I honestly cannot believe I’m having to post this, but it is looking like my play about the painter Helen LaFrance, Tell My Bones, is being shelved indefinitely due to my being a white writer and the play is about a black woman.
Since the Black Lives Matter protests have taken over the country, no one wants to be perceived now as racist or as politically incorrect.
I’ve worked on Helen’s life story now for 8 years — as a screenplay first, then as a play with music.
I’m devastated. I can’t really even think straight. This has been going on since last evening, so I’m really just a mess. My nerves are destroyed.
Naturally, I got no significant work done on Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. And today — in between bouts of crying, I’m just worn out. Just wanting to vomit.
A bright note — the other day, I found a first edition of the photo book Fish in a Barrel, in excellent condition at list price. These are photos the photographer Peter Milne took of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds on tour, and it came out in 1993. It includes some of my favorite photos of them.
The book arrived in today’s mail. I’m happy but I’m also sad because I don’t know how 27 years flew by so quickly. This all seems like yesterday.
Don’t forget! If you live in Copenhagen, or can get there, Stranger Than Kindness, the Nick Cave exhibit, opened today!!
And on another sad note, my best friend Paul, who died from AIDS in 1999, would have been 61 today. I like to feel that he’s hanging out with me a little bit today, but honestly, I just don’t know anything anymore.
Have a good Monday, gang, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, I love you guys. See ya.
This is another one of those posts that is going to be brief!
It is just a spectacularly sunny day here, today. And add to that, that I managed to get the house all vacuumed yesterday, so the sun is not shining in on a ton of cat hair everywhere — and I’m just super happy about that.
If you saw my post from last night, you know that Letter #8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse took an unexpected turn yesterday, so I want to get back at that. See where it wants to take me now.
Last night, I also posted about the discouraging news about the birthday stuff for next month — well, now my dad is really sick. So I’m guessing he is just really stressed out about all of this.
You know, since there is not a damn thing I can do about this stupid pandemic, I cannot get too bogged down in all these unhappy feelings. I need to just accept “what is.” Somehow, move forward.
Okay. Don’t forget — if you live in Copenhagen, or live somewhere where you’re allowed to travel to Copenhagen, the Nick Cave exhibit, Stranger Than Kindness, opens tomorrow!! And if you get to see it, please write and tell me about it!!
All right, well that’s it for today. I want to get started here.
I hope you have a good Sunday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with “Oh Happy Day,” that huge hit by the Edwin Hawkins Singers from something like 45 years ago. It’s how I’m feeling at the moment! I hope you are, too! Enjoy. I love you guys. see ya!!
Okay, well, last night’s post — Memory Lane — is actually going to be today’s post, too! If you didn’t already read it, you can scroll down to the previous post (Memory Lane) or use this link.
I am almost done editing Peitor’s book, about 50 more pages to go, so I want to get that finished here this morning and get it back to him, then get back to work on Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.
But I wanted to alert you that, if you’re a fan of any of the stories linked up there in “From the Vault,” that whole section is being removed. I am doing new editions of The Muse Revisited Collection, including print-on-demand options to buy them in trade paper, so none of the stories will be available through the home page of this site. If you have direct links to any of the stories, they will still work, you just won’t be able to find them linked here.
So, just FYI.
Okay, I’m gonna close and get started here! However, I wanted to leave you with this very cool & very short video, for Nick Cave’s Stranger Than Kindness exhibit, FINALLY opening in Copenhagen on June 8th!! Enjoy!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!!
Wow, what a weird morning I’ve had here so far, gang.
My perceptions have been all screwy.
First, I awoke around 3:45am, looked at my phone to see if there were any texts on it. There were, including one that was of great interest to me which turned out to not actually be there.
I like to think I was somehow still half asleep when I looked at the phone, but I could have sworn I saw what I saw. So that was intensely creepy.
I got up to go to the bathroom, stepped on something weird, which felt like a fuzzy cat toy of some kind. I turned on the lamp for a moment and there was absolutely nothing on the floor but the floor itself. So that was weird.
In the (dark) bathroom, I heard a very loud ticking sound that also creeped me out. It sounded like it was coming from the cabinet under the sink, but it wasn’t. And then the sound suddenly stopped.
Then I saw something weird on the bathroom floor, and thought: what the fuck is that? But upon blinking my eyes, I realized that it was just the bathroom scale.
When I came back into the (dark) bedroom, I saw a weird glow coming from the far side of the bed, on the floor. When I went to investigate, there was absolutely nothing there at all. No glow, no light, no nothing.
I decided at that point to get out of the bedroom and just go downstairs and start my morning. And even though everything was perfectly fine downstairs, I really was starting to worry that I was losing my mind.
So we’ll see how this day actually goes, gang. The sun is up now and all seems to be right with the world (and my bedroom), so here’s hoping…
(The most disappointing part of it, though, is that yesterday, I had such a great day — from start to finish. I was expecting to wake up this morning still in the momentum of the great day yesterday, and instead, woke up in a completely different Universe.)
I don’t know if I’m working on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff today or tomorrow, but I do know that I am doing a final edit on Peitor’s new book, starting today. I imagine it will take me about a week, so that means a couple of my own writing projects will likely take a backseat for right now, but at least it gets that project off his desk and will help him/us focus on film stuff. Los Angeles is starting to come out of lockdown now, too, so we have a lot of work to catch up on.
I am still making good progress with the new segment for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. (I am surprised by just how intense that segment is, though. I will likely split up the book editing work this week with working on that new segment.)
So! Little by little, we are getting back to normal around here. (Or perhaps, me being out of my mind is going to be part of that “new” normal we keep hearing so much about!) (I hope not.)
I still have a TON of web work to do on the Abstract Absurdity Productions web site, though, which is sort of stressing me out — remember how that site was supposed to launch by April 1st??!! And I had planned to hire “a happiness engineer” to help me quickly pull that site together, but then all these expenses came up for the barn so now I’m not sure. I guess we’ll just see.
What a strange, strange day, though, gang.
Last evening, down in my kitchen, I streamed yet another Charlie Chan movie that I’ve seen a million times — Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo (1938). This was the last full Charlie Chan film Warner Oland made before he died. And thinking about that at the kitchen table last evening, caused me to google his cause of death — I knew he had died suddenly, and then they brought in Sidney Toler to be Charlie Chan for a bunch more films. But I never knew what had happened to Warner Oland. (He was , by far, my favorite Charlie Chan.) (And it turns out he was not part-Asian, although he’d said he was.)
But it turns out he was a really, really cool individual. I was kind of flabbergasted. He even did a lot of early stage work with Alla Nazimova!! (Who I write about, at length in my novel Twilight of the Immortal.) Warner was his Americanized stage name — he was actually born in Sweden (and died there, too, as it turned out). He married a playwright, who mastered the Swedish language, so that the two of them could translate the playwright Strindberg’s plays into English.
He and his wife were married for 30 years and were both very successful. And then — yes — his alcoholism (!!) caused him to walk off the set of a Charlie Chan movie, and that quickly killed the 30-year marriage. And shortly after the divorce, he visited friends back in Sweden, got pneumonia, discovered he also had emphysema, and then suddenly died. It all seems to have happened in very short order.
And in fact, 20th Century Fox (the studio he had walked out on) took the footage they had already filmed, replaced the Charlie Chan character with Peter Lorre playing Mr. Moto and released it as a Mr. Moto film!! Isn’t that wild? I of course saw that very same Mr. Moto movie just a couple weeks ago, and I wondered why on earth Keye Luke was in a Mr. Moto movie, still playing Charlie Chan’s Number One son….
I always loved Keye Luke because he reminded me so much of my first husband, Chong Foun Kee. They looked quite similar and had similar characteristics. Both good-looking and super friendly…
Anyway. It was quite a successful google expedition. I learned all kinds of interesting stuff!
I’m also making great progress in studying my French on the Mondly app. It’s quite fun and I’m actually learning stuff, even after 52 years of “studying” French…
On another topic altogether, the Nick Cave exhibit in Copenhagen, Stranger Than Kindness, has officially announced the re-scheduled opening date: June 20th and it will run until February 13, 2021!! Details are here.
So that’s exciting! The world really is getting back to normal.
And on that great note, I guess I’d better get started around here.
I hope you have a good day, wherever you are in the world. I hope all your perceptions are spot-on and you don’t drive yourself crazy on this happy Thursday. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music — John Lee Hooker singing his hit “Boom Boom” from 1962. Such a sexy song. It hasn’t aged a bit. All righty, enjoy! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love love you guys. See ya.
Boom, boom, boom, boom
I’m gonna shoot you right down
Right off your feet
Take you home with me
Put you in my house
Boom, boom, boom, boom
Mm hm hm hm
I love to see you walk
Up and down the floor
When you talking to me
That baby talk
I like it like that
You talk like that
You knock me dead
Right off my feet
A haw haw haw haw
Once you walk that walk
And talk that talk
And whisper in my ear
Tell me that you love me
I love that talk
That baby talk
You knock me dead
Right off my feet
A haw haw haw haw
Okay. I am going to show you the (allegedly) FINAL version of our logo for Abstract Absurdity Productions. (And I love it!)
And to be honest, gang, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the responses we are getting to the company overall — not just our logo, but I mean our Mission, our raison d’etre, our inspiration (primarily European New Wave cinema from the 1950s & 1960s) , the storylines of our imminent micro-shorts (completely absurd plots). All of it.
And not only do we have that great cinematographer as part of our company profile now, but yesterday we got a social media expert onboard, as well, who loves our European sensibilities and wants us to get our package together immediately in order to pitch it to an additional very high profile TV streaming platform. (We are already well connected to one other one.)
So it is extremely exciting, gang. But overwhelming, too. In a way, you know. As in: I might have to live in Los Angeles a lot of the time. I was absolutely not anticipating that.
And since the theater projects are in NYC and Canada, what does that mean?
It means that I’m sort of curiously running the potential conversation through my brain as to how I am going to convince my birth mom to live here in Crazeysburg for pretty much the rest of her life…
I didn’t sleep well at all last night. Well, I slept well, during the meager hours that I actually slept. I was awake a lot of the night. I made a decision about something on Thursday that I am determined to stick to because I know it’s the right thing. But it’s like being on one path — a path you really, really love being on. And then being re-directed by the entire Universe, basically, to suddenly go down another path. A path I can’t even really see yet, so I’m just walking it blind now, but knowing that it’s the right thing.
I don’t want to have a broken heart about all this because I know that’s not a thing that anyone wants for me in this situation. So I’m trying to just move forward.
So I laid there in the dark, the birds were already starting to sing outside my window somewhere. And I decided to stream Tom Petty’s song “No Reason to Cry,” from the amazing Heartbreakers 2010 album , Mojo.
And I’ll tell you what — I’m willing to bet money on the fact that Tom Petty knew for sure that girls would cry when they listened to that fucking song. Tom Petty-type girls, anyway. And I did fucking cry. Because I’m overwhelmed right now. And the room was dark. And the sound quality on my iPhone is really, really good. Tom Petty’s voice filled my room like some sort of crystal bell ringing, right? So I cried a little bit.
But I also know that Tom Petty mostly wanted people to just live. Live life, fight for what you believe in, do the right thing. Stuff like that — don’t just lay in the dark and cry. So I switched to the song “Let Yourself Go,” also on Mojo. But it’s a song that I feel better represents who I really am. So I was able to move out of the tears and think more clearly.
And right then, I came to the decision (I’ve been debating it for a week now) to cancel the audition tomorrow for the literary arts festival that’s taking place in early June. It’s just too close to the trip to Zurich — assuming the trip even happens with this insane coronavirus craziness going on.
I was telling my new friend in Switzerland, regarding that literary festival, that aside from it being only a ten-minute reading, it’s a heavily edited version of a chapter from Blessed By Light that I really, really love. I am not emotionally attached to the piece at all now because I had to change my protagonist’s voice pretty extremely to get him to not only be family-friendly, but also to fit in the really short time-allotment.
So I emailed the festival people right then, before the sun was even up. And now, the Zurich thing can happen, as long as Los Angeles doesn’t become some sort of huge looming specter in early June, too… that hinges on when the cinematographer can be in LA.
Well. I forgot to mention that the coronavirus has delayed the opening of Nick Cave’s art exhibit in Copenhagen.
The announcement went out on Instagram yesterday morning. I’m guessing the book will still come out on schedule, though. So I’m making sure to keep 17 million US dollars freed up in my checking account, because I pre-ordered the book (in British Pounds Sterling) and I wouldn’t want to come up short on the day they decide to deduct the charge (for the book plus the expensive overseasshipping) from my account.
(Oddly enough, spell check doesn’t like that word “pre-ordered” and it offered me the word “pee-ordered” instead. I’m not real sure what the heck that would mean or why it would ever make sense to use it. I mean, like, what the hell would be going on when you’d need to say “pee-ordered” and it would actually make sense? Anyway.)
Well, I don’t have to do Booty Core or yoga today. And even though I have a ton of work to do on the new web site, I’m waiting for stuff from Peitor to arrive in my inbox. So until that occurs, I think I’m going to go back to bed and stare out the window for a little while. Drink some coffee. Wonder about life.
So I’m gonna scoot. Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a real good Saturday, wherever you are in the world. I’ll leave you to choose your own preference today: to cry or not to cry. Or maybe a little of both. It’s up to you — I trust your judgment completely. All righty. I love you guys. See ya.
“Let Yourself Go”
Rain on the river I’m soakin’ wet
Waitin’ on friend who ain’t come yet
And he might not get here for three or four days
Got to make a little bit go a long way
I’ve got a blond-headed woman who likes to come around
Cute little hippy girl lives in town
Brings a bag of records and she plays ’em ’til dawn
Give me a little lovin’ then she got to go home
When times are hard
When you start feelin’ low
Let yourself go
When the river’s risin’ and the world feels cold
Let yourself go
Let yourself go
I got a 442 sittin’ in the sun
Well it’s been ten years since she used to run
Man she was a beauty in ’69
But there ain’t no more comin’ down the line
When times are hard
And you start feelin’ low
Let yourself go
When the river’s risin’ and your world feels cold
Let yourself go
Honey let yourself go
It’s not really snowing that much here today, but it is snowing, and mostly I just love that Louis Wain illustration. It just cracks me up. So there we go!
Yes, it’s another one of those mornings. Taking me forever to plant myself in front of the computer and get started.
Before I forget, there was another one of those really funny, extremely short promotional clips on Instagram today to promote Nick Cave’s upcoming art exhibition in Copenhagen. God, I wish I could go! I was on the Black Diamond site, reading about it last evening and it sounded just so cool. (Actually, I think the link I have there to the Nick Cave website has the same information that’s on the Black Diamond site. But for some reason, reading it on my phone, late in the evening, on another site, made it seem like I hadn’t read it before.)
Anyway. It sounds so cool. And even with my unfortunate marital-memories of Copenhagen (meaning my decision to get a divorce), I do love Copenhagen.
Actually, Wayne & I had a nice time in Copenhagen, all things considered. I had gotten a really nice book advance from a publisher in London and so I was able to surprise Wayne with that entire trip at the last minute — it was my gift to him for Valentine’s Day that year. We always traveled really well together because we were always good friends. We didn’t work well together as married people, but we were always good friends.
And at that specific juncture in my life, I felt like I had totally lost my mojo, you know? It’s a distinct feeling — when the magic is just gone. And I don’t mean from the marriage, I mean the magic was gone from myself. I couldn’t function as a married person. I couldn’t figure out who the fuck I was. My career had taken over everything.
Of course, now I have swung my pendulum in the other direction and my career is all that there is. I’ve been extremely careful to weed out as many actual people from my life as I possibly could. I’m only being partially sarcastic, really. I mean, I did it for a reason. I had just so much toxic stuff going on in my life because of things I was refusing to look at involving my adoptive family. And when my adoptive mother finally disowned me, I had no choice but to finally look at it.
And then, of course, you see the patterns — the other toxic relationships you’ve maybe created because it seems to be the only thing you know how to do. Narcissistic mothers are a real trip — the damage they do to your ability to know how to be loved.
I was lucky in that I conveniently had this other mother — my birth mom; who doesn’t have a narcissistic bone in her body, and just loves me no matter what. Like, all I have to do is wake up in the morning and she loves me. However, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I actually know how to be loved yet. I’m working on it, though. It’s taking me a while.
I don’t actually define myself through my work, my writing. But I do love doing it and it’s the only thing I will leave behind, since I have no kids or anything.
This morning, I was lying in bed in the dark, thinking about marriage — what it means, technically. How it went from a strictly legal arrangement — to join property, and to create heirs to the property, to whatever wealth might have been involved. And then it morphed slightly when the church got involved. And the church only got involved because the priest in any given town was usually the most educated person around, often the only person who could even read, or help anyone navigate the legal documents. The legal arrangements of marriage were overseen by the priest in the church’s front portico — a structural part of churches that was meant specifically for doing business in.
(And churches aside, it used to be that part of the wedding ceremony, after the legal documents were signed, was that the wedding guests accompanied the bride and groom to the conjugal bed, to witness if the bride was actually a virgin, and to witness the loss of virginity thing that sealed the whole deal.) (I’m really glad we don’t do that anymore. I didn’t even know half the people at my wedding to Wayne.) (Not that I was anything close to a virgin at either of my weddings. But I’m just saying.)
It wasn’t until the Romantic era came in, in the late 1700s, that people got that notion that they wanted to be married in the eyes of God, and to even include love in a marriage. At that point, marriages took on a separate non-legal ceremony, deeper inside the actual church. And to have a church wedding became a really big deal. And to marry for love became a very popular idea.
So there you have it. Marriage. But I was thinking of it specifically because the part of Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary that I watched last night was just so sad — about Charlie Parker’s little 2-year-old daughter, dying suddenly from pneumonia in NYC while he was away doing some gigs in LA. His wife was alone when their little girl died. He got back to NY as quickly as he could but the whole thing just devastated him. And he, himself, died soon after that. He couldn’t cope with his grief. His body just gave out. The coroner thought he was examining the corpse of a 50 year-old, but Charlie Parker was only 34 when he died. A lifetime of heroin addiction and serious alcohol abuse.
This morning, I was thinking about his poor wife — they had a little boy, too, that she had to raise alone. But to survive the death of her little girl, and then the death of her husband? How did she do that? (They interviewed her in the documentary.) And he didn’t have any money, ever. Because of the heroin addiction — it took everything. (Like that old John Prine song, “Sam Stone” — There’s a hole in daddy’s arm/ where all the money goes…)
Anyway. I was thinking about marriage this morning and trying to understand why I have always just been so opposed to it, you know? Because I’m not opposed to loving someone until the cows come home or to fidelity or to romance or to the idea that I could, seriously, love a man for a lifetime. It’s just the marriage idea itself that confounds me. (And also, even though a lot of men asked me to marry them in my lifetime, the two proposals I accepted were the weirdest ones, ever. In entirely different ways. I guess that because I was so taken aback, I decided to say yes because it seemed really interesting — like, the marriage was going to be interesting. Who the fuck knows what I was thinking because I was wrong both times. That much I do know. They were “interesting” in just really bad ways.)
I know that part of my inability to know how to be loved has been really damaging to me, and I’ve been working on trying to fix that for a couple of years now. But in the whole act of trying to process it, I’ve shifted almost my entire focus into my work. And this morning, I was just wondering there in the dark: is this really all I’m going to do with my life? Just work, and never trust anybody to love me at all?
I like to think “no” but I just don’t really understand anything, when you get right down to it. Nothing at all.
But on that note — guess what I’m gonna do??? I’m gonna get to work over here!!
I hope you have a really great Thursday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning — a record that was definitely part of my wee bonny girlhood! (I don’t think my parents ever took me to see Dave Brubeck, but I do remember that a couple of times, when I was a really little girl, they took me and my brother with them to see Stan Getz and Chet Baker.) Anyway, I leave you with “Take Five” from their seminal album from 1959, Time Out. Enjoy. I love you guys. See ya!