Tag Archives: Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Book

Thoughts On A Post-Virus Rainy Morning

I’m trying not to get zealous and overdo it around here, but I do think the virus has moved out of my lungs, finally.

I awoke at 4:30am and laid there for awhile, feeling absolutely fantastic. My breathing was completely back to normal for the first time in 9 days. Plus, my bed felt really incredible. On the phone yesterday, my dad had persuaded me to change my sheets and wash the blankets, etc., because I’d been in the same bedding since before I’d gotten sick.

And then I realized I’d also been wearing the same darn chemise with the same white tee shirt on top of it for the entire time, too.

Even though I had found the energy everyday to take a 2-minute shower, I would just get right back into the same chemise, tee shirt, and collapse back into the same bed linens.  And I realized that my dad was right — it was probably a good idea to get up the energy to do some laundry.

Just FYI — even though, on the outside — or I should say “verbally” — my reaction to anything any man ever tells me to do is to automatically  say “no;” I am in fact intensely submissive by nature and, 99.9% of the time, I will first say “no” and then do exactly what I’m told.

MY DAD (on phone): “You really ought to wash those sheets, Marilyn. That virus is probably all over them.”

ME (on phone): “I don’t think so. I’m so tired. I don’t think the virus lives that long on fabric…” (gets out of bed, washes sheets, then washes everything else in sight)

(The only man I say “no” to and then steadfastly adhere to that intensely negative mindset is the second husband. When/if he ever advises me to do something, I not only automatically say “no,” but a filter type thing — called “You’re Not the Boss of Me” — also gets lowered down over the inside of my brain to ensure that no advise he is trying to give me permeates my consciousness in any way whatsoever.)

Okay. Anyway. All those clean sheets and blankets and the clean tee shirt/chemise helped me get the best sleep I’d had in awhile.

And now I’ve officially switched to the Spring/Summer sheets, too — the 125,000-thread-count pure cotton sheets from Italy. So it was really just a great night’s sleep, and I woke up breathing. Like I used to do 9 days ago.

I don’t know how you guys are about Easter (assuming you celebrate it at all), but for me, even though it’s a joyous holiday, it’s also a day where I do a lot of thinking about my life. Meaning, if the Resurrection is telling me anything at all, it’s telling me to look at my life before I die. Is this how I want to be living it? If not, then here’s yet another chance to try to get it right.

Usually, every single darn year, my answer is “no, this is not how I want to be living my life,” and in this case, the word “no” is not because I have a serious issue with male authority. It’s because whenever I’m pressed to really take account of my life, I’m simply never satisfied with how I’m living it.

The older I get, the tighter the focus gets on “my work.” If I die today, and leave this huge amount of unfinished work behind, it would be okay. Because I honestly believe that we get to finish in the Afterlife whatever we left unfinished here.

However, I also believe really strongly that I didn’t come here to be physical and to start a bunch of projects, just to go back over there (wherever there is) and finish them there, you know? Why bother to come here at all then, right? So I am hopeful that, before I die, I’ll finish all these many projects I have that are half-finished. Even if I don’t get them out into the world, I’d like to at least leave a tidy stack of finished novels, memoirs, stories, micro-short screenplays, and plays on my desk, with a little handwritten note to my sister on the top of the stack: Please take care of these. Thank you.

(Plus, I still really, really want to record that album with Peitor, of maybe 14 or 15 of my favorite songs that I wrote when I was a singer-songwriter, too.) (Readers of this lofty blog, perhaps recall that back when a VP at Columbia Records was trying to get me signed there, Peitor produced a demo for me in his studio that I absolutely loved. He made my songs & my voice sound like nothing else I had ever heard before; I really felt he captured a certain magic in my songs. But the VP at Columbia Records famously said to me, “Why are you singing like this? I can’t do anything with this.” So I’d really like a chance to go back into the studio for real this time, and have Peitor produce all of my best songs. Maybe title it: This is Why I’m Singing Like This, Even If You Can’t Do Anything With It…)

So, since it was Easter yesterday, I was thinking about this stuff — my life. And realizing that I’m going to be 60 in about 14 seconds, so I really need to make a commitment to trying harder to get this stuff done.

Part of the challenge is that most of my projects aim a little higher than I can reach, so I always have to evolve as a writer while I’m in the process of doing the writing.  My vision for what I want to achieve with my work is always way out there beyond my grasp, so I am always in the process of finding my way.  (When I first began writing Neptune & Surf in 1994, inspired by an extremely long day/night of drinking in Coney Island with Holly Lane, I had never written anything longer than short stories.  I know for a fact that I re-wrote the opening page to that book 60 or 70 times before I could even undertake writing the rest of the book; I was trying to learn how to write.)

Well, anyway, I decided yesterday that for however long I continue to be alive over here on this side of reality, my mind is just going to have to work harder. Find better words. String them together in a better way. And then if I die anyway and nothing’s finished, well, I’ll worry about it when I get to the Afterlife.

On other topics — I am now deeply into Love in the Time of Cholera and just loving every moment of that book. It is indeed better to be reading it during not only a pandemic, but also to be in some weird form of all-consuming love that has no roadmap whatsoever. It’s good to be reminded that for all time, throughout everything, people have managed to love unconditionally with no hope of grasping any conclusion, while life just went barreling on and tumbling down all around them.

So. I’m learning to just let each day be whatever it has to be.

The Nick Cave art book, Stranger Than Kindness, is just really interesting — thought-provoking; indeed a ponderer’s paradise. Although his handwriting is often just indescribably indecipherable. Lots of original versions of song lyrics are in the book.  And I really love seeing what writers write, re-write, re-visit, and then compare it to what was ultimately chosen as the finished vision.

I’m not super well-informed about The Birthday Party era of Nick Cave’s career. I have the Boys Next Door album (CD) that has the song “Shivers” on it and I think that album is so good. It really captures that era of music so well. The songs are very good, too, when placed directly in that whole scene. But I didn’t know anything about the Boys Next Door or the The Birthday Party when I first discovered Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in 1985. I was so blown away by the Bad Seeds stuff that I hit the ground running with that. (Plus, it was really difficult and expensive to get import albums back then, even in NYC, and I was extremely poor back then.) Over recent years, I have since watched various videos of The Birthday Party on YouTube and they are really good songs.

I also have had the book King Ink, since forever. (Scarily enough, I now see that I have had it for 31 years now. It is really extremely difficult at this moment to wrap my mind around that number.) I remember the day I bought it so perfectly. I was in St. Mark’s Bookstore, on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. I had no money to speak of, but I was planning to buy some of those underground zines that I used to love — and I got published in several of them, too, btw.

My eyesight must have been amazing back then because I remember the whole sky cracking open when I suddenly saw, way over at the front of the store, way up high, behind the cash registers, far, far from where anyone could possibly touch it or steal it, there was a book written by Nick Cave.

I was, like, holy fucking moly. And I put everything down that I was thinking I was going to buy and went directly to the cashier and asked him if that book was by Nick Cave the songwriter, and he said yes, and then I told him I had to have that book. He looked at me dubiously because he had to climb up on a ladder to retrieve it and he said sort of disgustedly, “It’s $25…”

I was quite taken aback by that amount because I truly couldn’t afford that amount, but I still had to have it, so I made the guy get it down for me, and I bought it without even knowing what the fuck it was. It was the only copy of the book that they had (it was an import from England) and I felt like the cashier was going to grab it right back from me because I’m sure it was written all over my face: oh my god, I can’t afford this. So I bought it. (And we won’t discuss the myriad insane things I had to scramble around and do back in those days to try to scrape together my fucking rent even without buying a $25 book.)

Well, long story even longer — all The Birthday Party song lyrics were included in King Ink. So I have at least known the lyrics to their songs since 1989. But I didn’t know the music to them until years later.

Their songs are very, very interesting. Intense, dark, funny, and, well, intense. And a couple of the original handwritten lyrics are included in Stranger Than Kindness. So I was thinking about those songs a lot yesterday, too. I played “Mutiny in Heaven” on YouTube several times. While it’s obviously dark, I think it’s just an incredible song.Unbelievable. (It is down below the photograph.)

Anyway. In the photo from one of my bookcases in my family room just now, you can see that I thought it was worth the $25 I didn’t have — 6 moves and 31 years later.  (Oh, and down at the bottom of that horizontal stack, is a book that contains the script and some movie stills from Francois Truffaut’s famous film, The 400 Blows. I took the book out of the local library when I was 15 and loved that book (and the film itself) so much, that I wound up stealing that book from the library and was not allowed to use the library ever again. But you can see that I thought that book was worth it, too — 14 moves and 45 years later.)

Okay, see ya, gang. I gotta scoot! Thanks for visiting. I love you!!

 

“Mutiny In Heaven”

Well ah jumpt! and fled this fucken heap on doctored wings
Mah flailin pinions, with splints and rags and crutches!
(Damn things nearly hardly flap)
Canker upon canker upon one million tiny punctures
That look like…
Long thin red ribbons draped across the arms of a lil mortal girl
(Like a ground -plan of Hell)
Curse these smartin strings! These fucken ruptures!
Enough! Enough is enough!
(If this is Heaven ah’m bailin out)
If this is Heaven ah’m bailin out
Ah caint tolerate this ol tin-tub
So fulla trash and rats! Felt one crawl across mah soul
For a seckon there , as thought as wassa back down in the ghetto!
(Rats in Paradise! Rats in Paradise!)
Ah’m bailin out! There’s a mutiny in Heaven!

Ah wassa born…
And Lord shakin, even then was dumpt into some icy font
Like some great stinky unclean!
From slum-chuch to slum-church, ah spilt mah heart
To some fat cunt behind a screen…

Evil poppin eye presst up to the opening
He’d slide shut the lil perforated hatch…at night mah body
Blusht
To the whistle of the birch
With a lil practice ah soon learnt to use in on mahself
Punishment?! Reward!! Punishment?! Reward!!
Well, ah tied on…percht on mah bed ah was…
Sticken a needle in mah arm…

Ah tied off! Fucken wings burst out mah back
(Like ah was cuttin teeth!!)
Ah took off!!!
(Rats in Paradise! Rats in Paradise!)
There’s a mutiny in Heaven!

Oh Lord, ah git down on mah knees
(Ah git down on mah knees and start to pray)

Wrapped in mah mongrel wings, ah nearly freeze
In the howlin wind and drivin rain
(All the trash blowin round ‘n’ round)
From slum-heaven into town
Ah take mah tiny pain and rollin back mah sleeve
(Roll anna roll anna roll anna roll)
Ah yank the drip outa mah vein! UTOPIATE! Ah’m bailin out!
UTOPIATE!
If this is Heaven ah’m bailin out!
Mah threadbare soul teems with vermin and louse
Thoughts come like a plague to the head…in God’s house!
Mutiny in Heaven!
(Ars infectio forco Dio)
To the plank!
(Rats in Paradise! Rats in Paradise!)
Ah’m bailin out!
(Hail Hypuss Dermio Vita Rex!)
Hole inna ghetto! Hole inna ghetto!
(Scabio Murem per Sanctum…Dio, Dio, Dio)

©  1983 Nick Cave, Mick Harvey

Just When You Think You’re Cats Are Good for Nothing….

One of them brings you tea in bed!

Yes, I know — don’t say it!! I can give my cats the virus…. So, no, I haven’t actually allowed them to bring me any tea.

I’m feeling noticeably better this morning. However, it’s the same darn thing: As soon as I start moving around, go downstairs and get the breakfast, etc., I get worn out again. All I can really safely do is lie on my back and scroll through Instagram endlessly. Or prop myself up on more pillows and read either Love in the Time of Cholera or THIS (which arrived on my kitchen porch yesterday!!):

 

 

 

 

 

This book weighs a ton, though. So I actually have to sit up to read this one. It is quite entrancing, I have to say.  (This is the companion book to Nick Cave’s art exhibit that will open at some point soon in Copenhagen. I am finding the book very, very, very interesting, indeed.)

And then, when I lie on my side, hug my various pillows and stare in the direction of my night table, I can continue to stream movies on my iPad! Last night, I began watching Patrick Melrose (2018), which stars Benedict Cumberbatch. It originally ran on Showtime, which I didn’t subscribe to so I didn’t get to see it, but now it’s streaming free on Amazon. So I’m watching it. It is really well done but very intense. Pushes many, many, many of my childhood/young adult buttons (frightening parents, suicidal tendencies, massively out of control drug abuse), but so far, I’m handling it. It really is very well done.

Well, today is Holy Saturday. And tonight is the Easter Vigil. I have no plans to do anything at all but lie in bed and do the various aforementioned things, as well as sleep a lot. But it’s kind of good, you know, because all this enforced downtime and alone-time gives me a whole lot of time to ponder things, and that’s probably my favorite thing on Earth to do! So, as long as I’m still breathing okay, I won’t complain.

(I am kinda wondering what’s gonna happen when I run out of food, though. Although Kara texts every day, to see if I need anything. I just hate to have her go out into the virus to buy me stuff and then drive for a total of 50 miles just to drop it all off on my porch. I guess we’ll see. Within the next few days, I am going to run out of food.)

All righty, that’s it for now. I’m going back to bed. I hope you are having a good weekend, wherever you are in the world!!Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

 

 

 

 

 

All Sorts of Happy Things!!

You know, this morning, in my Inner Being dialogue journal thingy, my Inner Being informed me that there was no actual blueprint for my day.

This probably seems insane to you — that my Inner Being would even take the time to tell me something that seems like a no-brainer to anyone else on Earth. But my days are so intensely structured, day after day after day, that I do not have any clue how to simply relax and do nothing.

I absolutely do not know how to do this. I have no clue.

This stems from years and years and years of battling depression and suicidal tendencies and mental illness. Keeping myself on a productive schedule, forcing my mind to stay occupied with creative things, has literally kept me alive.

However, now that the whole world has come to a standstill, this rigid schedule is starting to have a little bit of an opposite effect — that whole “Groundhog Day” thing, where everything feels exactly the same as yesterday, and so I wake up each day, wondering what Nick Cave is wearing wondering what am I going to work on today, what am I going to have for breakfast, will I do yoga or  Booty Core later, etc., and it all feels eerily the same.

Since I don’t want to inch even minutely in the direction of depression, my Inner Being apparently advised me to let go of the rigid structuring for a change of pace.

So, what might seem crazy to you, feels like a godsend to me!

And it occurred to me that maybe right now isn’t the best time to be working on In the Shadow of Narcissa, since it’s not something I want to post online anymore — or not regularly. And my blog readers really like erotica, so maybe I should just work on something erotic, that I can post online? Maybe something for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse?

So I’m thinking about that — about switching gears for today. (Or maybe even for the duration of the pandemic.)

And I also want to thank you guys who are buying my books right now, even the titles that are not on Smashwords and that are not on sale. I really appreciate that, since these are not new books.

And I am struggling with this idea of whether or not I should continue to self-publish, in order to get my new work in the pipeline sooner.

I honestly just don’t know.  I chose to self-publish Freak Parade, after 5 years of publishers telling my agent that they couldn’t categorize an anti-hero like Eddie Ramirez, so how would they market it? When I self-published Freak Parade, it cost me a good chunk of money to hire someone to design the cover, hire the model, do the photo shoot, and then an editor to professionally format the text. But it did go on to take home the Silver Medal in its category at the Independent Publishers Awards at the Book Expo in NYC that year, so I was really, really proud of that. I was up against actual small presses.

I’m not going to attempt to self-publish if I can’t keep up those types of standards, and then I think: well, if I’m going to invest in that, why not just start my own small press again and publish other writers like me who can’t get small presses to reply to them anymore?

And, of course, the last time I did that, I wound up in Federal Court, looking at prison time and enormous fines…. (Thank God for the ACLU. I really mean that.)

So, as you can guess, it is not an easy decision for me to make, but it’s in my mix of thoughts during the day. And I know it’s simple to format/publish eBooks. I could have Blessed By Light published later today if I wanted only that. But I don’t. I know Blessed By Light is a strange book — it’s just a man talking for 186 pages. But I still think it’s a beautiful book. And I also think it’s a book.

Okay, well, Peitor and I texted a bit last night regarding some Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff and I thought I would share this with you!

No! It is not another new logo — instead, I draw your attention to “our girls.” These are the women who work in our office — they are the power behind Abstract Absurdity Productions who actually get things done!! (We just love these girls!! They lived & loved & worked in Paris in the 1920s. We have no idea who they were, but they live again in our offices!!)

 

Aren’t they great??!!

More good news!! I was informed during the night that, because I had pre-ordered Nick Cave’s new art book, Stranger Than Kindness, on Amazon UK, I actually saved money on the final price. So a book that was going to originally cost me $17 million US Dollars, actually came to just under $30 when it was all said and done! So, pre-ordering the book saved me $16,999,970 US dollars. Quite a significant savings, if you ask me!

(I just can’t wait to get the book! I saw on Instagram that people in Europe began getting their copies in Monday’s mail.)

And speaking of Instagram — whether or not you follow me there, my current Instagram posts are always visible here on the blog. If you follow my blog on a computer and not a phone, that is. That weird photo today is of a bald eagle feeding a baby eaglet in its nest yesterday! I was actually trying to copy video footage but it came out as a still photo and you can’t really see what it is. But it was taken in a park over in Granville yesterday.

I was so excited to see that. The people in Granville have worked really, really hard to bring back the population of eagles in the parks over there. (By the way — the header at the top of my blog, with the autumn leaves and the church spires — that is Granville. Not Crazeysburg.) (Granville is a really beautiful small town — and a very expensive one!! It’s 25 miles from where I live. And even though it is a small town, it is still 5 times larger than Crazeysburg.) (My friend Kara lives there.)

Okay.

Nick Cave sent out a Red Hand Files letter this morning. As you can maybe guess, it dealt with the virus and Life these days. You can read what he said at the link there. It is, as always, very compassionately stated.

Today, it is going to be sunny and mild here in Crazeysburg. Later today, I will more than likely open a window or two so that the cats can get a better look at all the many birds flying hither and yon — still just starlings and robins, mostly. But there are a lot of them!

And it’s a Booty Core day, so I’ll be doing that later, too. And then I’ll be figuring out what I feel like writing, because I have been informed by sources who are in the position to know these things — that my day does not have a blueprint I need to follow or anything. So we’ll just see!

Have a very good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world, gang. Thanks for visiting! Stay hopeful. Don’t let your mind drift to the dark places. Stay creative, in whatever ways that speaks to you, okay? Or maybe just take a nap. Or four. Or seven…

I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning! One of the few Bee Gees songs that is actually really uplifting and not sad at all! “More than A Woman.” It is a really joyful song that I have some great memories of being a wee frisky 17-year-old girl attached to. (I actually did know some really wonderful guys in high school — crazy, insane, funny, kind.) The song was a huge hit during my senior year in high school, when the movie Saturday Night Fever was the most popular movie at the box office. (I think I saw the movie about 5 times — back then, movies hung around in the theaters and played for months so you could always go back and see them, usually for $1.) Enjoy, gang. I love you guys. See ya!

“More Than A Woman”
(from “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack)

Oh, girl I’ve known you very well
I’ve seen you growing everyday
I never really looked before
But now you take my breath away

Suddenly you’re in my life
Part of everything I do
You got me working day and night
Just trying to keep a hold on you

Here in your arms I found my paradise
My only chance for happiness
And if I lose you now I think I would die

Oh say you’ll always be my baby
We can make it shine, we can take forever
Just a minute at a time

More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman, oh, oh, oh.

There are stories old and true
Of people so in love like you and me
And I can see myself
Let history repeat itself

Reflecting how I feel for you
Thinking about those people then
I know that in a thousand years
I’d fall in love with you again

This is the only way that we should fly
This is the only way to go
And if I lose your love I know I would die

Oh say you’ll always be my baby
We can make it shine, we can take forever
Just a minute at a time

More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman, oh, oh, oh

© – 1977 Barry Alan Gibb, Maurice Ernest Gibb, Robin Hugh Gibb

No Hurry, Or Anything…

Don’t hurry or anything, because even the pre-orders for the deluxe edition of Stranger Than Kindness — the book that goes along with Nick Cave’s upcoming art exhibition in Copenhagen — is already sold out.

However, the standard edition from all the other outlets — including, yes, Amazon UK, where, if you’re an American, you get to pay the higher BPS rate and if, comme moi, you live in the middle-of-fucking-nowhere America, you get to pay through your nose for shipping, also at the higher BPS rate (meaning higher than what the US dollar is worth) — all that is available for pre-ordering right now!! So hurry for that part.

And don’t worry — you don’t have to pay now. It’s just a pre-order. You won’t have to pay for it until you’ve totally forgotten you even ordered the thing, and on the very day when something horribly urgent & expensive has befallen your economic world, you’ll suddenly get an alert that 17 million fucking dollars has been randomly deducted from your checking account. and you’re, like: Why??!! What the fuck??!! And you’ll scroll through your checking account in a panic, and then realize — oh. that. I forgot.

And then you only have to wait another 2 weeks for it to get across the pond by some sort of really, really slow boat.

You know, not that I need a deluxe edition of anything, because I’m just not that kind of person. But it is interesting to me that every imaginable known or unknown photo of Keanu can shove its way into my Instagram feed, but by the time I get the single Nick Cave announcement about the book into my feed, over 17,000 people have already seen it and the deluxe edition pre-order is super sold out.

I find that interesting.

Anyway! On a similar note.

Wow. For some reason, that show in Essen, Germany, last night seems like it was really good. (Nick Cave’s Conversation there.) I mean, I’m saying it like that because I can only judge these things by what other people are posting to their Instagram feeds — total strangers, who usually don’t speak the same language I do. And they just post photos or micro-short videos. Still it seems like you can get a feel for these things, even from that. (And also, I guess if you’re me and you ponder every single fucking thing that has come out of every single one of these fucking shows for the last 2 years or whatever it’s been. I guess then you get a feel for it.) (Brown suit, btw. I think. It’s weird how the lighting can change that in some of the photos.)

Anyway, there was something about the vibe coming out of those postings last night that was just really good. And even the micro videos — the songs seemed to have, I don’t know, some sort of vitality to them? It was sort of palpable, even in under 20 seconds. But the photos! Wow, some really great photos came out of last night. I mean, really great.

The next Conversation is in Bremen, Germany (tomorrow), where I think one of my favorite fairy tales from my wee bonny girlhood hails from — “The Bremen Town Musicians”? Do you remember that one? That was an intense story.

When I was little (I actually still own it, but I don’t play it anymore) I had a record by Danny Kaye, where he recited some of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. And the “Bremen Town Musicians” was on that. The record was really cool — well, by wee bonny girlhood standards of cool:

Image result for danny kaye record grimms fairy tales
I’m being told it came out in 1964, and that you can listen to the whole thing on YouTube.

All right, well. I seem to have digressed, but now is as good a time as any to just change the subject entirely.

I made great progress on the new character arc in Tell My Bones yesterday. I should have the whole thing finished by the end of the weekend. I am super happy with how it’s turning out, gang. I’m not entirely sure yet how I’m going to execute this final chunk with the new song, but I know it’s coming. And I know it’s going to be powerful and disturbing, which will really bring the whole play together. For some reason, I’m finding it in me to go out on a limb with this final part.

Well, this being Friday morning, I have to get all my notes together now for my phone call with Peitor — he’s back in West Hollywood now, and I am, of course, home from the funeral. We have to continue our work on the micro-short script for “Lita’s Got to Go.” I’m guessing we’ll work several hours and only be at the end of scene 4, which is, literally, about 50 seconds long… it is amazing how long it is taking us to write this script! Just too funny.

But it’s about the journey, not the destination, right, gang? And I just love working with Peitor. I love his mind. We talked at length on the phone last week, right after my stepmom died and I needed someone to unleash my torrent of complicated grief emotions upon and, as always, he dropped everything for me. He was in the studio, doing the final mix of a song when I texted him and said that my stepmom died. He texted right back and said, “Do you need to talk?” and then he dropped everything for me.  He was really helpful. And kind. I felt worlds better after he and I talked. And at the end of the conversation, he said, “I’m sorry to cut this short, but it’s Charo’s birthday and she’s outside waiting for me.”

That just sort of cracked me up and helped me process my grief right there. Actually, Charo’s been through some very tragic stuff lately, so I’m not making a joke. Just that, you know, it just seemed kind of funny — for him to go from an hour of listening to all my grief, to celebrating Charo’s birthday.

Image result for charo on her birthday
The inimitable Charo

Okay. I’m gonna close this. Oh, wait — also, it looks like Mystify, the Michael Hutchence documentary is now available to be streamed on pretty much all platforms. So it’s now on my watchlist.  I know it’s going to be super sad, but I’ll probably watch it before I watch anything else.

Mystify, Michael Hutchence film poster.jpeg

Okay, now I’m really gonna close this. Have a really nice Friday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting.  As much as I’d love to leave you with a snippet of Danny Kaye performing children’s fairy tales, I’ll leave you instead with another favorite record from my wee bonny girlhood! I used to listen to this song all the fucking time! I just loved it!! And I love you guys, too. All righty. See ya!

Gettin’ My Shit Together & Takin’ It On The Road

Well, that’s sort of a play on words, based on the title of a popular Off-Broadway musical from the late 1970s, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road.

And even while I can sort of totally base my life on that musical, I’m actually just trying to get my shit together here today. I really, really am.

I have a phone meeting with the director in NYC this morning and need to kind of be like a “complete person” before that happens, because there are a lot of little things I need to discuss about the play, about the Christmas promotion, about bringing the first actors together and getting the workshop underway there for Tell My Bones. So I really need to have a functioning brain when I’m discussing all this.

Back when I was in Divinity School, I was trained in grief counseling, and so all the things I learned there (and practiced — I’ve been an effective grief counselor for others) — well, I need to do this for myself. Again. Counsel myself through this. And the first and most important thing, is not to meet myself at the level of my grief.  It’s kind of convoluted to counsel myself as if I’m two people, but in a way, I am because my grief has me behaving like a separate person here. One that I can stand back from and look at it in my head. And I know it isn’t going to help anyone at all, least of all him, if I don’t just get my shit together and get back to work around here.

And I have to stop worrying so much about how to behave towards him. I happen to be a really compassionate person and if I end up annoying him by hovering too much, I know him well enough to know that he will let me know if I’m annoying him.

This morning, I decided it was time to get the Christmas breakfast dishes out. Because how can you feel sad or dissociated when this cute guy’s looking at you, bringing you your coffee??!!

Well, I mean primarily the MOOSE in his little cap & scarf,  but I decided not to crop Nick Cave out of the photo, because that photo of him from a million years ago just always makes me really happy. (And of course my mom’s there in the background, pregnant with me in perpetuity.)

And it actually did help — having breakfast with the moose. He’s on my breakfast bowl, too. And his sweet little face is adorable.

And for some reason, I keep listening to that old Bruce Springsteen song (I posted it here over the weekend) over and over. And before it popped so suddenly into my life the other day, I hadn’t thought of it in 40 years. Now I can’t stop playing it.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog can probably already figure out that the song pushes a lot of the wrong buttons for me, and yet there is something about this song — melody, tempo — that I really love.

And I was sitting at the breakfast table this morning, listening to it for the millionth time, trying to pinpoint what it is, exactly, about these kinds of sentiments about marriage that rub me the wrong way. And I have always been like this when it comes to marriage.

Back when this particular Springsteen album, The River, came out, I was at the tail-end of trying to make a key relationship in my life work. It was a guy I was really in love with, and had been for 5 years, but we argued so much, that we were always breaking it off, then getting back together.

He was from West Virginia, from a small town right on the Ohio River, so I only got to see him on weekends if I got to see him at all. And even back when we were teenagers, still in high school, he wanted to get married. Meaning, he wanted me to drop out of high school, move to West Virginia, live there with him and his mom, be married to him and start having babies. Right away. (And his mom was in full support of this, so that didn’t help.)

I know I don’t even have to tell you what was wrong with that picture for me. Especially since, by then, I already knew, by age 16, that I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and move to NYC, once I was out of school and could figure out how to do that. But I really, really loved that guy, so it was hard to simply just walk away. And so, instead, we tried to stay together and just argue, constantly.

One time, the summer when I was 16 and he was 17, he and I went to a drive-in movie and of course we were fooling around in the car — we had more sex than you can possibly imagine. In fact, he was actually the first guy to give me an orgasm — and on purpose. Meaning, he knew his way around that whole “clitoris” thing and when that had first happened between us, I was only 15 and it was a huge, happy thing for me, especially since Greg had only been dead for a year by then, and the rapes had happened. But anyway, I digress.

We were at the drive-in movie, fooling around, and I told him I couldn’t have intercourse that weekend because I was ovulating. And then  he was like a man on a mission, you know? And I was a girl on a mission in direct opposition to his mission. It got really dicey in that car that night, I can tell you. Man. I mean, I was super horny, because I was 16 and ovulating — the worst combination to be if you’re with your boyfriend in some car at the drive-in and not wanting to get pregnant.

It is sufficient to say that I really wanted to kill him that night. I was so pissed-off at him. And even though it seems like most 17 year-old boys don’t want their girlfriends to get pregnant, if you happen to have one of the weird ones, don’t — even for a moment– believe him when he says, “I promise I won’t come in you.” Instead, just put your jeans back on, get out of the car and just walk the fuck home.

Anyway. In early 1980, he and I were still in that constant struggle of trying to be together, long-distance, with me not wanting to get married.

HIM: “Why do you have to go all the way to New York City and sing in some bar? We can get married and you can sing at home. I’ll buy you a trailer and your own washer and dryer.”

ME: (various expletives spluttered really loudly and with deep consternation and disbelief. Even when I was totally sober.)

What’s odd, though, is that after I moved to NYC in November of 1980, I was actually married 5 months later. To this really amazing Chinese guy from Singapore. And even though the marriage didn’t work out, I loved him and still do; he always tried to help me find my way in the world. (And still does, actually.)

So it’s just fucking weird — me and marriage. And whatever the hell goes on in my head about that. Primarily, I just don’t want to be owned, you know? Because then you can always be discarded. For some reason, it’s very hard for me to see past that one specific thing. The discard.

Well, the Bruce Springsteen song, in my opinion, is all about marriage as ownership, but it’s still a sweet song that’s hard not to want to buy into, even knowing all that I know.

Oh, before I close! I want to point out that there is going to be a book by Nick Cave to coincide with the exhibit in Copenhagen, Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition. Back, over 30 years ago, when I worked at MoMA and books were published that supported a special exhibition, the books were only for sale at the museum. Not in bookstores or anything. So I don’t know if this particular book (which I know will be amazing) will be available for regular people to buy (meaning myself specifically.)

Normally, in a year when I’m not planning on being in Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York City repeatedly, with pretty much all of my published books and stories being rapidly consumed free of charge all over the Internet  by everyone in the world and so money is becoming a real pressing THING in my life (although I still got some royalties from Amazon this month, so thank you, people, who are actually purchasing stuff)… but normally, when all that’s not going on, and an amazing museum exhibit is going on somewhere in the world, I will go to it! But this one just can’t happen for me. That so sucks… But I know it’s gonna be really, really cool. And hopefully, that book will end up being for sale all over, at some point.

Okay. I gotta get ready for my phone meeting here. Finish my coffee. Brush my teeth. (I never feel like my day has officially started until I brush my teeth!!)

So I’m gonna try to be cool today, and stop being so irrational with my grief, and try to find a more productive way to behave about my grief because I know for sure that the success of my writing is also really important to my friend, whether or not he has cancer that does not seem likely to be cured.

So, thanks for visiting. Have a really good Monday, wherever you are in the world. I’ll leave you once again with the Springsteen song, so that you don’t have to scroll down. Plus, I’ll also leave you with my “answer song” and then my absolutely MOST FAVORITE song for when I’m in love and will follow a guy anywhere (even into marriage…). (And if you can’t figure me out then imagine how it feels to actually BE me!!). Okay. I love you guys. See ya!