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Excerpt from “Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse”

Here’s a new excerpt from one of my books-in-progress, Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.  (It amounts to approx. 10 pages) As always, gang, this includes sexually graphic material that will be inappropriate and perhaps offensive to some readers, so please be forewarned. Thanks!


Plenty Of Rope

IN THOSE DAYS, THE DAYS BEFORE YOU, those days of lesser men long ago, I always had to take a lover on the side. Always. And almost always a woman. Because none but other women could keep up with my insatiable longings.

I was 35, for god’s sake. It was no longer just a question of transcending the scope of my erotic mind; it was hormones peaking. Plain and simple. Hormones at the gallop, trampling that open range in search of whatever else was out there and physical. It had become biological now. The human drive to create life for hour upon hour, out on that magnificent erotic plateau.

It had become a question of stamina. Who can go as long as I can while under this spell of galloping hormones? Whose pumping blood; whose beating heart and breathing lungs; whose bones and solid muscle can keep up with my need?

Who out there needs what I need for as long as I need it when I am 35?

Surely not a husband, who goes in and out of my days, barely glancing at me; he desires only to be left alone; to drink vodka out on the street and to passively admire the passing cleavage of undemanding women who are not his wife. He desires to pass his hours in drunken bliss and to not be trampled.

A lover is the one who sparks instead; she answers that clarion call.

The call to stamina. To unfiltered cigarettes. To a bottle of St. Estephe or St. Emilion. The call of the unholy tryst in the unbridled hours of a free afternoon.


The phone conversations were brief but sweaty – in the days when telephones were still connected to walls. When every breathless expression of a sordid desire might possibly be overheard by people who trusted other people not to be indiscreet.

Keep it short. Keep it quiet.

When can you meet? Where should we go this time? Which shoes should I bring? Can you get to a hardware store and buy a decent amount of good rope?

In those days before you, the galloping hormones craved the lasso.

Rein me in, they cried in chorus. Force me to be still. To endure your will over the unceasing call of my own.

It was the only rest I could get back then: Rope.

Please, please tie me up with some good quality rope.

Now have mercy, baby.

Stick something in.


Take my advice, dear, and don’t be deceived by girls. They are ruthless and cunning, hatching the eggs of Eros all their lives. They are fearless, wily creatures who lurk in the depths of women. French wine and cheap American cigarettes usually call them out.

Try it.

Like gangbusters, they will come. Ravening wolves they are, those girls.  Their kisses are not sweet – they taste like tobacco and complex wine.

Kissing the girls who lurk inside of women is asking for trouble. They come out to play with fully-formed vulvas that are swollen with lust. Dripping pussies, overheating, begging for all-comers to come on already. Stick something in.

That’s how an afternoon with a tied-up girl starts out – it starts with that kind of kiss when only her wrists are tied together in front of her and then it leads to that deafening sound –

oh my god, it says.

A breathless sound but overpowering nonetheless, as two fingers finally go up her soaking hole.

Tied as I am, my whole world becomes those two probing fingers.

I cannot push my hole open wide enough for them. They are strong fingers, going deep; feeling around in there as I’m bearing down. She’s very thorough. It feels so good.

“Turn over,” she says.

“I can’t,” I say. “You have to untie my hands.” But I don’t really want to be untied. I just want to lay there naked, flat on my back, with my knees to my tits, and her fingers stuck up me, working in my hole.

“No,” she says. “I wanna see you try. Turn over.”

So I try. I try turning over for her with my hands tied. It is a graceless feat, but I accomplish it. I do it because of her. She urges me on. Her fingers are still up in there, feeling around, feeling so good it’s making my eyes roll up in my head.

But now I’m face-down in the bed pillows, my tied hands are under me – my knees are, too. I’m stuck there, at her mercy, displayed – like some really pretty dog in heat that needs to be mounted in so many unflattering ways. And still I’m wondering how, in this submissive and conquered position, I’m ever going to get another glass of wine.

That’s my hedonism speaking – no, exploding. My hedonism shouts from every pore. It needs wine. It needs nicotine. It needs a pussy that is perilously stretched until it’s stuffed to bursting with anything that wants to get up in there. And it needs something rubbing against my clit. It needs something substantial in my ass – something it can really feel; something that stays up in there and doesn’t just pop back out. It needs to be filled; it needs to stay filled.  It needs all things. I am 35.

It’s the reason I need so much  rope.


Who am I? I am the girl full of stories. Dirty stories, naughty stories, frightening and challenging stories. I am going to beg you to look at yourself in my stories because I am so tired of this damn mirror.


We are in a motel. A very, very cheap one off the Cross Bronx Expressway. Not because it’s all we can afford, but because we are being tacky. We are cheaters who are only making it worse and wallowing in the depths of our crumbling vows.

Our shattered vows. Our vows crushed beneath the grimy tires of passing 18-wheelers, going nowhere and getting there fast.

Both of our marriages have an expiration date that is steadily coming towards us on a high wind, but we are oblivious to anything but our pussies. Our slick, soaking, hormone-engorged pussies. No one on planet Earth is hornier than we are, 24/7. Yes, we are both 35. I am married to a man; she is married to a woman. Soon enough, everyone is gonna get wise.

But for now, we light our cigarettes from the same Zippo lighter. We sit naked on the bed and smoke in our cheap motel room that still allows smoking; that allows free bad porn on its Mafia-owned TV circuit. We drink our expensive red wine without savoring it in any way. We have come only for our pussies; to try to get them to calm the fuck down.

In Health class, when you’re still in school – trusting, squirming, not really paying attention – they tell you that girls reach their sexual peaks in their mid-thirties. But in no way do they warn you what that will look like, or how it will feel, or what it truly means.

They don’t tell you to marry someone who can survive that with you or you will tear your marriage to pieces.

They don’t say: “On second thought, girls, just don’t get married until you’re maybe about 42. Oh heck, just don’t get married at all.”

They conceal it – what it will feel like to be a tiny, squiggling, ill-informed girl stuffed inside the bones of a 35-year-old, sex-crazed bisexual woman.

Don’t go gentle into that good night, they’ll whisper instead. But you gotta really listen in order to hear them. They’re telling you to wear some killer high-heels. That they’ll make your already long legs look great. That it’ll be worth the pain. You’ll look so good in the mirror when you’re coming all over some other girl’s face.

Or she’s coming all over yours.

Girls are messy, messy, messy. Their bodies dribble and drip and ooze and squirt.

They ought to warn you about that, too, but only because it’s so interesting. And so unexpected – when you’re that girl.


In the years before you… Oh my love, I wandered.

Lonely as a cloud? No. Feverish and impatient. Angry and short-sighted. Turning over every rock that sprang into my constantly expanding field of vision. Each rock yielding a new surprise but usually not a welcome one.

You were out there – yes you were. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know I was even looking for you. I only knew: EMPTY.

Fill. Fill. Fill.


It’s that rope again. I feel so safe.

My wrists are tied behind me now.

It’s a whole new bed. A whole new girl. She’s much older than I am. Not married at all. An executive in TV, fresh from a cancelled show.

Boy, has she got time to kill. And she kills it with me.

I have found these impossibly sexy shoes. Black silk T-straps with a heel that’s straight out of 1922.

I’m slender. So straight up & down that I don’t wear a bra under my black gingham baby doll dress. I don’t need one. And I don’t wear panties, either. Or garters. I wear stay-put stockings that stay put religiously at the tops of my thighs. And it’s Spring!

Yes, I’ve come clear across Midtown Manhattan in a short black gingham baby doll dress and I wore no panties. All I lacked was a good strong wind to expose my final secret and make my whole life go up for grabs out there in the real world of New York City in broad daylight.

Yes, in those years before you, I was out of my mind. Nuts, they call it in the more colloquial fiction.

I once met a short-lived fiancée for brunch at a Polish diner wearing nothing but a pair of black leather flats and a plaid trench coat, buttoned all the way up and belted tight.

I was not an exhibitionist; I was not planning to publically disrobe. No, I’d come bearing gifts. Gifts for the imagination! Gifts of vulnerability! Gifts that promised a sexy good time after a hurried Sunday brunch.

When he learned I was naked under my coat, my gift was not met with merriment and delight. It was met with fear, outrage, disgust: “Are you out of your fucking mind?!”

Well, yes. But that was beside the point.

Today, though, the TV gal meets me at her front door and is overwhelmed by the sexiness of the black silk T-strap shoes. She yanks me into her apartment and pushes me down onto a living room chair, shoving up my dress in full view of the open windows that look out over Second Avenue. Falling to her knees, she spreads my legs and licks my pussy – ardently, all over it; then sucks my clit until I come.

She does not care that I was naked under my very short dress. She doesn’t wonder if I’m out of my fucking mind. In fact, my wearing no panties has saved her the 4.6 seconds she would have wasted pulling my panties down. Time that wound up being more wisely spent sucking on my stiff little clit.

Although it by no means felt little to me.

My clit has always been the hardest thing to ignore in the picture, regardless of how it was framed. My clit is a scene-stealer. My clit is unruly, inciting the mob to riot. It’s as hard as a rock, too. A massive rock. As big as that asteroid that’s headed straight at us and that will one day collide with the Earth. POW! Right smack into everything we thought we knew. Oh the humanity! What a collision!

Or at least until I come. Then my clit is so quiet, you won’t even know it’s there.

But this is the story about the rope.

This is the story about my wrists tied behind me now and about how I feel so safe.

Yes, I’m still married. Yes, I’m still 35. And, no, I don’t mind confessing to you all the lurid details.

The TV gal was a strap-on queen.

She knew her way around a black leather harness and a flesh-colored silicone dick.

She always had me turn over on her bed, my face in her pillows, my knees under me, ass in the air. The rope was my idea but she went along with it because she knew how much it mattered to me to feel subdued. To feel reined-in. To feel choice-less, at her mercy in the matter, as she shoved that huge silicone dick into my slick pussy. Relentlessly. Ruthlessly. Always, always, always driving it home.

She was not satisfied until I cried out, cried out, and cried out: Oh god, it feels so good.

It felt so good. It felt so good to get fucked by her.

And I couldn’t get away. I couldn’t get away. My hands were tied. And that thick fake dick kept coming.

Slamming in. Pounding against that place inside my pussy flesh that simply could not yield another inch and so I would cry out.

Oh god, it felt so good. So good to be helpless to that unremitting cock-force as she held so tight to my hips.

She fucked me hard because she hated that I was married. She fucked me hard because she hated that I was pretty. She fucked me  hard because she hated that I refused to admit I was a dyke and not some lame marshmallow bisexual who always went off in the end with a man.

I didn’t care what she thought or how she felt; I just wanted to get seriously fucked by her.

And so it was written. And so it was done. And the cunnilingus wasn’t bad, either.

She had a perfect pussy.

She was much smaller than me and so always on top during 69. And I loved nothing better than to have her wet pussy in my face, my mouth all over that swelling mess of her slick, soaking lips, her open hole, her clit that tried to fight off my incessant tongue but would yield instead, making her grind down on me, her whole pussy right on my face, on my eager mouth, as she moaned deliriously, her own  hot tongue down there darting in and all over my own soaking hole – until we were two trapped clits climbing toward orgasms, clinging for dear life to each other’s naked thighs as the pleasures mounted and finally tripped the spring-door onto wide open ecstasy, hips bucking, muscles in spasms, cries of relentless female lust that were surely heard all up and down the Second Avenue night.

Her pussy in my face was indeed heaven.

I didn’t think I was a dyke, and I’d given it some very serious thought over the years. I did love women and sex with women, and I did sometimes choose the woman over the man. But I loved men, too and sex with men, too. And when I closed my eyes to the world and strove to find meaning in my being here and a way to connect, to create, to transcend – then there was always a man and only a man. A man of vision, of marvelous words. A man in the clouds. A man with an angry black heart and a streak of pure white joy.

In the years before you, I did not know this man could possibly be real.


What was it about bondage that I so much needed?

It started in my girlhood, then on into my teens. It plagued my conscience in my twenties. It sent me into rapture in my thirties. Then it hit the fine open road one early morning in my forties; headed steadily past the line of the horizon and, in essence, never really came back.

There were moments when lovers in my forties suggested I be tied up and I went along with it. It was fun, but nothing I truly needed.

Not anymore.

But as a young girl of 12, and then a growing girl, an aging girl, and then a girl who looked in the mirror and realized she was a woman and had been for some time – that girl needed the rope.

Plenty of rope.

I did not really know why. The simple fact of it alarmed me, humiliated me in my own thoughts, degraded me, scared and perplexed me. Until finally I was old enough to meet people who embraced the need for rope in me, who encouraged my need for bondage. And that’s when the lust came home to roost.

That’s when my erotic mind soared and welcomed in whoever it was I really was.

I hated leather restraints. I hated cold metal handcuffs. I hated certain types of unacceptable rope. But when the rope was right and the lover was right, my kisses were deeper than you can possibly know.

You can’t know those kisses because, like a fool, I gave them away.

Had I known you were out there; had I only known…

When I was blindfolded, naked and tied down tightly to the bed – but in a seated position; my legs spread wide, each ankle tied securely to the bedframe, a large dildo stuck up in me. In fact, I’ve been tied as tightly as I am to the bedframe to force me to sit all the way down on that dildo until it can go up me no farther. When my clit aches and can actually feel the base of the dildo that’s wedged up in me, it’s gone in that deep; when my hands are tied behind me and a warm hand finds my breast, gently tugs the erect nipple, sending me into ecstasy, my moans deep as I rock all over the thick fake dick wedged up inside me – at that moment, when he yanks my long hair back and leans over into my blindfolded darkness, into my ecstasy, and kisses my open mouth with his open mouth…

I would not have returned that kiss had I known you were anywhere out there, ever.

I would not have let that kiss be so deep.

I would not have allowed my soul to enter that equation, even though I was married to that man.

Had I known you were out there, I would have withheld. I would have waited.

I would have saved myself, my ecstasy.

For you.


Now I am grown. So grown that all that is left for me now is to recede.

Now I can stand alone out in the middle of an empty highway, look in all directions, not just ahead or behind, but all directions and I can see the sunrise inching its way up the incalculable distance of that road, from out of the East, from where miracles have always arrived. I can look out in that direction and know you are coming. You are out there. I can’t see you but I know you are there. Finally. You are there.

And I’m here. I’m waiting. I’m not tied down in any way, to anything, anymore. I’m simply waiting, for you. Of my own volition.

Please come.

© – 2019 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

The Delights of Anonymity in the Hinterlands!

First of all. Some of you may know that Doris Day died yesterday.

She was 97.  She was an incredibly effective animal rights activist. I  loved her movies when I was growing up. And as an adult, I supported her animal rights organization for decades. It was awesome to watch her make truly meaningful changes to the welfare and legal rights of animals in this country. (And in her private life, she was a Christian Scientist, who fully believed in Jesus’ power to heal, and she stood by that, even though a lot of people ridiculed her for it. In my estimate, she really was just an incredible human being. Plus, she was from Ohio!)

Image result for doris day be kind to animals
Doris Day R.I.P.

I named one of my little feral kittens after her. Here’s Doris (now 6 years old) at my kitchen sink, back in early March. (Lovely to look at, but, alas, you can’t touch her or she will scratch you silly because she’s feral.)

Doris at the kitchen sink.

Which reminds me that, after Daddycakes died (he was her father), I couldn’t bring myself to wash the bathroom floor. He had left little footprints there and I couldn’t stand the thought of removing all traces of him, you know? He’s been dead a month now and I noticed this morning that the little paw prints have pretty much faded away.


My ticket arrived yesterday to see Nick Cave at Town Hall in September. Now all I have to do is remember to bring the darn thing  to New York. Only 4 months away. Shouldn’t be too tricky. I’ll just staple it to my forehead and wear it until September. Perhaps seeing it in the mirror everyday will remind me to take the darn thing with me.

I realize that had I chosen the digital option, I wouldn’t have this potential memory problem, but I really wanted to have the ticket stub after it was over. (Of course, it cost 17 hundred million dollars more to get an actual ticket and have it mailed to me, but oh well.)

(Plus they have this “ticket insurance” thing. Where, you’re online and you’ve just purchased your ticket after an 8-minute barrage of truly unpleasant sensory perceptions. The screen is telling you that you’re almost ready to thoroughly finalize the purchase you’ve just made; American Express has already pinged! you on your phone to alert you that someone has already used your card number to purchase some sort of ticket online, “do you recognize this purchase?”; and yet TicketMaster still highly suggests that you purchase ticket insurance to insure that the ticket you’re in the process of really, finally, thoroughly purchasing really actually happens and then belongs to you. Unbelievable. They highly recommend you do this because chances are high that something will go horribly wrong with your purchase and the only way to guard against their fucking up is by spending a few dollars more, even though the sole reason they even exist is to simply sell tickets to people…So I bought that, too.)

So, I highly recommend to myself that I bring the darn thing with me to New York.


Today is a lovely day!! Sunny and mild. All I’m doing today is laundry and working on Blessed By Light. Maybe do a little yoga if I can tear myself away from the laptop. I don’t have to run any errands because I already did all that yesterday. In fact, I don’t even have to leave the house until maybe Thursday, and only then if a friend of mine from in town needs a ride to the airport.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that last year, I let this same friend keep his vintage 1965 VW camper van in my barn for the summer while he went off to Montana. (This is not his van but it looks exactly like this. It’s so cool.)

Well, he’s doing the same thing again this summer and so this past Sunday, he came by to put his van in my barn.  And then I had to drive him back into town.

I can’t emphasize enough, gang, how much time I spend at my desk writing. I write, then write, then write again, and then write a little more.  Now that the Mormon missionaries have stopped dropping by, I interact with basically no one.

I might say hi or just exchange meaningless bullshit with people I barely know, but other than that, now that I’ve moved out to the Hinterlands, I rarely meaningfully interact with anybody in person. I talk to plenty of people on the phone in LA or NYC, but that’s it; nothing too meaningful in person.  So it was actually really interesting on Sunday, driving my friend into town. I don’t really “know” him at all.  Last year, I overheard him saying that he needed a safe, dry, free place to store his van for 5 months so I offered him my barn, and so now we’re “friends.” But I don’t actually know him.

On Sunday, we sat on my porch for a few minutes so that he could smoke half a cigarette, and in those few minutes he told me about a trip he took to Denver to attend a Grateful Dead concert several years ago, and what he told me about that trip (not the concert, just the trip) revealed so much about him.

And then in the car ride into town, he was talking about some roses he had gotten for his mom since it was Mother’s Day, and, again, he revealed so much about himself – simply by the words he was choosing, the things he was choosing to say. And it also magnified what he was choosing not to say. I found it just so interesting.

Of course, we all do this all the time – communicate in this way, choosing words over other words, facts over other facts – but since I rarely interact with anyone meaningfully anymore, I guess it’s just really noticeable to me now. It came into such tight focus, this process of communicating with spoken language.

Yesterday while I was out, without really wanting to, I was listening to this ridiculous conversation between this guy and this girl, they were about 30 years younger than me. It only mildly got on my nerves, but when the young woman said, “If a guy wants to fuck a girl in the butt that much then he should just fuck a guy,” I actually said, “Oh, I totally disagree with that.”

I actually said this, out loud.  They looked at me, stunned, The girl said, “Really?” Like she honestly couldn’t believe that girls might like anal sex, for one thing, or that I had just spoken. And they both looked at me, like they really genuinely wanted to know what I thought about anal sex, and I thought to myself, Jesus Christ, the one time you decide to say something meaningful out in the Hinterlands, THIS is what you choose to say??!!

So I didn’t say anything else. I just sort of smiled. I knew my desk was calling, needing me to come back home and to stop talking to people all unsupervised and stuff.

I’m hopeful that today will yield all kinds of wonderful things for the novel. I’m also hopeful that maybe Sandra might even call me – I’ve been trying to get her to call me for over a week now because I need to talk to her about some important stuff re: rehearsals for Tell My Bones. On Friday, she suddenly texted me from NYC and said, “It’s really noisy where I am right now but as soon as I get somewhere quiet, I’ll call” and that was the last I heard…. Perhaps today she will at long last be someplace quiet. We’ll see!

Meanwhile, enjoy your Tuesday, wherever you are in the world!! I did indeed go back to listening to The Big Jangle during breakfast this morning just because it makes me happy and I thought, so what? It’s better than wanting to cry first thing in the morning, you know?  So I leave you with this! One of the jangliest of the big jangles.  Thanks for visiting,  gang. I love you guys! See ya!!

She threw down her golden band
Crushed it with her feet into the sand
Took her silent partner by the hand
Yeah yeah oh yeah yeah

Somewhere near the edge of town
She said she was torn and turned around
“Can you help me cast this evil down?”
Yeah yeah oh yeah yeah

We’ll drive for the line now
There’s nothing to be lost
You and I will cross over
With no second thoughts

Dreams fade hope dies hard
She cups her eyes and stares out at the stars
Says “I feel we’ve traveled very far”
Yeah yeah oh yeah yeah
Yeah yeah oh yeah yeah
Yeah yeah oh yeah yeah

c – 1978 Tom Petty

Evolving Past This

I dropped off to sleep in very high spirits last night. And then awoke in this sort of “not good” place.

I think it’s an energy thing.

You know how it feels when you know you are evolving past things in your life? Not just outgrowing things, but you can sense that everything around you, the reality you’ve pulled together for yourself, is shifting. Maybe morphing into the next adventure, but you can’t completely see it yet.

That’s how I feel around here.  Things are changing. It’s not a bad thing but for some reason, I’m feeling blue and I’m trying to sort of tune my dial to a better feeling energy here this morning.

A really cool thing happened last night, though, as I was drifting off to sleep.  You know that very early place between awake and dreaming where you can become somewhat lucid? I suddenly realized that I was in a room with about maybe 20 people and they were sitting down, talking among themselves, as well as talking to me.

I awoke slightly and then realized that this is a potential version of that writer’s retreat I’ll be giving. Perhaps the “ghost” version, or the “as yet to be filled in by physical reality” version.  I was talking to an older woman and she was very passionate about something.

It was at that exact moment, while talking to her, that I became lucid and experienced myself talking to her. And quickly after that, I awoke.  And I realized that this is the other side of the equation. Meaning, I want to do things in life. I have dreams or goals. I know they always involve other people but it never occurred to me in such vividness how a goal or a dream that’s in the process of manifesting brings the energies of others to you as it’s in the process of manifesting. The energies, I guess, pull together until  an experience completely fills in and we then experience it as “real.”

I realized that this dream had been a gathering of potential co-creators who are all in the process of manifesting something in their lives that was going to be really joyful.  And that it centered around that writer’s retreat.

Over the years, I have taught some really gifted young writers. Writers who wanted to make that transition into being professional, selling their work, getting book deals or selling a screenplay, etc.  I know what they’re up against and I try to be realistic with them about rejection if only to give them some emotional armor,  but overall, I try to be as encouraging as I can possibly be. Because that part where you do have to be realistic is only the beginning part, and it is completely outweighed by what comes next, when things start to click and you do start to make sales, and get readers and start to develop relationships with publishers or producers or what have you.  It absolutely does happen, especially if you’re a gifted storyteller.  It absolutely will happen, if you stick with it.

And there is always that moment that arrives when, as a teacher, I cut them loose, because I know I’ve taught them what I could, that they need to go out and try their own wings, and that now I’ve become more of an editor than a teacher, and frankly I charge a whole lot more to edit you than to teach you. So off they go into the world.

I know they’re gifted. I know a gifted writer when I read one. I’ve worked with hundreds of writers over the years, and I’ve been blessed to have had so many close colleagues who were or are incredibly good writers. I can tell in less than a page of reading, if someone has the gift. But as far as younger students go, I have seen so many of them let the fear of failure that comes with those early rejection letters,  turn into “I have to have a job to pay the bills and I need to focus on that right now.”

And then I know, sad as it is, that it’s as good as over.  I don’t ever say it, but in my heart I know that they’ve opted for safety and conservatism because of fear. And now they’re going to get bogged down in responsibilities that will make everything about having a life of art be just that much more difficult.

I’ve never been about playing it safe, ever. I’ve always been wildly at the other end of that spectrum. I have lived most of my life in fear, things having nothing to do with my writing, but stemming from physical and sexual abuse, where I learned to feel that I was utterly alone and on my own from an early age. I can look on that as a gift now because it gave me stamina, and helped me develop a relationship with my idea of God that, in turn, taught me all about faith. The depths of faith. And also the depths of beauty in this world, and the blessings of kindness. And of course, underscoring all of that, the beauty of love among people who might not even know each other.

I have a deep appreciation for all those things about humanity because I’ve seen the other side of that and it’s just horrible. And so love and beauty and kindness become sacred, you know?

I really want to be in an atmosphere again where people are already in their craft, in that understanding of what they want to put into the world, past that point of fear or uncertainty, where art can really blossom or flow.  And it was beautiful last night to realize that I’m not the only one who still wants that. All I have to do is set out that beacon and the writers will come.

For most of my adult life, I had projects that involved bringing tons of talented writers and artists together. The advent of the Internet was instrumental in letting that happen so fluidly. Other-Rooms.com, MarilynsRoom.com, and certainly the EAA were incredibly successful ventures in that regard. But they took over my life. They grew to be 24/7 endeavors and I had next to no time left for me.  And certainly with the EAA, I came up against the laws and censorship stuff with this country’s Government. In the past, I had worked for publishers who either literally went to prison for publishing and distributing “pornography” or who’d had to spend a fortune fighting the Government in court. I know that it can happen and that was so much more than I’d bargained for, so I began to step back.

Even though the writer’s retreats will require a huge amount of work for me, since each separate retreat will also yield the publication of a book that I have to basically “curate” from start to finish, each retreat will be bracketed by “only 2 times a year,” at most. And I’ll still have the rest of the year for my own adventures. So I feel really, really excited about that.

Plus, I’m in the process of putting together with Valerie in Brooklyn some initial cover art for 2 of the books I have in progress right now (I do this to avoid, at all costs, any more covers that feature girls in their underwear.)  Here they are as they stand right now.

Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse is a book I began writing in January. This one is graphically erotic,  creative nonfiction. It pretty much is exactly what the title says it is.

Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse

And of course Blessed By Light. This is a novel about an aging, successful musician, grieving the unexpected death of his 2nd wife, falling in love again, revisiting the scope of his life and his career, and the specters of success, love, loss, despair, triumph  and redemption, and what that has done to his family and to himself. It’s almost finished. It has a lot of erotic elements in it, but it is literary fiction. The cover art is still in the creative process. No lettering yet.

Blessed By Light

All right. I’m gonna get going around here and try to turn the energy of this day around, posthaste. I see that there’s a Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave in my inbox and those are always incredibly interesting.  Perhaps it will set the tone for his Conversation tonight in Hamburg, Germany! (Lucky Duck-sters!!)

Okay. Thanks for visiting, gang. I tried really hard not to listen to The Big Jangle this morning, in my efforts to adjust to this idea that Tom Petty is in fact dead. It was depressing – that absence of sound.  I’m gonna have to re-think all of it , the whole 9 yards.

But I love you guys! See ya.

The Thrill of it All

Yesterday was too beautiful, gang. Not just the weather, but everything about the day.

My weekly conference call with Peitor continued to astound and amaze, for two reasons. One being that how he wants to storyboard the shoot for the current project will make  the storyboard an art gallery exhibit, in and of itself.  An exhibition of abstract absurdity.  Just too delightful – how his mind works.

And second, we talked in depth about the Artists’ Retreat in Perugia (pictured above at sunset) and what I need to do, or to offer, etc., for my segment of the retreat. It was just incredibly exciting for me.  Even though I can see it will become a ton of work for me twice a year (hopefully every year); I’d still much rather teach in a villa in Italy than teach at my dining room table, which is where I’ve always taught for years.

I’m going to try to figure out how to format the photo gallery on this blog and upload some photos of the villa where the retreats are held. It’s just beautiful. 30 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms. A dining room, a tea room, a chapel, the main salon. Plus they have a separate apartment on the grounds that you can just rent for a vacation, without being part of any retreat in the villa.  The villa is on 800 acres, and it’s self-contained. Meaning they grow all their own organic food on the property. The villa is fully staffed with cooks and housekeeping and groundskeepers.  (And sheep and horses.)

Anyway, it’s too beautiful.  The only thing that distressed me a little bit was that Peitor won’t be there with me.  Not that I’m co-dependent by any stretch of the imagination; but he is, like, one of my closest friends, plus he speaks fluent Italian and is the overseer of the whole retreat. The primary caretaker of the grounds, who resides there year round, speaks English, but everyone else, meaning the entire country of course, speaks Italian.

Long ago, I studied Italian but found that I didn’t have a real affinity for the language. (I had the same experience with studying German and Portuguese. The languages just didn’t want to “take” for some reason. Yet French, Mandarin Chinese, and Biblical Hebrew were relatively easy for me.) The only things I really know how to say in Italian are “excuse me,” “thank you”, “goodbye”, “hello,” “postage stamp”, and “let’s eat now!”

So the thought that, in addition to all these writing projects I have going on (and by “projects,” I include pre-production and then production of two plays, which necessitate rehearsals and constant re-writes along the way), I’m gonna have to start studying Italian again… Well, I sensed stress inching in at the outer most recesses of my psyche.

I’m not a super good traveler, even in English. I’ve traveled a lot, but it’s always been for career-related things: readings, book signings, meetings with editors & publishers, or acquiring work from other artists for one project or another. I think of traveling as being very stressful, even though I do always enjoy meeting people. It seems I don’t ever travel to just enjoy myself.

My idea of enjoying myself involves really nice sheets on a reasonably comfortable hotel room bed, room service,  a writing desk, and a lover with a really fertile and limitless imagination – and that’s all I need (or want, really).  I can forego the latter and still have a delightful time alone with a comfortable bed, room service and a writing desk, but even then, it seems like well-meaning people are always wanting to drag me off to interesting art galleries, wonderful restaurants, and to have memorable conversations and stuff.  (You can readily see why people all over the world are annoying, right??)

Anyway. So I have to start studying Italian again because apparently Peitor is not intending to hold my hand (or to even be present) during all my various upcoming adventures in Italy.

You know, it can get sort of depressing to be regarded as someone who is so independent.  People tend to treat me as someone who is choosing to be independent. That it defines me – my independence. People just have to look at me and it seems like they jump right to this conclusion that I’m independent. Probably because I’m so tall.

THEM (thinking): Oh, she’s tall. Clearly she’s got everything under control.

ME (at any given moment, on any given day, thinking): I’m out of my fucking mind! How the hell did I even get here? And where do I think I’m going?

Every once in a blue moon, angels appear and they actually help me. One time, even though I was managing quite well with my luggage, a woman spontaneously helped me carry my suitcases down the stairs of the Paris Metro.  She simply took one of my suitcases and walked down the stairs with me, then set it down and went on her way. It was so nice! And I have remembered her for all time, even though she never even spoke a word to me.

Because I look so independent, people almost never ask if they can carry something for me, or hold the door for me, or get the elevator for me, or hold my chair out for me, or buy me a drink, or come up and see me sometime.

(The answers, btw, are: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.)

(I guess people assume that I’m some sort of tall, intelligent, feminist with a bad temper or something and so they don’t want to risk offending me. But what I actually am is tall and intelligent, with a bad temper only if you push me too far – but that’s called “getting my Irish up” and has nothing to do with me being a feminist.)

So for me, traveling just equals stress.  And traveling in foreign languages is, of course, even more stressful because I am always just by myself. And even traveling in English can be very stressful for me because of all the insane security at airports nowadays.

It used to be you just worried about going through Customs with any traces of illegal substances. Now, you don’t want to go through Customs with your own identity accompanying you. Or I should say “me.” Flying from Paris into the small town of Exeter, England, was one of the scariest moments of my life. I was coming from a book signing in Paris, and blithely going to visit a colleague in Exeter. And Customs stopped me.  Stopped me. In a big way. And questioned me for a really long time.

THEM: Who are you? (They’ve already got you on their screen, so they know.)

ME: A writer.

THEM: What do you write? (They already know. They can see that your FBI file labels you a pornographer with ties to international pedophiles, regardless of whether you wanted that or not. And that the US Justice Department considers you a pornographer who poses a threat to innocent children everywhere.)

ME:  I write romance stories.

THEM: Really? You’re sure about that? (At this moment, you’re exceedingly sure about this, even though you’ve just come from a book signing in Paris that celebrated a book you wrote decades ago about a fictional gang-rape in Chicago.) And what are you doing here?

ME: Just visiting.

THEM: Really? You flew from New York, to Paris, to tiny Exeter, and you’re just visiting? You’re sure about that?

At this point, do you say: “I’m here to visit a colleague who used to be a pop star in Yugoslavia with hit records, until he had to flee the Croatian War because he was gay and feared for his life, and now he’s living here in exile, awaiting permanent status, and meanwhile, he takes these wonderful photographs of naked young men that I want to license for a project we’re doing back in the States.” Do you say that?

HINT: The answer is NO.  You do not say this! (Because you’re not stupid.)

Instead, you reply: “I’m just visiting, really.” Repeat this until they finally let you go because they know they’re going to follow you all over England on that CCTV thing anyway.

Crimony. Is it any wonder that my idea of a  vacation is a nice hotel bed somewhere and room service (with or without the mindbogglingly imaginative lover)?

That said, though, I do indeed intend to brush up on my Italian…

So. Have a happy Sunday, gang, wherever you are in the world! I’m gonna get things crackin’ around here.  Meanwhile, in honor of Mother’s Day here in the States, I leave you with this. It’s a photo of my birth mom, Cherie. She’s 13 here, in a little town called Greenfield, Ohio. She’s holding my Uncle Mark while pregnant with yours truly!!!! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys! See ya.

My birth mother.

The Return of the Lovely Day!

Not only is it Saturday (which means nothing to me, since all I ever do is work anyway), but the sunshine has returned and it’s just a really beautiful day around here again, gang.

Plus, Saturday means that I have another conference call with Peitor to work on our current micro-short script.  And also to find out more details about that Writers’ Retreat thing he wants me to do in Italy.

You know, I was consulting a colleague overseas about the retreat and it was interesting to hear what he had to say. I won’t go so far as to say it was insulting, it wasn’t that bad.  But it had to do with the idea that “I thought we’d agreed that it would be better to distance yourself from the erotic stuff.”

Well, maybe in some fantasy world it would be better, but all my readers ever seem to want from me is the erotic stuff.  So what is that saying? If I distance myself from that then I distance myself from my readers and then why write?

Not everything I do is outright erotic, but there are at least erotic moments in everything I write – the Cleveland TV pilot was getting really good feedback until I added quite a few erotic elements to it and then the feedback was, like, wow, this is the best version yet. Even in Tell My Bones there are a couple erotic moments.

In everybody’s real life there are (I would hope) plenty of erotic moments. And if you’re me, then you would re-phrase that to say, there have been a few un-erotic moments and the rest of my life has just been off the charts.

I can’t help it if I see things, or experience life, in this overtly erotic way. It’s just how I am. I know it would be so nice if I wasn’t like this; it would be so much more comfortable for everyone else. And in the long run, also for me. But that’s not how it turned out.

And when the muses swooped back into my life this past year, and it felt as if my whole life returned to me, all this erotic stuff started coming out in my work again.  And it has just been really joyful.

When the editor in NYC was going over the chapters of Blessed By Light recently, even though she loved what she was reading, she asked me in all seriousness, “What do you call this, Christian erotica?”

I was dumbfounded. Not only would that be an indescribably mind-bogglingly difficult genre to try to market, are you saying that only Christians can be blessed? Or that only “Christians” turn to Christ in an hour of extreme despair, when every other moment of their lives has been about music, and struggle, and drugs, and anger, and disappointment, and triumph, and rage, and love, and confusion, and sex, sex, sex, and loss, sorrow, defeat, and then back to sex and love and joy again? They pray because they can’t figure out what else to do in their moment of extreme despair, so then the book now becomes “Christian.” Or that if an aging man recalls the things that were erotic about this whole panoply of life , the whole book becomes erotica?

Man, oh man. I politely replied that I call it “a novel.” But her question truly blew me away.

But on we go, right? All I know is that I’m happy, I’m excited, and, yes, I’m really blessed. And if that feels erotic to me, oh well. And if I want to share that with other writers — in Italy, with wine and great food and stunning vistas, and incredible conversations — oh well.  I’m gonna try really hard not to worry too much about what you think of me, or of any of us.

And on that happy note! Have a great Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you! See ya! (PS: Play this one real loud.)

I can’t help about the shape I’m in
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to

Oh well

Now, when I talked to God I knew he’d understand
He said, “Stick by me and I’ll be your guiding hand
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to”

Oh well

c – Peter Green/ Fleetwood Mac

If You’re Gonna Give Me Idiotic Book Covers…

Then I suggest the one above!

It actually offends me less and makes about as much sense as most of the book covers I’ve been given over the last 30 years.

It’s a losing battle, though, one which I gave up fighting a long time ago. And except for Richard Kasak (a publisher who died quite a few years ago), I only got the covers I wanted when I designed the books myself.

And I only bring this up today because yesterday I was rudely awakened to something that really bothered me. (Yesterday was a big day for that kind of thing.) I was trying to investigate further this Neptune & Surf French audio book link I had seen because I wanted to write to my publisher in Paris.

I soon discovered it’s not really an “audio book.” Meaning, it’s not the entire book.  It’s excerpts. Still,  I’m pretty sure the amount of content included violates my contract. But I was soon overwhelmed by too many things that sort of “assaulted” me that I got depressed, gave up and said, I’m not dealing with this. Just let it go, Marilyn.

This particular French edition has been out for 8 years already and I had completely forgotten that the publisher changed the title of the book from Neptune & Surf to Sex in America. That had bothered me when it happened, even though, technically, I understood what the publisher was getting at, I still thought that it both: a.) only vaguely summed up what the book was about; as well as, b.) hugely overstated what the book was about.

Then they gave it this horrible cover, even though I had asked them not to give me a cover picturing a girl in her underwear. Technically, she’s in sparkly stockings and a necklace, so I guess she’s not really in her “underwear”. However, when I finally saw the cover back at my desk in America (where I was probably having Sex), it quietly enraged me, since I had specifically asked them, en francais!, not to do this.

Then, I remembered that they had deleted the novella, The Mercy Cure, from this edition because they thought that it was “too complicated.” This meant that this edition only contains 2 novellas, Gianni’s Girl (one of my most popular stories ever, about Italian bootleggers and a gang-rape in Chicago in 1927 – that’s so American, right?  – but I was glad they didn’t tinker with that), and the novella Neptune & Surf – which they changed to Neptune Avenue. (And, yes, technically, that title is easier to grasp and perhaps makes more sense, but I gave it the title of Neptune & Surf for very specific reasons, mostly because the story was written for and dedicated to Holly and all of our wonderful years of hardcore debauchery together on Coney Island. The title means a lot to me and to her.)

But all of that taken together means that no one on earth would possibly connect Sex In America with Neptune & Surf unless they were psychic in some sort of seriously scary way.

Plus the price of the book – a mass market paperback (in French) containing two novellas – is almost 17 dollars! That seems crazy to me.

So that depressed me. I don’t like broken links in the chain of commerce and product identity.

(And it also bothers me that Little, Brown, in London, somehow managed to put out into the international search engines that “Marilyn Lewis” is the author of their digital edition of Neptune & Surf, even though, all over their website, I’m “Marilyn Jaye Lewis”, which makes a huge difference because there are about 500 billion women in the world named “Marilyn Lewis.” Yet another annoying broken link in the chain of commerce and product identity!)

Anyway, at the beginning of the digital reading, the French woman who reads the excerpts of Neptune & Surf (aka Sex In America) says very complimentary things about the book and about the caliber of my writing. Extremely kind things. Which was nice. Still, the whole thing is prefaced by the concept of: Good writing in bad books and about how this is sort of a dirty secret of publishing houses – this good writing in these bad books that are hidden in dark corners of bookstores. (All of this was said in French, by the way, which only made it sound more authoritative.)

I probably don’t have to tell you that this really upset me. Even though most of my books have sold well and have not been relegated to dark corners in bookstores. I of course understood the point she was trying to make and it’s a public conception that I’ve been up against throughout my entire career.

It’s upsetting to think that all these decades later, I’m still up against this.  Yesterday was just not a good day for me. First, the entire universe seemed to want me to come to terms with the reality that Tom Petty is dead, and then come to terms with the reality that people will only find out that I’m a good writer if they happen to find themselves furtively lurking in the dark corner of a bookstore…

Plus that whole feeding frenzy over buying the Nick Cave ticket yesterday morning was also very disturbing to my equilibrium. (At Town Hall, it’s called Nick Cave Words + Music, btw, not Conversations with Nick Cave.) (I don’t think this means that he’s just going to say a bunch of words, and that he only saves actual “conversations” for people who aren’t American…)

Anyway, normally, I refuse to participate in stuff like that. I just can’t stand that feeding frenzy set up.  And I’m sure this morning’s sale will be so much worse, since it’s the regular tickets.

Obviously, I want all of Nick Cave’s endeavors all over America to sell out. [UPDATE: Town Hall indeed sold out in under half an hour –  Ed.] Loyal readers of this lofty blog  are probably really tired of me bemoaning the fact that most non-big city Americans do not even know who he is. Still, I was so seriously tempted to just abort the whole thing yesterday, it was making me so insane:

CLICK, Oops! Sorry, that ticket’s gone! Try again! CLICK, Oops! Sorry, that ticket’s gone! Try again! CLICK, Oops! Sorry, that ticket’s gone! Try again!

Over and over and over. And it happens at warp speed. You’re watching all the little blue dots on the seating map disappear in nanoseconds. Jesus fucking Christ, you know? What is that? It’s one of the things I hate about doing stuff online.

I would not even do something like that for myself, if for some convoluted reason I had to buy a ticket to hear myself speak. I’m definitely someone who moves quickly to: Fuck this shit, and then goes back to whatever it was I’d been doing. But, alas. Not for Nick Cave having a conversation. (And in that movie, 20,000 Days on Earth, when we go with him to his “therapist’s” office? Oh my god! That was the most ingenious thing I ever saw in my life. I’d probably sell my house to afford a ticket to go to therapy with Nick Cave.)

I digress. I’m just saying, I don’t like that kind of thing – buying tickets in that fiercely competitive way. I feel like I’m being spiritually eviscerated by the Internet. And I don’t even have a question I want to ask him.  Well, actually, I have an unending list of questions I want to ask him. Daily, I’m asking him questions in my head, from the moment I wake-up in the morning until I go to sleep at night, but these are not questions that would interest anyone else on earth. And a lot of the questions people do ask him are actually really, really cool questions. I’m actually very eager to hear what other people want to know.

So I stuck with it and got my ticket… And I’m happy, but the process sucked the life out of me for awhile.

So yesterday was a challenge.  But I’m going to try to make today a lot better.  This morning, at breakfast, I was once again listening to The Big Jangle (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, from the Playback collection) and just loving every moment of it, but also thinking, Man, these songs are over 40 years old. He died. Shouldn’t I be putting it to rest now? But the tears started to come again and I just can’t go there. I can’t. I have to shift gears and tell myself, He’s alive and well and only 30 years old and living inside my little tabletop jukebox.

And life, as it were, goes on….

Thanks for visiting, gang. Hope you have a perfect Friday wherever you are in the world! I love you guys. Seriously. I mean that. See ya.

Well It didn’t feel like Sunday
Didn’t feel like June
When he met his silent partner in that lonely corner room
That over looked the marquee
Of the Plaza All-Adult
And he was not lookin’ for romance
Just someone he could trust

And it wasn’t no way to carry on
It wasn’t no way to live
But he could put up with it for a little while
He was workin’ on something big

Speedball rang the night clerk
Said, “Send me up a drink”
The night clerk said “It’s Sunday man, …wait a minute
Let me think
There’s a little place outside of town that might
Still have some wine”
Speedball said, “Forget it, can I have an outside line?


It was Monday when the day maids
Found the still made bed
All except the pillows that lay stacked
Up at the head
And one said, “I know I’ve seen his face
I wonder who he is?

And the other said, “He’s probably just another clown
Workin’ on something big”

c- 1981 Tom Petty

Good Lord, I’m Back

What a fucking morning. And everything started out so good.

It began sliding downhill when I noticed that someone from overseas had come to my site during the night, looking for Michael Hemmingson. My dear colleague who is allegedly dead. And I visited the post from back in September that had brought them to the site, Me+ Reality = Never a Good Combination and it just broke my heart.

I still refuse to believe that Michael is dead.  I am simply not going to process that until they can show me a corpse or something, you know? And since it’s now been 5 years, I’m guessing that if there ever was a corpse, there certainly isn’t one now. But it just feels devastating and part of that is because I’m refusing to process his death. I know that. But a small part of that is that I honestly do not believe that he died, his politics were so dicey, so how do I process it?

And then I kept reading the post, and there was all that stuff I wrote about sex and fame and my writing career. And that was pretty disgusting but I’m not going to un-say it because it was true. And if the truth about myself sometimes makes me sick, oh well.

Then, a new video  was dropped today. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ For Real. This was a previously unreleased song that came out posthumously on The Best of Everything collection a couple months ago. They did a video of the song and it dropped today on YouTube.

And as much as I told myself, “Do not watch this, it’s gonna break your fucking heart!” I watched it anyway. And I just sobbed, you know? It broke my damn heart.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I steadfastly refuse to process Tom Petty’s death, too. I cannot accept it. I understand that he’s dead, logically I understand it, but I refuse to actually process it and let it move into some sort of bygone place.

I can accept that the 66-year-old version of him died, but I can’t watch any of that video footage from the Hollywood Bowl, when he died 7 days later. Can’t do it, even though I know that that man is dead. I can’t bear it. And when I see this stuff from his early career, when I, too, was so young and so full of dreams and loved him so much, it just devastates me to have to think even for a moment that that guy is dead, too. I can’t do it. It kills me.

Even though I begged myself not to watch that video… I could not resist the lure of how beautiful he was.

Oh well.

I guess you just never know what you’re going to do in the space of a morning, do you?


Sometimes -There’s God – So Quickly!

I know, I’m hopelessly plebeian, but that is probably my favorite line from A Streetcar Named Desire.

I first read that play when I was about 15 and it was one of those lines that seared straight into my heart and I immediately put a lot of faith into those words ;  God was going to somehow manage to be there for me, even if He was gonna wait until I really, really, REALLY needed Him before regaling me with that miracle at the 11th hour.

Of course, in the play, it’s all about a woman needing a man to take care of her and she thinks she’s finally getting one. That’s a concept that has always been, even at age 15, indescribably foreign to me. Why on earth would I want a man to take care of me? Then he would have the power to tell me what to do!

Even though I really love dominant men, I am definitely not the kind of person who responds well to being told what to do. It’s a strange, hazy, jagged sort of line, isn’t it? Not something that can be sorted out in a single, lighthearted blog post, I’m guessing.  (It’s interesting to note, though, that I respond really well when someone puts actual thought into how best to subvert my churlishness by making something sound like a mere suggestion and not a mandate. My enormous ego assuaged, I can then do what you ask and still trot along happily behind you, my merry tail wagging away once more.)

However! Yes! I digress. That’s not at all what I was going to post about!

I was going to talk about Blessed By Light and how inserting a single clause within a sentence yesterday completely heightened the dynamic of what I had been trying to say for 3 days without understanding for 3 days what I was really trying to say!

The clause was “who now embodied everything I ever was in my youth” and it just made everything hit the stars, you know? I really just sat there and stared at the manuscript and went, WhoaWhere did that come from?

Hence, my Tennessee Williams’ line, Sometimes – there’s God – so quickly.  Or the Muse. Take your pick. I lean more toward Muses than God. But it’s still a great line that often comes to me when I’m just really, really happy.

I only got 2 more pages written after that yesterday, because the phone calls that I knew were coming came and dealt with 2 other projects I’m working on and it set my mind off in other directions. Try as I did to reel my mind back in, it just never happened. But I still had just a beautiful night. I am just so happy with everything.

And the weather has been just incredible the last few days. It has made everything almost feel magical. I took a walk to the Dollar Store yesterday (the only store in the whole village except for the gas station across the road from it, where you can buy cigarettes, chewing tobacco, M&M’s and stuff, and nothing but the finest libations: beer and cheap wine, and windshield wiper fluid). And on my walk home, I was looking fondly at my house in the distance as it came ever closer, and I simply couldn’t believe how happy I was.  All of my projects are just going so well.

I don’t define myself solely by my writing, but my writing does account for about 98% of how I look at myself. I don’t care if that’s a good idea or not; it’s just how it is. And when the writing is going well, all is right with my world. I have the best muses ever.

I still have to deal somehow with this explosion of stuff on the Internet, where people seem to be doing renewed projects with past books of mine, and I haven’t seen royalty statements from these publishers in a few years. I posted here recently about the interesting hardcover editions of a novel of mine that never came out in hardcover, but which are selling for $203 per copy. And then I noticed an audio book of Neptune & Surf! In French! How nice! Were you planning on ever telling me you had done that?? Methinks not! (But I have to write that letter en francais! so it’ll take a little while.)

So there’s still little headache-type stuff that I have to figure out how to deal with, but it’s all okay. Everything will work out.

Okay, in about 34 minutes and 44 seconds, I’m gonna get my ticket to see Nick Cave at Town Hall, and then I’m gonna get crackin’ here on Blessed By Light. [UPDATE: I got my ticket, a really good seat in the front of the balcony, dead center, but wow, what a feeding frenzy that was. The pre-sale tickets were gone in about 12 minutes.  – Ed.]

I hope you have a really productive and happy Thursday, wherever you are in the world! (Assuming it’s still Thursday wherever you are in the world!)

I leave you with yet another really cool song from my breakfast-listening this morning. It’s from The Big Jangle – by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1978: Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid). I really love this song. The melody is just great. And once you decipher all the lyrics, it’s so fucking singable! All right. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you. See ya.

There goes my baby
There goes my only one
I think she loves me
But she don’t wanna let on

Yeah, she likes to keep me guessing
She’s got me on the fence
With that little bit of mystery
She’s a complex kid
And she’s always been so hard to figure out
Yeah, she always likes to leave me with a shadow of a doubt

Sometimes at night, I
Wait around ’til she gets out
She don’t like workin’
She says she hates her boss

But she’s got me asking questions
She’s got me on the fence
With that little certain something
She’s a complex kid
And she’s always been so hard to get around
Yeah, she always likes to leave me with a shadow of a doubt

Just a shadow of a doubt
She says it keeps me running
I’m trying to figure out
If she’s leading up to something

And when she’s dreaming
Sometimes she sings in French
But in the morning
She don’t remember it

But she’s got me thinking ’bout it
Yeah, she’s got me on the fence
With that little bit of mystery
She’s a complex kid
And she’s always been so hard to live without
Yeah, she always likes to leave me with a shadow of a doubt

Well a shadow of a doubt
Well a shadow of a doubt

c- 1978 Tom Petty

Alas, Poor Sybil!

Sybil is the girl up there on the book cover. Doomed to come into her hormonal peak in an era when most Americans were more comfortable with women being one-dimensional!!

(And I’m guessing that the author, “Joan Ellis,” was really a guy.)

But I guess it made for some good, solid reading. Yes, indeedy.

God knows, I was no stranger to these kinds of trashy paperbacks when I was young; they were just everywhere in the early 70s. Just everywhere. But I was not their target audience, that’s for sure.

Even though this era in erotic publishing in the US was sort of a “golden era” for the genre, it did absolutely nothing for me. And I was the horniest child imaginable, so it wasn’t that. It was the writing. It was not good! I was only 13 when I read Story of O and that was, like, from some other celestial realm. It took my breath away, it was so erotic.

For me, it all came down to the quality of the writing. It really did. I guess if you aren’t into dominant men (as I am and always have been, since about, I don’t know, age 6?), the quality of the writing might not mean anything at all to you. But I’ve known women who weren’t into dominant men, and women who weren’t even into men at all, who were still blown away by the writing in Story of O.

Wow. Well. that was certainly an unexpected tangent at 6:11am!

What I was intending to write about was something a little bit different. But not much.

Last evening,  I finally did get some energy going. My brain connected. I had Chapter 21 of Blessed By Light open in front of me. I was tweaking some stuff already written there and feeling primed to get some new stuff down, and then suddenly Peitor texted me.

I don’t keep my ringer on when I’m writing but I do keep my phone on the desk, so I saw that he was sending text after text after text. Which always means something important is on his mind, so I looked at the texts. And then suddenly, Valerie in Brooklyn started texting me, too. She’s working on some sample cover art for me and I needed to hear from her, so I was trying to read that, too. And then suddenly my dad called.

All of this happened at once, completely at the same time, at around 7 in the evening.  And no one had texted or called me all day. Suddenly, all my mental energy was re-routed toward my phone, which basically derailed any creative stuff getting written yesterday.

But the stuff from Peitor was really cool. He and a handful of creative people in L.A. (except for Peitor, I think the others involved are all women), anyway, they’re starting an artists’ retreat in Perugia, Italy.

Peitor lives a good portion of the year in Italy and England. And he agreed to take over this property for a friend in Italy and run it. And it’s amazing and really lovely.  And it’s upscale, you know. Really nice. It can house & feed 60 artists at one time.

Peitor is a composer and producer, and he scores films and TV and stuff. And the women onboard are, like, award-winning photographers for National Geographic, and artists in other disciplines, and other writers, as well as TV & film executives. All based in L.A.

They are getting their opening programs together for when the retreat actually opens again, and Peitor texted and asked me if I’d like to try to oversee some sort of erotic writing program there. Not for beginning writers, but more for writers who specifically wanted to write in some sort of erotic vein and the end result is  a book of collected stories or pieces that are erotic in some way and written during the retreat.  So, overseeing a retreat in Italy, as well as a publication. (And, of course,  wine is involved – the drinking of it, not the production of it!!)

And, of course, I was, like, YES!!!! with a zillion exclamation points. We then texted for over an hour, hashing out the details. So you can see why I never got back to the novel last night. My mind went off into this whole other realm.

I’ve taught writing before. It’s not an easy thing to do. And I was very picky about who I would take on as students, because it’s hard enough to help good writers become better writers.  Trying to teach someone who thinks they kinda might like to write…that’s just not even in a ballpark that I know how to show up in.

So, I can see how an undertaking like this particular retreat could require an enormous amount of energy from me, directed at a lot of people at once, and people from all over the world. I speak French and a little Mandarin Chinese, but that’s it.  Everyone’s gotta speak English, otherwise I’ll be useless. Yet, just because a writer might speak English, it doesn’t mean they’re thoughts slide together in the same way that a native speaker’s does, right? Still, I find the whole idea just really exciting, however it turns out.

But I think I totally passed out from exhaustion before 11pm last ngiht and then I was up at 4:11am, all excited about life and unable to fall back to sleep. Teaching that guy piano, and now this artists’ retreat in Italy. On top of all the other really cool projects I’m doing right this very minute.  I was also lying there wondering what seat I’m going to get when the tickets go on pre-sale for Nick Cave at Town Hall tomorrow morning. I know I’m going to get “a seat,” but will it be the seat I want? What is the seat I want? Actually, the seat I want is, you know, on the piano bench right next to him, but I’m thinking that’s not actually a seat that’s being offered…

I finally got out of bed at 5am, went downstairs to merrily feed the many scampering cats. We listened to The Big Jangle by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers all during breakfast. What a great CD. (It’s from the Playback collection.) It has all of my favorites from that period when I was 18-21 years old. Gem after gem, and not one of them longer than 3 minutes.  It’s pretty much: verse/chorus, verse/chorus, bridge, chorus, out. But just wonderful rock & roll songs! All of them infused with that intense attitude he had when he was young.

It all just made for a great start to another sunny spring morning around here.

(Oh, you’ll notice that I reloaded Boy, If You Want into the music player. This is a demo we made in my boyfriend’s bedroom, on his 8-track, in 1984. He was a drummer in a different band. We used his bass player and a lead guitar player that they knew. It’s just a demo, the sound quality on the acoustic guitar is terrible, but I always liked the demo, overall.)

Okay, on that note! I’m gonna get crackin’ around here on the novel because I know for sure I have 2 phone calls coming today that I need to take. I leave you with one of my favorite Tom Petty songs of all time! (Isn’t it everybody’s??!!) Here Comes My Girl, from 1978!!!

All right, gang. Thanks for visiting. I love you, guys. See ya!

Good Morning, Sunshine!

This morning was just one of those mornings.

I woke at around 6am (late for me), dawn was already filling my splendid bedroom. A nice breeze was blowing in, birds were chirping outside. However, I felt like I’d been run over by a Mack truck during the night.

I was unbelievably exhausted. It was almost too much of an effort to even open my eyes.

I felt like I was trying to rise to the surface of life from deep down under some unfathomable ocean. But I knew I was happy. That much I was sure of, although it took a moment to remember why.

Ah yes! The Algonquin Hotel as a single woman! Nick Cave at Town Hall!

That helped me sort of focus. But it still took me about 45 minutes to actually get out of that bed.

I hate when that happens, because I really wanted to just spring out of bed today, merrily feed the cats, have my breakfast, and take my coffee back up to the laptop and get to work on Blessed By Light

I’m still waiting for something remotely similar to energy to kick in, all these hours later. Although I did manage to make the drive into town and back to buy groceries and it is a really stunning spring day out there today, gang.  Just gorgeous. Unbelievably perfect. Spring is barreling toward summer today.

While I was on the main drag in the town, I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the most perfect, dark-haired guy in the car behind me. About 20-something. The kind of guy that is nothing but trouble. The kind that I used to be a magnet for, about 45 years ago. And he was driving a vintage Dodge Challenger – the distant forerunner of the Hellcat, my dream car. Wow. It really perked up my tired little brain, if even for a moment.

But now I’m back at my desk, manuscript open in front of me, and the brain is struggling to connect again. What’s funny, though, is that I can feel the muses. They’re swirling all over today. I can practically touch them. You know – with my mind. So it isn’t a lack of that kind of energy,  and so I’m hopeful that the day will eventually yield something really good.

Plus it occurred to me this morning, as I was lying in bed, thinking about the Algonquin and Nick Cave (and myriad combinations thereof); it doesn’t really matter if we can’t pull the tech rehearsals together that particular week. I can make 17 hundred trips to New York, if I have to. And Sandra and I have the other play (the one we’ll be doing in Toronto) that we can work on, plus 2 other plays that we’re working on that are only in various stages of notes. No lack of constant things to be working on in New York.

I don’t want to make myself stressed. I just want to enjoy myself in a wide open world, you know? Come what may.

What I do need, though, is for this novel to be completed and off to the publisher before we begin the initial rehearsals for Tell My Bones here this summer, so I’m gonna get back to staring at Chapter 21 until the brain returns, gang!

Meanwhile, I hope that Tuesday has been really lovely, wherever you are (or Wednesday, if you’re reading this in that part of the world). I leave you, joyfully, with this, gang! (See yesterday’s post).  Listen and decide for yourself if it isn’t the most perfect music to shoot yourself in the head by! Or, I guess launch into some orgasmic frenzy. Your choice!

All righty. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys! See ya.