As I don’t have to tell you, there is great darkness in the world, and as you already know, I have been remonstrated against by a former reader who asked to be dropped from this beloved list, for reasons that remain obvious but puzzling, as all he had to do was delete me if my passion was too passionate. At the same time, I have been heartened and chastised by one of my favorite writer-readers who yelled at me on the e-mail for caving at this time when what we have to do is rage rage against the dying of the light and this country in particular. Anyway I hope it will all be all right, but then I have always been an optimist except when I have been Cassandra as I was a year and a half ago when I told my broker the market was on its way downhill and he didn’t listen to me when if he had I would have been rich. But that is only the material world, and as we know in some of our loftier moments, that is but an illusion, convincing though it seems, especially now.
So trying to take my counsel from the wise who tell you to present-moment it, I took Mimi to the groomer Monday—she is much more beautiful in New York where her groomer is as gifted as the man who cuts my hair in LA, and just as expensive, so these moves eastward are very much to her benefit, as she becomes a cloud of white, admired by all, at fifty-one bucks a pop, so I may never cut her which would be 80 something. But while she was being washed only, I went around the corner to a food shop where I was lifted by the lunchtime sight of the sophomores from Dwight, a private school in the neighborhood, I would venture, who have a dress code(button down collar shirts for the boys, any tie they want, same kind of shirt for the girls or polos or sweaters and any pants but jeans, and any shoes but sneakers,) and they all looked very clean and upbeat and one was a gorgeously fresh-faced girl who had no idea how beautiful she is and would have been signed by Fox when they still were looking for the next Tuesday Weld. Then I went to the baby shop to buy a gift for my longtime great pal and editor who remains the smartest man I know and just became a grandfather, which made me want to go back and put the fresh-faced girl on alert to live her life fully and as smartly as she is beautiful. The night before I had run into Sirio Maccioni the great restaurateur, and he was sad about the country, and sad about being old, as he said you never appreciate what life is until it is almost time to leave it. I would title my new book Seize the Day but Saul Bellow already did, so I am hereby opening a contest(all are invited to join and the rewards will be Infinite) to title my new novel something like that. Active. Upbeat. The titles so far discarded are The Age of Experience, but few remain alive and certainly none in the publishing business who think or read Edith Wharton, and it does sound a bit over-weighty, which it ain’t, and then LIFE FORCE which my agent says sounds like a Self-Help book. Come one come all. I have mileage that will take you to Bali.
Then I met a bright-faced, bright-eyed young woman who has been playing Phantom on the road, so sweet and bright that it overcame my loathing for Andrew Lloyd Webber, and two of her friends, young men who had started booking musicals on the road and have made it a success which is always an up thing to hear at these times. Then I made the mistake of watching the news, so I turned out the light and asked for sweet dreams, and got one. A new baby was born and I was asked to write it a lullaby, and so liberal was my license in the dream that I was allowed to be joined in the writing by my mentor when I was a young songwriter, really what I wanted and intended to be, Yip Harburg, the gentle genius who gave us the lyrics from Wizard of Oz, Finian’s Rainbow, songs full of heart. So Yip, though long gone from the real world, as it is called, was available in my dream, and here is what we wrote.
There will be summer and there will be wintertime
There will be many a bright, sunny day
But when clouds over take you
And thunderclaps shake you
I wish you a Unicorn to carry you away.
There will be some who say there are no unicorns
There will be many who tell you ‘Don’t dream’
But life’s great consolation
To show you that things are not just as they seem.
For the wonder of life is the Great Unexpected
The light that disperses the dark
The sound, like a song
When your love comes along
Or sometimes a walk in the park
There will be heartaches and there will be Valentines
And that’s as far as we got in the dream, so I will take Mimi for a walk in the park and see if Yipper is there, hiding behind a tree.
My friend Ann just got back from a cruise she took her dad on to Alaska, and tells me she researched Sarah and it isn’t as bad as it seems. That she’s just a complete pol who wanted to win, so she’s taken on all these protective colorations to get the Republicans. Yeah, sure. But we agree that McCain may not even make it through the election. Which leaves us where? NO NO. Don’t go there. A walk in the park. A walk in the park.