Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter Friends

I doubt it will be too joyful a Sunday for Rummy. Those of you who have read these not-exactly-bulletins for a long time know that one of my closest friends stopped speaking to me because I expressed opinions, and Rumsfeld was one of her closest friends. To have earned the right front page headline in The New York Times, and a whole half page inside with all these retured generals calling for him to step down can not make him believe in the Easter Bunny.
At the same time, Judas has been elevated to Best Friend of Jesus, according to the newly announced-- it was found some time ago-- Gospel of Judas, which espouses the 'truth' that Judas was only obeying orders. It was Jesus' wish to be betrayed, so he could get on with his destiny. Sometimes we don't know who our friends really are.
As for my Friends who are literally Friends, that is to say, the Quakers, I have had to step away from attending Meeting, which I have done in my questing as Quaker-Buddhist-Jew, for many years while and whenever in California, as I spoke a few Sundays ago, during the Concerns part of Meeting(that follows the silent meditation and greeting of other attenders,) and asked that everybody there get neighbors out to vote in the upcoming congressional elections, because we have to unseat these fucking Republicans, (though I was careful not to say 'fucking') so we could impeach Bush. I was chastised afterwards by the Clerk, who is more or less the elected minister of the meeting, admonishing me that we were not allowed to be political, that if a Democrat were advocating war they would be opposed to the Democrat. I understand, and always have, that the Quakerly philosophy, advocating as it does, Peace, follows the path of passive resistance. But I don't think we can afford to be passive anymore. So I ain't going back there.
At the same time, my Buddhist is in the desert with my beloved friend and Jewru Jack at Joshua Tree, in a horrible compound called the Institute of Mentalphysics that was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's few mistakes, so it's no place I want to be. The masseur sent by my girlfriend the retired psychic Pattie to relieve my weary shoulders, from hunching over the computer, pronounced my work room 'austere' and in truth I loved that. There is nothing on the bright yellow walls of the clean, square, non-windowed workspace but a metal cut-out lettering, 'Faith,' and a beautiful watercolor of a blooming cactus, by the paintress(why not? I hate that women call themselves 'actor,') the gifted and giving Nancy Boyarsky, who brought it to my housewarming(but not too warm.) The only excess is in the flowers, which are sparingly everywhere, and keep me renewed. My studio in New York is heavy with stuff, most of it tasteful, but inarguably cluttered. So it is a spiritual joy to have become spare, at least in my externals. And I guess what I have to return to is my non-observant Jew, whose religion is writing.
I said to my friend the airheadedly focused on follicles hairdresser Dusty, that I get up, walk Mimi, do a little yoga, feed her and myself and then do nothing but write. He said to me "Isn't that what writers are supposed to do?"
The gas on the corner has gone up since March 1st, when I moved in, from $2.43 to $2.95,and the Indian who is the cashier says it is going up again this afternoon. I took Mimi to the doggie park on Barrington the afternoon it was clear with no sign of rain, where they have all the new in-bred breeds, pugles(a mix of pug and beagle) Labradoodles, and one mix that was terrier and chihuaha(Ter-a-wa?) and discovered for the first time that she's shy. Kind of reticent in the company of other dogs, so perhaps she never really knew she was a dog, as she's never been shy with people. She continues to be my best friend, as is appropriate.
And then there are all the friends I have lost, some, sadly through their passing, some, surprisingly, because they got mad I was rapt and attentive at Fitzgerald's sentencing Scooter Libby, so I feel no loss. And there are the friends I let go as I try to grow up, and the friends who, abruptly, just disappear, a phenomenon brought up by Bill Boyarsky, my friend the great newsguy, who marked friends he thought he'd have forever, who simply vanished when he wasn't writing for the LA Times anymore.
Then there are the unanticipated friends, like Anita Pointer, of the Pointer Sisters, our friendship beginning in a most entertaining way, a story I will tell in full next week when I go to the funeral of her sister, June, who died, sadly of cancer, a few days ago. I got a fortune cookie last week that said 'Am Unexpected Friendship that will prove long-lasting,' and I immediately thought of Anita, who greeted me when I dropped in on her last Sunday with "Oh, Gwen. You always show up when I need a hug." But maybe it wasn't Anita on the cookie. Maybe it was all of you. I hope so. Happy Easter.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Why Aren't We Marching?

It is interesting to see that they're out in vast numbers, the illegal immigrants, peacefully organized and protesting the loss of their chance to become citizens. What's more fascinating is why those of us who already legitimately belong here aren't taking to the streets protesting the loss of our country. It is only a matter of time-- probably just before the elections-- until we/they go into or onto Iran. The New York Times pointed out yesterday that the same kind of diction that preceeded our going into Iraq is being used by the administration now about Iran. Our forces are training for a new kind of air war. Bush is spidering his way through an ever-more entangling web of lies, shameless. But he doesn't like to say he made a mistake, and he doesn't apologize. So his only choice, in view of the enormity of his ego and the small of his brain, is more war. Where is Civil Disobedience when we need it?
It occured to me last week that what was wrong with this war, besides that it never should have started, was that there were no songs, and said I was open to suggestions..A few friends offered "Over Where?"

On the lighter side of the news, at least mine-- I have happily bi-located in Southern Cal where I am halfway through a new novel that I hope we will all live to enjoy reading, having a wonderful time in the writing of, unless I look at the papers. Tomorrow I go for my first(and probably last) lesson in Tae Kwan Doe which plays not a major part in the plot(Eureka! I have one!) but I have to know a little about. Every week I do the equivalent of a seminar, in addition to the writing, My good friend and wry journalist Bill Boyarsky connected me with a politico for the plot element I needed there, the politico connected me with a Korean for what I needed to know in Koreatown, last week I went to the Queen Mary(don't ask) and tomorrow Tae Kwan Doe. Have no idea what next week will bring-- I knew the beginning and the end of the book but am building the rest like Leggo-- no idea what was to come in-between, until it falls into place. Can say no more as my new personal aim is Silence. Fermez la pisque.
hope you are all well and have made the transition with me to gmail as Earthlink sucks and I am tired of talking to India while they pretend their names are Tex. There's an idea. Can't we outsource the presidency?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

All Songless on the Eastern Front

It has occured to me that what's wrong with this war, besides that it never should have happened, is that there are no songs. The Civil War had 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic,',' WorldWar I had 'Over There!' and WorldWar II had 'Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition', the last being the early work of the great Frank Loesser, who went on to give us 'Guys and Dolls.' A fine tunesmith, as those guys used to be known. I began to wonder what Frank could cook up, with his endless versatility, for this epic error. 'Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition into the head of Pat Tillman'? 'There'll be Blue Birds Over the Un-Armored Land Rover'? 'I'll be Home for Ramadan? I mean, what's a songwriter to do? Even George M. Cohan, our Yankee Doodle Dandy, would be hard-pressed to come up with a ditty for this one.

But perhaps it's the Chicken and the Egg. Perhaps if we had a really good song it would all get better. Even seem okay. Put your mind to it, all. Let me know if you come up with any ideas. I used to be a songwriter myself, when the world was young, which was one of the better bar-room ballads, when singers were singers, and presidents were presidents.