Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I am having great and little second thoughts about leaving LA permanently, although my funny friend Sandy said: "Say aloud: Central Park South; Montana Avenue." There is no question New York is livelier and will probably offer me more diversions, but I wonder what I am diverting from. Here, besides a few good buddies, all I do is write, and then wait for someone to read which is the true challenge, as there isn't a lot of that going around in today's publishing world.
But I read in today's New Yorker yet another tale of Emily Dickinson, this one an almost romance, and am reminded that her seclusion left a lot of good poems, not to mention a house that they are trying to raise money to keep going, the same real estate fate that is befalling Edith Wharton's abode, and Mark Twain's, and there is no question, if, as my lawyer suggested yesterday, my "body of work,"which he was kind enough to call it, were to catch on 'posthumously' nobody would have to try and raise money to keep up this condo. But I confess being attached to painting on my little terrace, and being able to walk Mimi in little more than pajamas, and the lack of sleet and humidity that flesh is heir to in New York, except for the best seasons(Spring and Fall.) So I am ambivalent about giving up this apartment, as I imagine I would suffer about giving up my place in the South of France if I had ever managed to get one.
Pondering this yesterday, of course, I was slightly helped by a little earthquake, which does seem to urge one to flight, but I have been through two Biggies, San Francisco in'89 and LA whenever that was, so have learned to rock on. That I have no real life here, other than my love affair with Silas, to whom I do not have easy access, friends at lunch, and the boys at the Sushi bar, is something I think I can live with if the great work emerges.
Still, I am reminded of a terrible camp I went to the year I first struck out as an independent, forswearing the usual West End Avenue kiddies' summer in the Poconos, for a work camp in the Black Hills of Massachussetts which perhaps exist only in the distortion of memory, but I do believe they were there, and the work camp certainly was, run by one Nathan Arnold, a name that would do service to Stephen Vincent Benet. He whipped us with a leather belt if we got twelve demerits in a week(two for being on the wrong floor at bedtime, five for failing to do chicken duty-- almost literally-- you had to wade through pullet droppings to get to the birds and reach underneath them for the eggs, at which point lice would run up your arm.) I think I was twelve. I had enlisted my friend Emanuela Fine to go there with me, and as she was a bit more upmarket than I, as I remember she freaked out fairly early. When my mother came to visit, reluctantly, as there were no potential estranged fathers waiting in the wings(not chicken's) I told her everyone was committing mutual rape, since I understood little of sex at the time, and had not yet learned to say or even think 'fucking.' But there had been many shocking incidents, threatening letters found,(UNLESS YOU MEET ME TONIGHT) tales of guns, all in all the reason why I remember it as The Black Hills, which I really think they were.
Anyway, my mother sprung me, and even as I left, freed at last, I suffered separation anxiety, pangs of wanting to stay. I imagine I would have felt bad about leaving Auschwitz.
Anyway, you're all free to offer comments and suggestions. Maybe we could be like Entertainment Tonight and you could text your opinion: Should Gwen give up her LA apartment where she could hold fabulous salons except that there's no parking? Should Gwen return full time to New York? Will anyone ever read her work? Does it matter?
I would tell you where to text it, except I don't really understand or use or like or condone texting, and anyway, you probably don't give a mutual rape.