Thursday, October 18, 2007


My hairdresser, as writ in a prior e-mail, having been betrayed by a colleague, so he lost his salon and, having married well, fled to Italy, left me no choice but to curl up and continue with my uncut hair. Curiously, the same has happened to Mimi: her groomer broke his hand, so he can't cut her. So we are both the same, facing our own untended to future. In Mimi's case it is exacerbated by her having tangled with the gummy nettles in Venice, so her underbelly was shorn, as were the tops of her legs. Her hair grows fluffy and white(the groomer was able to wash her,) giving her a face sided by mutton chops as they were called on the face of one of our least successful presidents, I can't remember his name, there's a prize if you know, her body hair flaps out in kind of a square above her chest, so she looks like she is wearing the mantel of a Pilgrim, which will be fine for Thanksgiving should the groomer's injury last that long.
Lovely as she is, even overgrown, she has still been frequently snapped at, barked to and strained at the end of a leash by a little black terrier down the street, whose infirm and aging owner can't hold him, so it's been a little tense. But yesterday that woman collapsed on the street, and as a kindly neighbor walked her dog, Kerby I found out his name is, I gave her my shawl to put around her shoulders while we debated whether or not to call 911. In the end, she seemed well enough to return to her apartment, and when Kerby returned, he apparently understood I had helped his mistress, so he was civil to Mimi. How strange, that dogs understand that much, and retreat from their anger when sympathy is called for. What a shame that people don't do the same.
I have started wearing my safety belt again when I drive, a sign that I want to live, which I do on account of I've started a new novel so you may not be getting too many of these from me; that will be an indication that it is going well. I have named my leading character Emily, after my new best friend who has also become the newest best friend to fall off the planet, as once I become close to people they seem to disappear. Her failure to communicate has not made me strike off her name as it is a good one, as I think the book will be, though you may not know it was me what writ it, as I am going underground as a novelist, adapting a nom de computer so I can begin a new life as another person, perhaps with better sales. If you were on tenterhooks as to the thrilling outcome of my library lecture, don't be. I got a moving violation on my way to the library as it came up quicker than I expected on my left, and made a turn from what officer Rosenberg his name was said was the wrong lane. I begged him for mercy but he had none, nor compassion neither but wanted to know what I was going to speak on at the library, as I pleaded with him to let me off with a warning, and I said 'My books' at which point he wanted to know where he could get them and I said "The library." "Not Borders?" he said contemptuously. "No," I said, "it's been a while since you could buy a book of mine, but I have this story I just finished," I said, fishing out the tale I had written for Silas, that was right behind my proof of insurance. "You haven't finished it," he said, "it's not very long." "It's a short story," I said. "A children's story." "I am not a child," he huffed, and continued writing. "Please let me off," I said. "I'm sorry. I panicked" "I,I,I," he said. "It's all about you." "You sound like my son," said I, which he did, and at that moment I saw with dazzling clarity, his name being Rosenberg, that he had issues with his mother and I reminded him of her. Oh, God. A Jewish mother. WHo would have thought it, those days I imagined I would be in the Rainbow Room.
Needless to say the library talk did not go well, as I was greatly deflated, as was my audience, consisting of a few close friends I had invited, a pushy would-be screenwriter, and a homeless man. At one point I spoke of Happy, my Yorkie who(not that, Happy was a person) died in Paris, and how I had sprinkled his ashes on all the great artists at Pere LaChaise, and put the collar he had worn on Oprah on Jim Morrison's headstone. "Is it true that drugs were involved in his heart attack?" the homeless man asked. "My dog's?" I queried, giving us the best and probably only laugh of the evening.
A little later he began to sing-- the homeless man, not my dog. It was some Doors song, not one I could make out. But the librarian told me afterwards there was something in what he sang about Asylum, and coming home. There was a very tuned-in guy Blackberrying at the sushi place I go to a few days afterwards, and I asked him if he knew what song it was, and he Googled a few key words, right there at the sushi bar, and came up with 'The Soft Parade."
This impressed me and made me hate more than ever the broker I had when Google first was coming on the market who refused to invest $100,000 for me. I would be worth six million today. I don't know who I am madder at, him or the cop. Oh, yes I do..


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What, and Leave Show Business?

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?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


So we have ended our journey, temporarily, Mimi and I, Mimi having been left behind for the long weekend I went to New Mexico, and still looking at me with a slight shadow of betrayal in her eyes that I didn't take her for what she guesses was the best part of the trip. She has been through a lot: a crash diet so she would be able to fly Air France, and then they didn't even weigh her, a tangle with a bramble bush in Venice, a long train trip back to Paris hidden in a bag onto which non-dog-lovers piled luggage, in a Cuccetta with six bunks like we were all in the Navy, except for Mimi who hadn't been inducted, a day of redemption and grooming in New York, then a return home, if indeed LA is home, where she was left behind, a non-member of the wedding.
The Wedding: Taos. A setting with a Sacred Circle, which indeed it was, strung from nearly every tree branch white cymbidium orchids waving in what everyone had prayed would not be a hostile wind, and was friendly enough except for a sudden downpour. Still, a loving group of rapt guests splendidly attired did not flee the watery onslaught, sitting proudly upright as hotel attendants crowned them with opened black umbrellas, so it looked a bit like The Barefoot Contessa, only the happy version.
The Couple: Meg and John, beautiful as one would hope, the bride looking very much the fairy princess, tall and radiant in a jeweled tiara with veil attached, which she gamely threw off as the weather might have done was she not cleverer and more in charge of her life than Thor and his darkly playful buddies. Pretty, colorfully clad bridesmaids danced down the soggy, newly-turfed aisle as though it were the runway of a fashion show in Paris, and the Mother of the Bride, my particular favorite, all swathed in brilliant purply-burgundy satin, with a flowered crown, read her favorite poem I'd have to guess it was, The Walrus and The Carpenter, leaving out the end where the oysters were eaten, as we'd had a lot of them the night before.
The Night Before: the rehearsal dinner, to which everyone was invited, family or no, and the father of the Bride, a munificent soul, semi-lamented that he was useless, which is the last thing he was and is. They are a most unusual couple, Walter and Emily Mead, gifted, generous, imaginative and affluent in the best sense: what they have they rejoice in spreading around. The spread that night was beneath a white tent strung with lights as the next day would be strung with orchids, and every chair a bride. That is, the chairs were covered with white, a great royal blue bow in the center of their backs where their asses would have been, had they been Bette Davis at her grandest.
Outside the tent lightning flashed and thunder more than roared: it snarled and ripped and crackled and threatened, challenged and argued there was no way it would be kept out, invitation or no. The positive people who were in attendance, almost everybody, negativiity not being a part of the menu, were sure that was Nature's way of clearing any possibility of storm the next day. Filled with drama, the night was, as it should have been according to all who know Megan, the bride.
The next day dawned sort of promising, hoping, really, that the skies would clear, as they did for the time the wedding was scheduled: 2:45. But things got a little behind, so by the time the actual ceremony began, the clouds let go. But present along with neuropaths and homeopaths and naturepaths and all manner of paths except for, to the best of my observation, psycho or socio, was Ali, who works with Megan in the Pilates studio, and told us the Italian saying that the bride who is rained on is blessed, which sounds better in Italian as almost everything does.
The children, who were many of all ages and sizes, were entertained through the afternoon by Cirque-de-Soleil-in-training young people, dressed as brightly as though they'd already gotten the job, twirling and tight-rope walking and stilt-dancing, though they might better have been called, for the moment, Cirque de Pluie.
But then everyone went into the ballroom, which outsplendored splendor, each table set with a brilliant and different colored cloth, every chair, again, a contrasting colored bride, bow on butt, every centerpiece a topiary cut into the shape of a circus animal, sprayed with gold and strung with tasteful glitter and the assurance that no topiary had been harmed in the production. Oh, it was so splendid. I mean splendid. I have never seen such flowers as there were there, even when the richly pompous football team owner took over the Bel-Air for his daughter and larded it with flora that would have funded another season of David Beckham.
Fitzgerald said "The very rich are different from you and me," But these very rich are different from the very rich because you can feel their hearts in everything they do. It was all so loving and generous one could have wept, and perhaps some did, but no one out of sadness. Modigliani, (probably present in reincarnated form) said there are those who have, and those who don't have, and those who know, and those who don't know, (hanno e non hanno, sanno and non sanno--see, I told you it sounds better in Italian.) But this was about those who have and know. And as for the guests, as far as I could tell, there were no phonies. Oh, maybe one.
I stayed for an extra day or two, so I could have a body treatment from Ali, who stretched me back to where I could once again do my yoga, and so I could drink in a little more of the clear New Mexico air. Greeted last might by Mimi, who was still sort of miffed, as whether or not dogs have long-term memories, she knows she missed out on something special.
Then this morning I got up to my regular life, with a NYTimes at my doorstep. And besides the Iraq scandals and Bush vetoing a child health bill there's the headline about Hillary out fund-raising Obama, and I wonder if the Star Spangled Banner shouldn't have its last lines changed to

Maybe we should all give it up and move to New Mexico.