Saturday, November 22, 2014

THE SINS OF BILLY ROSE

As my three remaining fans know, my bestseller THE PRETENDERS, (after which the musical group named themselves though I didn't know that till many years later, when one of them told me,) was a fictionalized version of the life of Billy Rose, the great short man who secretaryed to Bernard Baruch, married a number of prominent, taller women, including Eleanor Holm and Fanny Brice, and dated Sue Mengers, my best friend in New York, until she handled people who were too famous, and became one of them herself. Had she known there would be a play about her starring Bette Midler, she probably would have lived longer, and negotiated a better deal with God.
    The sadness is with celebrity, people forget about you the moment they can stop dropping your name, unless of course it can get you money or a better seat in the theatre, which today no longer means that much, the seats are so uncomfortable in New York, it almost makes you give up the wish to be a hit on Broadway.  So it is that I am happily resettled in Southern Cal, where I have set up my office in the French bakery that picks up Starbuck's signal, as the AT&T man on the phone was a fiend in Manila who tried to cheat me out of a few hundred bucks saying he would manage to get the initiation fee cancelled, "probably," which the technician installing my TV told me meant I would get cheated later.  So now I am the oldest person in this venue, where I can have coffee(Decaf) while I write, and remember Billy Rose, who said to Sue Mengers "Put your hand on my cock" which even she found offensive.  I went out with him, too, and he looked in my closet,  saw the negligee my mother had bought for me wholesale, with feathers all up and down the front and said to me "Who are you saving that for, Robert Goulette?"
    He pronounced the final tees as though they were there which probably few if any of you will remember they weren't, as it was French, so he was Goul-ay.  Billy actually had a great naked statue by Rodin it was, in his front hallway on Fifth Avenue, and said to me as I gazed up at it: "I know what you're thinking: you'd like to screw him, right?"  A truly loathsome little man, except for his brilliance which also might have been a lie, as what he knew better even than how to do shorthand speedily was how to steal from people.  But he did give me my big bestseller so I can do nothing but thank him.  And I did manage to give the character in the novel enough depth so people were moved, if they weren't just looking for sexual arousal, as it was a landmark in that category, and you never would have known I went to Bryn Mawr.
    As it turns out, that is the thing in my life that I am proudest of having done, as it strengthened me as nothing else has.  A lovely Japanese woman who is writing a piece on Perry Lane, a little street in Palo Alto where hippies lived in the Sixties, before, I believe, they were actually called hippies, and were, on the whole, more interesting than when they became totally stoned,  and interviewed me on the phone was visibly, audibly impressed with how much color I gave her on Ken Kesey, a great friend of mine when I went to graduate school at Stamford whose writing program was incredibly overrated, Wallace Stegner being a pretentious, self- aggrandizing man.  Kesey said to me "If it weren't for the Honor System, I never would have made it through."  Cheating was outside the law for me, and so I never gave him my soul, which I was usually a little too quick to share, but I did give him my body, once only, and he was not very good.    He gave me my first inhale of grass, and even stoned it was not all that erotic, and in the middle or end which came very quickly, there was a knock on my front door on College Avenue, and when I said "Who is it?" the answer came "Police"" and Kesey was out of there and bolting over my back fence and several adjoining yards. Turned out the cops were there because they had found my driver's license that had been stolen, but Kesey didn't stay to find that out. A remarkable athlete, if not an impressive sexual one.
    But we stayed friends and went to the vigil outside San Quentin for Caryl Chessman. When it was all over we drove down the peninsula and followed a rude truck driver whose rear doors were coming open for several miles, Kesey falling behind because he knew the road was rough, so the road was soon peppered with cartons of ice cream, and that became the ice cream scene in Kingdom Come, my novel that everybody wanted to buy until they saw it was easier to steal, and it was, after all, Hollyeood.  
    But back to the vigil,  where Marlon Brando came to protest the coming execution of Caryl Chessman.  Brando's attorney said on the fading loudspeaker that if they failed to change the mind of the governor to stay the execution, Chessman had agreed to let Marlon make the movie of his life, which of course he never did.  I call him Marlon because I actually, truly knew him, my loved friend Janice Mars being one of his cast-off lays, introducing me to him one of my vacations from Bryn Mawr, saying "I want you to meet someone," not telling me who it was.  His apartment was on 57th Street, one of those buildings now being obscured by all the construction on West 57th street by all those horrible builders I would like to think are Iranians, but they are, sadly, Jews.
    So as we went up in the elevator, Janice and I, and got to the top floor, I heard someone calling out "Eyyyy, Janice!!" and my heart near stopped beating.  It was of course Himself, still trim and breathtakingly, animalisticly handsome.  She introduced me, and he said "Tell me about yourself, kid."  
   Barely able to breathe, much less speak, I managed as best I could, and when I ended with where I went to school, he warbled affectedly, a la Katharine Hepburn, "OOOOOOooo, Baryn Mahwarr."  One of the most memorable days of my life, naturally, and am glad I can still remember it in full detail.  He was much more adorable than he was outside San Quentin, where, as journalists trailed him walking along the sea-bank, he said, surly, "Do you mind, I want to take a leak."
    He was much more lovable in Summer Stock, where I had been invited along for his production of Shaw's "Arms and the Man," which he directed, badly, and starred in as Sergei.  He was not funny.  He never could do comedy.
     But of course I loved him along with all members of the company, old friends he was giving a break to, as most of them couldn't get work, including his stand-in, the wife of one of his best friends.  He was a generous spirit, as long as you weren't one of his wives.  I am sorry he got fat.
   Myself, I was fighting weight at the time, having the same legs I do now, and 182 pounds, so all that was really visible of my face were my eyes.  I ate breakfast with him in the countrified mess hall, and could barely swallow what little was in my bowl.  He said "Whatsa matter, kid?  Oh, I see.  You're on a diet."  Adding, "It's okay.  I just think most girls are prettier thin."
    One might have said the same about men.  
     He said to Janice the last time he spoke to her, not long before he died, that he had decided to live to a hundred and ten.  She asked him why.  "Curiosity," he said.
    Then they both signed off with their usual affectionate Farewell.
"Fuck you," she said.  "Fuck you," he replied, and hung up.
    If he had known he was going to die, I think he would have said "I love you."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MIKE NICHOLS

Mike Nichols went to Cherry Lawn, the co-ed progressive boarding school in Darien, Connecticut, full of mad, inspired, troubled teenagers from broken homes or parents who didn’t want to be bothered, of whom I was one.  He wasn’t there when I was, but many years later after he was the great, sought-after success he was, a close friend of mine from Bryn Mawr who had dated him, set up a visit for me so he could hear my musical, Sylvia WHO? that I am working on till this day.
He was married at the time to the woman whose name I have difficulty remembering, along with all names that are starting to elude me.  But as I recall, sort of, it was Anabel, and I do remember clearly that she had had an affair with Morgan Mason when he was eighteen or nineteen, on the set of the movie Tony Perkins, with whom I had been innocently and ignorantly been infatuated, not knowing he was gay, or probably even clearly what “gay” was, wrote with Stephen Sondheim.
    Mike lived in Connecticut with his then wife. Ann Mudge, the beauteous, pale blonde heiress from Pittsburgh which you’d never know from how elegant she was, had dated Mike, after trying to commit suicide over Philip Roth, who had to be the cruelest man ever to be gifted with great talent.  She'd set up the audition for me, being as generous as she was upmarket Gentile.  I remember telling her I had relatives who had gone to Taylor Alderdice high school in Pittsburgh, and her saying “Taylor Alderdice was my grandfather.”  Imagine.  I’d thought he was a building.
   Anyway, we went to Connecticut where Mike and I walked by the lake in the woods of his home, and he’d told me about how agonizing it had been for him at Cherry Lawn, where he’d started, as a refugee, at ten.  I don’t think anybody had ever been at home or comfortable at Cherry Lawn, but he’d said to me “Imagine being there bald,” which he’d been in addition to being a German refugee, as a result of having had scarlet fever.  
    “He must have really liked you to tell you that about himself,” Ann said, as he was never without his very good wig.
    But whether or not he liked me, it was his wife who really helped with my musical, about a widow who has to crash parties to eat.  Anabel, if that was her name, oh yes, I believe it was, said “she needs an assistant,” which led to my creating the Countess.  A really great part for someone gifted and funny if it ever happens.
     Mike was of course a creative genius but he was less than kind, or maybe I just never learned how to deal with someone being less than happy to see me.  Although he may have really liked me or he wouldn’t have told me he’d been bald, once he understood I had a musical comedy I was eager to get on, he less than brightened at the sight of me, knowing I had an agenda.  Everybody in New York has an agenda, and I would guess everybody in theatre had one with Mike.
    But I did manage to say something once that visibly tickled him, so of course I can’t remember now what it was.  But he did take a proprietary stance with me in the forecourt of a theatre, where he introduced me to a producer as though I was a friend of his, which I imagine I might be in the next life if there is one. Meanwhile I am sad he will not be directing my musical if it ever happens.
    I saw him not all that long ago at a wonderful evening my friend Joanna Rose gave for Tony Walton and the Library of Congress, where she introduced me to Tony Walton, saying, all in one breath: “This is Gwen Davis, and she writes books and plays and movies and songs and she went to Bryn Mawr.”  Mike was standing just to the side, and she started to introduce me to him, but he said “Oh, I know Gwen.”  I tried not to seem that excited to see him, because eagerness has usually been greeted with less than rapture on the part of the celebrated.  But had I know his days were to be brief, I think I would have hugged him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LIFE RE-BEGINS AT... I'D RATHER NOT SAY

So walking down a side street near the veddy upmarket Montage I chanced... a word I do not use recklessly... on a sign, 'apartment for rent,' rejoiced, and continuing along my way, immediately lost the street.  Was several days trying to find it again, the street being untouted and inconspicuous as little is in Beverly Hills. But the gods were with me, I found it again, connected with my very pleasant landlady, and have moved in.
    Then the Angel Amber, the West Coast equivalent of the Angel Carleen, took all the furniture that had been in storage since I was evicted from my apartment for singing-- yes, it's true, I never have to make anything up---unboxed and rearranged it and made my new digs into an absolute Showplace, if you can make a show of Simplicity.  It is all absolutely loving and wonderful, and a miracle if you believe in miracles or even if you don't.
    So I am at home in Beshertville, the land of Meant to Be. There is no doubt of it in my mind. As much as I loved the friends I made in Amsterdam, Daniel especially, whom I have already agreed to return to and marry in my next life, I did not belong there.  Nor do I belong in New York, until and unless my musical is opening, and I can invite all of you to Opening Night. Speaking of which, or, more appropriately, singing, I have been gifted with a song that will enable me to retire us all, she says modestly, and I cannot tell you the title because the miracle is that no one ever thought of it before.  My beautiful Amber has a beau who sings like Frank Sinatra, so not being able to call on Frank to make it the classic it will surely become, I will call happily on Tim, whose last name I cannot spell as it is so complicated, his father having been Japanese, which makes it harder for him to get work, this being a town of limited heart and even more limited opportunity unless you have connections, you will be stunned to hear.  But we will change all that.  Yes we will.  
     I suppose this comes partly from being the only one in Starbucks who is not a late teenager, just starting out and filled with the audacity of youth.  My signal has not yet been connected at my apartment, so I have no choice but to come here to communicate, emboldened by the audacity of late middle age.  But as I am honest as well as oldish, I will confess it's not Starbucks but the Champagne French Bakery Cafe, where they play Edith Piaf, and beautiful young families with babies and toddlers come to show the love and affection you do not expect in Beverly Hills, unless you have chanced on an unexpected street that you then lost, but were lucky enough to find again.
    My loved friend Joanne said I sound happy.  I am.  You should hear the song!  As long as I do not focus on the faces that are on too tight, I may even soar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE END OF THE WORLD AS I KNEW IT

where those who were to be admired were Gregory Peck and Cary Grant.  Outside the elegant Hotel Montage, the paparazzi are waiting to take pictures of... hold your breath... Kim Kardashian.  I really like this hotel so am trying not to be saddened/nauseated.  There is not much left to believe in in what/whom people choose to admire.
    But the village itself remains a treat, fine weather and a slew of tasty/overpriced restaurants.  And today I got the key to my storage locker so I can get my furniture, bought bagels for my freezer at my new apartment, which I move into on Saturday, and if all goes well some great or little or insignificant work will emerge.
    I got an e-mail today from my admirable friend Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress alum, the first serious reviewer to laud me in the Library Journal, suggesting I donate myself in archive to an institution.  Mercy.  She added that I shouldn't throw out or delete anything... very helpful since I spent last early evening on my computer, getting rid of things I thought not worth saving, with the exception of all my material on Mary Miles Minter, a great Hollywood murder case from the Twenties that a very bad book was unfortunately written about already.  I found Mary Miles, a once a child star very very late in her life, and knew King Vidor, a great director who was fascinated with her case, the murder of William Desmond Taylor, with whom she had been very much in love, in a pushy, adolescent fashion.  He was probably gay in those wondrous days before everybody started coming out, which I personally find very boring.  Who cares what those people do in bed.  Let them just be talented.
   King... even as I write of him, it is hard to use that name, as it seems so unlikely, and is even harder to call someone... was always being invited to parties as he was such a great remnant, besides being a still very witty man at the end of his very long day.  Once they gifted him for going to an event with a gold fountain pen, and he showed it to me and said "I'd give it to you, but I'm crazy about it."  A charming gent.
   So I am getting ready to vacate this elegant-even-if-they-do-wait-for-Kardashian-outside-hotel... I mean it is a different world, and everything has come down a peg or twelve including the world... and move into my new apartment, found while strolling aimlessly or maybe unconsciously purposefully directed by hidden forces.  It is truly beautiful, new floors and one of those young women sharing the bricked front porch who apparently earns enough in her early twenties that she can afford what it took me a lifetime of creativity and the death of an evil stepmother to be able to negotiate.  I am told that these woods are full of those creatures, people in their twenties who work for banks and various trust companies earning incredible salaries, and wonder, as they used to say, when it meant something other than the explosion of the planet, what the world is coming to.  Or better still, where it's gone.
    But the good news is I am half a block away from a place that features Japanese foot massage from young Asian men who also do some great shoulder and arm and back work for an hour, and it costs only $35.00.  Just across the street is another place, newly opened, with a fountain, a room with music, a book full of homes you could have bought for a few million, hot tea and an imported chocolate where the  massages, from women, start at $250 but if you get a series they reduce it to $200.  Beverly Hills.

Monday, November 10, 2014

HE REALLY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

Cary Grant, whose name it is a privilege to be able to drop, said "Hate will keep you alive longer than love will."  (His mother wanted him to dye his hair because his being gray made HER look old. Imagine.) His wisdom went as deep as he was handsome.  
     So it is that my wicked stepmother-- I am not using words that do not apply-- she let my wonderful cousin Ruth who had attended to my father die cold and alone and pain-wracked without offering any assistance or succor-- finally let go, reluctantly, I am sure, at 98.  Thus it is that not that early in my own day, I am able to return to Beverly Hills in what I assume and hope will be the prospect of some comfort, not to mention ease, at least until the next earthquake.  (My father's will did not allow for me until she was no more, and being as spiteful as she was cruel, she of course lived for Almost Forever.-- There may be a song title in that.)
    Now I course, slowly, naturally, through Beverly Hills, looking for a place to live, as this is where I want to be, I am finally clear enough to know for sure, having been and actually lived everywhere in the world I wanted with the exception of some parts of Spain, and several places I never even thought about before I landed in them-- Weinheim, and Amsterdam, for example.  The first I went to because I was trying to overcome everything I feared-- the German language, and the Germans themselves-- the second because the only one way air ticket I could get out of Glasgow was to Amsterdam, and Providence put me in a seat beside the charmingest man in the world, Daniel, whom I will come back and marry in my next life... we already made a deal...so I felt safe and cosseted to live in Amsterdam as long as I did.
     Now I have experienced what almost anyone else in this town would make into a TV series: trying to get a Beverly Hills realtor to call me back, so I can give her money.  I believe I have found what I am hoping is the perfect place, a half block's saunter from this magnificent hotel, the Montage.  I thought the name of it affected, but that was before I stayed here.  It is the current domain of my old friend, Frank Bowling, the world's best hotelier with the possible exception of Natale Rusconi, my great love who was at the Cipriani in Venice, where I lived for a while pretending it wasn't cold and wet and sinking, and writing a book as I seem to do almost everywhere but New York.  That should tell me something.
      Last night I went through my computer, half-way at least, trying to eliminate old writings that didn't seem important to me even if the world were to discover who I had been and care. Probably this was triggered by a nightmare visit to the Apple store, with a line outside and my having to wait for an appointment once I was able to ask for one until sometime weeks from now by which time I will have forgotten what it was I needed to learn.  So I asked for the manager, another ordeal, and actually managed to get back the money I had paid to be able to make appointments, simply by being obnoxious, something that comes easily to me even after all these years.  But I did connect with someone who works there who has another career as a musician, as did all my friends who were Apple technicians in Amsterdam, where at least you could get an appointment.  I wonder how these bright people manage to maintain their souls, and if Steve Jobs is in Hell.  I hope not, as he was inarguably brilliant and probably meant no harm but just had bad parenting, when he could get hold of them.
    But going through all the old stuff I found several books/movies/plays I had started and even some I'd completed, that I had no memory of, so was able to discover myself as a lost writer.  One was a book into movie, I thought it was clearly, that must have been the one that captured the attention of my beloved Annie Bancroft, a woman who had been a close friend early in my game, disappearing for a long while into the arms of Mel Brooks, another pal, who showed up once when I was visiting Mel.  I remember so thoroughly the glint in her eye, and how lovely she was, though older.  And I understood only last night reading it why she had opted to re-connect, and that was because there was a really good role for her in that never-surfacing work. If only she had spoken up, been direct, as actors apparently have a hard time doing, unless they are Jamie Curtis.  I would have broken the ass that Don said it was a shame I didn't have, to make it right for her.  And maybe she would have lived longer.  Who knows.
     Who knows if it is satisfaction in our work that makes some of us who are worker bees buzz longer, more happily.  It is my hope now to do something fresh and fine if I get the apartment.  If I can remember where I stored my furniture, and have a desk. If the realtor calls me back.  If there is a God.  And it isn't just climate that fogs up the hill I can see from my hotel window that suggests you place not too much faith in the Hollywood sign.
         

Monday, November 03, 2014

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE...

...if not with The Sound of Music, a sigh of relief to be back here.  In the distance, from the little balcony in my room at this beautiful hotel where my old friend Frank Bowling is the elegant as always manager, I can see the Hollywood sign.   Having been afloat in a world that pretends it loathes the trivial, but compensates for thinking itself serious (New York,) by dismissing compassion and the needs of other human beings, except on fund-raiding occasions or the celebration of that rare citizen who really cares about civilization(Dan Greenberg,) I awoke to a beautiful day, water shortage notwithstanding.  If I knew how to work my iPhone after all these years or an Apple store that was not so overcrowded because it was named the #1 tourist attraction in New York,  I would take a picture of how beautiful it is from a distance, while in my mental heart, holding it close. 
    There is something curiously peaceful about Beverly Hills, phony as it is supposed to be, and maybe is if you buy into it.  But after my most recent attempt to love New York, and failing, especially as far as the theatre I have always loved and yearned to be a part of, it is beyond a relief to be simply comfortable.  Age cannot wither nor custom stale Southern California, especially with all its plastic surgeons. 
     So now begins my quest for the right apartment, something that sounds so trivial and maybe is.  But being able to sleep at night does count, and being able to look out the window if you are lucky enough to wake up in the morning factors in, much less being able to walk comfortably to the Rite-Aid on Canon Drive where if you couldn't find the right apartment you could actually live.  I confess to loving my pharmacist at the Duane Reade on Sixth Avenue, sharp, kindly, father-of-many-Frank, who actually seemed to care who you were over the counter. But except for him and the staff at the Hampshire House, darling doormen, Indefatigable Jeannie in the basement, and adorable Ava, five, down the hall with her lovely mom, human contact seemed below a minimum.  I have never felt more alone in my life, except for The Angel Carleen, a direct representative of God, no matter how cynical you might have become.  
     Even the rooftop I thought I was lucky enough to be able to look out on and over at what used to be Marlon Brando's building on 57th Street, now obscured by the endless construction by what you would hope would be Arabs you could have contempt for, except they are Jews, is strung with ropes and ladders and barrels and workmen who show up when you're trying to do your yoga naked, on the little balcony it became suddenly too cold to stand on even for a breath of air that isn't that good anyway.  If at least the theatre I so aspired to be a part of is uncomfortable was uplifting, or even really entertaining.  Glenn Close was wonderful in her play, along with John Lithgow, but it was revived Edward Albee, and it would have been more fun to see her in a musical, so I could tender to my hope of finding someone unexpected to play Sylvia WHO? the musical based on my mother, the party crasher.  I just didn't have the fortitude to make it to one more theatre where allegedly there was an enjoyable experience.  I did like Jersey Boys, but that was a while ago, as was youth and the energy to put up with the
insensitivity.  Both onstage and in the audience.
      I see where I sound old and crabby only one of which I am, but that surfaces more clearly because I am SO relieved to be here.  So lucky with all that is happening in the world, and in our poor country, politically,.. the prospect of yet another Bush, probably the one that Should Have Been instead of the moron, Jr., that I am able to take a real breath, even of fetid air.  Thematically, it would seem that I am critical of the air everywhere, which I didn't have to be in Amsterdam, bathed as it was by ocean winds they built a city on the water just to show how clever they were and think the world a place they are still in charge of, where I truly loved Daniel and his bairn and a small cluster of friends all from other places, except for Peter who lost charge of his illegitimate children which most of the children there seem to be, because the courts are less than fair.  Oh, it is a world that would confuse even the most judicious of beings, which I am still trying, lamely, to become one of. 
     Mostly I am grateful to be still alive, looking over at the distant mountains, having survived the plane trip where the moronic or maybe just spiteful man was sneezing into the air, or when reprimanded, his sleeve, --but we'll see how I am in 21 days.
Life, it seems to me, is simply something to celebrate daily if you are up to it, having been here so long I can't understand or negotiate all the new e-things, including why Tim Cook, the head of Apple had to come out, because who cares who those guys go to bed with?  
     All I would like to have in what is left of my life is a heated pool  , some people I can really trust, and the right apartment.  Love is something I was lucky enough to have at its most elusive and earnest: a man who cherished me no matter what, supported my dreams and made them his own, and didn't mind my being a woman.  As a matter of fortunate fact, seemed to rejoice in it. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NOT SO SWEET SURRENDER

So I have given up my conquest of New York, never really having started it, except in mine own imagination.  I have made more inroads in Amsterdam over my chilled, wet stay there, and Paris in one weekend than I have made over the years in all these intermittent stays in New York, where all my buddies are those I made at Bryn Mawr. The great songwriters I was privileged to know, Frank Loesser, (a shit, but he thought me gifted at twenty and flattered me, I guess, by stealing a couple of my songs for an out-of-town tryout in Boston that never made it onto the Great-Not-so-White-Way) and the truly wonderful Yip Harburg, who was the father I'd never really had, and with white hair, yet, so long vanished that nobody knows who they are anymore.  I have a hard time believing how old I am, as I was always the youngest one, and that was my handicap.  Had I but known! 
     At any rate(what does that phrase mean exactly?) I have just made my reservations to go to LA for the winter, maybe more, as if I were an old Jewish woman, which I guess (how is it possible?) I am, though spiritually I am Buddhist, which means Jack wouldn't get mad at me if I wasn't devoted.  Don used to(SOOOOOO long ago) tell me to tell them that at Bryn Mawr reunions, that I am a Quaker-Buddhist-Jew, and see what they made of that.  It's the truth, but only if you don't have to observe any of the above.  The Quakers that I loved, and I did, were observant only in their silence, which amazingly I could honor, the Buddhists in their retreats, to which I stopped going but still admired, as Jack is a great teacher and became a truly trusted and helpful friend, and the Jew you can't stop being no matter how little attention you paid to your religion, because when the Nazis came-- as sadly, they still do-- denying your Judaism would not keep you from being rounded up.  
   In the meanwhile, another one of those phrases, I have made treasured new friends in a place I don't have the strength to live (Amsterdam) and am returning(if all goes wells) to LA so can get my things out of storage, including a keyboard I bought but rarely tried to play (will do better this time) above which I will hang the gorgeous bag Jamie gave me with my initials on it, as part of the decor.  I no longer hope for or even more plan for a conquest of Broadway, as I am the wrong sex, and the world, as some poet said, is out of time, meaning, I would hope, not over, but not allowing for something from another period to happen in this one.  It is enough, I hope, as I am no longer that crazy, that there is a welcomed and cheered revival of ON THE TOWN, where my once great(I thought) dancing teacher Gene Kelly became a star, the first to screw me, in the spiritual sense, taking my young inspiration, WHAT A WAY TO GO, and bringing it to the screen via Arthur Jacobs who thought it was me who screwed him (in the show business sense) as MCA threw the blame my way, a lie, but that was MCA.  All these things were terrible surprises, as I really loved show business and other people, and apparently was sufficiently wounded that I never forgot any of this, but now I can, along with everything else that vanishes into some kind of elder fog.
  The weather here is enough to drive me away, along with the bad theatre and the lack of compassion.  I spoke last night to Shan Cretin, the soft and loving high-posted officer in the Quaker not-exactly-hierarchy, who is in Philadelphia, and admitted, gentle and brilliant as she is (also speaks Chinese) that when she comes to New York she feels a certain harshness-- didn't use that word-- in the attitudes of the people.  This, a woman who doesn't judge.  But almost all the friends I have made are either leftover and treasured ones from Bryn Mawr, or strangers from other countries I have picked up on street corners or at the opera.  There will be a song in ON THE TOWN which I will hurry to see, called LONELY TOWN, and it IS, it IS!  I was born out of time-- that is to say I should have been here to emerge in the period when it was still all right and exciting to have been a gifted lyricist, and nobody noticed you were a woman.
    But I am just about finished lamenting what I have missed, and will set out to try and realize, in the realization sense, what it is I can still make happen, if anything.  So I will leave the town to Comden and Green, whose place it really was, and apparently still is.  Better them than Lady GaGa.