I’m hoping that if I can focus on something besides every single solitary thought that’s in my head, it will help me get better. We’ll see.
I know I don’t have pneumonia, because I feel absolutely perfectly fine except for this inability to breathe normally. If I lie perfectly still in bed, I breathe normally. And in fact, I sleep great. I’m feeling absolutely fine. But as soon as I get out of bed and start moving around, the out-of-breath thing starts in again and I am just so fucking tired of it. This is Day 17 already.
I’m still loving Vienna Blood (PBS) but I am already halfway through the final episode. I hope they are going to plan on making a Season 2. The writing is a tiny bit uneven, because I feel like they’re trying to cram too much plot from the novels into a 45-minute episode, which means suddenly a chunk of dialogue will happen that is purely exposition and it kind of sticks out from the rest of the story. But it’s negligible, and if you aren’t a writer, you might not even notice it at all. It does make me want to read the novels, though. (Vienna Blood is based on the Max Lieberman novels by Frank Tallis.)
And actually on a similar note… I am seriously considering just starting my own small press again. I mentioned this in a post a few days ago. But now I’m actually really thinking about it. First, just to put into Print on Demand my own titles, and then maybe consider publishing other writers who are super fringe. I have to really think about it, though, because it would mean looking into actual distribution and marketing if I published other writers, too. And I’m already — virus notwithstanding — a tad bit busy.
I’ve been wanting to get Twilight of the Immortal back into print with an updated cover, instead of just having it as an eBook. And then publish Blessed by Light, In the Shadow of Narcissa, Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse, Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town, Down to the Meadows of Sleep: The Hurley Falls Mystery, and maybe do Print on Demand editions of The Muse Revisited collection, and finally clean up all the typos in those specific eBook collections.
Part of the allure of it is knowing that I don’t have to worry about the content and how it would fit into someone else’s marketing agenda. I can make it as hardcore as I want (without going off into those areas where I’m looking at prison time again, of course…) The main problem with most of my work has always been that it’s both too literary and too erotic. And now it needs to be one or the other to appease most small presses these days. (Plus, I’ve gotten just ridiculously tired of waiting to hear back from other small presses who simply just never get back to you.)
So I’m really considering it. The investment is in the cover design, but other than that, the cost to produce each book is negligible. Between my popularity among international book piraters and the state of small presses now, I don’t know that it even makes financial sense to give up a portion of my rights to small presses anymore. Better to give a cut to the actual printer (what’s left after hemorrhaging potential profits to book pirating, I mean) and then just try to arrange readings when I’m off hither and yon doing the various film & theater projects.
Which reminds me that the other play I’m doing with Sandra (with the fluctuating title) that’s being produced in Toronto, has been pushed from this Fall off to the misty glades of 2021. So I’m guessing it will premiere on June 3rd, when I’ll be with my new friends in Switzerland to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds…
(As usual, I sure hope I’m kidding about that.)
Okay. Well. It is going to be a really gorgeous day here today. It was pretty yesterday, but it was cold. Today, it is going to be super sunny and really mild. I can probably open some windows around here, which always makes me so happy!!
And I am hoping to spend less time in bed today. I really am. I so want to be past this virus and start writing again. We shall see.
I hope you guys are all in a good space on this wonderful Monday in Pandemic Land. I’m gonna go finish up the laundry now, check in with my dad, get another cup of coffee. Thanks for visiting, gang! I leave you with some very fun Ringo Starr music from I don’t even remember when — the 1970s? “The No No Song,” which of course, I can attest to now, but when it was an actual hit, I was quite far from it… (if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, you gotta listen to the song! The lyrics are in the video, gang!) Okay. Enjoy!! I love you guys. See ya!
This idea that the entire Universe is forcing me to stay home and write, you know? You’d think I’d just fucking love that.
And in a way, I do. Because, thankfully, I’m really healthy. Although yesterday, when we had that brief burst of mild Spring weather and I was able to open a couple of windows — man, that fresh air felt so incredible. I really, really miss the fresh air.
But I do really enjoy being alone. And writing. (Although, I would of course prefer being with that guy I’m totally trying not to love, but since that’s utterly impossible — just more impossible than you can possibly imagine — I just enjoy the fuck out of being alone…) (grumble grumble grumble)
But the sameness of the days is getting sort of weird. A little too “Groundhog Day”-ish, you know? Except for the fraction of a second that I interacted with the gals at the pizzeria, and the few moments standing 6 feet away from the guys at the Granville Inn — aside from that, I’ve been alone in here for 168 hours.
Thankfully, I talk to Peitor a lot. Or we text (constantly). We get a lot of creative stuff accomplished, which feels so great. Other than that, though, I don’t really interact with anyone. I call my dad every day because he’s getting depressed. Not only is he on lockdown, too, but he doesn’t actually enjoy being alone, and, it’s been raining a lot where he lives so he can’t even get outdoors and take a walk.
Aside from that, he’s still grieving the death of his wife of 35 years. She’s only been gone 2 months now. And even though my dad and I have not had the best relationship during my adulthood, by any stretch of the imagination, even I knew that he had a really happy 3rd marriage. My stepmom was just the best. They loved each other so much. And she was the easiest person to be around. One of those rare women that you just enjoy being in the same room with — and you really noticed it when she left a room. She had such uplifting, delighted, joyful energy all the time.
So with or without the quarantine, my dad no longer has that wonderful energy in his life. Now all he has is the TV. And it’s on constantly — always on the news. Every time I call him, I have to say, “Dad, turn off the news. It’s depressing you.” Of course, he doesn’t do it, but I still feel it’s my sworn duty, you know, to tell him to do that every single darn day.
(I’m guessing that the minute we hang up the phone, he’s saying “You’re not the boss of me.” And he’s turning the volume on the news right back up!!)
But anyway. That’s my day. Peitor and/or my dad. Then I eat endless vegetables — so boring. I’ve already “ice-creamed” myself out — totally not interested in the ice cream anymore. So it’s back to eating really healthy stuff. Doing my yoga and my Booty Core, so that I can feel and look great during my endless days of living in captivity all by myself. And I still meditate and keep my endless little journals, so that my mind doesn’t completely unravel.
And then, you know, I sit down at my desk and write. In so many ways, that seems like heaven — so how come it doesn’t feel like heaven? Hmmm……
Oh — I did want to thank you guys for buying my books yesterday and during the night. Seriously. I actually do appreciate it, even though you steadfastly refused to be led in the direction of my more literary pursuits — i.e. Twilight of the Immortal. I still really do appreciate that the old erotica still sells. (It will remain on sale for the next 4 weeks on Smashwords only.) (See yesterday morning’s post.)
But I do want to point out something, and I have no qualms whatsoever comparing that specific novel (Twilight of the Immortal) to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I honestly don’t. I know it’s a really well written book (that a lot of publishers also loved but they did not love the fact that there were so many lesbians in it & I was not willing to delete them from history). Still, I’ll point out that when F. Scott Fitzgerald died, you could not buy a copy of The Great Gatsby in any bookstore. Nobody wanted to read it. (And, frankly, it is my favorite novel of all time.) And now, almost 100 years after it was written, it is not only considered a masterpiece of 20th Century American literature, but right now, today, it is ranked at #5 on Amazon’s Classic Literature list, and ranked #131 in all books.
All books. Do you know what that means? Can you even estimate how many books are being sold on Amazon right now — and that nearly 100-year-old book, which at one point, while he was still alive, nobody wanted to buy, is ranked at #131 amid those millions of titles?
I’m just saying. Your great-grandchildren will be more than happy to buy my lonely little book, let alone get it for free! Even though it doesn’t have a ton of sex in it… (And you’ll be stuck up there in Heaven — with any luck, that is, because it’s getting dicier with all that porn you’re reading — but anyway, you’ll be stuck up there just listening to harps and stuff!)
So here’s good news. The numbers, while increasing for now, are still encouraging. Close to 94,000 recoveries from the virus as of today (3/21/2020). About 179,000 known cases worldwide, and about 171,000 of those cases are considered mild.
And some other good news — because of all this quarantine stuff, that portion of my bathroom ceiling that collapsed yesterday because of all that sudden rain? I get to just ignore it for now because no way on Earth is anyone going to be able to come out here and fix it yet.
I love, love, love ignoring needed home repairs!! It is one of my very favorite things to do! And usually it bothers my conscience when I’m doing it, but not this time!! Yay!
Okay, guys. I guess that’s it for today. I’m guessing that Nick Cave is out there, quarantined somewhere, too, and yet still wearing a suit and having some sort of a conversation!!! Alas, we don’t know for sure. It’s just an educated guess. (Yes, life’s getting a little boring here in my room.) Oh, I’ve started streaming re-runs of the British Crime Drama, DCI Banks in the evening. So that’s fun. And I did eventually finish watching Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary — man, was that good. If you like jazz and you haven’t seen that show, it’s totally something to watch. It’s about 20 hours, but still worth every moment.
All righty. Thanks for visiting! Wash your hands and stop touching your face already. Life is good. The world is beautiful. I love you and I feel certain that a whole lot of other people do, too! See ya, gang!!
“In My Room”
There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room
Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday
Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
Here, it is raining –we even had a bona fide thunderstorm during the night. The temperature is supposed to go up to nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit by this afternoon — and then plunge down to about 28 degrees by tomorrow morning!!
But you have to purchase them through Smashwords to get the discount, not Amazon or iTunes, or any of the other outlets that sell my eBooks. However, Smashwords gives you the option to download the eBook in any format you need.
I chose to make Twilight of the Immortal free because it is probably the best book I’ve ever written, but because it isn’t erotica, almost no one buys it. I honestly think I’ve sold less than 1000 copies of this novel. And it’s been in print since 2010 (it came out first on a very small press, then I got the rights back and published it myself electronically because the publisher had filled it with typos that enraged me.)
But anyway, it’s been in print for 10 years now and no one buys it and it’s a great book, but it’s not erotic. No explicit anal sex or fellatio or anything — although anal sex and fellatio are heavily implied in many passages…
After Valentino has died (at the peak of his fame), Rosemary, the novel’s protagonist, returns to Hollywood to marry her best friend, Mitch. Mitch is a very successful movie producer but he is notoriously gay in an era when it is still illegal to be gay and the Government is cracking down on any suspiciously single men employed by the movie studios (this is fact). Rosemary recalls the final days she spent with Rudolph Valentino, after his notorious divorce, while she was employed as his “assistant”:
I drank the champagne down. The bubbles seeped into my veins and made tiny explosions all up and down my spine. Rodolfo; it was the name he’d been born with, that he preferred to the Americanized “Rudolph.” The moment had finally come where he’d told me to call him Rodolfo and so I did. He whispered in Italian, “Abbi coraggio.” Then more closely, right in my ear because now we were in bed together, naked, he said, “Be brave.” It had sounded so tender, so bewitching, and so erotically compelling that I could not resist him; I leaned down in the dark and did what I’d seen the boys do. In truth, I’d had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t care. I didn’t want to resist him; I was so glad that Natacha was gone, at last. I knew life was spiraling downward; I couldn’t ignore the hypnotic pull of his private hell. I was trapped in it, too, like it was quicksand. He was miserable, lonely, aching without her. I was clumsy but I tried to fill the space. Mostly there were men everywhere filling up his nights and days, not just with erotic favors but with polo, endless games of it; Rudy loved his horses. And there was also Pola Negri, but she was only acting a part and grasping at more and more fame, ensuring she was on Rudy’s arm whenever the cameras came out. I wasn’t competing with her; a rising star. I wasn’t competing with anybody. I just wanted my moment in the sun. His sun — I wanted to bask in his attention finally. But I overplayed my hand and, for me, the sun only shone after midnight when the lights were out, when the decent world was dark and the house was otherwise empty.
Or here, where Rosemary’s soon-to-be (gay) husband is informing his lover, Jim, that he’s being tossed to the curb because, in order to save his career, Mitch is marrying Rosemary:
The raised voices on the patio grew more heated. I tried to focus on the golden bubbles bursting at the rim of my wine glass and block out what the voices were saying, but it was next to impossible. “How convenient,” Jim practically shrieked, as if to doubly-ensure I could hear him. “A girl like that is almost as good as the real thing, isn’t she, Mitch? Everyone knows it — what she was up to with Valentino. It was all over Hollywood. With a girl like her, just turn out the lights and you’ll never notice the difference.”
So, yeah, there’s anal sex in the novel, too, but it’s not explicit at all.
There’s tons of lesbian sex in it, too, although back then they were called Saphhists. A lot of those scenes are between the young Rosemary and the true love of her life, the very poor, very abused, very worldly, very Irish Molly McClellan, who works as a Dresser for Alla Nazimova, who was called “Madame” (and who, in case you don’t know the name, was, at one point, one of the most famous actresses in the world and a totally “out” lesbian):
Molly waited expectantly for me to finish what I was saying, but I knew I was lying, or at the very least embellishing what had happened. “Go on,” she encouraged me. “Spill it; what did she tell you?”
“Nothing, just that… I don’t know — someday.”
“Ah, go on, Rosie. She’s practically thirty-eight; you’re just a kid.”
“Not anymore I’m not,” I warned her. “I’ve done things now.”
“Oh, and what have you done?”
“I mean, that a woman like Madame would like? Have you been to the lady doctors yet?”
“What lady doctors?”
“The midwives down on Broadway.”
“Why would I go to a midwife? I’m not having a baby.”
“It’s not for girls who are having babies, you ninny who thinks she knows everything. It’s a code word. These midwives cure hysteria; they do things to you with their hands. Things you wouldn’t believe.”
“They pull up your skirt and take down your drawers, for one thing, and they touch you down there and make you feel things with their hands — until your eyes roll up in your head.”
She had my attention there; that was certain. I’d never been anywhere where a midwife had done a thing like that to me. “Oh, I don’t believe you,” I said.
“What’s not to believe? How do you think I learned what I know? How do you think I make Madame so happy with me?”
“Well, then I’ll go, too. I’ll learn.”
“You can’t. They don’t just let you in. I knew a woman who worked at one of those places, so I got in. Besides, you’re not old enough, so just give up your dreaming.”
“I’m going to be eighteen soon.”
“And when might that be?” Naked now, Molly slipped under the bed covers; apparently she wasn’t going to wear a nightgown.
“Summer,” I said.
“Summer?” She laughed at me again. “That’s, like, years away.”
“Well, what of it? Regardless, I’m not a kid anymore.”
“You mean because you’ve done it with a man? That makes you grown?”
“Yes,” I said bravely, knowing we were inching onto a topic I didn’t want to discuss with her.
“Boy, have you got a lot to learn. Come on ‘old lady’; turn off the lamp, why don’t you, and come to bed.”
I was annoyed with her; she knew everything it seemed. Still, I was freezing and wanted the warmth of the bed. From somewhere downstairs, I could hear the Victrola playing. I slid under the heavy eiderdown next to Molly and said quietly, “Aren’t they ever going to go home?”
“Better get used to it, is what I’m thinking. Some nights, Madame and her friends don’t go to sleep at all. It’s mostly those actresses she knows; they never sleep.”
“They’re awfully loud. I can hear that music all the way up here.”
“That’s because they’re right underneath us — they’re in Madame’s bedroom now. And when the Victrola winds down, you can hear other things.”
“What other things?” I whispered, snuggling close to her mostly because I was still so cold.
“Guess,” she said slyly.
“Oh no,” I said. “We’re going to have to listen to that?”
“We could always drown them out, you know — go at it like a couple of alley cats ourselves.” She worked her hand up under my flannel nightgown. I was still annoyed with her, but for the time being, I let her do it. “How does that sound, Rosie; want to give it a go?”
I didn’t answer her. I was too entranced by her fingers…
Plus, the novel is 600 pages long — however, if you want something to just get lost in until the quarantine is lifted, then this book could help you do that. And even though it is many pages, most people say that the book is hard to put down. Especially once Rosemary — our heroine — gets to Hollywood in 1918 and eventually starts working for Mr. & Mrs. Rudolph Valentino. Then the book races almost unstoppably to its tragic (but sort of uplifting) end.
Most people who take the time to read this book, end up loving it. However, if you are one of those few people left in the world who honestly believed that Rudolph Valentino was heterosexual, then you will despise this book.
I researched all of it as best I could, hampered by it being nearly 100 years after the fact, and came to my own decision that when Valentino fell for a woman, he fell hard — and she was always a very worldly and beautiful woman, and usually very destructive to his reputation and his career. And when he wasn’t in love with a woman, he hung out exclusively with groups of men who were known in Hollywood to be homosexuals.
So, you know, you do the math. (Today, he would probably be called non-binary.)
A couple of reader reviews to gently bludgeon you over the head with how good this novel is:
“As soon as I read this quote attributed to Valentino: ‘Observe, Rosemary, how in Hollywood there is no difference between a knife and a smile,’ I knew for sure that I had found a gem! Twilight of the Immortal is both beautifully written and an engaging romp… Marilyn Jaye Lewis captures Valentino’s essence, the allure that endeared him to millions of fans. There is not one false step in this book. All the details are meticulously researched … I give it five stars!”
“Unlike her previous books, this is NOT erotica! This is a serious novel that should be enjoyed by the general public. The story is captivating. The characters are very strong and the book is hard to put down.”
Another thing that might of interest during your quarantine — Soulpepper Theater Co in Toronto is hosting a live webcast of playwrights reading their newest plays. The program is called Fresh Ink, and you can listen free, online, 4:30 PM today, Eastern (NY) time. Visit here and listen for free. (You will need to download Zoom at the link.)
I actually have to work with Peitor this morning on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff, so I’m gonna scoot! I hope you’re able to make the best of your house arrest, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang! I might come back later and do a real — non-promotional sort of post. God knows, I’ll be here! Okay. I love you guys. See ya!
Yes! I glanced out back this morning, as the sun came up, and saw that the cats were out there finally taking care of my yard!!
Gosh, I wish. (Loyal readers of this lofty blog are no doubt aware that there are a lot of homeowner chores that I am always trying to foist onto my cats.) (To no avail.)
What my cats do instead behind my back:
I had the most interesting day yesterday — for reasons I won’t blog about. I can only say that it was Instagram-related and I about wore out the pondering mechanism in my wee bonny brain.
However, what I will blog about is that I had a very productive time with Thug Luckless yesterday, too. And at one point, I was trying to find out how AI sexbots get delivered to their purchasers. Do they come fully assembled, standing up in a tall cardboard box? Do they come in responsibly-sourced wooden crates, filled with environmentally safe packing peanuts? I’m guessing they arrive fully assembled, though, right? You wouldn’t want to leave something important like that to hapless (and undoubtedly fully aroused) purchasers who will likely be extremely impatient at the very moment of the bot’s arrival.
Well, I could not find out any of that shipping information, but I did learn a bit more about the male AI sexbots — primarily, that they only manufacture about two males. The rest of them are females.
These AI sexbots are really quite interesting, but still kind of spooky. The eyes, mainly. I was talking on the phone very late last night with Val in Brooklyn (who is not actually in Brooklyn right now, she’s at her mom’s, up the Hudson, so we’ve been chatting more than usual) and one of the things we concluded is that the price of those sexbots will eventually come way down, so that everyone can afford one, but that it probably won’t happen in our lifetime.
But who knows, right?
I personally think AI sexbots are pretty cool. And like anything, I’m guessing that some people will go overboard with them and some people won’t. And then I told Val that, according to stuff all over Google, the feminists are all up in arms about the AI (female) sexbots because they objectify women. And we both laughed so hard about that. And she, in her Brooklyn accent, said, “Oh — ya think?”
Jesus. Just too funny. Why does it even have to be mentioned at this point? I don’t think any of us are stupid — not any of us; the world over. Those female bots are lurid as hell. And they are more provocative than any Playboy Bunny that God ever created — Bunnies being one of the most memorable creations in my lifetime that objectified women. And bots can be programmed to never say “no.” Plus, you don’t have to tip them. Obviously they objectify both women and men. Are we really going to write academic papers about this?
[No, we’re going to write experimental novels!! — Ed.]
Anyway. That whole phone conversation with Val aside.
I eventually realized that nothing whatsoever dealt with realism when it came to Thug Luckless so why be so worried that the way he arrived from the factory had to somehow be based on fact? So I just figured it out for myself and had him arrive fully assembled in a crate stuffed full of environmentally safe packing peanuts — primarily because I wanted him to have psychological vestiges of how it felt to have those peanut-things all over him, even though he was dressed. And the irony of the environmentally safe stuff arriving in a post-Apocalyptic town. And then how it felt to see his owner’s face — that relief as she finally pried open the crate and took him out. The feeling of sanctuary, you know?
One thing I will mention here: Apocalypse is a stupidly hard word to type. And I wrote a 600-page novel called Twilight of the Immortal, about Rudolph Valentino, and his breakthrough movie role was “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” So I was having to type that darn word all the time. It made me insane. For some reason, typing that word just forces me to become sort of dyslexic.
Anyway! I am really happy with my progress with Thug primarily because of that feeling that a new novel is underway; it’s a feeling of adventure and excitement and joy. So I am happy.
I’m happy about a lot of stuff right now, gang. I really am.
And today is going to be about washing my hair and doing yoga, and working on Thug. And, more than likely, thinking about Nick Cave, because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. (I’m of course wondering about that darn coronavirus and the start of the Ghosteen tour.) (And also this thing in NYC right now where things are getting dangerously close to blaming the Jews for spreading the virus.)
(And speaking of Jews — yesterday was John Garfield’s birthday. He was a famous NY stage actor and movie star and political activist. And he was my adoptive grandma’s first cousin. His dad and her mom were brother & sister. Poor Jewish refugees from Poland. If you keep up with my childhood memoir, In the Shadow of Narcissa, you will no doubt know that my adoptive grandma (paternal) was my favorite person in the whole world. And she loved her cousin, John. Happy belated birthday, John Garfield.)
Oh, and I also want to mention that the combination of yoga, booty core, and glucosamine seems to be doing some really, really good things to my legs, gang. So we shall see!
All righty, I’m gonna scoot!! Have a really nice Thursday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my very-late-last-night listening music as well as breakfast-listening music from this morning!! “Late in the Evening,” by Paul Simon, from his album One-Trick Pony, 1980.
This song was a hit when I first moved to NYC and I can remember hearing it while on a city bus, heading to see a movie, wondering how on Earth people afforded the price of movie tickets in NYC on a regular basis. NYC was some serious culture shock for me when I first got there. Like being on a whole different planet back then.
I don’t know — this song gave me something to cling to for a little while. And it’s nice to listen to it now because the song is actually really joyful, and all those difficult early days are so far behind me!
Okay. I love you guys. Take care. See ya!
“Late In The Evening”
The first thing I remember
I was lying in my bed
I couldn’t of been no more
Than one or two
I remember there’s a radio
Comin’ from the room next door
And my mother laughed
The way some ladies do
When it’s late in the evening
And the music’s seeping through
The next thing I remember
I am walking down the street
I’m feeling all right
I’m with my boys
I’m with my troops, yeah
And down along the avenue
Some guys were shootin pool
And I heard the sound
Of a cappella groups, yeah
Singing late in the evening
And all the girls out on the stoops, yeah
Then I learned to play some lead guitar
I was underage In this funky bar
And I stepped outside to smoke
myself a “J”
And when I came back to the room
Everybody just seemed to move
And I turned my amp up loud and I began
And it was late in the evening
And I blew that room away
The first thing I remember
When you came into my life
I said I’m gonna get that girl
No matter what I do
Well I guess I’d been in love before
And once or twice I been on the floor
But I never loved no one
The way that I loved you
And it was late in the evening
And all the music seeping through
Now it’s all about being a tuner, being a receiver, and allowing the signal to just come.
I’ve written this play how many times already, gang? How many times? Now I just need the best possible version of it to get itself onto the page.
I know it is all there. So I simply have to receive it.
We’ve all decided that Sandra is not going to come here to begin rehearsals on August 5th. We’ll start the rehearsals in September, in NYC. And the director wants to spend the next several weeks here, just working with me on the script. To finally nail it down.
I work well under that kind of pressure, but it is indeed pressure.
And when I say “here” I don’t mean that the director will be here in my ancient home that is from pioneer days. I mean “here” as in 20 miles from me, in his circa 1929 mansion that is just so beautiful and has more rooms in it than I can even remember (i.e., you need to consult your map to find the powder room).
So he won’t be exactly standing behind me, looking over my shoulder as I type; as I sweat, as I squirm; as I squint at the laptop screen because I refuse to wear my glasses; as I fumble with an unlit Pall Mall between my fingers — toying, for hours, with the idea of actually lighting it. Throwing it down angrily once in a while so that I can grab handfuls of my unwashed hair or rub the skin right off my forehead and say: Think, Marilyn, think! There’s got to be a better word here. Fucking find it already. Jesus fucking Christ!
No. He’ll more likely be drinking a whisky, neat, while sitting out on his sprawling veranda, admiring the 3-acre view of rolling lawns and sweeping trees, while listening to the birds and the gentle tick-tock of the grandfather clock coming through the screen door from the vestibule; yes, just sipping whisky and silently awaiting more stellar pages to arrive from me. Where are those stellar pages? he might wonder from time to time, as he looks at his pocket watch, the sun setting serenely in the west…
That kind of pressure.
Anyway. I do work well under pressure. But it does mean that, yet again, Peitor and I cannot do any work today on our micro-script for Abstract Absurdity Prods. 3 weeks in a row now. So that bothers me. But he still has his hands full with exhausting familial/ elderly parents/ obligation stuff out there in West Hollywood. I guess maybe it’s a needed “switching of gears” for both of us right now.
On the topic of short films, though. On Fridays, I get the weekly email from Short of the Week, which always includes about 5 or 6 short films in various categories. Not to be snarky, or anything, but I rarely find anything that truly blows me away. I still watch them for the editing, the camera angles, the shots, the locations – that kind of thing. How filmmakers are best utilizing these things for short films.
Yesterday, however, there were actually 2 films included in the weekly round-up that I absolutely loved. Both were Asian-American influenced themes. One Korean-American: Koreatown (12 mins).
Synopsis: At a discreet host bar in Los Angeles, Kyeong uses his talent and charm to create the illusion of love for the women who hire him. When a new client pays him for a “2nd round,” Kyeong discovers too late that behind her kindly demeanor lies a disturbing request. Watch it online here.
And the other one, Chinese-American: Kiss of the Rabbit God (14 mins).
Synopsis: A film about an ordinary restaurant worker’s extraordinary sexual awakening. Nightly visits from the Rabbit God, who arrives in the body of a tantalizing mysterious stranger, blossom into a tryst that empowers the young man to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Watch it online below:
Beyond that, what I really wanted to do yesterday was stream old episodes of The Flintstones on my iPad and lie around on my bed, delighting in the absurdity of all that old stuff.
However, under the above-mentioned circumstances, that seemed like a usage of my time that might be a wee bit hard to justify right at this particular juncture. So, watching The Flintstones (see yesterday’s post), I guess, will have to wait…
That said! I gotta scoot and get going on some new stellar pages.
Oh, wait! Two things. I never mentioned that my new passport photo was, yes, even more hideous than my new driver’s license photo! A feat that I didn’t think was humanly possible. And I get to keep it for 10 years….
And also: the Summer Sale at Smashwords ends in 5 days. So if you haven’t already downloaded my eBook titles over there (for free), you have 5 more days to do that in. Titles included are: The Muse Revisited Vols. 1-3; Freak Parade; and Twilight of the Immortal. The links are above, under “About Marilyn Jaye Lewis”. (Only Smashwords-linked titles are free; Amazon is not.)
All righty! Now I’m really outta here. Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys. See ya!
That’s my bedroom door, btw. I love that door. Both the door and the iron doorknob are original to the house, so they are 118 years old.
Luckily, I’m not OCD in any way, and absolutely love to wonder about all the various people who have touched that doorknob in the last 118 years.
And I like to wonder about all the people who have slept in my bedroom in the past 118 years because, I tell you, this bedroom has the very best vibes I’ve ever felt in a bedroom in my whole life.
Anyway, the never-ending parade of Marilyn’s Rooms… I’m guessing this will be the final one, but you never really know, do you?
Okay, let me just say this: What the fuck is up with Twilight of the Immortal, gang??!! That novel is probably my masterpiece, as far as my fiction writing goes. And it almost never sells. And I mean, even in the bi-annual free downloads over at Smashwords, it barely gets noticed, ever. People flock to my erotic fiction instead. Which is fine.
However, in the last several weeks, people started buying this eBook on Amazon, and now, suddenly, everyone and their grandmother is downloading it for free over at Smashwords. I mean, what’s going on with that? Why, all of the sudden? The book’s been out for something like 7 years.
I’m happy and all that, but it’s just weird. I can’t help but wonder what’s up. It makes me suspicious…
And a word of caution: Do not purchase trade paper print editions of this book if you see it for sale online (and you will). Those are uncorrected proof copies from when it was briefly published by Anaphora Literary Press. They are loaded with errors and typos. Unless you’re a collector of errors & typos, it’s best to get the eBook, which is the final edition.
Anyway, thank you. I do appreciate it. But I still think it’s weird.
I have so much to do around here. Yesterday, I revised what, for now, is the final staged reading version of Tell My Bones. At least until rehearsals begin.
Today, I’ve begun the revisions on the entire play.
Thursday, I have to start focusing again on the other play with Sandra — The Guide to Being Fabulous. This is the one-woman musical about Sandra’s own life that we will be doing in Toronto, Canada next year.
A lot of little tweaks and changes need to be made to that script, before pre-production can begin on that, too.
And I have to renew my passport!!! I’ve only had it sitting out on my dresser for about 4 months, now. Hoping to avoid this very thing: waiting until the last minute and then I suddenly need to use my passport and it then expires.
I’m trying to stay focused. You know. One thing at a time.
I had a wonderful evening last night. I’m still watching Z: The Beginning of Everything. Almost done with that. It was a truly humid evening, so I stayed down in the kitchen for awhile. It’s a lot cooler down there than up here in my room. And for the first time in probably two years, I played solitaire on my iPad!
Christ, that is so addicting. I only lost one game, too. I played until the sky was almost dark and the humidity got to be too much. I needed to take a shower.
But it was fun to just be alone in my house, at my kitchen table, playing solitaire. RELAXING! I hadn’t played it since I was back at that house I rented and was looking for a new house to buy somewhere and was having such a frustrating time of it. I used to play solitaire to distract myself.
It felt lovely to finally fully realize that all that was behind me, and to be in my house now, in this amazing town that I had never heard of before I moved here. It just felt so peaceful. And of course all the windows were open and so I could see all the fireflies blinking outside, and the train came by (not so peaceful but I still love it).
Earlier in the evening, I had talked on the phone with Valerie for awhile — to officially wish her a happy 60th birthday. And she even mentioned how much happier I sound nowadays, now that I’m in this house, this town.
It’s just so true. I still stress out a little because I have so many projects that I’m juggling, but it’s a whole different type of stress. I’m totally okay with it.
Okay, well, I have to get back at it now. The clock is sort of ticking. I hope Wednesday finds you enjoying yourself, wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re doing. Thanks for visiting.
I’m gonna leave you with a very brief excerpt from Twilight of the Immortal.
In it, Rudolph Valentino has just been released from a Los Angeles jail, after having been arrested for illegally marrying Natacha Rambova in Mexico.
Okay. I love you guys. See ya!
(Excerpt from the novel, Twilight of the Immortal)
It was nearly noon when Rudy walked in the door, alone. My belly was full; Han had come and gone, I was tidying up the kitchen when I heard the front door opening and then five dogs going happily mad.
I ran to the front door landing. “You’re all right?” I said.
He looked dazed. “I’m all right. Just very tired. I have to be back in court in two weeks. Until then, all I want to do is sleep. Did Natacha call?”
“No,” I said. “Not yet.”
I walked him upstairs to his own room; he wanted the big bed, the one he shared with Natacha, not the one that made him feel like a guest in his own home. “Forgive me,” he said. “I think I need a bath, but I’m too tired.” He sat down on the bed and took off his shoes. He removed his tie and took off his jacket. When he began removing his suspenders, I started to leave the room. “Don’t go,” he said wearily. “I don’t want to be alone. Stay.”
I stayed. “I have to say, Rudy; you look terrible. I’m really sorry you had to go through this. Joseph Schenck called this morning. He was ready to pay your bail – every cent of it and then some.”
The news seemed to perk up his spirits, but only a smidgen. “Schenck can come up with the money but Lasky couldn’t? Schenck, a man I barely know, who heads the newest company in town, instead of the man who heads the most powerful studio in Hollywood, whose company I’ve just made millions of dollars for?”
“It would seem so,” I said quietly.
He tossed his expensive shirt to the floor. I retrieved it and set it carefully over the butler chair. “I’m so deeply in debt now,” he lamented. “Do you even realize? I owe Lasky for this house, and the twelve thousand he gave me to pay off Jean, and now I owe my friends another ten thousand dollars…”
“Don’t torture yourself. Just get some sleep. Were you able to sleep at all in that awful jail?”
He looked at me. It was the look of someone trying hard to focus; he was thoroughly exhausted. “They drugged me in there,” he said.
“They drugged me,” he repeated; “The man in charge of the cell – the man with the keys? He gave me a cup of coffee that had something in it. I don’t remember everything he did to me last night, but I remember enough. And everybody watched. It was the Devil’s circus – behind bars.” Rudy laid down on the bed in his undershirt and his trousers; his head sinking into the pillow that was now stained with my dried tears. “Don’t ever let them take you to jail in this town, Rosemary; fight them with all you’ve got. I thought New York was bad – they call it ‘The Tombs’ for a reason – but it was civilized compared to what I’ve just been through.”
“Good God,” I said quietly. “Are you hurt?”
“Just stay,” was all he said. “Keep your eye on the door. Keep them all away from me. I just need some quiet. I need to be alone now.”
Wow, gang. Yesterday was quite the amazing Instagram day!
The Raconteurs new album, Help Us Stranger, opened at the top of the Billboard charts! I think it sold something like 88,000 copies in it’s first week.
Nick Cave made an appearance at the Glastonbury Music Festival, reuniting again with Kylie Minogue to sing their famous murder ballad from a million years ago, Where the Wild Roses Grow.
Really fantastic photos from that, gang. He should consider holding that gal in his arms for the rest of his life because I haven’t seen him look that happy in a long, long, LONG time. Just lovely.
Dana Petty uploaded a video from a concert Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers did on their final tour, 2 summers ago. It was footage of the song “Learning to Fly” where Tom is not even singing because the thousands and thousands and thousands of people in the audience are doing all the singing for him, and really joyfully and really loudly. It was wonderful. He looked really happy, too. I think Dana had taken the video with her phone. (And he would be dead within, like, 90 days from an accidental overdose of pain meds, so of course, hindsight makes it all very poignant.)
Ronnie Wood was all over Instagram with before & after show footage from the date the Stones did in Canada. He was really adorable. Also a very happy guy. I think his wife was taking the videos with her phone.
Yesterday was also the month-ending review in my Italian lessons and I only got one wrong answer out of 100, so that was really cool. I have no clue how I did that, gang. But it was exciting.
It is a stunning day here. Some of the edits for Blessed By Light have come in from NY so I will focus on that and then, perhaps, just think about life! I’m supposed to teach piano later today but I’m not sure if that’s happening or not, because of it being a holiday week here. But we’ll see.
As promised, the Smashwords Summer Sale begins again today! For the entire month of July, you can download any/all of my eBooks that are published on Smashwords — for FREE.
Posted below are the direct links. And, as always, here is my Extreme Cautionary Warning to those readers who have only known me as a script writer:
Freak Parade and The Muse Revisited Volumes 1-3 are exceptionally explicit (award-winning!) literary erotica, often with bisexual BDSM themes and with overtones of what is now termed “questionable consent” (i.e. consensual rape). These titles are not aimed at the average reader and could be considered upsetting or extremely offensive.
However, Twilight of the Immortal is historical fiction, not literary erotica.
If you’d like to know more about any of these titles before downloading, use the drop down menu on the upper right of this page, under “About Marilyn Jaye Lewis”.
All righty! I’m gonna get an early start here. I leave you with this today. From Hypnotic Eye, Tom Petty’s final album with the Heartbreakers, from 2014, “Sins of My Youth.” I think it sort of sums up a lot of what happened all over the place yesterday.
Have a great day, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you guys so much. See ya.
“Sins Of My Youth”
You will find no wicked way in me
Look me over, you will see
You will find no weary change
I’m worn and wounded,
but still the same
Let me tell you the truth
I love you more
Than the sins of my youth
When the past gets up in your face
Memories slide out of place
All those things that were hidden away
Ain’t so bad in the light of day
Let me tell you the truth
I love you more
Than the sins of my youth
You say you love me
wish you’d like me more
I’m no angel that’s for sure
Said you forgave me,
each time I was caught
But you still paint me as somethin’ I’m not
Let me tell you the truth
I love you more
Than the sins of my youth
Yes, that is my gentle reminder to you that today is the final day of the Smashwords sale, wherein all of my eBooks that are published with them are FREE to download, in any and all eReader formats.
I’m guessing, though, that you’ve already done that. Still. It’s good to think and to be smart. LOOK at your desktop or at your eReader device! If my eBooks are not in there [Twilight of the Immortal; Freak Parade, and The Muse Revisited Volumes 1-3.], then you’ve forgotten to download them and must hurry and do that today. The final day.
Or at least until the month of July, wherein, Smashwords does it all over again…
However, this means that in those months between January and July, you will have to pay 3 and sometimes as much as 4 dollars to download each of these books. Yes – I said 3 or 4 dollars! It looks like this: $3 or $4. And we don’t want to go that route, do we? Because then, I personally – as the writer- would actually receive most of those dollars. And that could set a very dangerous precedent. I might expect you to start purchasing my newer books forever after that. So let’s just avoid all that potential unpleasantness and go download those books today.
Well, unfortunately, the merriment of the holidays is over and I seriously have to get back to work around here. Someone in LA, who shall remain nameless, had the nerve to email me on New Year’s Eve – albeit, on Pacific Time, so to her, it was not yet dangerously close to the actual moment of merriment. But still. I get an email late last night explaining when & where & how I need to begin the endless hours of Skyping with producers re: my pilot script.
I so don’t want to do this, people, and yet I so have to. It was stressful just looking at the email. Because it isn’t actually Skype – it’s “Skype-like” and so I have to download yet another app and learn how to use it and how to send my script, etc. And I have about 24 hours to figure it out. And I still have not revised my show bible.
I know. I said I was doing it. I also said I was going to stop texting the guy I’m in love with because he’s really busy now and I wanted to give him some space… However, even though I opened the show bible Word file every single day for the past several days, I would simply look at it and my brain would just sort of glaze over with inertia. I got nothing done.
And so now, someone is going to say, “Okay, let’s see what you did!”
ME: “Nothing. I did nothing.”
Not gonna go over well.
THEM: “We were under the impression you were serious about your script and really wanted our input here.”
ME: “I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said that.”
So I kinda gotta scurry around here and get things in shape.
And this also means I will go back to my non-holiday blogging schedule of posting once or twice a week, instead of every day.
Plus, I’ve decided to go back to writing in my journal more and stay offline whenever possible. I’m seriously trying to break my texting habit. Frankly, I really wish I were addicted to smoking instead of texting. I could light up in the privacy of my own world and just sit & think & smoke, instead of dashing off yet another annoying: “Plus, I just wanted to be clear about…[fill in the blank about what on earth it is that I could possibly be more clear about].”
And with smoking, at least you get that awesome nicotine rush.
Okay, gang. Off I go! Enjoy your New Year’s Day festivities, wherever you are! Thanks for making a quick trip here part of your busy day. Sending you great big bunches of love! See ya!
Yes! That time of year where YOU, the gentle reader, gets to rob me blind!!
Yes, I’m talking about the Smashwords 10th Annual Summer Sale, and it begins July 1st, ending July 31st. I will post the links here on the blog at the beginning of the month.
All my titles published on Smashwords, in all eReader formats, will be entirely free to download for the month of July. My titles on Smashwords are:
Twilight of the Immortal
The Muse Revisited, Volume I: Early Erotica
The Muse Revisited, Volume II: Early Erotic Novellas & Longer Works
The Muse Revisited, Volume III: More Early Erotica
Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I’m not a super huge fan of the Smashwords giveaways, primarily because my books are often downloaded there when they’re for free, but rarely ever purchased there when they’re not for free. (In case you’re curious about stuff like this: I sell more eBooks on Amazon.UK, and regular print books in Germany, than anywhere in the world.)
An example of what I mean re: Smashwords: The eBook edition of my super-duper award-winning erotic novel, Freak Parade, has been downloaded for free nearly 1000 times during the giveaways since it’s publication there in 2010 –– yes, nearly one thousand free downloads; think of the royalties I didn’t get!! And it has sold there 56 times. And it has only been reviewed there once by someone I didn’t actually know.
And yet, I still publish on Smashwords and I still participate. All these books and short stories are really old now anyway, so it doesn’t really matter that much to me, and it’s allegedly good for PR. Although I can’t really imagine anyone downloading an erotic book for free and then, if they liked it, not giving it away for free to someone else. I wasn’t born yesterday, gang.
In fact, in the early days, when my writing first became popular (in the late 80s & early 90s), many people Xeroxed my magazine stories and faxed them to other people all over the country. It was 100% completely and entirely pointless to think I was going to get paid for any of that. (I did, however, get a visit from the FBI because one of my early Xeroxed & faxed stories had inadvertently attached itself to a bunch of pedophiles, so that was fun…) However, at the peak of my erotica-writing career, my 100% completely, certified-non-pedophile essays, short stories, novels, novellas, and edited works, sold nearly 100,000 copies, all of which I did get paid for. So I think that, back then, royalty-free Xeroxing & faxing created pretty good word-of-mouth for me in the long run.
So I don’t really mind that much about Smashwords. It still matters more to me that a reader somewhere likes something of mine they’ve read — that matters more to me than what they might or might not have paid, when you get right down to it.
That said, here’s another topic that long-time loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recognize: how much collectors’ copies of my old books sell for on Amazon! If you clicked on the link to Twilight of the immortal in the blog post from the other day, you probably spotted a print edition selling there for $491.11 (!!!!) This is a TERRIBLE edition, filled with typos (it’s why I no longer allowed it to be sold in print by that publisher and ended up publishing it myself), but more than likely it was autographed by me at some point, probably in London several years ago. And that’s why these really old books of mine have inexplicable price tags. I’ve signed an awful lot of books.
All righty! On that happy note, I’m going to dive back into writing the Hurley Falls Mysteries: Down to the Meadows of Sleep, then I’ll drive into town after dinner to see I Hate Hamlet! Sounds like a blissful Wednesday, if you ask me. Hope yours is likewise!!
First off, I finally have a haircut. And I got it by way of standing in front of the bathroom mirror this morning and simply snip-snip-snipping it off with a small pair of barber’s scissors.
I am so darn busy — and seemingly have been since last November — that I can’t ever get myself to the hair salon in a timely manner to get my hair trimmed. Yes, just a trim. That’s all I ever need. And now the salon is but a mere 5 minute walk from my house and I still couldn’t get myself over there. So, following in the footsteps of one of my many muses who happens to cut her own hair —
— I finally decided that enough was enough. That I could no longer leave the house with a mile-long bunch of dead, split-ends anymore, so off they came!! (But only about 2-inches. I’m not likely to ever be as drastic as KD Lang is when it comes to hair…)
I instantly felt several pounds lighter, at least in spirit. And when I sauntered out into the world to run my errands, everyone at the gas station and at the grocery store was visibly relieved that they no longer had to look at my unsightly split-ends anymore.
The other thing that I’m really, really happy about is that the complete revision of my mystery novel, once called The Miracle Cats, but now called The Hurley Falls Mysteries, at last started coming out onto the page on Thursday. I’m really, really happy with the new direction it’s taking, gang. I’m finally back in that space where I can’t wait to get in front of the laptop in the morning and start writing.
This first book in what I hope will be a series of Hurley Falls Mysteries, is titled: Down to the Meadows of Sleep.
Loyal readers of this lofty blog — well, really long-time loyal readers of this lofty blog, who remember when I was in the throes of writing Twilight of the Immortal, my novel about Hollywood in the late nineteen-teens, early 1920s; the very same novel that, upon completion after my ten years of writing it, my agent took me to a celebratory dinner at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood and declared, “Marilyn, this book is your masterpiece! The only thing I can compare this to is F. Scott Fitzgerald…. but unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. No one’s buying novels like this right now” — and she turned out to be 100% correct; well, long-time loyal readers who remember all that, will no doubt recall that I love old Hollywood.
I Hate Hamlet is, loosely, about a modern-day LA actor moving into John Barrymore’s old apartment in NYC; an apartment haunted by Barrymore, and then shenanigans ensue. Here’s a shot from the theater’s Facebook page!
I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!
All righty! On that happy note, I gotta go downstairs and finish doing the laundry, and then get back at The Hurley Falls Mysteries and get some good work done on that, because tonight, Endeavor returns to PBS! I need to be front & center for that, gang!
Have a great Sunday, wherever you are! Keep those miracles coming, gang! And thanks for visiting. See ya!