Saturday, August 29, 2009

DEAR, OR NOT DEAR FRIENDS


Who is on the friends list in my heart?

When I was eight, I embroidered a sampler "TRUE FRIENDSHIPS ARE ETERNAL"
Eternal seemed to be connected to people who believed in Heaven, and the God they worshiped in church. But like my heroine, Cordelia (see "Somebody Book I" Installment A, page 32 ), I didn't have a church to go to.

My daddy's dictionary said eternal meant lasting or existing forever, but nothing did that -- not food, plants, pets, or people -- my grandparents, my favorite uncle, and a boy in my class had died -- they were gone forever.

So who are my friends? What about my pals with whom I had a great rapport, when we were working on a show -- my assistants, or dancers I employed? They are in my memory, mostly affectionately, but not in my heart.

My Malibu friend, my Seattle friend -- I still correspond with them. We chat in our e-mails. I enjoy keeping track of them and they keep track of me. It's long distance love, but they are definitely on the list in my heart.

And Doro, Fran, Sue, Bethy -- with whom I work with now, they're on the list! I need them -- I turn to them -- I love to hear from them, and when I do I am totally involved with the moments we're sharing. In my mind and heart, in some way every day, I connect with them.

Okay, Why am I writing this? I think I'm discussing this to explain to myself, why I don't want to get together with the couple who were our best friends for many years.

When JC was in "Northern Exposure," they came to Seattle when we were performing "Shattering Panes" at a fringe theater on weekends. After the show, at the Top of the Needle, during the dinner I'd arranged for the four of us, they said nothing about the show.

Nothing ...? It was very strange. They'd just seen my play -- I'm sure they knew I'd worked on it for umpteen years. Did they hate it? Is that why it wasn't brought up?

The dinner seemed interminable. During their jokes, and recollections about our weekends together on Fire Island, talk about the leg she'd broken when they'd skied in the Alps ... (It was the same time my back was broken in a car crash )... Hey. whoa, why wasn't that mentioned? Why wasn't a single word said about my play?

Well ... I haven't seen them since then.

They phone whenever they see an announcement about JC opening in a new play. I greet them sweetly, and transfer them to JC's line. He arranges tickets for them, and murmurs something about his busy schedule -- he knows I don't want to socialize with them.

Or socialize with my Vancouver producer friend: Two weeks ago I heard from her. She needed a phone number. I emailed it, and told her, in a very honest, matter-of- fact way -- "Eight months ago I wrote you about my Website, and sent you a link -- so did you visit it? Why haven't I heard from you about my work?"

And that question, and my not socializing, has spread to other friends in the arts and show biz, whom I emailed about my Website -- people who call quite often, chat about their work and want my opinion or encouragement, but don't get around to asking me about my work.

(Time for "shh-shh" reality -- when you're married to a legendary Broadway Star like JC, even if you're a well-known dancer with plenty of artistic credits, your friends are much more interested in his career than yours. Of course my play, or my latest new project doesn't thrill them or really concern them.)

Geemininny -- why don't I just maintain the friendships?

I don't want to. My work is me. I need friends who know who I am. I don't want to hang out with people who aren't interested in what I'm doing. Right now I'm digging into myself daily as a writer, trying to say what I really think and feel about things -- that's my work. That's what's important to me.

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