the muse comes undone

 

pintrest

 

My muse is not doing well. I want to say that he’s freaking out, but I don’t know that for sure. He is a consummate liar and can be a very hard read. But it is exactly his lying (or what I believe to be lies), that makes me think he’s freaking out. The lies are becoming extreme, as is his poverty stricken lifestyle. His anger is mounting, his pride is wearing thin—my muse is freaking out.

He writes intense (he prefers the word passionate), anti-muslim essays. I read one and have never read another, but he is an ex-pat living in Belgium and has plenty of support from the locals. They are long historical accounts of the muslim nation, followed by the muse’s belief that muslims cannot assimilate into a western culture, with a flag-waving finish about the muslim world-domination agenda. While I in no way support his position, I have encouraged him to submit these essays to magazines, newspapers, to send them to his enemies and not just his allies—I mean, what’s the point of writing and sending these pieces to those who think exactly as he does? He balks and actually becomes combative every time—conservative publications are too weak, socialist periodicals won’t allow such rantings, underground rags are for hoodlums, blah, blah, blah. But, in a phone conversation regarding his work, as his defensive position was mounting and becoming more aggressive, he said that his letters were recently printed in both the London and Nairobi Times. What?

“You’re published? Why didn’t you tell me? That’s wonderful. I’m so glad for you, that’s a very big deal.” More questions, vague answers.

“Uh, uh….no, it’s not such a big deal. I don’t know…”

He was lying … as sure as I’m typing this post.

He has no money, no cell phone, no computer. He has no job and claims he cannot seek work under the terms of his visa. He lives on a barge ( a charter business he ran as a success 7 years ago) with his teenage son, and has shut off the water to save money. I think they still have electricity. They do not cook on board, the space is filthy, I don’t know where or how they bathe. He is waiting for a backer to open a new business—the barge turned boutique hotel—in Belgium. Right. Did I mention he lives in Belgium? Good luck finding someone who wants to back a Belgium hotel. If he has a business plan to offer a backer, he’s never shared it with me, despite my asking, and how in God’s name do you create a business plan without a computer? He claims to own valuable antiques, housed somewhere in France, but is unwilling to sell them and is saving them for his son’s future—the same son that will be running the yet to be realized boutique hotel, the same son that is now living in squalor on a barge with his father, in Belgium. I don’t believe for one minute he owns these antiques, and if he does, I am shocked by what it is he seems to value, appalled by his decision to not save the sinking ship, amazed he doesn’t see that his son’s future is now.

My muse is waiting for his centenarian mother to die, he has told me so, waiting for a meager inheritance to save him and his son. I don’t know his mother and I am somewhat ashamed in saying this, but I’m waiting for her to die as well—waiting to see what he will do next. I love my muse, for reasons I have yet to figure out or for reasons I’m not yet willing to express. He is inspiration, he’s a romantic, he’s a mess. His health is shaky, he’s an alcoholic, he’s a muslim mugging waiting to happen. But he is also fodder for my writing, a character extraordinaire, and I expect the next chapter to be as crazy as the one before.

 

photo credit: pintrest

 

two joints

 

greenflowermedia (1)

 

I smoke two joints in the morning
I smoke two joints at night
I smoke two joints in the afternoon
It makes me feel all right

I smoke two joints in time of peace
And two in time of war
I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints,
And then I smoke two more

Daddy he once told me,
“Son, you be hard workin’ man”
And momma she once told me,
“Son, you do the best you can”
Then one day I meet a man,
He came to me and said,
“Hard work good and hard work fine,
but first take care of head”

I smoke two joints when I get up
In the car I smoke two joints
I smoke two joints when I play video game,
And at every 10,000 points (I smoke two joints)

I smoke two joints in time of peace
And two in time of war
I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints,
And then I smoke two more  – The Toyes

 

 

Check out the Toyes on Spotify

Thanks to rh for the tip!

 

photo credit: greenflowermedia.com

 

follow up to the photo shoot

 

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Before I left Puerto Rico, I had a great lunch and conversation with Richard of the photo shoot. I will probably never remember all that we touched on. But I remember clearly our conversation as to why men sign on for these photo shoots and why the models do what they do—and of course, it’s all very simple and as old as time. Men want, and women want to be the object of desire. And I do not mean to say that men just want sex (which does seem to be the focus of their being), but they want to know and they want it to be known, that they can be king of the hill, that they can take home the trophy (especially during that mid-life thing), and the trophy in this case happens to be the photo of a beautiful girl. And while I cannot apply this belief to men across the board, I am comfortable in saying that not only do I want to be the object of someone’s desire, but I believe every woman I know wants that to some degree, whether they would agree with me or not. If a woman were to say she dresses or grooms for her pleasure only, or if she claims to dress for other women, I say bullshit—we dress to impress both sexes, we want to look good, and even if arousal or desirability is not the intent of your wanting to look good, it is still a welcome and natural side effect. The young models are well aware of their shelf life, but for now, are content to be motivated by their desirability. Along with traveling and dining around the world. Everybody’s happy—not a bad gig.

Certainly men and women want much more than what my writing touches on. We’re just talking photo shoot here. And while some may find my thoughts on the shoot, and the shoot itself, as sexist or demeaning, I do not. It’s man DNA, woman DNA, built in, never gonna change, this is who we are so stop blaming fairy tales, ladies. Gentleman, go for the gold (if you must), and ladies, enjoy womanhood and all that that entails–including being the object of desire.

 

 

puerto rico 3 – old san juan

 

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Despite the heat, the failing economy, the absence of American television, despite my pitiful local knowledge and knowledge of Puerto Rico in general, despite the fact that my bare arms are already sun-spotted to the point of looking freakish, I could live here. It feels like European city living, which I love, and the combination of green space, offered by the National Park, and island breezes, make it feel open and breathable. Walking here is perfect, except between 1 and 4 p.m. Some have pointed out that San Juan has a lot of crime and my response is always that my husband works in Baltimore, and my sister has lived in downtown Baltimore for close to twenty years–‘nough said. I’ve also heard “they’re running out of money down there, utilities could be shut down.” What? That’s not even on the radar. Friendship and boredom and some part time income are my main concerns (and I’m out of pot right now—another challenge). I’m already bored, which, frankly, is a good thing to experience because I would certainly face a lot of that if living here on my own. I think that friendship and work (and pot) would come over time.

But…here’s why I don’t think I’ll be moving here anytime soon—available housing—there is next to nothing. Which is not to say that there is not an abundance of gorgeous townhomes, villas, apartments—there are many, but none of them are for sale. There are renovation properties available, but I would never tackle that kind of a project in a “foreign” country. The pickin’s are pitiful and I don’t know enough about the area to know why. One factor is certainly that the historic district is very small. Retail takes up a chunk of space, as the cruise traffic is healthy and cruisers love to shop, leaving little land for housing. And I suspect that many of the beautiful villas have been family owned for a long time and will remain so—all leaving me loving the city and no place to nest.

I’m discouraged, disappointed, but impressed by my willingness. Perhaps that’s all I’ll take away from this visit and perhaps it’s enough. But no, I take away a wonderful walk in the park every time I’m here and that’s close to perfection. Visit Old San Juan, stay at the El Convento Hotel, have the paella in the restaurant across the street from the hotel, walk to Castillo San Felipe del Morro—spectacular.

 

 

puerto rico 2 – the caribbean dream photo shoot

 

shoot 1

 

One of the reasons I came to Puerto Rico at this particular time (other than to apartment shop) was because my niece’s husband, Richard of Richard Bacchus Photography, would be conducting a photo seminar, The Caribbean Dream Photo Shoot, at the Gallery Inn in San Juan. Richard is a Puerto Rican insider, his mother a native, and a great connection to have far from home–plus he is an all around nice guy. But a big reason why I coordinated with Richard is because he shoots, among other subjects, soft porn, and I was very curious as to how his seminars went down. He graciously asked me to sit in on a shoot at the beach–scantily clad, partially naked girls on the rocks, waves crashing, a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit set up for amateurs. He introduced me as his aunt, there to watch and enjoy, and I never felt a moment of awkwardness or unwelcomeness.

The seminar attendees totaled 5, all middle aged men, all rather large and slightly geekish. I immediately thought of the guys who don’t get the girl, perhaps an unfair assumption on my part, perhaps an unfortunate stereotype. I chatted with them easily. They were not lustful or crude or anything but nice, they were just guys who like to take pictures of pretty girls (for reasons I do not want to know). There were a lot of models, maybe 9, and interestingly, some more popular than others. The attendees seemed to pick the girls they wanted to work with, and also interesting is that my picks were different than theirs. The models were sweet, young girls with beautiful bodies, bouncy, fun, flirtatious but not blatantly so, and they too, welcomed me genuinely. They were the pretty types you see in malls all across America, but in tiny bikinis and lots of make-up and willing to share lots of skin–and fyi, I plan on putting on more makeup myself after this experience–you know, just in case someone wants to snap my pic. The setting was magnificent, and what a way to hone your photographic skills–a caribbean beach at sunset, tits and ass and lots of windblown hair. Richard hurried about, guiding girls here and there, setting up lights, moving men—it was a blast to watch—but I got bored. I know—how crazy is that?  I spent the second half of the shoot sitting with the girls and playing games on my phone, just as they were–even crazier, huh?

I excused myself (thanking everyone and begging off because of hunger and fatigue) from the best part of the evening which was still to come—a naked sushi photo shoot. Two naked models with leaves between their skin and the food on their backs, or fronts, or I’m not sure where, followed by a sushi buffet (the food on the girls was for photographic purposes only—the buffet was to be served elsewhere—I think). I really should have gone, but there is so much down time apparently built into these things that I knew it would take forever. Plus I didn’t want Richard to fuss over me anymore, not that he had been fussing, but it seemed as if he were thinking that he should. It was great fun, thank you, Richard, a slice of life I never really thought about—probably because watching girls in underwear doesn’t hold my attention for very long.

 

 

puerto rico 1

 

pr 4pr 5

 

So interesting that when you travel, your residence, your hotel, be it humble or grand or dirty or unfamiliar, how quickly it becomes your haven, your safety net, your home base. So it is with my apartment, the apartment I had hoped to rent long term, or perhaps buy. I am already comfortable here, yet unsure as to whether or not it is right for me. It is a modern space inside a very old building, with an entry way that is a bit more grimy than I like. It takes up the entire third and top floor and the climb is brutal. It is a larger space than I imagined, with skylights in the living room and in the staircase and modern windows throughout. The apartment is laid out around the staircase, the bed is excellent, there are trendy concrete counter tops, LED lights, laminate flooring and three french doors that lead out to the most marvelous and huge, brick floor terrace. There is a constant breeze and the views are amazing, two blocks from the channel and the entrance to the Atlantic. It is a larger and more ancient, aqua watered, palm treed, Spanish Fells Point–so not really like Fells Point, yet that’s what I liken it to. But I wish the apartment were cleaner (such a freakin’ clean freak), and I wish that the finishes, the detail, the trim work, were more to my American standards, that it were a little less rustic and a lot more refined. I am quite snobbish and particular in that regard. I wish there were a microwave and a better coffee machine and a washer and dryer–all of which are minor and correctable, but none-the-less, affect my opinion. I wish I spoke better Spanish.

While I am somewhat familiar with the neighborhood, I have not gone out much—a trip to the grocery store and a walk down to the water. That will change and I will walk a ton, but for now I am content to sit here and write–which, frankly, is one of the reasons why I am here. It is absolutely an inspirational space, but would that not be true of most any foreign destination, or of any destination outside of the area you want to get away from?  Sigh…more to come, more to learn, more exploration into self.

 

 

america

 

The Cathedral of San Juan Batista is the second oldest building in San Juan. The Roman Catholic church also contains the remains of famous explorer Ponce de Léon. (Robert K. Hamilton/Baltimore Sun)

 

So…to start my Puerto Rico adventure series, I share Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics to AMERICA from West Side Story. I remember watching West Side Story (the movie) in a New Brunswick theater with my parents. I thought it was brilliant and think so still. Sing along, I know you know it.

 

AMERICA

Rosalia
Puerto Rico,
You lovely island . . .
Island of tropical breezes.
Always the pineapples growing,
Always the coffee blossoms blowing . . .

Anita
Puerto Rico . . .
You ugly island . . .
Island of tropic diseases.
Always the hurricanes blowing,
Always the population growing . . .
And the money owing,
And the babies crying,
And the bullets flying.
I like the island Manhattan.
Smoke on your pipe and put that in!

Others
I like to be in America!
O.K. by me in America!
Ev’rything free in America
For a small fee in America!

Rosalia
I like the city of San Juan.

Anita
I know a boat you can get on.

Rosalia
Hundreds of flowers in full bloom.

Anita
Hundreds of people in each room!

All
Automobile in America,
Chromium steel in America,
Wire-spoke wheel in America,
Very big deal in America!

Rosalia
I’ll drive a Buick through San Juan.

Anita
If there’s a road you can drive on.

Rosalia
I’ll give my cousins a free ride.

Anita
How you get all of them inside?

All
Immigrant goes to America,
Many hellos in America;
Nobody knows in America
Puerto Rico’s in America!

Rosalia
I’ll bring a T.V. to San Juan.

Anita
If there a current to turn on!

Rosalia
I’ll give them new washing machine.

Anita
What have they got there to keep clean?

All
I like the shores of America!
Comfort is yours in America!
Knobs on the doors in America,
Wall-to-wall floors in America!

Rosalia
When I will go back to San Juan.

Anita
When you will shut up and get gone?

Rosalia
Everyone there will give big cheer!

Anita
Everyone there will have moved here!

 

Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
© 1956, 1957 Amberson Holdings LLC and Stephen Sondheim. Copyright renewed.
Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, Publisher.

 

photo credit: The Cathedral of San Juan Batista, San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

the trump party

 

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Of all the things I dislike about Donald Trump, and there are many, I find his rudeness to be intolerable. Why, why, why, when, when, when did good behavior become unnecessary? Insanity, opinion and policy aside, did he learn nothing as a child, as a human, about courtesy, civility, respectability, please and thank you? Good Lord. Could anyone be more polarizing? Could anyone be more rude? Could anyone be less presidential?

 

photo credit: dailydoodl.tumbler.com

 

hello out there

 

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Yes, my six or so followers, I’m still here and apologize for not posting recently. I’m heavy into writer’s mode, working on two short stories, and the feedback so far has been excellent. But I’m also brimming with thoughts to share with you—in time, I promise. My visit to Puerto Rico is in a week and I will hopefully be typing up a storm. Or perhaps not. Wherever the winds take me!

One thought on my writing. I’m starting to not to think of myself as an erotic fiction writer, but rather a fiction writer who likes to put sex into the story. I like to write about sex. It’s fun to fantasize, tantalize, to tease, to push the edge just a bit. Sex is what everybody thinks about and an ingredient in nearly every conceivable human condition—such material! And I also like the fact that there are not a lot of 64, about to be 65, year old women doing this. I suspect the common belief is that women my age should be writing poetry chapbooks or that they are a bit dried up—at least, that’s what my husband thinks. Ha!  Love what you do, people!