Tag Archives: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Poetry, Sex, and Death

I did re-watch Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire last night. It had been, literally, decades since I’d seen that movie. The only thing I really remembered about it is that I had really loved it when I saw it. (Enough to have bought the video of it and kept it all these years.) I knew it had something to do with an angel and a girl in a circus, and that’s kind of all I remembered about it.  (Well, the only other thing I  remembered was that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were in it, sort of toward the end.)

Which is another way of saying I had forgotten practically all of it.

Wow, what a great movie. All that constant murmuring.  The sound in that movie is just incredible. And the beauty of the whole concept. Of course, then I instantly remembered why I had loved that movie so much. Just a poetic work of art, on all levels. Every nuance; every murmur.

After I was done watching it, though, I was wondering why, all of the sudden, I was sort of steeped in old foreign things about death and poetry and sexuality and love between the dead and the living, and Nazis in Germany and the war…

Cocteau’s Orpheus came out in 1950 so there were still remnants of the war visible in its scenery and in the behavior of certain characters. (And I loved how Cocteau’s version of the bacchantes was to make them a women’s poetry society– nasty female critics who turned on Orpheus, who is a celebrated poet in Paris in Cocteau’s version. Too funny. Anyway.)

And I’m still re-reading Jean Genet’s Funeral Rites. It is nothing but poetry sex death Nazis… And in a wholly different way it deals with all the same stuff.

And then I realized, sort of with a shock, that Tell My Bones is all about poetry, sex and death — and love between the spirits of the dead and the living. And even Thug Luckless is about that. And certainly Blessed By Light is all about poetry sex and death.

I wonder what is going on with me? Seems like something profound is trying to get my attention.

And all this Nazi Germany stuff. Early this morning, I was lying in bed, thinking about just how saturated my childhood was with Nazi Germany. To be honest, even though I never talk about it because I just love that freight train that barrels past my door, but every time it does, I always think of the train that’s going to Auschwitz. I can’t help it. I have to remind myself that it’s just a freight train. These are not cattle cars, herding people to death camps.

But my childhood was filled with those images. Cleveland was full of immigrant Jews and so a lot of concentration camp survivors came to live in Cleveland. I was surrounded by them in my childhood. My Hebrew school teacher was a survivor of Auschwitz — her number was tattooed in blue on her forearm.  It was always there, always visible to us, because she wore dresses with short sleeves. She was from Hungary. Her twin sister had died at Auschwitz and she told me that her sister’s name would have roughly translated to “Marilyn” in English. Because of that, she seemed to be very attached to me. I mean, in a nice way. I was only about 8 years old.

I hated Hebrew school. I had to go 3 times a week for several years. That particular teacher thought I was really gifted in languages and she got me a scholarship to attend an accelerated Hebrew school sleep-away camp sort of thing for the summer and I was secretly just horrified by this. I did not want to spend my summer in Hebrew school! Even though I was supposed to be really appreciative of all of it because usually girls didn’t get that kind of education — only boys did.

Well, I really wanted dancing lessons. I really wanted to study ballet and tap because I loved musicals.  And I went home and begged my parents not to send me to Hebrew school all summer.

Plus I never felt Jewish at all. Even though I could read and speak Hebrew really well, and was steeped in Judaism through my adoptive family, none of that stuff resonated with me. By the time I was 5 years old, I had secretly fallen in love with Jesus Christ, because of all the paintings I had seen of him at the Cleveland Art Museum. I would stare at those paintings and I knew I remembered him from somewhere. It was a visceral response.  And I was captivated by nuns, too — back then, they still wore those old-style, flowing black habits and those white wimples.

As I got a little older, I collected crosses and crucifixes and little illustrations of Jesus that I had to hide under my mattress. It’s interesting to think that I also eventually acquired a lot of  sex books, like Story of O, and I was allowed to just have those things out in plain site. But the Jesus stuff — I would have gotten in so much trouble for having that!

And I also remembered, this morning, a time when I was about 7 or 8, and a little Jewish girlfriend of mine, named Edie — she and I were taking a shortcut through a field one cold autumn afternoon and suddenly found ourselves stuck in some serious mud. That thick sucking wet kind of mud that pulls your shoes right off. When we got to the other side of it, we were outside a convent.  We really needed to clean off our shoes so we went up and asked if we could come in and clean our shoes, even though we were Jews. (We actually said that.)

The nuns were so nice to us. And this convent wasn’t anything like the old Carmelite stone convent I go to an hour from here when I’m having one of my suicidal breakdowns. This other convent in Cleveland was vast and spacious and majestic and filled with light and air and high ceilings. And all these truly friendly nuns, in those flowing black habits, all over the place.

By this time, my adoptive mother had survived cancer and had begun her descent into becoming the meanest, cruelest person I knew on planet Earth. And my adoptive dad was away from home more and more. My home life was becoming a terrifying place. So the warmth and the kindness and friendliness of those nuns — it was so foreign to me. I really wanted to stay there and never leave.

I’d forgotten all about that until this morning.

Well, I now have yet another little notebook with a pen clipped to it. I’m still keeping my daily Inner Being dialogue journal every morning after meditation. I haven’t missed a day of writing in it since I started it in early June. (And I tell you, it is an awesome thing. I recommend keeping one because your inner being probably has all sorts of meaningful information to relate to you.) Well, in addition to that little hard-bound journal, I now have a smaller one, cloth-bound, to have with me all day. And it’s for pre-paving every moment of the day. Making sure I’m consciously choosing how I want to respond to every single thing; how I want to experience it. Because every single thing is, once again, starting to get to me and I just don’t have the time to go nuts right now.

I am still feeling a little disconcerted that Peitor took off for London so suddenly — he texted yesterday that they indeed went there for the holidays and will be back in LA for New Year’s Eve. That’s 3 sessions of script-writing that we’re going to miss because he doesn’t want to work while they’re there. I don’t blame him. He can do whatever he wants to do, but the fact that he never actually said anything to me at all about it and just went. It sort of — well, I don’t know what. He had wanted to start working on the new TV series in January but now he’s going to have to finish mixing and mastering a few songs for his new record, then I have to be in NYC in February to start the table reads for Tell My Bones and will have re-writes to do on that.

You know — time gallops away. And I guess I would have appreciated being in the overall mix somewhere. Other than, you know, a quick text that he’s on a plane heading to London…

And then my friend in Houston who has cancer — my one-text-a-week approach is working nicely. I text once and he now replies within a day. He texted me late last night, in detail about the radiation treatments, which are making him feel even sicker, of course. But since he’s a scientist, he is fascinated by the radiation treatments. He explained to me what goes on, scientifically. And it was like he was exulting in this bombardment of science — which is perfectly okay, because it’s his experience and his world. But again, I found it disconcerting. The intense, scientific description, along with the details of just how bad the cancer is. And I was already in bed, with the lights out, when I got the text.

So yesterday culminated in a whole big bunch of images and sounds and thoughts, heaping up on me while I was in bed in the dark, drifting to sleep. Then I woke up, immediately thinking about  Auschwitz and Nazis  — and how, you know, actually it wasn’t really that far removed from me. And then the beauty of the nuns.

So I’m keeping this other little journal as a way to sort of not only ground myself into staying on course with the images I would rather claim, but also to help draw my preferred experiences to me– every hour, every moment, of every day.

Everybody gets to be whoever they are in this life, but I cannot let myself get derailed by any of it. I just have too much work to do, you know?

And on that note, I will get started here. Thanks for visiting, gang.  I hope Thursday is good to you, wherever you are in the world, I love you guys. See ya.

Related image
Wings of Desire, 1987

Separation Anxiety!! Better Late Than Never!!

Yes, the moment my birth mom left here yesterday afternoon, I realized I had separation anxiety! Even at my lofty age!!

And it was real. I felt really un-anchored, frightened, and sort of lost when she left. To the point where I almost slept in the guest room last night, instead of in my own bed, because, you know, that was where she slept for 3 nights. And even while it’s my house and I can sleep wherever I want within it, I convinced myself that I shouldn’t really do that, sleep in the guest room anymore. That it probably wasn’t going to be in my emotional best interests somehow.

But it’s so weird — you know, those are emotional reactions that toddlers have. I was wondering if maybe it was some sort of delayed reaction, since my birth mom didn’t raise me and I certainly didn’t know her when I was a toddler. I was probably just making up for lost time.

When I hugged her goodbye as she was getting into my sister’s car, I said, “Thanks for coming.” And she said, “I’ll be back soon.” It really meant the world to me that she said that, because I think that she saw a little tiny bit of my insanity while she was here, even though I tried really hard to keep it under wraps. However, my insanity is so voluminous that something around the edges is always bound to peek out.

But she did leave some of her stuff in the kitchen, so she really is planning to be back. And it means so much to me — to not be abandoned or discarded. Plus, she’s already planning to be here next year to take care of my cats for me when I have to go to NYC, to Toronto, to Los Angeles.

Something else she did that I just really appreciated — she asked me what I was working on right now, writing-wise, so I told her about Thug Luckless and that whole premise. And she just beamed; she really just smiled and even chuckled a little. And said, “That sounds really good.”

I got the sense, though, that she was trying to talk about Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse — because of the rape stuff. But I absolutely could not go there. I just glossed right over that, along with In the Shadow of Narcissa. I just called them “memoirs” and moved on.

I’m able to say that I was raped, and I’m able to even say that I was raped repeatedly, but I always add that it was a long time ago, and then I drop the subject. For many, many years, I wasn’t even able to say it, or to even think it. I had to keep that information extremely far away from me, and especially from my own ears. I wasn’t able to listen to myself saying it because then I had to claim it somehow.  But that was a long time ago now. I’ve processed all of it. Made art out of a lot of it. I’m okay with it. But I don’t like to “discuss” it because it doesn’t serve any purpose at all. It won’t fix anything or change anything.

Perhaps she wants to comfort me somehow and maybe I’m depriving her of the chance to do that. But  for now, you know, this is how I handle it.

But I do miss her already. Still, it’s back to work over here today.

Peitor is calling from West Hollywood in about an hour and we’ll be working on the micro-script. I also decided that, as part of my need to break out of any isolating routines — I have new hard-wired speakers for the iPad arriving on Monday and once those get here, I’m going to set aside time several nights a week to stream new TV shows and movies. I haven’t done that in over a year. And since I will be helping Peitor develop a new TV series starting in January 2020, I figure I ought to touch base with the current popular writing styles because they seem to change constantly.

This past year has been sort of relentlessly about the outgo of my own ideas, and now I need to make some time for the inflow of other ideas, even while I still have so much of my own writing to get down on paper. But it really did sort of freak me out a little these past few days, to see just how fidgety I got when I wasn’t at my desk, working.  So I want to sort of break up that habit because I don’t want to become completely anti-social, or even a sociopath, which I am fully capable of becoming if I’m not careful…

Okay!!On that chipper note!!

Well, as much as I love Christmas music — especially Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams — it was refreshing to get Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds back into the little tabletop jukebox in the kitchen last evening. However, this morning, I was back to Marianne Faithfull’s Negative Capability. Actually, it was Nick Cave and Marianne Faithfull, because I was listening to “Gypsy Faerie Queen” again, over & over at breakfast. I just love that song, even though it’s not a subject matter that I particularly relate to. I just really love the song. It calms me down. A lot.

So that was breakfast! And now we sally forth into the rest of the morning. Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope this is a happy Friday for you, wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re up to. I love you guys. See ya!

Now, was that so hard?!

When last we heard from me, I was awaiting, with less and less patience, an appearance of the Muse. (See post from yesterday.)

I’m happy to report that at 12:45pm, yesterday afternoon, without any fanfare or forewarning, paragraph 2 of Chapter 20 simply started coming out, and then before too long, I was several pages in and had forgotten all about the angst of waiting on the Muse for 2 and a half days.

It’s just funny how, when he’s ready he’s ready, and you’d best be in front of your laptop or, in all seriousness, you’re going to have to start typing away on your phone. Not fun when it runs into several pages.

And it really just comes like that. This is the most amazing Muse I’ve ever had.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog – or at least readers who’ve been coming here since last July when this current Muse swooped into my life – are by now familiar with the erratic hours this Muse keeps.  Many times, I’ll lurch awake at, like, 4:12am and he’ll be in mid-dictation and I have to grab my phone from my night table and simply start typing whatever he’s saying. It just comes. And I don’t want to miss a word of it.

I mentioned yesterday that I have 2 muses. One is alive; a living person that I dearly love, whose writing constantly challenges and inspires me (Nick Cave). This other one, though, is from the Great Beyond; nonphysical. And when that one’s around, it is literally dictation.  I hear the words coming and I write them down. And aside from typos on my part, they never need any revisions whatsoever.  It just comes out, hits the page, needs no re-writes and I’m like, Wow! can you please stay in my life forever? Plus, when he’s dictating and I’m typing, I always have to take my glasses off. Normally, I can’t even see the letters on the keypad. But when I’m typing stuff that I’m hearing from him, I can’t have my glasses on. Isn’t that weird?

Usually if I’m writing something, like Tell My Bones, the play I’ve been working on, I’ll put down some words. I’ll look at them. I’ll tinker, revise, keep writing, go back, keep tinkering. Etc., etc. That’s the way I’ve written all my life, whether it was songwriting, or prose, or TV scripts, theater. Whatever. That’s how I write.  It never feels like “dictation.” It’s a process.

And for me, the muse is all-important in that process. Nothing worth saving comes out if I don’t have a muse to tap into, extract from, get lost in; it’s like I have a radio tuner in my mind, and I mentally sync up with that “muse” frequency and then the words literally pour into my head. And it feels really beautiful while it’s happening. The words themselves feel beautiful to me. And even though, for the most part, my life has really sucked and I’m terrible at getting anything right; the process of writing, and of feeling all that beauty in the words, has made life bearable for me and, overall, worthwhile.

I know that I write some really weird shit. I know that. And trust me, I didn’t wake up one day 40 years ago and say, “Dear God, please let me write really noncommercial, intensely erotic non-consensual stuff that most people will refuse to publish.”

It was more like, “Please! God, you can’t be serious??!! This is what you want me to write??”

And God said: “Yeah. Consider it a gift. From me to you. With love.”

Jeez. And I cried, I really did. Because then I felt like I had a responsibility to this gift that wasn’t gonna necessarily be celebrated.  When the time came for me to switch from songwriting to fiction writing full-time,  everyone was flabbergasted. My closest friends were saying, “You’re gonna stop writing those beautiful songs to become a pornographer??”

I didn’t see it that way. I never considered myself a pornographer.  I felt that I had said as much as I could in my songs and that I wanted to commit myself to the gift God had given me, awkward as it was.

And I was always way more successful with the fiction than I’d been with the songwriting. In those days, it really was just very, very hard to make any serious headway in the music industry if you were female and wanted to be on a major label. It’s like they had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of slots for men to fill, and only about 2 slots for women, per category of music. And if you were a commercial folksinging woman, there was one slot, pretty much, and it involved a heck of a lot of ugly backstabbing and strategic sex and ill-will to get it and I was never about that. That stuff made me sick.

But in underground fiction? Plenty of slots for women with dirty minds. And if you were really intelligent, and got yourself a background in audio physics and technology, which I did, the sky was the limit in those early days. And so my career there took off.

And so I write weird stuff but I do try really, really hard to make it well written; to honor the gift.  And without a muse, it’s really next to impossible for me to do that. So I give thanks to God every day for my muses. Because, honestly, when I can’t get tuned into that frequency, the light goes right out of my life. So I don’t really mind sitting for 2 or 3 endless, antsy days at my desk and just waiting. I know he’s gonna show up. And I know it’s gonna be worth it.

Well, okay. I’m gonna get back to Chapter 20 here. It’s a rainy Friday and everything feels sort of serene today. I hope it’s a similar vibe wherever you are in the world.

I leave you with this, today: Magneto. Not because I want to break your heart first thing on a serene Friday morning, but because I want to show you how the use of one single word can change and heighten the entire landscape of a song.

And here, that word would be “stars”.

He could have so easily said that blood was splattered across the ceiling, and we’re set up to think he will say that, since they’re sawing each other in half there in the bathroom. And he’s been vomiting, and his blood is gagging on other people’s diseases and  he wants to kill somebody and it’s all pretty horrible.  Grief is horrible. But in the agony of all that incredibly sad imagery, comes that almost unbearable reminder of eternal beauty and eternal joy: the stars.

It’s what I have always loved best about Nick Cave’s writing. I don’t know if he does it purposefully, or if this is just part of his unique gift – the use of the wholly unexpected word or image. But he has been doing it forever. And it’s always been an incredible challenge to me; to help me to find better words. To always look for the better, unexpected words.

Okay, so thanks for visiting, gang! I love you! See ya!

Mostly I never knew which way was out
Once it was on, it was on and that was that
The umbilicus was a faucet that fountained rabbit blood
And I spun on my wheel like a laboratory rat

I was an electrical storm on the bathroom floor, clutching the bowl
My blood was full of gags and other people’s diseases
My monstrous little memory had swallowed me whole
It was the year I officially became the bride of Jesus

In love, in love, in love you laugh
In love you move, I move
And one more time with feeling
For love, you love, I laugh, you love
Saw you in half
And the stars are splashed across the ceiling

Oh, the urge to kill somebody was basically overwhelming
I had such hard blues down there in the supermarket queues
And I had a sudden urge to become someone, someone like you
Who started out with less than anyone I ever knew

In love, in love, I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
I move, you move
And one more time with feeling
I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
I’m sawn in half
And all the stars are splashed across the ceiling

Oh, I know you come shining, softly to the hole to drink
Come as far as the edge of my blood, and then swim
And in the bathroom mirror I see me vomit in the sink
And all through the house we hear the hyena’s hymns

Of love, I love, you love, I love, you love
I laugh, you laugh, I move, you move, you move
And one more time with feeling
I love, you love, I laugh, you laugh
We saw each other in half
And all the stars are splashed and splattered across the ceiling

c- 2016 Nick Cave

Life, in General

Except for the fact that I wasn’t a little boy when I was growing up (unlike one of my closest female friends and colleagues), that little illustration above pretty much shows you my entire childhood.

At every possible moment, I was listening to records. And usually on one of those small portable record players pictured there. And even while that is a very isolating — well, I don’t know if that’s the best word; maybe a word like solitary is more appropriate — even though it was solitary, those were the happiest years of my life. Truly.

Even the process  of  “listening to records” nowadays has changed drastically, of course. I have a record player,  but I almost never play it. I usually just stream stuff off the Internet in one way or another.  And I play a lot of CDs in my kitchen or in my car. But it’s just not the same thing. At all.

The way of living life that I used to love is simply long gone.  I’m not trying to reclaim the past, or to live in it (yeah, I know — I bought a house that’s 118 years old, with a really cool old barn that’s 108 years old, and it’s in a tiny village in Ohio that’s close to 200 years old, and I interact with the long-dead spirits here on a daily basis; however, I do not consider any of this as living in the past! I think of it more as “sharing the different levels of reality,” or co-existing in something virtual.).

Anyway. Big digression. Sorry.

I don’t need to live in the past, but I do crave a certain simplicity. I guess that’s why I fell in love with Muskingum County and moved here. Even though it makes traveling a colossal headache.  Just getting to the nearest International airport takes an hour. I realize that when I lived in NYC for 3 decades, it took at least an hour if not more to get to either airport, but here in Muskingum County, if you want a car service to do the driving for you (as I usually preferred in NYC), it’s about $175 before the tip. So life is not quite as “simple,” living in the peaceful middle of nowhere, as it might seem.

I’m bringing all this up because I’m going to have to start traveling again in the near future and probably not stop for a long time. NYC, Toronto, Florida, and LA.  Because of the theater projects, the TV projects, and then the micro-short films and (hopefully) the music projects with Peitor. It’s all good; I’m not complaining. It’s just that there’s something still down inside me that would prefer to sit in my room and listen to records…

However. Yesterday, I continued to make great headway in the revision of the Tell My Bones script. I am almost done.  Which is, like, a really good thing because I need to meet with the director in something like 6 days.

Nothing like waiting until the final moment to get your fucking shit together.  I don’t know why it has been so difficult for me to take a 90-minute play and condense it down to a 30-minute staged reading.  Sounds so easy in the abstract, yet doing it on paper has been unbelievably hard for me. I don’t know why. But I will be so relieved when it is done. Or at least a draft of it is ready to show people.

And next week, I expect feedback on the chapters I have so far in my new novel, Blessed By Light, because I want to get that project completed, too. I really thought I’d have that novel done by Christmas, but au contraire; everything else in the world happened instead. I’m eager to see what the feedback from the editor will be, though. It is such an unusual book for me to be writing – the life of an aging rock star told in 2nd Person, from a male POV; the eroticism of his inner world, of his memories, and then the redemption of his life.

I still don’t know why I’m writing it, but I do really love the book. I can’t wait to be able to really focus on it again.

Well, on that note, gang, I’m gonna tackle the revision of Tell My Bones now. Inching my way toward the finish line.

Have a wonderful day, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with the songs I’m listening to, although not on my record player, as I yearn for that simpler world I used to have:

Sun Kil Moon’s new album, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans

And Grinderman’s Go Tell the Women from 2007

Okey-doke! Thanks for visiting! I love you. See ya!

You Remember THIS Guy, Don’t’cha??!!

Yeah, baby! He’s the little weasel of love!

That cute little furry thing that gets down deep into your intestines and scurries around in there, gnawing on stuff and filling you with anxiety, when all the while you’re wondering , truly, what on earth IS the human race? And more importantly, what IS love?

This time of year, I do the Lenten prayers every morning before I even get out of bed. And I recently began doing the daily lessons of A Course in Miracles again, too. Also before I even get out of bed. These two practices, in some ways, give you polar opposite approaches to the teachings of Jesus Christ, although the Lenten prayers I practice come from the Franciscans, who are decidedly open-minded and philosophical, so there are underlying similarities to the two, as well.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog know that I am an ordained minister; I got through Evangelical Divinity School with a magna cum laude gpa; that I was raised by an adoptive family in Cleveland who were strict, conservative Jews and so I hid my devotion to Jesus until I was 14 years old; that I’m also deeply interested in the history of ancient Christianity, primarily First Century followers of the Jesus Movement. Normally, the history of Christianity and the theology of Christianity make for exceedingly strange bedfellows.

And since I normally sleep in the same bed with myself, you can imagine just how strange I am. All of this is a constant tumble in my head. Sometimes sending me barreling into absolute insanity.

But I take it all really seriously: the human condition; these multiple layers of reality that reveal wildly different suggestions of what’s really going on here. And of course, and more importantly, I constantly ponder the existence beyond this present one — this one that oddly seems so real.

Love is currently side-lining me again, as usual. And so I’ve been pondering the nature of love. I sat at my breakfast table this morning, listening to The Boatman’s Call on the CD player. (WARNING: Do NOT do this if you are sitting alone at your breakfast table at 6am, pondering the nature of love!! Just don’t do it!! Turn it off!)

So I turned it off. A word to the wise is sufficient.  I could not let the situation at hand get so far as song #4 on the CD, which is Brompton Oratory, or I would probably grab a butter knife and saw helplessly at my wrists… (Brompton Oratory is such a fucking beautiful song that I would only advise listening to it when you’re having one of those days where absolutely nothing matters to you at all. Otherwise, you will never live through it. Listening to the song, that is.)

Anyway. I digress.

I came to the conclusion — a conclusion I’ve come to before, btw, but this time it loomed huge and undeniable in my awareness: love is only and always a reflection of what you are putting out there. What you put out there and how you are feeling at any given moment, is just getting reflected right back at you.  Because what you perceive is always filtered through you and always projected through you and always interpreted through you.

So when you love somebody, or an animal, or a pet spider, or an entire movement of some sort, that feeling of love you get in return is really all about how you love yourself. At the very bottom line, that’s what it is. The love you think you’re sending out into the world (and of course, you are actually doing that) is all about how you are loving yourself. It has little to do with the “other.”

What it does have to do with the “other,” in my opinion, is that we are all coming from the very same starting point within the creation of energy itself — once you dig down deep enough, go back far enough, remove enough of the layers of what we consider reality.

So, yes, that means that I believe that to love each other means we are, in the truest sense, loving ourselves.  And that’s why I believe so strongly in forgiveness, too. We don’t really forgive others, we forgive ourselves.

So that’s what I was thinking about this morning.  And I felt kind of good about that; the idea that everything that’s coming back at me, even when I find it inexplicable on its surface, is just telling me a little more about how I love myself.

And yesterday, gang.  I finally made some needed headway on the revisions of the play! (Tell My Bones, which both Sandra and the director are patiently awaiting in NYC.) Thank you, God. I still have a ways to go, but that really troublesome spot I’d been languishing in for a few weeks already  is finally behind me! Yay. I am well into the midway point, but I was at it for 8 solid hours yesterday — and I am talking about 8 hours, primarily focused on 2 pages. And once I finally conquered those 2 pages, I got through 4 more before I had to call it a day.

The backs of my hands were aching and the back of my neck was in spasms from being hunched over this crazy laptop for so long yesterday. But then I did yoga while focusing very spiritually on reruns of the Dick Van Dyke Show and LMAO, and that seems to have taken care of  all the joint and muscle pains. And we will begin the process all over here today until the revision of this play is done.

So I guess life is good.  And thanks for visiting! Gang, I leave you with this, but DON’T watch it if you’re on the borderline of anything emotionally dicey! Otherwise I cannot be held responsible.  Okay, I love you! See ya!

Up those stone steps I climb
Hail this joyful day’s return
Into its great shadowed vault I go
Hail the Pentecostal morn

The reading is from Luke 24
Where Christ returns to his loved ones
I look at the stone apostles
Think that it’s alright for some

And I wish that I was made of stone
So that I would not have to see
A beauty impossible to define
A beauty impossible to believe

A beauty impossible to endure
The blood imparted in little sips
The smell of you still on my hands
As I bring the cup up to my lips

No God up in the sky
No devil beneath the sea
Could do the job that you did, baby
Of bringing me to my knees

Outside I sit on the stone steps
With nothing much to do
Forlorn and exhausted, baby
By the absence of you

c – 1997 Nick Cave

What do you love?

I started teaching myself how to play guitar when I was about 9 years old. We were still living in Cleveland at the time, and I was already taking violin and piano lessons.

My dad had come home from a trip to Chicago and he brought me home a huge stuffed animal, and he brought my older brother an inexpensive acoustic guitar.

Well, I loved my stuffed animal because, you know, I was a girl. But I also loved my brother’s guitar. He never touched it so I was all over that thing.  The piano teacher would come to our house to teach, but I had to go to a music store to have my violin lessons. And one day, while at the lesson, I could see all the guitars hanging on the walls outside the practice room windows and I told my violin teacher that I really wanted to learn how to play the guitar.  That I loved the Beatles. (They were still together at this point, that’s how old I actually am, gang!) My teacher was kind of impressed that I wanted to play the guitar, and he was also a guitar teacher, so he said he’d go out to the waiting room and ask my dad if I could have lessons.

I was so excited. You have no idea.

But my teacher came back to the practice room and had bad news. He said, “Your dad says he’s already paying for too many lessons for things and he can’t afford anything more.”

I was devastated but I really tried to be brave about it. Still, there were actual tears in my eyes. I’ll never forget the pain of that moment.  I was heartbroken. All my dreams, dashed in a matter of moments. And that poor guy — my teacher. He had to stand there and watch a 9 year-old girl, clutching her violin and trying not to cry.

But then, of course, as happens on planet Earth, my violin teacher changed my life.  He gave me a music book. Gave it to me, that day. he didn’t even charge my dad for it. It was Alfred’s Basic Guitar Book One: Teach Yourself Guitar.  And it had diagrams of every single chord, and also songs in it for learning how to play notes on the strings/frets.

My teacher said, “Just take this home and you can teach yourself how to play. You honestly can.”

And, oh my god, he was right! Even at age 9, I taught myself how to play. And when I was 13, an older cousin was upgrading to a better guitar and gave me his old Harmony acoustic, which was just light years better than the one I’d been playing, and by then, since I had already written literally tons of songs on my guitar, my parents broke down and got me guitar lessons, too.

I bring this up because, yesterday, I was talking to this much younger woman I know who composes gospel music on her phone, and I told her I’d finally gotten my guitar out of storage and was trying to play again, but that I was a little rusty. So she told me about a free phone app that teaches you how to play guitar. And you know,it’s just phenomenal, how effective the app is and for someone my age, who had so many teachers over the years — teachers who earned their living teaching kids how to play music —  it’s just like being on another planet. It really is.

And it’s free. Which is great. And it’s on my phone, which means I can use it whenever I have time, day or night. Still. That’s a heck of a lot of teachers out of work, right? The personal element, gone.

I remember one summer evening when I was seventeen, me and my best friend both had jobs in a restaurant in a little neighborhood shopping center. We’d gotten off work and were in the parking lot, sitting in the front seat of her parents’ car, trying to decide what we wanted to do that night. The music store where I was taking even more guitar lessons, was in that same shopping center.  And as she and I were sitting there talking, the lights of the music store went out and they closed up for the night. And a man comes out of the music store. And I said to my girlfriend, “Oh, that’s my guitar teacher.”

She said, “Really?”

I said, “Yeah.”

And as we sat there, talking, we watched as my teacher got into the front passenger seat of a car that was parked and waiting for him.  There was a guy sitting behind the steering wheel on the driver’s side, you know, and when my teacher got into the car, the two men leaned over and kissed each other, right on the mouth. And my girlfriend and I were, like, Whoa.

We sure weren’t expecting to see that.

See, these are the things you miss by teaching yourself how to play guitar alone in your room on your phone! That personal touch!

Anyway. I also wanted to talk about 2 albums here today.  For two different, but somehow similar, reasons.

On the TomPettyOfficial Instagram account, they’re asking people to post about why they like his song “I Won’t Back Down.” I actually don’t really like that song, so I didn’t post anything.

But it got me wondering if I could choose a favorite Tom Petty song, and it really would be extremely difficult for me. I have so many favorites. But I then realized that if I had to pick a favorite album of his, it would be Hard Promises, from 1981.

Even though I actually love all his albums, solo, or with the Heartbreakers, or with Mudcrutch, I would have to say that Hard Promises is simply my favorite. I love every song on it and it also probably has to do with that era of my life, too. I was just married to my first husband, I was 21, living in Times Square in NYC, beginning to play professionally as a singer-songwriter. Just a really great point in my life.

If you don’t know this album, you can hear the whole album on Youtube. Just 10 reasonably short rock & roll songs. Most of the songs on it now are considered classic Tom Petty songs.

The other album I wanted to mention is extremely not similar at all to Hard Promises. In no way, shape, or form, but it’s also an album I really love, and I started playing it in my car again the other day, and I once again came to the overwhelming conclusion that it is a really, really great album.

Henry’s Dream by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, from 1992.

Image result for henry's dream album

I love every single song on this album, too.  There is a tie between my favorites, though, and they would be: “Papa Won’t Leave you Henry,” and “Brother, My Cup is Empty.” Still, every single song, in my opinion, is great.

But I will leave you with the  delightfully intense  “Brother My Cup is Empty”, the best song about a deranged whisky drinker ever.

Okay, gang! Have an amazing day! Thanks for visiting. I love you! See ya!

I’m so sorry, gang!

While creating a new permanent section to the blog last night, called From the Vault, I inadvertently sent a bunch of unsolicited porn into everybody’s inboxes late last night!

I’m so sorry about this, gang. It was not intended. I thought I was uploading them as updates to the section, and not sending them out as individual posts.

Jesus. So sorry.

And on that inauspicious note… there’s a new permanent section to the blog now, called From the Vault, featuring older stories that were popular but that I’m not going to be republishing anywhere.

I’ve moved “Necessary to her Good” to that section, too, since that wound up being a really popular story on the blog last week.

And, yes, the Smashwords sale is now over. Thanks for making that frenzy of free downloads the busiest bunch of traffic to my Smashwords pages ever.  Normally, most of my sales come through Kindle on Amazon, but Smashwords is a really cool company, folks, so thanks for checking it out.

Of course, this also puts me in a quandary, since I don’t write erotica anymore and, obviously, since I’m giving away tons of old stories for free now, I haven’t written it in years. Blessed by Light, one of my new novels, has a lot of erotic elements to it, but it is definitely not the same kind of writing. And yet the old stuff is clearly what a heck of a lot of people want. So I’m just not really sure, gang, what – if anything – I’m gonna do about that.

My mind is simply in other realms now. Not that those realms aren’t erotic, but they also contain larger questions for me – spiritual things I’m trying to learn on this last half of my journey through physical life. I need to write about that kind of stuff now.

I guess it just gives me something else to ponder in that big vat of stuff I keep in my brain that I constantly ponder upon!

All righty. Sorry, again, everyone, for that onslaught to your inboxes during the night.

As I said in my post yesterday, I’ve got a lot of stuff I gotta get crackin’ on, now that January has arrived, so after right now, I’ll be returning to my blog-posting schedule of once or twice a week.

Oh! Yesterday, Nick Cave sent out another one of his letters. It was very charming, about his 10 most favorite pieces of music while growing up. You can read the letter here. (Or sign up to receive them; they’re always interesting and unpredictable.)

I’m guessing that if you live in Australia or New Zealand, you already know this (and if you don’t live there, there probably isn’t any real need for you to know this), but this month and next month, Nick Cave is going to be doing those solo engagements where he’s going to sing & play piano (?) but also take questions from the audience.

I can’t imagine missing that but clearly I will be – that part of the world is about 10 thousand miles from here. I guess I’ll have to wait until the tour comes to Crazyland…

Actually, in all seriousness, nothing comes to Crazyland. Ever. I think the last thing that came to Crazyland was when I moved here, 10 months ago. Really. You step out on your kitchen porch, turn your head in one direction and look that way; and then turn your head in another direction and look that way, and beyond those foothills and trees in the distance, you’ll see more & more sky coming your way and that’s all that ever comes to Crazyland. God and the weather.

Oh, wait! Something else really cool has come!! I hope to get a photo of it soon, but I’m always zipping past it at my normal 95 mph. However, in one of the lower-lying cornfields out on the main road, a sizable amount of rain water has collected since the fall and swans are living there!! Literally, I’ve counted a dozen of them! Swans!!! Those glorious white birds that mate for life. It’s just so lovely.

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Swans but not the ones who live here

Okay. Gonna work now. Have a nice Wednesday, wherever you are in the world! Hope it’s a happy one.  I leave you with this incredibly beautiful and iconic love song from 30 years ago! Not about swans, but still lovely.  (I know, I know – if you’re an American, you’ve never heard it…but hear it now!) Thanks for visiting, gang! Sending you lots of love. See ya!