Monday, June 24, 2013

The World's Oldest College Student


So this is my apartment.  As friends(all three) know, I have just moved back to Beverly Hills, traditionally anathema  to the serious, but one that has always (it's been a long road) nurtured my productivity.  Maybe because there was so little to distract me from the inside of my head, once the kiddies(and they WERE sweet once)went to school and my husband(darling) was out of the house.  They've grown and gone, and he left much too soon, a story too sad to tell right away, and I have lost my dogs and occasionally my way.  But starting over is what I have always done, picking myself up from disaster and moving on, and mostly moving up.
     Now at this very late(I will not say how late) juncture i have come back and am re-beginning yet again.  And I have done it renting an unfurnished apartment that I have just furnished from Ikea and Target and, oh  yes, Office Depot. A Zen Re-beginning.  Zen Gwen.  I like the sound of that, and oddly, I like the look.  It is peaceful here.
     The keyboard I bought from a fellow writer is at the end of the room, and on it, once I can find someone to show me how to use the damned thing, I will write some more songs for my musical, SYLVIA WHO? about a widow whose husband has left her a co-op on Park Avenue and just enough money to pay the maintenance; so in order to live, in order to eat, she crashes parties, looking for love and free hors-d'oeuvres.  Once it was about my mother, a true character, but now I guess people will assume it's about me.  Except I have never crashed anything except swimming pools, have been invited everywhere, been friends with movie stars and royals, great artists, heads of state, and in my most liberal moments, even Republicans.  (I am speaking of course not of political liberalism, but the part of the heart that is so open it can have compassion for the deluded.) 
     The purse above the keyboard is a tote bag with my initials, GD, given me for my last, very recent birthday by one of my most beloved friends, a movie star, the only one who does not consider it a favor to you to be in her company.  I decided to hang it on the wall instead of the Jackson Pollock long gone from my family's proprietorship along with most other things my mother owned before becoming panicky and selling everything including an eight room apartment on Park Avenue, moving into a cramped studio on Central Park South she left to me, where my real books are, and a couple of wonderful paintings that were the covers of some of my published novels.  I am keeping it in the event that SYLVIA WHO? actually comes to life, when I will need to be in New York.
     But not now.  Now I must build yet another new life as Old Gwen.  But I am ready.  At least I think I am.  My thinking at least is still pretty clear.  I have used the tote bag to signal my decor, and have hung all the walls with interesting purses, so I am, officially, a Bag Lady.  A different kind, though.  My hand outstretched for nothing but the occasional surprising gift from the Universe, which does, occasionally, seem to come.  Has, plentifully and often to me, in most joyous and unexpected fashion.  Along with the bad stuff, but that's Life, isn't it?  The secret is to keep breathing, as long as you can.  In and out. 
    I have a wonderful friend, a teacher of meditation, Jack Kornfield, whom I have known since I first started to write this musical on one of his silent retreats, which my husband was sure was a cover for an affair I was having, as he couldn't believe I could go without talking for two weeks.  Jack is off to Hawaii to do Oprah.  I was on Oprah once, with Happy, my Yorkshire terrier, the subject of HAPPY AT THE BEL-AIR.  He would have been immortal, but she didn't show the book.
     I called my cousin Susie, the most religious(different from spiritual) woman I have ever known, adorable, after the show aired, to vent my anguish.  "Susie," I said.  "I prayed and prayed.  God, I said, please let Happy be on Oprah." (I had run into Oprah at the Bel-air, and she said "How old is that dog?" and I said "I can't tell you, because he has a book coming out."  She said "Oh, come on." And I said "I have it in my purse," and gave it to her.  Then I waited to hear from the show, praying every day. "Let Happy be on Oprah.  He's such a good boy.  And he worked so hard." .  They finally called and filmed him. Then the show aired, and she didn't show the book.)   
    "I prayed and prayed," I grieved to Susie.  "Let Happy be on Oprah."
    "Gwen," Susie said, as sternly as Susie could could sound, which wasn't very.  "You should have said: "God, let Happy be on Oprah.  And let her show the book."
    Susie's gone now, as is Happy, and Mimi, the Bichon I had after him, who could spell.  But I am still here ("Thank you God, if You're there, and please let me live long enough to have Sylvia Who? actually open and be a success; and let me use it all for good and make the world a better place.  God?  God?)
     Well, we'll see.  At least if we can.     
     The reason I moved here, besides that it nurtures me, is that I can swim.  Swimming, like breathing, helps you keep going.  I took this apartment because it is walking distance from the hotel where I stayed long, expansively and expensively, and there's a pool that nobody uses.  When I found this place, the day I moved the manager said to me "You may come anytime."  I went back the next day to swim and she said "The rules have changed."
     Another thing I am trying to get over in my quest for personal Growth is the wish for Revenge.