So I am very much moved into my new apartment, in the best locale in Beverly Hills, minus the bullshit—the wrong side of the tracks (Wilshire), in a block that looks like a real street in America, hard as it is to believe. I have a front porch, and around the corner a man who fixes glasses, the kind you see through not the kind you drink champagne from. There’s a French pastry coffee shop I frequent, and a Starbuck’s I don’t, and a few steps in the other direction as good an Italian restaurant as I have eaten in, even in Italy. As Fate, or Bershert, the Yiddish or maybe it’s Hebrew will have it, I have been re-united by phone at least with my dearest friend from when I was twenty-something low, whose father was the film editor on Ben-Hur, about which no one thought to hear anything ever again, now that Christian Bale has replaced Charlton Heston in the public consciousness of Moses. Christian, by the way, as I think I may call him, since I knew his beautiful father when he was married to Gloria Steinem, who should be everyone’s heroine and was/is certainly mine, and they were on their honeymoon and I interviewed them for the Wall Street Journal Europe, which then refused to run the article because it was too favorable. He died not long afterwards, a genuine tragedy, as she had waited all her remarkable life for the right man, interspersing that longing with a lot of memorable mistakes, including the comedy writer Herb Sargent, brother of Alvin the writing maven, most touching man I ever met, and then he, the elder, dazzling Bale, died soon and painfully, which gave me the conviction God is not a Feminist. Surprising, really, unless the truth of Creation is the part He/She loves best is the Struggle. Christian, not by the way, is married to Sibi, the daughter of my hairdresser in Beverly Hills, Nada, so even if it isn’t all connected, it is All Connected.
My wonderful friend Jamie Lee Curtis, to drop my favorite name since Cary Grant, who really was as charming as they say, and whose own mother didn’t love him if you can believe it, and wanted him to dye his hair as his going gray made her “look older,” which really makes me believe that God wants to make it hard for us so we have to put in greater effort to get it right, came by yesterday and dropped off a straw shopping bag, a mat for my terrace, and a colorful pillow for my dining room which I will now have to use as a sitting room as it has this colorful pillow. Today the handyman from Pioneer came to fix my bed which collapsed last night and I wasn’t even doing anything interesting.
That makes me believe we are just given challenges that can be good/bad jokes if we give them time enough which in this case was only until the next morning. Now I am off to the phone company to order internet service which I wasn’t going to do as I had figured out the way to outfox them was to breakfast at the French coffee shop next to Starbuck’s which picks up their signal, as I still have strangely dark feelings about Billy Rose, who gave me my most successful novel with The Pretenders, and some really funny times with Sue Mengers who was sort of the Heroine and my best friend until I wasn’t successful enough for her anymore. The play about her was a great success briefly on Broadway, but then people stopped caring, as people will, even about Cary Grant.
But Jamie said I have to connect here just for safety, so I must listen to her as she is smarter than anyone even though her father was Tony Curtis. He was a sort of great friend of mine for a little while in my extreme youth when I came to him through Stanley Kubrick who was a truly great friend of mine, along with his wife Kristiane, until I got put in the closet by Stanley and when people use you they stop loving you even if you don’t stop loving them, as they are embarrassed if they have any decency, which Stanley had a bit of, though not too much.
I was in the closet for him on Lolita, when I was at Stanford getting a Master’s together with Ken Kesey who was also in the graduate Engish department, which is hilarious, and I will tell you about another time. I really must write a memoir as I have known almost everyone who mattered at a certain time which is now very much Over, and I can’t believe the people who are alleged celebrities. I can’t even write the big(in size, not import) name which catches attention now, as it makes me sad. That people would even give it any weight in spite of the hugeness of the ass attached. Cary Grant, himself, said to me when I attached his name to a handsome photo in my book of meditations, HOW TO SURVIVE IN SUBURBIA WHEN YOUR HEART’S IN THE HIMALAYAS, “What hath Cary Granted?, “Why are you putting my name in this book when it could last for a hundred years and people will forget about me in fifteen?” and I said “People will never forget about you,” but he was right. People will forget about everyone but Walt Whitman and Longfellow because they’re made to learn that in school, and Edison because otherwise they can’t turn on the light.
I am sitting now in a restaurant looking out on Beverly Drive—I couldn’t have afforded to look out on Rodeo as they have a luggage store from Japan where an overnight case is several thousand dollars and when you ask what it’s made of, they give a fancy name where, when you say “What is that?” they have to say “plastic,” as, apparently even on Rodeo they are sometimes forced to tell the truth. Apparently it is only in politics where they can lie all the time, regardless of country. All so sad. I am now no longer reading the papers even when I pick them up free as I did in a coffee shop on Little Santa Monica, where there was an article about Bernie Madoff collaborators going to jail for forever. My mother was the only person, ever, to get her money back from Bernie Madoff, because my cousin Rodney Fink, a darling man who overcame his name, went to Madoff and quietly demanded her money back. Madoff told him what a fortune she would be making, and Rodney said quietly, “I’m sorry, Mr. Madoff. But I am from Pittsburgh.” So he got it back and saved her and what little was left of the money she had prolifegated.
It is a sad and sorrowful time in the world, as it almost always is, alas, but right now more than most because we have made such a huge mistake with Barack, and nobody still likes him but Joanna Semel Rose, who was the smartest woman who ever went to Bryn Mawr, but still…? It is a tragedy for this country that we actually elected him a second time, but true tragedy is when everybody dies, so if we live through this terrible second term maybe it will be all right. We’ll see. Or not.