Monday, July 16, 2012


    So my having room at all times on my legal schedule for a new lease on life, I accepted merrily my bright tekkies giving me not only a website,( but the information that there was a Rosemary Clooney museum in Hillard, Ohio, that was very excited to hear about the recordings.  As I have oft told, one Christmas season, dispirited at not being able to 1) get my musical on ("You're a bookwriter," gravelled Jimmy Nederlander.  "What are you doing writing a musical?" ) or 2) find Christmas Carols playing on the PA systems (they were then) of restaurants, I said to Don, "Where are we living that three days before Christmas there are no Christmas Carols? Pull in there..." pointing to a grocery store. I went inside and there were Carols playing, and I heard someone singing.  Turning the corner into a new aisle, I came across Rosemary Clooney, pushing her cart and singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."  I introduced myself, and said "I want to talk to you about something," and she said "Good!"  "I think God sent me in here," I continued. "I believe in that," she said.
   Three days later she came over and listened to my musical, laughed, and cried, and said all the right things; "People are waiting for this," and "usually when you have lyrics this good, you have to make musical sacrifices, but that isn't the case here. This would be a great singing experience."  After Don died, I called her, and she agreed to make the recording... in exchange for sandwiches for the musicians.  An incredible lady.
    But as noted frequently over these years, the struggle continued, just to get people to listen.  I had started out in my teens as a songwriter-- Don had wisely counseled me when we met that "people are only comfortable when they can pigeonhole you, and you write books and plays and movies and songs and poems so they don't know where you are coming from.  Do one thing and one thing only and then you can surprise them." So I wrote novels and after the twelfth one figured I'd made my point, so wrote 'SYLVIA,' I think it was called then.  Now, it is SYLVIA, WHO?, which feels right. (There's a pretty singable new anthem by that title.
    This is a story I have told often before, but as I am getting my life straight in my head and on my computer, it seems correct to tell it now. Especially since this remarkable thing happened.  The Rosemary Clooney museum(there REALLY IS ONE) got very excited because they heard one of the songs, and apparently there are still a cadre of Rosie lovers in this world.  So we have spoken, and I have rescusitated (sp.?) her recordings -- for a moment there it felt like a new beginning, not a moment too soon if you've heard anything that passes for the score of a Broadway musical in recent years.  There was talk of trying to get to Carrie Fisher(she'd be wonderful, of course) and any number of fantasies.
    But as it turns out, it is more probably a sad tale, as the woman who runs the museum (strangely, she is only in her early forties) has a sick mom and a lot of Ohio obligations.  In all likelihood, it was only a bubble in a sea of detritus.  We'll see.  Sea.
    Still, it is a happy diversion from Mitt Romney, about whom the shadows grow darker and more insidious by the day.  I am afraid for my country, although I was in the earthquake in San Francisco with the great Anne Richards, and I asked her what would happen if George Bush, who had defeated her in the Texas election for Governor and so kept her from her presidential bid, won.  And she said "Then this country would find out what the Framers always knew: that it could run without a president."
    Well, I hope not.  That is to say, I hope we don't have to find out.  But Americans are often really stupid, and so vote out of fear.  So if the job situation doesn't get better, I am afraid Romney could actually win.  But then I am thinking out of fear, so I must stop that.  Maybe I could listen to a little Rosemary.