I received a caring e-mail from an obviously kind friend, concerned with my silence, as, as you know, it is not my way. I have been in a chilled torpor-- most torpors being, I think, hot or at least warm-- a combination of the bleak weather, and the fact that my new book, my best, I feel, has been in limbo. No agent to flog it, no publisher to receive it, as the weighty best-selling friend who said he would connect me with his publisher has turned out to be, not surprisingly, a very tall mountain of offal. This cavernous non-responsiveness has closed in on me like the weather itself, so I slid into my own semi-coma, waiting, Secretary waiting, for those of you old enough to have experienced Gian Carlo Menotti's The Consul. But as I believe everything happens for a reason, it is all doubtless for the best, as the book is now in the hands of a dispassionate lawyer, at the urging of my once agent who is still sharp at 102 he must be at least, afraid for me. Not because of the real people named in the book, but because of the fictional ones, since it is mine own case that has made of me a landmark and so a target, and because of the publisher I had once whom the New York Times might call egregious, as they did TomDelay this morning, or maybe it was The New Yorker, one of the gifts/punishments of living in this city, where there is so much information and so little chance for clearing your head to remember where you heard it. In either case I do believe that the word egregious by itself will not stand, like a house divided. But then The New York Times would have to censor itself if it said 'egregriously bullshitty.'
The brilliant First Amendment attorney who became my good friend has been very busy with the Supreme Court pleading of the Johnny Cochran suit that barred someone's calling him a crook, which case was argued this month, so one wonders what happens when the plaintiff has just died. Do the justices, having loaned their in some cases intelligent ears to the issue have to come to some sort of conclusion for precedent? Anyway, he was too busy to read my book, so I have had to put it in the hands of strangers, but at least it is moving, sort of.
For other annoyances, my fall last May has fucked up my thumb. One wonders how Tom Thumb did all he did, when the digit itself is so easily made a mess of. You never think about how much you do with your thumb until you can't even use your electric toothbrush.
But so ennervated was I by the non-events and the climate that I actually went online with JDate, or Jew. My cousin Lori joined and found a psychologist who was not a narcissist, so for that reason alone one can consider it might be good. But I of course trolled in a former juvenile offender who is a depressive on Lexipro, so removed myself from the Jlist. I went the other night to a Writer's Guild East sort-of rally-- the West Coast is moving against us: kind of a Creative Civil War,-- and ran into what I guess you could call my Last Love, if love can still in this day and great age not include sex, but with a lot of good smooching, and realized I must have been insane.
The next morning I awoke, thus illuminated but still really low, and thought there was nothing for it with this continuing rank weather and nothing to sunshine my heart but to move to Bali. Then I saw Indonesia had had another quake. (I know it was far away from Bali, but there definitely seems to be a grudge the earth has on that corner of the world.)Jules Feiffer had told me on my return to this indifferent city "Do your work and your community will find you." The darling wife of Victor Navasky, the publisher of The Nation, said "He forgot to add: if you are wildly successful." I have searched all my later life for my community, but my wise and gifted friend Joanne Greenberg told me once that writers are like farmers: we harvest only our own crops, and Kurt Vonnegut said the community is your local druggist and a dry cleaner, but I have never been that revered or that tall. So my community seems to be me and Mimi, with an occasional encouraging word from Victor Navasky, who, like Lori's date, is the only man high in the intellectual and publishing community who is not a narcissist, and actually cares about people even when they are not an issue.
THEATER ALERT: You need not rush to see Julius Caesar. Brutus in Armani. Poor Denzel Washington, for whom one cannot help rooting even when he is not the noblest Roman of them all, as there is a sweetness to him that is palpable, entered to the screams of some morons who thought they were at 'American Idol' and never fully recovered from that mortifying moment. The production itself is a noisy fiasco, modern set in something that looks like Salerno after the troops shelled it, replete with machine guns(Denzel gets into camouflage gear for Act II) and all manner of terrible noises, including the diction of some actors. The man who plays Mark Antony is a glowering black last seen in The Wire, where you couldn't understand him either, but the whole series was unintelligible. His rendition makes the remembered performance of Marlon Brando, chortled at at the time, seem like Laurence Olivier. I suppose it could have been worse: they might have set it in Iraq. The only thing that kept me sane, sort of, was imagining that Caesar in Act One was Sherry Lansing, and Rome was the board room of Paramount, where all the conspirators(Sumner Redstone,Brad Grey, etc.) gladhanded her while they planned her assassination.