Tag Archives: #SandraCaldwell

Hell’s Kitchen 5PM !!

Lunch was great. Sandra was awake and up and about, so she hopped a Lyft and joined me & Wayne.

We went to the West Bank Cafe. I hadn’t been there in maybe 25 years— something like that. From before my marriage to Wayne. Back when I was having an extremely intense short-lived affair with a bass player who was engaged to be married. He mistakenly thought I was a dyke so he used to flirt with me rather recklessly. I guess I turned out to be not such a dyke…

Anyway, it turns out that— lo! —  these many years later, Wayne is friendly with the owner there and he introduced me today as his wife!! It was weird. Both Sandra and I were, like — actually we didn’t know what to make of it. Right away, I said that I was his ex-wife, and then I felt kind of bad — you know, the blinding speed with which I clarified that. Like, you know, please don’t think for a fraction of a second that I’m married to this perfectly reasonable, well-groomed man sitting here or anything. I did feel kind of bad.

Yes, I did talk a little tiny bit at length about Nick Cave during lunch, but only because they FINALLY got around to asking me how the show was last night. Wayne, of course, knows at least some of Nick Cave’s music, so that was cool.

Now I am back in my room. I have been quite busy! I’ve taken about 30 naps; looked for photos of Nick Cave on Instagram— of which there were many; not just from the show last night but because it’s also his birthday today, so everyone’s posting his photo and wishing him a happy happy.

I also spoke at length on the phone to Valerie, even though I’m spending several hours with her tomorrow.  Luckily, even after nearly 40 years, we still don’t run out of things to talk about.

I’m not sure I will make any progress on rewrites of the play today. I just want to lay in bed, drift in & out of sleep. Listen to all the crazy traffic outside.

Here is what it looks like directly across from my (extremely filthy) window at the Airbnb.

    Outside the filthy Airbnb window. The no longer quite so hellish Hell’s Kitchen. 5 pm.

Okay! Have a terrific evening, wherever you are in the world, gang!! I love you guys!

Hotels Are Better…

There’s nothing at all wrong with this Airbnb. As Midtown Manhattan apartments go, it’s totally okay. But hotels are 100 million percent better.

For instance, another guest is here and sharing the bathroom with me. I don’t know who it is, but it showered during the night and used my one and only towel!! Now I can’t shower again until the magic towel fairy mysteriously shows up from wherever she actually lives and brings me a fresh one.

I would rather remain my own unshowered person indefinitely than use a damp towel after some total stranger in NYC used it.

But other than that, it’s a perfectly serviceable room. The bed isn’t terrible but it’s incredibly noisy right outside the window, so I only slept 3 hours.  I have nothing to do today but write and have lunch with Wayne, so I’m guessing I can just nap off and on all day if I want to.

NYC has gotten so crowded and so congested with traffic that it’s really just a pain in the ass kind of city now, with no charm, no character. All the things I used to love about it are gone, but it’s still fun to visit for brief little periods.

And I’m thinking that the plays will bring me back to NYC more and more, so I’ll deal with it. But seriously, it isn’t even the tourist season right now and it’s just wall to wall people.

I’m not sure yet how much of that meeting that I had yesterday is suitable for posting to the blog. I guess right now, the only thing I can say about it is that it was nothing like what I was expecting— in essence, the director hit the ground running, in terms of the things that will be coming quickly into place to begin getting the show off the ground. It was the start of a dream coming true, gang.

In the cab ride after the meeting, Sandra said, “Do you know how lucky you are? To have someone doing all this for your play?”

Yes, I do know. But it’s not luck. It’s a lot of prayer and it’s several years of paying really close attention to everything imaginable. 3 and a 1/2 years ago, I first saw a play he directed and I knew he was the director I wanted to work on Tell My Bones, which I hadn’t even adapted satisfactorily yet. Then it was all about connecting with him on social media; talking to him during the intermissions of every other play I saw that he directed.. Saying hello to him every single time I ever saw him anywhere, even though I knew he didn’t know me. Interrupting him at dinner once to tell him I was a writer. Then getting to know his significant other, meeting him for cocktails in NYC  and in Ohio , when the director was too busy. Then telling the significant other that Sandra and  I had a play I wanted the director to direct and, after he googled both me and Sandra, he said, “I’ll talk to him.” Finally, 3 years on, I emailed the director my script so that he could read it on an airplane because it was the only free moment he had….

I don’t really think of that as luck. It’s 3 and a 1/2 years of just staying incredibly focused. And also spending an enormous amount of time writing and rewriting and rewriting that play. But that aside — wow, gang. I could not be happier. We haven’t even raised one dime yet in production costs and yet he already has his game plan in place to get the play off the ground. By the time I came home from seeing Nick Cave last night,  I saw on my phone that the director was already beginning the social media campaign.

And that said!!

Wow, Nick Cave, gang. I am so glad I get the chance to see him again on Monday. It was so wonderful and the time just flew.  I will be up in the balcony on Monday so it won’t be the same but at least I’ll be there.  The venue last night was really just a fantastic place to see him In.  Sort of small. Great acoustics. Really comfortable. The reason why my 4th row Orchestra seat became the 7th row, is because 3 rows of seats were set up in the orchestra pit, since there was no orchestra last night. But it was still a great seat — and it wasn’t over to the side; it was dead center.

Anyway, it was just perfect. A totally perfect night. And his fans are really interesting people. I’m not saying that to flatter myself. But they really do seem to be a whole different type of person. A lot of foreigners were there. Really different fans, overall, from the old days. Still there’s also something about some of the old days that I kind of miss.

But I’m just so glad I got to go. I just love him so much.

Okay. At some point within the next 30 days, Edge of Humanity Magazine will publish my new installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa. I’ll keep you posted! And any day now, that excerpt of my new novel, Blessed By Light, will appear in the Exterminating Angel Press Magazine, so I’ll keep you posted about that, too.

And now I will scoot! I’m leaving you with a shot of my Airbnb room at dawn — my carry-on exploded. And then I did take one photo at Lincoln Center last night before the show started.

Have a wonderful (Nick Cave’s birthday) Sunday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

Dawn in the Airbnb. My little world exploded.
    Waiting for Nick Cave at Lincoln Center

A Big Money Pow Wow Kind of Day!

Yes, Sandra and I have done nothing but discuss this theater stuff.   To say that it’s weighing on me now is a slight understatement.

We’re taking the train into the city later this morning. Then I’m gonna check into my Airbnb. She’s going to drop her stuff off at her pied a terre. Then we go across town to meet with the director.

The front porch here is so inviting. It has wicker rocking chairs. I actually fell asleep for a few minutes while rocking yesterday in the sun, listening to the peace & quiet.

But then Sandra came out to the porch and we began discussing the play again, and my peace sort of fled me. She says, “ I want to hear what the director thinks, but I’m thinking we’re looking at a 2 million dollar budget for this play now.”

I just sort of looked at her.

I can’t really get my mind around that kind of a budget, but I’m inclined to believe her. The rewrites have been that drastic.

I can’t process it anymore. Of course, we’ll hear what the director is thinking about it, as well. But all I can do, really, is just focus on writing the best play I can and then not think one step beyond that. Just let life happen. Allow the Universe to work those miracles it is so famous for.

Several photos on Instagram this morning from Nick Cave’s Conversation in DC last night. Looks like it went splendidly!! I of course will not even be bringing my phone to Lincoln Center tonight.  I never take photos of events even when I’m allowed to. I just sort of like to be present and not even think about my phone. Tonight’s show is where I have the really good seat — 4th row of the Orchestra, over to the left.

Even while I have collected photos and micro clips on Instagram of every single one of these Conversations since the tour started in Australia in January, I’m oddly feeling like I have no idea what to expect.  The only thing I feel certain of is that the time will fly and I will wish that, instead, time would stop and it would go on forever.

However…

Okay, so I wrote a new segment for In the Shadow of Narcissa yesterday. I think I still might tweak it a tiny bit. But you can find the segment at the link to the site that’s somewhere here in the blog. I’m on my phone now so I can’t really see the navigation. But the link is here somewhere.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will likely spend the day in my room at the Airbnb working on rewrites of the play. Sandra and I might meet up with Wayne somewhere (my ex who is also a long time friend of Sandra’s). I’m not positive about that. I’m kind of keeping tomorrow open because Monday I’m sort of booked solid before the Conversation at Town Hall at 8pm, and I want to relax a little. I think. I guess we’ll see how it all pans out.

Okay. Yes, I’m in a bit of a weird mood, stemming from this colossal budget thing that I managed to create. No one but me seems at all disturbed by this so I’m trying to just let it go and chill, you know? I guess, like everything, we’ll just see.

I leave you with a shot of the quiet empty kitchen from just before I began to blog— when I grabbed another cup of coffee.  I get up so early, as you know. Not a soul around here is awake until hours after I get up.

Well, okay.

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

Early morning in the kitchen in Rhinebeck!

 

All Is Decidedly Well!

[UPDATE:  In the Shadow of Narcissa has updated. You can read it here! Thanks!]

(Now, back to the blog!)

Three nights in a row now, I have slept really great. No anxiety at all, even though all my challenges remain the same and, now that I’m here in Rhinebeck, focusing on both plays with Sandra, new challenges are arising. But that sense that everything will unfold however it needs to unfold is really pronounced.

So I’m good.

I can’t believe that the Conversations with Nick Cave resume tonight in DC. It seems like it came so fucking fast. Then tomorrow night, I see him in the city— and then again on Monday.

I’m doing that thing again — dragging my feet, trying to slow it all down, because it will be over in a heartbeat and life will just go on!

No!! How can that be??

When Sandra asked me who I was seeing in the city, and I said “Nick Cave,” she said, “but who are you seeing on Monday then?”

”Nick Cave.”

”Oh, then who are you seeing at Lincoln Center?”

”Nick Cave.”

”Wait— you’re seeing that dude twice?”

”Yeah.”

“You must like him a lot.”

”I do.”

”Who is he?”

Aaaarrrggggh!!!! Oh well. Clearly not every American is oblivious to Nick Cave because all the Conversations are sold out…

Sandra and I had a long discussion last evening re: Tell My Bones and I went over the director’s notes with her, even though I haven’t done the rewrites yet. She was very insightful and enthusiastic. Today, we’re going to go over the whole play, scene by scene, which will likely help me facilitate the rewrites.

I’m feeling extremely good about everything because Sandra’s response to this new version is very, very encouraging.

I have a feeling I’ll be spending most of my time at the Airbnb writing. Both on Tell My Bones and on a new segment for In the Shadow of Narcissa. I’m planning to spend Monday with Valerie. But other than that, I think I’ll just be hanging out by myself, writing.

Yesterday, Sandra and I went and had lunch at this place I really like because it has great vegetarian options. And in there, I swear to you — I’m not lying about this — one of the guys who works there, who looked to be in his late teens, early 20s tops, came on to me!! I was completely taken aback by this because I was in one of those intense moods where I wasn’t even smiling. At first I thought maybe he was attracted to my Tom Petty tee shirt. But, no, it seemed that he was actually attracted to ME! And I was, like, WOW.  Now that is interesting, right? It’s like they get younger and younger.

Is it because I’m getting more and more immature?!!

When I woke up this morning, at 5:45 am, my brain was reciting various odd stanzas from Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric.”  I hadn’t thought of that poem in years. This is that area of the country, where he lived, roamed, thrived, wrote. Really, when you get to the East Coast you can feel the ghosts of all those sensibilities— writers and thinkers who settled here, drew in the Nature that was all around here back then, and then created from that intake. Rhinebeck is just one of those places that retains its history. It’s part of daily life. It’s the reason why I love it so much — but it does come with a huge price tag. It’s really expensive to live out here.

New Yorkers do that to a place: they buy a summer home somewhere up the Hudson, then decide it’s so nice, let’s make it year round. Then everyone catches on and does the same thing, and in a heartbeat, the price of everything goes through the roof and city people are all over the place.

Okay! Well, I hope things are good in your part of the world, gang. I’m gonna grab some more coffee and hang out and think about life until Sandra emerges from the boudoir. I leave you with a shot looking down in the neighbors yard at 6:30 am this morning.

Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya.

Looking down at the neighbor’s yard in Rhinebeck 6:30 am

 

How Nice!! My Brain Returned!!

That’s good news, right? I woke up this morning and had a functioning human brain again!

Of course, the slightly bad news is that I still can’t wrap my mind around those extensive notes for the ending segment of Tell My Bones, and my mind seems to be leaning toward writing the next installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa this morning anyway. So I’m getting the feeling that I’m gonna do that.

And then maybe vacuum the house…

And then maybe sit and think about the play…

Sandra finally texted yesterday that she liked the new version but wasn’t understanding how we were going to do a staged reading of it because it now feels so cinematic.

AAAAACCHHH!!

I totally forgot that I have to completely rewrite the staged reading version of the play now, too. (And if you’re deranged enough to be following the progress of all of my far-flung projects, you might recall that I have yet to revise the show bible for Cleveland’s Burning since I did the 4th draft of it back in October…) (And the veteran African-American television actor who was negotiating with me to attach  himself to the TV pilot to play the grandfather role, decided to die the other day. Literally. Peitor texted me from Italy on Friday saying only: “John died.” Oh fuck, now that’s good news…) (And all of my own selfish needs aside; that guy was a really, really nice man.)

Anyway.

I cannot even begin to comprehend how to write the staged reading version of Tell My Bones at this point, without the director basically drawing me a detailed blue print & map. Either that, or I’ll just shoot myself and hope for a better, non-writing, life next time around.

Honestly. I cannot even begin to imagine what the staged reading of this version of the play is gonna look like. I simply cannot.

However, what I told Sandra is: no worries, we all just need to have a chat about it in person once I get there, figure it all out! She texted back a cheery “thumb’s up.”

So we’ll just see what the heck the future brings re: this amazing play because I sure as hell cannot figure it out.

I actually can’t figure anything out. To be honest, way down deep at the core of everything, I don’t even know what Life is or why I exist. I’m just wingin’ it on every level, pretty much every day.

Before I forget — please be on the lookout for the upcoming Fall Issue of the Exterminating Angel Press Magazine (online) because they have an excerpt of my new novel, Blessed By Light, in there!! They’re printing Chapter 18, which is titled, “The Guitar Hero Goes Home.” I will, of course, keep you posted.

All righty. That said, while I still have a functioning brain around here today, I’m gonna scoot and take a look at how I feel about writing a new segment for In the Shadow of Narcissa. And then, depending on how I end up feeling about that, I’ll either write or vacuum. And try not to think about this indescribably stressful trip that is now looming — 3 days away. (And why I decided not to fly… I just don’t understand me sometimes.) (And my TSA Precheck number arrived yesterday — in plenty of time for that flight I’m now not taking.)

Okay. Have a beautiful Sunday, wherever you are in the world. And if you’d like to apply for the job of being my BRAIN, do get in touch. God knows there is often a vacancy there. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys! See ya!

Oh, and the Stateside leg of the Conversations with Nick Cave (aka In Conversation, and Words + Music) begins in, like 5 days….. Can you believe that?  Where is the time fucking going??!!.

Okay. I leave you with this! (Yes, more soul-wreching Dalida! Always a good indication that my sanity is sort of sliding away… Enjoy, gang!)

“La petite maison bleue”

La petite maison bleue
Est envahie de silence
La maison de mon enfance
Me fait mal quand je la voisC’est pourtant plus fort que moi
J’y retournerai sans doute
Je reprendrai cette route
Qui mène à mes souvenirs

C’est ici que j’ai grandi
Que j’ai découvert la vie
Ces beaux jours s’enfuient déjà
Revibrant toujours en moi

La petite maison bleue
A mes yeux reste la même
C’est ici que ceux que j’aime
Ont connu des jours heureux

Ma jeunesse est restée là
Au détour de ce chemin
Ma jeunesse est restée là
Quelquepart dans ce jardin

La petite maison bleue
Est envahie de tristesse
Mais elle est pour moi quand même
La maison des jours heureux

La maison des jours heureux

c – 1968 Detto Mariano, Don Backy, Michel Jourdan

Me, A Grown Up!

All right, well. I got the new car.

No CD player. It’s all about streaming.

What the fuck? Do they not know how many CDs I still own? And even though I do stream a ton of music, there are hundreds of  CDs that I don’t have in any sort of streaming version, including some Nick Cave stuff and several early Tom Petty CDs. I’m not sure how they think I’m going to be able to pull out of my driveway without certain songs on certain days.

I don’t actually have a driveway, but still. The thought of ripping CDs onto my laptop then transferring them to my phone– I am not a Geek. I am a crazed, lunatic writer. I do not have time to do stuff like that anymore.

That pissed me off so much that I almost got right back out of the car and said, “Take this back, please, and give me the old Honda Fit.” This grown-up business really sucks.

But here is the car I got. This is not the actual car. I don’t have a showroom to park it in. But I am too lazy to go downstairs right now and photograph the actual car. But it looks just like this, so don’t worry.

2019 Molten Lava Pearl Honda Civic LX 4 Door Automatic (CVT) 2.0L I4 DOHC 16V i-VTEC Engine FWD

It does weird things like drives for you automatically for 10 seconds. It has a radar up front that automatically applies your brakes if someone ahead of you puts on their brakes. It keeps pace with the car in front you: if that car speeds up or slows down, you do, too. It has automatic lights so that you can blind people with your brights at night without meaning to — or you can drive in complete darkness, if you prefer to not blind people. (That seems to be my option: blind others or drive in total darkness.)

The other thing it does, which totally cracks me up because I love language: if you inch outside of your lane at either side, an orange warning comes on in front of you that reads: Lane Departure.

That word “departure” is what cracks me up. Who thought of that? They probably thought “watch what you’re doing, asshole” was too offensive to the driver, or that “put your fucking phone down & pay attention, you’re driving!” was too long to cram into that little orange space.

But the thing that disappoints me the most about the Civic is that it does indeed go really fast, but it is a more solid vehicle than the Fit so you do not feel like you’re going really fast. There is no soaring sort of thrill. So what is the point of going really fast? I might as well just go the fucking speed limit, you know? And save on gas and stuff like that.

They are forcing me to grow up. And I do not appreciate it. However, it is mine for the next 3 years.

As I was leaving the Honda dealership in the new car yesterday, across the street was a used car lot and right out there in front was a used Hellcat. It was in a bright metallic lime green color, not my favorite. But still. I looked at that car as I drove away and my heart sank… (Those Hellcats go from 0 to 210 mph in about 3 seconds. I realize there’s no earthly reason to do that if you’re not drag racing, but still. It just made me feel so sad.)

Anyway. So now I look like a grown up when I’m in my perfectly grown up car. (I’m not one, but no one will know that.)

Okay, well. Sandra and I actually spoke on the phone for 4 seconds yesterday. I was in the Honda dealership when she finally called me and I couldn’t talk. So now we are playing phone tag. A step up from texting…

The play rewrites are, of course, not finished. I’m getting stressed and depressed and all that stuff that I do so well. But I decided late last night  to do some radical segment-intending, 24/7, for the next several days and pull myself past this. I usually only do segment-intending when I’m getting ready to get into the car. I have two profound needs whenever I’m driving. The main one is to not kill any animals out here in the middle of nowhere where there are so many scurrying about, and the other is to not wreck the car, since I am only borrowing it for 3 years and then giving it back.

For me, my segment-intending always includes giving appreciation to St. Francis (animals) and St. Christopher (the car). And then of course to Christ because he’s that thing in my life that tries to keep me from generally going insane.  But segment-intending doesn’t really involve saints unless you’re me and your mind chooses to do weird shit like that.

But segment-intending works extremely well. So I decided to break the day/night into 5-hour segments, so every 5 hours, I visualize the next 5 hours going really smoothly and me not stressing out — staying calm, happy, even.

So far, it is working great. It really is. I’m in my second segment right now and not freaking out about anything at all, and only thinking of death as a viable solution in the most meager, fleeting sort of way. (Just kidding about that.)

And I slept like a rock for 5 hours last night, woke up and wasn’t worried about anything at all. I feel like I have this sort of mental protective force-field all around me, keeping out the garbage thoughts, and helping me just stay calm. It really is interesting, how my mind can actually feel it — feel protected, I mean. From my own thoughts.

However, on that note, my mind will feel even better when I finish the rewrites on the play so I better get started here. (Oh, I’ll mention here that it looks like all those additional Conversations with Nick Cave for January 2020 that went on sale yesterday sold out in, like, 4 minutes. I think this means that he is never going to stop conversing. This is not a judgement at all, but an observation.)

Okay!! I leave you with this song I used to really just love. It was breakfast-listening music today and I hadn’t heard it in years. I still loved it.  It is such a soaring song. “The Whole of the Moon,” from The Waterboys album, This is the Sea (1985). Enjoy. Have a super Saturday, wherever you are in the world, gang. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!

“The Whole Of The Moon”

I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moonYou were there at the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truths
You cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To get too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferry boats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars

Yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

c – 1985 Mike Scott

Where Does it Go?

Man, I woke up this morning finally feeling defeated.

For the third morning in a row, the house was really cold and I had to face the fact that I needed to close some of my windows.

It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s still only August and it feels like the whole Universe is trying to tell me that the summer is over. How did it slip through my fingers like that? It makes me so incredibly sad.

And I texted Sandra, finally, because I needed to face the fact that I have to talk on the phone with her as soon as she’s back in New York and discuss these many revisions I’m doing to Tell My Bones and just see what she has to say about it, and I am well aware that this could drastically change the scope of my entire trip to NYC in a few weeks. (Plus, I have to get a new car and I should probably do that before I go to NYC. Just all this major stress stuff.)

The director should be emailing me this morning about my most recent pages, and hopefully have some suggestions about how I can best proceed out of the morass I’m currently in with the script.  So I know that will help combat my feelings of defeat. Plus, the guy I was giving piano lessons to — he actually put his house up for sale many weeks ago, and he has finally moved to a new house and is unpacking so, soon, the piano lessons will resume and that will make me feel happy.

However, these things won’t make the summer last longer.

During breakfast, I kept thinking about this time last year, and how incredible it was. I suddenly began writing Blessed By Light, a novel unlike anything I’d ever written and my life began to get magical. And also during the last 2 weeks of August last year, my house was filled with all those amazing furnace repair guys. They were updating all the ducts and upgrading my furnace and they were just such amazingly cool, good-looking Hillbilly-Deluxe hippie guys — I loved having them here, even though I was trying to write a new novel the whole time.

But it had felt like fucking summer still, you know? Last year, the summer lasted all summer.

I just can’t get used to how quickly time flies, the older I get. It’s the only thing about getting older that I can’t handle so well.

After breakfast, I did my meditation but it didn’t help. My thoughts wound up drifting right back to the weather. You know, I look at the weather forecast for the upcoming week and it will be, like, the most perfect weather imaginable: 80s Fahrenheit in the daytime and down to the upper 50s at night. Perfect weather. My absolute favorite kind of weather. Why am I so depressed about it? It’s all about my windows: I just hate having to close my windows because that just makes me feel like it’s Fall. It’s hard to believe that closing some of my windows could make me feel this depressed.

I finally gave up trying to meditate because it clearly wasn’t happening today. I laid in bed for awhile, just thinking about feeling so defeated.  Why does my brain suddenly take these hard detours down paths that aren’t good for me to think about? It doesn’t help anything.

And then I suddenly remembered that tomorrow is the anniversary of Greg’s death. It could be that that’s what is underlying all this. I remembered what the weather was like that week he died. So hot, so sunny. Back then, no one went back to school until early September, so it was still very much “summer.”  I remembered going to the corn festival the night after Greg died — a sort of County Fair — and how intensely difficult that was for me to process; all that frivolity and yet Greg was dead. I remembered going to the funeral home, too, and not expecting it to be an open casket since he had been killed in an accident. But the damage had been done to the back of his head, so his parents had an open casket viewing. And when I walked into that funeral home and unexpectedly saw him there, I wanted to die myself and the hardest part was knowing that I wouldn’t. And the funeral itself was on the most beautiful sunny, hot summer day.

Jesus Christ. 45 years ago. I don’t understand where that time went. As I was lying in bed, I was thinking about some of my friends from that era, and most of the girls I knew back then are all grandmothers now. And I still feel 12. I don’t understand that. I don’t know why I can’t grow up, like everybody else did. It made me feel really, really sad this morning. I got older, but I didn’t grow up.

Anyway. Hopefully, as the day goes on, I will feel better about everything. Nick Cave is in Helsinki tonight so there should be stuff on Instagram. I always love that. A couple of people have posted from there already. Currently, some one has posted that he/she is absolutely thrilled about tonight. I don’t know the gender of Finnish names, but whoever it is, this person is extremely happy and is on a train heading there as I type!

So, well, life goes on.

Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya.

What A Difference 20 Million Hours of Sleep Makes!

Or, in my case, 8 !!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good Vibrations”

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Ahh)

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

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

c – 1967 Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Tony Asher

An Ode to Sylvia & A Bunch of Other Stuff!

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”

[Chorus]
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

c- 1971 Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff

Yeah, Baby! Drive Happy!!

Spent the wee bonny hours of this beautiful Friday morning at the Honda dealership!

My treasured Honda Fit was acting wonky during that intense heat wave over the weekend and so I had them look at it.  It was feeling like the floor board was gonna drop out of it and I would soon be driving like the Flintstones & the Rubbles:

Image result for fred flintstone car

I love my feet! I wasn’t looking forward to having to run real fast on the freeway…

But after they checked it out, it was a balance issue and Honda had 2 recommendations. There was a $460 difference.

  • I could either get 4 brand new tires.  (approx. $500)
  • I could just drive slower on the really hot days for the next few months, until my lease is up and I trade in my Honda Fit for a new one, and then just pay for the diagnostics they ran today. (approx. $40)

I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it — meaning for about a nanosecond.  Tossed them their 40 bucks and then toodled away! Going my usual 95 mph as soon as I was out of everyone’s field of vision.

But I’m thinking I might fly to NYC in September instead of putting all that wear & tear on the tires, even though I hate flying.  Because I’m guessing that when I do trade it in for a new lease, they’re gonna be inspecting those tires under a microscope (one of those giant tire-sized microscopes that you so often see). (I’m feeling like they’re gonna get $500 out of me somehow…)

Anyway! I’m feeling happy! I’d thought it was gonna be a strut issue of some kind and that can get stupidly expensive.

So!

Yes! Even though I had begged her not to do it, Sandra did in fact take another role in a TV show up in Toronto. A 5-show arc. And so she texted that she “might have to switch up those rehearsal days”.

But’cha know… this meant I didn’t have to explain (yet) just how drastically I am re-writing the play, yet again.

The director texted me that since I am doing such intensive re-writes, we could all just wait and begin rehearsals in NYC in September.

So I texted Sandra and magnanimously said that whatever works best for her, works best for us! — “Oh, and I’m doing  a few more revisions. We can discuss it later.”

(Although, Sandra probably got my text and wondered, how come Marilyn’s being so calm about this and didn’t include a million exclamation points and tons of unhappy-looking emojis?)

Anyway!! I no longer have to do this massive amount of writing in 2 weeks. And the director wrote during the night saying that he loved the new opening pages and that I was a” beautiful and inspiring writer”.

And I said “thanks” and left out the part about how I had a beautiful & inspiring Muse. I decided to just take all the credit for the moment. (It was super early when his email arrived and the world  was still dark, I was still cozily in bed and I only had one eye open and I didn’t want to type some long, drawn-out reply about how amazing my Muse is… so “thanks” seemed sufficient for now.)

So now I have 6 weeks for re-writes instead of 2 and my life couldn’t be better!

However, because of my visit to Honda, which, like everything else around here, is 25 miles away, my morning is gone. So I gotta scoot, gang.

Have a great Friday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting! (Oh, and, wow! thanks for all those visits to the In the Shadow of Narcissa site yesterday. I appreciate it. And I did get one inquiry about how to access the actual posts there — you have to click on the title. And the segments will be posting in reverse order.)

All righty! I love you guys. See ya!

“The Flintstones Theme Song”

Yabba-dabba-doo!

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They’re the modern Stone Age Family
From the town of Bedrock
They’re a page right out of history

Let’s ride with the family down the street
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We’ll have a gay old time

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones
They’re the modern Stone Age Family
From the town of Bedrock
They’re a page right out of history

Someday maybe Fred will win the fight
Then the cat will stay out for the night

When you’re with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We’ll have a gay old time

We’ll have a gay old time!
Yeah!

c – 1960 Hanna/ Curtin/ Barbera