Charleston, West Virginia Nashville Uncategorized Writings

David Berman of the Silver Jews- Grabbing them by the Pussy

Although I wasn’t familiar with his music, I read about David Berman in a UVA alumni magazine & a friend of mine told me that he was famous & living in Nashville, so I thought that was cool and invited him to play a show with me.

He showed up with a little posse and a smoke machine, since- rather than singing- he wanted to recite poetry with smoke blowing behind him. I remember feeling sorry for him, standing on the stage with smoke blowing behind him, as though the need of a smoke machine made him pathetic somehow.

It is usually a bad sign when I feel sorry for someone. Clinton, Weiner, Epstein, Weinstein- most sexual predators trigger pangs of pity in me and I don’t even know why. Crossed wires, probably.

And then of course, feeling pity for a man makes me feel guilty, since I imagine men don’t want to be seen as pitiful, which causes me to twist my mind into a state of deep admiration, just in case they can sense my thoughts. I always feel responsible for boosting men’s self-esteem as though they are little boys and I am their nanny. If they look stupid, I feel pain.

Anyway, after the show he walked up to me where I was sitting on a stool and stuck his hand up my skirt real fast and grabbed me on the flesh at which point animal consciousness took over and I started kicking him. There were at least six people watching, but maybe more.

I don’t remember what happened after that except that one of his posse was trying to calm me down and make sure I didn’t call the cops since, as he said, Berman had a beautiful wife at home and this would break her heart etc etc. Berman too was a troubled man with a heart of gold and they would make sure to straighten him out. He also said what Berman did was really really bad which was useful information for me since on my own I might not have figured it out. After all, my husband was one of the people watching and I don’t recall him saying anything about the incident or being particularly concerned.

(Which, in retrospect, makes sense considering that he got me to marry him by grabbing my crotch as we were zooming down the highway on the way to what I thought was a spiritual retreat. Then he said I needed to marry him because sexual contact outside of marriage was wrong.)

All in all, the Berman incident didn’t loom large in my mind. If it hadn’t been for the posse member talking me into not calling the cops (which I wouldn’t have done anyway, considering that I had a supernatural fear of police plus no concept that forcing hands into privates was a crime) I might not even remember it. It just seemed to blend into the general spirit of the time. I even sent Berman a Christmas card afterwards. How embarrassing.

But for some reason, a few days ago, I was telling my current husband about it, and he wanted to beat Berman up, so I googled him and found that he had hanged himself a couple weeks prior. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it all. My husband said he wouldn’t be surprised if someone had offed him.

And then I was reading the articles about his poetry & music which all seemed to agree that above all, David Berman was a symbol of goodness and decency. Maybe he was, who knows? Goodness & decency have always creeped me out.


P.S. Though I always considered this incident to be quite minor, with no impact, in some respect it (along with other incidents) maybe did have the stereotypical impact on me.

I assumed I was basically asking for these things, considering I was wearing a skirt and also a lace camisole on top of my polo shirt. So I reconsidered my clothing choices.

I assumed I was pretty much asking for it by singing songs about mating with rabbits and making love to plants and fathers. So I tried to tone down the sexual content of my songs which (as a Scorpio) just meant writing less in general.

I assumed I was pretty much asking for it by hanging out in slimy bars at night. So, it *possibly* played a role in my decision to stop performing.

I assumed I was pretty much asking for it by interacting with males so much in general, although that couldn’t be helped since they made up the bulk of the music world. For a long time, I tried to avoid interacting with males at all to avoid giving the impression that I was a pervert.

But I don’t know. I am just thinking about this now for the first time. For some reason I never really thought about it until I found out he was dead.

Charleston, West Virginia Nashville The Odyssey Videos

Run Rabbit Run (Video)

I have two problematic states I can be in. One is frozen, like a block of ice that can’t speak or move, and the second is evaporated like steam that will say or do anything. These videos make me feel self-conscious because they capture me in my icy state due to the presence of all the technology and lights. Technology is useful, but may be kryptonite to females.

I wrote this song in Nashville, as part of an album called “The Odyssey” which expressed my feelings of endless journeying through a dark world. As I’ve said before, Nashville struck me as a dark city, but that may be because I only went out at night. Having no money and little food can make the world feel darker as well. I lived on my own, but had zero practicality. When the electricity was turned off I had no idea why. I thought I was witnessing a supernatural event. Once- as if by magic- a person left cans of food at my door but I didn’t know how to open them. So I smashed them with a hammer and ate the pieces that didn’t have metal in them. I was an animal, I guess. How far I have come. Plus there was the darkness of the music industry which hung over the musicians like a shadow.

Many of the songs I wrote at that time can no longer be sung because they are so sexual that it would be embarrassing to someone with my current level of dignity. Sexuality is a language for desperate times, I guess, but not the language to use when you want to seem like a good neighbor. Or your husband wants to run for city council. Now dignity must always be first and foremost on my mind. “Stiff as a board” is my new motto.

Me, in Nashville. Then I was truly crazy, now I am practically President of the United States.

Blue, Black, Silver, Water, Moons, Death & Ghosts Minerals, Mountains, Crystals, Ice, and White Nashville

Mister will you make love to me?


Brownie feeding a dog with a mysterious shadow.A song about my desperation to leave the cold world of outer space and feel earthed again. I wrote this song in Nashville. As a kid, visiting Nashville from Kentucky, I had always liked its warm, earthy vibe, like pizza cooked in a red brick oven. But when I moved there as an adult- around 2006, I think, it didn’t seem the same anymore. It had become citified, slick, black, stylish, and cold. Sure, there was country music, but there wasn’t anything country.

What is country music, anyway? To me, it would be any music inspired by a southern, rural life. It wouldn’t have to fit a certain mold- it could be strange, nonsensical, angry, dull, sad, or wild. It could express the full range of human emotions and the crazy imagination of nature. But Nashville music isn’t rooted in the country, it is rooted in the tradition of country music, which is a very different thing. It pulls its tradition from a handful of 20th century country heroes, a well that becomes more depleted with every song written. Art that draws on other art as its foundation… well, I think it can get a little inbred.  That is how we end up with blank canvases and the like hanging up in museums.

But that is just my opinion. The point is, I felt disappointed that Nashville had become more cosmopolitan than homey.  I wanted something soft, warm, and natural, but ended up with something cold, hard and plastic. It may be no coincidence that so many of the songs I wrote in Nashville relate to being lost in outer space.

Download MP3: Mister Will You Make Love to Me?

Music & Songs The Odyssey

By the time I get to you


Woman in cornflower blue sundress in front of cityscape.This is another song from the Odyssey… I think it is from Penelope’s perspective, although I don’t know too much about it. It is one of those songs I wrote and then shoved in a drawer… all I remember is that I wrote it while taking out the garbage in Nashville and the skies were so blue, and in my imagination I was surrounded by stark white mountains capped by the puffiest clouds.













Download MP3: Something bout Words

Music & Songs Nashville Red, Soldiers, & Fire Uncategorized

On A Mexican Trail


Garth Brooks and his horse on a mountain path in Mexico.
A picture of Garth Brooks on a mountain path in Mexico. Did he manage to escape the Nashville Blackbird?


A song about the Mexican Fire Bird… a gigantic orange bird who helps people escape constrained, repressive circumstances (including prison).  The Mexican Fire Bird frequently guides people out west to where the grid of the earth is wide and spacious and they can once again take deep breaths of exhilaration and adventure.

The Mexican Fire Bird has many friends, but also enemies, including one black bird so large he is the size of four cars (and bigger when his wings are spread.) He snatches musicians with his beak and carries them way up high, so high that everyone can see them, a shining star at last, until he drops them onto a large pile of rocks by a creek somewhere in Henderson County, Tennessee. After that, I don’t know what happens… probably he eats their remains.

Some people say this black bird makes his nest on top of the large bat building in downtown Nashville. But at any rate, he is a sworn enemy to the Mexican Fire Bird. Because the Mexican Fire Bird teaches people to seek the fire within, and the Nashville Blackbird can only prey on those looking to find fire in other peoples’ eyes.



Download MP3: On a Mexican Trail

Music & Songs Nashville

The Old World

Nude lady with white bird standing on cube.

I wrote this song in Nashville… moving to Nashville after living in L.A. was something of a culture shock. In L.A. I didn’t have a car or even know how to tune my own guitar- asking strangers for rides or tunings wasn’t a big deal, because after all, we’re all one, man! I could even walk around wearing antennae on my head, and although it did make me stick out a little, it didn’t create a division- people would just ask why I was wearing antennae on my head and then proceed to share their own alien abduction stories. But in Nashville everything was colder, heavier, more serious. Conformity was the chief value, for people and music, and anything different was cast in a dark and sketchy light. To conform was to be clean, intelligent, wholesome, loving.

And conformity begins with clothes, which is why I had trouble right off the bat. For reasons I can’t remember, I was determined to wear only white clothes (in addition to eating only white foods and living in an all-white apartment). But especially on a limited budge, white clothes were not always easy to come by, and I sometimes ended up wearing things that were definitely white, but not altogether clothes- like Christmas decorations and tablecloths, for example.

Why didn’t I just try to make life easy on myself by fitting in?

Download MP3: The Old World

Blue, Black, Silver, Water, Moons, Death & Ghosts Music & Songs Nashville The Odyssey

Telemachus’ Realization


Painting of statues and cathedral. Man with sword and dagger.

Another song from the Odyssey… Telemachus visits Menelaus who treats him like a king- far different from the way his mother’s suitors treat him (in fact they are planning to murder him on his trip home).

I remember playing this song in Nashville at “Coffeehouse Survivor”. Two musicians would play a song, a panel of three judges would score them, and the winner would go on to compete in the next round. I didn’t want to participate in something so savage and degrading, but since it was my philosophy to say yes to everything, I went anyway.

Treating art as something that can be scored and judged like that is… well, it is beyond ridiculous in my opinion, and harmful to everyone involved. It is like ranking people’s souls. Not to mention that art frequently deals with perspectives that are new, while judgments tend to stem from the values of days gone by.

But at any rate, I played this song in the first round, and lost by a landslide to a man in a cowboy hat. One judge even gave me a zero. Ouch.

Download MP3: Telemachus’ Realization


Blue, Black, Silver, Water, Moons, Death & Ghosts Music & Songs Nashville The Odyssey

Sacrifice to the Gods


Downtown Nashville Night Skyline 2008













Another song from the Odyssey, featuring the two elements that weighed most heavily on my mind at the time- fire and water. Water was, in my mind, the root of all evil, so it seemed fitting that Odysseus’ exile was spent wandering and lost in a watery hell. And fire was, to me, the most wonderful element, so it seemed fitting that the offerings the Greeks made to their gods were offerings of fire.

Living in Nashville, I saw the big black bat building that towered over the downtown as being emblematic of the element water, splashing its black liquid over everyone to extinguish the light of their individuality, and turning us all into slaves and clones.


Download MP3: Sacrifice to the Gods

Blue, Black, Silver, Water, Moons, Death & Ghosts Music & Songs Nashville

Black on Baby Blue


A song I wrote in Nashville, about those horrible moments when you realize someone you love and depend on is a mass murderer. I was just reading an article about the wives of serial killers, and the author was saying “How could they not have known?” especially as the evidence started to pile up around them. But, as George Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose is a constant struggle.”  For some reason, it is very hard to believe that someone you know well could be dangerous, or even that they could be deceiving you. Especially, when you feel powerless to change or escape the situation.

Soldiers kneel before the firing squad. Will we make love again. Acrylic on canvas. Crucifix.













Download MP3: Black on Baby Blue

Blue, Black, Silver, Water, Moons, Death & Ghosts Music & Songs Nashville Red, Soldiers, & Fire

Candy from a Baby


Drawing of soldier with blue sword, torch, lightening bolt, and pirate flag.

I wrote this song while living in Nashville, where-  just as in L.A.– it was a great struggle to go out and perform every night while living in the grips of extreme shyness and stage fright.

In my Nashville apartment I had two bathrooms, so one of my anti-shyness therapies involved filling one bathtub with scalding hot water and one bathtub with ice cold water and then running back and forth between the two to submerge myself. It was not fun, but as usual I was hoping that causing myself physical pain would make performing less painful by comparison.

The one “therapy” that actually worked- at least in the short term- was putting sage oil on a handkerchief and breathing through it while driving to the venue. By the time I had reached my destination, inhibitions seemed to have magically vanished, and I could walk onto the stage with only a healthy handful of butterflies..But then I read that sage oil is toxic, and that was the end of that.




Download MP3: Candy from a Baby