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!!
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.
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.)
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??
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!
After my little trip down memory lane to Arkansas, in yesterday’s post, I spent a lot of time thinking about Johnny Cash.
He was a huge part of my wee bonny girlhood, on up through my entire adult life. I loved Johnny Cash.
In Cleveland, in the era that I grew up in, radio stations would play all kinds of music. You didn’t tune to one specific station to hear a certain type of music you liked. Each station played everything, although Cleveland was a huge rock & roll city, so there was a lot of that on the radio. But they also played Country — the old style, or what I would call actual Country music: Country & Western.
So in my childhood, I was exposed to a lot of Country music. On the radio on the school bus, for instance, The Doors singing “Light My Fire,” would be followed by Merle Haggard singing “I’m Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee.”
And Johnny Cash was just huge; he was so popular. “A Boy Named Sue” — we were all just little kids, and we’d all sing along to that on the school bus! Really gleefully, we’d all shout out: “My name is SUE!! How do you do!!”
I adored that song he sang with June, “Jackson.” Still love that song. And for a while he had that variety show on TV that I just loved.
By the time I was 11, we moved to Columbus –a town I have never, ever been fond of, but I did like that in Columbus there was even more Country & Western on the radio than there’d been up in Cleveland.
Literally, Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” would be followed up with Jeanne Pruett singing “Satin Sheets.” (I totally loved that song! Here it is, in fact! This song was probably the main reason why I grew up believing that rich men were never gonna be good in bed. ) (I won’t say whether or not that ended up being true… you decide.)
But after we moved to Columbus, I got to do that truly awesome thing that happened every August: Attend the Ohio State Fair!!
Back then, the fair was a really big deal. It took place during the last couple weeks of summer, so it meant that all your summer dreams & summer loves were coming to an end. And the midway was lit up at night with all those amusement rides and there was all that food that was so bad for you. And everything just felt electrifying because you knew the summer was as a good as over and pretty soon you’d be back in school (which I hated — I absolutely hated school. I just wanted to sit in my room and play records or play my guitar).
The other thing the Ohio State Fair was known for, though, was its live entertainment. And the very first time I got to go to the fair, the summer when I was 11, guess who was playing there that night? Johnny Cash!
Oh my god, I wanted to see him so badly. But it was already late, the sun had gone down. My dad just wanted to go home.
There was a huge cement wall, the back-end of where all the seats were for the audience to sit in, and it blocked the actual stage from the midway, but you could hear perfectly. I remember standing outside that huge wall, the lights of the midway all lit up all around me, the sky beyond us black, and then the audience just roared, you know? Just roared. Their excitement was not to be believed. And then the jangly country guitar kicked in and I actually heard him shout, “Hello! I’m Johnny Cash!” and the audience went crazy.
And I couldn’t fucking see anything and I wanted so badly to go inside! My dad was dragging me by my arm, “Marilyn, come on, we’re going to the car!” I had tears in my eyes; I was begging him — and I was not a kid who ever begged for anything, ever. But I was begging my dad, “Please! I want to see Johnny Cash!”
“You’re not going to see Johnny Cash!” (I was too young to know then that Johnny Cash audiences consisted more of hard-drinking, chain-smoking, shit-kicking rowdy adults, and not shy 11-year-old girls.)
I really was devastated.
By then, at age 11, my favorite Johnny Cash song was “Folsom Prison Blues” recorded live at Folsom Prison. I had the single and I played it all the time and knew every word and every single guitar note on that record and every single place where the audience would cheer and holler.
(I knew he was singing in a prison, but I still thought of them as an “audience.”)
I loved Johnny Cash all through my life, even his Christian phase. I guess he was always a Christian, but he found Jesus and dropped drugs at one point and sang a lot of songs that were more in that vein for awhile.
When I was in the mental hospital, I had a serious drug problem. Sleeping pills — at my worst point, before I attempted suicide & was then put into the mental hospital, I could take as many as 15 sleeping pills in a day and still be walking around. I had built up a tolerance to them, you know. Nowadays, if I took 15 sleeping pills in a day, I would be dead pretty darn quickly.
By age 14, I started getting an endless supply of the pills for “free” — meaning that a sleazy dentist whose kids I used to babysit for, illegally kept thousands of secobarbitals in huge jugs in his upstairs linen closet. He was married but he was fucking around with my best friend, who was 16 at the time and also one of his babysitters (this was when we were all living in that 1970s swinging-sex apartment complex place that I blogged about recently) and part of getting us to not spill the beans to his wife that he was fucking one of the babysitters was giving us a massive amount of free drugs.
Married men did this a lot back then — maybe they still do it, I don’t know. But the wife would make plans to go out somewhere, and the husband would make plans to go out somewhere, so they’d need to hire a babysitter. But as soon as the wife was safely off doing her thing, the husband would circle back home and hit on the babysitter.
It happened to all of us babysitting-girls in the apartment complex. It happened to me, too, but it always totally creeped me out. I knew exactly what was going on when the guys would suddenly “be home” but I would just play dumb. I’d say things, like, “Well, since you’re home now, I guess I can I go.” Once I left without getting paid because the guy really, really wanted me to stay and I just wanted to get the fuck out of there. Another time, I actually gave a man my 16-year-old girl friend’s phone number and told him to call her because I knew she didn’t mind fucking any of those guys & would come right over. And both of them — my girlfriend and the man whose kids I had just been babysitting — said, “Wow, thanks!”
(If you’re too young to have been a teenager in the 1970s, I assure you it was off-the-charts fucked-up, because all the “adults” all over the whole fucking country were trying to “figure themselves out” at the very same time.)
I was told I was being taken to a mental hospital about 5 minutes before they told me to get in the car. You know, they sprang it on me so that I couldn’t run away. They told me to grab some clothes and that was it. But before I left my bedroom, in a total panic, I flushed hundreds of those pills down the toilet. I already had one arrest on my criminal record and I was afraid that if they found those pills while I was gone, I’d be sent to Reform School after the mental hospital…
I think you can see that my life was getting pretty awful and my range for reasoning was getting pretty narrow.
However, while in the hospital, I had to attend “school.” We will not discuss what school was like in a mental hospital. But one afternoon, they made us listen to a tape recording of Johnny Cash urging us to not take drugs.
He talked about his life of pill-taking and how fucked up it had made his life. At his worst, he took something like 98 amphetamine tablets a day, and except for the fact that I was taking pills that put me in the other direction, I could totally relate to what he was saying. And after that, I really tried hard to not take any more pills. I really did. It took about ten more years to truly be able to stop all the drugs, but I was at least trying after that. I really was. I didn’t trust any adults, at all, except a couple of my English teachers. So I never went to anyone for any kind of help. I always just tried to figure out my problems on my own.
But that’s how much I loved Johnny Cash. Because of him, I tried really hard to stop taking drugs. I did.
When I was in my 30s, in NYC, I finally got to see Johnny Cash live. He played at the Ritz, but this was when they’d moved the Ritz to the old Studio 54 space in midtown Manhattan.
He was older by then, of course, but Parkinson’s had not set in yet. He could still sing and play that guitar like nobody’s business. The incredible Marty Stuart (who was still his son-in-law at that point, I think) played in the band. It was an incredible show. I cried when he finally sang “Folsom Prison Blues” and I realized that I was a lot closer to him, standing there by the stage at the Ritz, then I would have been back in the bleachers at the Ohio State Fair. How cool, right?
Well, okay!! My meeting with the director yesterday was so good, gang. Just really, really good. And I need to get started on the rest of the play now. I have a lot of really complicated stuff to tackle in the current segment that I’m in.
Plus, there’s a new Red Hand Files newsletter from Nick Cave in my inbox!! So I need to go read that!
Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I know you know what I’m leaving you with today!! Enjoy!! I love you guys. See ya!
“Folsom Prison Blues”
I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone
When I was just a baby my mama told me, “Son
Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry
I bet there’s rich folks eating in a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee and smoking big cigars
Well I know I had it coming, I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a movin’
And that’s what tortures me
Well if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away
As the heading might indicate, I was struggling with a headache. The type of headache that makes me indescribably irritable.
One of those migraines that starts as a brightly-colored geometric pattern in front of one eye. It slides around, making it really difficult to see (i.e., laptop screens). And I have discovered over time that if I can get aspirin into me as soon as the shapes appear, I can cut the accompanying headache off at the pass…
But I didn’t want to take aspirin because I have a lot of work to do on the play today and I have a meeting with the director tomorrow and he’s going back to NYC in a few days and I wanted this draft done — done done done done done — before he went back to NYC, and aspirin actually makes me really sleepy.
So I decided that I would just ignore the brightly-colored geometric pattern in front of one eye as it slid around, and then the accompanying headache would simply never materialize.
Yes, that would be the self-same headache that always, without fail, 100% of the previous times, for years, has accompanied that fucking brightly-colored geometric pattern in front of one eye…
Since, obviously, ignoring it didn’t work, I finally compromised and went out in a whirlwind of pain & frustrated anger and bought low-dose baby aspirin and then drank a truckload of coffee… and guess what?
It worked!!! The headache put in a very brief appearance and then went away and I’m not sleepy at all.
That said, though, it’s already 3:30 in the afternoon so I’ll probably be here at my desk until 10 o’clock tonight, trying to recoup the lost time. We’ll see. The feedback from the director re: my most recent revisions was really, really just so wonderful. So, I don’t really mind sitting here eternally, working on this play. Eventually, it’ll be worth it.
Here’s something really interesting that happened last evening. It was out on that magical highway over here, the one I’ve talked about before, where the Spirits are just off-the-charts interactive.
I was coming home with groceries, it was almost dark out, and for some reason, there was actually traffic on the highway. (By “traffic” I mean maybe 10 cars, but still. That’s 8 more cars then there usually are.) I was in the fast lane (of course) and a car cut right in front of me and had the nerve to go the actual speed limit (which is 70 mph, but I usually drive 95mph).
But I decided to myself: you know, it’s a really beautiful evening; the moon is almost full, the stars look awesome. I’m just gonna chill and hang out here behind this guy and go the speed limit for, like, the first time ever.
And then, lo & behold, up around the bend, for the first time ever, there sat the Muskingum County Sheriff. All bright and bold and beautiful.
Oh my god!! It was just too cool!! I felt so fucking blessed, you know? Like that guy who cut in front of me was sent from heaven! I always speed out here because the Sheriff is never around. But I also always pray to St. Francis and St. Christopher and to whoever else might be listening, before I ever get into my car… I really think it works.
Also, today, when I went to get the baby aspirin, I had to go a round-about way because they’re painting new lines on the main road. I went out over by the old Canal Rd., which is all farms and trees and hills and just so pretty. (The old Ohio – Erie Canal used to run through this town back in the 1820s or something like that. There was a lock here and everything.) And the sky is so blue right now. I wanted to stop and take a picture to post on the blog, but I had such a fucking headache by then that I wasn’t really able to process the idea of stopping the car.
Anyway. It was lovely. And I just feel so blessed to be living out here.
Okay, gang. I’m gonna cut this short and get to work on the play now. Thanks for visiting. I leave you with 2 things. One: an old photo of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
And, two: the song I was absolutely blasting on “repeat” in my little Honda Fit last evening when I had my blessed non-event with the Muskingum County Sheriff!
Si! I am learning some very important things now in Italian!
“I am missing some luggage!” “I would like a dessert!” “She never walks in the park!” “There is a party here!” “The butterfly is beautiful!” “Can I help you?!” “At what time is lunch?!”
(Of course, the exclamation points are mine — added to just give you the feel of the overall excitement here.)
Actually, though, I am starting to learn things. Meaning, of course, not just phrases but also the dreaded grammar. The Mondly app, honestly, is really fun. (I’m still thinking, though, that my extensive studies in French help enormously, plus I’ve also studied Spanish and Portuguese, so I’m not really sure what the app feels like if you have no exposure to a Romance language.)
I have not yet sprung any of my meager Italian on Peitor, though. Since he is fluent in Italian, he might go off on a spree and leave me sputtering in the dust. And even while it’s fun to actually be learning Italian after all these years (since I first studied it and gave up), I do really wish that my dearest friend, the fluent-in-Italian-Peitor, was coming to Perugia with me.
Not that I have ever been one who wants to stand behind some sort of wildly capable man and then simply follow; in this instance, I would be 100% okay with it!! You bet’cha!!
However, he has already assured me — in rather excellent English — that he is not coming to Perugia to simply hold my hand (and speak Italian for me) because he has to stay in Los Angeles sometimes and earn a living. (He is a record producer and a composer.) (But he does go to Italy about 6 times a year, so there is still that tiny hope that one of those times will be when I will be overseeing the Writer’s Retreat.) (Peitor organizes all the various retreats at Villa Monte Malbe, but he doesn’t attend them unless he’s, you know, on the payroll…)
(And even while I am certainly old enough to participate in some sort of Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, I’m not wealthy enough to pay for it.) (Sadly.) (Although if I could afford it, I would probably want to support an actual gigolo, and not my dearest friend…who would likely balk at many of the things I would be expecting if, you know, I were actually paying for it.)
In fact, I can hear it now:
ME: (asking him for any of the many things I would be expecting.)
HIM: “Marilyn, shut up and get your mind out of the gutter. ”
(Frankly, I can get that for free. In any language.)
So!! Gang. I have to say that my work on the revisions for Tell My Bones has just been really, really great this weekend. Yesterday made me so happy. This next segment I’m working on actually sort of “bleeds through” into two segments and it’s really opening up in my head — just filling up with life. I’m really excited. And if I hadn’t already written this thing 17 hundred times, I probably wouldn’t be able to visually open it up like this. I feel like I’m seeing it in 360 degrees, and not just in a linear way, if that makes any sense.
Well, before I get back at it here today (yes, I slept in again!! You have no idea how lovely the mornings have been here — cool and sunny and so peaceful!), I only want to say a couple more things.
One: Marlon Richards turned 50 fucking years old yesterday, and if you think that doesn’t make me feel indescribably old, you are just out to lunch; what can I say? I don’t mind being 59, but how can he possibly be 50??!! He’s just a little boy, one that Keith and (the now deceased) Anita are always toting around…
And for no reason at all, here is my very favorite photo of Keith. I have had it stuck to my wall for years.
The other thing is that it does seem like the thing in Melbourne — Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra — was incredible. Gosh, I wish I could have been there. (And they even sort of speak English in Australia so I wouldn’t have needed a Mondly app!!)
All righty! I gotta scoot. Thanks for visiting, gang. As unlikely as it may seem, I will leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning!! Make of it what you will on this glorious Sunday. I love you guys. See ya!
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.
Songwriters: LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN / FRED BOCK / REV. HENRY VAN DYKE
Somewhere in this house, I believe I still have a copy of Sylvia Plath’s Journals. I’m not up to the task of finding it right now, because I just have way too many books. And once I start going through all my bookshelves, then that’s it. I get pulled in for hours.
However. Many years ago — 30 or so — I read Sylvia Plath’s Journals (that’s Sylvia, pictured up there, at the time documented in her journals). I recall vividly one entry where she was newly married and really happy. It was summertime and a heatwave had broken and the weather had gotten so cool that she had to put on a sweater. And she wrote so touchingly about the beauty of wearing a sweater in cool weather. Unexpected changes, mid-season.
Today, it has actually gotten so cool that I’m wearing my flannel robe over my summer PJs! And so I’m thinking about “sweater weather” and of Sylvia Plath, and the simple beauty that lives eternally through her, in spite of what she’d sadly hoped to obliterate about herself.
And on a very different note…
From the window near my desk right now, I can see down into the stretch of yard between my house and the neighbor’s house. The guy there (the drummer) is out there right this minute, mowing the grass. (This is a process that takes maybe 8 minutes because he has a tiny yard — large house but a tiny yard. ) Anyway, I see that since yesterday morning, he has completely shaved his head and shaved off all his facial hair, of which he had plenty.
Isn’t it weird? It makes me wonder what it was about yesterday that made him decide to do that. I wonder if he’d been planning it for several days, or if it was just a whim?
Well, a couple of photos finally got into my Instagram feed early this morning from the concerts going on in Melbourne this weekend with Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. One was from Susie Cave, so that was sort of an “official” photo, but there was another one from the audience from Friday night, at the end of the concert, and then someone else posting that it was “powerful & intense,” and then someone else posted saying it was a “healing experience” (no doubt!) — but neither of those people posted photos from the actual show.
It’s probably one of those things where people aren’t allowed to be documenting the concert with their phones, because there’s just been a huge dearth of anything coming out of Melbourne. (A “huge” dearth is kind of an interesting concept, isn’t it?) (Or perhaps people in Melbourne simply don’t own cell phones. That’s probably the more reasonable explanation…)
I also noticed that Sandra Caldwell, the actress I write the theater projects with/for in NYC, was a busy bee on Instagram up in Toronto yesterday, texting with someone that I don’t know, but she posted quite a few really stunning photos of herself from about 30 years ago. Mostly she was wearing not much of anything at all in the way of clothing!! (She’s very good friends with my ex-husband, Wayne, and so she came to our wedding back in 1993 and she was, by far and away, the most stunning woman there, even though she was wearing clothes.)
When Sandra and I first met — when I was first engaged to Wayne, who was a professional actor back then — she was also engaged to be married and she gave me this really stunning ring. She didn’t want to just get rid of the ring because some important guy gave it to her but she didn’t feel it was appropriate to keep it since she was getting married to someone else. So she gave the ring to me.
The ring is not real, it’s Cubic Zirconia, but it looks like a real diamond ring — it has about 6 “diamonds” on it, in a gold setting. I rarely wear it because it’s so pretty and I don’t want to get it all fucked up, but when I do wear it, everyone thinks it’s real and their eyes pop out. I never dreamed back when she & I first met, that our relationship would be so instrumental for me as a writer. I think it’s kind of funny that, upon meeting me, she gave me a diamond ring! (You know, like we got engaged to a future destiny or something.)
I’m actually not very big on jewelry, and what jewelry I do wear is almost always sterling silver. I’m not sure why I like silver so much, but I have a ton of it. I also love pearls. I have some beautiful pearls that I inherited. But almost all of my gold and diamonds (including my diamond engagement ring from Tiffany’s — Wayne & I actually got engaged inside Tiffany’s, in NYC, back in the fall of 1992; yes, the self-same Tiffany’s of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at…” fame); I had to sell all of my valuable jewelry when my “dearly beloved” from about 12 years ago, gambled away my life savings (see some earlier post somewhere that details all that).
Oddly enough, the one ring I didn’t sell, which is not that valuable but it is gold and does have chips of diamonds and rubies on it — that one I didn’t sell because (unlike a fucking diamond ring from Tiffany’s for god’s sake!!) it holds sentimental value for me. It really, really does. And who gave it to me? The same fucking guy who gambled my world away…
Ah well. That’s just so me. (And, yes, in case you were going to point it out — I have had my head examined, thank you very much!) (And it didn’t reveal anything I didn’t already know.)
All righty!! My Internet has gone in and out all morning, so I’m going to post this right now, while I seem to actually have a connection. And I will get to work on the play. Have a really great Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! (Or I hope it was a good one, if it’s almost over!)
Thanks for visiting. And I leave you with the song I was actually listening to this morning, although I have no idea why it even came to me. I hadn’t thought of the song in decades. But I think it’s fitting for Sylvia Plath, and even for me in regards to my dearly beloved, who had the gambling addiction I didn’t know about, and who taught me all the gentle ins & outs of filing for a restraining order… (heavy sigh). Okay. I love you guys! See ya!!
“Drowning in the Sea of Love”
I’ve been down one time
I’ve been down two times
But now I’m drowning, drowning in the sea of love
Let me tell ya all about it
I’ve been out here so very long, I’ve lost all my direction
Baby when you came my way I thought I’d found my protection
But a strong wind came into my life, surely took me by surprise
& I can’t seem to control these tears that’s falling from my eyes
Listen to me
Baby I depended on you, for a love & affection
But now you gone and deserted me, can’t you see that I’m in desperation
I’m in the middle of a bad love storm, ooh yeah I just can’t let it, boy I
Looked around and all I could see, was water coming over me
All I do is cry, all I do is walk around and cry
But right now I’m drowning, oh I’m drowning in the sea of love
But that’s alright, I don’t mind drowning for your love
That’s alright baby, hear me when I say it’s alright
You got the kind of love that make me feel alright
You got the kind of love baby that make me cry all night long
You got the kind of love baby make me do things I don’t wanna do
And it’s alright
Yes, once again, I have subtly left the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the family room, hoping that the cats would take the hint and vacuum the darn house, but they just walk right past it. Not only as if they don’t see it, but as if they don’t even comprehend what it’s for.
It just gets me so mad. One of these days, I’m just going to fucking break down and do it myself!
Yes, the dust and the cat hair (and the Marilyn hair) gathers all over the house (it makes me insane because I am a little bit of a cleaning freak, truth be told), but I got some amazing writing done on the play yesterday, gang. And you can only do so much, you know?
ME (drumming my fingers on my desk, thinking): Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. Do I want a Pulitzer Prize or a clean house?
I really was just so happy yesterday. I somehow managed to capture one of those complicated dream-painting scenes from the Tell My Bones screenplay and translate it for the stage. (Meaning that one of Helen’s most popular paintings comes to life while she’s dreaming and she then uses the setting of her painting to interact with all the people in her life who have died.) It’s very easy to do on film, but I wasn’t sure how best to achieve it for the stage without having some sort of huge budget, a la “Sunday in the Park with George.” Especially since there are just so many of Helen’s paintings setting the scenes in this play. You don’t want to just focus hugely on one thing and then not bring the rest of the play up to that scope. (i.e., a Broadway Musical budget.)
Plus, I was able to use the setting of the painting coming to life to sort of jettison a bunch of narrative monologue type stuff and really cut to the chase and then move forward to the next segment. (And underlying the whole “painting coming to life” scene, is the cast singing, in a really ghost-like, ethereal way, the old slave spiritual, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” )
We’ll see what the director thinks. I’m guessing it still needs tweaking but overall, I am just so happy. I’m going to work on it some more today because our meeting has been switched to next Tuesday.
I’m not sure what’s up in Melbourne. So far no reviews in the online newspapers in Australia re: the Nick Cave & Warren Ellis events going on with the symphony there. But I did see that more Bad Seeds are supposed to be involved (?) on Saturday night (which for all I know is right now, since I have no clue what day or time it is in Australia!!) so perhaps that is what everyone is waiting for? I actually do not know. Anyway. No reviews yet. And I had to un-follow #nickcave on Instagram because way, way, WAY too much insane stuff gets into my Instagram feed with that hashtag. Most of it is actually quite interesting, and mostly from Europe, but I don’t have time to scroll through all that insanity because it only makes me want to stop and ponder!!!
Eventually, we will find out everything about everything. I feel confident about that.
Okay. I gotta scoot, gang. I once again slept in a little bit today because my bed was just so darn comfortable — it got back down into the 60s Fahrenheit during the night. And my bed, and all the open windows — it was just too beautiful. Eros was everywhere! But now I gotta get going here.
Thanks for visiting. I leave you with this — a young girl choir in Mississippi, singing “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” For some reason, this is my favorite version on YouTube. It is so uncomplicated but full of enthusiasm. Okay, I love you guys! Have a terrific Friday!! See ya!
First of all, I want to thank Edge of Humanity Magazine for publishing the 3rd segment from my memoir-in-progress In the Shadow of Narcissa. It was posted online last night.
The new segment is titled “I’m Crying Because the President has been Shot” and it’s posted in the Human Condition section. You can read it here.
They also have some really cool new photo-journalism pieces, so if you’ve never checked out Edge of Humanity Magazine, you should.
Well. Yesterday was interesting. For reasons I won’t go into on the blog, I spent the entire day struggling with the revisions on the play because my brain was completely distracted by something else. And I mean, for 8 hours. I could not focus. I was making myself nuts — plus, it was 2 days in a row that I was getting nothing done, for 2 entirely different reasons.
But then, by around 6pm, I finally forced myself to just deal with all the stuff that was in my brain. I sorted it out. And then — presto-change-o! — everything inside my head was fine. I spent the next 4 hours at my desk and all the revisions just flowed. All of them. I got them all done, plus I was really happy with how they turned out.
I sent them off to the director, and now, today, I have to come up with the next new segment because I’m meeting with him again tomorrow and I don’t want to show up with nothing new.
So here’s hoping that today will just flow.
It’s a gorgeous day here today, gang. It’s sunny and only 65 degrees Fahrenheit!
It’s been a beautiful summer, overall. Although nothing like last summer was, where all the old Spirits in this town came out to play. Constantly. But I have been assured by those same Spirits that it’s my fault; they’re ready and willing to come out to play with me but I’m always at my desk, working.
I haven’t even been to the graveyard once this summer. If you’re new to the blog, the graveyard here is wonderful. It’s just down the street from me. All the founders of the town are buried there and have been for going on 200 years. They communicate with me when I go over there. They are really lively. I’m serious. I started writing a really fun, sexy magic realism/murder mystery, based on them and this town, called Down to the Meadows of Sleep: The Hurley Falls Mysteries. I got about 50 pages into it last summer, but then other projects took over my life and so it sits, awaiting my attention again at some point.
The novel takes place in the summertime, so I equate the whole project with summer. I can’t imagine working on it in fall or winter, so it might be another year before I get back to it. We’ll see.
All I know is that I absolutely love summer in this town. And I have always been someone who hated summer, because I can’t stand heat and my brain malfunctions in humidity, and my skin reacts badly to relentless exposure to sunlight, and I get weird reactions to sunscreen. So summer was just never my season, even though I was born in late July.
But being here, in this town, with all these amazing old trees and cornfields and green hills, and Spirits that are just right there, happy to chat with you… Well, now I live for summer. I can’t wait for it to arrive and then I don’t want to see it end.
For some weird reason, the schools around here go back in session in two weeks! Can you believe that? For those poor kids, the summer really is almost over. Everywhere else in the country goes back to school after Labor Day, which is what it used to be like here in Ohio, too. Not anymore.
But I’m going to cling to summer, because it isn’t officially over until mid-September. And I just don’t want to see it go (even though, when fall officially starts, I’ll be in NYC, for rehearsals of my play (!!) and to see Nick Cave twice. And to stay in a suite at the Algonquin Hotel!! And I’m staying in some other hotel for one night, too, but I don’t remember now which one. I only remember that it’s close to Lincoln Center.) (Which reminds me, so far only one post to Instagram from Melbourne last night, but that was before the concert began. I guess everyone there is sleeping now? What the hell day/time is it in Australia anyway??!!)
So, if summer does indeed have to go, at least fall will be arriving on its heels in a most beautiful way.
Okay. I gotta get working on that play now. Tomorrow will be here in a heartbeat and I refuse to be empty-handed when it arrives.
Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with one of my favorite summer songs from my wee bonny girlhood! I love you guys. See ya!
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long?
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong?
You know it’s gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new?
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through?
Happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray
It might come true (run run ooo)
Baby, then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married (we could be married)
And then we’d be happy (and then we’d be happy)
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But let’s talk about it
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
You know, you’d think that someone — me, for instance — who has a brain, who knows how to think and stuff like that, would have realized sooner that since kombucha is fermented it would likely have an alcohol content…
Even while the level is low in it, I’m super-sensitive to alcohol.
I had a small glass of that stuff yesterday afternoon, and then could not, for the life of me, figure out why I was having such a stupidly hard time concentrating on the rewrites of the play.
My entire day derailed from then on. I could not focus, and even though the changes the director wanted me to make to the play were in red on the printed script and very easy to see, it was a colossal effort for me to hone in on them and then type the changes into the Word file. I’d look at the red highlighted stuff and then think: How on earth am I supposed to do this? So a lot of stuff I wound up double-highlighting in blue and setting aside to “look at later.” Just crazy stuff.
And my energy level was weird; I couldn’t even do my yoga. I really started to get a little depressed because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Luckily, I talked on the phone with Kara for quite awhile in the evening and that distracted me from feeling like I was losing my mind.
It wasn’t until this morning, when I woke up feeling really disappointed in myself for not getting enough done yesterday when I have another meeting with the director on Friday — then it occurred to me that maybe the kombucha had messed up my energy somehow. And so then I looked it up and, yes, there’s alcohol in there. Trace amounts, but it’s in there.
So, I guess I’m gonna have to have a little talk with kombucha and tell it that it’s not working out…
It’s kind of humiliating, though. When I initially looked at the changes the director wanted (this is for the brand new revisions I did last week), I saw that they were really simple changes that I could do in a heartbeat, and then move on to plenty of new stuff by Friday. So, to get stymied like that, and lose a whole day of work. Wow.
It reminds me of the time I accidentally ate a guy’s chocolate chip cookie that was laced with Molly and my day was fucking shot.
(You can see that I’m not one who likes to not work…)
(You’d never know that I’m someone who spent about 20 years of her life with severe “recreational” drug problems… Now I can’t tolerate them at all.)
Well, so. I hope your Tuesday was significantly better than mine! And Wednesday is indeed before us, a fresh slate. (Unless you’re one of those people who lives somewhere where Wednesday is already on its way out — i.e., Australia, or someplace intensely foreign like that.)
I wish I could be in Australia right now, though, to see one of those concerts Nick Cave & Warren Ellis are doing with the Symphony Orchestra in Melbourne. I’m guessing it is going to be just stunningly beautiful. (Their film scores.)
(Which reminds me that Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files newsletter yesterday was really funny, although it left me with a vision of him that I’d rather not have in my head.)
I guess in keeping with this feeling that an undercurrent of change is underway in my life, I’ve been feeling lately that I want to work with the elderly again. Not give up writing, or anything, but just spend some hours in my week leaving the constant confines of my crazy head and do something meaningful, something “outward.”
I’ve done a lot of work with the elderly — not as a nurse or anything, but in connection with my ministry degree, I did a lot of what are called Pastoral Care education hours, because my professors thought I would be a good fit for a Chaplain. Since it was clear, I guess, that I was way too radical to ever get a church of my own or anything.
I wasn’t keen on that Chaplain idea because it just seemed like all I would be doing was dealing with people on the brink of death and families who were grieving — all the time. Crisis mode, all the time. That is just not me. Although I was trained in hospice care and early Alzheimer’s care, and I actually really did enjoy that.
But, if I start doing that stuff again — you know, then you’re one-on-one with people, and you’re bonding, and creating deep connections — and I have 2 plays that I’m up to my eyeballs in, and a million other projects in line after that. And I’m going to have to travel — what’s the use in having such a hideous passport photo if no one in far-flung foreign countries (like, Canada) ever gets to see it??
I think I’m crazy. I’m not sure why I think my life needs more meaning at this particular juncture. It probably actually needs less at this point, but I just haven’t figured that out yet.
Last evening, Kara said, “Come on, Marilyn. You need to relax. Let’s go get that cabin in the caves for a couple days. Bring your laptop if you have to, but let’s go.”
And she pointed out that there was a hot tub… one of my favorite things.
But I’d rather be done with all the rewrites on the play, which I have to accomplish within the next couple of weeks, and then go to a cabin in the caves with a hot tub. And Kara. I sure do love talking to her. The conversation just goes places, you know? And then I could really relax.
I don’t even remember what I’m like when I relax.
I do know what I’m like when I’m not relaxed and I just don’t find it very attractive…
Okay. On that mixed-signal note, I gotta scoot. Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are in the world — even if it’s just a memory now! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.
Yes, I like my kitties intense, gang. Cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking cats, with those ice blue eyes that have all sorts of unsettling stuff written all over them. [If you’re reading this on my web page and not on your phone, the word cut off at the bottom, up there, is ‘intense.’ — Ed.]
I forgot to mention that, yesterday, I bought my cats some organic catnip. Now that Daddycakes is no longer with us (sadly), I realized that I can have catnip in the house again. Back when I had 2 male cats, the cat fights were off the charts when the catnip came out, so I had to stop buying it. But last night, boy, were there some stoned kitties around here.
The cats have tons of toys, but only a couple of them are the kind that you can stick catnip in. Here is their favorite:
Well. This morning had all the earmarks of a perfect morning. I’m hoping the whole day will follow suit. I haven’t actually looked into my astrology forecast or anything, but it just feels like something huge is either shifting or has shifted in my inner world.
I don’t just feel “happy;” I feel like I’m beginning to understand my life in cosmic proportions.
I don’t think it stems from drinking about 2 ounces of kombucha yesterday (see last night’s post). Seriously, though, I do think that my buying all that stuff yesterday was part of some sort of underlying shift that’s going on.
I also started a new yoga routine a couple of nights ago. (No, not kundalini or tantric. Honestly, if I included sex in every area of my life where I wished to include it, I would get absolutely nothing done.) (Plus, you know, making some sort of meditative practice to open my sexual energy — Jesus Christ. That would be sort of scary. It’s not like I’ve ever made a habit of blocking it.)
But I did change my yoga routine and it was noticeably effective. And by “effective,” I’m not sure what I really mean; just that my mind was different after I did that.
And now wanting all this new food (mostly beverages, apparently) in my life… I don’t know.
When I woke up this morning, I thought fleetingly about that older guy again, from when I was 14, but my thoughts immediately progressed to realizing that 45 summers ago was also when Greg died (on August 27th). I mean, I knew that, but I hadn’t yet affixed that number to it.
And, as an aside, it could very well be that I forgot about that older guy until now, because Greg’s death obliterated everything else in my world. I know the older guy was around for the whole summer, even though I didn’t want to have sex with him anymore, but I think that once his brother was out of prison, they all got construction jobs somewhere else and moved away.
But I was thinking this morning about Greg. Not really able to process what being dead for 45 years means when he was only 15 when he died. I’ve been to his grave a few times since moving back to Ohio. It’s about an hour’s drive from where I am now. I’m not sure if I’ll go visit this month or not. The last time I went, I saw that his dad had died now, too. There was a space between him and his dad and this morning, I was wondering if his mom is going to be buried between her husband and her son. And then I wondered, at what point would I visit his grave and then find his mom there, also?
It is just so weird how life just goes on. I don’t even try to process it because I just can’t. I examine everything, you know; I ponder. I can’t ever seem to stop doing that, but it’s more to look at how certain people or situations made me behave. How they made me feel, which made me behave a certain way.
And then, you live long enough, and you realize that nothing really mattered that much, or as much as you thought it did, because Time passed and everything changed, and then changed again, and then changed again. So I think the story that gets told is who we are from moment to moment. No one experience, no matter how life-changing or life-shattering at the time, is ever the definitive moment; it never truly defines who you are, even though it feels like it does. Eventually, if you live long enough, a deluge of Time passes and all sorts of defining experiences come and go.
I’ve also noticed that when people lose either their spouses or their long-time companions, it can wildly change who they become in life. I’ve seen that happen to quite a few of the men in my family, in very different ways. But the unifying thing underlying it was that the “other” died and it was clear that the man had sort of put his life on hold throughout the whole relationship, and that the death of the partner led to almost overwhelming freedom.
It can be hard for a family to see that, you know? I, being who I always am — a huge believer in emotional freedom — have always supported the men’s choices and usually got everyone else in the family pissed off at me.
My biological grandmother (my birth mom’s mom) was always at odds with me. I knew her for about 30 years before she died, and through most of that time, she wasn’t speaking to me for one reason or another.
The worst event was when my aunt died (her sister).
My uncle — that aunt’s husband –had always been so incredibly kind to me. Just off-the-charts kind. In the early days of knowing my birth mom, it was very hard for me to deal with the fact that she refused to tell me (or anyone, ever) who my dad was. I really, really, really wanted to know.
My uncle took me aside late one summer night, and said, “I wish I could help you. I honestly don’t know who your dad is. If I knew, I’d tell you in a heartbeat, no matter who got upset with me.”
And then after my aunt died, my uncle called me on the phone to tell me a little story.
It turned out, he’d had an illegitimate daughter of his own before he’d married my aunt. He knew he was the girl’s father, and he tried to have a relationship with the girl, but my aunt refused to allow it. So he lived there in the same town with the girl as she grew up.
The girl knew “that’s my father,” and he knew “that’s my daughter,” but they weren’t allowed to even speak to each other or my aunt would have a fit. And when she’d married my uncle, she was a widow with 2 young kids — her husband was a race car driver who got killed in a drag race crash. And my uncle raised my aunt’s 2 kids, and she deprived him of ever being able to know his own daughter.
When my aunt died, the girl — then in her early 40s — read about it in the newspaper and straight away, she finally went to visit her dad, you know? All above board and out in the open. “Ding-dong, the witch is dead,” right?
Wow, was the family up in arms that she did that. And it was even worse to them that my uncle welcomed his daughter with more than open arms: He bought a brand new Cadillac, let his diabetes go, and had a love affair, right out in the open, with his daughter.
Back then, cars didn’t always have that arm rest in the middle of the front seat, and when they’d drive around town in that new Cadillac, my uncle and his grown daughter would sit right up close together while he drove, like they were lovers, and it pissed the whole town off.
And I was the only one who was okay with that. I just thought that was the fucking coolest thing. My aunt deprived those two of everything that could have been normal between them for their whole lives. And so it was all coming out in the wash. (At the time, I was still a singer-songwriter in NYC and I wrote a song about it: “In this car of my old man’s/we run as fast as the racing wind…”)
My grandmother, of course, stopped speaking to me because I was “on my uncle’s side.” But my uncle would call me on the phone to talk to me about how he’d felt about everything — for all those years. How much he loved his daughter. How it killed him to never be able to even wish her a Merry Christmas or a Happy Birthday, or to even be allowed to acknowledge her when he saw her in the supermarket, where she worked when she was in her teens.
Eventually my uncle landed in the hospital because he let his diabetes go, and then he died soon after. But one time when he called me from his hospital bed, he said: “My daughter has something very important she wants to tell you.” So he put her on the phone with me.
At that point, I was still in my 20s, so she was a lot older than I was. And I knew that she and my uncle weren’t just having a love affair — I knew they were incestuous, too. They were doing it. And it did not bother me one bit. To me, they were adults, making their own choices. And so she gets on the phone with me, while she’s literally lying on the hospital bed next to my uncle — her dad — and what does she tell me? She told me who my father was.
She was a little older than my mom, but they’d gone to the same school when my mom got pregnant with me, and for all those years, she knew who “the father of Cherie’s baby” was. And that night, when she told me who he was, was the first time she learned that I was that baby.
If you remember a night about 30 years ago, when it felt like the planets stopped revolving in their orbits for a moment and the stars sort of exploded — that would have been the night she told me that over the phone: Who my father was. At last. He had a name. He existed. The name I had waited a lifetime to hear – I now knew it.
That alone, helped my uncle die happy, because he really, really did want me to know who my dad was. He thought that it wasn’t fair of my mother to have never told the guy that he was a dad, that he had a daughter in the world.
So anyway. Death creates peculiar and unexpected stories, even though the heartbreak that comes along with it is real. I’ll decide in a few weeks if I want to go back to visit Greg’s grave. Part of it is that I just feel he is so long gone from that grave, you know? 45 years, people. And he was only 15 when they put him in there, and in life, he was always up and out and looking for trouble. I’m guessing that death didn’t change him much.
Okay. This morning, appropriately enough, the music was all about Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now.” However, I actually like Neil Diamond’s version better. So I’m gonna leave you once again with a song from Rainbow.
Thanks for visiting, gang. I gotta get back to the rewrites on the play. (Oh, and Nick Cave sent out a new Red Hand Files newsletter so I gotta go read that!!!) I love you guys. See ya.
“BOTH SIDES NOW”
Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away
I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all
Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way
But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all