Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Connector

So as only my close friends of whom I have apparently not too many know, this has been the loneliest winter of my life, one which is winter in the truest sense: cold, free of blossoms, or communication.  I came back to this citadel of my youth, where I dreamed harder than I have almost anywhere else, even though I have dreamed everywhere, because New York was the center of dreams as we knew them when we and the world were young.
   But Bob Gutwillig, my very good and smart once editor (THE PRETENDERS) and whatever I wrote after that that I needed guidance for and a hard hand with said once, unless you have a job in New York, you have no identity.  So jobless as I have always been, except for that one time when I was in the Comedy Development program at NBC, where I share office space with #Woody Allen, already much smarter than I was at 19, never coming into the office except on Friday when we got our checks, my identity has always been the work I was doing, the editor or reader who was kind/generous or appreciative enough to read it being my only real connection, except for Don, my one big love, who vanished early.
     This has been then, beyond dreary: the grayest winter imaginable, a comfortable hole in the wall in a New York classic apartment house where everybody averts their eyes except Ava who is three.  And yet dreamer that I continue to be I steadfastly stick to my lack of guns, imagining that maybe the tide would turn, and somebody would make me feel welcome and connected.  I have had the incredible munificence of support from the extraordinary Joanna Semel Rose, the smartest woman to go to Bryn Mawr, which is really saying something, who seems to believe in me and the musical I have been working on for longer than I care to (or probably soon will be able to) remember. Then there is the still glistening memory of walking through the park with my father figure and mentor and arguably the greatest lyricist of the Broadway stage, including Ira, #Yip Harburg, to whom I sang the score of SYLVIA WHO? when I was first writing it, and his saying to me as he praised song after song, finally saying: "I Wish I had written that." No finer encomium in this world, I don't think, and for all the years it's been, kept me going.  Especially as the world, as it falls ever more sharply on its ass, seems to cry out for songs that lift the spirit, and a musical that can make you feel good about being alive, and reinforcing your sense that you are.
   But today, Hallelujah! Something at long long last that justifies my conviction that there is some invisible connection between all of us who aspire, who reach out in the hope that it isn't just random.  Many years ago I took the subway, something I have never been at ease about doing, or done more than was absolutely unavoidable, and bumped into a young Mexican couple, apparently and dazedly on what should have been their honeymoon, who had no place to go.  So I took them from the subway and found them the apartment of a friend.  And as it turned out, she was the grand-daughter of Miguel Covarrubias, one of my heroes, a great artist and writer, ally and friend of some of the great men I admire.  It seemed more than coincidence, so I was joyful to have been of some support and succor and give to this lovely young couple a place to honeymoon.
    And then I lost them.  I have spent years trying to reconnect, checking out all the Covarrubiases in Mexico, who are more than Legion.  BUT THEN TODAY! Through Facebook or Linked In, one of those Internetty things that I, as one who has been writing the old and, in my opinion, real way, all my life, we found each other.
    I am more than happy.  It seems a justification for the Internet.  It isn't just a way of stifling the artistic  inspiration, taking words it has taken writers their whole lives to fashion and polish and squeezing them into 140 characters.  It's a way of connecting, in the truest sense.
    Here: my communique from Rosanna.

     Querida Gwen,
         Let me tell you that you start something like “Pay it forward”, with a lot of happy endings, I have no words to express how you full my life with your fairy powder, you made me feel special, an awsome feeling, now I try to spread that feeling of inner joy to everyone, I learned from the best, from you, an unexpected casacade of love, kindness and generosity.
I have a lot of things to say but the first word is always the same: Thank you, you opened my heart to the path of light, love, peace and good. 

   So it turns out the net is good not only for tracking murderers in the obscene, horrific world that seems to have swallowed and disallowed decency and respect for human life, it can be a source of connection in the very best sense of that abused word.
    So onward and upward, and even sideways, I guess.  You just never know.