Thursday, October 23, 2014


So I have given up my conquest of New York, never really having started it, except in mine own imagination.  I have made more inroads in Amsterdam over my chilled, wet stay there, and Paris in one weekend than I have made over the years in all these intermittent stays in New York, where all my buddies are those I made at Bryn Mawr. The great songwriters I was privileged to know, Frank Loesser, (a shit, but he thought me gifted at twenty and flattered me, I guess, by stealing a couple of my songs for an out-of-town tryout in Boston that never made it onto the Great-Not-so-White-Way) and the truly wonderful Yip Harburg, who was the father I'd never really had, and with white hair, yet, so long vanished that nobody knows who they are anymore.  I have a hard time believing how old I am, as I was always the youngest one, and that was my handicap.  Had I but known! 
     At any rate(what does that phrase mean exactly?) I have just made my reservations to go to LA for the winter, maybe more, as if I were an old Jewish woman, which I guess (how is it possible?) I am, though spiritually I am Buddhist, which means Jack wouldn't get mad at me if I wasn't devoted.  Don used to(SOOOOOO long ago) tell me to tell them that at Bryn Mawr reunions, that I am a Quaker-Buddhist-Jew, and see what they made of that.  It's the truth, but only if you don't have to observe any of the above.  The Quakers that I loved, and I did, were observant only in their silence, which amazingly I could honor, the Buddhists in their retreats, to which I stopped going but still admired, as Jack is a great teacher and became a truly trusted and helpful friend, and the Jew you can't stop being no matter how little attention you paid to your religion, because when the Nazis came-- as sadly, they still do-- denying your Judaism would not keep you from being rounded up.  
   In the meanwhile, another one of those phrases, I have made treasured new friends in a place I don't have the strength to live (Amsterdam) and am returning(if all goes wells) to LA so can get my things out of storage, including a keyboard I bought but rarely tried to play (will do better this time) above which I will hang the gorgeous bag Jamie gave me with my initials on it, as part of the decor.  I no longer hope for or even more plan for a conquest of Broadway, as I am the wrong sex, and the world, as some poet said, is out of time, meaning, I would hope, not over, but not allowing for something from another period to happen in this one.  It is enough, I hope, as I am no longer that crazy, that there is a welcomed and cheered revival of ON THE TOWN, where my once great(I thought) dancing teacher Gene Kelly became a star, the first to screw me, in the spiritual sense, taking my young inspiration, WHAT A WAY TO GO, and bringing it to the screen via Arthur Jacobs who thought it was me who screwed him (in the show business sense) as MCA threw the blame my way, a lie, but that was MCA.  All these things were terrible surprises, as I really loved show business and other people, and apparently was sufficiently wounded that I never forgot any of this, but now I can, along with everything else that vanishes into some kind of elder fog.
  The weather here is enough to drive me away, along with the bad theatre and the lack of compassion.  I spoke last night to Shan Cretin, the soft and loving high-posted officer in the Quaker not-exactly-hierarchy, who is in Philadelphia, and admitted, gentle and brilliant as she is (also speaks Chinese) that when she comes to New York she feels a certain harshness-- didn't use that word-- in the attitudes of the people.  This, a woman who doesn't judge.  But almost all the friends I have made are either leftover and treasured ones from Bryn Mawr, or strangers from other countries I have picked up on street corners or at the opera.  There will be a song in ON THE TOWN which I will hurry to see, called LONELY TOWN, and it IS, it IS!  I was born out of time-- that is to say I should have been here to emerge in the period when it was still all right and exciting to have been a gifted lyricist, and nobody noticed you were a woman.
    But I am just about finished lamenting what I have missed, and will set out to try and realize, in the realization sense, what it is I can still make happen, if anything.  So I will leave the town to Comden and Green, whose place it really was, and apparently still is.  Better them than Lady GaGa.