Tag Archives: writing

Me + Migraine + Aspirin + Caffeine =???

Sorry for the delay in arriving here today.

As the heading might indicate, I was struggling with a headache. The type of headache that makes me indescribably irritable.

One of those migraines that starts as a brightly-colored geometric pattern in front of one eye. It slides around, making it really difficult to see (i.e., laptop screens). And I have discovered over time that if I can get aspirin into me as soon as the shapes appear, I can cut the accompanying headache off at the pass…

But I didn’t want to take aspirin because I have a lot of work to do on the play today and I have a meeting with the director tomorrow and he’s going back to NYC in a few days and I wanted this draft done — done done done done done — before he went back to NYC,  and aspirin actually makes me really sleepy.

So I decided that I would just ignore the brightly-colored geometric pattern in front of one eye as it slid around, and then the accompanying headache would simply never materialize.

Yes, that would be the self-same headache that always, without fail, 100% of the previous times, for years, has accompanied that fucking brightly-colored geometric pattern in front of one eye…

Since, obviously, ignoring it didn’t work, I finally compromised and went out in a whirlwind of pain & frustrated anger and bought low-dose baby aspirin and then drank a truckload of coffee… and guess what?

It worked!!! The headache put in a very brief appearance and then went away and I’m not sleepy at all.

That said, though, it’s already 3:30 in the afternoon so I’ll probably be here at my desk until 10 o’clock tonight, trying to recoup the lost time.  We’ll see. The feedback from the director re: my most recent revisions was really, really just so wonderful. So, I don’t really mind sitting here eternally, working on this play. Eventually, it’ll be worth it.

Here’s something really interesting that happened last evening. It was out on that magical highway over here, the one I’ve talked about before, where the Spirits are just off-the-charts interactive.

I was coming home with groceries, it was almost dark out, and for some reason, there was actually traffic on the highway. (By “traffic” I mean maybe 10 cars, but still. That’s 8 more cars then there usually are.) I was in the fast lane (of course) and a car cut right in front of me and had the nerve to go the actual speed limit (which is 70 mph, but I usually drive 95mph).

But I decided to myself: you know, it’s a really beautiful evening; the moon is almost full, the stars look awesome. I’m just gonna chill and hang out here behind this guy and go the speed limit for, like, the first time ever.

And then, lo & behold, up around the bend, for the first time ever, there sat the Muskingum County Sheriff. All bright and bold and beautiful.

Oh my god!! It was just too cool!! I felt so fucking blessed, you know? Like that guy who cut in front of me was sent from heaven! I always speed out here because the Sheriff is never around. But I also always pray to St. Francis and St. Christopher and to whoever else might be listening, before I ever get into my car… I really think it works.

Also, today, when I went to get the baby aspirin, I had to go a round-about way because they’re painting new lines on the main road. I went out over by the old Canal Rd., which is all farms and trees and hills and just so pretty.  (The old Ohio – Erie Canal used to run through this town back in the 1820s or something like that. There was a lock here and everything.) And the sky is so blue right now. I wanted to stop and take a picture to post on the blog, but I had such a fucking headache by then that I wasn’t really able to process the idea of stopping the car.

Anyway. It was lovely. And I just feel so blessed to be living out here.

Okay, gang. I’m gonna cut this short and get to work on the play now. Thanks for visiting.  I leave you with 2 things. One: an old photo of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Image result for old erie canal in muskingum county ohio

And, two: the song I was absolutely blasting on “repeat” in my little Honda Fit last evening when I had my blessed non-event with the Muskingum County Sheriff!

All righty!! I love you guys! See ya!

Mi mancano i bagagli!

Si! I am learning some very important things now in Italian!

“I am missing some luggage!” “I would like a dessert!” “She never walks in the park!” “There is a party here!” “The butterfly is beautiful!” “Can I help you?!” “At what time is lunch?!”

(Of course, the exclamation points are mine — added to just give you the feel of the overall excitement here.)

Actually, though, I am starting to learn things. Meaning, of course, not just phrases but also the dreaded grammar.  The Mondly app, honestly, is really fun. (I’m still thinking, though, that my extensive studies in French help enormously, plus I’ve also studied Spanish and Portuguese, so I’m not really sure what the app feels like if you have no exposure to a Romance language.)

I have not yet sprung any of my meager Italian on Peitor, though. Since he is fluent in Italian, he might go off on a spree and leave me sputtering in the dust. And even while it’s fun to actually be learning Italian after all these years (since I first studied it and gave up), I do really wish that my dearest friend, the fluent-in-Italian-Peitor, was coming to Perugia with me.

Not that I have ever been one who wants to stand behind some sort of wildly capable man and then simply follow; in this instance, I would be 100% okay with it!! You bet’cha!!

However, he has already assured me — in rather excellent English — that he is not coming to Perugia to simply hold my hand (and speak Italian for me) because he has to stay in Los Angeles sometimes and earn a living. (He is a record producer and a composer.) (But he does go to Italy about 6 times a year, so there is still that tiny hope that one of those times will be when I will be overseeing the Writer’s Retreat.) (Peitor organizes all the various retreats at Villa Monte Malbe, but he doesn’t attend them unless he’s, you know, on the payroll…)

(And even while I am certainly old enough to participate in some sort of Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, I’m not wealthy enough to pay for it.) (Sadly.) (Although if I could afford it, I would probably want to support an actual gigolo, and not my dearest friend…who would likely balk at many of the things I would be expecting if, you know, I were actually paying for it.)

In fact, I can hear it now:

ME: (asking him for any of the many things I would be expecting.)

HIM: “Marilyn, shut up and get your mind out of the gutter. ”

(Frankly, I can get that for free. In any language.)

So!! Gang. I have to say that my work on the revisions for Tell My Bones has just been really, really great this weekend. Yesterday made me so happy. This next segment I’m working on actually sort of “bleeds through” into two segments and it’s really opening up in my head — just filling up with life.  I’m really excited. And if I hadn’t already written this thing 17 hundred times, I probably wouldn’t be able to visually open it up like this. I feel like I’m seeing it in 360 degrees, and not just in a linear way, if that makes any sense.

Well, before I get back at it here today (yes, I slept in again!! You have no idea how lovely the mornings have been here — cool and sunny and so peaceful!), I only want to say a couple more things.

One: Marlon Richards turned 50 fucking years old yesterday, and if you think that doesn’t make me feel indescribably old, you are just out to lunch; what can I say? I don’t mind being 59, but how can he possibly be 50??!! He’s just a little boy, one that Keith and (the now deceased) Anita are always toting around…

Image result for keith richards and marlon as a baby
Yes, that wee bonny lad turned 50 yesterday… How old does that make YOU??!! (Stop looking at Anita’s sizable things there, and just look at the wee bonny lad!!)

And for no reason at all, here is my very favorite photo of Keith. I have had it stuck to my wall for years.

Keith in Los Angeles, in 1969. (Robert Altman)

The other thing is that it does seem like the thing in Melbourne — Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra — was incredible. Gosh, I wish I could have been there. (And they even sort of speak English in Australia so I wouldn’t have needed a Mondly app!!)

All righty! I gotta scoot. Thanks for visiting, gang. As unlikely as it may seem, I will leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning!! Make of it what you will on this glorious Sunday. I love you guys. See ya!

“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.


An Ode to Sylvia & A Bunch of Other Stuff!

Somewhere in this house, I believe I still have a copy of Sylvia Plath’s Journals. I’m not up to the task of finding it right now, because I just have way too many books.  And once I start going through all my bookshelves, then that’s it. I get pulled in for hours.

However. Many years ago — 30 or so — I read Sylvia Plath’s Journals (that’s Sylvia, pictured up there, at the time documented in her journals). I recall vividly one entry where she was newly married and really happy. It was summertime and a heatwave had broken and the weather had gotten so cool that she had to put on a sweater. And she wrote so touchingly about the beauty of wearing a sweater in cool weather.  Unexpected changes, mid-season.

Today, it has actually gotten so cool that I’m wearing my flannel robe over my summer PJs! And so I’m thinking about “sweater weather” and of Sylvia Plath, and the simple beauty that lives eternally through her, in spite of what she’d sadly hoped to obliterate about herself.

And on a very different note…

From the window near my desk right now, I can see down into the stretch of yard between my house and the neighbor’s house.  The guy there (the drummer) is out there right this minute, mowing the grass. (This is a process that takes maybe 8 minutes because he has a tiny yard — large house but a tiny yard. ) Anyway, I see that since yesterday morning, he has completely shaved his head and shaved off all his facial hair, of which he had plenty.

Isn’t it weird? It makes me wonder what it was about yesterday that made him decide to do that. I wonder if he’d been planning it for several days, or if it was just a whim?

Well, a couple of photos finally got into my Instagram feed early this morning from the concerts going on in Melbourne this weekend with Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. One was from Susie Cave, so that was sort of an “official” photo, but there was another one from the audience from Friday night, at the end of the concert, and then someone else posting that it was “powerful  & intense,” and then someone else posted saying it was a “healing experience” (no doubt!) — but neither of those people posted photos from the actual show.

It’s probably one of those things where people aren’t allowed to be documenting the concert with their phones, because there’s just been a huge dearth of anything coming out of Melbourne. (A “huge” dearth is kind of an interesting concept, isn’t it?) (Or perhaps people in Melbourne simply don’t own cell phones. That’s probably the more reasonable explanation…)

I also noticed that Sandra Caldwell, the actress I write the theater projects with/for in NYC, was a busy bee on Instagram up in Toronto yesterday, texting with someone that I don’t know, but she posted quite a few really stunning photos of herself from about 30 years ago.  Mostly she was wearing not much of anything at all in the way of clothing!! (She’s very good friends with my ex-husband, Wayne, and so she came to our wedding back in 1993 and she was, by far and away, the most stunning woman there, even though she was wearing clothes.)

When Sandra and I first met — when I was first engaged to Wayne, who was a professional actor back then — she was also engaged to be married and she gave me this really stunning ring. She didn’t want to just get rid of the ring because some important guy gave it to her but she didn’t feel it was appropriate to keep it since she was getting married to someone else. So she gave the ring to me.

The ring is not real, it’s Cubic Zirconia, but it looks like a real diamond ring — it has about 6 “diamonds” on it, in a gold setting. I rarely wear it because it’s so pretty and I don’t want to get it all fucked up, but when I do wear it, everyone thinks it’s real and their eyes pop out. I never dreamed back when she & I first met, that our relationship would be so instrumental for me as a writer. I think it’s kind of funny that, upon meeting me, she gave me a diamond ring! (You know, like we got engaged to a future destiny or something.)

I’m actually not very big on jewelry, and what jewelry I do wear is almost always sterling silver. I’m not sure why I like silver so much, but I have a ton of it. I also love pearls.  I have some beautiful pearls that I inherited. But almost all of my gold and diamonds (including my diamond engagement ring from Tiffany’s — Wayne & I actually got engaged inside Tiffany’s, in NYC, back in the fall of 1992; yes, the self-same Tiffany’s of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at…” fame); I had to sell all of my valuable jewelry when my “dearly beloved” from about 12 years ago, gambled away my life savings (see some earlier post somewhere that details all that).

Oddly enough, the one ring I didn’t sell, which is not that valuable but it is gold and does have chips of diamonds and rubies on it — that one I didn’t sell because (unlike a fucking diamond ring from Tiffany’s for god’s sake!!) it holds sentimental value for me. It really, really does. And who gave it to me? The same fucking guy who gambled my world away…

Ah well. That’s just so me. (And, yes, in case you were going to point it out — I have had my head examined, thank you very much!) (And it didn’t reveal anything I didn’t already know.)

All righty!! My Internet has gone in and out all morning, so I’m going to post this right now, while I seem to actually have a connection. And I will get to work on the play. Have a really great Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! (Or I hope it was a good one, if it’s almost over!)

Thanks for visiting. And I leave you with the song I was actually listening to this morning, although I have no idea why it even came to me. I hadn’t thought of the song in decades. But I think it’s fitting for Sylvia Plath, and even for me in regards to my dearly beloved, who had the gambling addiction I didn’t know about, and who taught me all the gentle ins & outs of filing for a restraining order… (heavy sigh). Okay. I love you guys! See ya!!

“Drowning in the Sea of Love”

I’ve been down one time
I’ve been down two times
But now I’m drowning, drowning in the sea of love

Let me tell ya all about it
I’ve been out here so very long, I’ve lost all my direction
Baby when you came my way I thought I’d found my protection
But a strong wind came into my life, surely took me by surprise
& I can’t seem to control these tears that’s falling from my eyes

Listen to me
Baby I depended on you, for a love & affection
But now you gone and deserted me, can’t you see that I’m in desperation
I’m in the middle of a bad love storm, ooh yeah I just can’t let it, boy I
Looked around and all I could see, was water coming over me

All I do is cry, all I do is walk around and cry
But right now I’m drowning, oh I’m drowning in the sea of love

But that’s alright, I don’t mind drowning for your love
That’s alright baby, hear me when I say it’s alright
You got the kind of love that make me feel alright
You got the kind of love baby that make me cry all night long
You got the kind of love baby make me do things I don’t wanna do
And it’s alright

c- 1971 Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff

Cats Are So Good At Acting Like They Can’t Understand You!

Yes, once again, I have subtly left the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the family room, hoping that the cats would take the hint and vacuum the darn house, but they just walk right past it. Not only as if they don’t see it, but as if they don’t even comprehend what it’s for.

It just gets me so mad. One of these days, I’m just going to fucking break down and do it myself!


Yes, the dust and the cat hair (and the Marilyn hair) gathers all over the house (it makes me insane because I am a little bit of a cleaning freak, truth be told), but I got some amazing writing done on the play yesterday, gang. And you can only do so much, you know?

ME (drumming my fingers on my desk, thinking): Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. Do I want a Pulitzer Prize or a clean house?

I really was just so happy yesterday.  I somehow managed to capture one of those complicated dream-painting scenes from the Tell My Bones screenplay and translate it for the stage.  (Meaning that one of Helen’s most popular paintings comes to life while she’s dreaming and she then uses the setting of her painting to interact with all the people in her life who have died.) It’s very easy to do on film, but I wasn’t sure how best to achieve it for the stage without having some sort of huge budget, a la “Sunday in the Park with George.”  Especially since there are just so many of Helen’s paintings setting the scenes in this play. You don’t want to just focus hugely on one thing and then not bring the rest of the play up to that scope. (i.e., a Broadway Musical budget.)

Plus, I was able to use the setting of the painting coming to life to sort of jettison a bunch of narrative monologue type stuff and really cut to the chase and then move forward to the next segment. (And underlying the whole “painting coming to life” scene, is the cast singing, in a really ghost-like, ethereal way, the old  slave spiritual, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” )

We’ll see what the director thinks. I’m guessing it still needs tweaking but overall, I am just so happy. I’m going to work on it some more today because our meeting has been switched to next Tuesday.

I’m not sure what’s up in Melbourne. So far no reviews in the online newspapers in Australia re: the Nick Cave & Warren Ellis events going on with the symphony there. But I did see that more Bad Seeds are supposed to be involved (?) on Saturday night (which for all I know is right now, since I have no clue what day or time it is in Australia!!) so perhaps that is what everyone is waiting for? I actually do not know. Anyway.  No reviews yet. And I had to un-follow  #nickcave on Instagram because way, way, WAY too much insane stuff gets into my Instagram feed with that hashtag. Most of it is actually quite interesting, and mostly from Europe, but I don’t have time to scroll through all that insanity because it only makes me want to stop and ponder!!!

Eventually, we will find out everything about everything. I feel confident about that.

Okay. I gotta scoot, gang. I once again slept in a little bit today because my bed was just so darn comfortable — it got back down into the 60s Fahrenheit during the night. And my bed, and all the open windows — it was just too beautiful. Eros was everywhere! But now I gotta get going here.

Thanks for visiting. I leave you with this — a young girl choir in Mississippi, singing “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” For some reason, this is my favorite version on YouTube. It is so uncomplicated but full of enthusiasm. Okay, I love you guys! Have a terrific Friday!! See ya!

Oops! Forgot to Title This One!!

First of all, I want to thank Edge of Humanity Magazine for publishing the 3rd segment from my memoir-in-progress In the Shadow of Narcissa. It was posted online last night.

The new segment is titled “I’m Crying Because the President has been Shot” and it’s posted in the Human Condition section. You can read it here.

They also have some really cool new photo-journalism pieces, so if you’ve never checked out Edge of Humanity Magazine, you should.

Well. Yesterday was interesting. For reasons I won’t go into on the blog, I spent the entire day struggling with the revisions on the play because my brain was completely distracted by something else. And I mean, for 8 hours. I could not focus. I was making myself nuts — plus, it was 2 days in a row that I was getting nothing done, for 2 entirely different reasons.

But then, by around 6pm, I finally forced myself to just deal with all the stuff that was in my brain. I sorted it out. And then — presto-change-o! — everything inside my head was fine. I spent the next 4 hours at my desk and all the revisions just flowed. All of them. I got them all done, plus I was really happy with how they turned out.

I sent them off to the director, and now, today, I have to come up with the next new segment because I’m meeting with him again tomorrow and I don’t want to show up with nothing new.

So here’s hoping that today will just flow.

It’s a gorgeous day here today, gang. It’s sunny and only 65 degrees Fahrenheit!

It’s been a beautiful summer, overall. Although nothing like last summer was, where all the old Spirits in this town came out to play. Constantly.  But I have been assured by those same Spirits that it’s my fault; they’re ready and willing to come out to play with me but I’m always at my desk, working.

I haven’t even been to the graveyard once this summer. If you’re new to the blog, the graveyard here is wonderful. It’s just down the street from me. All the founders of the town are buried there and have been for going on 200 years. They communicate with me when I go over there. They are really lively. I’m serious. I started writing a really fun, sexy magic realism/murder mystery, based on them and this town, called Down to the Meadows of Sleep: The Hurley Falls Mysteries. I got about 50 pages into it last summer, but then other projects took over my life and so it sits, awaiting my attention again at some point.

The novel takes place in the summertime, so I equate the whole project with summer. I can’t imagine working on it in fall or winter, so it might be another year before I get back to it. We’ll see.

All I know is that I absolutely love summer in this town. And I have always been someone who hated summer, because I can’t stand heat and my brain malfunctions in humidity, and my skin reacts badly to relentless exposure to sunlight, and I get weird reactions to sunscreen. So summer was just never my season, even though I was born in late July.

But being here, in this town, with all these amazing old trees and cornfields and green hills, and Spirits that are just right there, happy to chat with you… Well, now I live for summer. I can’t wait for it to arrive and then I don’t want to see it end.

For some weird reason, the schools around here go back in session in two weeks! Can you believe that? For those poor kids, the summer really is almost over. Everywhere else in the country goes back to school after Labor Day, which is what it used to be like here in Ohio, too. Not anymore.

But I’m going to cling to summer, because it isn’t officially over until mid-September. And I just don’t want to see it go (even though, when fall officially starts, I’ll be in NYC, for rehearsals of my play (!!) and to see Nick Cave twice. And to stay in a suite at the Algonquin Hotel!! And I’m staying in some other hotel for one night, too, but I don’t remember now which one. I only remember that it’s close to Lincoln Center.) (Which reminds me, so far only one post to Instagram from Melbourne last night, but that was before the concert began. I guess everyone there is sleeping now? What the hell day/time is it in Australia anyway??!!)

So, if summer does indeed have to go, at least fall will be arriving on its heels in a most beautiful way.

Okay. I gotta get working on that play now. Tomorrow will be here in a heartbeat and I refuse to be empty-handed when it arrives.

Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with one of my favorite summer songs from my wee bonny girlhood! I  love you guys. See ya!

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long?
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong?
You know it’s gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new?
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through?
Happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray
It might come true (run run ooo)
Baby, then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married (we could be married)
And then we’d be happy (and then we’d be happy)
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But let’s talk about it
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
Good night, oh baby
Sleep tight, oh baby
c- 1966 Brian Wilson, Tony Asher, Mike Love

Just the Kind of Cat I Like!!

Yes, I like my kitties intense, gang. Cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking cats, with those ice blue eyes that have all sorts of unsettling stuff written all over them.  [If you’re reading this on my web page and not on your phone, the word cut off at the bottom, up there,  is ‘intense.’ — Ed.]

I forgot to mention that, yesterday, I bought my cats some organic catnip. Now that Daddycakes is no longer with us (sadly), I realized that I can have catnip in the house again. Back when I had 2 male cats, the cat fights were off the charts when the catnip came out, so I had to stop buying it. But last night, boy, were there some stoned kitties around here.

The cats have tons of toys, but only a couple of them are the kind that you can stick catnip in. Here is their favorite:

Favorite catnip toy! A soaking, slobbery mess right now…


Well. This morning had all the earmarks of a perfect morning. I’m hoping the whole day will follow suit.  I haven’t actually looked into my astrology forecast or anything, but it just feels like something huge is either shifting or has shifted in my inner world.

I don’t just feel “happy;” I feel like I’m beginning to understand my life in cosmic proportions.

I don’t think it stems from drinking about 2 ounces of kombucha yesterday (see last night’s post). Seriously, though, I do think that my buying all that stuff yesterday was part of some sort of underlying shift that’s going on.

I also started a new yoga routine a couple of nights ago. (No, not kundalini or tantric.  Honestly, if I included sex in every area of my life where I wished to include it, I would get absolutely nothing done.) (Plus, you know, making some sort of meditative practice to open my sexual energy — Jesus Christ. That would be sort of scary. It’s not like I’ve ever made a habit of blocking it.)

But I did change my yoga routine and it was noticeably effective. And by “effective,” I’m not sure what I really mean; just that my mind was different after I did that.

And now wanting all this new food (mostly beverages, apparently) in my life… I don’t know.

When I woke up this morning, I thought fleetingly about that older guy again, from when I was 14, but my thoughts immediately progressed to realizing that 45 summers ago was also when Greg died (on August 27th). I mean, I knew that, but I hadn’t yet affixed that number to it.

And, as an aside, it could very well be that I forgot about that older guy until now, because Greg’s death obliterated everything else in my world.  I know the older guy was around for the whole summer, even though I didn’t want to have sex with him anymore, but I think that once his brother was out of prison, they all got construction jobs somewhere else and moved away.

But I was thinking this morning about Greg. Not really able to process what being dead for 45 years means when he was only 15 when he died. I’ve been to his grave a few times since moving back to Ohio.  It’s about an hour’s drive from where I am now. I’m not sure if I’ll go visit this month or not. The last time I went, I saw that his dad had died now, too. There was a space between him and his dad and this morning, I was wondering if his mom is going to be buried between her husband and her son. And then I wondered, at what point would I visit his grave and then find his mom there, also?

It is just so weird how life just goes on. I don’t even try to process it because I just can’t.  I examine everything, you know; I ponder. I can’t ever seem to stop doing that, but it’s more to look at how certain people or situations made me behave. How they made me feel, which made me behave a certain way.

And then, you live long enough, and you realize that nothing really mattered that much, or as much as you thought it did, because Time passed and everything changed, and then changed again, and then changed again. So I think the story that gets told is who we are from moment to moment. No one experience, no matter how life-changing or life-shattering at the time, is ever the definitive moment; it never truly defines who you are, even though it feels like it does. Eventually, if you live long enough, a deluge of Time passes and all sorts of defining experiences come and go.

I’ve also noticed that when people lose either their spouses or their long-time companions, it can wildly change who they become in life. I’ve seen that happen to quite a few of the men in my family, in very different ways. But the unifying thing underlying it was that the “other” died and it was clear that the man had sort of put his life on hold throughout the whole relationship, and that the death of the partner led to almost overwhelming freedom.

It can be hard for a family to see that, you know? I, being who I always am — a huge believer in emotional freedom — have always supported the men’s choices and usually got everyone else in the family pissed off at me.

My biological grandmother (my birth mom’s mom) was always at odds with me. I knew her for about 30 years before she died, and through most of that time, she wasn’t speaking to me for one reason or another.

The worst event was when my aunt died (her sister).

My uncle  — that aunt’s husband –had always been so incredibly kind to me. Just off-the-charts kind.  In the early days of knowing my birth mom, it was very hard for me to deal with the fact that she refused to tell me (or anyone, ever) who my dad was. I really, really, really wanted to know.

My uncle took me aside late one summer night, and said, “I wish I could help you. I honestly don’t know who your dad is. If I knew, I’d tell you in a heartbeat, no matter who got upset with me.”

And then after my aunt died, my uncle called me on the phone to tell me a little story.

It turned out, he’d had an illegitimate daughter of his own before he’d married my aunt. He knew he was the girl’s father, and he tried to have a relationship with the girl, but my aunt refused to allow it. So he lived there in the same town with the girl as she grew up.

The girl knew “that’s my father,” and he knew “that’s my daughter,” but they weren’t allowed to even speak to each other or my aunt would have a fit. And when she’d married my uncle, she was a widow with 2 young kids — her husband was a race car driver who got killed in a drag race crash. And my uncle raised my aunt’s 2 kids, and she deprived him of ever being able to know his own daughter.

When my aunt died, the girl — then in her early 40s — read about it in the newspaper and straight away, she finally went to visit her dad, you know? All above board and out in the open. “Ding-dong, the witch is dead,” right?

Wow, was the family up in arms that she did that. And it was even worse to them that my uncle welcomed his daughter with more than open arms:  He bought a brand new Cadillac, let his diabetes go, and had a love affair, right out in the open, with his daughter.

Back then, cars didn’t always have that arm rest in the middle of the front seat, and when they’d drive around town in that new Cadillac, my uncle and his grown daughter would sit right up close together while he drove, like they were lovers, and it pissed the whole town off.

And I was the only one who was okay with that. I just thought that was the fucking coolest thing. My aunt deprived those two of everything that could have been normal between them for their whole lives. And so it was all coming out in the wash. (At the time, I was still a singer-songwriter in NYC and I wrote a song about it: “In this car of my old man’s/we run as fast as the racing wind…”)

My grandmother, of course, stopped speaking to me because I was “on my uncle’s side.” But my uncle would call me on the phone to talk to me about how he’d felt about everything — for all those years. How much he loved his daughter. How it killed him to never be able to even wish her a Merry Christmas or a Happy Birthday, or to even be allowed to acknowledge her when he saw her in the supermarket, where she worked when she was in her teens.

Eventually my uncle landed in the hospital because he let his diabetes go, and then he died soon after. But one time when he called me from his hospital bed, he said: “My daughter has something very important she wants to tell you.” So he put her on the phone with me.

At that point, I was still in my 20s, so she was a lot older than I was. And I knew that she and my uncle weren’t just having a love affair — I knew they were incestuous, too. They were doing it. And it did not bother me one bit. To me, they were adults, making their own choices. And so she gets on the phone with me, while she’s literally lying on the hospital bed next to my uncle — her dad — and what does she tell me? She told me who my father was.

She was a little older than my mom, but they’d gone to the same school when my mom got pregnant with me, and for all those years, she knew who “the father of Cherie’s baby” was. And that night, when she told me who he was, was the first time she learned that I was that baby.

If you remember a night about 30 years ago, when it felt like the planets stopped revolving in their orbits for a moment and the stars sort of exploded — that would have been the night she told me that over the phone: Who my father was. At last. He had a name. He existed. The name I had waited a lifetime to hear – I now knew it.

That alone, helped my uncle die happy, because he really, really did want me to know who my dad was. He thought that it wasn’t fair of my mother to have never told the guy that he was a dad, that he had a daughter in the world.

So anyway. Death creates peculiar and unexpected stories, even though the heartbreak that comes along with it is real. I’ll decide in a few weeks if I want to go back to visit Greg’s grave.  Part of it is that I just feel he is so long gone from that grave, you know? 45 years, people. And he was only 15 when they put him in there, and in life, he was always up and out and looking for trouble. I’m guessing that death didn’t change him much.

Okay. This morning, appropriately enough, the music was all about Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now.” However, I actually like Neil Diamond’s version better. So I’m gonna leave you once again with a song from Rainbow.

Thanks for visiting, gang. I gotta get back to the rewrites on the play. (Oh, and Nick Cave sent out a new Red Hand Files newsletter so I gotta go read that!!!) I love you guys. See ya.


Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

c- 1967 Joni Mitchell

Miracles Sort of DO Happen!!

I’m not sure how they managed it, but the United States Government delivered my new passport today and the hideous passport photo that was taken of me — the one that surpassed in hideousness my driver’s license photo — no longer looks quite so hideous!!

It’s still not a photo that I ever want anyone to see, but it looks better than it did before because now it has a bunch of squiggly blue lines running through it.  I guess this is just one of the reasons why it’s great to be an American. The Government runs a bunch of squiggly blue lines through your face when you least expect it and then little miracles happen.

Well. On another topic.

I tried kombucha for the first time today.

For a very long time, I have thought about trying it but it just sounded so disgusting that I thought it would make me gag. Here are some possible side effects of kombucha:

  • If contaminated, side effects include stomach problems, yeast infections, allergic reactions, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, head and neck pain, and death.

That’s pretty exciting, right? How many other drinks, if contaminated, can say that?

However, the kind of kombucha I am always looking at and not buying is sold in the refrigerated health-drink aisle at the store, not homemade stuff. Probably not contaminated or I would have seen the horrific reports by now. (However, the mass-produced bottle is covered in those Sanskrit-looking symbols that look like you should either meditate while drinking it or practice yoga — hopefully kundalini or tantric yoga, but I’ll have to get back to you on that.) (Yes! I’m always looking for reasons why sex is absolutely required in every area of my life. My beverages, my yoga, etc., etc.)

I just now looked online to see again what the benefits of kombucha are, and I immediately saw a blurb from Web MD that claims that, when taken by mouth, it is safe for most adults.

So then I thought, oh god, don’t tell me people do kombucha enemas…

So I looked that up and it turns out: sure they do!! Why wouldn’t they??!!

Jiminy Christmas.

Anyway. So I finally tried it today (by mouth — the possibly safer way). (If I were ever, ever, EVER persuaded to try it any other way, I’m not going to blog about it.) (Which I’m sure only makes you wonder now what I’m actually doing when I’m not blogging about something…  Hmm. Indeed.)

But here’s a hint: Don’t mindlessly shake the kombucha bottle while staring out the kitchen window, wondering if you remembered to text the director of your play back or not,  before you open it.

I forgot the stuff is super carbonated (fermented). It absolutely exploded all over the place when I twisted off the cap. And I kid you not, it instantly tarnished my silver ring. My favorite ring of all time, mind you. So that was weird.

I still drank some of it and it’s not bad. We’ll see if it does anything, I don’t know — inexplicably wonderful. Not to mock people who swear by it. It’s just that I don’t have any health issues that I know of; I’m only drinking it because today was the day that I stood in the refrigerated health-drink aisle at the store and thought: Maybe this stuff is awesome. So I bought it.

Actually, now that I think about it, today was the day I bought quite a few things at the store that I don’t normally buy. I wonder what’s up with that? Maybe it’s astrological and planets are aligning in some sort of weird way. I don’t know. But I bought things like gluten-free pretzels — turns out they’re hard as little rocks and not very salty.

I bought organic, non-GMO extra-garlic hummus — tried some of that, too, and it was amazing.

I bought organic Greek yogurt with peaches and raspberries in it, rather than with strawberries and blueberries in it, which I usually buy, like clockwork; month after month, year after year.

I also bought organic, non-GMO pure pomegranate juice. I tried a little bit of that, too, and that tasted really weird and it had little dregs at the bottom of the glass, like, maybe I was supposed to decant it. (I’m not sure why I was trying everything today, either. I never come home from the store and immediately start eating and drinking everything that I just bought. So something weird is obviously up with me. I’m obviously searching for something…)

I also bought organic, non-GMO coconut water with pure aloe vera juice in it and that was super good! It really was. However, due to the intestinal-moving properties of aloe vera juice, I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to drink too much of it or you will never have any reasons to experiment, medicinally, with kombucha enemas.

Unless you don’t want to experiment medicinally and are only interested in the other thing people do with enemas… It’s okay. Rest assured, we don’t judge here in Marilyn’s Room! We’ve seen it all…

Yes. So. Weird shopping day for me. I wonder what’s up with that?

Plus, when I woke up very early this morning, I was once again thinking about that guy that I posted about yesterday — the older guy with the nice hippie family who was just out of prison, and I was 14. It was super intimate stuff that was all coming back to me, meaning stuff he was actually saying to me while we were together — I’m not going to post it here. My point is that, I have no clue why I’m suddenly remembering all this. It happened 45 summers ago. And I had completely forgotten about him. Now, all the details are sort of surging back — for what reason? None of it’s bad. He was very nice to me. He liked me a lot. He liked hanging out with me.

It makes me wonder, did he die or something, and now he’s spiritually revisiting his life in some way and I’m getting pulled into it? I have no clue.  All I know is that I’m eating and drinking weird stuff and remembering in graphic detail something from 45 years ago.

Plus, his mom was just so nice; so emotionally open and supportive. Nothing like the mother I had at home. I was always sort of spellbound when people had kind mothers who were easy to talk to. I really just longed for that. Once, when I was 11, I tried to tell my mom something personal and she said, “Don’t tell me this stuff; I’m not your friend. I’m your mother.” It hurt so bad. I felt so isolated.

It’s one of the things I really treasure about my birth mom. Even though she’s really quiet and keeps to herself and you’d think she’d be hard to talk to, I can tell her anything. Absolutely anything. And then she’ll usually say, “You’re just like me.”

I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t found her. Finding her and then realizing right away, wow, she is just like me. It was my sanity. Finally. I still had a lot of messed-up shit to deal with in my head and in my life (I was 25 when I found her and she was 38), but at least I finally knew that I wasn’t crazy.

What a blessing. I was nothing remotely like anyone in my adoptive family, but that woman who was sitting over there — the one with the really dark eyes, who was drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, not looking at anyone or saying anything at all — I am just like that woman over there.

It was a true homecoming, like the kind they talk about in church.

Okay. I’m gonna do some (regular, non-tantric) yoga now and then study my Italian.

I hope you’ve had a terrific Monday, wherever you are in the world and wherever it took you!! Thanks for visiting.  I leave you with another one of those truly beautiful songs from that Neil Diamond album, Rainbow, that I blogged about yesterday.

I’ve been playing this song, and “Suzanne,” all day today. Just remembering everything. Fondly.  I love you guys. See ya. (PS: Nick Cave is actually gonna do something later this week — with one Bad Seed!! Hopefully it will be all over Instagram.)

“If You Go Away”

If you go away on this summer day,
Then you might as well take the sun away
All the birds that flew in the summer sky
When our love was new
And our hearts were high
When the day was young,
And the night was long
And the moon stood still
For the nightbird song
If you go away, if you go away
If you go away

But if you stay, I’ll make you a day
Like no day has been or will be again
We’ll sail on the sun, we’ll ride on the rain
We’ll talk to the trees that worship the wind
And if you go, I’ll understand
Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand
If you go away, if you go away
If you go away

If you go away, as I know you must,
There’ll be nothing left in the world to trust
Just an empty room filled with empty space
Like the empty look I see on your face
Can I tell you now, as you turn to go
I’ll be dying slowly ’til your next hello
If you go away, if you go away
If you go away

But if you stay, I’ll make you a night
Like no night has been or will be again
I’ll sail on your smile
I’ll ride on your touch
I’ll talk to your eyes, that I love so much

But if you go, I won’t cry,
The good’s gone from goodbye
If you go away, if you go away
If you go away

c – 1959 Jacques Brel; Rod McKuen (English translation)

Good Morning, Little Glories!!

These are some of the (massive amounts) of morning glories that grow along the old fence just outside my backdoor.

I usually get out of bed when it’s still dark out, so I don’t get to see them blooming first thing. But today, I was having such engaging dreams, and the morning was so nice and cool and my bed felt so incredibly comfortable, that I slept in. The sun was shining like crazy by the time I decided I was at last awake.

And when I went down to put the coffee on and feed the many scampering cats, I looked out the kitchen window and there they were, vines full of flowers, blooming in all their glory. Some white, most of them purple.

I love morning glories but you gotta watch out for them. Like honeysuckle, they will spring up everywhere and entwine with other flowering plants and choke the heck out of them. And then when you spend all that time trying to untangle them from whatever beloved plant they are choking, you have to be sure you’ve ripped them out by their roots, because, if you don’t, soon enough, they’ll be back, whispering to you in all their glory: Alas, I’m still here… entwining, choking, entwining, choking until autumn finally arrives and everything dies anyway.

For some reason that I haven’t been able to discern yet, my  dreams this morning — which were really sort of liberating — caused me to wake up wanting to hear Neil Diamond’s version of Leonard Cohen’s song, “Suzanne”.

“Suzanne” was a huge hit on the radio when I was a little girl (1967), but it was sung, then, by Noel Harrison. For some reason, I always loved Neil Diamond’s version best, which he recorded several years later. I think because he has such a beautiful, clear voice.

I always loved the song, “Suzanne”.  It’s the kind of song a little girl like me would love. I had no clue at all what the song meant but it was filled with so much captivating imagery that I assumed it was cluing me in to secret and enigmatic things about “being a girl” that I would understand when I was a very much older girl.

Of course, the song is on Youtube, so I laid in bed and listened to it on my phone several times before actually getting up today. And the song is still beautiful, still enigmatic. Yet, even all these decades later — well, I understand Jesus better; he certainly became huge in my life, enough to send me to Divinity School and become a minister. But the other stuff about Suzanne, the “girl” stuff I assumed I would understand better when I got older; I do understand it, but the main thing I understand now is that I’m half-crazy and likely to remain so. Forever.

I’m okay with it.

The Neil Diamond album that “Suzanne” is on is called Rainbow. And it’s a really nice album. He sings  hit songs written by other songwriters, from 1969-1971. There are just some true gems on that album and he sings them really elegantly. (The track listing is at that link above.)

When I was 14, I played that album all the time, alone up in my room. All of those songs used to make me just wonder about life, you know?  In addition to “Suzanne,” I loved his version of Buffy St. Marie’s song, “Until It’s Time for You to Go.” And “If You Go Away,” by Rod McKuen and Jacques Brel.

I guess the late 60s-early 70s approach to love could be what caused me to have such a non-possessive approach to love, too. I have just never been truly jealous or possessive. When I’ve been in love with someone who wasn’t truly available, you know — that would hurt. But that thing I posted about yesterday, about how much it means to me that the person I’m involved with have a really active life of his or her own, away from me — maybe it all stems from those attitudes towards love that were fostered in the late 1960s.

I don’t really know. It’s a thought, anyway.

That same summer that I was 14, when I played that record all the time, I was of course in love with Greg, and we had a ton of sex ; that 14 & 15 year-old sex that is overwhelming and all-consuming but I certainly knew that there was more to sex than what was going on between him and me.  After my dad left us, we downsized considerably and moved into one of those trendy apartment complexes that were sort of notorious in the 1970s. Everyone there was having sex with everybody. All ages.

One evening by the swimming pool, I met an older guy. His mom, one of his brothers and his 16 -year-old sister-in-law had just moved there from Missouri. He was fresh out of prison. This was in the years when they sent you to prison for smoking pot. And he and one of his brothers had been sent to prison for that. His brother  (the one married to the 16 year-old) was still in and due to get out soon.

They were really nice people. A whole hippie family, even his mom. They got high, and the guys worked construction, and the 16  year-old wife was super nice, really intelligent and just seemed so grown up to me.  Of course, the guy wanted to have sex because he’d just gotten out of prison, right? I told him, upfront, that I was willing but that I was only 14, and that I didn’t think it was a really good idea. (I did not look 14, at all, so older guys (i.e., men) came on to me all the time in the 1970s.)

(I forgot to say that he and I were talking about this, about possibly having sex, with his whole family right there, getting high around the dining table, even his wonderful cool hippie mom. You know — the 1970s were just so different, gang. It was technically illegal to do sexual stuff with a minor, but nobody ever took it to the police or anything. We all did it — all my girlfriends. Sex with older guys. If/when our parents found out, they’d get angry and we’d get grounded for awhile and they’d yell at us and say “stop doing that with that guy!” but that was about it. Nobody ever got the law involved. Ever.)

But anyway. So, one of this guy’s brothers had a 16-year-old wife, so they could not care less that I was 14, because, honestly, there was just no way I looked or acted 14, and everybody just figured it was up to me to decide what I wanted to do. Even his mom said, “Honey, it’s up to you. If you want to, you want to. If you don’t, you don’t.”

He wasn’t unattractive or anything, but really I just felt sorry for him because he’d just gotten out of prison, and by age 14, I already knew that grown-up guys needed to have sex all the time. Just constantly. So I said I would think about it. And then the next night, a Saturday — my mom was off with her new boyfriend, doing her 1970s swinging divorced-thing that everyone was doing back then — I let the guy come up to my room; the room with all my rock & roll posters on the walls and my love beads hanging from the lamp, and all my poetry books and all my records and all my 14-year-old girl stuff.

I told him it was just gonna be that one time because he was too old for me and I was in love with my boyfriend, who was my age (and who, sadly, would be dead within just a few weeks).

The record we were listening to while we were smoking weed and having sex was Rainbow, by Neil Diamond.

And of course, I had forgotten all about that until this morning, when I was lying in bed, listening to Neil Diamond sing “Suzanne” and wondering about the half-crazy girl I had finally grown up to be! (The same one I already was when I was 14…)

I am just so totally okay with her being who she is — me.  Of course, I sure wish Greg hadn’t been killed, but it was my life.

On another note, you know how all the bloggers are up in arms about these nefarious sites in India now that are illegally mirroring other web sites? Well, mine is one of the sites being illegally scraped and re-blogged. But, honestly, what am I going to do about it? It’s the least of my problems. My books are being illegally downloaded, sold, re-published, all over the fucking world. I gave up trying to stay on top of it, as disheartening as it all is. But the blog? The only thing that truly bothers me is that I can’t access the back end of it and find out how many hits I’m getting….

Okay, gang. Gonna go wash my hair!! Have a super Sunday wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting. I leave you with the soundtrack of me at the glorious age of 14. Enjoy it. I did, all things considered…

I love you, guys. See ya!

Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China
And just when you want to tell her that you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer that you’ve always been her lover
And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind
And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind
And you think you maybe you’ll trust him
For he’s touched your perfect body with her mind
Now, Suzanne takes your hand and she leads you to the river
She’s wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor
And she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed, there are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds her mirror
And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind
c – 1966 Leonard Cohen

You Do Indeed Turn Me On, Baby

Happy Saturday, gang. Wherever you are!

The photo above is a photo of Cleveland in 1960. A Rexall Drug Store. I don’t know this particular Rexall store but it’s what Cleveland neighborhoods looked like, in general, when I was born and then got adopted by a couple who lived up there.

(My birth parents were from southwestern, rural Ohio – a world that could not have been more different from Cleveland, especially back then. Cleveland was an intensely urban melting pot of European immigrants, with a lot of racial tensions between blacks & whites beginning to bubble up in the early 1960s. Cleveland was also hugely influenced by the Arts — museums, theater, music, movies.)

There is a new segment posted at In the Shadow of Narcissa, my memoir-in-progress about my early childhood, specifically about my being raised by an adoptive mother with a narcissist disorder (told from the perspective of me as a child). Hence, the Cleveland stuff here today.

I can’t linger too long on the blog today because I am indeed working over the phone with Peitor later this morning, getting back on track with our current project for Abstract Absurdity Productions, after a  3-week hiatus.

I’m exhausted today. I know it’s all entirely emotional stuff. So I’m hoping it will clear by the time Peitor calls me.

Part of it is a personal thing, a relationship thing from the past that popped up this week, making me have to look at stuff, to make choices, making me feel old.

Most of it, though, comes from writing the Narcissa segments. Even though each segment is very short, it takes a lot out of me. Such an intense focus on a period in my life that was both truly beautiful and truly awful.

(This was in the very early years of my life, before my mother sort of completely unraveled and life swung way out of balance and was simply truly awful, every day. I want the memoir to capture only those early years in Cleveland — the first 11 years of my life, when my mother progressively got worse. And, culturally, it coincided with the 60s itself unfolding, so all around us, the country was changing like crazy. And it certainly affected our home. I also know now that my dad was starting to have affairs. I did not know anything about this at that point in Cleveland, but my mother must have known, because it coincided with her starting to go just completely nuts and over-the-top enraged and unmanageable.)

Oddly enough, in a part of my childhood that extends beyond what I want to write about in Narcissa — when I was 12 and we were gone from Cleveland and I believe that my mother thought her marriage was back on track — at that point, the summer I was 12, I accidentally discovered that my dad was having an affair. I didn’t tell anyone. And to be honest, I was very, very happy for him. I still really liked my dad at that point, and I was glad for him that he had a way to be free of my mother.

The following summer, when I was 13, he came into my room one afternoon to tell me he was leaving us, that they were getting divorced. I told him I was really happy for him. He was stunned, you know? “You’re happy for me?” I didn’t tell him I knew he was having an affair, or that I knew her name was Linda and that she lived in Cincinnati and that I knew her home phone number… I said, “Yeah, you get to get out of here.”

At that point, we were upper middle class and had a really beautiful home — and every square inch of it was filled with a palpable aura of ugly, awful, nasty, mean, horribleness. It truly was. My mother was absolutely out of control.

My dad said later that, had he realized she had a mental illness, he would never have left us with her. But even at 13, I knew that when my dad left us, there would be no buffer at all between me and my mother, and I knew there was no direction left in that house but for me to go down, down, down. Which I, of course, did.

After my dad left, he became all about money. It was absolutely all he cared about — making millions, which he did. And if you didn’t care about his money — which I didn’t, I didn’t care about it at all — then he had no use for you, really.

I have nothing at all against money — even great big piles of money. I don’t see anything wrong with people being rich. I think money’s great. But it’s not what I live for and never has been.

For some reason, for me, it has always been about expressing myself.  I don’t know why it is so important to me to get certain things out of my head and onto paper — into the concrete physical reality. For me, it has always been imperative that I do this before I transition back over to the nonphysical “other” side.  To the point that, now, as I’m aging, I sort my many, many projects into mental stacks:

Will I be okay if I die and this project is not finished? Yes.  So then it goes to the back burner.

Will I be okay if I die and this project is not finished? No. So then I spend every waking hour trying to get it out of me and into the world.

I try to figure out how love figures into that, because I have always been that way about expressing myself — writing, specifically. To the point where it’s been impossible for me to sustain relationships if the person won’t give me just tons and tons of personal space. Quiet space.  Because I’ve got to write.

In New York City, that meant “give me a room I can go to that has a door I can close.” If you’ve ever lived in Manhattan, you know that a separate room with an actual door is not always an easy thing to get in a city apartment. For me, it was very Virginia Woolfe and A Room of One’s Own. A woman will thrive if she has a room of her own that she can go to and close the door.

Yet, I love people, dearly. I feel love intensely. If I love someone, there is no escaping it for me. It overwhelms me in the most beautiful ways. It makes life worth living. And I want all the sex stuff, too — the eroticism of it. And all the beauty of that.

But then it’s also me, saying: “Um, do you think you could go do something now? Because I gotta be alone here.” And that part rarely goes over very well.

For reasons related to the past relationship mentioned above, I got out Joni Mitchell’s Greatest Hits and was playing that in the kitchen yesterday. I’m not a huge Joni Mitchell fan, but I do love a lot of her stuff. And my favorite song of hers is “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio.”

When it came on the CD player in the kitchen yesterday, it was clear that I still loved that song very much because I didn’t want to stop playing it. It was a hit when I was in Jr. High School, and even though I was too young to truly understand it– from my own experience — yet. I viscerally understood it. To me, it was the only love song that ever made sense.

I’m not talking about the sad love songs, when your heart is broken. I’m talking about a true love song — I love you, and this is why, and this is who I am.

“You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio” is saying: I love you, and I am so happy that you have a life of your own that you can really enjoy living and when you get that need to see me, baby, come on by. Meaning: give me a head’s up and I’ll stop writing & I’ll make time for you. Because I love you and I would like nothing better than to be with you. For a little while…

Okay, gang! I’m outta here!! Thanks for visiting. I love you. See ya!!

“You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio”

If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love youOh honey you turn me on
I’m a radio
I’m a country station
I’m a little bit corny
I’m a wildwood flower
Waving for you
Broadcasting tower
Waving for you

And I’m sending you out
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear
I know you don’t like weak women
You get bored so quick
And you don’t like strong women
‘Cause they’re hip to your tricks

It’s been dirty for dirty
Down the line
But you know
I come when you whistle
When you’re loving and kind

But if you’ve got too many doubts
If there’s no good reception for me
Then tune me out, ’cause honey
Who needs the static
It hurts the head
And you wind up cracking
And the day goes dismal

From “Breakfast Barney”
To the sign-off prayer
What a sorry face you get to wear
I’m going to tell you again now
If you’re still listening there

If you’re driving into town
With a dark cloud above you
Dial in the number
Who’s bound to love you

If you’re lying on the beach
With the transistor going
Kick off the sandflies honey
The love’s still flowing
If your head says forget it
But your heart’s still smoking
Call me at the station
The lines are open

©  1972 Joni Mitchell

Super Sorry About Yesterday, Gang!

I couldn’t post. I didn’t have the presence of mind. I just had too much going on in my head.

And some of it was good!

I sent the director the first 21 pages of rewrites and his notes were really, really positive, helpful, and often just really incredibly kind & encouraging. So on we go.  I’m truly happy about where it’s all heading. Through some miracle now, those things I was having such a hard time staging in my head, are no longer an issue (that “miracle” of course came from the director telling me to stop trying to stage everything and just write). I’m a third of the way done with the rewrites, so I’m guessing that a couple of weeks, tops, and it will all be, essentially, done.

Today, I’m going to make the few changes he suggested, and then switch gears and write another segment for In the Shadow of Narcissa.

And tomorrow, I think Peitor and I will be back on track to work on our Abstract Absurdity script again! I think!

(Plus I have to get the website put together for that. I think I will leave WordPress and build that one somewhere else. Not sure yet. But that blog page for In the Shadow of Narcissa was so stupidly complicated and not user-friendly that I think I’ll try putting Abstract Absurdity Productions somewhere else. ) (And by “user-friendly” I mean that I don’t want to have to keep stopping everything I’m doing to go to another page and scroll through a bunch of stuff just to find out how to do what I’m trying to do. It should all be right in front of me and self-explanatory, you know? Otherwise, it’s not being very friendly. To this user, anyway.)

On another note…

My God, have you noticed how everyone is going back to vinyl now? It’s all over Instagram — all the vinyl options musicians offer now.

Of course, I used to love records. And I still have a really, really cool record player that the cats broke. And I know exactly what’s wrong with it but I need an electrician to actually open it up and fix it. So I can’t imagine that’s happening at any point in my current lifetime.

The only electrician I know who would make a house call for that is that really young (cute) guy who is the father of a tiny newborn baby girl and who calls me “gorgeous” and who really wants to sleep with me (but not get any sleep while doing that).

But he’s a good electrician, damn it! And he lives out here in the Hinterlands! And he’s affordable!

It sucks, right? I mean, I love that all these guys & gals in the Hinterlands still find me a viable option, but I can’t get my mind around how young they are. It would just feel too weird to me. I’m not sure I’m ready for the Harold & Maude thing. Much as I really, truly, honestly loved Ruth Gordon and found her whole life inspiring, and as much as I feel 12, I actually know how old I really am and I don’t want to sort of have to confront it yet.

And then the older guys around here — the HVAC guys, the roof & gutter guys, the painters, the plumbers, insulation installers — the aging hippies who are all tatted up with long grey hair and still have a ton of muscles? Man, they are all over Muskingum County, too. And that is nothing but trouble walking (or driving a pick-up truck). Because I have 700 plays and 16 novels and a couple of memoirs to write — by next week.

So, in short: the record player is broken. And it’s gonna stay that way.

But mostly, I think about all the records I owned in my lifetime — a couple thousand — and what a pain in the ass it was to move those damn things around. I still have about 100 records left, which is still several crates worth that can get heavy when you’re lugging them up & down stairs and in out & out of a moving van.  Still, I had to downsize like crazy over time and my world turned into a sort of “Sophie’s Choice,” only with much beloved records, not children. What do I dispose of? What do I try to cling to and have travel with me from place to place to place? (To place, to place, to place…)

So, I made a vow to buy no more vinyl. And I see all these (mostly young) people buying up all this vinyl now and I know what’s coming down the road for them… Good luck with that, I often think to myself.

It’s always all about choices, isn’t it, gang?

(And, wow, all the many different colors of vinyl. I understand the lure of that, too. I would sometimes have, like, 5 different copies of the same Rolling Stones record because it came out in so many different shades of vinyl. I still have David Bowie reciting ‘Peter & the Wolf’ with some foreign Philharmonic Orchestra  because it’s in this amazing shade of kelly-green vinyl and the RCA label is bright red. I haven’t listened to it in decades. Yet I can’t part with it, either.

Better just to not make choices that lead to difficult decisions later on, right?


Well, August is here. And there are way fewer birds singing in the morning now. It breaks my heart that the summer is winding down, already. There are lots fewer fireflies in the evenings now, too. It’s all about crickets.  And even though there are probably still a couple of months’ worth of hot days still ahead, what I dearly love about the summer is already transitioning.  I’m going to try to drag my feet and make August last a really long time. We’ll see how that goes.

All righty. I’m gonna get started here on the next installment of the memoir. Have a super fun Friday, wherever you are in the world!! (Assuming it’s even still Friday wherever you are in the world!)

I leave you with this: Part 1 of David Bowie reciting ‘Peter & the Wolf.’ (Alas, though, Youtube does not come in different shades of vinyl.) Thanks for visiting, gang!! I love you guys. See ya.