Tag Archives: sex

The End of the World

I don‟t really want the world to burn or for a pandemic to decimate the population. One may not come to this conclusion if they‟d read most of my screenplays, short stories, poetry and all that but I assure you, the fact that some kind of apocalypse dropkicks the world after setting it on fire is a complete coincidence. I like the end of the world as a primary ingredient to building the worlds in which I set many of my stories because everything Matters More.

With so many people gone and – presumably – everyone having lost people they love, all actions would, in theory, be more carefully considered. This doesn‟t mean I think people will just start getting along after the apocalypse (if you‟ve read my work, you probably picked up on that) but what I love most about these shadowy levels of skyscrapers with no windows – places where no elevator can go and no doors get you to the stairs – is that when something good happens (and it always does eventually, if only in effect of the factoid that nothing lasts forever) it affects a change. The flickers of happiness may amount to little more than precisely that by the time our hapless antagonists and protagonists reach the end of the 3rd act but all of them, even the faintest and briefest of them have Changed Things.

In my feature screenplay for “Romeo & Juliet‟ the Capulets are vampires because I wanted to amplify Juliet‟s longing and her rage at being told to marry the cousin of Escalus. The rest of the backstory that I wrote also served to amplify the events of the story but it was All written so that the events of the tale we all know would not have to be changed drastically. Yeah, time of day is different and I won‟t get into how I transplanted Shakespeare‟s dialogue into a near-future (all of Juliet‟s „where art thou Romeo‟ remains intact word for word) but it‟s as much out of respect as it is bittersweet memories of teen-angst-infatuation-primal-blinding-lust that I keep the story so tight to the original, I‟ve just added vampires, machine guns, explosions, lots of knives…and beneath all that lies the firm belief that the right one IS out there for everyone. (except me, of course)

In my screenplay “Lit” the main character‟s depression nearly keeps him in on Friday night but a coincidence lands him a party where he meets a girl; a girl who has a lighter which was stolen from him a week ago. This leads to the discovery he‟s at the wrong party and then things get rolling, but the point is, Gavin has no doubt whatsoever that nothing outside is going to alleviate the pain he feels. And it really doesn‟t seem like it will, as details are revealed throughout Act I but when his stolen lighter shows up… To close, here are some not-so-happy-quotes which – for me – start narratives on a path where something akin to happiness is inevitable…if only for a few moments. It may just be all the “preservatives‟ I’ve invested in but the truth of all things horrible: ALL of it has a flip side. A few quotes of shadow that lead to some form of salvation (in my opinion are:

[] “I’m nobody! Who are you?”Emily Dickinson

[] “Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.”Cersei Lannister (George R. R. Martin)

[] “All we ever see of stars are their old photographs.”Dr. Manhattan (Alan Moore)

[] “Everyone in life is going to hurt you; you just have to figure out which people are worth the pain.”Erica Baican

[] 1“True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen.”La Rochefoucauld

[] “Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.”Einstein

[] “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”William Gibson

[] “You used to be the victim, now you’re not the only one.”Elvis Costello

The end of the world is the beginning of the next. Nothing lasts forever but the misery which comprises so much of everyday life is included. Happiness comes and goes but so does despair. The feeling that the integrity of one’s soul is cracked so that all happiness just seeps out … it isn’t permanent. Nothing is. 

It’s just a matter of holding on long enough to see it – to experience it – for yourself.

Life is full of pain but as Faith No More said, “droplets of ‘yes and no; in an ocean of maybe,,,”



The Beginning of the End of the 2nd Beginning

Tessa was the younger sister of Jamie; a girl who a mutual friend had tried to hook me up with. A couple times. It didn’t happen. Tessa was a few months younger than me but she was wiser than her years (and me) and it was both awkward and exhilarating that she and I thought so much alike…that we had both had a startlingly high number of similar experiences. Our connection was somewhat tense because her sister Jamie was my supervisor…but she met somebody else (who she married a few years years later). And so Tessa and I were suddenly spending more and more time together – but the moment I knew it was getting to be “something” was when she played a song in her car one day – a song that I could not stand. I hated that group and their radio single were the worst. But she talked about why they were her favorite band and I told her I thought they sucked but I would give their new album another chance. The next day, she showed up at my apartment with a copy, still wrapped, receipt in the bag. 

Long story short, within weeks, we were inseparable. It was late January of 1999; the place I lived was the common ground of several social circles – always crowded, always smoky, always a constant hum of conversations. The bedroom was sort of the VIP area; many brain cells were deep fried in that room. It’s horrifying to recall the happiness I felt the first time she came in and took off her shoes and jacket there in my room; everybody else put their shoes and jackets in the front closet. When she put her shoes in my closet and hung her jacket over the back of my desk, it seemed that something became Official. And within a day or so, people were talking about how much we laughed together and we always went on ice-cream-and-other-junk-food runs together (previous to Tessa, these runs were typically made by four or five people) and of course, how I now listened to that damned CD…the same one which many of my frequenters adored and I bitterly complained about….as recently as a month before.

In Ella Valentine’s piece, “Ugly, Beauty, Dountful Reality” she writes, ”another day was forgotten without a story to tell, without anyone to tell it to”….I didn’t realize my life was like that (in those days, my partying was sufficient to keep thoughts and memories of that nature at bay) but one night, Tessa and I were separated in a crowd….and I just intuitively knew where she’d be. Without being able to fully see her, I reached out, found her hand and our fingers intertwined – I pulled her to me and we left the building like that, holding hands. When we got back to my place, we kept the lights off and didn’t answer our cell phones (they were as big as cans of soda back then). It was a special night – not in a sexual way, it was just two people who Connected. Two people who Understood and Listened To and Shared With Each Other.

The day of reckoning was very soon after. I won’t go into any detail except to say that Tessa was extraordinarily pretty and she did not flaunt it but she did not exactly conceal it either. That night, we were alone, there were candles and we had a normal conversation that did not end well. By the time she left the bedroom, everybody else had already cleared out. I so vividly remember standing there, Nine Inch Nails “Pinion” playing in the background, reliving all the whole of our good times…all of which were abruptly shattered by less than a dozen words. Not “I think of you as a friend” nor “I met someone else” or even, “you’re like a brother to me”….no, the truth was that she and my best friend were ‘together’ and had been for a few weeks. She didn’t say good-bye. I didn’t either. And I removed that CD from the player and flung it as far as I could; it ended up behind my desk where it would remain for many months. 

The following day was one of such cold and wet and emptiness that all the usual party favors weren’t enough. Not nearly. The few people who did show up at my place the next night were solemn and each apologized for not telling me but I wasn’t pissed at them. Irritated but not pissed. They all left unusually early…and I realized I was out of cigarettes. The store was only a ten minute walk but it was cold and raining. I put on my headphones and listened to “Disintegration” by The Cure quite loudly…but it was different that night. Ten minutes was approximately enough time to listen to “Plainsong” and most of “Pictures of You”…and that matched with my arrival at the store but that walk was also a fucking eternity. The raindrops were the small, hard ones, cold and the wind kept blowing it in my face. I had shoulder length hair back then…and by the time I got to the store, I was totally soaked and shivering but I didn’t feel it.

I felt nothing. I remember the money I gave to the cashier was wet and he asked me why I wasn’t wearing a jacket and I told him I didn’t need one. I think that I believed part of me died when I learned the terrible truth…maybe it did. Maybe I killed it with my selfishness. Maybe she was just attention-starved. When I got home, my phone was ringing….it was Tessa’s sister. I answer and she only asked one question: “Are you ok?” I lit another cigarette and I think I laughed but I know I couldn’t get any real words out. She said, “I’m so sorry, I just found out and I would have told you.” I was silent. She said, “I’ll see you tomorrow. Take care.” and hung up. I called a certain friend and spent a lot of money on powerful party favors that night; when I told him what the occasion was, he gave me more for free. I was a friend as well as a good customer. By sunrise, I was quite sick. When I woke up, my friend Eric was in my room, shaking me awake; there was dried blood all over my nose and pillow and apparently the front door had been wide open. 

I don’t remember how I got to the bathroom but I remember I told Eric to play “The Speed of Pain” by Marilyn Manson (a new song back then) and I washed my face then went straight back to it. Then I decided I couldn’t stand to be in the apartment for another minute and Eric and I decided we’d go see a movie but when we stepped out of the bedroom, my former co-worker, Maria was there…she’d quit several months earlier to begin attending JMU. And she had a friend…a girl of extraordinary beauty, named Kate. They were on the way to a rave and thought I might want to go. It was Friday evening.

Saturday afternoon, I was awoken by my friend, also known as Tessa’s significant other – I didn’t think to think I was only wearing boxer shorts when I opened the door. And I wasn’t particularly angry either. The first thing I saw was the horror on his face. Then I saw the others: most of them asleep. “Friends” from the party. He asked me about the naked girl in my bed and all of a sudden, I realized it had been less than forty eight hours since the truth had come out and Kate was pulling on one of my t-shirts and she was Beautiful…and I started laughing – but I was not laughing inside. I don’t know that I ever really laughed again the way I did with Tessa before the truth came out. 

A few hours later was the 1st time I’d seen Tessa since that night…when she saw me, she immediately began walking towards me to apologize when she saw Kate…and Kate saw her and in my mind, it wasn’t just the three of us but the WORLD that froze for a moment. Phones stopped ringing, babies stopped crying, etc. I hadn’t said anything to Kate about what had happened with Tessa…and now I knew I would not have to. Nonetheless, Tessa was on the guest list for our wedding.

Which never took place.

The ‘engagement’ such as it was, lasted about three or four weeks total but the last week didn’t count. That’s quite another story. The day I found out the truth about Kate, I also had to walk to the store to get cigarettes…and I listened to “Plainsong” twice as I walked. It wasn’t raining. The wind wasn’t blowing. I only wore a jacket so I could have my collar up. Hell, I might have been wearing sunglasses even though it was well past sundown. I’m pretty sure I left a trail of charred brain cells. The lyrics to that 1st song of The Cure’s much-loved album are still among my favorite of ALL songs by The Cure and damn, they have a LOT of songs.

“I think it’s dark and it looks like rain, you said and the wind is blowing like its the end of the world you said and it’s so cold like cold if you were dead – then you smiled for a second. Sometimes you make me feel like I’m living at the end of the world – it’s just the way I smile, you said.”

‘PLAINSONG’ from the album, “DISINTEGRATION” (1989, Fiction Records)

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Knew Music (the ghosts in the shadow of Tower Records)

October 1996 – my 1st official job…and one I worked my ass off for. For six months or so, I called Tower Records and each week, the general manager would ask me for one reason he should hire me. One day I called and he said, “oh man, dude, just come on in.” I got a ride, went in and he handed me some papers (I may well have been signing my soul to the devil but damn, once I was past that door marked ‘Employees Only’…) and then he said, “So, be here tomorrow at 3:30.” I wasn’t…but that’s another story. 

I was still in high school at the time – and the youngest employee by at least four or five years. Aside from the fact that the supervisor who was assigned to train me got fired two days after I started, it was a hell of a good time. Everybody treated me like a younger sibling and the crew was clearly a family, complete with sibling rivalry in the form of “screw those metal heads, classic rock is the only real rock” or “classical music is the only music – what ARE you listening to?” and so on. But we were all there because we loved music. We got free concert tickets (good seats too), promotional art (much of which still carpets my walls in layer upon layer, no shit) and we all knew we had that one thing in common. I could spend hours wandering the rows and rows of music – and I did so on many occasions. I did so knowing that I knew less than a billionth of all the bands I was investigating but it didn’t matter…just having access to that much music – AND ALL THOSE MOVIES…

At some point in 1997, I received an ‘award’ for having been more than an hour late every single day for more than a year – I was openly wasted 98% of the time, I would take four or five cigarette breaks more than I was supposed to, I cursed in front of customers…then he held up a few pieces of paper. Letters from customers, about me. About how I had turned them on to all kinds of music and dozens of movies they had never heard of. They told their friends about me (couldn’t miss me, the kid in all black with black eyeliner, blue mohawk, rings on every finger – there’s a damn Lord of the Rings-size story behind THAT so we’ll save that for another time.) and I did the same for them and for their friends…and eventually I started getting requests like selecting songs for wedding receptions. I wrote up not only lists of songs but the lyrics and thus, why these songs would be appropriate. Sometimes the regulars would come to me and tell me they were having a shitty day and needed something new to listen to. Regardless of the genre or the reason they wanted something, I would ask them to promise me they would play it loud. Whether they did or not, I’ll never know…but DAMN, I do know that I have hearing damage from following my own advice. But that was then and it was a glorious time.

But nothing stays the same. By the end of 1997, I was one of the senior employees and found myself partying with a new crew of freaks and party kids….I was there when we opened the “Electronic Dance Music” section. I was there when Dieselboy did an instore performance and I took some pretty good pictures which were….let’s just say they got published in a magazine by a girl who also worked at my store and the magazine credited her for the amazing photography. But even that wasn’t the beginning of the end. She had several events that made it…difficult….for her to stay there and so she was gone. Throughout 1998, a new crew joined what remained of the old (a shocking amount were quickly fired for stealing) and the store REALLY became a party. And this was not the end either.

Stories follow three acts so I’ll follow something similar:


I bought Marilyn Manson’s first album, “Portrait of an American Family” at Tower and my 1st day there, I used my employee discount for the 1st time to buy his 2nd album, “Antichrist Superstar” and in 1998, I had a promo of “Mechanical Animals” almost three months before I started seeing the ads for it all over. By the time “Holy Wood” came out I no longer worked there but I still got the employee discount. …. Marilyn Manson was the central nervous system of my years at Tower.


When I first started working at Tower, I was quite obsessed with The Cure. I believe I believed that it would get me chicks. It did…in a way. By the end of the good times at Tower, I was listening to that band less and less. And I believed in love (as I saw it as a teenager) less and less. On New Year’s Eve, 1998, I blasted “I Don’t Like the Drugs But The Drugs Like Me” and “The Dope Show” repeatedly (I had taken some things earlier and took much more as the night progressed) and it was also on that night, on a ‘smoke break’ in a friend’s car in the parking lot that a Cure song came on and she turned it up for me…and I asked her to change it. She looked at me and I don’t know who was more shocked.


I worked there on and off until 2000 and by then, I had become obsessed with house music…Bad Boy Bill, with that insane scratching and the flavors of hip-hop and THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP….well, damn, there was a new kind of music to get my heart pounding and my head nodding and fingers tapping.

And here we reach the question I’ve been building towards for however long this is: HOW DO YOU FIND NEW MUSIC NOW?

Since I started working in film, I’ve been much more involved in orchestral music, which, ironically, has begun incorporating electronic elements…Pink Floyd was doing this before I was born but again, we’ll talk about that another time. 

The last few dozen songs I have found which gave me goosebumps and made me go directly to iTunes all came from shows like “True Blood” and movies ….soooooo many movies, including ones I wrote and shot – a bunch of my actresses (no doubt after seeing my basement) brought me flash drives full of music….some of it sucked, some of it was good, some of it was AWESOME.

One last note is that a lot of the songs I discovered in movies were instant classics in my mind because of the way they were used in the movie I heard them (even if the movie wasn’t good).

So: how do you find new music?ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Through the air trapped in the glass


Life cycles and slows down and speeds up – until it doesn’t anymore. To think about dying is pretty much daydreaming. When it happens to someone close to you and their family, it hits something inside that simultaneously lets you know how far you’ve drifted from ‘reality’ and provides a path in that direction. Everything changes.

Cliches become truths. Light reveals more than it did before. The dark isn’t empty anymore, it’s teeming with truths that have been stripped and lacquered into directionless facts. There is nothing that can be said to make it any ‘better’…in fact, anything has the potential to prolong the process of processing what’s happened and what will happen next.

Fear of the dark is colder, closer and more horrifying because there IS a reason to be afraid of the dark. The most we can hope for is someone who will face it with us and be there for us whatever our reaction may be. For some, I think the darkness is a mirror, for others a window but whatever we see has already been within us for a while. Not all of us will have that someone but not all of us have this sickly awareness.

To be truly close to someone – it’s like Stannis Barratheon said: “hard truths cut both ways.” You want her to feel good not because it increases the likelihood of her reciprocating but because when she feels good, you feel good. And when she’s in pain, you are too. It seems like a rational thing, to strip life down to a series of facts but it isn’t like that, in my experience. No matter how deep you dig – or how far out you go – there is always more, just beyond reach.