Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Transformation, Almost

  Those of you who know me know that patience is my short suit. When I was in Bali, my beloved host Scot, husband of my beloved hostess Farah, told me that yelling at a taxi driver in Bali, which I did, because he had no idea where he was going, was like pulling out a gun in New York. So I never again, I don't think, yelled at a taxi driver.
  Those of you on this list know that I have been undergoing some e-challenges, going to the Apple store, reuniting with my beautiful friends from Apple in NY, Gabi and Nando, who are going to make my website so I can become even more stressed and confused. Gabi showed me the iPhone, and it looked much simpler than I thought and I hated my Samsung, so I went today again to the Apple store, and bought one. Then began, at 2:09 PM it said on my helper's iPhone, yet another test which I quickly failed, a delay on approval of my credit from AT&T which I had been told would make it easier to use my iPhone. A very pretty Molly, who had helped me with my One on One some days ago, tried to clarify the situation, but could not understand what the operator was saying, (I think they are in some Asian country where English is the third language,) so got a manager, who couldn't understand either. I explained at that point-- it had been an hour and a half-- that I had a very short fuse and was about to lose it. So they called in Kyle, to trouble-shoot, though at that point I would have liked to shoot AT&T.
  Kyle is twenty-five, to turn 26 next Saturday, and is already concerned that he is old to be a producer, to which he aspires, and was beat up last Saturday in Santa Monica by a bouncer who was offended by Kyle's companion's telling him to move at the bar, because he worked there. They have a lawsuit against the guys who beat him up which Kyle is hoping will get him the option money to be able to option something for film. But in the meantime, here is this sweet-faced, gentle man, who has a right arm hanging. He was an All-star baseball player at 11, when he had a stroke, and had to re-learn everything. Somewhere into his third sentence I lost any thought of losing my temper. So even though we were there with the morons from AT&T, wherever they were that was a Third or Fourth world nation, which is how, I would guess, AT&T makes even more money, when Billy Rose had started it in whatever year it was and it was the only monopoly that worked so of course they broke it up.
  The point is, I was so touched by this young man, that I actually lost my burn. He was so gently consistent with whoever was on the phone, that I told him he was stalwart, a word he had never heard before, and said he was going to use in future interviews, and perhaps also with Words with Friends, something that the Apple guy last week told me was a game that so obsessed Apple Geniuses that when their time for a break came all they did was go in the back room and play. I have a beloved friend who usually sounds distracted when I call her, and when I visited her I saw she had Words with Friends, and I understood why she always sounds like she is on her way to someplace else, which she often is, but now the whole picture starts to clear,-- as my friend Kurt Vonnegut wrote: But I digress. At any rate, I am glad I never acceded to Jamie's invitation to join Words with Friends, as I have obsession enough writing words to friends, and those I don't know who I hope will become friends when and if they read what I've written. But I stop digressing. Eleven years old. If you have tears to shed, the greatest of the greats wrote, prepare to shed them now. Except that he picked up his life, played basketball in high school, and now works in the Apple store while he is waiting to become a producer. Come on. How can anyone be angry in the face of that. Stalwart is not a good enough word. Heroic, I think. I would write to Steve to tell him what a jewel he has, except I don't think he's still getting mail, except from the Justice Department.
  By the way, I have a new number on my iPhone, but it is from New Jersey, the only one that is available. I don't know it yet and it's very hard to remember, so please if you want to contact me, use the old number which I still have because I couldn't trade in my Samsung for the iPhone. I am locked out of my e-mail, as I put in the wrong password, and I am simply in a struggle not to explode. But I think of Kyle, and realize nothing is really as bad as it feels for that moment.
  Still, I wish I had stayed in the 19th century, with my sisters, Emily, Charlotte and Anne. Love to you all, Gwen Bronte.

Monday, April 16, 2012

COMING home(?) Is It(?)

     And now I am in the Apple Store in LA trying to catch up on all the things I have to learn and know in these strange climes, Bali having been left behind, and NY and DC but brief interludes. The novel memoir, as I am calling it, that I went to Bali to write is written, and nothing has been lost but my fitness and eyesight, as I didn't get up from the desk for five months until it was finished, so have to start walking(I swam, but that doesn't work your cement muscles) and the eyes are itchy and tired from too much devotion (can there be such a thing?) and maybe a bug, they're checking.  Have already lost my new eyedrops($52 generic , God bless America, or at least the drug business,) my purse(found it, it was in my son's car,) and several friends I realized were not friends of the heart(you can hear it in their voices, when you've spent a half year in Bali.)  Have no time or appetite for anything but real.  After my airport experience and my escape, I really love my country so am trying not to pay attention to any of the shit that's going on here as I know it is only Illusion, and the Truth is, we are all basically divine except people who pretend to love.
     Had the frenetic time in NY trying to catch up on the jet lag, went to a birthday party in DC for a loved friend turning older as we all are if we are lucky, but it still hurts, and then found myself Hating, which I hate, but I truly impersonally despise Mark Zuckerberg, whom I don't know, but the people frittering away their lives on Facebook make me sad, as I now understand Life is Short, and my window in Beverly Hills faces Whitney Houston's room at the Hilton, and I think of the incredible dumbness of whoever was handling her death going to Zuckerberg for a reaction, like he was Walt Whitman on Lincoln's assassination, (O Whitney! My Whitney!) just because he made a fortune out of trading on loneliness, no real gifts except Asberger's. 
     So I broke for lunch with my boy attorney, Burt, who has stayed young and smart for the thirty odd years he has watched over my estate, what there is of it, and I asked him how come he doesn't age, and his theory or rather thesis is if you like what you're doing and it makes you happy, you don't get old.  Well I am the living dispute for that argument.  I love what I do, and I was always young.  I jut don't know what happened.  Maybe it was the 19 books that always came out at the wrong time(except one, The PRETENDERS because everybody was ready for sex) like The Motherland, my best book, about Washington, destined for(everyone was sure) greatness but it came out the day that Watergate exploded, and nobody cared about fiction, and now there's SCANDAL with the best cover ever to grace a bookstore window except there are no more bookstores.  Still it is a lot of fun, so I hope you all will read it and tell your friends.       
     But I have, I think/hope just written my best book which I hope will see the light while I still can.       
     Now I am about to leave the Apple store to which I returned to learn to use my Ipad so I an write on planes if I ever travel again. Thank you all for keeping me going all the time I was in Bali, hard-working and devoted and itching but never leaving my post.  My post for the next few weeks, in case anyone wants to call me-- I have lost my telephone book along with remembering all numbers, -- is the Hotel Mosaic, Beverly Hills, the setting for SCANDAL,  renamed the Royale for the novel.
     I love you all.  Whoever you are. 


    As beautiful and terrible and challenging, which they say these days instead of 'difficult' as Bali was, the food, which I ate mostly with chopsticks taking the vegetables out of the Nasi Goreng, leaving the rice, so I am actually slender, was mostly delicious.  When I got back my two great hungers were for bread and TV, because as bad as television is, you cannot imagine what a comfort you realize it is when you are in Bali and it's beyond terrible, so you never turn it on, the only news you receive, besides the Jakarta Post which is mostly about which corrupt person got caught, which can only be because they did not steal enough to pay someone off, is the headline from the NYTimes digital, usually depressing because I thought our politics were, and did not enjoy our country's descent into the trivial.  Must admit I am saddened by the Justice Dept's action against Steve Jobs, as he was the only one of all these guys I really admired, but don't imagine it bothers him.  
    But turning on the tube I watched Anthony Bourdain doing the great job he does and which I fantasied for a while I should be doing, as I was still loving traveling, with that much joy and bright observations and thought I'd be good at that.  Anyway Jon Stewart, who it was a delight coming back to, asked him what New York was best at, and he said 'deli," and I had to agree, as I missed nothing so much as bagels.  Yoni, my gorgeous and put-upon driver, as women count as dust in the Bali culture(even your ancestors go over to his family when you marry, and although he is a brute and a fiend, he gets to keep the children) loved nothing so much as bread.  When we would go out to lunch, one of the great pleasures of my sojourn being going out with her at the end of my work-morning to research or restaurant, she would order whatever there was that had bread-- sandwiches or wraps, it made her so happy.  So I am eating now for two, having freely bageled in New York, and living now very close to the Bagel Nosh, which isn't the real thing, but is close enough.  
    I am about to go to lunch with Gabi and Fernando, an adorable couple who worked at the Apple store in New York, who became friends of the heart when I worked with them in my One on One sessions, so when I was in Bali and my Mac had a breakdown, Gabi called me from the States on her dime, and worked with me for almost two hours to fix it, which she did.  They have moved to LA now, so we are about to reunite for brunch(she is now a film editor and she and Fernando are setting up a website company called NetWorkFolio which I know will be the BEST, as they are. As they have not lived long enough in LA to become bullshitters, I am taking them to the Bagel Nosh instead of Kate Mantelini's, because they are probably still real enough to be interested in the food and each other and friend and not who is in the next booth.  I don't really care anymore because Anne Bancroft won't be there with Mel Brooks.
    I am happily ensconsed(sp?) in the Hotel Mosaic, where I started writing SCANDAL, and where the story is actually set (now available on Amazon.com with a great cover that should be in the window of a bookstore but there aren't any.  Ah, how happily I recall Hunter's and Pickwick and all the dead.  And here it is.

    I remember Larry Todd from Hunter's, who, at the time of The Pretenders, called me "the Jane Austen of the jet set."  I understand that the hot new book, that Gray thing, is filled with erotica, so it must be back, but I have no appetite for writing it, or, I think reading it, as having gone back a few months ago to look at my once bestseller, I was embarrassed.  I remember how Donnie would come home at the end of the day when I was pregnant with Robert, and reading what I had done, would say "It's terrific; now go back downstairs and make it worse."  So I would waddle down to the basement, one of the only ones in LA, and with my big belly close to the typewriter, (it still was then, albeit electric) and make it even steamier.  I was exhausted.  Robert claims he heard the noise of the keys from inside.  I don't disbelieve him, as I think I became a writer partly because Gene Kelly was my dancing teacher in Pittsburgh when I was two, and he told my mother I would never be a dancer.  So the tapping of the keys was like the metal on my sole/soul.
    Here's Gabi and Fernando. Aren't they wonderful?  

Love to you all.