So I began the New Year with the triumvirate Godfather, two of the best movies ever made (I and II) and one of the great friendships of my life, Mario Puzo. I met him briefly in Beverly Hills, and gave him a copy of The Pretenders, a bestseller at the same time as his, at nowhere near the same velocity. He called me from the airport, and said "You can't fool me. You wrote this for the same reason I wrote The Godfather: you wanted a bestseller. But the good writing is indisguisable."
Naturally he became my best friend. We went everywhere together- he really liked Don-- and I introduced him to the blonde Southern lover of Sue Cameron, who pretended to be a heterosexual and moved by him, changing her name to Nedra, along with her biography. He bought her a Cadillac convertible and wrote a novel about her, never facing the truth that she was a lesbian, even when she died, which she did very young and still beautiful, giving him a bigger novel in life than he had in a novel. He was the ugliest man I ever met, frog-like,with gigantic magnifying eyeglasses and big fat wattles. But I didn't see that because he touched my soul. Then he got mad at me for writing too many novels.
"Another Book!" he shouted on the phone when I asked him if he would give me a quote for my new one. As famous, successful and popular as he was, he was constipated creatively, and my productivity enraged him. I should have been more sensitive to what he was going through, but I loved him and loved writing and was, at worst and best, an enthusiast. So the friendship ended.
But it was joyful while it was going on, with our taking flights to San Francisco for pasta at Enrico's, and floodlights on the path to our door on Rembert Lane, illuminating the cover of the re-issuing of his old book, probably his best, The Fortunate Pilgrim, for a sit-down dinner I created that was all the dishes in the book, which he wrote about more adoringly and in greater detail than sex. I really loved him. So it kind of broke my heart, temporarily, that he turned on me for being prolific.
The friendship never recovered. So I didn't love watching last night as much as I might have, as I think I had wounds on my eyes. The Godfather and Godfather 2 were flawless, past brilliant. But Godfather 3, which I'd never seen in a theatre, seemed arduous and heavy-handed, but that might just have been my lids. I had to look up on Google when he actually died, because we were no longer in touch, even distantly. But by then I had really come to understand loss, as Don had died and my children had grown to major disappoint and it was clear that my own life was not a musical