Tag Archives: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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.

Related image
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!

Terrors & Mesmers

Yes, I turned another one of those crazy corners after I turned the good corner. (See post below to refresh your memory.)

(I think I need one of those service dogs, just to sort of keep me from going down all these terrifying roads. He could pull on the leash and say to me, Don’t do it, honey. Don’t go down there. Nothing good is waiting for you down that road. And I could then heed his good advice and continue on indefinitely in sweetness and light.)

(I’m not mocking service dogs and what they do. I’m actually kind of serious. All I have are 8 semi-feral cats, whom I love dearly, but who make me utterly insane and who help me in pretty much no way whatsoever.)

I am of course talking about my problems with suicidal depression.  And how instantaneously it can come swooping back. It was really bad this time, so I got help.  Because I am determined to make a different statement with my life than that one. You know: I endured so much, I created so much, put so much into the world, helped a lot of people, counseled a lot of people, helped love circulate in the world and then, you know, killed myself.

Not a statement I’m willing to sign my name to, but suicidal depression is an energy that is overwhelming in its inability to care which story you’d rather tell.

I don’t believe in traditional psychiatric therapy type stuff. It has never done anything positive for me, ever. Being a Christian minister, I of course, go down more spiritual prayer-filled roads. It is still therapy. It is still people armed and at the ready to help you survive. Just not through drugs or talking about yourself.

In fact, the first thing I was instructed to do was to pray for someone else who was in the same dire straights I was, emotionally. A total stranger, whose name I did not know, who I’ll never see again, and I did not know what was causing him to want to kill himself, but I didn’t need to know why; I understood his anguish and the immediate reaction was to go deep into prayer for him; deep into that knowing that guidance would come for him; help would come. Knowing that Love, coming from any direction at all – even from a total stranger – could ease him even an inch past the crisis point and that could be enough to help someone go on.

And when you’re in those feelings that are being aimed at someone else, you realize you are also aiming all that love at yourself, too. And it helps you go on, too.

I draw your attention momentarily to the photo at the top of the post there. It is of Thomas Troward, one of the earliest voices of what became the New Thought Movement, which is the type of Christianity I follow, which underscores my ministry.  His writings and scientific lectures from as early as 1904 are simply jaw-dropping, and his approach to Christ’s teachings unshackle them from dogma, and strangeness, and from all those weird ideas that to me have never made any sense.

If you aren’t familiar with his writings, he is seriously worth checking out. It’s all about the power of thought; his initial lines of inquiry stemming from the work of Franz Mesmer who discovered, in the 1700s, that people could be hypnotized so what was that telling us about the power of thought and what it can persuade us into thinking if left unchecked?  In a nutshell, Troward asserts that Jesus understood what the mind was capable of doing to and for people.  This is also, of course, what the Christian Gnostics believed, and what I believe, as well.

I’m only bringing all this up because suicidal depression, in my belief, is just that type of powerful Thought left unchecked, swirling in its own magnetic attraction, until its compounded pull becomes intensely powerful.

And it doesn’t matter if you can logically define it for yourself, when you’re caught in its undertow, man, is it hard to break free of it.

I’m on the other side of it now. Yet again, surviving.  Still not in the Christmas spirit at all, but I did indeed open the gifts my birth mom sent to me.  (See post below somewhere about how incapable I am of waiting until Christmas to open my presents.) It helped lift my spirits enormously. Truthfully, she could have sent me a lump of coal and I would have loved it because I love the mere thought that she thinks of me and that she loves me.

I also  repeatedly streamed The Weeping Song really loudly, over and over and over. And I mean, probably close to one hundred times. So loud that you could hear it all over the house. It was like the IV tube stuck in my veins. I needed to hear it wherever I went. Until I could get help and get “saved,” as it were. Get past the crisis and not kill myself.

As an aside – one thing that confounds me about America is how few people even know who Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are. The Americans who do know their music seem to live primarily in LA or NYC, but even my friends in LA and NYC do not know Nick Cave’s music, even though he has now been around forever.

Well, you’re missing out on so much. That’s all I can say.

Well over 9 million people have viewed this video for The Weeping Song and you haven’t even heard of the guy!

All righty. Well, he helped keep me alive this time. Got me over another hurdle. That’s what counts.

Okay. Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope this finds you in a real good place. I’m happy our paths are still crossing. I’ll be spending today working on Blessed By Light, the new novel. Take care and see ya!