Tag Archives: re-writing

Those Lucky Fuckers!! Jesus!

Man. That show in Eindhoven, Netherlands, last night seems to have been just incredibly great. The photos on Instagram were amazing (Nick Cave’s Conversation). One person had also been to the show in Essen, Germany (which had also looked really great), and said that the show in Eindhoven was even better.

Well, those photos — I couldn’t believe them.

And someone posted a full minute of him singing “Waiting for You,” from Ghosteen, and I really just couldn’t believe how fucking good it was. And it just means that the Ghosteen tour is going to be off the charts.

Crap — you know?! (I say it like that because I will not be attending any of these events.)

Okay, well, tonight he will be back in the Netherlands, in Nijmegen… And I will be so pissed off if it’s really, really good!

Which reminds me, that the other day, when I posted about pre-orders for the Nick Cave art exhibition book — Stranger Than Kindness — I forgot to post the link, which is here.

I’ve also been meaning to post that, at least in the United States, the MP3 edition of Rowland S. Howard’s incredible solo album from 1999, Teenage Snuff Film, will be available for download in early March. You can pre-order it here. (It’s Amazon US, but I don’t know if that means you have to live in the US to download it or not. I’m guessing it will be available for download from everywhere, though.)

Well, gang. The work on Tell My Bones yesterday was really productive — I’m still not finished, but I am really, really close.

The problem is that this one segment deals with racism, Jim Crow and, specifically, lynchings. It is not easy for me to be creative and artistic about all this. I mean, in a sense, it is easy because I feel strongly about it, but it makes me sick to my stomach while I’m doing it. And it wears me out.

And I’m trying to find that balance between making the point and not bombarding the audience with it. Helen, herself, talked to me in only a very minimal way about the racial problems she experienced in her life; her primary focus was her art and her family. Those were the topics that were of utmost importance to her. Plus, her family — even back in 1919, when she was born — were not sharecroppers. They owned their own farm, did reasonably well, and were definitely much better off than the white farmers around them.

She attributed her family’s well-being to their being devout Christians. Still, they were descended from slaves, and they were living in a Jim Crow State. And I felt that something needed to be said about that.

And in wanting to get a better understanding of what Kentucky was like when Helen was born, and specifically in Graves County, I had to research the statistics of lynchings in the State of Kentucky (which, of course, reveals horrible photos, too). It was all just stomach-turning, you know? Even though they did lynch a number of white men, the statistics document that it was overwhelmingly black.

And the statistics are so precise, too — which is also sickening in and of itself. The names, the race, the sex, what they were accused of (usually rape, attempted rape, or murder), the date they were lynched, and which county it took place in. If you’ve documented all of this, then why couldn’t it have been stopped? But it was mob justice. There were 135 lynchings listed in a 39-year sampling. I printed out a table and it took up four pages. And that was just for the State of Kentucky.

You know, when I was 14, I was raped by a black guy and a white guy. And the very last thing I would have ever wanted was for either of them to be hanged. It is just so sickening to me.

It was a relief, though, to see that in the county that my own ancestors herald from, there were no reported lynchings — black or white. My great-great grandfather was a Kentucky State senator, notoriously on the side of the Confederacy– to the extent that he was booted out of the Senate. (Kentucky was a split State; part Union, part Confederate.) And he owned house slaves. But the county he lived in bordered Ohio, as opposed to Tennessee, where the lynchings seemed to get seriously out of control. Logan County, specifically.

I hate to use the word “ironic” here, because of its sarcastic connotations, but it is ironic that I’m a white woman descended from Kentucky slave owners, writing about the life of a black woman descended from Kentucky slaves. I mean, it is what it is, but it’s still indicative of something that’s out of balance.  Meaning, I can’t imagine any black writers, descended from slaves, ever writing about me. I could be wrong, of course, but why would they?

Anyway, I undertook the project of writing about Helen’s life primarily because she was a woman and, as a woman myself, I understood her life-long drive to find peace, privacy, and enough money to support herself while she did her art. But there are these other racial elements that, sadly, have to be factored in, as well, even though they were not Helen’s primary concern — in her conversations with me or in her journals.

So, all that considered, I am making good progress with the play. I might even finally finish this new segment today. I am just so close. And then we will be ready for the table-reads in NYC.

Okay, gang. I’m gonna scoot. Got laundry to attend to, then gotta get back to the play.  Thanks for visiting. I hope Tuesday is terrific for you, wherever you are in the world!! I leave you with that truly lovely song from Ghosteen, mentioned above. All righty. I love you guys. See ya.

Best Day Ever!

Well, work with Peitor on the micro-script yesterday was so fun. Plus, it was just one of those sessions where we got so much accomplished — even though, you know, we are still nowhere near done.

Yes! An 8 minute film. And we’ve been working on it for a year now. And still nowhere near done with the script (because we’re going shot by shot).

I still don’t know why Peitor was in Dallas yesterday. From the background sounds, he was clearly in a hotel room with Graham. I could hear the television and I could hear room service arrive with Graham’s breakfast. But when I said to Peitor, “I can’t remember why you’re in Dallas right now.” He replied, “I can’t remember either!”

Then he just laughed it off and said, “I just want you to know, Marilyn, how much I love working on this script with you. It always feels like we’re kids, having a sleepover, you know? The parents are sound asleep in their rooms, but we’re still up,  in bed with a little flashlight, creating our make-believe world.”

I’m not sure if that’s what my immaturity brings to the table, or if he and I share equally in that, but I thought it was kind of telling. You know, me still being 12 and all that. I think it’s rubbing off on him. (I’m 59 and he’s 62.)

Well, I discovered yesterday that he’s been actively pitching the logline for Lita’s Got to Go to people he meets, or knows, in LA and in London, so I guess it’s okay to post it here. I’m actually the one who was supposed to create the official website months ago (for Abstract Absurdity Productions), but it was back when I was putting up what I thought was going to be a simple, one-page blog for In the Shadow of Narcissa, and that wound up being a little task from Hell. So after that, I took a break. Because the site for Abstract Absurdity has to be a little more complex than a one-page blog…

And now here it is, months later, and I still haven’t done it. Anyway. Here is the current logline:

“Lita’s Got to Go is a short abstract absurd comedy in 7 acts about a psychologically unstable woman who becomes obsessed when she senses her housekeeper has been inappropriate with her furniture.”

And it is heavily informed by Polanski, Antonioni, Hitchcock, and Bergman, and the Bauhaus school. And it is possibly going to be in Swedish with English subtitles, although we keep vacillating on that. (Regardless, there are only about 5 lines of dialogue, total.)

So yesterday was good!

Although Nick Cave went a whole week without sending out a Red Hand Files letter. I hope it’s not connected to the catastrophic fires going on in Australia. (Perhaps maybe he simply stumbled upon a latent inner ability to take a vacation? The In Conversations resume in Europe in about a week, and then there’s the Ghosteen tour of Europe coming up, which I’m guessing will sort of expand into South America and Central America and North America and well, Australia — one would hope. )

Anyway, here’s something I found truly remarkable yesterday: A huge lit billboard along the main highway here – yes, out here in the middle of rural-nowhere Muskingum County, Ohio — asking people to donate to help Australia. Plus, it was worded in such a way that you could easily see where to make your donations, even if you were zipping past at 95 mph, as I usually am!

I think a genius designed that billboard.

[GENIUS (speaking in the boardroom): “Twelve-year-old girls will likely be driving past this billboard really fast, so let’s make sure the URL is easy to see and to remember!”]

Well, okay, it’s Saturday morning. Quite mild here. A little bit of sun making it’s way into the sky.  Looks like a pretty day. I’m gonna get to work here on rewriting that character arc in Tell My Bones.

(Oh, wait — let me give you a head’s up about a fellow blogger, Peter Wyn Mosey, a writer from Wales, who has a new webzine launching today: The Finest Example. Stories, art, & poems. Visit, follow, & submit work!! I’m going to!)

Okay, as much as I hesitate to do this too often, lest you start to think I’m living in some sort of time warp here, I’m leaving you with my breakfast listening music from today, which was once again Rudy Vallee — but a different song from the previous days. This one was truly a smash hit. It’s super catchy, too. “You Oughta Be In Pictures” from 1934. I love this song.

It occurred to me during breakfast, that this was the first time I was listening to the song in a really old house — you know, that would have likely had a radio back in 1934 that probably actually broadcasted this song! It was interesting to think about that. The life of radio waves, sound waves, space & time.

All righty, well, thanks for visiting!! Enjoy your Saturday, wherever you are in the world! I love you guys. See ya.

(And here’s another site, this one in LA, with a detailed list of links on how to help firefighters, the Red cross, and wildlife in Australia.)

“You Oughta Be In Pictures”

(Rudy Vallee’s extended version)

As I look at you
A thought goes through my mind
What a marvelous find
You’d make upon the screen
I am proud that I have you
Right by my side
But I’d be satisfied to share you
With the public to be seen

You ought to be in pictures
You’re wonderful to see
You ought to be in pictures
Oh, what a hit you would be
Your voice would thrill a nation
Your face would be adored
You’d make a great sensation
With wealth and fame – your reward

And if you should kiss the way you kiss
When we are all alone
You’d make ev’ry girl and man a fan
Worshiping at your throne

You ought to shine as brightly
As Jupiter and Mars
You ought to be in pictures
My star of stars

You’re lovely as a Crawford
Like Davies you are gay
You surely should be offered
A starring part right away

You’re sweet as a Gaynor
And you’re as hot as the gal named West
You’d surely make even Garbo jealous
If you took a movie test

You ought to dress like Tashman
And ride in motor cars
You ought to be in pictures
My star of stars

c – 1934 DANA SUESSE, EDWARD HEYMAN,  & RUDY VALLEE

All Righty, Gang! Here We Go!!

Well, it doesn’t look exactly like this here in Crazeysburg today — all of the snow is mostly gone now. But it is a brisk and invigorating 13 degrees Fahrenheit around here!

But I don’t have to go anywhere, except perhaps across the road to my mailbox. So I don’t mind. I am kind of wishing that the main door to my barn was fixed, though, because I’d like to put my brand new grown-up car — with its awesome sparkly paint job — in there on icy days like this.

I would really like my sister to come out here and do that for me. I don’t like to play the “Damsel in Distress” card too often, but sometimes I simply am a damsel in distress. I can’t fucking fix anything. Whereas my sister, a hardcore daddy-dyke who wouldn’t be caught dead being a damsel in distress, can fix everything. But it’s a 2-hour drive from her to me. And she has, like, a life of her own and stuff like that. And if I texted her and said: can u pls come out here & fix my barn door, she would do it in a heartbeat, so I hate to take advantage. I’ll just keep dealing with it until, for whatever reason, some day she is back out here.

(The door opens, but it’s off its roller thingy and so it has become a 2-person job to open & close the main barn door.)

Anyway, there my brand new car sits, outside my kitchen door, with ice all over it.

Well, okay. I got some very interesting progress made on the final page of the play yesterday. It sort of veered into a direction I wasn’t expecting, but I like where it went. It sort of showed me that I had a plot-line & a character arc that wasn’t getting sewn-up there at the end, so that was a good thing. However, it kind of stopped me in my tracks and I had to re-think some things.

I think I’ll get it done today, but I was at it until pretty late last night, thinking I almost had it. Then for some reason, with the script open in front of me on the laptop, I suddenly decided that if I got on pornhub on my phone for a moment, it would help me think more clearly. What it did do was help me find some girl’s “channel” or account, or whatever you call it — this young brunette who uploads her own videos, where she does this one specific thing that sort of made my jaw drop a little. So I became a little bit fixated on her (and her partner, but way less on him than on her, because, truly, it was all about her). Anyway, she was awesome. And it was late. And I’d been at my desk for over 12 hours already, so I closed the laptop and gave her my undivided attention until bedtime.

I’m not going to say what she sort of specializes in, but she has an amazing eye for color. She uses primary colors in a very startling and enhancing way. And what she does is in extreme close-up so the specific choice of color is actually part of what she’s doing, and I think that’s just amazing — that she has such an eye for how color is going to enhance what she’s filming because, you know, she can’t readily see what’s going on when it’s going on. So I think she’s brilliant.  And in a couple of the videos, you can see her face for a moment and I thought it was really interesting that she hardly wears any make-up but she does wear false eyelashes — so why that specific choice? False eyelashes when she wears so little make-up? False eyelashes are usually the coup de grâce when you’re wearing just a truckload of make-up — male or female. And she has a very unusual manicure — it’s startling. So you know she’s doing all this on purpose. I just thought she was the coolest thing (plus, she was doing something I actually really like — nothing to get squeamish over or anything — so I was very appreciative of her willingness to be such a total exhibitionist — with an unexpected eye for primary colors.)

So that was yesterday! I actually had a really cool day. And today is all about nailing that final chunk of dialogue. And I am getting the feeling I am just going to be really happy, gang.

So I’m gonna get started here.  I stayed in bed a little late this morning — it was just too snuggly for words around here! My flannel sheets were fresh from the dryer last night, and flannel sheets are always so unbelievably soft when they’re right out of the dryer.  So between that, the cold outside and the heat inside, and my cute cats frolicking hither & yon in my bedroom, attempting to get me to wake the fuck up — well, it was just a wonderful morning for laying there and feeling snuggly.

But now art awaits, and things like Pulitzer prizes and such are on the horizon, so I must get down to work. Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with my breakfast-listening music — I love this song, gang, even though I have no clue what it’s about. I think it could be my favorite on the album, but that sort of shifts around. Anyway. Have a great Wednesday, wherever you are in the world!! I love you guys. See ya!

“Night Raid”

There’s a picture of Jesus lying in his mother’s arms
Shuttered windows, cars humming on the street below
The fountain throbbed in the lobby of the Grand Hotel
We checked into room thirty-three, well well, well well
You were a runaway flake of snow
You were skinny and white as a wafer, yeah I know
Sitting on the edge of the bed clicking your shoes
I slid my little songs out from under you

And we all rose from our wonder
We would never admit defeat
And we leaned out of the window
As the rain fell on the street, on the street

They were just a sigh released from a dying star
They were runaway flakes of snow, yeah I know
They annexed your insides in a late night raid
We sent down for drinks and something to eat
The cars humming in the rain on the street below
A fountain throbs in the lobby of the Grand Hotel
A spurting font of creativity, yeah I know
Your head in a pool of your own streaming hair
And Jesus lying in his mother’s arms
Just so, up on the wall, just so

And we all rose up from our wonder
We would never admit defeat
And we leaned out of the window
And watched the horses in the street, in the street

In room thirty-three, yeah
Yeah, I know

c – 2019 Nick Cave

Just A Snuggly Little Morning!

Yes, it snowed during the night!

It’s not exactly a winter wonderland, but there is a covering of snow on everything here in Crazeysburg.  Mostly, it’s just super cold here today. The high will be 23 degrees Fahrenheit. So I’m happy to just sit here at my desk today and write — and  drink coffee. The laundry is already well under way…

I’m expecting just a really nice, quiet day.

If you saw the photo I posted the other day of the remains of the old coal bin under the basement stairs, it won’t surprise you to learn that this house is old enough to have had fireplaces in every room.  The dining room still has a fireplace, but it’s only decorative now — it was boarded up a long time ago.

The boarded-up fireplace in the dining room — another room that only the cats use because I rarely ever set foot in there!

The fireplaces that were in the two bedrooms are completely boarded up and plastered over, still, you can see where they used to be. I love trying to imagine what the rooms were like when the fireplaces were in them and in active use.

A previous owner had a wood-burning fireplace in the family room, which is now stored out in the barn. (This house was a rental property for several years before I bought it and in Ohio, it’s illegal to have wood-burning stoves in rental units.) (Fire hazards.)

I’ve toyed with the idea of having it brought inside and re-installed. The connection to the chimney is still accessible in the wall, I just have it covered over with a free-standing bookcase. But honestly — these days, I am never in my family room, either, so it would only be for the cats. Plus, I can barely find time to do things like wash my hair and make my bed. I can’t even imagine having to stop whatever I’m doing at my desk and go put more wood in the fireplace. Or — God forbid — have to go outside and bring in more wood when I run out. I just don’t see it happening. Unless I hire some sort of a permanent live-in handyman, or something. You know, to keep things looking as if someone — besides 7 cats — actually lives in here.

However, I have always loved living in places that had fireplaces, working or not. Growing up, we almost always had at least one, if not two, fireplaces in the house. And even in NYC, most of the apartments I lived in had fireplaces. That hellhole tenement on E.12th Street, where I lived for 9 intense years, had two fireplaces — one in the living room and one in the kitchen!! That was too cool. I loved that. The building had been built in 1895, and had been built specifically to house the teeming amounts of poor immigrants on New York’s lower east side, so I’m guessing that was their source of heat for a really long time.

I was the last person to live in that specific apartment before it got “gentrified.” As tenants moved out, one by one, the landlord would cosmetically update each apartment — board-up and plaster over the fireplaces and then lay down new wood floors, to make the floors seem level (which they weren’t– they constantly sloped in the direction of the East River). And then, overnight, they jacked-up the rent astronomically. And, of course, found plenty of people willing to pay for that fake “renovation.”

But as run down as it was when I lived there it sure had character. I loved those old wood floors and those fireplaces, and the old iron bathtub in the kitchen. It had a front door to the living room, and also a back door to the kitchen. And it was filled with spirits — just like this house I’m in now. Friendly and very active spirits, from a hundred years (or more) of lives being lived at whatever intensity. I loved that part about living on E. 12th Street — the spirits of old New Yorkers were so close back then.

But now it’s just gentrified. No character. Just really expensive.

Well, I know, you can’t just live in the past. Progress is usually a good thing. But in America, it’s hard to find places that retain any sort of real character. In order to do that, the people who live there have to work hard at keeping large-scale commerce out.  Fast-food chains and box stores, specifically. Keeping that stuff out really does help keep a place peaceful and sane — and low crime. Plus tons of trees. There are always plenty of tress in areas where they aren’t constantly building something.

Anyway, I like it. And it’s not as if the people here in this little village, in these intensely old, quirky houses, don’t drive nice cars and have smart phones and flat screen TVs. Everyone’s on the Internet.  In fact, one night last summer — it was so funny: everyone was out and taking a stroll, really late in the evening. I mean, like after 10 PM — so many people out strolling. Why? Because the Internet was down! And almost everyone here has the same internet provider. No TV, no smartphones. So let’s just go out and stroll and talk to each other. It was very amusing.

Okay. I’m gonna finish up the laundry and get to work on that last page of the play! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world and whatever the weather.  Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

“Our Town”

And you know the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

Up the street beside that red neon light
That’s where I met my baby on one hot summer night
He was the tender and I ordered a beer
It’s been forty years and I’m still sitting here

But you know the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

It’s here I had my babies and I had my first kiss
I’ve walked down Main Street in the cold morning mist
Over there is where I bought my first car
It turned over once but then it never went far

And I can see the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

I buried my Mama and I buried my Pa
They sleep up the street beside that pretty brick wall
I bring them flowers about every day
But I just gotta cry when I think what they’d say

If they could see how the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

Now I sit on the porch and watch the lightning-bugs fly
But I can’t see too good, I got tears in my eyes
I’m leaving tomorrow but I don’t wanna go
I love you, my town, you’ll always live in my soul

But I can see the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on, I gotta kiss you goodbye
But I’ll hold to my lover
‘Cause my heart’s ’bout to die
Go on now and say goodbye to my town, to my town
I can see the sun has gone down on my town, on my town
Goodnight
Goodnight

c – 1992 Iris DeMent

Just a Great Big Bunch of Joy All Over the Place!

First of all, Ghosteen, the new Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds double album, is officially out today!! Go buy it, perhaps along with one or more of its various and sundry merchandising options!!

Ghosteen Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, out today

I was indeed informed yesterday that my very own copy of  the CD was put in the mail to me yesterday (I can even track its shipping progress, if I’d like to), and it is guaranteed to arrive on Friday November 22nd !!!! WTF!!

I mean, it is totally my fault for being so impatient. Pre-ordering it from the UK, instead of waiting until it was available for pre-ordering at Amazon US (which was something, like, later that same afternoon).  And then, of course, God knows I was too busy to go into Amazon UK and cancel the pre-order and then re-order it at Amazon US — because that would have taken about 5 minutes, and I usually save those 5 extra minutes I have each day for using the bathroom…

Anyway. When I got the cheerful email yesterday, alerting me of the CD’s successful send-off somewhere in my general direction, I was really irritated with myself. That’s two weeks away. It’s like how shipping was in olden-times…

However, it’s not as if I don’t constantly listen to it already on my phone and on my iPad, and have it practically memorized. I don’t actually need the CD in my life. So I’ll just look on it as a happy little perk — one day, in the mysterious and far distant future, I’ll look out my kitchen door, and there it will be, sitting happily on my porch in the wilds of Muskingum County, after its long, and no doubt colorful and adventure-filled, voyage from England.

(Meanwhile, all 14 of my neighbors here in Crazeysburg, 33% of whom work at the Amazon warehouse 25 miles from here, will have been happily listening to their own US-distributed copies of the Ghosteen CDs that whole entire time…)

Okay. One more Nick Cave thing…

He sent out another Red Hand Files letter-thingie today; a sort of follow-up to the one he sent out a couple of days ago, about Transcendental Meditation. You can read it at that link there, if you so choose. I would say that his response today was charitable (which is an adjective, meaning “apt to judge others leniently or favorably” and which is probably why he meditates).

And so, onward.

Yes!! I made amazing progress with the play yesterday — finally. I made it through that chunk of dialogue — and I was really happy with it.  And then a great big bunch of stuff poured out on its heels, that I was also really happy with.

And today, I have maybe a page left?? Honestly, I am that close to finally being done.  One page. (Until they need more rewrites, that is.)

And on that note, I’m gonna scoot. I have to pay some bills here before I totally forget again and have a bunch of hard-working office-drones from hither & yon politely wondering if I’m asleep or dead or on drugs. (None of the above. What I am is super day-dreamy these days.)

So I’m gonna pay bills. Then I’m gonna put on my Wellies, and my scarf and mittens and my arctic coat, and drag all the various flower pots and summer lawn accoutrements back into the barn for the winter (the frost and snow flurries did indeed arrive, and now all the impatiens are done). Then I’m gonna pour myself another cup of coffee and sit my quite comely behind back down at the computer and FINISH THE PLAY!!!! (Again!!!!!)

Have a wonderful Friday, wherever you are in the world, gang! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with this — but, you know, go BUY IT. (I can’t really link your purchasing options here because my readers come from all over the world. But I’m sure you know where you buy your music.) All righty! I love you guys. See ya.

“Bright Horses”

The bright horses have broken free from the fields
They are horses of love, their manes full of fire
They are parting the cities, those bright burning horses
And everyone is hiding, and no one makes a sound
And I’m by your side and I’m holding your hand
Bright horses of wonder springing from your burning hand

And everyone has a heart and it’s calling for something
We’re all so sick and tired of seeing things as they are
Horses are just horses and their manes aren’t full of fire
The fields are just fields, and there ain’t no Lord
And everyone is hidden, and everyone is cruel
And there’s no shortage of tyrants, and no shortage of fools
And the little white shape dancing at the end of the hall
Is just a wish that time can’t dissolve at all

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, well, this world is plain to see
It don’t mean we can’t believe in something, and anyway
My baby’s coming back now on the next train
I can hear the whistle blowing, I can hear the mighty roar
I can hear the horses prancing in the pastures of the Lord
Oh the train is coming, and I’m standing here to see
And it’s bringing my baby right back to me
Well there are some things that are hard to explain
But my baby’s coming home now, on the 5:30 train

c – 2019 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

I’m Super Really Serious This Time!!

I will not linger here this morning, since I was not only here on the blog 3 times yesterday, but I was also online, texting & emailing a LOT yesterday because of Helen’s birthday stuff. And so today, I must go into the isolation booth and remain there…

My biggest challenge right now –and all week — has been one single chunk of dialogue, if you can believe it.

The character’s name is: A White Man From Mississippi. And he is the type of art gallery owner that both gouges the art buyer and rips off the artist (one step away from being a thief). But he is also a carnival barker. So everything he says has to come out in that exhorting, intensely fake, creepy/menacing loud way.

However, he has to sound genuine — not just like a buffoon or something. And in this specific chunk of dialogue that is really vexing me,  he’s confronting one of Helen’s grandson’s, who is fucked up on pills and booze, and has just robbed Helen of her life’s savings and caused her to have a paralyzing stroke, so she can never paint again.

The White Man From Mississippi (gallery owner/carnival barker) is belittling the grandson for being such a loser; his petty thievery killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Whereas he, the White Man From Mississippi (more of a master thief), has access to all the golden eggs if he wants them and can buy & sell them, over & over & over, eternally, at whatever prices the market can bear.

And then the staging is such that the White Man From Mississippi is sort of like God & the Devil, talking down to the intoxicated grandson from Heaven, while all of Helen’s dead loved ones and ancestors, sing a really slow and drawn out stanza from the slave hymn, “I Want to Be Ready to Walk in Jerusalem Just like John.”

It’s gonna take up maybe 3 minutes of stage time, but it’s taking me FOREVER to get it right!!!!!!

I was bordering on not wanting to get out of bed at all this morning, I am getting just so frustrated with it, but here I am. So, onward.

Oh, if you saw — the music has been switched out again. It’s another one of my folk songs that was on vinyl. It came out in 1982, and is now on Smithsonian Folkways Records — the specific record is “Women in Song,” from July 1982.

My song, “One Thing Leads to Another,” is about a roommate I had while in the mental hospital, whose dad had been raping her regularly, until she became a drug addict and sort of went crazy.

It was really strange to hear her talk about her life because she was so matter of fact about it.  And the rapes always happened on Thursday nights, because it was her mom’s bowling night — that little fact always struck me as just so creepy.

I wasn’t super nice to her, because I thought she was really strange and I was, you know, forced to share a room with her. Of course, we were both only 15, and I was seriously fucked up with my own mental problems, so I couldn’t really grasp (until a few years later) what her problem really was. She would talk about sex with her dad as being really fun and exciting, so I thought: well, then what’s the big deal?

Something like that. I wasn’t totally heartless, or stupid, but she was so hard to talk to. She was really in denial and way off in la-la land, but I couldn’t really empathize because I had all my own issues that I was drowning in.

Anyway, so that’s that song.

Okay! I’m gonna scoot!! And try to nail this thing before I totally lose my mind.

Have a wonderful Thursday, wherever you are in the world!! I leave you with more breakfast music from Angel Clare — and this one is just too cool. It’s a medley that is just brilliant and really just messes with your whole soul, in a truly glorious way, but you have to hear the whole song.

Oh, which reminds me! Amazon UK informed me that the arrival of the Ghosteen CD (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) is imminent in my very near future!!! (Yes, it is being shipped to me from the UK, because I pre-ordered it the moment it was available to pre-order, and didn’t wait the handful of moments for it to be available for pre-ordering in the US, and so, rather than have it shipped to me from the Amazon warehouse that is literally 25 miles from me, it’s shipping to me from the UK…. Well, that’s me, in a nutshell.)

Okay, enjoy!! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys! See ya!

Yeah, I Know. I’m Immature…

Sometimes I just can’t resist, gang.

“Playtime in Pussyland!!” I just wish. But no, this pussy always has to work.

Okay.

Today has all the earmarks of being annoying. I’m already doing the laundry. I have to wash my hideous hair, then shave my legs, all that. Be indescribably presentable, even though I am always here by myself. Then I have to VOTE because it’s election day here in these fine United States. Then I have to drive 25 miles to the Honda Dealership to get my permanent plates, because my temporary tags expired two weeks ago and they neglected to tell me.  After that, I have to drive another 10 miles in a different direction and buy groceries because I’m down to one tomato, some arugula, a protein bar, and a bunch of dark chocolate-covered espresso beans. I have to do yoga, of course. And I have to vacuum — in the colder months, I have to vacuum all the time because the windows are no longer open and the accumulation of cat hair gets unbearable and I am actually allergic to cats (hence my dependency on Flonase for all my breathing needs).

And already, I can feel a new segment for In the Shadow of Narcissa creeping in at the edges of my brain, and daily, I get more and more intimations for Letter #5 (“Hymn to the Dark”) for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse (the section I began writing last week or something like that and then deleted because it felt too plebeian.) Neither of these can I pay attention to right now because I must complete the revised ending for Tell My Bones.

I hate when I have all these niggly little things to do in one day because it keeps me from being able to sit at my desk and focus for uninterrupted chunks of time. The actual “writing” might take only 2 or 3 hours, but there’s tons of hours before that where the words are trying to fall into place. So when I’m running hither & yon, my brain gets jumbled and time gets wasted.

Oh, and here at 9:30am, one of my ex-husbands is calling to chat. He lives in Seattle now and always gets up in time for the stock market to open on the East Coast. Today, he’s calling for our annual “Thanksgiving” chat. (We always chat around every imaginable holiday — yes, even the Chinese New Year because he happens to be Chinese. From Singapore, originally.) Well, I love chatting with him, so that’s not annoying or anything. He always makes me laugh. And we never chat for long because I guess the stock market needs a constant sort of “looking at”. But it’s just, you know. Another thing going on today.

Well, on another note.

Apparently Helen LaFrance’s 100th birthday was a huge & happy success. Wanda is going to be sending me photos from the celebration, which I will then have posted to the Tell My Bones web site. Plus, there are also some large Helen LaFrance murals in several of the churches in Mayfield, Kentucky, that people there are restoring. So donations can be made to that (in the event you would want to contribute) and I will try to have some sort of link for that on the TMB web site, too. Although, for tax reasons, I’m not entirely sure how to do that. But anyway. It’s a project that is underway. I believe the murals are 40 or 50 years old now.

Well, the remaining leaves on my maple tree are turning that golden-yellow color. It’s usually December before the leaves really fall off the tree — in one big sort of swoop, down they all go.  Some day, I’ll have to remember to take a photo of how huge this tree is. It is easily twice as tall as my house. It’s just huge and has, as you can imagine, tons of leaves.

I just love this tree, though. It means so much to me. And early this morning, as I sat on the side of the bed, with my cup of coffee, looking out the window, I noticed the leaves were truly changing now and it made me wistful. (All the other trees in town change their leaves long before my silver maple does.) But it also made me excited for spring to come again. And for the leaves to return.

I will only say, briefly — because I do not like to dwell — but when “the man” was still alive and we would lie on my bed in the dark. Well. It was the height of summer and so all the windows and the blinds were open. And the tree shielded us from everything. It was just beautiful. We could do whatever we wanted and it wasn’t as if anyone could see in. The tree is just massive. All those leaves made everything so private. That summer was just so lovely.

One night, in particular, will stay with me forever — and I try not to cry when I think about it, yet I do think about it because it was so monumental to me. It was like one of those moments in time that you feel  as if it’s all you will ever really need — you know? You can die after you have that moment. But of course, you don’t die. Life goes on, which is why you remember it and try not to cry.  But we were lying across my bed, naked, staring out the window at the night. He was lying on top of me, we weren’t doing anything, just sort of lying there, looking out. The night was so still & beautiful & quiet. The streetlight was coming in the through the leaves on the tree. It was dark in my room. We were listening to the live version of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — the best summer song they ever did, ever. And suddenly here comes the freight train. Just barreling through.

It was the most amazing moment. I begged him at that moment to never, ever leave me. And I meant it with all my heart, even though we already knew he was going to die. (Plus, he was married, for god’s sake. Happily married. If he weren’t dying, he wouldn’t have even been there to begin with.)

However. It was too poignant for words. And he did die. At home with his wife — in their bed, whatever that looked like. And a whole other summer came and went since then.

But my tree — you know, it shares my memories. It truly does.

And for some reason, I’ve stopped wearing my summer PJs, and instead of moving on to my winter PJs, I’ve gone in the other direction and started wearing a little black chemise to bed. I’m not sure what’s come over me. It means I have to crank up the heat! Because it really is getting cold at night out there — down into the 30s and even into the 20s Fahrenheit.  A chemise is not the thing to be wearing right now. Apparently, on some level, I still cannot let the summer go.

So, sitting there early this morning, on the side of the bed, with my cup of coffee, looking out the window and wearing a little black chemise… I did indeed see that the leaves were truly changing and that winter is going to be right around the corner here, any day. And I’m gonna have to get into those winter PJs or my heating bill will be a fortune!

I’m hoping my birth mom will come back in early December and help me decorate the house for Christmas. Last year was supposed to be my first “happy Christmas” in my new house, but I was grieving. This year, should be lots better.

Okay!! Gotta go. Phone will be ringing here soon. Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a terrific Tuesday wherever you are in the world. I leave you with the obvious, even though I haven’t played it in a while. (This is the best version of the song, ever. And now has more memories than my heart can contain.) I love you guys. See ya!

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance”

She grew up in an Indiana town
Had a good-lookin’ mama who never was around
But she grew up tall and she grew up right
With them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights

Well, she moved down here at the age of eighteen
She blew the boys away, was more than they’d seen
I was introduced and we both started groovin’
She said, “I dig you baby, but I got to keep movin’ on
Keep movin’ on”

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again

Well, I don’t know, but I’ve been told
You never slow down, you never grow old
I’m tired of screwin’ up, tired of going down
Tired of myself, tired of this town

Oh, my my, oh, hell yes
Honey, put on that party dress
Buy me a drink, sing me a song
Take me as I come ’cause I can’t stay long

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again

There’s pigeons down on Market Square
She’s standin’ in her underwear
Lookin’ down from a hotel room
Nightfall will be comin’ soon

Oh, my my, oh, hell yes.
You got to put on that party dress
It was too cold to cry when I woke up alone
I hit my last number and walked to the road

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again

c – 1993 Tom Petty

“best friends, collaborators, and business partners”

This morning, I was thinking about the concept of “best friend.”

I was thinking of it because Keanu Reeves has a “best friend” — the coolest woman, ever.  She’s an artist. I can’t remember her name now, but she’s absolutely totally interesting. There is an amazingly powerful PR campaign out there in the world, strongly discouraging us from thinking that the two are dating. Instead, they are “best friends, collaborators, and business partners.” (They were all over Instagram yesterday, too, because of that art museum gala fashion fundraiser thing in Los Angeles on Saturday.)

And they always look indescribably happy when they are out & about together, which seems to be all the time. And they are always holding hands and stuff.

They do look extremely happy and they are just intensely interesting looking people. And I was thinking this morning how it is infinitely more appealing to be best friends, collaborators and business partners with someone, than to be “dating.”

(I hate dating. I am not a “dater.” I am not someone who has ever gone out on “dates.” If I’m out to dinner with you, you’re either my best friend, collaborator and/or business partner, or we’re planning on having sex after we eat, or you’ve called me on the phone and I got the distinct impression we were going to move in together and get married, so I agreed to meet you for dinner first.) (That is my way of explaining that when Wayne and I were introduced by mutual friends at a Christmas party in Brooklyn Heights in 1991, I had the distinct impression he and I were going to get married. I came to this impression not because I felt like he and I would fall in love, but because of the fact that, in those first few moments that we were speaking to each other, he mentioned Emmylou Harris and Patti Smith in the same sentence — two of the most profound female influences on my life as a songwriter to that point (and he didn’t know that yet). So when he took down my phone number, and then called me extremely late one night and asked me out on a date, non-dater that I was, I still said okay. By summer, we were living together; by the following spring, we were married.) (Perhaps you can see why I avoid dating; the commitment is just huge.)

Anyway, I digress!! I was lying in bed in the dark this morning, thinking about the concept of “best friend,” and then it occurred to me that I had missed the 20th anniversary of the death of my best friend in the world, Paul — back on October 22nd.

I don’t think this is a bad thing. I never, ever forget his birthday, which means more to me than the day he died. But back on October 22nd, a couple of weeks ago, I kept wondering why the date meant something to me; why was it sticking out in my mind all day? October 20th was Tom Petty’s birthday.  October 23rd was the anniversary of Bunny’s death (one of my sweet cats). But why would October 22nd mean anything?

But this morning in the dark, I finally remembered.  And it was hard to believe that it had really been 20 years.  The day he died was a gorgeous fall day in Manhattan. I had been working all day in my business partner’s apartment — she lived 20 blocks from me, a straight shot down Riverside Drive, so I always walked to her apartment and back. And that day was so beautiful that, after work, I decided to walk home through Riverside Park, along the Hudson River.

At one point, I stopped and just looked out at the river and I couldn’t believe how much profound joy I felt, a sense of peace I had never felt before. Life seemed unspeakably beautiful; New York City  itself filled me with so much joy, especially on that gorgeous October day.

And then, a couple of hours later, Paul’s mom called me from the nursing  home and told me that Paul had died.

I know the news pierced me and I cried, but mostly I recalled the feeling I’d had walking along the river in Riverside Park, and I knew then that had been Paul saying goodbye to me. He always loved visiting me in NYC; equally in my days of poverty and in my days of success.

So when I think of Paul’s actual death, I think of that gorgeous day and that profound sense of peace and joy. However, the 7 years it took him to die (from AIDS), were a whole other story. I nearly lost my mind with grief over what he was going through and what was going to lie ahead for me — the rest of my life without a best friend. I drank and smoked really heavily that whole time, hardly ate,  lost a ton of weight. Stopped the songwriting totally, abruptly broke up the band. Went into my room and started writing intense erotic fiction.

By the time he died, he and I had already worked it through as best we could: he was leaving and I was going to be left behind and I was going to survive somehow.

I did, of course. And even though Peitor comes close to being that type of best friend for me over the course of all these years, it is not the same. Peitor and I met as adults in NYC; we were both already in the music business, dealing with the stress of daily “life in NYC” in a huge way. Whereas Paul and I had met at 17, in high school in Ohio — doing high school plays (he designed and built all the sets and then went on to do that as a career in professional theater and in the movies); all of our dreams were still ahead of us. Everything was brand new. That part of life doesn’t come again. (Not that it should — a lot of what was brand new at age 17 truly sucked.)

This morning, while it struck me as sort of profound that I had missed the 20th anniversary of my best friend’s death, it nevertheless seemed extremely cool to me that Keanu has such an interesting “best friend, collaborator and business partner.” If you have to be famous and wear labels, those labels are so much more life-affirming than the label of “dating.” True best friends are more valuable than anything else in the whole world.

Okay. So here we are. Monday. I seriously need to tackle this ending of Tell My Bones. A lot of intense plot points have to entwine, explode and yet, ultimately, be joyful. So I’m gonna get back at it. (And likely eat a lot of dark chocolate — I do that when the mind gets too intense even for coffee!)

I hope you have a really wonderful day out there, wherever you are in the world. And if your best friend is still here with you in the physical, well, I don’t know — just enjoy the heck out of yourselves!

I’m still in Art Garfunkel’s Angel Clare mode around here. I leave you with another truly lovely song, but it’s one that used to just break my heart when I was a young girl. I identified with it way too much. But it is still beautiful. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys! See ya!

“Mary Was An Only Child”

Mary was an only child,
Nobody held her, nobody smiled.
She was born in a trailer, wretched and poor,
And she shone like a gem in a five and dime store.

Mary had no friends at all,
Just famous faces pinned to the wall.
All of them watched her, none of them saw
That she shone like a gem in a five and dime store.

And if you watch the stars at night,
And find them shining equally bright,
You might have seen Jesus and not have known what you saw.
Who would notice a gem in a five and dime store?

c – 1973 Albert Hammond, Mike Hazlewood

Everything is just so much better!

I’m feeling lots better today. I’m not 100% yet, though. For some reason, any time I try to eat something, I feel like I’m going to throw it right back up. But then I don’t.

But I did get a lot of sleep, so that felt great.

I’ve also made incredible progress on the revisions of the play. Still have some really challenging segments left— but I am almost at the end of the play, and the stuff that I’ve done over the last couple days, I’m just really, really happy with. So it is almost done.

Speaking of the play and, therefore of Helen… I listened to Wanda’s radio interview that announced Helen’s 100th birthday celebration at the church in Mayfield— she talked a bit about the play and the DJ said that Kevin Connell has written it — which I found amusing because I think people still just naturally assume that when they see a man’s name, then the man did everything. And the DJ doesn’t seem to have seen my name at all. (Kevin is the director. We are both mentioned on the splash page of the website.)

In the old days, that would have made me nuts, but nowadays, it matters more to me that the play at least gets mentioned — and they got the name of the play correct! (Wanda got my name wrong — she’s known me 7 years already and still thinks my name is Mary Jane. You’d be surprised just how many people think my name is Mary Jane.)

Anyway. Helen had her birthday celebration today. I couldn’t attend — it’s a 12 hour drive from here. But we did send flowers. I hope it was an incredible time for everybody involved.

For no reason whatsoever, here’s a photo Peitor sent me of himself and his husband, Graham, playing Clue at their dining room table in West Hollywood on Halloween!! I wish I could have been there!! It’s been almost a year since I was with Peitor in LA.

Peitor is on our right and Graham, on the left!

I love playing Clue, by the way. It’s actually the only board game I like.  I’m not a big game player. (I guess you could take that a few ways! And they’d all be true…)

Okay, as much as I love summer and all that, tomorrow is my favorite day of the year — when we set our clocks back and get an extra hour of darkness in the morning!! I get up so early as it is that it’s kind of awesome to have yet another hour of darkness to lay in bed and drink coffee!!! And contemplate my Muse. Yay!!

Well I might be mistaken, but it did seem that by late yesterday, the free downloading of Ribbon of Darkness had ceased. I do appreciate that people wanted to read that. But still. And now it’s here on the site, so you can read it for free anyway.  I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since I met my real dad, and 20 years now since he died, at the age of 54. As difficult as all that stuff was back then, I’m glad I have that story to preserve my own memories, if nothing else.

All righty! I’m gonna study my Italian now. Enjoy what’s left of Saturday wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

Ciao!!!

I tried to warn her that this would happen but would she listen? No. No she would not…

Yeah, well. Remember how, early last summer, when the 2 practically free tubes of expensive cellulite appearance reducing creme arrived from the company in France and I was worried that it would work so well — because everything else under the sun that they’ve sent me either for free or practically free, worked so well that I then was forced to keep buying it because I am so fucking vain?

Well, I was worried that it would be the same way with the cellulite appearance reducing creme — that it would work too well. And it’s just too expensive to justify adding it to the long list of cremes and scrubs and masks and cleansers that I already buy every month from that company (and have been buying from them since 1999) because no one ever, ever, ever thinks I am 59 years old — and it’s not just because I’m immature. Which I am. But still. I’m talking specifically about my skin, here.

Well, as I posted the other day, I finally started using the expensive cellulite appearance reducing creme last week, and it really works. And I don’t know how it does but it does. It doesn’t make anything go away, it just reduces the appearance of it. But since I never go anywhere where my thighs are part of what you can see of me — because I am 59 years old, and even if you think I’m only 42 and a half, I’m still not going to dress in something that has my legs hanging out because I don’t want to look like I think I’m 17 and have an inability to age gracefully. (!!)

But for some inexplicable reason, when I got out of the shower yesterday, I sort of idly wondered what would happen if I put that creme all over my body, even though I don’t have cellulite all over my body. I don’t really know why I did it, frankly, but I did it.

And guess what happened? It made that little wrinkly spot directly at the center of my neck completely disappear. Gone. I now have the neck of a 41 year-old. I mean, it was awesome. I mean, holy shit!!

So guess what else happened??!! Yes, that’s right. I got immediately on the company’s website and bought 2 more tubes!!!! AAAArrrrgh!!! $47 plus $8 shipping for a single 6 ounce tube. And I bought 2, since the shipping charge would be the same. And God knows, I didn’t want to ever find myself in a public situation where that little wrinkly spot in the center of my neck ever, ever reappeared again.

I knew this would happen. I just knew it. The company makes incredible products, and 95% of it is plant-based, and they fix things — most of which you don’t even know you have problems with until they offer to fix it for free (one time) and your vanity is so intense that then you cannot live without the product because it fixed the thing you didn’t know you had a problem with.

They once sent me a free acne-controlling face mask. I don’t have acne and never did. But I love their face masks. So I used it and could not believe how great it made my skin look! So now I always have a tube of that in my medicine cabinet — $17 (plus $8 shipping) for 1 ounce of light blue stuff that fights something I don’t even have.

My medicine cabinet is 4 feet high — it extends up to the ceiling. It has 4 deep shelves, all of which are brimming with my many, many products from France (usually with a 2-3 month back-up for each product, because I wouldn’t want to even imagine running out of something and not being able to get to France).

I’m guessing that when my mom was staying here while I was in NYC, she probably had a heart attack when she opened the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and saw the absolute tidal wall of beauty products confronting her (and quite a few of the products weren’t even there because I took them with me to NYC). I have no drugs at all — except Flonase. I’m a drug-free kind of gal, relying instead on Jesus and my Inner Being to handle any medical emergencies that might pop up. So everything, absolutely everything in my bathroom is dedicated to my skin. (Well, I have a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. But otherwise…)

It’s just un-fucking-real.  And now yet another product has become part of that permanent beauty landscape. (But when I’m one-hundred-and-four years old, and only look 92 and a half, who will have the last laugh??!!)

Okay, so there we have it: Me, up to weirdness in the bathroom again, and another expensive habit is born!! All righty. I gotta scoot. I gotta work on the PLAY. Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a wonderful Wednesday wherever you are in the world! I love you guys. See ya!

“Thank Heaven For Little Girls”

Each time I see a little girl of
Five or six or seven
I can’t resist the joyous urge
To smile and say…

Thank heaven for little girls
For little girls get bigger every day
Thank heaven for little girls
They grow up in the most delightful way.

Their little eyes so helpless and appealing
Someday will flash and have you crashing thru the ceiling.

Thank heaven for little girls
Thank heaven for them all,
No matter where no matter who
Without them what would little boys do?

Their little eyes so helpless and appealing
Someday will flash and have you crashing thru the ceiling.

Thank heaven for little girls
Thank heaven for them all
No matter where no matter who
Without them what would little boys do?

Without them what would little boys do?

c -1957  Loewe Frederick, Lerner Alan Jay