Tag Archives: New York City

I Wish I Could Just Hire Somebody to Be Me! Indefinitely!

Life does indeed go on, doesn’t it, gang?

I have to leave here in a couple hours to go get my mom. She lives on my sister’s farm a couple of hours from here. Both of my sisters actually live on the farm, in different houses, and now my mom is retired and lives there, too. (She was a waitress and a cook.)

I haven’t been out to the farm in probably 25 years. My one sister actually grew up on that farm, then inherited it, then invited my other sister to come live out there with her.

That one sister who now owns the farm is not the sister that I get along with, hence, I never go out to that farm. That sister is 2 years younger than me, but she acts like she’s about 20 years older than I am. Not that she’s bossy or anything, but apparently she also thinks that I am still 12 years old and it frustrates the heck out of her and so she has little patience with me whenever I’m in the same room with her.

My other sister and I are extremely close. She’s 8 years younger than me and also treats me like I’m 12 years old, but in a really, really nice way. For instance, she just this second texted me, saying, I left you gas money on the kitchen table. Drive safe. I just love that!! Because, honestly, I am only just barely able to take care of myself. It’s a wonder that anyone allowed me to have such a grown up thing as a house… let alone this intensely grown-up car.

I was talking on the phone with Valerie out in Brooklyn yesterday, because I had gotten extremely depressed. And I was lamenting having to do all this driving by myself, and even though I’ve made this drive to NY from here I don’t know how many times, I am now suddenly feeling overwhelmed by all the driving ahead of me. Especially the 2 hour drive from here up to northern Ohio, where I then cross over into Pennsylvania — those 2 hours have a lot of confusing highway changes, and now that I have no CD player in my car, I have to listen to all my music on my phone.

She reminded me that I have a grown-up car now and that it has a really good navigation system. I totally forgot!!  (This is one of the many reasons why I need a keeper, 24/7.) So now, I have the navigation system; that cruise control thing that slows down & speeds up depending on the car in front of me; it brakes by itself; it stays in the lane; and it drives by itself for 10 seconds — so, basically, I can just hang out in the backseat, chew gum and play records! Yay!

I wish.

Yesterday evening, I ran into this elderly man (I’ve posted about him on the blog before – his wife recently died from Alzheimer’s and I had told him he could move in with me if he wanted to, and even though I could tell by his expression that he really, really wanted to, he refused to reply. ) Anyway. I saw him yesterday.  He said, “You always look so happy!” (Which is just bizarre, since I’m always in the throes of some sort of suicidal swoon, but that’s not the point…) For some reason, I told him I was going to NYC and I told him about the progress with the 2 plays with Sandra.

I usually do not talk about my private life — ever. I just don’t talk about it or myself. I smile. I’m friendly, but I am usually an absolute closed steel door. Thanks to google, as soon as neighbors find out I’m a writer, they google me, and it is usually not too long before people start asking me to come over and have sex with them, their girlfriends, with everybody.  (I’m not kidding. I’m actually serious.) Flattering as it may well be, I always politely decline. And then move farther away…

Anyway, for some reason, I told this man about the plays, and of course he didn’t know I was a writer. And it turns out he’s from NYC, too, and moved away shortly after 9/11. Too weird, right? Another New Yorker. (My friend Kara, whom I’ve gotten so close with over the last several months, was also born and raised in NY and I didn’t know this until well after we initially met.)

I guess we have these inner homing devices, or something.  Psychically picking up on this signal from “home.”

I am really digressing here, sorry. My point is that this man wants to introduce me to a female friend of his who also writes. And then he said that she now writes full time and added, “well, of course, she has a husband who takes care of her.” And then he back-pedaled and added, “not that that’s a bad thing.”

Just a really interesting piece of dialogue there, you know? Mostly, he was flattering me, implying that I do what I want and take care of myself, without relying on a man.  I think I said something like, “oh, I see.”

But I was thinking how this idea that I “take care of myself” is just so loosely defined. It’s just funny, people thinking that I do what I want and I take care of myself, as if I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world, assuming I could actually get along indefinitely with some guy I was in love with???  And then I immediately thought about the endless drive ahead of me, and then the drive back. And always traveling everywhere alone. Always working, always writing. Always, always. Alone. It just got a little depressing.

And I got nothing done on In the Shadow of Narcissa because nothing productive would come to me yesterday. But I might actually write while I’m away. Like, on paper — the old-fashioned way. I will be posting to the blog, though, but from my phone, so it won’t be my usual stuff, but I’m still gonna post!

Okay. I gotta scoot. Gotta leave here in a bit and go make the trek out to the farm to get my mom… Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world and whatever you’re doing!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys! See ya!

(A great favorite from my wee bonny girlhood!! Who knew that the only man I would wind up getting along with indefinitely would be Jesus??!!) (See ya!!!) 🙂

How Nice!! My Brain Returned!!

That’s good news, right? I woke up this morning and had a functioning human brain again!

Of course, the slightly bad news is that I still can’t wrap my mind around those extensive notes for the ending segment of Tell My Bones, and my mind seems to be leaning toward writing the next installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa this morning anyway. So I’m getting the feeling that I’m gonna do that.

And then maybe vacuum the house…

And then maybe sit and think about the play…

Sandra finally texted yesterday that she liked the new version but wasn’t understanding how we were going to do a staged reading of it because it now feels so cinematic.

AAAAACCHHH!!

I totally forgot that I have to completely rewrite the staged reading version of the play now, too. (And if you’re deranged enough to be following the progress of all of my far-flung projects, you might recall that I have yet to revise the show bible for Cleveland’s Burning since I did the 4th draft of it back in October…) (And the veteran African-American television actor who was negotiating with me to attach  himself to the TV pilot to play the grandfather role, decided to die the other day. Literally. Peitor texted me from Italy on Friday saying only: “John died.” Oh fuck, now that’s good news…) (And all of my own selfish needs aside; that guy was a really, really nice man.)

Anyway.

I cannot even begin to comprehend how to write the staged reading version of Tell My Bones at this point, without the director basically drawing me a detailed blue print & map. Either that, or I’ll just shoot myself and hope for a better, non-writing, life next time around.

Honestly. I cannot even begin to imagine what the staged reading of this version of the play is gonna look like. I simply cannot.

However, what I told Sandra is: no worries, we all just need to have a chat about it in person once I get there, figure it all out! She texted back a cheery “thumb’s up.”

So we’ll just see what the heck the future brings re: this amazing play because I sure as hell cannot figure it out.

I actually can’t figure anything out. To be honest, way down deep at the core of everything, I don’t even know what Life is or why I exist. I’m just wingin’ it on every level, pretty much every day.

Before I forget — please be on the lookout for the upcoming Fall Issue of the Exterminating Angel Press Magazine (online) because they have an excerpt of my new novel, Blessed By Light, in there!! They’re printing Chapter 18, which is titled, “The Guitar Hero Goes Home.” I will, of course, keep you posted.

All righty. That said, while I still have a functioning brain around here today, I’m gonna scoot and take a look at how I feel about writing a new segment for In the Shadow of Narcissa. And then, depending on how I end up feeling about that, I’ll either write or vacuum. And try not to think about this indescribably stressful trip that is now looming — 3 days away. (And why I decided not to fly… I just don’t understand me sometimes.) (And my TSA Precheck number arrived yesterday — in plenty of time for that flight I’m now not taking.)

Okay. Have a beautiful Sunday, wherever you are in the world. And if you’d like to apply for the job of being my BRAIN, do get in touch. God knows there is often a vacancy there. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys! See ya!

Oh, and the Stateside leg of the Conversations with Nick Cave (aka In Conversation, and Words + Music) begins in, like 5 days….. Can you believe that?  Where is the time fucking going??!!.

Okay. I leave you with this! (Yes, more soul-wreching Dalida! Always a good indication that my sanity is sort of sliding away… Enjoy, gang!)

“La petite maison bleue”

La petite maison bleue
Est envahie de silence
La maison de mon enfance
Me fait mal quand je la voisC’est pourtant plus fort que moi
J’y retournerai sans doute
Je reprendrai cette route
Qui mène à mes souvenirs

C’est ici que j’ai grandi
Que j’ai découvert la vie
Ces beaux jours s’enfuient déjà
Revibrant toujours en moi

La petite maison bleue
A mes yeux reste la même
C’est ici que ceux que j’aime
Ont connu des jours heureux

Ma jeunesse est restée là
Au détour de ce chemin
Ma jeunesse est restée là
Quelquepart dans ce jardin

La petite maison bleue
Est envahie de tristesse
Mais elle est pour moi quand même
La maison des jours heureux

La maison des jours heureux

c – 1968 Detto Mariano, Don Backy, Michel Jourdan

All the Sweet Things A Girl Remembers

I didn’t make much headway in “Baltimore” yesterday (Letter #3 in Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse) because, frankly, I was absolutely exhausted.

I had the file open on the laptop all day, while my actual body was mostly collapsed on the bed all day! And I did do a little bit of laundry, but not much.

Today, I feel totally revived, though, and will work on “Baltimore”.

And yesterday afternoon, the first responses to the newly revised script for Tell My Bones came in and I could not have been happier with the comments. In all honesty, it made my day.  I feel like I achieved on paper what I was trying to accomplish, and I couldn’t have done it without the director’s complete emotional involvement and his really targeted notes. I know that whoever goes to see this play will not forget Helen LaFrance, her art or her life, ever.

So I’m taking some time here to just be really happy — before all the actual business part of it begins.

I’m hoping to finish “Baltimore” before I go get my mom, early next week. And I’m also hoping to get one more segment of In the Shadow of Narcissa written before that, too.  Of course, I will have some free time in that Airbnb to write, if I want to. I’m not sure what I’m going to really be doing all 3 of those days that I’ll be in the Airbnb — when I am not seeing/listening to Nick Cave converse with people at night. I know I’ll be having some sort of meetings re: the play, but certainly not on all 3 of the days, so we’ll see. I’m not planning on being too social, so only a couple of people know I’m even going to be in town (she says as she posts it to her fucking blog…).

Anyway.

Loyal readers of this lofty (fucking) blog will be happy to note that I have started a little pile of things that must accompany me on the trip and I managed to remember to put both tickets to see Nick Cave in that pile!! There is every indication that those tickets, that I’ve had for like 4 months already, will indeed make it with me to New York!! (Without me needing to actually staple them to my forehead.)

As my trip approaches, the very real drama of how my many intensely feral cats will deal with my going away again begins. Since we came to this house, they have gotten really weird about me going away. I’m hoping that had more to do with the previous cat sitter, and not with the actual cats. My mom is a huge lover of animals and has been around all kinds of animals her whole life — horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, dogs galore, and a ton of stray cats. So I’m hoping the cats will be cool with her energy being here.

When I went to LA for 5 days last December, the cats had an absolute field day pissing on my bed. It was absolutely unbelievable.  And I didn’t get home from the airport until about 3am that time, and to come in and find my bed like that — it was almost more than I could comprehend. It was saturated with cat piss. Pillows, bedspread, blankets, sheets — it soaked through two layers of foam mattress padding. It was just unreal.

Nothing says, “We are so fucking mad at you for leaving us with a stranger” than a queen-sized bed soaked in cat piss.

So I’m hoping for something less dramatic this time, even though I’ll actually be away for a longer time period. I’m putting my mom in my own bedroom, and letting the cats have the guestroom, which is where they like to sleep, so that they feel less disrupted.

I’m sort of hoping my mom doesn’t go through all my stuff but in all honesty, if she went away for a week and I was staying in her room, I’d probably go through all her stuff….

It’s not like she doesn’t already know I’m nuts so I guess it doesn’t really matter. She can go through my stuff if she feels like it.

Last night, I had the most amazing dream that Bunny, my sweet cat who died the morning after we moved to the rental house a couple years ago, had come back. I think she really was alive in my dream — meaning, she was there. She felt so real. God, it was so wonderful to hold her again.

She was such a sweet, compassionate cat. She started out as a semi-feral kitten. I got her and her brother, Buster, from a cat rescue in Times Square in NYC. They had been born behind a deli. Unlike these intensely feral cats I have now (I was supposed to only be fostering these ones I have now, but the cat rescue places got overloaded that year and so I wound up being their permanent home — and it’s not easy having a houseful of cats who won’t let you even touch them, and who run and hide whenever you walk into a room they’re in, and multiply that times 7 years already — it’s a wee bit alienating).

Anyway, Bunny became a really loving and demonstrative cat over time. I loved her so dearly. I woke from the dream feeling like I’ve somehow got to get her back. I miss her so much. But of course, it can’t happen. Still it was so wonderful to hang out with her in my dream.

Here’s some photos of her in the last house, before we got the rental. She moved 5 times with me, but the final move was so stressful on her that she suffered a heart attack.

Me and Bunny just chillin’ in my old bedroom in August 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunny taking a break from playing the piano in 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunny hanging with me on the couch, the first Christmas after her brother, Buster, died. (New Year’s Day 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moments later… (New Year’s Day 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, gang. On that note, I’m gonna scoot and get back to “Baltimore”!

I hope you have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

“She’s Got You”

I’ve got your picture that you gave to me
And it’s signed with love, just like it used to be
The only thing different, the only thing new
I’ve got your picture, she’s got you
I’ve got the records that we used to share
And they still sound the same as when you were here
The only thing different, the only thing new
I’ve got the records, she’s got you

[Chorus]
I’ve got your memory or has it got me?
I really don’t know but I know it won’t let me be
I’ve got your class ring that proved you cared
And it still looks the same as when you gave it dear
The only thing different, the only thing new
I’ve got these little things, she’s got you

[Chorus]
I’ve got your memory or has it got me?
I really don’t know but I know it won’t let me be
I’ve got your class ring that proved you cared
And it still looks the same as when you gave it dear
The only thing different, the only thing new
I’ve got these little things, she’s got you

c – 1961 Hank Cochran

Me vs. Everything in the World!

I saw this illustration and it just felt like me as a reasonably happy little girl, and then, behind me in the bed, was everything else imaginable in the world that was waiting for me.

When I actually was a young girl, I never really related to the Little Red Riding Hood story. All the virginal symbolism of it and the whole “girl meets wolf” thing. It held no appeal to me.

The only fairy tales that I actually related to were Beauty and the Beast (the old, non-Disney version) because Love & Kindness trump everything else in the world always; and Rumpelstiltskin because the helpless girl was forced into that horrible situation, then became queen, and then, as queen, tricked that mean little guy and got to keep her baby. I liked that story a lot.

And I also loved the story Peter Pan. And I mean, I really loved that story — I loved Peter and totally related to him. (Perhaps that says a lot about the way I still live, I’m not sure. I sure as hell didn’t grow up — didn’t do the “Wendy” thing. So who knows.)

Well, anyway. I loved that photo of the moon last night, up over my barn (see post below). I just find this village so mysterious and magical. I really do. Loyal readers of this lofty blog perhaps recall that after my 4th weird near-death experience, which came just prior to meeting that older man who died (that I wrote about a couple days ago), my life seemed to change so dramatically that I began to wonder if I had actually died in the near-death experience and just hadn’t figured that out yet.

The man was still alive when I moved here, but not for long afterward. And I wondered if maybe he had only been sent into my life to help me cross over in some way. I often felt, when I first moved here, that the transition to this actual house, to this intensely spirit-filled town, was me moving into some sort of “between world” — no longer alive but not accepting death yet, but not knowing it. And readers perhaps recall that right after I moved here, the Latter Day Saints came into my world in the most amazingly joyful way. It only added to the intensity of me not feeling like I was alive anymore. (It is so hard to explain this if you don’t live in Muskingum County because it involves all these ancient burial mounds around here that are 2000 years old; they are considered sacred ground to the Mormons.)

To be honest, I still often feel that way — that I am not really alive anymore but haven’t figured out yet that I’m dead.  Mostly because there is no way to prove that it’s not true.  You know, there is no concrete way to prove I’m still alive and not actually dead, because everything could just be a sort of fake reality that I only think I’m perceiving.

When I saw that moon last night, and how amazing it looked over my barn, and how amazing this town feels at night — wondering why on Earth a woman like me, a woman who was always so intensely urban, who always wore a little black dress & black high heels everywhere she went, why she even has a barn; well, once again, it made me feel like I’m not really alive anymore. That I’m in some strange in-between place and I only think I’m still alive. Because I was just never, ever like this before.

Wherever this is, it’s really beautiful and I really love it here. But, wow, gang; I am really getting tired. I know it’s because I am doing so much writing; just nonstop — bringing everything from inside to the outside, nonstop for the last 12 months. Including the TV pilot (Cleveland’s Burning) that I went to LA about, which is still sitting in need of certain key people and very soon, I have to pitch that whole project to the Head of Programming of a huge streaming platform and I don’t have those key people in place that they asked for because I immediately wrote a novel, launched into that micro-video production company with Peitor, finished writing a play with Sandra, then wrote 2 entirely different versions of another play, became overwhelmed by the Girl in the Night  stories, and on and on…

Everything coming out of me and nothing has landed anywhere yet. And now the trip back to NYC is looming next week. It’s exhausting. So  much “outgoing” and absolutely no incoming. Well, certain indications of it, but nothing concrete yet. Just constant “outgo.”

Yesterday afternoon, the horrifically loud carbon monoxide alarm went off in my basement. Not a thing any homeowner wants to hear. I was working on Tell My Bones up in my room and suddenly it started shrieking. I went down to the scary 118-year-old basement, and down there, the alarm was just deafening. I couldn’t get the alarm to shut off, and for a few minutes, I stood there and stared at it, knowing I should call the fire department. But wondering if this might not just be the best thing in the long run.

I eventually did go get my phone and was about to dial 911 when the alarm shut off. And none of the other alarms in the house ever came on, and God knows, the house is well ventilated with 21 wide open windows. But, Jesus, I am just so tired.

St. Christopher actually was a saint, don’t let them persuade you otherwise. He did exist; he’s not some myth, although his actual name was slightly different. And if you talk to St. Christopher, he listens. You can actually feel him listening to you.  You know, I am still doing that segment-intending stuff, trying to survive my life in 5-hour chunks right now, but still not knowing how I am going to survive that trip back to NYC. All the driving and then dealing with everything I have to deal with there. But then I heard St. Christopher in my head, saying that he was going to take care of the whole trip, and not to worry. That I was going to have a great time.

I believe him. He is the patron saint of travelers, after all. Especially of 12-year-old girls who are suddenly driving grown-up cars…

Well, anyway. That’s where I am today. Not really the best head space, but I’m trying. I must get back to the play. It is almost done.  So I will close this. I’ll leave you with the 3 songs I was listening to on my phone this morning, around 4am, when I was wondering if I’d ever finish this play and/or even bother to get out of bed again. Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya.

Everything Old is New Again

I know, I should be excited this morning because in a couple of hours, I’ll have a brand new car. However, I woke up battling a huge bunch of sadness today, instead.

Part of it is because I’m still not quite believing that I’m the kind of girl who will be driving a Honda Civic. I know it’s a great car. But I would be more excited if I were driving a Hellcat. My dream car.

The other part of my sadness stems from this business of it being September. The cooler weather; this closing-of-the-windows business. The birds leaving for warmer climes.

I used to love September. I used to love fall. I guess since I wrote about this in Letter #2 of Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse, I can just go ahead and write about it here.

(And as an aside, Letter #3 began coming out yesterday, entirely unexpectedly and all of its own accord. It appears to be titled, “Baltimore.”)

Anyway, in Letter #2, “A Beach to His Waves,” I wrote about an older man who died, but who managed to thoroughly change my life before he left.

I knew him for less than 4 months, but they were the most intense, amazing, beautiful, magical 4 months I ever lived. He was terminal, with cancer, but wound up dying very suddenly from a heart attack instead.

He was in his early 70s, extremely happily married — kids, grandchildren. He’d had a really successful career.  But his wife and his kids were absolutely devastated by the fact that he was dying, incurable, and we met honestly by sheer accident, but it then did seem like it was no accident — it was some miraculous type of fate, or destiny, or something. But we did indeed meet, we were pulled together. And he just wanted to be with someone who didn’t treat him like he was fragile, and who didn’t treat him with kid gloves, and who wasn’t crying all the time. Even though he really did love those people, his wife and family, without doubt.

It just happened, we became lovers, and then it took over my life for just under 4 months. Not only was it the most amazing sex, he also taught me, for the first time in my life, how to accept being loved.  As far as I knew (or even know still today), I was never really loved when I was growing up. My (adoptive) mother told me point blank that I was not loved. My (adoptive) father told me the same thing, in different ways.

At best, I was tolerated, and usually just barely, since throughout my years of growing up, I was relentlessly abused.  A large part of it was the fact that I was adopted so I had nothing whatsoever in common with the people who adopted me. Nothing. I couldn’t have been more different if I were trying. And on top of it, I was very smart, very sexual, very psychic, very creative. Just this weird little kid from Jupiter and they really, really didn’t want to deal with me. Both parents eventually told me that they regretted adopting me and wanted me to just go away.

Anyway, I don’t want to drag all that up now, it is sufficient to say that I have never felt loved and never took it as a given that I ever would be loved, even though I am intensely loving on the giving side of that one-sided equation. (And of course went into the Ministry because of my relationship with Christ and his love, and my understanding that I was capable of being an endless supply of giving love to others.)

But this man, he changed all of that for me. He had been raised by a mother who had truly loved him. His whole life had been surrounded by love, so he could not even believe that anyone (me) could be coming from a place of never having been loved.  Felt loved, Even felt deserving of love. Any of it. And that put us in the curious position of him having fallen in love with me, and needing me to accept that love because he knew he was dying and didn’t want to leave life feeling like I was refusing to accept his love.

He managed to get through to me, you know. It wasn’t easy. But it did happen. And it changed my whole life. Everything about how I saw life, and felt life, and all of that. And what I allowed myself to feel, for the first time ever, was pretty staggering. I mean, I was already well into my 50s.

So, of course, he died. And it was quite sudden when he did. And I couldn’t go to the funeral or anything like that, because I didn’t officially exist.  He was married and all that. So my grief was very private, and very intense. But what got me through it was knowing that he didn’t want me to be sad. And I also immediately felt his true presence visiting me from the other side.  And he helped me find my way through my grief.

He doesn’t visit me every day anymore, but for awhile he did. He was with me constantly in spirit. I couldn’t see him or hear him, but inside my head, I heard him perfectly. He was there.

Well, my main point is that he died in early September. So there you have it. My inability to let summer go anymore. (And then Tom Petty also dying suddenly of a heart attack, and dying at the begininng of October — that stuff didn’t help me deal with my private loss.)

And until the Muse came into my life last fall, I really thought I was done with living. I didn’t want to kill myself or anything, but I really, really wanted to cross over that great divide and go be with that guy again, for eternity, even though I knew he had felt that his wife was his soul mate. So I wasn’t (am still not) really sure where that leaves me for eternity. But, the Muse came and suddenly all this writing came out of me. Just pouring out. Planting me really solidly within Life again. In a really joyful way. Still, when I wake up in the morning and realize it’s September now, that fall is coming, it is a battle not to get sad.

This morning I just felt overwhelmed by it.  Just too many question marks right now in my life — about both plays, about my novel, other projects that are still un-anchored anywhere, needing a firm home. You know. Just too many projects I’m generating that are not anchored anywhere yet. And still more projects on the back burner, waiting for my complete attention.

It was all I could do this morning to get through my meditation, then my Inner Being journaling thing, anything to just hold on and not feel so incredibly sad.

So. I’ll head out and get my new Honda Civic and not think about the Hellcat that perhaps deep in my heart, I would rather have. And you know, in terms of signs — how when someone you love dies, you long for signs that they are still with you? With him, early on, I once asked him to please show me a sign, and then he unleashed just a barrage of signs, until I was finally shouting out loud, “Okay STOP!!” because it was freaking me out. All the sudden signs that he was with me in spirit.

But a few months ago, out of the blue, I had to drive into the city and deal with all that horrible ugly traffic that I hate, in a city that I also hate, and suddenly, there on the freeway, moving into my lane, was a purple Hellcat. My dream car. I never actually see Hellcats on the road, only Dodge Challengers. Hellcats are pretty expensive. And this one was purple — the exact car I wanted. And the license plate is what told me it was his sign of signs for me. When he was a little boy, he had loved Elvis. Just worshiped him. And the license plate on the Hellcat read: ELV1S. So not just “Elvis” but that Elvis was #1. And then there was also a picture of a rocket blasting off on the license plate, too, which to me was symbolic of what he had done for a living (aeronautics).

A true SIgn of Signs, in my opinion. I followed that car for quite a while that day, until it sped off onto another highway.

Well, I got out of bed this morning crying, but determined to somehow save this day from the oblivion of my sorrow, you know? I’ll go get my new car. I’m sure I’ll be really happy once I’m driving it way too fast in Muskingum County.

It looks like it’s going to be another stunning day. I have to say, I don’t understand any of it.  Life, death, grief, joy, love, sex.  None of it. I don’t understand it. But I still choose to feel all of it.

Okay, so, have a great Friday, wherever you are and wherever it takes you. Thanks for visiting. Oh, and Iggy Pop’s new album Free, is very interesting. I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but it does fill me with a lot to ponder — this aging thing.  Iggy Pop is managing to grow older quite gracefully. It is so interesting to me. Okay. I leave you with the song that came into my head the moment I came out of meditation and saw that dawn was approaching, and I was determined to stop crying and somehow face this too beautiful September day. I love you guys. See ya.

“Here Comes The Sun”

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all rightLittle darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all rightLittle darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right

c – 1969 George Harrison

È meravigliosa!

Yes!!! It’s wonderful!!!

I finally made it to the end of the most important segment of the play last night. And I could not be more delighted — even though it’s a death scene, it goes to a tragic place. But it is relived within a dream, so it doesn’t have the same kind of sadness to it that it would have had in “real-time.”

And there is a sense of jubilation woven all around the tragedy, creating absolute (controlled) chaos. Helen is in agonizing despair, crying out Psalm 22, while the choir is in this jubilant refrain of Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?, as Helen’s grandson, who has waited all his life to get a job on the railroad, finally gets that job up in Louisville, and then gets crushed by a train — but he goes gloriously to the sweet hereafter in all that joyous singing, while Helen’s heart breaks into a million pieces.

And all of it takes place within Helen’s dream where she is inside one of her paintings and the ghosts of her family come “alive” again.

I have been struggling with that whole section — 16 pages — for a couple of weeks now. It felt so amazing to finally finish it last night.

As usual, the Muse was working overtime and I could not have felt more appreciative.

Well, I did indeed make the 100 mile trek to get the less-than-10 minute interview for the TSA Precheck yesterday. And yes, I did manage to get a wee bit lost and my iPhone maps decided to stop speaking to me, only wanting to show me images while I was trying to drive, lost, on a strange  freeway. Through some miracle of divine guidance, I finally found the darn place and made it right on time for my interview. But, man, what a lot of driving, a lot of gasoline, and then the “check oil” light came on halfway home… all that for a 10-minute interview.

So I called my sales rep at Honda when I got home, and I will leave it to him to let me know if I should come in and trade in the car for a new lease right now. I am so close to being at my maximum allowed mileage on the current lease, and now I need an oil change…

Plus, yesterday, I was trying to book my flight to NY — I want to fly into Stewart International because I’ll primarily be staying in Rhinebeck with Sandra, and as you can guess, there are no flights that come anywhere close to being a direct flight between here and a small airport like that one.

I have a variety of layover choices in Philadelphia, that range from 2 hours to about 8 hours. I’m not exaggerating.  I could make about 7 commuter train trips between Philadelphia and NYC in that 8-hour layover. A direct flight between here and Stewart International would be 1 hour.  But since there is no such thing as a direct flight between here and there, the minimum travel time is 6 hours, including me having to leave by 4:15am to make the one-hour drive to the airport to catch the first flight out at 6am.

And all of that would cost me 25,000 frequent flyer miles!!!!! (Round trip). I’m, like, you’re kidding, right? I can go to fucking Alaska for that. So now, if I do lease a new car right away, I think I’m gonna go ahead and drive again. It’s a 10-hour drive. And I can leave at whatever time in the morning I want to. But I can’t do it if I don’t have the new car yet, because I’m too close to going over my max miles.

So we’ll see what the rep says when he calls me back today.

Meanwhile, I am at last nearing the end of the play.  I have one final section to revise. Between 15-20 more pages, tops. And I don’t have the luxury of it taking me an additional 2 weeks, so I’m hoping to have the rewrites finished here momentarily!! (Or, you know, maybe a week. That still gets the play to NYC a week before I get there.)

A quick update re: the sudden hashtag keanu situation in my Instagram feed — I’m actually finding it kind of soothing. Having my Instagram feed positively inundated with harmless photos of Keanu, night & day. It helps neutralize the somewhat emotional knee-jerk responses that I have to a lot of the other things/people I’m following. So I think I’m gonna keep it. A sort of social-media therapy: hashtag keanu; a new route to bliss.

You know, for many years, I was very good friends with a journalist who wrote primarily for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, etc. — big media outlets. And he interviewed a ton of movie stars in his career (he’s now a talking-head on a sports show). And the only movie star that he had nice things to say about was Keanu. He genuinely liked him.

I met Keanu at a party once in NYC, a million years ago, and I won’t say I actually liked him. He did something that insulted me — he looked down the front of my little black dress. I know it was very funny when they did that to the stepmom in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but I had spent a fortune on that little black cocktail dress I was wearing, and I was in the process of being stood-up by my date because he was stuck in a midtown recording studio and was not going to make it to the party.

And it wasn’t just Keanu who was coming onto me that night while I wore that dress; a number of men were. And some were very nice & polite about it. But when the one guy you’ve gone to all that trouble for, doesn’t show up, then it doesn’t matter if you end up being the tallest, prettiest gal in the room; you just don’t give a fuck, you know?

I’m sure that on any other evening, any other night, any other year, Keanu is indeed very likable.

All righty!! I’m gonna get started here. I leave you with the song I was listening to this morning — another little love letter to the Muse!! I used to just love this song when I was 7 years old. Really, gang. I played this record all the time and sang along to it, too! I woke up at 4am today, thinking about this song for the first time in decades. And so of course I found it on Youtube.  I sang along to it as the cats ate their breakfasts and they seemed to enjoy it. Purrrhaps you will, too! Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya!

“Call Me”

If you’re feeling sad and lonely
There’s a service I can render
Tell the one who loves you only
I can be so warm and tender
Call me
Don’t be afraid, you can call me
Maybe it’s late, but just call me
Tell me, and I’ll be around

When it seems your friends desert you
There’s somebody thinking of you
I’m the one who’ll never hurt you
Maybe that’s because I love you

Call me
Don’t be afraid, you can call me
Maybe it’s late, but just call me
Tell me, and I’ll be around

Now don’t forget me
‘Cause if you let me
I will always stay by you
You’ve got to trust me
That’s how it must be
There’s so much that I can do

If you call I’ll be right with you
You and I should be together
Take this love I long to give you
I’ll be at your side forever

Call me
Please, call me
Call me
Tell me, and I’ll be around

Call me
Don’t be afraid, you can call me
Maybe it’s late, but just call me

c – 1965 Tony Hatch

Dicey, Indeed!

Let’s say that yesterday was Keanu Reeves’ 55th birthday. And that you saw some mention of it in your Instagram feed, so you rashly decided to start following #keanureeves.

Wow, you know what happens then? Your Instagram feed gets positively inundated with photos of Keanu, at every stage of his professional life, from every film, every magazine, every TV talk show appearance, every moment he was out on some street within the range of some photographer’s lens.

I’m now getting photo after photo after photo of Keanu. What’s nice about that, though, is that it doesn’t require me to think at all. I don’t even have to hit the “like” button either. I can just sort of scroll away, into oblivion, not thinking, not liking or unliking, just staring.

I enjoy not thinking. I so rarely get the chance.

I might actually unfollow everybody else in order to just have an endless stream of photos of Keanu that don’t require me to do any thinking at all.

We’ll see.

Here’s something that is getting to me, though. I think that the closer we get to the anniversary of Tom Petty’s death (which came really close to his birthday, too, regrettably), Dana is posting stuff that is really hard for me to take. Just personal, simple stuff. I’m never gonna unfollow her, that’s for certain. But last night, when I went to sleep, the final post I saw in my feed was of him in bed with his dog and his cat, talking to them, some movie playing in the background. You couldn’t see him — just the dog and the cat, but you could hear him. It made me sad because not only was it just so simple, but he apparently died in that bed. Even though the paramedics got his heart going again, his brain never came back and so he “technically” died at the hospital. Still, you know. He was in that bed.

Then first thing this morning at 5:30am, for some reason, the very moment my eyes opened, I checked my Instagram feed and I don’t usually do that first thing. I’m usually awake for hours before I do that. But right there in front of me, was another 40-second clip of him in bed with his dog, and he was playing a harmonica — the really high-pitched notes– to make his dog go a little nutty. It was cute, of course. But it broke my heart. Because I ponder all of it: the bedroom, the drapes, the choice of colors in there, the books on the shelves, the furnishings, the man alive in the bed loving his dog, the wife he loved right next to him, filming it with her phone, again the TV on in the background  — everything.

I don’t really know what to do with that information, you know? Because he’s dead now, and when he was alive, I don’t think he wanted a bunch of strangers to see that private stuff. But now, I guess it doesn’t really matter what he would have wanted back then. And I can’t not ponder it. But there is no sort of answer to be gotten from it or anything.

All right.

Well, today is all about getting myself out the door soon because I have my interview for the TSA Precheck and I have to drive 100 miles. I’m not even exaggerating; such is the price one pays when one lives in the middle of nowhere. I’m hoping it gets processed before I have to go to New York City, which is right around the corner.

I finally heard from Sandra this morning! Meaning that she finally texted me, at dawn. We haven’t discussed anything yet re: Tell My Bones rewrites, or even the other play we’re working on re: Toronto. But at least I finally heard from her. I know the trip will go well. I just know it. There are nothing but loose ends, but it’ll all work out.

There’s a new Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave today, really beautiful, about forgiveness. You can check it out at the link there, if you want to.

And now I gotta scoot. Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with a shot of my kitchen table from last night. As you can see, I’m a little behind on my MOJO Magazines. However, my table looks really good compared to how it looked before I actually cleared most of the junk off! (I know…)

And here’s what I was playing on the little jukebox. Enjoy! I love you guys. See ya.

“Hungry Heart”

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going

[Chorus:]
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

I met her in a Kingstown bar
We fell in love. I knew it had to end
We took what we had and we ripped it apart
Now here I am down in Kingstown again

[Chorus]

Everybody needs a place to rest
Everybody wants to have a home
Don’t make no difference what nobody says
Ain’t nobody like to be alone

[Chorus]

c – 1980 Bruce Springsteen

6:15am — In Case You’re Curious!

Meaning, the exact time that the first bird starts singing around here in the mornings now.

A far cry from 4:15, which is when they would begin singing in late spring — that heady season when I felt like I had all the time in the world.

Even though the director texted me late last evening and relieved some of my pressure — saying that he really loved where the new pages in the play were heading,  giving me that insight I needed to give the section more emotional depth; none of it changes that the summer really is almost over and I have way too much of the play left to rewrite.

Not that it’s so many pages; it’s that the pages left are crucial ones that need an indescribably focused amount of my concentration.

However, this morning, when I awoke stressed at 4:28am, I realized that I needed to change everything. Well, not everything. I just needed to change the angle from which I was looking at my trip.

There’s just no way I can be in any kind of meaningful “rehearsals” by mid-September when I still have all this contractual stuff with the director to work out before hand, and now the budget is really huge so I have no clue what Sandra’s going to want to do regarding staged readings. So I decided to just let Cosmic Timing take over and step back and allow something higher to figure out my life and stop trying to constantly connect the dots.

And I decided I would talk to my sales rep at Honda and just let him decide if I should lease the new car before I went to NY or after I came back. I have to stop worrying about the car.  I’m turning it into a drama in my head and it just doesn’t need to be one.

And then I decided I want to get rid of that idea of staying in 2 different hotels when I’m in the city for Nick Cave, even though one of the hotels is the Algonquin. I decided to get an airbnb, instead, and just stay for 3 nights in a row — in Manhattan: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and just hang out, have the meetings with Sandra and the director and then just do whatever I want. Not worry about going back and forth to Rhinebeck in the middle of those 2 Nick Cave shows. It just wasn’t making any sense to do that. It was making me nutty.

So I just gave up trying to connect the dots. Just let life happen because it’s going to happen anyway.

I also decided that I’m not going to the cemetery today. It’s funny how, some years, I will just barely notice the anniversary of Greg’s death; and other years, it becomes very active in my memory; and sometimes I’ll go to the cemetery; other times, I don’t. I don’t know why that is.

I do know that going to the cemetery makes me sad because it always becomes so clear to me, when I’m there, that everybody else forgot about him a long, long time ago. No flowers there, ever. No nothing. Just grass growing. It has been just so many years. Life went on.

I have a hard time with certain aspects of that, even though, overall, I understand that’s just the way things are. I don’t want to get morbid about any of it. But sometimes life just confounds me. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. What the heck is it — life, I mean. You know? What is it?

Plus, I’m not ready to find out if his mom has died now, too. That would be sort of final, right? His long ago doorway into this world being gone forever now, too.

This summer, he has been all over my thoughts. I just don’t know why. Late yesterday afternoon, I decided to set Tell My Bones aside for a minute, get it out of my brain completely and work on one of the chapters in Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. They aren’t actually “chapters,” they really are more like letters; creative nonfiction memoir type letters. Anyway, the next “chapter” has been sitting on my desk, halfway finished for months now and it’s one that has a lot to do with Greg. It’s about sexual intercourse — the specific actual thing. It’s titled “A Beach to His Waves.” And while working on it for about 8 hours last night, it was funny to see how, when I am in love with a guy, I will just do anything for that guy.  Anything. My focus becomes like a laser beam and nothing peripheral exists, really, except my love for that guy.

I find that so curious since, when I don’t love a guy (which is almost all the time; I don’t fall in love easily), I am indescribably independent. Self-involved. Uninterested in anything besides the constant creative thoughts that are in my head. Live alone; die alone; just be a sort of constant, eternal loner. But, Jesus, fall in love with a guy? Suddenly it’s like: Oh, yeah; my very reason for being; I forgot I had one. And then almost nothing else matters but “the guy.”

Anyway, so I’m going to be working on that chapter again today, too — the 45th anniversary of his death.  Even though the chapter is only partly about him, it’s still kind of fitting.

There’s another Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave in my inbox. It has something to do with PJ Harvey because I saw the picture at the top, but I haven’t read it yet.

And people in Helsinki like to post to Instagram!! Everybody loved the Conversation that Nick Cave had there last night. Even the ones who didn’t post in English — judging by the amount of exclamation points and the many rhapsodic emojis… Everyone seemed incredibly blissed out. And I mean incredibly. He is giving another one there tonight.

So, that’s me, for now. I gotta scoot. I’m just gonna let life happen to me today.  I’m just gonna write. Do yoga. Do laundry. Stop trying to figure everything out. It is utterly impossible anyway.

I leave you with this, it was my favorite record at the time of Greg’s death. He didn’t care one way or the other about David Bowie, but he didn’t mind that I played the record all the time. Obviously, since Greg had very long blond hair and blue eyes, you can guess why this song became really difficult for me after he died. But it’s still a really, really cool song.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you more than words can say, guys. See ya!

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

It means it’s laundry day around here!

Am I the only person who loves doing laundry??

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

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

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

Okay!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was really just the best year.

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

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

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

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

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

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c- 1967 Bob Dylan

Yeah, Baby! Drive Happy!!

Spent the wee bonny hours of this beautiful Friday morning at the Honda dealership!

My treasured Honda Fit was acting wonky during that intense heat wave over the weekend and so I had them look at it.  It was feeling like the floor board was gonna drop out of it and I would soon be driving like the Flintstones & the Rubbles:

Image result for fred flintstone car

I love my feet! I wasn’t looking forward to having to run real fast on the freeway…

But after they checked it out, it was a balance issue and Honda had 2 recommendations. There was a $460 difference.

  • I could either get 4 brand new tires.  (approx. $500)
  • I could just drive slower on the really hot days for the next few months, until my lease is up and I trade in my Honda Fit for a new one, and then just pay for the diagnostics they ran today. (approx. $40)

I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it — meaning for about a nanosecond.  Tossed them their 40 bucks and then toodled away! Going my usual 95 mph as soon as I was out of everyone’s field of vision.

But I’m thinking I might fly to NYC in September instead of putting all that wear & tear on the tires, even though I hate flying.  Because I’m guessing that when I do trade it in for a new lease, they’re gonna be inspecting those tires under a microscope (one of those giant tire-sized microscopes that you so often see). (I’m feeling like they’re gonna get $500 out of me somehow…)

Anyway! I’m feeling happy! I’d thought it was gonna be a strut issue of some kind and that can get stupidly expensive.

So!

Yes! Even though I had begged her not to do it, Sandra did in fact take another role in a TV show up in Toronto. A 5-show arc. And so she texted that she “might have to switch up those rehearsal days”.

But’cha know… this meant I didn’t have to explain (yet) just how drastically I am re-writing the play, yet again.

The director texted me that since I am doing such intensive re-writes, we could all just wait and begin rehearsals in NYC in September.

So I texted Sandra and magnanimously said that whatever works best for her, works best for us! — “Oh, and I’m doing  a few more revisions. We can discuss it later.”

(Although, Sandra probably got my text and wondered, how come Marilyn’s being so calm about this and didn’t include a million exclamation points and tons of unhappy-looking emojis?)

Anyway!! I no longer have to do this massive amount of writing in 2 weeks. And the director wrote during the night saying that he loved the new opening pages and that I was a” beautiful and inspiring writer”.

And I said “thanks” and left out the part about how I had a beautiful & inspiring Muse. I decided to just take all the credit for the moment. (It was super early when his email arrived and the world  was still dark, I was still cozily in bed and I only had one eye open and I didn’t want to type some long, drawn-out reply about how amazing my Muse is… so “thanks” seemed sufficient for now.)

So now I have 6 weeks for re-writes instead of 2 and my life couldn’t be better!

However, because of my visit to Honda, which, like everything else around here, is 25 miles away, my morning is gone. So I gotta scoot, gang.

Have a great Friday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting! (Oh, and, wow! thanks for all those visits to the In the Shadow of Narcissa site yesterday. I appreciate it. And I did get one inquiry about how to access the actual posts there — you have to click on the title. And the segments will be posting in reverse order.)

All righty! I love you guys. See ya!

“The Flintstones Theme Song”

Yabba-dabba-doo!

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They’re the modern Stone Age Family
From the town of Bedrock
They’re a page right out of history

Let’s ride with the family down the street
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We’ll have a gay old time

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They’re the modern Stone Age Family
From the town of Bedrock
They’re a page right out of history

Someday maybe Fred will win the fight
Then the cat will stay out for the night

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We’ll have a gay old time

We’ll have a gay old time!
Yeah!

c – 1960 Hanna/ Curtin/ Barbera