are turning. Some leaves have already fallen. There’s dew on everything. The sun is just barely spilling into the sky and all the colors in everything all around you seem sort of saturated with autumnal light.  That’s how it felt yesterday morning. Fall had arrived.

And then during the drive, the leaves everywhere were changing. And as much as I wanted to still believe it was the height of summer, I was forced to face the facts of nature that were staring at me for 500 miles.

So, rather than resist the beauty that was all around me by insisting it was still summer, I relented and looked at all the beautiful trees and had to admit to myself: okay, Marilyn; it’s fall.

And now, here at home this morning, my new fall coffee cup! (This was the cup my mom chose from the cupboard, like, the moment she arrived last week. I thought that was so cool! That she chose the cup that I knew I was going to use the minute I was willing to believe that it was actually fall.)  (Apparently, she figured out that it was fall an entire week before I did.)

First cup of coffee back home! How autumnal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will notice that things are actually reflecting on the kitchen counter top. This means that it is clean. I did not do this! My mom is the best!! My entire kitchen is so fucking clean. My whole darn house is so fucking clean.

My room (which I posted a photo of last evening) is so amazingly dust free that I can’t get over it.  What I also noticed, and I don’t mind it, is that it’s evident that my mom read the manuscripts that were in a stack on my desk. I can tell because they are slightly different than how I left them and they smell a little bit of cigarette smoke.

I absolutely don’t mind that my mom reads my stuff.  She’s incredibly supportive of me. She still keeps the original typewritten manuscript for Neptune & Surf in her night table drawer next to her bed. (That’s more than 20 years, gang, because I sent her that manuscript long before it got published.) She’s really proud of that book, and really, everything I write, even though her only comments are always: “You’re just like me.” (Although she’s not bisexual, which is interesting because she has one bisexual daughter, one bisexual son, and one lesbian daughter.)

Anyway. I’m happy that she’s interested in reading my stuff, but then I realized that the three “Letters” from Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse were in that stack and I could tell she’d read them — in particular, “A Beach to His Waves,” because the top page was crinkly, and that really made me kind of sad.

I’m pretty sure I’ve told her that I was raped when I was growing up, but I’m not positive. I might never have told her. And I don’t think I ever would have told her that my adoptive mom’s boyfriend raped me. Any of the things that went so horribly wrong between me and my adoptive mother are very hard for my birth mom to hear. (She never actually “gave me up” for adoption; I was taken away from her by her dad, and she never forgave him for that, for the rest of his life, even though he remained alive for well over 30 years after I came back.)

It’s just doubly hard on her to think that it was supposed to be better for me to be raised by other people — total strangers up north, in the city; educated, married people, who could provide me with all kinds of better things. Aside from the relentless abuse from my adoptive mom specifically, my adoptive parents became extremely affluent as time went on. By the time I was disowned, I was being disinherited from, literally, millions of dollars. I was left with nothing. Zero. Just a ton of really difficult memories and an endless supply of words.

This kind of stuff is very hard on my birth mom. She feels that having me taken from her, and all of her heartache over it, was all in vain. So, when I realized what she read about in “A Beach to His Waves,” I sort of cringed a little. Shit, you know?

I love my mom so much. She’s really quiet; introverted. She’s had a very hard life.  Back when I first found her, I wrote her a pleading  letter, asking if I could meet her. And when my letter arrived, she had just gotten out of jail that day — six weeks in jail for too many DUI’s and driving with a suspended license. And she gets out of jail, comes home to the farm in the Appalachian foothills, and my letter from NYC is waiting for her on the kitchen counter. She read the letter and allegedly threw it down on the counter and said to everyone present in the kitchen, “Well, I need this like a fucking hole in the head.”

So when she does say something it’s usually something like that.

Anyway. I love her. And the simple fact that she even knows my name means everything to me. When she left that letter for me on my kitchen table yesterday, it meant the world to me. Even though she’s not saying anything poetic or anything, she’s just talking about laundry and watering the flowers and borrowing my sweatshirt, and my gardening gloves. But it still meant everything to me.

The fact that she was willing to look after my crazy cats for a week — and then bonded with them? Cleaned my house? Weeded my garden? It means so much to me to just be loved. Really, it felt like it took me a life time to get her back. (I was 25 when I finally found out who she was and where she lived.)

Here’s the note she left for me yesterday. Her handwriting is so incredibly tiny and perfect, isn’t it? And I love how she dots the “i” in my name with a little circle like she isn’t 72 years old now!! So sweet. But I look at this letter and it just fills me with love.

Note left on the kitchen table from my mom — yes, we live in America! In case we are ever in doubt, it is embossed on our notepaper…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Don’t read the letter! It will mean nothing to you! Just look at her handwriting…)

Okay, gang. I have a ton of Helen LaFrance stuff to gather up from storage and ship out to the director in NYC, overnight express — insured to high heaven because it’s all one of kind, irreplaceable stuff. And then I need to hunker down and get to work on the rewrites of the play.

I hope you have a wonderful, wonder-filled, Thursday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting!! I will cease posting here 4 times a day because now I will just be at my desk writing and that looks the same, 24/7. I leave you with this because I just can’t stop playing it! Okay. I love you guys. So much. See ya.

“Shivers”

I’ve been contemplating suicide,
But it really doesn’t suit my style,
So I think I’ll just act bored instead
And contain the blood I would’ve shed
She makes me feel so ill at ease
My heart is really on it’s knees
But I keep a poker face so well
That even mother couldn’t tell
But my baby’s so vain
She is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver down my
Spine
I keep her photograph against my heart
For in my life she plays a starring part
All alcohol and cigarettes
There is no room for cheap regrets
But my baby’s so vain
She is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver down my
Spine
She makes me feel so ill at ease
My heart is really on it’s knees
But I keep a poker face so well
That even mother couldn’t tell
But my baby’s so vain
She is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver down my
Spiii-yi-yiiii-yi-yiiii-yi-yiyiyi-ine
c – 1976 Rowland S. Howard

Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig!

Wow!!!!! My entire house is so darn CLEAN!!! It feels fantastic.

Alas, my mom got picked up sooner than expected so even though I made it home in exactly 9 hours, she was already long gone. But she left me such a sweet letter.  I will miss her.

Here’s my incredibly tidy room!

There is, like, not a speck of dust or stray strand of cat hair in this incredibly tidy room… 4:58 PM Crazeysburg Ohio