Sunday, May 27, 2012

How I Spent My Summer (is it yet?) Vacation

    So as friends know, and many who are not, but I don't care, my heart is an open book, I just had my hip replaced, which came as a great shock as I didn't know I was older. I am recuperating at the Hotel Mosaic, in Beverly Hills, sort of Eloise as a Senior, and am just rejoicing in being alive which I don't think we do often enough.
   Anyway, my day began the best way a day could begin, with a phone call from my 7th grade classmate, great buddy, and Don's favorite woman, Joanne Greenberg, who wrote one of the Great Books of the 20th century, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, still writing ferociously and brilliantly away, and she can't find a real publisher either.  Joanne was a firefighter in the hills of Colorado where she still resides, rescuing children put down wells by perverts, and rescuing me when I feel sorry for myself.  She points out to me that people will always need stories, and look how big Jane Austen is now.  I love her with my soul but have a hard time really listening to her, as she is sane, and like Veronica in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the great version with Gene Wilder, I WANT IT NOW.
   But I did watch the movie of Sense and Sensibility last night, and must admit I wept, and had all my buttons pushed by the master, or mistress if you will, and saw how swiftly and deftly she manipulated the emotions in very few lines, with almost no groundwork.  I also renewed my affection and admiration for Emma Thompson, with whom I had the privilege of being friend-ish when we were both staying at the Hotel Bel-Air, and she fell in love with my then dog, Happy, the Yorkshire terrier who would have lived forever but Oprah didn't show the book. Emma's screenplay(Imagine: they trusted an actress,) is glorious, her performance flawless, and I hope she had a happy marriage with the actor who played Willoughby, who was very pretty which never hurts to be around.  I couldn't stand Kenneth Branagh to whom I believe she had been married before, as gifted as he is, he was a pompous ass.   I has seen his production of some Shakespeare play at a festival in Europe-- he made them all look alike onstage where all the characters were dressed in red and came out of holes in the floor,-- and wrote an autobiography at 29, which the British critics thought was chutzpah, though they didn't know that word.  He came to visit Emma while I was at the hotel and I spoke to him respectfully because I loved her, but he was a bloated egoist.  I did however like his performance in the movie about Marilyn which should have won the Academy Award for Michelle Williams, as she will never have that great a chance again, was brilliant, and Meryl Streep is always Meryl Streep being someone else.
   Anyway, although Joanne was not able to make me feel better about how hard it is for real writers now, she did tap into my 'it could be worse', pointing out that Mozart took 150 years to be discovered, by Mendelssohn who also dug up Bach, and did make me feel loved by the universe or we wouldn't have gone to PS9 together and found each other again when she heard my voice on the Donahue show, when Phil was the best, I was a welcome guest, and she contacted me.
   Someone's hearing my voice and recognizing it brought back my memory of once great and close friend Stanley Kubrick, for whom I wrote the beginning of Lolita in the closet when I was at Stanford, stopped seeing when I asked him how he saw it, and he said "a love story," (I had thought it was a comedy,) found again when Don and I were getting married and I wanted him at the wedding, so went to the opening of Strangelove, where he was clicking off the attendance with a bus counter, then lost when he moved to Elstree.  I spent Thanksgiving one year at the home of Max and Gary Smith and knew that Stanley lived next door, so went through the hedge with Madeleine 4, and Robert 2, to show him how life sometime works out.  He was living in a ruined castle out of Harry Potter, and when I rang the bell, (a hollow clang) the door (huge and wooden) creaked open, revealing two snarling dogs at the end of a chain snapping at the air. I said into the darkness "Stanley?"  And he said "Gwen?"  And I said "Yes," and he said "I'd let you in but the dogs would go for the children."
   We never saw each other again.  But he wrote me a letter in longhand, or rather crippled hand, curlicues and twirling around the edges, apologizing.  Unfortunately I had not yet begun my conquest of the Seven Deadlies, and overcome with Anger, threw it away instead of selling it at auction.
   But I've had a nice day, I am grateful not to be in pain although I am strangling via a stocking on my left thigh which has turned into Jennifer Lopez' hips.  I know I am lucky just to be alive, celebrating that, and losing the other Six, though apparently I still have a small problem with Pride, or I wouldn't be so pissed at not finding a publisher.
  Happy Memorial Day, if we can really celebrate such things, when nobody really learns and people still go to war.