My friend Carole Kessie has suggested that title for the events of this evening. I am celebrating the Silver Anniversary of my New Best Friends(besides all of you, some of whom are Old Best Friends) the Meads of Sante Fe, who gave their daughter and you the fabulous wedding posted on the blog. The Meads will not be with me, but that will not keep me from celebrating them, though my method of doing so might be less than one (or two,Walter and Emily) might have wished.
I will be speaking at the Santa Monica Library, the little one at Ocean Park and Main, and the title they have posted on their website(though I didn't get top billing: Clint Eastwood did-- he isn't speaking, they're running one of his films) is 'My Life as an Author.' That was not a title I gave them, but one they chose themselves since they did not know exactly what I was going to say, but then, neither do I.
What I thought it might be is an Interactive Evening. That is to say, my new, young and very bright agent who wanted me to write a memoir keeps asking me 'What is the arc?' The 'arc', I believe, is an expression originated in Hollywood when you go in to make a pitch for a movie, and the suits want to know 'Where is it going?' 'What is the point?'
As I have no idea where my life is going, and I am hopeful it has a point but I don't know that yet either, I am simply going to spin as I used to do, especially at my first(and only, if you don't count the Wall Street Journal Europe or Howard Johnson's with Simple Simon meeting a Pieman across the front of my uniform) job, in the Comedy Development Program at NBC, headed by Les Kolodny, a fabled William Morris agent who would get calls for writers and take the job himself. There was, at the time, no idea I could not take and weave into a tale, a sitcom, a musical, the hope of a nation, etc. Lester had a dream one night that I was spinning before a group of monied and powerful Chinese TV people, and at the end they all nodded joyfully and clapped and wanted to buy it, and I turned to Les and asked 'What did I say?' I couldn't remember and neither could Lester, and none of them was able to help me as I didn't speak Chinese.
So it will be tonight. I will simply spin, like a taller (not much) Rumplestiltskin, but I will ask my listeners to look for the arc and tell me what it is, and whoever comes up with the best answer gets a prize. At the same time, I will ask them what to do with the outfit I will be wearing.
As most of you know, or at least those who read these, I had this most glorious time in Taos at the aforementioned wedding. But when it was all over, with some time on my hands before I moved on, I wandered into the village and became a Taosian, with a Taos mind and Taos eyes. Left to my own diminished devices, I bought an ensemble that looked to me, at the moment, absolutely wonderful, an Indian patterned skirt and a brown blouse made from wood. Let me say now that as I hung it in mine own closet I thought "What happens in Taos should stay in Taos." Still, as I bought it thinking it would be right for this evening, I am going to make that, too, a part of the Interactivity, and ask at the end who I should send it to. Lima? Are they recovered yet from their quake, and even if not, would they wear this?
Carole (who gave the report its title) suggested I should send it to Julia Roberts to wear on the ranch. But as the latest celebrity rags which none of us reads as in olden days no one read the Inquirer, the maid left it, and we have seen only on the stands in grocery stores suggests, Julia's marriage is coming apart. I would not want to add fuel, in this case, wood, to that fire. So any of your sugggestions would also be welcomed, though I will have no more prizes, as what's given away in the Santa Monica library stays in Santa Monica.
About this evening: the woman who booked me, a Friend, literally, one of my softspoken buddies from my sometimes-attended Quaker Meeting, will not be present, because she is allergic to the paint they have just finished putting on the walls. When I expressed some concern, as I, too, am highly allergic, the asst. chief librarian said "It's all right. They haven't painted the basement."
The basement. I am assured if they open the doors, you can smell the sea. The basement of the Santa Monica library. It is not exactly where I pictured myself being at this point in my life, when I was spinning for Lester and the Chinamen, as my insensitive lawyer referred to them during my libel trial. At the time, my 20th year, I imagined myself at the Rainbow Room at this point in my life, though I doubt I imagined myself ever getting to this point in my life at all, as I thought I would be, as my then, (now retired) psychic Pattie McLaine predicted, "forever young."
In addition to the basement and the wooden blouse, my hairdresser, Dusty, has been betrayed by his fellow(I use the term loosely) hairdresser to whom he ceded his salon in a burst a generosity with the single caveat(which he wouldn't know what it meant) that he be allowed to come in and cut a few days a week. But the expletive deleted bastard sold it out from under him, and now Dusty had no place to go but Italy. So my hair is left unruly and uncut and will tangle in its little girl(that part still maintains) curls this evening, above the wood.
Oh, Youth! Where is thy Sting, it seemed at the time. And Fame! Where is thy Spur?
Oh, yes. Now I can feel it. Did you have to stick it just there?