Tag Archives: re-writing

To Heaven in a Hellcat!

I don’t know about you guys, but now that the full effect of that full moon is over, I feel 100% calmer around here.  The intensity as well as the giddiness have subsided. Yay.

Good thing, because I have a lot of work to do around here, and I need to focus.

Sandra, the actress I write for in NY, texted yesterday that she’s doing the Shakespeare Festival in NYC for 1 month, then another one-week gig back in Florida, and then she will be arriving here. Yes, HERE! In the Hinterlands! To begin rehearsing the one-woman play I wrote for her, Tell My Bones.

(The director of Tell My Bones, while also based in NYC, is the Artistic Director of a professional theater company in a town 20 miles from here and will also be here in the Hinterlands all summer. Except that he lives in a staggeringly lovely, palatial home with something like 7 bathrooms, privately tucked away at the end of a 3-mile driveway, hidden behind many, many tall trees; whereas I live in sort of the pioneer era; I do have indoor plumbing, heat and electricity but that’s about it as far as modern conveniences go in this 118-year-old house. And I have a wonderful little raccoon living in my 108-year-old barn. Anyway, the director has an incredible theater-rehearsal space right there in his home, naturally, which is where we will rehearse.)

So that means one less 11-hour drive (each way) to NY for me this year. I have to say I’m relieved about that.

However, this little reprieve brought on by Sandra’s Shakespeare Festival run means that I have this sudden chunk of time to complete Blessed By Light, and even have it off to potential publishers before Tell My Bones gets underway. (With The Guide to Being Fabulous on the heels of that.)

Hence the need for focusing around here.

The editor in NYC finished her final edits on the first 19 chapters of the novel last evening and sent them to me.  So I will begin writing Chapter 20 today. I don’t envision more than 10 more chapters before the book is done.  So completing it reasonably soon is doable.

The editor made my day again yesterday with her concluding comments. She said, “This pulses with passion, love, sorrow — damn! Congrats to you. Nobody writes like you.”

And I have to say that this made me feel intensely relieved because, as loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, Blessed By Light, while it has lots of erotic stuff in it, is unlike any of the other novels, or even short stories, that I’ve written thus far. And “thus far” now entails 30 years. It’s sort of an unusual point in my career to begin writing so differently. And I had no control over this sudden change; the novel simply began coming out back in late August and all I did was try to keep up with it, you know?

Oh, something really cool happened to me yesterday afternoon.

I will preface this by saying that my dream car is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. I really want one of those cars (in fact I write briefly about the Hellcat in Blessed By Light), but readers who know me even only slightly, know that I already have a problem with speeding when I’m on the highway. And I’ve never once gotten a speeding ticket, or even a parking ticket for that matter. And owning a Hellcat would probably just be too much of a temptation, you know? (It goes up to 210 MPH.) The Sheriff and the Highway Patrol would probably be all over me then. You know, they do target certain cars and a Honda Fit (what I currently own) is not one of them.

Well, yesterday I discovered that a young guy I know casually out here in the Hinterlands, has a brand new HEMI Challenger! Holy Shit! His is black and I really like the purple ones, but still. I couldn’t believe it. After asking him a little bit about the legendary speed of the car (he barely touches the gas pedal and he’s going 145 MPH), he told me that if I wanted to, he would let me drive it out on the highway.  Of course I said yes. OMG! I’m so excited.

Hellcat. My dream car.

Well, all righty, gang! I best get going around here. You know, today is the final day to stream Distant Sky Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen for free. I am so tempted to watch it again, but Jesus. I really gotta work. But don’t let me stop you if you haven’t seen it yet! God, it was good.

Have a great Monday, wherever you are in the world.  I leave you with this: The most depressing although truly beautiful song about a fast car ever written!! Thanks for visiting! I love you, gang. See ya.

He Is Risen – The Cat, I Mean

I know, it’s sacrilegious, especially the day before Good Friday. But I’m an ordained minister, gang. Jesus already knows full well that I’m full of sacrilege. (Hence, I have no church of my own; no flock to lead. And not ever likely to get one.)

First, though, I need to tell you that late last evening, the director was finally able to get back to me about my revisions for the staged reading script for Tell My Bones.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that for 2 months, I labored over how best to take the director’s comments and not only revise my overall play, but also trim it down to under 30 minutes for the upcoming staged readings in Rhinebeck and NYC. And by “labored over,” I mean that I was truly near tearing my hair out. I really struggled.

But I was finally able to get the revisions to him, right on schedule, late last week. And last night he wrote and told me that it was “captivating”, while staying true to my original script and that he loved it. And that now we have to begin.

So that truly excited me, gang. “Captivating” is quite a cool and entirely unexpected word. It gave me those butterflies down in my tummy! It’s the beginning, now, of such a very long process: 3 staged readings in the NYC area, then it transfers to Florida, for a staged reading there (and hopefully an actual run of the play), before it transfers back to NYC, Off-Broadway. We’re literally looking at years (plus, multiply that whole scenario by the other play we’ll be doing in Toronto) — it is a long, drawn-out process, indeed. But I am so excited, and so happy. I’ve already been working on both these plays (with/for Sandra Caldwell) for 7 years.

Anyway, the part about Daddycakes being “risen”…

I awoke this morning around 6 a.m. I turned over in bed and saw Doris sitting in the open window, looking out at the dark street (there is a screen, btw), and right next to her was Daddycakes, standing with his two front paws on the window sill, also looking out at the street.

He was really there, gang. I really saw him. Of course when I looked away for a moment and looked back, he was gone. But I could tell his spirit was free now and that he was visiting us, part of his little clan again.

It really made me feel peaceful. I could feel it intensely – that his spirit was so free now and happy.

When each of my past cats has died, they always, without fail, make one final visitation to me from beyond, to let me know that everything in their new world is okay. Usually I only hear them or feel, but this time I saw Daddycakes. I really did. It was so lovely. To see him happy there, with his daughter.

Okay. I’m gonna get started around here today, gang. Gotta get back to Blessed By Light. The editor, and the edits, are almost done and I will soon be getting started on new chapters. Only about 80 pages to go and the novel will be complete.

Have a wonderful Thursday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting! I love you, gang. See ya.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering yesterday why on earth I had one lonely CD of Anne Murray’s amongst all that Nick Cave and Tom Petty stuff, here’s why! Listen and enjoy, folks!! This is such an addictive song!)

 

 

 

It Was One of those Nights

I awoke at 2 a.m. and could not fall back to sleep until 3:30. Primarily thinking about Daddycakes and feeling like I didn’t do enough to save him and wondering if he was somewhere in the afterlife, angry at me for letting him die when he should have been in the prime of his kitty life.

It’s just so different when you’re dealing with rescued feral cats. They make the rules, because they are wild animals, and then you — or me actually; I am the one who has to try to figure out if I step aside and let them have their own connection to God’s world, or do I try to intervene somehow and make a decision about life and death?

Playing God, basically.  It got to the point where the cat was simply suffering too much and my heart couldn’t handle it so I had him put to sleep.

Then of course, by feeling guilty for the decisions I made regarding him, it means I think I am God: I should have known better, or I should have known more about that cat’s life or death and the quality of it or lack of it, and just done all sorts of different things that I can’t even imagine at this point.

Honestly, how can we possibly know those things?  We make those kinds of decisions through whatever filters we have in our brains that tell us we have answers to these sorts of questions and that’s not really saying very much at all. Because we don’t know how to create life; we know how to do away with it. We simply make a decision. And that’s not saying anything at all, in the scope of what is nonphysical, I mean.

Well, I finally made myself stop thinking about Daddycakes, and instead decided to worry about the novel.

I went to the grocery store late yesterday afternoon – always an investment of time because I live in the middle of the country and the grocery store is about 4 towns away.

It was a glorious spring day. It really was. The countryside was turning that tiny spring green.  Birds everywhere. Daffodils blooming in the most unlikely places. (And you know that a person had to plant those; daffodils don’t just spring up in the middle of nowhere along the highway. And that makes me love people, because I know I’m one of the passing strangers for which those daffodils were joyfully planted.) And all along the way, the farms had all their little baby calves out now, finding their footing in the green pastures.

It was just so beautiful. A testament to the renewal of life.

I’m guessing I was listening to something by Nick Cave, but I don’t recall what. It’s always either Nick Cave or Tom Petty. My little Honda fit is overflowing with CDs by either Nick Cave or Tom Petty and one single CD of Anne Murray’s Greatest Hits. (Inside my house is another story. In there, the world overflows with music of every possible stripe and persuasion. But for some reason, none of that makes it out to the car.)

(And to see me getting into the car is ridiculous: “Oh my god, what I am going to listen to?” If I’m going to the Dollar Store, it’s a 3-minute trip and the music is not so crucial. But everywhere else I go to from here in the middle of nowhere, is a journey. It requires a soundtrack. If I’m going far, far away, like to NY, then it’s hands down Tom Petty’s LIVE Anthology, because traveling on Interstate 80 is intensely American and so you need that American rock & roll; 3-minute awesome songs about falling in love or falling out of love, or chasing a dream and that’s basically it. It could not be better or more clear cut.

(But other journeys require Nick Cave, but he can be so dicey because you never know when he’s going to throw you under the fucking bus. Which is what I love about his writing, but it can get harrowing. You can be driving along at 95 MPH, which is what I tend to do out here on these highways, listening to “Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?” and at first you’re thinking, man what a song. Then the next minute, you have to pull over, grab your revolver from out of the glove compartment and shoot yourself because it’s just too fucking horribly SAD.

(Or, I guess, you can just turn the music off. But that’s the dilemma: you’re on a  journey that requires a soundtrack; you’re not supposed to turn it off. So I’ll sit there in the driver’s seat, engine on, looking at all the CDs and trying to figure out which one will not cause me to  want to shoot myself while going 95 mph?  Sometimes I sit there for several minutes, not going anywhere and driving myself insane.)

Anyway, I get to the grocery store, and in the parking lot, I get a message on my phone from the editor in NYC who is editing my novel, Blessed By Light.

She sends me updates, chapter by chapter, because it’s much easier to manage that way. And while all her comments thus far have been very positive, this particular message says: “This chapter kicks ass. Kudos.” Followed by comments on the next chapter: “Excellent chapter. He seems distraught, guilty, tired. Beautifully written.”

And while this made me feel good in the grocery store parking lot, at 3 a.m., alone in my bed in the guilt-ridden dark, all it did was make me wonder about the previous chapters, which were only “good”. Shouldn’t they all kick ass? Shouldn’t they all be beautifully written? Should I start all over from scratch? Am I a total failure now? I used to be a good writer.

You know, I start to doubt my sense of pacing, my sense of building a story arc, my sense of anything at all because I’ve suddenly forgotten what reality is even for. If I ever even knew, I mean.

Death does that to you. Even tiny little furry deaths.

Well, it’s another glorious spring day here in the Hinterlands. I’m going to give it all another shot and see how this day turns out.  As usual, no guarantees but I am tying so hard to be happy.  I have a wonderful novel in progress, that is sometimes good and sometimes it kicks ass.  I need to count my blessings today.

Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world.  Thanks for visiting. I love you, gang. And I leave you with this! See ya.

 

My Gratitude

I want to thank everybody, even total strangers visiting the blog or on Instagram, who showed love and support yesterday as I tried to cope with the death of Daddycakes.

When cats are feral, they are wild animals. It is so hard to know what to do and exactly when to do it when they are in peril or dying. So these last few days have not been at all fun – watching him suffer but knowing that he still had enough strength in him to attack a doctor.

Anyway, it’s over now and he’s at peace and his little family here is adjusting to his absence, and my friends, as well as total strangers showed me so much love. So that’s how the day is starting out today.

Hopeful.

I haven’t been able to really do too much on the novel since Sunday. But the comments from the editor keep coming in daily and they are making me feel good. Not too much needs changing – negligible grammar things. Yesterday, she said that the writing was poignant and funny like barbed wire.

Since the story is told totally in 2nd person from a man’s POV, and since the woman he is talking to never once says a thing throughout the entire novel, it’s imperative that the man be likable, believable, capable of making you, the reader, feel something. So, comments about how the editor is responding to the character are so important to me.

And so far, so good.  Loyal readers of this lofty blog know by now that Blessed By Light is unlike any novel I’ve written thus far, and it is coming entirely from the realm of the Muse. It’s been a really beautiful adventure.

Yesterday, before everything got horrifically dire with Daddycakes and I had to drop everything and somehow get him situated into the car without the help of any sort of restraint or cat carrying device and drive 30 miles to the veterinarian farther out into the country who was willing to treat a feral cat; before that happened – my new boots arrived.

I love these boots. They are vegetarian-friendly and yet look like leather. They fit perfectly and I just totally love them. And they hardly cost anything because they aren’t made of any sort of dead animal! Anyway, look!!

Okay! On that happy note, I’m gonna get the day underway here, gang. I’m trying like heck to stay focused on the love and just keep going, you know?

The future’s bright and I’ve got nothing but opportunities lining up at my door. I need to stay focused and charitable and generous and loving about the world and being in it. (Although, I have to say that Notre Dame Cathedral going up in flames while Daddycakes was dying was a little more than I could really process yesterday.)

Anyway. Thanks for visiting. I leave you with the song I played over & over in the car yesterday as I tried to keep Daddycakes calm. It worked. (On the trip home, though, without him, it only made me cry so I had to turn it off and just listen to the silence.) Okay. I love you, gang. See ya.

Into My Arms

I don’t believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

And I don’t believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that’s true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
To each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

But I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candles burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

c- 1997 Nick Cave

Me, again

I’ve kept a blog consistently since 1998.

Yes, that was actually years before they coined the word “blog.” I called it my online journal back then, or my way of touching base with my readers.

But in all these years, I have never posted twice in one day. Until today. I am just in such a state.  Watching my little guy die all afternoon. He’s still clinging. The process takes such a long time and at the same time, I don’t want it to end because I don’t want to say the final goodbye.

He’s aware of me, but he’s in his own world.  When I sing to him, his whole body relaxes.

For some reason, it makes me think of my childhood. I have so many memories – stretching back to when I was 6 months old. For some reason, I had many moments of lucidity when I was 6 months old. I can remember all sorts of things.

My earliest memory is of getting onto a plane in Cleveland. My mom holding me in her arms. And for some reason, I remember the stewardess really well. I thought she was so nice. I responded really strongly to her presence. Many years later, my mom could not believe I had that memory. She said, “You were 6 months old! You were screaming almost the whole trip!” Funny, I still don’t remember screaming. I told my mom that I didn’t recall screaming, but that I remembered the stewardess. And then my mom said, “Oh yeah, that’s right. She was able to get you to calm down.”

Anyway, this afternoon, as I laid on my family room floor, next to Daddycakes, I suddenly recalled my first day of kindergarten and how I wasn’t really all that scared of being away from my mom. I recall that I was kind of interested in everything that was going on around me. Which I thought – today – was kind of strange because I was so incredibly shy back then. But then I remembered that I had already been through 2 years of nursery school, and I was definitely not a big fan of that. That was when I was intensely shy.

I remembered that the nursery school sent around one of those VW buses. I remember an older, heavy-set, incredibly cheerful white-haired lady drove the VW. But I did not want to get in it. It pulled up in our driveway in Cleveland and I think I tried to run away. I know my mom had to force me to get into the little bus and go to nursery school. I was crying, I was just so shy and I did not want to be separated from my mom, even for a moment.

It did not go well for me, that first year. The teacher thought I was autistic. Apparently, she was not the first person to say this to my parents. I had a lot of the signs of autism. I don’t remember that they thought I was autistic back then, I only remember the teacher and my mom sitting me down in the empty classroom at the end of a school day, and they both talked to me in earnest about something. They were so terribly emotional about it. I remember honing in on their emotions. I remember them asking me if I understood what they were saying, and I remember saying yes. And I also remember, vividly, that I said yes specifically because I was keenly aware that they wanted me to say yes. I was trying to please them.

Many years later, when my mom was telling me that up until I was 3, they were all worried that I might be autistic, and then she told me about that afternoon in the classroom at the nursery school (which I remembered). Then she told me what she and the teacher were saying to me – about how I had to stop daydreaming all the time, and stop rocking in my seat and singing to myself, and that I had to talk to the teacher more, and to the other kids. Otherwise, I was going to have to leave the school. And then my mom said that I (at 3 years old) said, “okay,” that I would. And she said that the following day, I had completely changed. Overnight. And that from then on, nobody thought I was autistic.

So strange. Not only that I changed overnight, but that I can still remember being 3, and telling them “yes” only because I wanted to please them. And here, my saying yes, meant that I was suddenly never “autistic” again.

It’s funny the things you think about when you’re incredibly sad, trying so hard not to grieve. Grieving a little bit anyway. Thinking about life and what the heck it really is.

I worked quite a bit on the novel today – in between visiting the cat down on the floor.  I got some editing done on it but it’s been slow going. Then I read my online horoscope (Cainer.com, out of the UK — I’ve been reading that horoscope for about 20 years now), and he actually said that even while I have a 5-star Guardian Angel, my Guardian Angel is on a mini-vacation right now. He really said that! So I guess I shouldn’t be pushing too hard for inspiration today…

The only person I spoke to so far today was when I called a male friend of mine and asked him if I could borrow a shovel. Gonna have to bury a cat soon.

Just a sad little day.

Rainy April Sunday

That’s the view outside the window in my upstairs hall at the top of the stairs.

You can see that it is indeed a rainy Sunday morning in April, here in Crazysburg.

My cat, Daddycakes, is still alive.  He stays out in the open now, which is encouraging. He’s no longer hiding under the bed. And he sort of “engages” with us — meaning he stays around us, but he drifts away, eyes open.

His sisters, Tommy and Huckleberry, are kind of spooked by him. They’ll stare at him cautiously and won’t approach him. 2 of his daughters and his son don’t seem to really care too much, one way or the other, that he’s dying. They go about their business, as usual.

But his other 2 daughters, Doris and Lucy, who have been ridiculously attached to him their whole furry little lives, seem to be devastated by what is hanging on our horizon. They don’t show up for meals or treats, preferring to just hide away and occasionally eat the dry food set out for them upstairs.

So it’s sad. Every hour I give him a few drops of water from an eye-dropper type thing. And 3 times a day, I give him 5 drops of this other stuff.  Thank goodness, that’s down from having to give him 5 drops every 15 minutes, which is exhausting when you might prefer to sleep.  I don’t know that it will “save” him, and I do believe that if he’s choosing to go, he’s going to go; but you don’t want to just sit around and do absolutely nothing and simply watch your lovely creature die, do you?

The gestures are never meaningless even if they’re futile.

It’s all sad, sad, sad, and the rain is sort of doing all my crying for me. But oddly enough, I am able to focus on the novel. I guess because it’s my way of planting a sort of tree of life for the future.

Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a good Sunday – in fact, it’s Palm Sunday today, if you’re into that. I don’t like Palm Sunday, even though I’m a minister. To me, it’s just a reminder of how seriously the mob can turn on you within a handful of days and nail you to a cross. To me, I just want it to be a rainy Sunday in April.  I didn’t even take Communion today.

I leave you with what I’ve been listening to. Enjoy! (If that’s the right word for it.) I love you, gang. See ya.

Let us go now, my one true love
Call the gasman, cut the power out
We can set out, we can set out for the distant skies
Watch the sun, watch it rising in your eyes
Let us go now, my darling companion
Set out for the distant skies
See the sun, see it rising
See it rising, rising in your eyes
They told us our gods would outlive us
They told us our dreams would outlive us
They told us our gods would outlive us
But they lied
Let us go now, my only companion
Set out for the distant skies
Soon the children will be rising, will be rising
This is not for our eyes
 c- 2016 Warren Lee Ellis / Nicholas Edward Cave

I’m Afraid I’m Getting Ready

I’m afraid it’s getting to be time to say goodbye to Daddycakes (see post below about the ill health of my sweet cat).

It is always so sad when a creature you love must die. He’s only 7. He is so sick (kidneys) that I just don’t see how he is going to recover from this. So I’m trying to keep him comfortable and let him know that he has been a joy to me every moment that I have known him. Yes, even those times when I was sitting on my bed in my PJs and he came up unexpectedly and pissed on my back. I still loved the heck out of him.

All right.

I know to my American readers, it must seem like I’m on a mission to force you to love Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I sort of am on a mission. However, I don’t want to force feed you or anything.

If you’re interested, though, you can go to the official Nick Cave web site right now and sign up to stream his upcoming film, Distant Sky, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen. The free streaming happens Easter weekend. And then the film will have its official launch next year. Go here to sign up.  You can also watch some of the official footage on Youtube. It’s really, really good.

Well, I have to say I am really happy with the feedback I keep getting from the editor of my new novel, Blessed By Light. It’s a bittersweet happiness because, of course, my cat is dying.  And I’m also falling out of love at the same time. (Not with the cat; with the man I’ve been in love with.) So it’s all bittersweet around here. But I keep finding reasons to keep going.

Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a super terrific Saturday wherever you are in the world. I love you. See ya!

Nick Cave in earlier days. What’s not to love, gang??