There is a three-legged dog in my new apartment complex, who jogs up and down the street with her fellow canines, apparently loved by them as much as by her owner, a woman who faithfully and without much ado puts a towel out on the grass as soon as the sun comes out, which it does very erratically on June mornings in Beverly Hills; but when it does, the dog, having waited patiently, lies down in the warm rays. A noted 'marine layer' cloaks the coast at this time of year, but anyone who complains, considering what the rest of the country is going through, is crazier than you have to be to come here with the hope of Success. This is not a place for dreams to be realized, as much as the region to hatch them.
But there is, besides the marine layer, the metaphysical layer. That is to say, the illuminated lunacy that first surfaced here, at least in my life, when my loved friend Sandy Burton interviewed Carlos Castenada and put him on the cover of Time Magazine. She was the sanest, most-addicted-to-the-facts and Reality of any person I knew, and he convinced her that something invisible and magical was going on, taking her to his Power Spot in the Malibu mountains, the map to which she left me when she was transferred to Boston, becoming Time's first woman Bureau Chief.
She is long gone, as is the Power Spot, washed away by the disasters that from time to time overtake California, and vanished is Castenada and almost Time Magazine. But the chance that life is more magical than we dare to think in our hard-headed moments is more than present here. And I am glad to be back and open to it, with fingers of Fate, the Good Kind, pointing out to me that I am right to believe. Or at least be ready to believe.
I have come back, as friends and the wonderful woman who believes in me and has offered to be a sponsor know, to work on my musical comedy, SYLVIA WHO?, making it as good as I can before we move forward. Last night, giving in to the hunger that only occasionally overtakes me, as I make every effort to live an inconspicuous life-- which means eating simply and mainly out of the fridge, which comes with the apartment, I went to my favorite restaurant, a little Thai place across from The Peninsula, where almost nobody, and I mean NOBODY, ever goes. Last night, though, there was a handsome couple, speaking Italian, one of the languages I can fake to a certain knowledgeable degree, having lived in Rome in my youth, and in Venice in my recent late middle-age. So I started talking to them about the remarkable Pope scandal currently sweeping Rome and headlines here, that the Pope has decried the "Gay Lobby." All the more wondrous because everything he has done thus far is brave and current, which the church has not seemingly tried to be.
I was living in Rome when one Pope died, and I went to the funeral parade with my buddy George d'Almeida, an artist, incredible mind, and fallen-away Catholic, than which no one falls harder. And as they passed, George murmured, "an army of eunuchs." Well, apparently not all, or at least not entirely in the service or lack of it, to heterosexuality. New factors most engaging, if Truth is something that captures your attention.
But next to Truth, my favorite thing is Hope, and the Hope that the Dreams we cherish and imagine can materialize. And in the restaurant where no one ever goes but me, this handsome couple was, their twin sons having just been through 8th grade graduation. We talked some more: it was his work that kept him in LA, though they're from Palermo. And what was it he did? He is the music director and conductor of the LA Grand Ensemble.
What are the chances? What are the odds?
Needless to say I was quick to get his card, and resume work on Sylvia Who? His close friend is Patti LuPone, and she wouldn't be bad in the part. Although I imagine the actual casting will depend on where I chance to eat lunch when I finish rewriting the book.