Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'll Cry Out From My Grave

{First of all, I know one shouldn't do this, but I apologize for the quality of this story. (SORRY. I can't help the self-deprecation.) I've been really worried lately, as I only seem to be writing self-indulgent crap that no one would want to read except me. But it's been forever since I've posted a story here, and I thought you all might like to know what I've been working on. Or I can't think of anyone I'd rather share it with anyway. :) I'll share some of the inspiration behind this story at the bottom.}

I hadn't requested that the radio be put on; if it had been up to me I would have let silence reign. But someone had turned it on during lunch, and it continued to play in the background during the after-meal conversation. It didn’t bother me. I was living in a haze anyway, and was indifferent to most everything. My dull eyes were screened by a large pair of sunglasses. My whole body felt like it was encased in clay, and I was slowly being hardened by the sun. This was due to post-lunch torpor combined with the other crap in my system.
My languor was interrupted by Neil's cry of "Hey! This must be from Thorin’s new record!" and his turning up the volume of the familiar voice that was singing. I didn’t mind too much. It's not that I’d wanted to hear one of his songs, but Rowe Thorin was a famous singer, and I’d long ago accepted the fact I’d come across his music, possibly quite frequently. I stared vacantly over the lake, as the rest of the table listened intently. Then the chorus began:

"God, I'm sorry for what I've done to her
Suzanne, I'm sorry for what I've done to you..."

Those lines slammed against my chest and my shell shattered. Playfully shocked cries rang out all over the table. "Suzanne, you minx!" "Well, no need to ask about your past, Sue babe." The chatter continued long enough to drown out the whole song. I laughed and offered a flippant remark or two, carefully skirting the truth. I wasn't sure whether they thought this whole thing was coincidence, or if they thought Rowe Thorin truly had done something awful to me (or if not that, at least knew me to some extent). I was curious, but the last thing I wanted was to ask and find out.
I only lasted for fifteen minutes longer at the table, and offered a headache as an excuse to leave. I did feel ill, but in case you haven’t guessed, it wasn't my head that hurt.
I went to the room I was staying in, drew the curtains, and lay down on the smooth, white covers. With an arm laid over my eyes, I tried to calm my racing brain. I was too thoroughly upset, though. I had been shaken; I knew the only thing that was going to cure that was time.
Frustrated, I sat up. I had to listen to the whole song. I decided that rather than gluing myself to the radio, I would venture out to a record shop.
I left the villa without being interrupted by anyone, as everyone had gone out on the lake. The nearby town was small, but they had a record shop I’d passed several times, which I now located with ease.
As if I had no right to be there, I entered tentatively, eyes hidden again by dark frames. It was empty except for the bald man who seemed to run the place. Gathering my scattered spirits, I walked up to him. "Good afternoon. Do you have Rowe Thorin’s newest record?" I used my most polite voice, but he still looked at me as if I was diseased. He grunted in what I assumed to be the affirmative, and then located the album without a glimpse of any emotion. I paid for it and surreptitiously walked back to the villa.

The only record player was in the large, open living room, but I figured the house should stay empty long enough to listen to one song. I sat on the settee next to the record player and studied the album cover. It was a distorted photograph of Rowe with his guitar, and the title, The Creaking Floorboards, in the bottom right corner. I flipped over the record cover and skimmed the list of songs. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but when the penultimate track caught my eye, I knew it had to be the one. Side B, Song #4 -- 'I'll Cry Out From My Grave (God I'm Sorry)'. I gently set the record in place and released the needle.

"Got the freedom of this song
To tell how sad I’ve been so long
Gilded words can’t help replace
The love I’ve taken and disgraced..."

Yes, this was the one. The song progressed too quickly, and the chorus arrived before I was quite ready.

"...This song is here to help me say
God, I’m sorry for what I’ve done to her
Suzanne, I’m sorry for what I’ve done to you

I suspected half of the UK and US would have this refrain circling their heads for weeks, but I knew it was a dragon that would circle my heart for years.
The lyrics and his voice were full of regret, and by the end, my heart was too. What did he want? Just to apologize? Did he want me back, or was I just a convenient muse? I didn’t know what to think, so I sat and wept. Great, ugly sobs came from a place deep inside me, yet they still felt too shallow to ever help. Their sound drowned out the last song and the hum of the machine as the needle resumed its resting position. Teardrop stains dotted my skirt, and I helplessly watched them multiply.
I heard a door slam downstairs, and not wanting to be caught at the scene of my composure’s murder, I gathered the record and fled the room.
I put the album in the back of the wardrobe, miserably aware that no matter how dusty the corner was where I stuffed the record away, it wouldn't succeed in suffocating the memories that were even now coming forth to be recognized.


So, yeah. This is the beginning of a story I'm writing right now. It's set in the midst/at the end of the 1960s. (An era I've had a passion for for many years.) At the moment, I have no idea how long the story will be; I'm just writing and hoping for the best.
Actually, what I've just shared didn't start as the beginning. At first, the story began around when Suzanne, the main character, first really talks to Rowe Thorin, a singer/songwriter who eventually, in case you hadn't guessed, becomes her lover. But then I wrote a new beginning, and decided the story would be told (for lack of better word) in a flashback.

The story came to me while I was reading Marianne Faithfull's biography (who is the girl in the pictures). That being said, it's not the most innocent of stories. There are drugs and such things. (Not represented in a glorified way, though.) In fact, it's the most un-innocent thing I've ever written. I'm going to have to tame the original beginning, because as it is now, I wouldn't let anyone read it.

The lyrics included in my story weren't written by me; they're from an actual song. When I first started writing this story, I was living deep within it, and to keep the mood, I mainly listened to Volume I of the Soft Sounds for Gentle People compilations. (These compilations are basically collections of obscure sunshine pop from the 60s. I talked about them some on my music blog once.) I hadn't listened to this compilation much before the past few weeks, but very quickly the song 'I'll Cry Out From My Grave (God I'm Sorry)' by a band called Brigadune became one of my favourites off the album. When the time came to pick a name for my character, I picked Suzanne, inspired by the song. Then I thought, "Hang on - why not incorporate the song into my story?" So I did. And at the moment, the story's title is the same as the song's.

In my head, the arrangement, speed, and vocals sound different, so this isn't "the version" that Rowe Thorin is supposedly singing, but have a listen to the song, if you like!

Well, I'm off to read in bed. I hope everyone is well!

{Both photos are of Marianne Faithfull, and I don't have the sources.}

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grey Gardens

I watched Grey Gardens on Saturday.

Grey Gardens
is a documentary about a mother and daughter ("Big" Edie and "Little" Edie) who don't know how to listen to each other, living in a house full of decaying and thwarted dreams. Along with at least half a dozen cats and a raccoon or two in the attic.

From the DVD back: Meet Big and Little Edie Beale - high-society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O. - thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion. An impossibly intimate portrait and an eerie echo of the Kennedy Camelot, Albert and David Maysles's 1976 Grey Gardens quickly became a cult classic and established Little Edie as a fashion icon and philosopher queen. Thirty years later, the filmmakers revisited their landmark documentary with a sequel of sorts, The Beales of Grey Gardens, culled from hours of never-before-seen footage recently found in the filmmakers' vaults.

I had been meaning to watch it for a while, and I finally got it from the library the other week. (I originally heard about it from the show Gilmore Girls when Lorelai and Rory are seen watching and talking about it in one episode.)
Actually, I didn't realize that the companion piece to Grey Gardens, The Beales of Grey Gardens, was on the second disc till Sunday. I had to watch it as soon as I found out, of course; and I knew I had grown to love these people because as the titles started and I found myself back at Grey Gardens, with Little Edie's face smiling and her slightly strident voice talking again, I felt happy. I liked The Beales of Grey Gardens as much as the original. It had less arguments, more dialogue and more of Little Edie's musings.

These are some screenshots I took from Grey Gardens. (I didn't take any from The Beales of Grey Gardens because I was feeling too lazy.)


Grey Gardens certainly isn't for everyone, in terms of personal taste, but if this has at all piqued your interest you should look into it more. It is a fascinating piece: strange, saddening, and beautiful all rolled into one. (And just a note, there was a movie made in 2009 about Big and Little Edie which is also called Grey Gardens.)

My sleeping problems mentioned in last post have gone away. Strangely enough, I've been going to bed earlier than I have in years. (Earlier meaning closer to midnight than 1 o'clock.)

I can tell I've been down lately because I haven't wanted to do much of anything. Sadly, it's the ennui where I don't really want to read or write, I just want to watch British telly on youtube. I like the depression that makes me read a lot - then I at least feel like I'm accomplishing something. Ah, well. :P

I think for the most part the ennui has skulked back to its corner. I've made yet another to-do list for the month of March and I am going to accomplish things; yes, I am! It's funny, I never used to make to-do lists, but I have been since last September. I find it helpful to step back and look at what I need to accomplish. I used to think free spirits didn't need such lists, but they do, really. At least this one does. It's probably because I'm not in school and find myself suddenly without direction. (Not that I ever followed my school schedule very well...) My to-do lists are in no way set in stone either. If I don't get everything done, I don't really care. As long as I did the things that really needed to get done.

Actually, I've been very productive today! Huzzah!