Tag Archives: playwright

It’s Almost Always Entirely About ME!!

Oh my god. You know how sometimes you open your inbox and there’s an email in there waiting for you, and you open it and it  makes you just think: what the fuck?

For me, that was yesterday.

Wayne, my 2nd ex-husband, is in Nepal right now, just tramping around. And yesterday, he emailed me from a cafe there. I won’t tell you everything he wrote, but the main thing he said was that he was in a cafe in Nepal, listening to “Breaking Glass.”

He said he would explain when he got back to NYC.

I can’t wait.

“Breaking Glass” was not the first song I ever wrote, but it was the very first song I ever performed as a professional singer-songwriter in New York City. I was 21 years old. It was at Gerde’s Folk City. I performed other songs immediately after singing that one, but, technically, that was the first one I ever sang for an audience. (It was well received and it was the very best night of my life.)

Image result for gerde's folk city

Several months later, the song was recorded on vinyl for Fast Folk Co-op, which was run by the late Jack Hardy. Now all those records are in the Smithsonian and Smithsonian Folkways Records offers them for sale on the Smithsonian website.

I was on two of those records before I left the Co-Op and sought non-Suzanne Vega-pastures beyond the West Village, because she was making my life as a singer-songwriter there exceedingly difficult (also known as “a living hell”). (I won’t use the “B” (female dog) word in regards to her, but I will allow you to think it quietly amongst yourselves, and I will also allow you to wonder if I might not be harboring even nastier words, even allowing you to consider, for a moment, the enormous range of my vocabulary and the sheer volume of nasty words I have access to in my brain… and then the blog post will resume.)

How on earth Wayne came to be listening to “Breaking Glass” while in a cafe in Nepal is really an interesting question.  I’m guessing he downloaded it to his iPhone from the Smithsonian website, but I don’t know that for sure.

But then I wondered, how would he even know that song was available for sale online? My folksinging days were all part of my life from long before I even met Wayne. I was married to Foun Kee back in those days. And then I wondered if maybe Wayne had been on my Wikipedia page and found it there. (A page, I might add, that is not at all current and not entirely accurate. And even though I really honestly appreciate whoever it was who created that page,  I wish that whoever created that page would go in and update it. Anyway.)

Why on earth Wayne would want to look at my Wikipedia page, I don’t know. After all, he has the full & vibrant, unending gift of having known me in person — my indisputable insanity having overflowed within his very domicile — forever imprinted in his very being now. Why he would want to read about me (somewhat inaccurately) online is a complete mystery.

But then it made me wonder if he’d been to my blog. (This thing you’re reading here.) And then of course, I immediately hit the proverbial “rewind” and thought of all the stuff I’ve posted here publicly about both of my marriages, but certainly about that marriage specifically, and it just made me sort of cringe.

Oops. Um. Well, shoot. Sorry about that.

I don’t know. I am always operating under the majestic delusion that no one I know personally reads my blog.

I know that a stalwart few of you have been reading my blog for a really long time now. This specific blog has only been here on WordPress for a few years, but I’ve been blogging online since 1997, before it was called blogging. And my most popular blog was when Marilyn’s Room was housed at GoDaddy. Back then, I had thousands of readers every day, and a huge portion of those readers were colleagues from all over the world. Another huge portion of those were family members, both estranged and not-so-estranged.

It made me insane. Everyone reading over my shoulder like that. Everybody had an opinion about what I wrote and they would email me and let me know what it was (sometimes not very nicely, either). Eventually, I left GoDaddy, pulled down my web site, and started a very obscure blog here on WordPress.

And I loved it. The mental liberation. I had, like, maybe 2 readers. And because you really had to hunt diligently to find me, I figured those 2 readers actually just wanted to read my blog and not find constant fault with my thinking. Or at least not email me about what they thought my faults were.

Eventually, though, it became excruciatingly clear that blogging in obscurity kept your overall career really obscure. So I put the URL back and sort of became “public” again. I don’t have thousands of readers anymore, because I haven’t published anything new in a long time, but I do have hundreds of readers, every day, from all over the world and yet I still blog away as if no one I’m blogging about is ever gonna read the darn thing.

So that was sort of a rude awakening, and even though Wayne’s email yesterday was extremely friendly, and so it gave me hope that he hadn’t just been reading my blog or he probably would have said something more akin to things he said while we were married (i.e., “I really love you, Marilyn, but you know, sometimes I just want to push you down the fucking stairs”), it was still a sort of warning flag that I ought to maybe think things through a little more before, you know, plastering it to the blog.

Well, I promise to give it some very serious consideration and I will get back to you about that soon.

On another topic…

This morning, gang, was so beautiful. When I awoke, the sun was just barely coming up; it was clear and crisp and gorgeous outside my bedroom windows. As usual my mind was overflowing with the  Muse, and Eros was everywhere. However, it was only 58 degrees Fahrenheit. That is quite cool for August. A chill was in the air. I still had all  21 of  the windows in the house wide open, you know? So the cats were pretty darn frisky in that chill and I had to put on my flannel bathrobe when I got out of bed and went down to the kitchen.

But the chill was bittersweet. It made me realize that, yes, summer is indeed waning. Fall is just around the corner.  And even though fall means  Nick Cave in New York City (!!) (yay!!) (his Conversations resume in Finland on Monday!!), it also just plain means the summer will be over soon. I need to get a grip on life. Get it to slow down somehow.

Part of the insanity of spending the entire summer at my desk, trying to re-write Tell My Bones for the 17 hundredth time, is that I lost track of a lot of things — to an escalating degree. Not only did the State send me my new & delightfully updated, delinquent, School Tax bill, but also, on Thursday, it came to my attention that the trash collectors did not collect my trash. I wondered why that was, when they’d clearly collected everybody else’s trash.  Crap. Then I remembered that I hadn’t paid that fucking bill. So I had to run to my computer and pay that fucking bill. And then the gas bill came: Did you forget something last month? You’re a little behind here.

Ditto on the electric bill.

Then the local Cub Scout troop came by, to see if I had my non-perishable grocery contribution for the Food Bank… ME: “Is it time for that already? I thought I had until closer to the end of August?”

THEM: “This is closer to the end of August, ma’am.”

(Wow. Welcome to La-La land. I really need to finish the re-writes on this play.)

But I just don’t want August to leave me yet! Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall how much I love bluebirds and what they symbolize to me (actual happiness – the kind I didn’t have for most of my life but do indeed have now). Well, here is the calendar that’s been on my wall all month. How poetic!! How can I possibly let it go??!!

Yes!! Bluebirds!! Of happiness!! Just for me! I don’t want to turn the page…

Anyway. I gotta get started here, gang. Plays don’t re-write themselves.

I leave you with me, circa Summer 1982. I was an extremely shy folk singer back then. When they asked me to be on this record, I was over the moon. This is me & my guitar, and Mark Dann playing bass — he also engineered it. Jack Hardy produced it.

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

“Breaking Glass”

I was doomed to live in New York City
On a block where accidental babies
Went out with the trash;
We shared a two-room apartment,
Tiny and cold
To the tune of a love, by winter,
Growing old
And the sound of an angry young woman
Breaking glass.

I recall our lives were never empty
There were tears enough for the third who entered
And beckoned your past;
The hours you kept were deceitful
And it had to show
The passion of time she burned
I couldn’t control;
I was trapped in my raging fury
And breaking glass.

CHORUS
There’s no telling how the coming of love
Will find us
There’s no guessing in what way
It’s gonna set us free
There’s no doubting that the anger of love
Can break us
When our actions don’t even come close
To the people we wanna be most
And our dreams don’t work out as the glories
They’d promised to be.

Without excuses I left the table
Well, I ran like hell while I was still able
I started anew;
I’ve lost some weight and I’m strong
And happy now
I got over the fiery anger, though
I don’t know how;

The songs we knew, they don’t drive me crazy
Well, I stopped the drinking and being lazy
It’s over at last;
The painful sheer rejection has
All gone past;
The tunes of deceit and loneliness
Fading fast;
Gone are the days of anger
And breaking glass.

CHORUS
There’s no telling how the coming of love
Will find us
There’s no guessing in what way
It’s gonna set us free
There’s no doubting that the anger of love
Can break us
When our actions don’t even come close
To the people we wanna be most
And our dreams don’t work out as the glories
They’d promised to be.

c- 1981 Marilyn Jaye Lewis
First of May Songs, BMI

I Cannot Imagine Why She Would Do That!!

Wow, so judging from my Instagram feed,  it seems like everyone I know (and then some) went to see the Stones in LA last night.

As much as I adored the Stones for, like, 50 years, I cannot imagine wanting to go see them anymore.  And, actually, the times when I did see them, I didn’t actually enjoy them live. I thought their records were better. But technology being what it is now, it could be that they’re lots better live now than they used to be.

(Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, though, were always an incredibly great live band, even way back in the beginning — with electricity but before technology!)

I still love Keith, of course, and Ronnie and Charlie, but Mick just gets on my nerves now. I used to find him entertaining and funny, but now he just sort of creeps me out. Not just the enormous amount of energy he seems to put into not aging, but that whole thing with his girlfriend a few years ago, when she hanged herself around her 50th birthday, after a photo of him in a bathrobe on a hotel balcony in Paris with a 27-year-old ballerina appeared in every single tabloid known to man…

Can you imagine, if he put as much thought into what to give people on their 50th birthdays as he puts into trying to figure out how to not age…?

Anyway. I don’t think anyone, anywhere, ever really owes the world an explanation for anything they’ve done, unless they want to give it. There’s a built-in retribution to everything — a balance that occurs — for everything that happens in the world, whether or not we ever personally see it. But people only owe themselves explanations, and if they feel kind, generous, loving, what have you, maybe they  choose to give explanations to their loved ones, in private.

So it isn’t that I think Mick owed any of us an explanation for his choices re: who he wants to sleep with, but when he actually said in an official public statement that he couldn’t understand why his girlfriend would want to hang herself…

I don’t know. I think a 9-year-old could have seen the picture from Paris and understood what might have been behind that 50-year-old woman’s despair.

Even though he could have gone to his grave offering no explanation at all & I wouldn’t have personally minded, I would have liked him better had he offered something that looked sort of similar to the truth. You know, something like: I’m in my 70s now and I just need to be with women who are younger than most of my children. Otherwise, I feel old. If people can’t handle it, well, that’s their problem.

Something like that.

I personally, had a great time on my 50th birthday. I was with somebody I’d known forever, who always knew how to make me laugh, and we were doing incredibly fun, you know,  “stuff” together in the family room of all places (and then his grown son suddenly called long distance in the middle of it, with some sort of urgent need to catch up & say hello, which was so incredibly awkward for my friend but made us laugh really hard once he got off the phone).

Anyway. I didn’t mind turning 50 at all. I don’t mind aging. Plus, for me, menopause came so early that I was long over it by the time I turned 50, so I didn’t have that looming, or anything — menopause, alone, can sometimes be really hard on women’s self-esteem and the severe hormonal fluctuations can sometimes cause women to feel (imagine this) suicidal. (I don’t think rock stars are taught that in school, though, so I don’t think his possible ignorance of that fact was his fault.)

Also, my dear friend Peitor in Los Angeles was producing a record for Charo at the time of my 50th birthday (a record which turned out to be a huge comeback hit for her on the Dance charts), and he had her call me at home to sing me “Happy Birthday.” If you don’t know who Charo is, rest assured, it is quite an experience to pick up your phone and have Charo on the other end of it, singing to you.

Image result for charo
Charo & Elvis, who, sadly, did not live long enough to have Charo sing to him over the phone on his 50th birthday.

But if people still want to go see the Stones, that’s totally cool. And judging from all the Instagram comments, the show was spectacular. Everybody had a ball.

Dana Petty was at the show, too; she posted to Instagram from the parking lot. And the other day, her dog had a birthday — it turned 11. So she posted a photo of the dog when it was just a little puppy. Honestly, that’s the main reason I love Instagram. Where else would I get to see a photo of Tom Petty’s dog when it was a little puppy? He was so private when he was alive; he rarely let photos of his home life be available to anyone. Now that he’s dead, his various family members post amazingly lovely photos.

In fact, here’s one, of Tom and the same dog, grown; a photo I don’t think we ever would have seen on Instagram if Tom were still alive. (I guess that’s one reason that I’m glad he’s dead — I get to see all these wonderful candid photos of him that make me wish he were still alive.)

All righty!! I’m gonna get more coffee here and get to work on the endless play… Although I hope it won’t feel endless when it’s finally on the stage.

Thanks for visiting. Have a terrific Friday, wherever you are in the world!! Here’s what I was listening to this morning at breakfast, as the stupid school bus went by at 6am!! I refuse to believe the damn summer is OVER!!! I love you guys. See ya!

What A Difference 20 Million Hours of Sleep Makes!

Or, in my case, 8 !!

Yes, I actually slept 8 hours and I never do that. I feel like a functioning human being again.

Let me explain something about Eros, gang. Loyal readers of this lofty blog are no doubt aware that I essentially went kicking & screaming into my career.  By age 12, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I was thinking I was going to be a songwriter, but I was already writing short stories. Really strange short stories.

Luckily, it was the 1970s (yes! the 1970s were actually good for some things!), and I had really amazing teachers at school. They were open-minded and excited about change and about passing that on to us, the students.  So I got “A”s on stories that would have probably gotten me expelled in other political eras (which came both before and after the 1970s.)

I wasn’t trying to upset people, or anything. And I didn’t know that I was writing anything that might upset anyone. I was just writing the stories that were in my head. And the stories weren’t always school assignments; I would just write stories.

One afternoon, when I was 13, but we were already living in that awful apartment complex that I’ve written about recently, I was home alone, sitting at the kitchen table, writing a story about two grown men who were lovers. Not exactly a topic I knew anything about, but for some reason, the story was coming out of me. I remember this so vividly. I was writing about how one of the characters knew his own body so well, knew what he liked to feel sexually, that it made it effortless for him to make love to another man’s body.

I was writing that when my mom came home and walked into the kitchen. She said, “What are you writing?” ME: “A story about two men who are in love with each other.”

She stared at me, really strangely, and said, “What do you mean, ‘in love’?” And I said that they make love to each other.

She actually sat right down at the kitchen table and said, “Can I read that?” I was very excited because she was actually taking an interest in me and not just exploding at me in her usual awful, horrible way.

So I let her read the story thus far, and at that point, it ended at the aforementioned spot. After she read it, she just sort of stared at it and then she looked at me. And she said, “I never really thought about it like this. I think maybe you could be right. What made you think of this?”

ME: “I don’t know. I’m just writing what’s in my head.” And she was so incredibly nice about it — I can’t stress enough how unusual that was for her. However, she said, “Honey, I wouldn’t show this story to anybody. You might upset people.”

Culturally, of course, we’re talking only 4 years after the Stonewall Riots and gays were barely tolerated, not that I knew anything about that yet. But my mom saying that to me was the first time I learned that things I wrote could maybe upset people.

When I was 14, a story I wrote for English class was about a transvestite fashion model who lived in NYC (I was always writing about only the things I knew first hand!) and how it was a secret — everyone thought the model was a woman, including the readers of my story, until the scene where the model gets out of her shower and sees her actual body in the mirror — the body of a man — and how it devastates her to have this body and so she takes sleeping pills in order to get through the night.

I got an “A++++” on that story. No one ever even talked about transvestites back then, least of all in the Middle-of-Nowhere Ohio. There wasn’t even Cable TV yet, no MTV, no nothing. And it’s not like I had some fresh-from-college, starry-eyed English teacher. She was a black woman in her mid-60s, close to retiring. When she handed me back my paper, she just looked at me and said, “What on Earth made you think of this?”

I honestly didn’t know, but I do think that it’s extremely interesting that during that same time-period, Sandra (the transgender actress I now write plays for in NYC), was, in real life, becoming a successful fashion model in Montreal and no one knew that she was actually a man. Everyone assumed she was a physical woman. Until she got arrested & deported for an expired work visa — then a handful of people found out and Sandra was devastated. It wasn’t too long after that, that she got her surgery. Still, it’s ironic, isn’t it? I didn’t meet her until years later.

Anyway, I’m digressing. But by my late teens, my short stories were getting blatantly erotic and I didn’t know what to do about it. I could not stop it from happening. The only way to stop it was to simply not write them. I was taking a short story writing class that I had to drop out of because the stories my brain insisted on writing were really embarrassing to me.

It took me a long time to come to terms with my stories. It really did. For a long time, I would write the stories, because I physically had to write them; they needed to come out of me. It would make me crazy to try to block them. The words would literally come into my head and just hang around in there until I put them down on paper. So I would write them to ease the pressure, but then tear them up and throw them away. It wasn’t until my friend Valerie began to seriously encourage me, that I began not tearing up the stories and, instead, sending them out for possible publication.  (This was in the late 1980s and there were so many avenues for publication back then. It was an amazing era for literary erotica in the US and the UK.)

It wasn’t until 1994, though, when my best friend Paul began dying from AIDS (it took him about 5 years to die), he told me that I really needed to follow my heart — in every area of my life. (For one thing, he didn’t think I should have married Wayne. He thought Wayne was too conventional for me. It took me forever to see that Paul was right.) But Paul encouraged me to really make a commitment to my fiction writing. And so I did. I gave up the songwriting and focused exclusively on my fiction, even though it terrified me to do that because I knew that it was, for the most part, socially unacceptable to do that — to put all of my focus into writing what other people called porn.

But five years later, when Paul was suffering from severe dementia and could no longer talk, could barely communicate, I flew in from NYC to visit him at the nursing home and I was able to tell him that Neptune & Surf had been published (it had taken me 4 years to write it) — and, for the type of book it was, it was really greeted with high acclaim. And by then, I already knew that a French translation of it would be coming out in Paris the following year.

He really was my dearest, dearest friend; he stood by me in everything. And even though he was so far gone at that point, he had tears in his eyes when I was telling him all this about Neptune & Surf. I knew he understood what I had said. I was pushing him in his wheelchair out in the back garden, so that he could smoke a cigarette (he never forgot how to smoke, even though his muscles would often forget how to swallow and he was always in danger of choking to death whenever he ate or drank anything.) Anyway. He was so happy for me and I knew it and he died a couple months later.

So, you know, by now I have become completely accepting of the fact that for whatever reason, Eros chose me as one of its vehicles for getting itself into the world. And even though I write other stuff, too, I still work really hard at trying to be the best vehicle for Eros that I can be, in terms of the English language. I find so much of what gets into the world today to be really boring, crude, and unimaginative. I know it’s about money now, about making a huge profit, and that for serious erotic art (writing, painting, film) to make its way into the public consciousness today, it requires Herculean determination on the parts of whoever’s creating it.

So, I’m sort of used to living in a world where Eros is inside me and not outside of me anymore. So when it does come at me from somewhere outside of me and hits me between the eyes — wow. For me, it’s like getting hit head-on by the most wonderfully devastating car. It felt immobilizing, in the best possible way. For about 24 hours, I could not think straight.

But I guess I finally slept it off. Or something. I expect to have better luck with the play today.

I do want to mention, not to leave you on a down note, but these fires going on in the Amazon forests. Oh my god. It is just devastating to see. The poor animals, as well as everything and everyone else. It rips my heart to pieces. I don’t know what to do besides pray. I always want to rescue every singe animal from peril, and of course that is impossible.

Okay. Oh, and I want to say that my dear friend Kara, whom I’ve really only known for a very short while, told me yesterday out of the blue that she’d read Neptune & Surf and that it was wonderful. Gosh, that made me feel so happy. No one I personally know has any reason to buy the book anymore, it’s been out for 20 years now. It just made me so happy to hear that. That book was my first baby; it learned how to walk and how to go out into the world.

So, on that note, I’m gonna close and, as usual, get to work!! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with the wonderful song that was going through my head when I woke-up this morning and was so in love with my Muse!! Enjoy it. I love you guys. See ya.

“Good Vibrations”

I-I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations)

Close my eyes, she’s somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She goes with me to a blossom world

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I’m pickin’ up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations)

(Ahh)
(Ah, my my, what elation)
I don’t know where but she sends me there
(Oh, my my, what a sensation)
(Oh, my my, what elation)
(Oh, my my, what)

Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’

(Ahh)

Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)
(I’m pickin’ up good vibrations) (Oom bop bop)
She’s giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations

Na na na na na, na na na
Na na na na na, na na na (Bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)
Do do do do do, do do do (Bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)
Do do do do do, do do do (Bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)

c – 1967 Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Tony Asher

I Am Just Fried, Gang

My brain is really just wandering in the morass of this play. I am lost, gang, you know? Not sure even what I’m trying to say in this segment anymore.

I’m leading up to a critical point — where Helen’s grandson is crushed by a train.  It is the worst moment of her life and she never really recovers from the loss. But we, as the audience, “re-live” the accident while Helen is still in the dream of being inside her painting, because that is where all her loved ones “come to life” while being in the sweet hereafter…

But I myself am just lost right now, trying to find my way through it.

I miss those days when I was still writing Blessed By Light. I really, really miss that novel. It felt like my dear and constant companion, you know?

Plus, I’m 2 weeks behind in writing new segments for In the Shadow of Narcissa. But I’m going to be in NYC in one month, and the initial rehearsals are supposed to start for this play that I have not finished revising. So I really can’t even think of doing anything else right now. And I am thoroughly exhausted.

And I still can’t decide if I’m going to drive to New York or take a plane.  And I really ought to make that decision soon.  I kind of hate being locked into a flight; if I drive, I have lots more control over when I come and go. But I think: if I’m this exhausted now, what will I be like in a few weeks? It’s a ten-hour drive each way.

I just don’t know. I wish someone would make all my decisions for me from now on and just say: “Here, this is what you’re gonna do.” I won’t have to think every gosh darn day, you know? From sun up to sun down.

Oh wait. I think they call that prison… Or high school.

But on  another note.

You know what I discovered? The school tax is unbelievably high out here in Muskingum County. Back, many months ago, when I was doing my taxes, I thought my math was way off — no way could anybody’s school taxes be that high. So I decided not to pay it because I knew that the State would eventually get back to me with the bill and tell me the real amount.

Yeah, well. They did. And now it’s even higher because they tacked on late fees and interest. Boggles my mind. I’ve never lived anywhere where the school taxes were so high. For the amount I have to pay now for school taxes, I could have re-booked that suite at the Algonquin Hotel.

Doesn’t really seem fair, does it? I mean, I don’t have kids. No one I even remotely know is going to school around here. And yet every writer I’ve ever worshiped has stayed at the Algonquin Hotel.

Grumble, grumble. Wouldn’t want the children of Crazeysburg to be under-educated, would I?

Well, gang, I’m not even going to try to get back to work here tonight. I am going to collapse on my bed and stare at my maple tree as night falls outside my window and hope that something Muse-worthy comes to me before daybreak tomorrow because the days are really just zipping by.

I cannot adequately tell you how stressed I am.

Hope you all had a good day out there; wherever you were and whatever you did! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys! (Oh, I leave you with this — just because I thought it was so funny! I was googling images of “bad cats” — you know, mean cats — and I got “naughty pussies” instead!!) (I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how delighted that made me.)

Okay. See ya.

Renewed Focus on Tiny Miracles

I’m gonna say first that, last evening, I was driving back from town. It was already dark out. I was blasting Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” from the car’s CD player and I was loving every fucking moment of my life.

There are train tracks all over Muskingum County — the Ohio Central System train is the one that screams by my house, sometimes several times a day/night, and has done so, apparently, for well over 150 years. (The train tracks were laid right through this town before the Civil War, which began in 1860.)

While I was listening to “Folsom Prison Blues” (and thinking, what a weird song for an 11-year-old girl to be so in love with), I was also thinking, Wouldn’t it be so cool if the train was just suddenly somewhere around here, rushing past while I’m listening to this specific song?

For some reason, I never see trains when I’m driving around here — least of all, at night. I see tons of them from my house, or my kitchen porch. In fact, here are some:

The train getting ready to arrive, seen from my bedroom window at night. I then turned it into the cover for Girl In the Night : Erotic Love Letters to the Muse
The train as seen from my kitchen porch one afternoon last summer
The train rushing past one evening back in July, as seen from my upstairs hall window. I loved that these 2 young teenage girls were watching the train go past at the height of a summer evening because I know for a fact that they’re gonna be as old as me in the wink of a fucking eye

Anyway, I love the train but I am never in my car when it is ever around, anywhere in the entire county. And I was wishing, wouldn’t it be nice if just this once…

So last night, I was getting ready to make a right turn onto Basin Street. The CD was really blasting, gang. I mean, I play my music really loud. And even with Johnny Cash shouting at me, and a bunch of jangley guitars, I thought to myself, What the hell is that noise?

And then I turned and then I saw it!! The train was in the process of barreling past my house, a block away, and I was gonna have to wait there in the dark at the railroad crossing for it to finish passing, while listening to “Folsom Prison Blues” — one of the best train songs, ever!!

I was so excited! Another wish, granted here in Muskingum County!

I was in the happiest, most amazing mood yesterday. I woke up just deliriously happy yesterday morning.  And that train thing just capped off the whole evening.

But for some inexplicable reason, I woke up this morning, just filled with anxiety and battling depression. Why does that happen, you know? I went to sleep around midnight. I woke at 5:30am. Not a lot of time to do anything weird or different, right? And I woke up and suddenly my whole life seemed unmanageable and out of my control.

I’m guessing it’s exhaustion, gang.

Plus, I’m feeling guilty because I still haven’t talked to Sandra yet, in detail, about all these changes I’m making to the play. I know the play is really good, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to appreciate all these changes I’ve made while she was busy doing some TV show in Canada. Plus it was starting to bother me that I’m going to be spending all that money on a  suite at the Algonquin Hotel for one night in September (after I see Nick Cave at Town Hall), when I don’t know yet when I have to fly to Toronto, how long I’ll have to stay in Toronto, or where I’m even staying when I go there. I’m only going to be in that suite for a few hours, by myself — and I’m only doing it because I want to feel liberated from the entirety of my second marriage, in a spiritual sense, which has already been over for years. If Toronto weren’t looming, the cost of the suite wouldn’t bother me so much, but I finally called the Algonquin this morning and switched the reservation to a regular room there, instead.

(And it was only a couple hundred dollars difference! So I might actually call back and re-book the suite. I just don’t know.)

Anyway. I’m also freaking out a little bit because the version of the play I’m writing necessitates a much larger budget than we were initially planning on (part of why I’m worried about talking to Sandra). And even though the director keeps telling me, stop thinking about the budget, just write the best play you can. For some weird reason, this morning I woke-up thinking about nothing but that stupid budget, and it was really getting to me.

I hate trying to grapple with doubt. I really, really just hate that. Why can’t I just be on my own side all the time, you know?

I still do my meditation first thing after breakfast every day, and then do that journaling thing with my Inner Being — which told me that these were all paper tigers, and that there was nothing to fear; to just get back on the mental frequency that would disperse them.

It wasn’t easy, but I did manage to do that, even though it still kept me from getting any writing done, which started to stress me out all over again. I have only a handful of days left to finish this play and still stay on schedule.

I just want to not be exhausted, you know? I need a fucking vacation. I want to go to that cabin in the caves with Kara and sit in that hot tub under the stars!! But I can’t see that happening for awhile yet because I’m working the whole damn summer away. And all the kids around here have already gone back to fucking school!!!! What the fuck!! Where the heck is the summer going??!!

It’s freaking me out, gang…

So it wound up being a weird day for me today, after my being in such a fantastic mood last night.

I’m much better now, though. I went out driving around, listening to Push the Sky Away by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and even while that’s not what you might call an “upbeat, happy album,” for some reason, it made me feel a lot better. It’s a really beautiful album, even though it’s very abstract and sort of violent in places.

My favorite song on the album is “Water’s Edge” — not the happiest song you’ve ever heard, but for some reason, I just love that song. I guess because it makes me think. The whole album makes me think, really, because it’s so visual and yet I don’t 100% understand all the pictures it’s putting into my head.

Which I guess was a good way to get me to stop thinking about stuff that was worrying me.

That said, it’s a really lovely evening here tonight, even though all the kids have gone back to school. It still feels like summer to me. So I’m gonna try to make the most of it, while it lasts. Tomorrow’s another day. I’m guessing the writing will go better tomorrow because it has to.

Okay. Hope Monday was okay for you, wherever you were and whatever you did! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

“Water’s Edge”

They take apart their bodies like toys for the local boys
Because they’re always there at the edge of the water
They come from the capital these city girls
Go way down where the stones meet the sea
And all you young girls, where do you hide?
Down by the water and the restless tide
And the local boys hide on the mound and watch
Reaching for the speech and the word to be heard
And the boys grow hard, hard to be heard
Hard to be heard as they reach for the speech
And search for the word on the water’s edge
But you grow old and you grow cold
Yeah you grow old and you grow cold
And they would come in their hoards these city girls
With white strings flowing from their ears
As the local boys behind the mound think long and hard
About the girls from the capital
Who dance at the water’s edge
Shaking their asses
And all you young lovers
Where do you hide?
Down by the water and the restless tide

With a bible of tricks they do with their legs
The girls reach for the speech and the speech to be heard
To be hard the local boys teem down the mound
And seize the girls from the capital
Who shriek at the edge of the water
Shriek to speak and reach for the speech
Yeah reach for the speech and be heard
But you grow old and you grow cold
Yeah you grow old and you grow cold
You grow old

Their legs wide to the world like bibles open
To be speared and taking their bodies apart like toys
They dismantle themselves by the waters edge
And reach for the speech and the wide wide world
And, God knows, the local boys

It’s the will of love
It’s the thrill of love
Ah but the chill of love
Is comin’ on

It’s the will of love
It’s the thrill of love
Ah but the chill of love
Is comin’ on

It’s the will of love
It’s the thrill of love
Ah but the chill of love
Is comin’ down, people

c – 2013  Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thomas Wydler

Man. Time is Really Just Killin’ Me, Gang!!!

I don’t know if it’s like this all over the world, but in the Eastern region of America, the full moon in August is always pretty spectacular. It’s just huge and sort of rose-tinted.

Last evening, the full moon here in Muskingum County was also surrounded by puffs of clouds, so it was really incredible to look at.  And here in my own backyard, my neighbors (the drummer) have enormous old pine trees and for awhile, the full moon was shining through the tops of the pines down into my huge kitchen window.

It really was just so pretty. But bittersweet, too, since mid-August means that the summer is sort of galloping to a close.

I have spent the entire summer at my desk. I didn’t even get to the movies to see “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” which I really wanted to see. But the movie theater is 45 minutes away from me. So that’s an hour and a half of driving, plus a 2-hour movie… I just never managed to make time.

The director texted me yesterday that he’s extended his stay here in the Hinterlands of Ohio until the end of August so that he can be here to  meet with me pretty constantly until I get this play finished.  So I really, really, really gotta get this play finished. (Not that I was doing anything else other than that at all.)

And I still haven’t told Sandra about the extent of these revisions. I’ve only told her that I’m bringing back some of the earlier elements and that this time it’s working out really well.  Which is such an indescribable understatement of what is really happening, that now I don’t even know how to explain it to her. Plus, I have no idea when we’re supposed to go to Toronto regarding the other play; all I know is that the meeting will yield an enormous amount of rewrites for the other play.

I just want to be ready. So I’m just sort of in this weird world of constantly working so that I can be “ready.” Whatever the heck that really means.

Yesterday, I passed by my couch in the family room on my way to the stairs — I have an extremely comfortable couch in the family room. The kind you could easily sleep on all night and not wake up feeling like you’d slept on a couch all night. I passed by this same couch yesterday afternoon and realized that I had not so much as sat down on it in probably a year. So I sat down on it for about 60 seconds and remembered fondly all the many fantastic British crime dramas I used to watch while hanging out on the comfy couch! Not working! Sometimes even snacking! Sometimes even ordering in a pizza!!!!

That seems like somebody else’s life!

And also yesterday, I wanted some apple cider vinegar because my sinuses were bothering me because of allergies, and the cupboard that it was in was stuck shut because of the humidity. I hadn’t opened that particular cupboard in ages. I really had to yank it to get it to open. And once I did, it really was like the cupboard from yesteryear! In that one cupboard, at least, time had stopped!

All those herbs and spices and grains and different types of oils and vinegars and organic this and organic that. I was spellbound, just staring at it all. My god. I used to cook!!! All the time!!!

Now, all I do is work and I barely eat and the months disappear.

And I so much want to go with Kara to that cabin in the caves with the hot tub, but I can’t see it happening until the summer is basically over. That’s so disappointing.

But we will eventually get there.

It just is what it is for now.  I’m really just so thrilled with how the play is finally going that all I really want to do is just let it come out.

Still, it’s scary how time is flying. And I know that my whole body is intensely stressed, even though I’m doing my yoga 4-5 times a week. I never relax anymore unless I’m collapsing into bed. The thought of collapsing on the couch instead, with a pizza (??!!) and bingeing on episodes of DCI Somebody or Other??!! My god how fun!!

Well, someday.

Meanwhile.  Yes. I have to get to work on the play here. I would leave you with what I was listening to but you can’t actually get it on YouTube, so I’ll just say I was playing a lot of phenomenal Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers live bootleg stuff from the early 1980s, really, really loud. It was fun, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.  (And, btw, the new Tropical Fuck Storm CD, Braindrops, will be released next week. I am really eager to hear that. What I’ve heard from it so far, I have really just loved. Especially that song, “Paradise.”)

All right, well. Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope you have a really fun Friday! Go take a vacation for me or something, okay?? Okay! I love you guys! See ya.

Enjoy that full moon, all you owls & pussycats!

The Thrill of All This Fucked-Up-Ness!!

I don’t know, but when I need to feel sort of “at peace” with where I am in life, vintage illustrations really do it for me. They calm me down. I like to ponder them.

They instantly propel me into thoughts of: Wow, remember when life in America was like this? So much simpler…everyone was happy

I know. Life was never like this. I mean, look at the size of that trailer, for one thing. The only way that many Americans, from 3 generations no less, would be happy living in a trailer that size would be if all of them were on prescription medication, 24/7.

But it’s fun to dream, right?

I mean, I’m really happy with my house — I love my house. It’s the first real home, emotionally, that I’ve ever had. And I love this town. I love being in the middle of peaceful nowhere.

However, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you can readily see that a really long line of fucked-up-ness is trailing after me. And through relentless trial & error (i.e., living my life), it became apparent that things go better for me when I’m left alone.

And, of course, being left alone is often really lonely. But at the same time, when I’m hanging out alone not attempting suicide, I get a lot more done.

But, man. What a lot of fucked-up adults in that apartment complex, right? And nobody leaving me alone for a minute. The only people leaving me alone were my parents. They had no clue what was happening to me in that apartment complex. My mom would put in appearances in order to be really abusive and frightening, but otherwise, she was off in the world, finding herself. Like every other divorced woman of that era, it seems. And by then, my dad didn’t  live in the same town as us anymore.

But I don’t think he would have given a shit anyway. Nothing really registered with him when it came to me. His whole life was consumed with hating my mother. That’s all he could see back then.

He would come to town once a month to take me out, and in order to piss off my mother, he would take me to these really violent, inappropriate movies for a young girl to see. Things like Walking Tall and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. It wasn’t just that these movies were extremely violent, they had violence against women in them that was horrifying to me. I was traumatized by those movies because I absolutely did not know how to process that type of violence against women. It was all new to me and just terrifying. I would come home from those movies, and just hide in my room for hours.

But all my dad cared about was how pissed off my mom would be when she’d find out which movie he’d taken me to this time. And when the sexual assaults started to actually happen to me (in that same horrible apartment complex) my dad was the last person it would have occurred to me to go to for help. I didn’t go to anybody, actually.  I couldn’t figure out who on Earth would care.

After Greg died and the actual rapes began happening — I was just a dead girl walking, really.

Yesterday, after I posted about the sleeping pill problem and the mental hospital, I remembered how, once I was finally released several months later, I went back to my room at home and everything in there was exactly as I had left it when they’d scurried me away. Nothing had been touched. Flushing all those pills down the toilet was completely unnecessary (although it was a good thing that I’d done it, because I didn’t have them waiting for me when I got out).

But yesterday, that just seemed so sad to me. If it had been my kid — or anyone at all that I loved or cared about — I would have gone through every single thing in that room; trying to figure out who that person really was, what had gone so wrong that she would try to kill herself.

I had journals in there, too. Things were written down. Nobody bothered to look. For my mother, it was like: close the door; she’s someone else’s problem now.

The thing that would just enrage me, even at that young age, was that I had been taken away from my “real” mother only to be put into all of that. Even though, at that time, I didn’t know my mother had only been 13 when I was born, what I was told was that she “loved me but wasn’t able to take care of me” so she had to give me up.

I guarantee you, all I heard in that explanation was that my real mother loved me…

(And many years later, when I finally found her, it was the very first thing that I discovered that was absolutely true: She loved me more than life itself, really.)

Well.

Yesterday also yielded some really cool new pages in the play. It took several hours for them to finally come out of me. It was one of those days where I would sit at the desk, agonize, clutch my hair a bit. Get up, walk around the room. Sit back down at the desk.

I fumbled with that unlit Pall Mall I always have at my desk now. And I kept looking at it, wondering: if I lit it and smoked it, would the words finally come? (I didn’t light it. I never do.)

And then, all of the sudden, around 3pm, it all began tumbling out. Some of it, I’d had no clue I was getting ready to write! Some of it was disturbing, yet I still knew it was good. And I wondered, where the heck did that come from?

The process of writing can just be so strange. You wait for it and wait for it, and when it comes out, you look at it and go: wow, who the heck are you?

The main segment I wrote yesterday (something I knew I was going to write, it just took me forever to find my way into it) involves Helen going back 10 years or so in her mind and spending time with her adult grandson before he dies, and then she goes back another 25 years and goes fishing with that same grandson as a little boy but her adult grandson, now dead, comes back as a ghost and is fishing with them and they’re all having a great time fishing at the river even though Helen and the young grandson can’t see the ghost, and then the entire cast of characters — because we’re still in Helen’s dream, where she’s alive inside one of her own paintings and all the people she loves who have died are alive again in the painting  — all those characters sing a really jubilant & rambunctious version of the old slave spiritual, “Down By the Riverside.”

Are you following that? Do you see why maybe a lit cigarette could help?

But I got through it!! And I was really happy with the results. (And the director texted this morning that he “loved, loved, loved it.”)

So! Onward, right, gang??

All right.

Another bright spot I want to mention before I close this today. For 2 mornings in a row, 2 of my rescued feral cats — Huckleberry and Doris — have let me (very briefly) pet them!

This is the first time I’ve been able to touch them since Daddycakes died. It made me really happy.

Okay. I’ll leave you with this. For some reason, I just love listening to all these little kids singing the old slave songs. I like it much better than the adult choirs, because the adults just get complicated and fussy. All right. I love you guys. Thanks for visiting. See ya!