So as everybody on the planet suffers from bad weather, or political anguish, or not being loved, I am having the luxury of being in sunny, cosseting Beverly Hills, albeit the wrong side of the tracks (south of Wilshire) in a simple, but overpriced apartment, with a front porch and all. And last night I was finally invited out, to the birthday party of an old friend. I went with joy in my heart, as Ingrid Bergman cried out in "Gaslight," imagining that this was the beginning of my new beginning.
I would write about it in full detail except there is always the remote possibility somebody reads these things, though I doubt it, and I wouldn't want to offend anybody unless it was face-to-face and it was Ariana Huffington. Suffice it to say it was the worst evening of my life, and to my surprise I have lived a long time, although I do hope to live a while longer. Though not, I don't imagine, in Beverly Hills. I am missing my Daniel and my other Amsterdam friends, and Jeannie in New York, and the Angel Carleen especially.
I wrote a fantastic entry to my (hate the word) Blog yesterday, then pressed the wrong button and deleted it, so have no record of my whole adventure in Europe when I was twenty and my mother came because she heard I was sleeping with "schwartzes," (pronouncing the 'w' as a 'v.') I was, as I may have written without deleting it, the headliner at the Mars Club on the rue Henri-Etienne, waiting for Art Buchwald to come and discover me so my editor friend Gaby at LIFE, still top of the game at the time, could have them do a feature on me and my life, as I hoped it was going to be, could begin. Instead, I wound up in the south of Spain, with a huge house on the beach and back gates that led out to the sea, and a cauldron where we boiled the lobster so big nobody could afford it but me, and Bill McGivern, the detective writer, brought two bottles of fine wine,--all there was in the south of Spain was fine wine--, saying "It's all right, I just sold a movie to Harry Belafonte."
I would say 'Those were the days' except I'm hoping the days might still be to come.
Anyway when I went home, if it really was that, to New York I got hired by NBC as a comedy writer, in the same small group as Woody Allen who showed up only on the day we got our check and I believe was already a prick. Then i was fired, went to LA, fell in love with Tony Perkins(I was very young, and gays didn't out themselves then) wrote a not-quite-hit with teenage sensation (they didn't know about him, either-- he was Tony's lover) Tab Hunter, and, in general, failed, if you didn't count my career singing my material at the Purple Onion which cost me everything I'd earned at NBC(I was paying the band.) Then I wrote my first novel, NAKED IN BABYLON under the aegis of Robert Kirsch, the book reviewer for the LA Times, who wrote a letter to Doubleday saying in "ten years of book reviewing this was the finest first novel I've read" and it still took me five years to get it published. Life was not easy for a new writer, especially a woman, which I wasn't quite anyway.
Then I went back to New York and wrote my first musical, book and lyrics, with Phil Springer, a gifted musician, whom I'd met through Yip Harburg, my idol and daddy figure. Kermit Bloomgarden, the great producer of the time, and it was a time when there were usually one or two producers instead of seventeen, was going to put it on-- but at the last minute he took all the money he'd raised for our show and put it into Mel Brooks' 'Nowhere to Go but Up,' which instead went the opposite direction. So everything that had been pulled together for our show went away, and my career, such as it was, as a songwriter was over. Or took a VERY long hiatus, which is-- we will see-- only now coming to an end, maybe.
So I start my Real Life, or at least I hope it is. I am trying to fill my days with or at least have them brush against people I love-- there are some--I have lunch with Heidi, beautiful and gifted daughter of my best friend at Bryn Mawr which still factors in heavily on my life canvas-- and Ellen, darling and very alive sister of my once closest friend who fired me.
I will do all I can to make a life that is real and full, at least of all it has left in it. But I wonder if I shouldn't just try and live what is left of it instead of trying to make it more than it really is. After all, this is Beverly hills.