Saturday, August 15, 2009


I like remembering BETTE DAVIS' acting, the various women she played. I can watch any of her movies again and again and not get restless. No other actress has taken Davis' place, in my mind.

Thinking about her -- there he is -- a twinkle-twinkle littler star -- the unpredictable CHARLES GRODIN, comic, villain, brilliant conniver, commentator on "Sixty Minutes" -- like an arrow, taking aim and hitting the bulls eye.

Wait a minute ... when was the last time I went to the movies? In Malibu? Was it after they divided the big theater into three always crowded smaller ones? I definitely didn't like sharing an evening with strangers opening candy wrappers, whispering, responding, affecting my own response.

Gee, golly, my goodness, where am I heading in this ramble? Am I writing about "stars" whose work I love? Or old habits ... like going to the movies?

And the period in my life, the time when I knew the "names" -- in movies, dance, theater, also painters, and who was who among the socialite celebrities. Lately, I more or less retain the most often repeated names, but all that personal junk about who's doing what with whom seems utterly unimportant.

Being a daily blogger -- I've been putting down ideas, random thoughts, possible things I might want to write about ... So the other night, after I saw him introducing films on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), I put down WILLIAM BALDWIN -- he's always interesting, and at the Tony Awards recently, introducing "Best Actors," he said seeing John Cullum in "Shenandoah" inspired him to become an actor.

I put down SEAN CONNERY -- saw him again in "Dr. No," and again enjoyed his swashbuckling handling of the intricate, verge of horror, shocking disaster that could have destroyed the world.

Even so, I obviously haven't revved up enough energy to write about Connery, Baldwin, Grodin or Davis because ... well, thinking about them reminds me of the time when I was affected by actors and movies and, like I said a minute ago, I'm not there anymore.

Star gazing is for looking up at the night sky, and being aware that there are NO STARS in the night sky that hangs over New York City.

Picture of my painting of the sky
Give it click -------->

Yep, faces. Kind of ghostly looking. Not a pretty picture.

My sky is filled with faces of people I know, knew, friends, and momentary acquaintances I liked a lot/didn't like at all, had confrontations with -- some with whom I had marvelous rapport, worked with, employed, spent time with ... when? where? why? Sometimes I remember and sometimes I'm not sure -- they come and go, but they're there ... part of my life.

No, I don't look up and whisper Star bright, star light, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight -- because wishes are for kids, not for me ...

But, I do think not softly, quite loudly inside myself, I wish I may, I wish I might NOT be so aware -- aware every day, of time passing faster and faster ...

Friday, August 14, 2009


Bright and early, with a plumbing problem looming (water running non-stop in my green bathroom toilet), contact lens refusing to connect with my eye, hot water in the Melita filter over-flowing while I'm fussing with the lens, the TV blares about MILITIAS.

For days, I haven't been able to watch Keith Oberman or Rachel Maddow truthfully raving and ranting about shouters, furious citizens drowning out Congressmen and women, and horrible racial slandering -- spurts of it flaring up everywhere.

Of course I keep up with the news, but I'm stumbling around, bewildered, frightened, not sure what's real, what's really happening and what the media is exaggerating, bombarding me with, in order to keep me riveted to the news -- between their money-making ads.

... participles "ands" and em-dashes ... I'm writing long rambling sentences -- I'm worried, scared about the town hall shouters, and now Militias.

I heard someone say IT'S UN-AMERICAN.

IT IS! Americans talk to each other; we understand the fears, the inbred prejudice and accept opinions that are different from ours. Gee -- I talk and listen and nod and make friends with strangers, and continue stilted, awkward conversations so that I'm telling them -- I don't agree with you but hey, we have a lot in common.

I'm looking for a way to say okay, all right, the country is adjusting to our black president who is trying to fix things most of us want fixed. But today I'm shouting -- please, please don't encourage the Militias by paying serious attention to their madness! Bring on the cartoons, Saturday Night Live jokes. Laughing at them might cheerfully dilute the poison.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I can't shut up.

I cringe, quickly change the channel every time I see the ABILIFY commercial. The face, sad face, the miserable, hopeless, suicidal expression -- she's a woman -- I'm a woman.

As the name of the pill echos I'm conjugating -- "abilify, able, ability, disability, disable, unable, abject." I'm declining into a negative frame of mind where me, my worries, my fears, my disabilities are in the forefront of my mind and hopeful constructive Em solutions are fading away.

Am I supposed to tell my doctor, if I have a doctor/shrink/therapist, to give me Abilify? If I'm already taking Lexapro, Effexor, Cymbalta, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin -- any one of the popular antidepressants -- I better tell my doctor my current medication is inadequate.

The vision of the miserable woman, then another desperate, miserable person, then another suicidally depressive, desperate, miserable person makes me miserable -- paralyzed, terrified, inadequate, incapable of handling myself. Boy oh boy, this is a WINNING COMMERCIAL.

I intensely dislike the considerate, honest, helpful, loving daughter in the ARICEPT Ads.

So self-sacrificing this daughter is, smiling, sweetly mentioning the ways her poor Mom who's not all there, is ruining her devoted daughter's life.

A shrug, a sigh, a few words about a meeting she's missed -- and there's no doubt about it -- Mom's problem is putting a damper on the busy, optimist, do-gooder daughter's important, community activities.

"Yes indeed, folks ..." (The daughter is honest, truthful as she calls a spade a spade. ) "Dear. Mom is a bit of a burden, that forces me to modify my objectives -- I could be helping ... well...." (Daughter implies with a gesture, that she 'd be helping hundreds of needy people.) "But, with one Aricept a day, my dear Mom, will be enjoying life quite awhile longer ..."

Then the daughter, with an weak, optimistic semi-smile, thanks God, and Pfizer Drugs, for ARICEPT which keeps poor Mom almost, not quite, but almost, more or less hanging in there.

Me, the ad watcher needs an aspirin for my headache, (definitely not a Bayer), something generic!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


That's me. I'm mad at Jerry Bruckheimer!

He's proselytizing --seducing, sprinkling his magic, planting his seed, capturing children, half grown to full grown teenagers, adults -- men and women!

He's the producer of hit films such as "Pirates of the Caribbean," "National Treasure," "The Rock," "Blackhawk Down," "Beverly Hills Cop," "Con Air," and TV hits like "CSI," "Cold Case," "Without a Trace," and more, and more, and more! more!

I counted 44 films, 14 TV series, 3 new television series for the fall season. One reference says he's produced more than 60 movies.

Betcha if I included the actual list, the names of all his productions, you've seen (and loved) at least 3. (Like I have ... well, I don't love "CSI Miami" but I watch it because of the glorious look of the yachts, water, beaches, and sunsets.)

(Actually it's overly, unrealistically colored to make it seem more glorious, more fabulous than it really is.)

This prolific 63-year-old producer/creator has his finger more on the pulse of what the North American public wants to see, in its movie theaters and on its TV screens -- than anyone else.

Well, cheer up -- Jerry Bruckheimer will probably make only $200 billion this year -- inflation is hurting everyone.

Major critics say he's a "monolith," his shows are "commercials for machismo," he's our "go to guy for hot planes, crashing cars, burly protagonists, and wham-bam sex."

Actually, in interviews, Bruckheimer sounds pleasant, confident, cool. He says, "I don't get offended. What I try to do is entertain people. If I make blockbusters that are fun for people to watch and take them away from their daily lives, then I've done my job. As long as we make really engaging films that people want to see and are entertained by, we'll keep making a lot of movies and audiences will flock to them."

"FLOCK TO THEM" -- hideously inventive murders, violence, brutality, rapes of men, women and kids, and of course, his heroes and heroines do a fair amount of killing.

I'm not asking you to boycott his shows . They help me not to think on and on, obsessively, about my personal work and daily routines.

I guess that means they're entertaining me. I'm having fun, it's recreation. Maybe it's just a deck of cards, like "Alice in Wonderland" says.

Anyhow, I'm warning us (you and myself). This form of entertainment is getting us SO accustomed to nitty-gritty, grim forensics, crazies, man destroying man, we may not be capable of enjoying anything that doesn't deal with shocking, ugly, revolting visions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I'm thinking about disasters -- why? -- well, our roof suddenly sprung a leak, and the men who are fixing it arrived with enormous rolls of tar paper, and someone put a tarred hand on one of my hallway walls which are wallpapered PINK ... and that hand-print is a disaster.

Small disaster, but oops, oh dear -- how am I going to get that fixed? Well, it brought back travel days, performing days, disasters that couldn't really be solved.

Once, in California, Pennsylvania, on our very first tour as the Dance Drama Duo, we were doing a 9:30 a.m. morning assembly performance. Mark Ryder and I came prancing out of the wings. (Black velvet side curtains that were hung from bars in the ceiling above the stage, the bars that also supported the red velvet main front curtain.)

Oops! Help! Eek -- what in the world -- the entire thing fell ... I mean entire. Red velvet, black velvet, on us, on the stage -- there was no stage, no performance, no way to save the day, no on with the show! (No $200 fee, and we needed the money to pay for our train fare to the next booking!)

And suddenly, I'm remembering -- the Dance Drama duo on the "Gary Moore TV Show," with Don Ameche --he was in the wings, ready to perform a song after our number. (Remember him, he was wonderful, great fun in "Cocoon!")

The Dance Drama Duo was already in its (pre-divorce) arguing phase, performing Irving Berlin's ballad, "I'll be loving you, Always."

The AD (assistant director) calls out, "Standby."

We take our positions ... me, head down submissively, hands crossed on my heart, Mark, standing tall, ready to bow and do a loving noble gentleman's obeisance his lady love.

Click the link -- and you'll hear what we heard, as the tech guy cued on our record. (Just listen briefly. I'll paint the picture. )

Mark froze. I improvised, using bits from other duets, prancing, waltzing, jogging around him with graceful arm gestures, like a seductive maiden seducing a stern reluctant man. It was two and a half minutes. A disaster. (Not a total disaster -- Don Ameche blew me a kiss as he took his place in the spotlight.)

The guys have finished their work on the roof for today. The roof will be fixed by tomorrow. JC gave me a kiss as he was off to the Princeton Club, to tell a story on camera for a documentary, about co-starring with Madeline Kahn in "On the Twentieth Century." (I was afraid they were going to fall in love, but they didn't!)

Hey, here's my favorite John Cullum tune from the show .

Monday, August 10, 2009


Our maid Doro, who's been a part of our family for more than thirty years (see my May 6 post, "Doro My Sister"), has brought her daughter to help with our home upstairs and studio down stairs, while JC and I are re-organizing our offices.

On a break, Doro (who's black) shocked me. She was touched, thrilled, and uplifted by the election, and much more hopeful about her personal future after the election. She isn't now.

(None of her seven children have soared, or really, truly escaped the second-class citizen attitudes of Harlem-born children of the fifties. I'm not into sociology, and I don't have the terms on the tip of my tongue. But I see that Doro's life, her children's lives, and their kids' lives as being stuck where too many blacks have been stuck -- because they haven't had the freedom, or education to dream big dreams and go for what us whites strive to attain.)

What's on my mind, what shocked me is what Doro said about Obama, as the four of us were taking a break. In an unfamiliar tone of voice, she sort of sing-songed her disappointment, her mistrust of the man whom she loved a few months ago.

Whoa .... is Doro being brain-washed by her employers? We got her a job with friends in Hartford who employ her as a full time maid. (She has extraordinary expertise in what she does). We assumed our educated, wealthy friends felt the way we feel about Obama, and are celebrating what he's already done, and what he's non-stop working to achieve for our country.

We feel our questions, our wondering, and personal concerns about health care and the national debt have to be put aside. We trust Obama and know that if mistakes are made, he'll rectify them. He's the guy we got to know, respect, and trust during the past two years of campaigning -- what he is, and what he says, and does, gives us hope and once again a sense of our America the beautiful.

As Doro's working, we've been reminding her that what she's hearing in Hartford and maybe even hearing from her family -- is fear.

We're singing our song, and my sister Doro and her daughter are -- yes, thank goodness -- singing along with us.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Blogging is changing me. Writing a new post every day is ... wow ... a huge job, a much bigger challenge than I ever imagined.

As a novelist I never wrote about me. I used things that happened to me --mostly big deal events -- and made them happen to the characters I invented -- the heroines in my novels and the villains.

(Villains are fun. Like "dear best friend" Aileen in Somebody Book I, Installment B, page 39 -- she's a clever, gossip mongering, liar who deliberately seduces and marries the man my heroine loves. Aileen was based on a loving dear friend of mine who was after JC.)

The real me -- not just my love life, my dreams, dancer-strivings, car crash, being booed onstage, those stories, a few months ago were a merely a source -- I called it my secret place. (Take a peek at the post I wrote March 24th --"Secret Place." It's out of date. The past few months of blogging, posting something every day -- I can't do it as an invented character -- I have to be me.)

So what won't I write about?

Sex. (It's in my novels, not in my blog) I won't invite you into my bedroom, but I'll tease and bouree (a ballerina's fast move on her toes in pink toe shoes) all around the subject.

My own occasional black moods, my fears about dying, growing old -- I'll tell you how I avoid black thoughts, but I won't blog about them. I've learned to turn them around. For instance, say it -- express what's depressing you in a sentence. Then, reverse one of the negative words. Fears about dying = LIVING. (Try another sentence -- old = YOUNG.) It's an easy exercise. Even if you're skeptical, give it a try -- it does turn depressing thoughts around.

I make lists. A list helps me. A list shapes an amorphous black mood into small, handleable chores, specifics you can deal with.

So what else don't I write about?

I won't know till I stub my toe on it. Right now in my daily blogging, I push away the fences, open the gates, pull up the window shade and let light in. And say truthfully, clearly, as unfancy as possible -- what I'm thinking.