Sunday, September 22, 2013



So I chanced into Central Park today-- a spectacular day, not hot, comfortable, the sky slightly clouded but that made the blue of it look bluer, just the right amount of people it seemed, enjoying the weather and the setting.  To my quiet surprise, there was something unusual going on in the section just below the walkway where the rink for ice-skating is in winter,-- what looked like a new small pond.  Lines of people waiting to go down to see whatever it was.  I asked, and it was Japanese Buddhists handing out paper lanterns filled with written prayers for peace, to float on the ad hoc pond at twilight.  So I joined the line, curious as always, interested as sometimes. Stayed on the line with a young woman from Melbourne, where my daughter-in-law comes from-- she is in this country working with little children, always a spirit enricher as well as a fine way to earn some money in a strange land.
  When I got down to the launch, which it was, we wrote our prayers on the paper and went to float our lanterns.  A little girl, the one shown here, floated my paper, now set into a block of wood, also provided by the Buddhists, onto the water.  An impressive display, with a band-- there were several on the stands built up around the edges, waiting their turn, playing lively music.  Interesting that the Peace-Prayers came from a far away land, especially considering that those holding our country in bondage and coming perilously close to sinking it, are those who were elected to hold it together. I wonder how John Boehner sleeps at night, and assume it is mostly by passing out.
    Then I walked down by the actual lake, my usual path when I am in New York and go to quiet my soul, and, coming up the stairs, which I don't do with the same alacrity I did in my recent (it seemed) youth, I came across a young couple getting married, obviously with the blessings of God, if He/She exists, as it was, as noted, a spectacular day, and they didn't have to rent a small party room at the Plaza, as we had done, a lifetime ago.
    Then I went to meet Larry Ham, the gentle, gifted musician who is organizing, taking down, and sifting all the music for Sylvia WHO? which starts going into the works tomorrow, En Sha-Allah, which I think is the Muslim prayer, why not if the world is to continue? and I don't know the Hebrew for "It Should Only Happen."  From the apartment where we are working, and where, if all goes well, we will have the reading on the 30th, I could see the twin towers as they resounded in my very young days, the double steeples of the San Remo on Central Park West, the place where Herman Wouk had Marjorie Morningstar coming from.  And I could not help but think the view was kind of an add-up of my life's ambitions, at least the way they used to be.  Marjorie was sort of who I was, or thought I wanted to be, in various almost incarnations-- the person I might have been had my mother not married Puggy, putting me on the East Side at least for vacations, the movie they were making from the novel at Warner Brothers, when Tony Perkins thought I should be an actress and so got Tab Hunter to get me a screen test.  But instead I started telling the producer I think he was, or maybe the director, how I thought they ought to do the screenplay, and he said "I don't understand… are you a writer?"
   Well, i was, and I am, although at the time I thought I wanted to be anything that Tony wanted me to be, though I didn't understand that would have been a boy,
   So my whole life was passing before my eyes and I'm not even drowning.  At least I hope I'm not.  What I am at the moment is still a bit disoriented, as besides the travel which is not so much broadening at this time of my life but tiring, I had to stay in a hotel and then in another apartment at the Hampshire House that was not my own, but seemed infinitely more spacious as the walls aren't filled with the posters and pictures and memories of a lifetime, including a poster of my play set in ancient Athens performed at Bryn Mawr called The Women Upstairs, which was what the wives were doing during Plato's Symposium-- like why wouldn't everyone relate to that?-- and a huge wooden bowl that workers wore on their heads in the rice fields of Bali  My place feels crowded with memory and I am trying hard to live in the present.
    It was good to go outside, on a beautiful day, which, like everything else, you have to struggle not to be attached to. It can't possibly stay like this. Still, you never know: Maybe everything will fall happily into place, the skies will stay clear, people will connect with their better natures and wish each other well, there will be peace on earth, and Republicans will remember that they are Americans,

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


My Labor Day became a true celebration, commemorating the enormous exhale, the breath long held, when you know you have finished something, and finished it the best you could.  The non-festivities were marked by a visit from Gabriel Ferrer, the son of Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer, and, until recently the minister for All Saints, the church I have been dropping in on-- I can't consider myself a true Attender-- since moving back here, sort of, my suitcase being ready for re-packing for the return to New York.  Gabri, whom I had not met before, came by so I could say Hello and play him the wonderful recordings Rosie made for me of many of the songs from Sylvia WHO?  There is honey in her voice, and some butter, so it was a rich event.  The recordings are private-- she did them in a studio with no enhancement, so it would likely not be fair to her standard to release them--but it was very like she was in the room with us, which it would not surprise me to find out she really was.
    It was a lovely experience.  He was just returning from a trip to Greece and the mysterious islands of Scotland where many don't know there are mysterious islands, and is an impressive man, big, with more than a trace of his father in his physical presence and his voice, -- and it is a joyful thing to be able to give someone the unexpected gift of a vanished parent's gifts.  She was a glorious human being, and I love her and will always be grateful for her generosity.  He said that because she had such a rough time in her middle years, and saw who was there to help her, she resolved always to give back, and she certainly did.
     As you may remember, and I have told and re-told, I was in a particularly low funk with my efforts to bring Sylvia to the light heavily thwarted, when, just before Christmas, Don picked me up from my Quaker Meeting in Westwood, and I,-- miffed because no place we went was playing Christmas Carols-- "Where are we living?" I asked him,--  told him to pull in to Food Giant, where, at long long last, they were playing Carols.  I went in and heard someone singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," I turned a corner, and there on the other side of the aisle, pushing her cart and singing, was Rosie.  I introduced myself to her, said "I want to talk to you about something."  "Good," she said. "I think God sent me in here," I said. She said "I believe in that."  A few days later she came to my house; I played her some of the songs.  She laughed and cried and said all the right things: "People are waiting for this," she said, little knowing they still would be all these years later.
     But now the wait could very likely be almost over.   I would bite my tongue and spit three times for fear I was jinxing myself, except that last night on the news I saw that Diane Nyars, a 64-year-old woman, had finally, after decades of trying, made the swim from Cuba, without a shark cage; red-faced and swollen, with jellyfish stings around her lips, she said the secret was "Never Giving Up."  Well,  neither have I.  And now with the support of a very brilliant friend who, happily, believes in me, I can actually see where it might be coming together. Spit spit spit.
   So I am off for New York next week, free at last, free at last: Lord God Almighty I am free at last.  This is, I believe, the first time in my adult life when I know for sure I have done exactly what I should have, throwing off the specters of all who do not wish me well, and though perhaps not having for all to see the white aura perceived by Dorothy, the psychic I met in the produce section of Pavillions-- after all, this IS Beverly Hills, -- I know I have completed some important steps.  The musical is the best it can be at this point, ready for the reading we are going to do the end of the month, and I, having cast off the shackles of imagined relationships that weren't really, am the best I can be, having swum these shark-infested waters without a cage, as well.
     As for Dorothy, she told me she would bring her crystals and cleanse my shakers, the ones that are somewhat blocked by those who, as writ above, "do not wish me well."  She drove me home in her white Mercedes(it IS California, after all,) and said I could call her anytime if I needed to go anywhere-- as you may remember, I don't have a car, and am enjoying having to walk everywhere while I still can. I asked her how much the reading would cost me, and she said $300.  Well, as Shirley MacLaine would be quick to tell you, that is a fair price for someone to cleanse your shakers.  So I said "Why not?"
    I have not heard from her since. I have left a message, and e-mailed her case you want your shakers attended to.)  So I must regard the appearance of my aura in a grocery store just another of those SouthernCal miracles.  And as she told me I am a Messenger, I shall take her unofficial mystical perception this side of the papayas, as a gift from the Gods.
      Maybe the same ones that Gabri connected with off Scotland, or maybe the ones Thoreau found in Walden.  Though if he really heard from them they might have told him not to be so wordy.
   Me either.  Love to you all.  Happy After-Labor Day.