Yesterday was sort of a good day, by the end of it.
The Ab Ab Pro phone call was frustrating, just because there is such an enormous amount of work to do. And both of us are more than a little frustrated with the entire world still moving at a snail’s pace because of COVID. And everything always needing more and more money to move to the next step. (I was not looking forward to telling Peitor the financial details of what the accountant had told me, but obviously, I had to.)
So far, in the 35+ years that Peitor and I have known each other, we don’t argue. Which doesn’t mean that most of the time we see eye to eye on things, because we absolutely do not. But we don’t argue about it.
But yesterday we were at this sort of point — after 2 hours of going over the financial figures for various parts of our production company — where we were talking to each other in this really measured, careful way — each word under a microscope — like we were in marriage counseling or something and trying not to explode at each other. It was sort of bizarre and definitely exhausting, emotionally. For both of us.
When we finally hung up, I really wasn’t able to get too much done on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town, because I was so drained. I’m hoping, though, that today will be really creative for me regarding Thug.
But then, last evening, Kevin, the director of my play Tell My Bones, called with some incredible news regarding another potential zoom broadcast of a staged reading of the play — and this one is really, really exciting, gang.
I can’t go into the details on the blog yet, but, man — it was really great news. And I could start to feel again what life had felt like before the virus hit the world and brought every single one of my projects to a crashing halt.
So, that is making me happy. And I have two days ahead of me, free and clear, to work on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town. So, I’m feeling like maybe I can take some time now, block out the stuff that sort of stresses me out, and just focus on the manuscript that’s in front of me and just feel really happy about it.
Plus, that little cat that I call Henrietta — actually I just call her “little sweetheart” — stopped by to visit us around 6am, so I hung out on my kitchen porch with her for a few minutes. She makes me so happy because, unlike any of my 7 feral cats, she lets me cuddle her!! She hasn’t come around in a couple weeks, so it was such a nice surprise to see her cute little face suddenly pop up at the kitchen window. (Now, if only a little alpaca would come visit!!)
Okay, well, I hope you have a similar day ahead of you — stress-free and really creative! And maybe even an unexpected visit on your kitchen porch from one of God’s delightful little creatures. I have nothing to leave you with today because last night and this morning, I was still listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” endlessly on repeat (see yesterday’s post for that link). Well, actually I did also listen to Blixa Bargeld singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (1995), because William at the a1000mistakes blog over in Australia sent me a link to it during the night. So I’ll leave you with that! Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope you have a great Saturday. I love you guys. See ya.
I said I would be back here to post again yesterday but I lied.
But I’m here now, so let’s just move on! All righty??!!
Well, the sad news first: Today is that dreaded day that comes once every 3 months, when I have to go down into my super scary, 119-year-old unfinished basement and change the filter in my furnace.
I can’t tell you how much I don’t look forward to doing that. Even though, once I’m down there, it’s never as bad in reality as it is in my imagination. It’s just that forcing myself to go down those stairs at all is the really hard part.
Well, okay. Just had to stop and have a phone chat with the director of Tell My Bones. I was going to post here today about how happy I am with how the plans for the Zoom staged reading of the play are progressing!! So I will just go ahead and say that right now:
I’m really happy with how the plans for the Zoom staged reading of the play are progressing!!
I really am, gang. I am getting so excited. Even though it’s not the whole play, and all the music is being taken out to simplify the reading, you will still be able to get a good feel for the overall play. Plus, I personally can’t wait to start hearing actual people reciting the dialogue, you know??
Between the four years it’s taken me to adapt this play from the film script version, and then the few years that I was focused just on the film script version — that’s a long time to have this story in my head and never hear a single other soul speaking a single one of these lines of dialogue. So I am getting really excited.
The other good news, of course, is that they finished putting the new roof on my barn yesterday. And I am so happy, gang!! Unfortunately, the back alley and one segment of Basin Street are now littered with the bodies of neighbors who died from heart attacks yesterday afternoon because they didn’t think I was ever gonna fix that roof, but oh well. That’s the trade-off, I guess.
Of course, I jest! No one died. But I did indeed notice people noticing it, that’s for sure. So it is a huge relief for me to finally have that barn looking more presentable. It still needs re-painting, but the worst part of it is now over.
And not only am I starting to make some interesting progress on the new novel, Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town, that is making me feel really happy, but I am also coming into a new relationship with Blessed By Light, which is now indeed going to be officially titled The Guitar Hero Goes Home. (So, as of today, I will no longer be calling that novel by its old title, okay? Hopefully, it will not be too confusing.)
It’s really interesting how, having the virus completely gone now, is making my brain work again.
Valerie in Brooklyn sent me a link during the night to an article in a NYC newspaper, where they interviewed people who had recovered from the virus to find out what the virus had felt like. It is the darnedest thing — how differently it affected different people. But there were two people interviewed who had the exact same experiences that I had: mainly, the weight of an anvil on the lungs, inability to breathe, overwhelming fatigue, and inability to think straight. (I also had the loss of the senses of taste & smell.)
Anyway. It just feels so great to be back to normal. And also to be able to work out again. Yoga especially feels so good now.
All right, well, the day before yesterday, Nick Cave sent out another Red Hand Files letter. It was one of the sadder ones, where he replies to people who are struggling with the deaths of their own children and he talks about how he and his wife continue to manage their grief over the death of one of their sons. You can read what he says at the link there. It’s enlightening.
Well, it’s another beautiful day here, but a little chilly. I did make a quick trip into town yesterday to buy more groceries and — YES — to buy yard waste bags in order to start raking up all those dead leaves outside my backdoor. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll do it today or not, only because it’s cold out. Not because I’m (still !!!) being incredibly lazy.
I did notice, on the trip to town and back, that traffic is back to normal now around here. A lot of Ohio is coming out of lockdown, though not all of it. (And you still have to wear a mask pretty much anywhere you go.) But there was plenty of traffic. It’s no longer a ghost town anymore. And the gas prices are inching upwards. It felt good to see that. Although in the county where my dad lives, they are getting new confirmed cases of the virus every day. So the more populated urban areas of the State are still having issues. But it was good to see that for a lot of us, we are now entering that light at the end of the tunnel. For now.
Okay, I’m gonna close this because I want to get started on some writing and editing here today. I leave you with three options. My music-listening from last evening — an old song by Shaggy from 20 years ago (!!) that they play on TikTok constantly and the chorus always just cracks me up. Talk about infidelity, right? “It Wasn’t Me” (2000, from his album Hot Shot): “But she caught me on the counter (It wasn’t me)/ Saw me bangin’ on the sofa (It wasn’t me)/ I even had her in the shower (It wasn’t me)/ She even caught me on camera (It wasn’t me)…” 😂
And then this morning, my breakfast-listening music was from an upcoming new album by Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade: Round Again. The song is “Right Back Round Again.”
And then this one will give you sort of an idea of what some of the music to Tell My Bones will eventually sound like!! This is a vintage recording from Smithsonian Folkways Records of Ella Jenkins and the Goodwill Spiritual Choir of the Monumental Baptist Church!
All righty. Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a great Thursday, wherever you are in the world. Enjoy that Super Flower Moon in Scorpio tonight!! Assuming you live with someone you don’t have to stay 6 feet away from, this is supposed to be a very, very sexy full moon, so enjoy those vibes! (Since I live alone and dearly love myself, perhaps tonight I will, I don’t know, take up smoking cigarettes again!! Yay!) (Remember that old joke about cigarettes and sex? HE: “Do you smoke after you do it? “ SHE: “I don’t know, I never looked.”)
Okay, on that happy note. I’m outta here. I love you guys. See ya!
Yes! I left home this morning! I drove into town and bought groceries.
My breathing is better than yesterday, so this makes 3 days in a row when I haven’t gone in reverse with this virus. I’m still trying not to push my luck, or anything. But it was great to go into town and buy food.
AND!!! On the drive home, I saw an eagle! I don’t know if it was a golden eagle or a young bald eagle, because they sort of have similar coloring. It was sitting high up in a tree that didn’t have any leaves yet. And I was driving by on the highway, so it was just impossible to really tell. But, boy, was it an eagle! I was so excited.
And then, when I got home from the store, a neighbor came by and asked me if I wanted him to cut my (still horrible) grass. He charges less than my usual lawn guys, who still haven’t gotten back to me about when they’re coming out here. I texted them yet again. So we’ll see. I might be saving money on lawn care this summer.
AND!! I found an Amish guy who can likely fix the roof of my barn!!
Honestly, do days get better than this?? I don’t think so.
Last night, I heard from both Sandra (the actress in NY that I write theater projects with) and the director of Tell My Bones, who is here in the Hinterlands until the end of August. And it looks like we are going to be doing the staged reading of the play on Zoom, rather than waiting indefinitely to mount it in real life in NYC. So that is a huge switch-a-roo, But on we go, right? I’m just trying to stay adaptable.
The last time I made the drive into town was before I got the virus, back when the dogwoods were all in bloom. Well, now it’s the fruit trees everywhere, blooming. And around this part of Ohio, there are a lot of crabapple trees, which I just love. There are a number of different varieties, but they essentially look like this, in case you’ve never seen one (and the older trees get really huge; not tall but really wide):
I just love them. And today, they were everywhere.
Oh, and the gas price in town is now $1.49 a gallon. I have no idea what the heck that price even means, you know? It just keeps getting cheaper. So I stopped and got gas for the car, too.
Okay. Well, I’m super hungry and my morning is now entirely gone so I’m going to go down to the kitchen and make some lunch!
I hope you guys are having a great Thursday, wherever you are in the world. I might check in again later, I don’t know. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting. I leave you with my “driving to town song” from today. It’s from the 2003 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album, Nocturama — which I don’t hate. It has a number of songs on it that I really like, including this one (I actually love this one) — “He Wants You.” So enjoy. Stay healthy. Stay socially distant!! Don’t watch the news more than once a day! And keep wishing for those things your heart desires, because they come true!! (I mean, honestly, when was the last time you wished for an Amish guy to fix the roof of your barn and then found one??!!) (And other beautiful desires come true, too.)
Okay. I love you guys. See ya!!
“He Wants You”
In his boat and through the dark he rowed
Chained to oar and the night and the wind that blowed
Horribly ’round his ears
Under the bridge and into your dreams he soars
While you lie alone in that idea-free sleep of yours
That you’ve been sleeping now for years
And he wants you
He wants you
He is straight and he is true
Ooh hoo hoo
Beneath the hanging cliffs and under the many stars where
He will move, all amongst your tangled hair
And deep into the sea
And you will wake and walk and draw the blind
And feel some presence there behind
And turn to see what that may be
Oh, babe, it’s me
And he wants you
He wants you
He is straight and he is true
Ooh hoo hoo
Yes!! I went out first thing this morning — drove into town to go to the market as soon as it opened, so that I could get my week’s groceries without having to shop with too many people in the store.
(Ohio is on Stay-At-Home orders, which means we can go out for essentials but that’s it.)
And when I got back home, this time I paid attention to everything I touched before I washed my hands, so that I didn’t go through some sort of paranoia attack all day about whether or not I had washed every single solitary thing that might need washing…
And I’m hoping to do only one load of laundry today — instead of worrying that I didn’t get every single thing that my clothing might have touched when I came in the door.
In short, I hope to have a nice day.
The weather here is unbelievable!! We did not get all the rain that was predicted — which is good because Wakatamika Creek has already become a veritable lake, flowing all over the bottom land. (It doesn’t affect the town, because the creek always floods and that bottom land always eventually absorbs it. In the nearly 200 years the town has been here, I guess they figured out not to build anything at all anywhere near that creek…)
Anyway. It is gorgeous outside. Most of the windows are open, which is such a relief for me, because I am allergic to cats and I have 7, so fresh air is just like the best thing that God invented, ever.
I am on Day 15 now of my quarantine. We still have no confirmed cases of the virus in Muskingum County — and here is something that actually pisses me off: Ohio has stopped reporting how many people test negative for the virus. The last time they reported the number, several days ago, it was close to 20,000 people who didn’t have it. They only report now how many people have it and how many people have died from it. Which just totally skews everybody’s understanding of what is going on.
And when questioned why they stopped releasing the numbers, they let it be known that the nearly 20,000 who didn’t have it, did not even include the amount of negatives coming from the private testing sector. The State itself (not the private sector) is testing 500 people a day! And 1400 people have tested positive (that includes those who have recovered and 28 who have died). So who knows how many tens of thousands of people in Ohio don’t have the virus?
It just feels so manipulative and political, doesn’t it? (If you don’t live in America, you probably can’t get a real sense of how many politicians want to blame Trump for absolutely everything imaginable, even if it means having to “misrepresent” or downplay the facts. It just gets ludicrous.)
The Health Department here in Ohio also seems to be relying on a forecasting formula that the Federal Government has stated is outdated now because the forecasts did not match what is actually happening in Italy. It just feels so controlling — try to make everyone feel hysterical so that they no longer trust the Federal Government.
It is just so hard to know what the heck is going on anymore, so it’s still best to just stay inside and wash.
And speaking of Italy — that Instagram photo I posted last evening (lower left of this page if you’re on a computer) is of Pope Francis giving the Urbi et Orbi blessing in a deserted St. Peter’s Square last night. Isn’t that one of the most amazing sights?
And speaking of the Pope… I spent yesterday catching up on some back issues of Biblical Archaeology Review (which has nothing to do with the Pope, just the Bible). What a cool magazine. But so hard to spell!! (I’m guessing that the next Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album will have both the words “Archaeology” and “Apocalypse” in it so that I can go out of my fucking mind trying to spell it…) (See various references to my inability to spell the word “Apocalypse” as well as the 2004 double-album title Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus.)
I love Biblical archaeology. I love the stuff they discover, and how it helps us re-frame what was handed down in the Bible (for instance, before contemporary times, women had a very different way of interpreting what is written about Eve in Genesis because they relied primarily on Genesis 1 and let that inform how they interpreted Genesis 3 — meaning, in short, they believed that Eve was the spiritual equal of Adam and also that Adam was standing right next to Eve during that whole serpent thing, so, um …) (Also, the King James Version of the Bible misinterpreted the word for “pupil” to mean “apple” so the saying “apple of his eye” actually reads “pupil of his eye.” I just love stuff like that!)
And I especially love it when archaeology supports what is written in the Bible. I love all that ancient historical stuff. Oh — and I ordered a scholarly book from Amazon yesterday that’s a couple years old already, but it re-examines Judas’s role in what happened to Jesus, along with the role of the Jewish High Priests, and it apparently redirects the blame to Herod. That the High Priests were providing shelter to Jesus from the Romans during Passover, and that Herod intercepted that.
(Folks, you really, really gotta closely examine that relationship between Herod and Jesus at every turn. Something really, really bad was going on there. We’ll probably never really know what. But it has something to do (I think) with the Romans having appointed Herod King, when that was not the way the Hebrews accepted a “King.” And all the John the Baptist stuff is connected there, too.)
This all fascinates me, personally, because I am working on a one-man play (titled In the Days of the Flesh) about the (fictional) Gospel According to Caiaphas, which exonerates him from what happened to Jesus.
And here we are today! I’m gonna go eat my lunch now and get this day underway. (And, btw, the market was completely stocked with absolutely everything.) I hope you are having a good Sunday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting!! (Oh, and another by the way!! Dylan’s new song, “Murder Most Foul,” already has 2 million views on YouTube — and that’s not counting my endless listenings because I bought the song immediately, so I stream it.)
I’ll leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning, “Casa Dega,” which I only listened to halfway, because the windows were open and I realized that the birds were singing and I preferred listening to them!! But anyway, this is not the version I listened to, but I like this one because it captures Tom Petty live in 1978, when he still had that awesome attitude he had when he was young. (He’s 28 here.) Enjoy, gang!! I love you guys. See ya.
Well the clouds roll by in the big blue sky
As the sun beats down on Casa Dega
And the moon pulls the tide and the tide brings night
But night is more than just night in Casa Dega
Baby I think I’m starting to believe the things that I’ve heard
‘Cause tonight in Casa Dega I hang on every word
She said to me as she holds my hand
And reads the lines of a stranger
Yeah, and she knows my name, yeah she knows my plans
In the past, in the present and for the future
Yeah, baby now I think I’m starting to believe the things that I’ve heard
‘Cause tonight in Casa Dega I hang on every word
Then she said…
And you almost pay the price of a whisper in the night in Casa Dega
Time rolls by, night is only night, can I save ya?
It’s more than just a night
I got a chance to talk on the phone with Sandra at length today, so that was nice.
She’s back in Rhinebeck now and has begun to work on the revisions of our other play. It seems to be undergoing a title change (again), from The Guide to Being Fabulous, back to Hiding in Plain Sight. I understand why she wants the name change (the play is a musical about her life and the overshadowing specter of the play is her transgender stuff.) I like either title, though.
Anyway, she has started the revisions and that will involve me here soon, too. I guess I have nothing but time, right?
The virus cases here in Ohio have of course increased — up to 867 today. Over 17,000 people here in the State have now been tested. Sadly, 145 of those confirmed with the virus work in the healthcare industry. (There are close to 12 million people who live in the State, so who knows when it will level off.)
Still no confirmed cases here in Muskingum County. And where my dad lives, while they have 18 cases down there, he has people doing all his grocery shopping for him & stuff, so he doesn’t go out at all.
It started out being another really pretty day again here today. After I did Booty Core, I decided to go take a walk. Not to be morbid, but the graveyard is my favorite place to walk. It’s an active cemetery but it’s almost 200 years old, and all of the founding father’s of the town are buried there.
Here is a photo I took with my phone of the founder’s grave thingy. It’s the only above-ground crypt type thing in the graveyard. (It’s a terrible photo, as usual. Sorry.) Samuel Frazey died on March 6th 1840. He was 61 years old. (He had a really young wife, named Eliza. I don’t think that’s what killed him, though.)
By the time I reached the cemetery, it was already becoming cloudy out and now it’s getting ready to rain — and apparently will for several days. So here’s hoping the rest of my bathroom ceiling doesn’t come down!
And even though the day is basically over now, I am just now sitting down at my desk to get some writing done. Then probably some more DCI Banks later tonight.
Well, the birds are singing and daffodils are in bloom all over the town. So here’s hoping we will all get through this soon enough.
On Brian May’s Instagram feed just before (he’s the lead guitarist for the band Queen), he recorded all the people in Britain applauding from their windows — they were clapping for all the healthcare workers all over Britain. Instagram is so cool.
Okay. I hope you’re doing good, gang, wherever you are in the world tonight. Take care of yourselves. I love you guys. Thanks for visiting.
Man. That show in Eindhoven, Netherlands, last night seems to have been just incredibly great. The photos on Instagram were amazing (Nick Cave’s Conversation). One person had also been to the show in Essen, Germany (which had also looked really great), and said that the show in Eindhoven was even better.
Well, those photos — I couldn’t believe them.
And someone posted a full minute of him singing “Waiting for You,” from Ghosteen, and I really just couldn’t believe how fucking good it was. And it just means that the Ghosteen tour is going to be off the charts.
Crap — you know?! (I say it like that because I will not be attending any of these events.)
Okay, well, tonight he will be back in the Netherlands, in Nijmegen… And I will be so pissed off if it’s really, really good!
Which reminds me, that the other day, when I posted about pre-orders for the Nick Cave art exhibition book — Stranger Than Kindness — I forgot to post the link, which is here.
I’ve also been meaning to post that, at least in the United States, the MP3 edition of Rowland S. Howard’s incredible solo album from 1999, Teenage Snuff Film, will be available for download in early March. You can pre-order it here. (It’s Amazon US, but I don’t know if that means you have to live in the US to download it or not. I’m guessing it will be available for download from everywhere, though.)
Well, gang. The work on Tell My Bones yesterday was really productive — I’m still not finished, but I am really, really close.
The problem is that this one segment deals with racism, Jim Crow and, specifically, lynchings. It is not easy for me to be creative and artistic about all this. I mean, in a sense, it is easy because I feel strongly about it, but it makes me sick to my stomach while I’m doing it. And it wears me out.
And I’m trying to find that balance between making the point and not bombarding the audience with it. Helen, herself, talked to me in only a very minimal way about the racial problems she experienced in her life; her primary focus was her art and her family. Those were the topics that were of utmost importance to her. Plus, her family — even back in 1919, when she was born — were not sharecroppers. They owned their own farm, did reasonably well, and were definitely much better off than the white farmers around them.
She attributed her family’s well-being to their being devout Christians. Still, they were descended from slaves, and they were living in a Jim Crow State. And I felt that something needed to be said about that.
And in wanting to get a better understanding of what Kentucky was like when Helen was born, and specifically in Graves County, I had to research the statistics of lynchings in the State of Kentucky (which, of course, reveals horrible photos, too). It was all just stomach-turning, you know? Even though they did lynch a number of white men, the statistics document that it was overwhelmingly black.
And the statistics are so precise, too — which is also sickening in and of itself. The names, the race, the sex, what they were accused of (usually rape, attempted rape, or murder), the date they were lynched, and which county it took place in. If you’ve documented all of this, then why couldn’t it have been stopped? But it was mob justice. There were 135 lynchings listed in a 39-year sampling. I printed out a table and it took up four pages. And that was just for the State of Kentucky.
You know, when I was 14, I was raped by a black guy and a white guy. And the very last thing I would have ever wanted was for either of them to be hanged. It is just so sickening to me.
It was a relief, though, to see that in the county that my own ancestors herald from, there were no reported lynchings — black or white. My great-great grandfather was a Kentucky State senator, notoriously on the side of the Confederacy– to the extent that he was booted out of the Senate. (Kentucky was a split State; part Union, part Confederate.) And he owned house slaves. But the county he lived in bordered Ohio, as opposed to Tennessee, where the lynchings seemed to get seriously out of control. Logan County, specifically.
I hate to use the word “ironic” here, because of its sarcastic connotations, but it is ironic that I’m a white woman descended from Kentucky slave owners, writing about the life of a black woman descended from Kentucky slaves. I mean, it is what it is, but it’s still indicative of something that’s out of balance. Meaning, I can’t imagine any black writers, descended from slaves, ever writing about me. I could be wrong, of course, but why would they?
Anyway, I undertook the project of writing about Helen’s life primarily because she was a woman and, as a woman myself, I understood her life-long drive to find peace, privacy, and enough money to support herself while she did her art. But there are these other racial elements that, sadly, have to be factored in, as well, even though they were not Helen’s primary concern — in her conversations with me or in her journals.
So, all that considered, I am making good progress with the play. I might even finally finish this new segment today. I am just so close. And then we will be ready for the table-reads in NYC.
Okay, gang. I’m gonna scoot. Got laundry to attend to, then gotta get back to the play. Thanks for visiting. I hope Tuesday is terrific for you, wherever you are in the world!! I leave you with that truly lovely song from Ghosteen, mentioned above. All righty. I love you guys. See ya.
You know, yesterday, I took a look at what I had already written in Letter #6, “Captivity,” (Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse), and I actually liked it more than I thought I did. But I still think it needs to be completely re-written. Well, it’s only 2 pages. What I mean is that the voice needs to change — the rhythm of it. It’s too linear the way it is right now. I feel like this is one of those chapters that needs to be more stream-of-consciousness.
So, as I sat and thought about it, more images or thoughts or vague perceptions — I don’t know what to really call them — for Thug Luckless continued to creep in around the edges of my brain. A sort of brain-landscape getting underway there. And it couldn’t be more different from what I’m trying to capture in Letter #6 for the other book. So there was a lot of maneuvering for brain space going on there, but Thug won out, for a little while.
Thug just gets more interesting to me every day. The strangest things inspire me:
Those (in my opinion) hideously huge monogrammed, square-toed Balenciaga boots for men. (They look huger on the models than it looks here.)
The old Rudy Vallee smash, sort of haunting, hit song, “Just An Echo in the Valley” from 1933.
And of course, the tone and overall temperament of Jean Genet’s ode to death & rape in Occupied Paris in the summer of 1944, Funeral Rites.
And then add the post-Apocalyptic urban backdrop of P-Town where most of the men were killed in the Apocalypse and there is no longer any working indoor plumbing so all the women are pissing in the streets, and then the pornographic premise of the AI sex robot, endlessly wandering around because the woman who bought & programmed him, died, and none of the other women know how to un-program him, so he’s fucking everyone, and gradually morphing from artificial intelligence into sentient intelligence strictly through sexuality. But nobody knows this is happening to him, or ever knows, and it’s sort of a tragedy. But beautiful.
It’s just an amazing hodge-podge of stuff swirling around my brain regarding Thug –and creating yet another one of those universes that sort of isolates me from everything and everyone around me… but I still love it. It just excites me to no end.
And yet, I awoke at 5:30 this morning, suddenly feeling like: Okay, gotta get In the Shadow of Narcissa into some kind of manuscript shape today.
WTF??!! Where did that come from? That memoir could not be more different from the other two projects. And I really thought that the other two were on the front burners for now. But apparently they aren’t, because I was lying there in the dark, completely focused on Narcissa.
So there you go. All these projects that sort of lurch forward at the same time around here. And tomorrow I need to focus on Tell My Bones because I’m meeting with the director. And I’m thinking that I’m supposed to be planning on being in NYC next month to begin the table-read process so that I can rewrite the final act of the play and fix one of the main character arcs. Time is flying. And then at some point I have to be in Toronto with Sandra for the round table with the producers and the director for The Guide to Being Fabulous.
I still have no idea when that’s supposed to get underway. I only know the show is slated for the upcoming season, beginning in November, and I have a ton of re-writes still to do on it. But I won’t have any idea what those specific re-writes will be until we do the round table. And Sandra has to be in Stratford (Canada) beginning in April to be in the musical Chicago all spring/summer. So, um, hmmm….
Here’s a handy definition to have:
capable of bending easily without breaking.
All right, well. We’re certainly going to find out about that.
Here, the laundry is just about done. I’m thinking that later today, I’m going to drag the boxes out of the storage closet and take them downstairs and pack up all the Christmas stuff, while streaming more episodes of Black Books. (The dining room currently looks like some sort of Christmas thrift store, everything’s piled everywhere.)
But meanwhile, I have the segments from In the Shadow of Narcissa open on my desktop and I’m going to go over those now and format them into one manuscript and get a feel for how that reads (currently 9 pages). And then maybe even write a new piece for it (and post it to the site). I’m not sure. Overall, since I want it to be chap-book length, I don’t see it being longer than 40 or 50 pages. I guess we’ll see.
So have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re working on while you’re there! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with yet another cool Tropical Fuck Storm song, “Aspirin.” (William over at a1000mistakes blog in Australia had it as one of his top songs for 2019.) It’s off the TFS album Braindrops, released this past August. Okay. I love you guys. See ya!
The last summer that I saw you
At the BP with no cash
You were burnt out like an aspirin
And I was melting on your dash
And this was years ago when Richmond
Was way out on the astral plane
But it was fine ’cause I could see there was a light up in the tunnel
It’s okay, you know I remember how you used to say
When you finally go
You’re gonna find out who you’ll miss the most
Well, I guarantee you’ll find it is not me
It won’t be any of the usual suspects, but whatever, man
Soon enough you’re gonna find out who I mean
When you go, you get to finally meet the one who tortured you
The one who hurt you worse than anyone, even me
And I’m just sorry that I won’t be there to tell you that I told you so
But soon enough you’ll leave, and then you’ll see
You’re the old sneakers on the floor, the coat by the front door
The ashtray by the milk crate in the yard
And you’re the dead fern in the hall, all the blanks in my recall
The old Toyota van I sold for parts
You were the house that they tore down
It’s now a vacant block of land
The ache I try to shake when I drive by
And you’re the dog ear in the book
I didn’t even know you looked at
And then other times, you’re furthest from my mind
Then I got something in the post, and there it is, your legal ghost
And just goes to show, you know
You’re kinda hard to leave behind
I don’t wanna go out no more, just the thought makes me recoil
It’s like that feeling when unwanted guests
Come banging on your door
They’re either too smart or too dumb
Or they’re too weak or they’re too strong
You said I’d be okay without you, yeah, you’ve been here all along
You were the best time I remember, and I do ’cause life is dull
It’s like you’re half the fucking neurons in my skull
When you finally go, you’re gonna find the only thing you needed
Did exactly as it should and got you through
You did not need nobody’s help, just the idea of being helped
Though at the time it wouldn’t have felt like that was true
And when you go you’ll get to finally meet
The one who tortured you
The one that hurt you worse than everyone, even me
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon for me
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon to me
But you’ll be fine
‘Cause you could always see a light up in the tunnel
I got a feeling it’ll happen soon
Okay, my TV set is not that old, it is at least digital. But since I don’t watch TV anymore, I have not yet upgraded to a flat screen TV.
Well, I did upgrade many years ago, but I let Mikey Rivera have it when he left me for another woman that he was deeply in love with. (No sour grapes here, gang!) But he loved that TV set and I was , just — what the fuck; I’ve lost everything else, just take the darn TV, too.
Anyway. Wow. I digress. And so quickly!
What I meant to focus on is that for the first time in over a year and a half, I sat in my family room this afternoon and watched a movie on my TV set. Actually, I watched a video. I still have a cool VCR. And a DVD player, too, even though all I ever really do anymore is stream stuff online. Still. I have all this stuff.
I was driving into town to get the groceries and I was listening to “The Lyre of Orpheus” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (posted below). It is a really cool song. (I know, I always say that everything Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds do is great, so just to preserve my credibility, one day I’ll talk about something they did that was lousy. Off the top of my head, I can’t think what that would be — and it wouldn’t be Nocturama because I actually like that, too.) But it’s a really cool song, and it’s of course, quite different from any version of the myth of Orpheus that you probably recall from school, and it made me think of Cocteau’s amazing film from 1950, Orphée. But then I also recalled Cocteau’s final film, Letestamentd’Orphée, from 1960, which was a movie that had astounded me when I first saw it 25 years ago.
I have the film on video and I wondered how I would respond to it all these years later, so I actually got it out, sat in my family room and watched it. (You can see the whole film for free online, but I wanted to watch my own video of it; the one that somehow embodies all my memories.) Here’s my favorite still from the film:
Jean Cocteau wrote the film, starred in it and directed it. But a lot of really cool people make cameos in it, as well. Including Picasso.
This film reminded me of why I used to love the cinema and don’t really love it that much anymore. At least not in the same way. And I still love some of the wisdom in this film — one being that no matter what an artist tries to draw (or to create) he will always just draw himself.
And also that a time may come when your creations will stand in judgment of you. (Here’s one minute of his character of Orpheus coming back to life to judge him.) (The actor here, Jean Marais, was Cocteau’s lover and celebrated Muse until Cocteau’s death.)
But overall, 25 years later, I found so much in the film that was really delightful and amusing. Plus, it was kind of a reawakening for me, in that I gradually remembered that I had seen every film that Cocteau had made; that I’ve read all his novels, and read (but never seen) most of his plays. I’d forgotten this about me. I used to love Cocteau.
It made me realize (regarding Tell My Bones) that, with the encouragement of the director, I was able to really let my imagination free itself from time and space and create a true piece of theater, as opposed to a linear “play.”
And now I see that dwelling underneath all that was this kind of Cocteau stuff that I used to just devour. So it was sort of illuminating. I guess not an accident that I took this movie out today and watched it.
I’m super excited, also, to finally say here that Tell My Bones now has a costume designer, a lighting designer, and a scenic designer.
I’m just really happy, gang. Okay, I’m going to get back to work here. Hope your evening has been splendid.
Yes, Tuesday is laundry day around here! So that’s already underway.
And it’s also the day I have to drive into town and get groceries. All I have left around here are arugula and tomatoes. Healthy as I am, even I need a little more excitement than that. (Well, a lot more excitement than that, but we’re talking about food right now.)
Sometimes that part of living in the middle of nowhere gets a wee bit old — having to drive 25 miles & back to get the food. Because I spend maybe 20 minutes in the actual market. Then an hour driving. And then about 20 more minutes putting all the groceries away.
And I’ve already spent a chunk of the morning going over stuff with the director again for Tell My Bones and our Christmas promotion. And so I’m just now sitting down to blog at an hour when the blog is usually already posted.
So my day’s gone.
I’m going to spend what’s left of it (after the shopping trek) doing some more tweaking on Letter #5 from Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. And then, if I have the right headspace after that, I’m going to work some more on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town. I just woke up in that kind of a mood.
Working with Thug takes a lot out of me, though, and if I’m not in the right headspace then it’s just useless. Writing that kind of porn (meaning the kind people wish to actually read) is like neurosurgery with words. Even though 99.9% of the words are filthy dirty & disgusting, they still have to be incredibly precise and in the exact specific place in the sentence; and then each sentence has to be precisely right. And then you can’t have too many words or it ruins everything.
So it’s a lot of work. However, it’s a task I’m willing to undertake for the sake of mankind (and good porn).
William at the A1000Mistakes blog in Australia (my favorite blog for learning about cool music I’ve never heard of before!), commented here yesterday about the unfortunate situation on the Internet and artists getting ripped off, etc.
What’s happening to me now is just sort of getting out of control. It’s never been this bad — where so much of my stuff is illegally being offered for free or for sale, all over the world. I have enough of an enormous ego to feel flattered, you know — if you want it that bad, then, great. However, it truly erodes my income. But at the same time, these are really old stories and novels and novellas, and so it sort of just makes me feel like I have to focus my energy on the new work and let go of these things I can’t control.
The truth is that without the Internet I never could have gotten as popular as I did, as quickly as I did — all over the world. I loved the World Wide Web. I thought it was the most awesome thing back in the late 1990s. And back then, it went hand in hand with driving sales of actual books in bookstores.
And, because of the kinds of books I primarily wrote, Amazon was also a godsend to me. Most people did not want to go out to a public bookstore and openly buy the kind of books I wrote (because publishers usually put such horrifically tacky covers on them!!). So the privacy factor of Amazon really helped put me on the map, 20 years ago.
Still, as much as I personally love the ease of Amazon, they were also the beginning of the erosion of my earnings, way back when, because they were the ones who started to make it so fucking easy for people to buy cheap used copies of my stuff, that I got no royalties on whatsoever. Eventually, the Internet and eBooks helped put all of my publishers out of business (small presses, primarily). So this disruption of my career has been going on for quite a while now and, for the most part, I’m used to it.
This sudden onslaught of so much of it at once is a little hard to take, though. However.
I made the decision a long time ago that I was going to be a writer, no matter what. I’m used to the winds of fortune constantly changing. I would not recommend being a professional writer to anyone on the planet, though, unless you can stomach that.
A few years ago, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a national newspaper of the Philippines, interviewed me in the late Spring, as students were graduating school, and among the questions they asked me was what I would advise these students who might want to make a career out of writing literary erotica.
I was dumbfounded, you know? Why on Earth would they ever want to do that? You’ve got to be out of your fucking mind to, you know, willingly choose this if you had even the remotest option of doing something else. And if, for whatever reason, like me, you know you don’t really have an option: you either write what’s in your head, or you blow your head completely off. Well, if that’s the case, then nothing I say is going to persuade or deter you.
But anyway. I’m used to things being less than perfect. My main goal is to write something good enough that somebody somewhere likes it so much that they want to keep it. Because it only takes one copy of something to be buried away for safe keeping — like a scroll in a clay jug in a cave in the cliffs over Qumran — to help it be part of the physical world for a really, really long time.
That’s the goal, anyway, when I put a word on some sort of page. And the Internet and everything that comes along with it, is part of that; be it good or less than good.
Okay. Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files thingy today! It was all about:
Had I known he was actually going to eventually tell us what Ghosteen was about, I’m thinking I might not have spent all those hours pondering it while listening to it in my bed, or at my desk, or in my kitchen, or while I was doing yoga, or driving all over Muskingum County, or while I was taking a shower….
However, that’s all water under the bridge, as it were. What matters more is that I still look really young for my age so not too much time was lost there.
I’m just kidding, of course. Mostly. Anyway. You can read it here if you so choose! As always, he’s eloquent and thought-provoking. And the album is just breathtaking, however you interpret it (or try to).
FYI: “Spinning Song” is a song I really love. I have no clue what it’s about. It is not one of the songs that breaks my heart or anything; I just really like the imagery, even though I don’t understand it. At all. But it seems to be a little bit about Elvis. And “the Queen” whose hair was a stairway, makes me think of Priscilla — not just on their wedding day, but more specifically, in the official photo from when the baby was first born: Priscilla’s hair is not to be believed. I never could understand her hair in those days. As a young girl, her hair actually kind of frightened me. (But then it turned out, in the 1980s, that she just had regular hair like everyone else.) (And that she was also incredibly funny and cute.)
Okay. I’m gonna scoot. The day is practically over already!!! Have a perfect Tuesday, wherever you are in the world, and whatever it finds you doing. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.