So I have come to unexpected rest in Holland, a place I never imagined being curious about, much less making my home. Even writing the word, 'home,' if this electronic shit can be considered writing surprises me.
I have always dreamed of my center being high on a hill, maybe the one in the south of France I would climb to from Les Bergerettes, in the days when it was still easy to climb. Or Broadway, if it ever opened its arms to me, as Yip Harburg, my mentor, and beloved friend did when I was young. Or Frank Loesser, the soul-less genius who seduced me, though that word seems to imply, connote, or even say flat out that I was reluctant, which I can't remember if I was, but don't remember the authenticity of, I was so excited to be in his Presence. I capitalize it because he really did seem Holy to me, he was so gifted. Unless of course he was using other people's brilliance, which might have been the case, at least some of the time, as conscience was not one of his leading characteristics.
But really, what did it matter when measured up against what he had to give the world, whether or not it was all his or, maybe sometimes, somebody else's. I remember his calling me in LA, and saying, "Kid..." which he did call me. "Moss and I are doing this show and we're using some of your material." And I, being twenty, or maybe twenty-one by then, said "What about money?" And Frank, being who he was, said "Call your family."
Not a very nice man. But an incredibly gifted one. I remember clearly, I can still see him seated at my rented piano on Havenhurst, naked, the crack of his ass on the bench, as he played, and sang... imagine! "Warm all Over," from what was to be 'Most Happy Fella.' What privilege there was in my being so violated, which, I suppose, but what difference does it make? I was.
So here I am now, in Amsterdam, a lifetime later. There was a magnificent piece about the just departed Elaine Stritch online, where everything seems to be now, print having likely outlived itself. I used to sit in a booth at Downey's listening to Ben Gazzara, with his voice, which I described in NAKED IN BABYLON, as going "between a woman's legs" trying to seduce her, which I don't think he was successful at for a very long time. He tried for me too, for a while in decades to come after Don was gone, and by the time he succeeded, couldn't.
Life. It's really funny. As long as you're still living it. How it gets to be afterwards, if there is any afterwards, might be even more interesting. We'll see. Unless, of course, we don't.