Tag Archives: Tish Hinojosa Closer Still

I’m Sorry, I Just Couldn’t Help It

I went googling for something entirely different, and that image came up and it sorta made my day…

(Yes! The title for my memoirs!!)

(No, I have no clue why I’m so immature, gang. Part of my questionable charm, I suppose.)


I had such a hard night.

Every so often the full moon stuff makes it impossible for me to sleep.  And last night, I really, really wanted to get a good night’s sleep because I got nothing new written on the play, even though I was at it until about 8pm last night. My brain just couldn’t focus. The residual of the migraine was still lurking all evening.

I felt like I was laying in bed for hours, just trying to let go of being human. Become some sort of empty vessel that just fills with sleep, you know? Instead, I was filling up with memories, that led to more & more memories.

It was during an August full moon in 1989 that my dad and I (my birth father) had a huge thingy on the phone and nothing was ever the same again between us after that.

I had been having a really hard time sleeping that night, too, because of a full moon, and then he called me on the phone. (He lived out in the desert in Nevada, and I lived in NYC, so it was still kind of early where he was.)

I was 28, he was 43. We were in love, but unlike my uncle and his daughter, we did not become incestuous. We came very, very close to it that summer, alone out there in his trailer in the middle of the desert, but somehow some sort of weird sanity prevailed. Nevertheless, we were still in love, and that night during the full moon in August, was the night he couldn’t take it anymore — the whole deadend street-ness of it all.

I’m not gonna ever forget that phone conversation. I’ve blogged about it before, but I’m not gonna go into it now. It was very disturbing, very sad.

Anyway. He didn’t actually stop speaking to me until several years later, when he was dying from cancer.  So then I remembered that Wayne and I (after we were married) went out to see my dad in Nevada, back in 1993.

And then I remembered that Wayne and I drove into Virginia City one day, by ourselves, and walked around. We went into the original Bucket of Blood Saloon (still standing  & still in business since 1875). We saw the famous Suicide Table, which had the losing poker hand spread out there, eternally.

The whole thing was really cool. I don’t know if it’s the same Bucket of Blood from “Stagger Lee” fame, but it is the original historic saloon from Old West days.

So then I wondered if we had taken any photos inside the saloon. Wayne was an avid picture taker (this was long before smart phones).  So I got out of bed and actually looked through old photos. But all I could find was a photo from the old Virginia City graveyard. (It was really cool.)

And then I also found a photo he took of me on our Honeymoon — on the Mississippi River! I had forgotten all about that. We were leaving Elvis territory in Memphis, heading into Johnny Cash territory in Arkansas…

Me on the Mississippi River in 1993, after we left Memphis. We were somewhere in Arkansas.

I remember that everything we ate in Arkansas tasted really good but absolutely everything was deep-fried. Wayne’s paternal family was from Arkansas, so a lot of his childhood was spent there.

This was his grandfather’s grocery store back in the 1920s. It had been abandoned for decades, but was still just standing there, outside of Paragould, Arkansas.

Wayne’s grandpa’s grocery store from the 1920s, in Arkansas. Photo taken in 1993.

We stayed in this really wonderful motel (tacky, run down; I think it cost about $17 a night), in Paragould, AR.  It’s heyday was long gone. It had a built-in swimming pool that was cracked and empty and had been, forever. The chain link fence surrounding it was nothing but rust. You could tell that, at one point, it had been a really ideal place.

When I wrote the short story “Til Death” many years later, in my mind, I placed it at that old rundown motel in Paragould. (The story is up there in The Vault section of the blog. It’s a story about a woman facing the onset of middle-age after her husband has been executed for murder. It’s erotic, though, so here’s the  disclaimer: Contains sexually explicit material and non-eroticized themes of rape, murder, and execution that could be upsetting to some readers.)

I guess, you know, looking over all this stuff, it’s no wonder I couldn’t get to sleep.

I also remembered that it was in another very tacky, cheap motel room on that same trip that I first heard Tish Hinojosa sing her haunting song, “Closer Still.”

I love a lot of her songs, but that one has always been my favorite. And suddenly, last night, I vividly recalled hearing it for the first time, while sitting on a bed, late at night, in some really cheap motel somewhere in the depths of America, with Wayne.

I was absolutely spellbound by Tish’s voice; by that song. Of course it made me think of Greg, and everything I ever lost that I had ever loved.

Time stopped for me the first time I heard that song. So, of course, I had to look it up on YouTube and lie in my bed in the dark, 26 years later, and break my heart all over again…

Eventually I fell asleep, but a really loud train went through and then rains came. I don’t know. Rough night.

And now, I really, really gotta get at it because I have a meeting with the director later this afternoon!!!!! Aaaarrrrrgh…. MUST GET COFFEE!!

Thanks for visiting, gang. I’m guessing you know what I’m gonna leave you with today! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys. See ya!

Closer Still

Closer still than e’er my arms have held you
Or the beating rhythm of my heart
I belong to you in frozen memories
And framed in gold is my desire

Closer still than starlight soft upon you
For though a million shine tonight
Deep inside is where one lonely forgotten
Dream is waiting here, closer still

Closer still is every word that takes me
To the fire burnin’ without end
In the moonlight pale a song is sayin’
That time will find us back again

Closer still our shadows must be swayin’
For I can almost hear you say
Deep inside is where one lonely forgotten
Dream is waiting here, closer still

c – 1992 Tish Hinojosa