Tag Archives: writing

This old house, plus Cute Electrician

No, that old house is not MY old house, although it is down the road from me and I pass it twice a day. And it’s really cool.

My old house is holding up a lot better.

Below are 2 photos of some of my doorknobs that always give me a lot to think about. There are only a few doorknobs in the house that are original to the house.

The first – the doorknob in my bedroom. It is 117 years old. And it fascinates me to think about all the many people who have touched that doorknob. Who were they? What did they do while they were in my bedroom? Probably really happy stuff because my bedroom has the best vibrations of any room I have ever been in.

The next is my front door. Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that this front door has not been opened in, literally, decades. Probably around 40 years. It’s the original door, painted a zillion times so that now it’s painted shut, and the original doorknob. The doorknob is really rusty on the outside. But not the inside. I will regale you soon with what the inside of this door looks like because the lock is just too cool.

117 year old front door.

I like how I’ve made it look as if you’re welcome to come inside, but, truthfully, you could stand there another 40 years and I would not know you were even there. You’ll notice there is no such thing as a doorbell here.

In other news…

The electrician is making one final visit to the house this evening to finish all the stuff that I can afford to have him fix for now. But at least he assured me that my dryer will be working again.

His visit on Wednesday, Halloween, was rather informative. He told me in no uncertain terms that the way my main waterline comes in right on top of my main electric line is absolutely illegal. And that my breaker box has to be moved at least halfway down the wall, and all the wiring should be upgraded.

I’m sure you’re savvy enough to know that this involves thousands of dollars — about .75 cents of which I have. Mostly because 3 days of having an electrician here has wiped me out! Anyway.  Life goes on and he’s doing his best to seal everything up for now so that my beloved home is no longer a fire-trap in action.

He is the cutest guy. We talked a little bit the first day he was here. He has a little baby girl – he showed me photos on his phone. He’s 38.  We talked a little bit about me not having kids even though I had wanted them and how it was one of the primary reasons for my 2nd divorce. And he asked me how old I was now and when I told him, he said, in genuine seriousness, “Well, there are miracles, you know. It could still happen.”

It was too cute! I told him, “I don’t want that kind of miracle at age 58.”

The next night that he was here, we were talking about something else, and he said, “You know, you don’t look nearly as old as you are.” Whoa. Too funny. Then he added, “I meant that as a compliment.”

And I said, “Trust me, honey , I took it as a compliment.” Man, did he come on strong after that. It was actually too cool. I was so flattered. Because even though he refuses to accept it, I know that I am really OLD. He was not subtle, either. However, I’m old enough to know that when there’s a father and a baby there’s gotta be a mommy somewhere…

All righty!! On that happy note, as I await his return later today, I am hard at work again on the new novel Blessed By Light. So I’m gonna get crackin’ around here. Have a great Friday, wherever you are in the world, gang!! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

Lovely Halloween Morning on Basin Street

Yes, it is a really lovely October morning here!

I just took this photo, looking in the direction of Basin Street as it heads out of town, toward Black Run Road and Wakatomika Creek – that whole stretch of road down there is definitely a place filled with good spirits. Intense spirits. Ancient spirits.

Strange things occurred here yesterday.  My furnace went out. My space heater stopped working. My dryer died. All of these things were, of course, related to the electricity around here.

A really, really nice electrician came over, opened the breaker box, discovered it was, you know – FILLED with water??!!

Him: “Um, don’t touch this. You could get electrocuted.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s probably the only thing about electricity that I understand.” Today, we will find out the thousands of dollars involved in figuring out what is going wrong.

Then the lawn guys came to clear away the last of the debris from having torn down my fence. I was oblivious to their arriving, working, departing.

My friend came, with another friend, and took his 1965 VW camper van from out of my barn, where he’d had it stored all summer. I was oblivious to their arriving, working, departing.

I mean, I was home the entire fucking day. I was upstairs working on the TV pilot script. Apparently, I was deep in some sort of weird zone. The only time I materialized from out of my room was when the electrician came to regale me with the nightmare going on in my breaker box… (Oh, then he texted me late last night: “Are you still awake? There’s some bad news…” I was awake & coherent for that.)

I’m still not done with the script, but should have it finished today.  I still have that one, single page left (see yesterday’s post). I only need to, you know, create an absolute MIRACLE of literary genius in 60 seconds of screen time…

And then deal with the electrician again – he informed me that all the power must be turned off in the house while he dries out the breaker box. And this will occur as the trick-or-treaters come & go. Should be just an interesting day here, all the way around.

On the up side (sort of “up” side, but I need my dryer to start working again) – I bought new bath towels for the first time in 25 years.  Yes, a mere 25 years ago, I bought these great towels from LL Bean. And now that my birth mother is coming to visit, it occurred to me that perhaps I needn’t offer her a threadbare towel with little strings hanging off of it!

So I bought a bunch of new towels. But you can’t use them until you’ve washed them once, because they are full of those tiny little shreds of cotton that get all over you and drive you insane.

Not only is my mother coming to visit, but I think my niece is driving her here to my house. I haven’t seen my niece since she was 4 years old. This was about 18 years ago. I have been a little remiss as an aunt. I have a good reason.

However.

It’s a long story, and has to do with her dad, who is my younger brother (blood brother, not the adopted one).  My brother and I used to be extremely close.  That is a story in and of itself –  a lot of alcohol, jails, some inappropriate brother/sister stuff. My usual fare. It’s a sad and frustrating story, brimming with all sorts of examples of my poor judgment along with rare instances of my better judgment. But I need to talk to my niece in person, first. Explain some things – mostly how much I loved her when she was born; how happy I was. How happy her dad was. But other stuff, too. Not the kind of thing you want to just send out to the world on a blog, though…

So. With that in mind – I shall sally forth into this day and try my damnedest to make it a good one!

Thanks for visiting, folks. Have a wonderful Halloween – you know, that “hallowed evening” before All Saints Day.  Or scare yourselves silly,. Whichever works for you. See ya!

Image result for vintage drawings of all saints day
Le Jour Des Morts A Charteves by Lhermitte

 

 

Life Continues to Astound & Amaze!

Yes, I only have ONE MORE PAGE to revise and then the CLEVELAND TV pilot revisions are complete!

At least for round one.  It goes off to one producer for notes & feedback, and I have never known him to not have notes and feedback… (This is actually the 5th draft of this pilot, overall.)

But it still gives me plenty of time to revise again and send it to another producer before I get to LA.

I don’t have a clue why everything is going so great, but I will simply accept and move on! Yay.

Another nice thing – I’ve finally upgraded my iPhone! So I will maybe actually be able to take sort of decent photos.  So if you follow me on Instagram (which I don’t think you do – I’ve noticed that people who follow me here, on Instagram, on Twitter, and on Facebook are all entirely different people.) Anyway, You may finally get to be regaled with decent-ish photos!

Mostly, I had to upgrade before I go to LA because my phone is so old I can no longer have the Uber app on there without deleting something else! (Like, perhaps, deleting 700 photos of my cats!)

On Saturday, I took this photo of my street(s) – I live on a corner. It was a rainy October morning. It just looked so cool.  There’s a sort of bleakness here in Crazyland that I just love! If you click on it and look all the way at the foothills in the background – that is where the cemetery is! Where all my inspiration for The Hurley Falls Mysteries: Down to the Meadows of Sleep is coming from.

On the streets where I live! Standing outside my kitchen porch.

You know, the opioid crisis is really bad here in the State of Ohio. I think that last year, we had nearly 5000 deaths from opioid overdoses.  (Ohio ranks second for the most deaths from overdoses in the entire country.)

But in this little town, we don’t have that problem. It’s just this quiet – albeit, quite strange – little village, where friendly spirits and ghosts abound. And I mean that literally.  It is simply the coolest place, ever, as far as that goes.  If you’re empathic at all, this town will bowl you over – the energy of it. It feels like a vortex to Heaven.

Of course, you’d never know it just by looking at it. It almost looks like it’s straight out of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Anyway! Okay!! I gotta get crackin’ on that one last page of the TV pilot. I’m actually compressing 2 and 1/2 pages – really important, key pages – down to one page. So we will see how that goes.  Here’s hoping I can just become a truly stellar writer sometime today!

Have a terrific Tuesday wherever you are in the world, gang! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

Back in Crazyland!

Yes, gang, I’m back home in  Crazyland! And my trip to NYC was amazingly successful – from start to finish.

First, though, I want to draw your attention to new stuff.

Way down there at the bottom, on your left, my Instagram photos now get posted. You must actually follow me on Instagram to read the spellbinding things I say about these breathtaking photos!

However, if you’re a loyal reader of this lofty blog, you probably already know that it doesn’t matter what the fuck I say – the lousy photo alone is likely going to say it all.

That said, if you still want to follow, I’m @marilynjayelewis.

Next, there on your right is a Music Player, where I will be uploading  old demos from my singer/songwriting career back in the 1980s. These songs will all eventually be re-recorded and produced by my long-time and very dear friend Peitor Angell, in Los Angeles.

Currently uploaded there is a song I wrote in 1984, called Boy, If You Want. This version is a 24-track demo.  It’s folk-country, which was my style of folk music.

Thirdly, at the top of the page, you will see a new page that features excerpts from The Muse Revisited collections. These will be complete short stories, or excerpts from longer works, that are included in the collections.  These, of course, are meant to entice you to buy the whole book!

Please be cautioned that the Muse excerpts WILL BE offensive to some readers, whether due to explicit sexual content, graphic sexual violence, drug use, prostitution, and often all four at once!

The current short story posted there, Night on Twelfth Street, was written in 2001, and was published all over the place, both in print and online, in the early 2000s.

Though fictionalized, it is highly autobiographical and deals with stuff going on in my downtown world in NYC in 1985. Read & Enjoy! (If indeed you “enjoy” sexual violence, drug use, prostitution, heartbreak, and sex.)

Now, onto how great my speedy trip to NYC was!

First off, my 9-hour drives, in both directions, went off swimmingly! I couldn’t have asked for better weather, better traffic conditions – everything was simply perfect. And I arrived at Sandra‘s on Tuesday afternoon in plenty of time to catch the train into Midtown to meet Christopher Stokes Moseley for drinks at Sardi’s, in order to introduce him to Sandra. They seemed to hit it off really well! I had hoped they would.

We then made it to American Son, playing at the Booth Theater on Broadway, in plenty of time, then made our 10:45 PM train back home in plenty of time. All this while I’d been awake since 3:45 AM.

I needed to see the play for a reason that I can’t discuss now, but it was really an achievement to get to that play on time, considering all that driving and train-going stuff.

The following day, Sandra and I finally completed the one-woman musical about her life – The Guide to Being Fabulous – that we’ve been working on together for 5 years. All that’s left to be done is some copy & pasting and re-arranging of monologues.

It was such a phenomenal feeling for both of us. I can’t even begin to describe the sense of achievement, release, relief, etc. It was so worth the ton of driving I did in such a short period of time. We are aiming for January to begin the process of the staged reading, Off-Broadway,  downtown NYC.

Btw, if you look down there at the left, at the Instagram photos, you will see a documentation of sorts of everything I just wrote about! Including my bare feet at bedtime in NY, and my bare feet in my own bedroom when I got back home to Crazyland! And that is Sandra at lunch in NY while we were just finishing the final notes on the play! And a couple of the photos are the notes of the play, in progress.

We were so fucking happy with everything that we’d finally achieved, that we were reduced to outbursts of hysterical laughter many, many times during my short trip.  And I mean, uncontrollable laughter – the kind where we couldn’t even breathe anymore, and where people around us were literally moving away from us…

And might I add that we are  both ladies of a certain age, wherein uncontrollable laughter only leads to pissing ourselves, which of course makes you laugh harder, which then… well, which sucks. But, ah well. All in all, it was still totally worth it.

On that lively note, I gotta get back to rewrites on the CLEVELAND TV pilot. Time’s a wastin’ – I gotta get it done and off to L.A. by mid-November at the latest, and my birth mother is coming to visit in about 10 days…

Okay, thanks for visiting, gang. Have a fantastic Friday, wherever you are in the world!! See ya!

A repeated adieu to my best friend

I know I shouldn’t dwell on it, and yet I will!

Today is the anniversary of the death of my very best friend in the world. He has been gone now for 19 years, and in most ways, it feels like he died  only yesterday.  (He designed sets for the theater, opera, TV commercials, and Hollywood movies. We met in high school – back when being gay, bisexual, or queer in any way was totally NOT cool.)

Yes, I lost my father, and my best friend, and one of my dearest mentors (Bob Cato – a Senior VP at Columbia Records when I knew him), all in the same year.

Men have always been the hugest part of my life, so 1999 was sort of a killer year. (I use killer in its worst possible sense.)

But time barrels along faster & faster as the years go on, and it just gets so much more difficult to process any of it.  The tears, of course, are all gone. You can’t keep crying over stuff, right?   And also, to say that I believe in life after death is the most enormous understatement – almost everyone I know who has died still interacts with me constantly. So where is that line between here & not here?

It fades, I’ll tell you that. The hardest part is not being able to touch the person, see them in a 3-dimensional way, or even smell them. The senses we use to process “being here” in the physical are useless when people cross over and become Energy, right? So I do interact with the people I love who have died. And yet I still grieve. Selfishly wanting to touch them again. To see them.

All righty.

I’m packed for NYC. I’ll be leaving Crazyland at something like 4:45 A.M. in order to try and stick to something related to this ridiculously crammed schedule I created for myself. But rather than focus on the insane schedule, I’ve decided to focus on simply being excited, happy, hopeful — and all the theater things that I truly love about New York and my life. Plus, knowing me, I will probably go about 90 MPH most of the way.

I will mostly be traveling on the truly lovely I-80. It has the best scenery throughout Pennsylvania.

So, in honor of myself, I leave you with this little ditty. (BTW, Tom Petty’s birthday was Saturday, wherein the town of Gainesville ,FL, dedicated a public park in his honor. So cool. Maybe I’ll go see it some day.) Have a terrific Monday, gang, even if it kills you. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

 

And now a break until NYC

Revisions on Act 2 of the CLEVELAND TV pilot are complete! Yay.

That means only 2 more Acts and a total of only 24 more pages to revise!! Plenty of time to get notes from one producer in LA. and then send it off to the other producer before I go to L.A. the first week of December

I don’t imagine I will work on it again until I come back from New York City, later next week. I need to be in theater mode for now.

I’m really happy with this new direction the pilot is going in, although, in key ways, it is so different from my initial vision for it – different from the reasons I wanted to write it in the first place, but that’s okay. It has evolved and I’m happy.

Okay. I think I’ll play records, stare up at the ceiling for awhile. Tomorrow, I have to clean house! Diane is staying here when I go away – to look after my cats.

Here are 2 of them right now. Yes, they are still feral, all these years later. Yes, they will likely disappear the entire time that Diane is here. But I’ve decided I’m still gonna have her feed them…

Okay. Happy Saturday, wherever you are!! Thanks for visiting! See ya.

Lucie & Weenie wondering why I still live here…

 

A good breakthrough

To say it’s been an intense day is to merely underscore that it’s been an intense week.

However, today, I finally got through a scene in Act 2 of the pilot that had me stymied. So that feels good. 3 good pages, and now on we go.

I’m looking forward to the play tonight  (The Full Monty). I need a break from my own reality for awhile. (And it will only be us women as the guy from work changed his mind, which, to me, makes sense. His wanting to go was what didn’t make sense to me.)

Anyway. For some reason, which I don’t even clearly remember, one day last week, I needed to see when a particular event had happened – a long time ago. And so I was checking some old journals of mine and once I found what I was looking for (in October of 1984), I got swept up in reading old journals. Not the best idea.

3 things immediately presented themselves: I’m an entertaining journal writer, but I have clearly also suffered from suicidal depression for my entire life. And my adoptive parents were just unbelievably mean – eternally. So unloving. Christ.

That, in itself was suicidally depressing – you know, seeing the  living proof of all that in ink on paper; year after year. The constant emotional struggle. The inner turmoil. All of these intense things going on in my life at all times – in terms of my writing, both songwriting and fiction writing. I knew some incredible people, some of whom were famous.  Some of whom were infamous (went to prison). A whole lot of whom have died already. Yikes. That’s scary. And through it all, the undercurrent of me trying not to kill myself. It was just so sad.

One exceedingly interesting thing I discovered involves that one short story I wrote back in 1989 that got me that problem with the FBI about 10 years later.  I had pages and pages in my journal, documenting all the fan mail I was receiving on that one story – some hate mail, but mostly letters from men all over the country who really loved that story and why – deeply personal explanations about why the story meant so much to them. An occasional gay woman would like it, but mostly straight men. And then…a letter from a pedophile in prison.  A big fan.

And a little bell went ting-a-ling.

Thanks, dude, I thought to myself. (Although I know he wasn’t the only one. It was a nationwide ring of pedophiles that led the FBI to my door.)

In my journals, I documented how much I sometimes struggled with my replies to readers. I always sent hand-written replies to readers who took the time to write to me. And because of the things I wrote about, and the way readers responded – in such personal ways – it wasn’t always easy to know how best to reply. But I always did.

It was illuminating and strange to read over all this stuff in journals that are 29, 30 years old. And since the Internet came about, I never get handwritten mail from readers anymore. When I first started getting published, the world was full of magazines and literary quarterlies – these were the kinds of publications I got published in before I started to get book deals.

The world of underground literary quarterlies was just so cool and is now SO gone. Nothing on the Internet compares with what that world was like. Even while I got published in those kinds of zines, I was also a big fan of reading them, so I felt I really understood my readers, even if some of them were in very dark (sexual) places.

Nowadays, I have no clue who my readers are, or how they might respond to their own worlds. It’s sort of just like sending my work out into outer space, really. Not a good or bad thing; just an observation. It’s a lot less personal.

All righty, well, I gotta scoot! Enjoy your wonderful evening, whoever you are and wherever you are. Thanks for visiting! See ya.

Life in the Fast Lane of the Hinterlands!

What a week! And it’s only Wednesday…

I completely LOST things like the Columbus Day holiday (#Let’sMakeAmericaSpanishAgain!).

(Last week, when the guys were here collecting the wood from my now-no-longer-there-fence, one of the guy’s wives was here, sitting in their truck, and she said to me that she’d taken a long weekend because of the holiday. And I said, “What holiday was that?” Thinking it was still late July. And she looked at me disdainfully and said, “Columbus Day.” And I was stunned back to the reality of this being October already and no longer July, and also really embarrassed that I suddenly had a living witness to my Muse-induced insanity around here. )

(See tons of posts below re: the powerful new  Muse in my life and how I can’t keep track of anything anymore because all I do is write in this sort of Muse-induced frenzy.)

(And I’ve now lost 20 pounds since the Muse arrived, 3 months ago – I no longer eat and I hardly sleep. A girl at my PT job said the other evening, “God I wish I had your willpower!” You don’t need will- power to drop 20 pounds in 3 months. You just need to be crazy.)

Anyway.  I also lost complete track of Monday, October 15th, which was my big day to pay the water bill on time without getting a $10 late fee tacked onto it.  I’d made out the check on Saturday but decided not to drop it in the weekend mail-slot because I wanted to ask the lady at City Hall which night they do Trick-or-Treat around here and at what time, because I didn’t want to be caught candy-less by all the young trick-or-treaters here in Crazyland.

And because of that good intention, the perfectly on-time check sat on my kitchen table, and then I proceeded to think that October 14th went on for about 48 hours, and when I awoke on Tuesday, the 16th, I realized I’d lost an entire fucking DAY, and now my water bill was late and I owed them an additional $10 for absolutely nothing.

(And loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that this past month, I had that weird episode with my garden hose spigot that refused to turn off, and so a ton of water was just coming out of it for hours without my being able to turn it off… So I’d already garnered myself a huge water bill for absolutely nothing, and now it was $10 more.)

(And in the middle of me telling all my water-bill woes to the lady at City Hall, who comes wandering out from his office to look at the strange creature telling this weird story but the Mayor of Crazyland himself!) (That was weird.) (BTW, he, the Mayor, was recently arrested for pulling a gun on one of his employees. Literally arrested. But he got off with a fine. I just love living here in Crazyland!!)

(And also BTW, our City Hall is in a storefront and is about as big as my kitchen.)

I’m not sure why I’m in this sort of overtly-parenthetical mood today.

The good news is that I’m still really happy. And the revisions of the TV pilot are still going well, though going slowly. And next week I’ll be in NYC for a few days to work with Sandra on the musical, and to see American Son on Broadway.

And tomorrow, I’m going to see The Full Monty at our local professional playhouse (that link takes you to the bigger-budget UK version of the play but you’ll get the gist of the story). And I’m going with a wonderful woman I know from my job. She’s about 10 years younger than me and spends 110% of her time on her own planet.

She sends me these wonderful texts sometimes in the middle of the night – very poetic – while she smokes a cigarette and looks at the moon and thinks about her sexuality and wonders about all the spirits who have crossed over. I love getting texts like that, especially in the middle of the night,  and she’s the only one in the entire world who sends me them.

Plus, for some reason that she came up with, we’re taking that young guy with us to the play (the 23-year-old who looks like a surfer dude but who is not a surfer dude) (see a text below somewhere from late July, I think, re: me being or not being a Silver Cougar who would or would not be willing to have sex with a 23-year-old guy who looks like a surfer). [Editor’s Update: You know, I looked for that post and can’t find it anymore, but the answer was a resounding NO, I’m not a Silver Cougar and it had something to do with my overload of unwieldy sexual fetishes being too much for surfers to manage, and I had also gone on to talk about that other guy from work, and all his knives and the map for the year-long sea voyage…. All of it vanished from the ether!]

But, indeed, all three of us are going out to dinner and then to the theater to see The Full Monty, and I have no idea why he wants to do this with 2 women who are crazy and old enough to be his mom(s), and I also have no idea if he knows that there is nudity in the play – all male nudity, at that. So we will see! It should prove to be a greatly informative evening, regardless of which way it plays out.

Plus, this other woman is always really nice at work, if also crazy, whereas I am almost always a total bitch, but only because almost everybody there is almost always pissing me off. (I almost always have a sort of turbulent inner world whenever I’m at work, because I would almost always rather be at home, writing.) So, why this guy wants to be out in public with us is anyone’s guess…

Well, life does indeed go on. And the morning is already half-over so I gotta get back to the TV pilot. I hope you have a splendid Wednesday, wherever you are in the world, and wherever it winds up taking you! Thanks for visiting! See ya.

Words are not necessary

To express the joyous feeling I have in my heart, gang!!

Except perhaps words like, “Yippee-ki-yi-yay! The fence is gone!!”

See posts below if you have no clue what I’m talking about.

On other happy news fronts:

Last night, I completed revisions on Act 1 of the TV pilot, which is the hardest section. 3 more acts to go, each successively shorter, so the actual completion of this project before I need to head to L.A. finally feels doable. What a relief.