My copy of the new (I’m guessing the last) Tom Petty audio CD, An American Treasure, just arrived via UPS.
Oh my god, is it good.
And the packaging and design of this collection just blew me away, too. The photos, the commentaries, the introductions, the photos of his handwritten song lyrics (!! – I probably would have paid double just for photos of those!). Clearly, everyone involved in putting this collection together stayed up late at night trying to come up with just the right way to break my heart the moment I opened the package and to have me staring dumbfounded at it as I sat at my kitchen table at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
Anyway. The whole thing is just so beautiful. I’m overwhelmed.
Okay, on other fronts. The excerpt from the new novel has been moved to its own page. Excerpts will be replaced every few days. The excerpts will be in no particular order. But, you know, the novel is so very episodic, because it’s like a cross between a love letter and journal entries, really – although it is not journal entries, it just sometimes feels like that. Anyway. It’s so episodic that random excerpts might feel just like reading the book! (Not really… the novel does tell a whole story about 2 lovers, just in really, really short chapters.)
I’m trying to keep the excerpts less on the sexually explicit side, since most of the subscribers to this blog are not actually readers of my erotic works. So it’s sort of a fine line between wanting to share sections from the new novel and not offend a bunch of people.
Okay. Gotta get back to work. Had a really great breakthrough on revisions for the CLEVELAND TV pilot, so I need to catch that before it totally disappears from my brain.
Well, tonight is finally the night, gang! I’m gonna get into my little white Honda Fit, drive the 15 miles of back roads into town to the summer stock theater that’s literally in an old red barn (well, it’s a newer old red barn designed to look like the original one from 50 years ago) to see 42nd Street!
Does this mean that the song Lullaby of Broadway will finally be out of my head? Your guess is as good as mine, gang, but the easy money is likely on “no.”
And yet… what I was listening to a lot, late last night, was Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer. I was in my 20s when his version of the song came out, and even then the song was considered “nostalgic.” Last night — obviously, 30 years later — it felt even more nostalgic.
Plus, the song makes me think of Tom Petty, since his bandmate, Mike Campbell, was one of the writers of the song. (Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that Tom Petty was one of my girlhood heroes and he died last autumn from an accidental overdose of fentanyl and many other medications.)
Last night was a peculiar night. I’ve been noticing lately that I am developing more & more friendships with much younger people. Like, in their late teens and early twenties, while, at the same time, colleagues and friends my own age are dying, or developing various terminal illnesses, and having things like strokes and heart attacks.
I’m going to be 58 in 12 days. I’m in perfect health. Emotionally and spiritually, I feel older than 21, but in another sense, I don’t feel older at all.
Since Easter, I had been developing a really nice relationship with two young women, 19-year-old Mormon missionaries. They stopped in every week, sometimes twice a week, and we discussed the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith’s life, faith, Christ, etc. These were wonderful discussions and I learned so much about Mormons, none of which I’d known before.
Next week, we were going to take a little day trip up to Kirtland to see the first temple that the Mormons built with Joseph Smith, back in 1836. We were all really excited.
Being missionaries, they really, really wanted me to join the faith, and while I think the Mormon faith is extremely positive and uplifting, more so than “regular” Christianity, I believe that chastity should be a choice, not something that’s enforced. Plus, most importantly, I have my own ministry to consider.
But that aside, we all got along so well and then yesterday, 30 minutes before they were due to come over for a visit, they texted me to say that they had both been transferred to another district, and it was effective immediately.
That happens with Mormon missionaries, but I was kind of devastated by the news. They said, “we want you to know you changed our lives so much.” And I told them they had done the same for me.
It’s so bittersweet, knowing that I have to watch them go off into the world, have their lives, find their own meanings, and that I’ll likely never see them again.
I tried to cheer myself by thinking about the show that I would be seeing tonight, and how excited I was to not only go to the theater, but to see this particular company that has so many wonderful young performers, including a couple of young men who have really moved me, and one who has really just stolen my heart.
But then it occurred to me that the summer season was half-over! And all these wonderful performers will soon be going back to college, or to New York City, to have their lives, find their meanings and their destinies, and chances are I won’t see them again, either.
I know that’s how it’s supposed to be with young, driven people. In fact, it concerns me that so many young people simply keep living at home nowadays, almost indefinitely. Where is the drive, where are the goals, the spirit? I know things are expensive, but I went to New York City practically flat broke, to be a singer, when I was 20 years old. Nothing on Earth could stop me. By the time I was 21, I was singing professionally in folk clubs in Greenwich Village. And so many people my age were in the city, pursuing their dreams, too.
So, obviously, I believe that young people with dreams should go off and do stuff — pursue their dreams; whether it’s on Broadway, or in a House of God.
But last night, it felt so keenly bittersweet. I’m really excited to see the show tonight but I know the show will be over in a heartbeat, and live theater never repeats itself. And then, in another heartbeat, the next show will happen, and then the next, and then the summer season will be over, and all those beautiful boys of summer — straight, gay, a little of both — with their beautiful voices, and amazing dancing, will be gone.
And autumn will come.
I have my own stuff I need to do –God knows –and I have to go back to New York City, and probably out to L.A. at least once. So it’s not like my own time stands still. But, wow, young people — their energy, their dreams, all the good things that are waiting up the road for them if they can stay focused — there is simply nothing like that. I am really going to miss all of them.
I know, it’s been forever since I’ve been able to get to this blog. This month has just barreled along. Every project imaginable seeming to intersect with one another, so that I have had way too much to do and am getting not a whole lot completed. Yet.
Still no official word on how much my mortgage has been pre-approved for, so this limbo I’ve been living in for one whole year now is really getting tiresome. [Read: Depressing.] Now that I know for sure that I have to move again, I really, really, REALLY want to just move and unpack my boxes, take a look at all my cool STUFF once again, and start living my life. Books, movies, music, furniture — there’s so much of my stuff that I’d like to have access to! And, yes, photo albums.
This weekend marks not only what would have been Tom Petty’s 67th birthday — (if you live in a cave, perhaps you don’t know that Tom Petty suddenly died a couple weeks ago) —
But also, this weekend marks the anniversary of the death of my very best friend in all of life and the world as we knew it. Paul died 18 years ago tomorrow, and I am astounded that 18 years can disappear in the wink of eye. What went by even more quickly, gentle readers, were the 22 years that he and I were best friends.
I cannot imagine that I am old enough to have a best friend who has been dead for 18 years. And, no insults intended for any folks I know who are still alive, however, life has simply been pretty empty without him in it.
I knew it would be that way the day he died. That everything would be a little less beautiful from then on. He was so funny, so talented, so adventurous, so compassionate, kind, caring. And he always had my back. He was the living definition of a best friend. (We met in the high school drama department. He built our high school theater sets. He went on to work in the movies as a set designer/set builder.)
Anyway. I was hoping to find a digital photo of him to post here today, but alas, I could not find one. And ALL of my tons of non-digital photos of him are packed away in boxes that are in deep storage, too. So frustrating. I want my life back.
However, while searching through tons of flash drives for possible JPEGS of Paul, I found a ton of other photos that broke my heart. So it’s been a rough morning. But cathartic, too, I suppose.
Earlier this month would have been John Lennon’s 77th birthday, had he not been murdered, 37 years ago, only a handful of weeks after I had moved to New York City. John Lennon was my very first hero, from the time I was 10 years old. I found this lovely photo of him on a flash drive:
I also found 2 rather different photos of myself taken by my dear, departed friend Paul:
I also found a digital photo of a photo from my long-ago wedding. Hard to remember that I used to not have a ton of silver hair…
And a few years before one of my alleged “friends” turned out to be the most awesome b*tch, EVER, I used to have fond memories of Paris. I no longer have fond memories of Paris, so it was startling to discover these photos on a flash drive and to recall that I once loved Paris. From my first trip to Paris, when I was so happy:
It was a strange feeling, to recall that I had once loved Paris. I guess it’s time to reclaim parts of my life from people who totally suck. What do you think, gang?
And then I also found this photo. This was the beginning of the feral cat madness! Here are Tom, Huckleberry, and Becky, on the swing in the backyard of my old house. This was when the 3 were stray kittens, abandoned by a neighbor who moved away and simply left them. The kittens began living in my backyard. In this photo, I hadn’t been able to trap them yet. This was before they had a truckload of un-adoptable feral kittens in my basement. Yes, before my life was overtaken by the lovely 8 cats who now allow me to live with them (actually, I love them dearly):
I also found quite a big bunch of digital photos from the old house, back when the house & yard were beautiful, before the developers contracted to buy it (and never did, after dragging it on for 3 1/2 years) and then the house fell to pieces. Such a sad, sad thing for me. But here, again — I never allow myself to think of the old house, because it became such a nightmare of heartache for me. To suddenly see these photos of how lovely it was before it all fell to ruin. It awoke all those feelings I had buried away of how much I had loved that house.
Of course the saddest part was, that Bunny died the day after we moved from the old house and moved into the current rental that I’m in.
And that was exactly one year ago.
So this weekend also marks the first anniversary of Bunny’s death. I miss her so much.
Oh gosh. Well, all right. Life goes on, regardless of how happy I am, or often am not, about that idea.
However. On the happy front, a long-time friend of mine in NYC, Iris N. Schwartz, has a new book out! Keep glued to this blog for a great Q & A that I did with her earlier this month, in support of her new book.
Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, gang. And keep in mind that time freakin’ FLIES, so love the heck out of whatever and whoever you love while it’s all still vibrantly alive in front of you. A word to the wise is sufficient, as the saying goes.
It seems another one of my girlhood heroes has crossed over the Great Divide.
I tried to figure out which of Tom Petty’s songs could be considered my absolute favorite and it was too difficult to pin down. Instead, I regale you with my favorite song that he did with The Traveling Wilburys. (Another one of those songs that resonates more & more intensely, the older I get.)