Saturday, October 30, 2010


What do I know? I've got a lot of opinions, but can you trust what I say? What are my credentials?

Age 11, on Saturdays, I sold blouses at a woman's shop. At 12, I cashiered at a men's store. I was Typist-File-Clerk at Hearst Publications, mostly alphabetizing card files -- my typing was hunt & peck, 60 words per minute with errors. Later, I became advertising director for Dance Magazine. I was good at my job. They wanted to give me a raise, and asked for a copy of my college degree. (I had to quit -- I was fifteen, claiming to be a twenty-one-year-old graduate.)

I worked for Forest Neighborhood Settlement House, teaching dance for $2 an hour. That job paid for my own dance lessons. In the summer, at a nearby park, I supervised playground activities. Every afternoon, when I arrived, dozens of kids raced to greet me. I wasn't good at sports, but very good when it came to "pretend" games and putting on playlets. Alas, I had to resign when my boss gave me a form to fill out from the N.Y. Board of Education.

My next job was helping a potter every morning -- kneading clay, cleaning the wheel and the kiln. With my earnings, I paid for ballet and modern dance classes. I finally got a work-scholarship at the famous Humphrey-Weidman Studio Theater. I took all the morning classes. Afternoons and evenings, I mopped floors, scrubbed toilets, ran the lighting equipment for people who rented the place -- Herbert Bergoff, actor/teacher/director/husband of actress, Uta Hagen; and Jean Erdman, a Martha Graham dancer who'd been a girlfriend (lover probably) of Mark Ryder, who later became my dance partner and first husband.

We'd met at a summer resort where I was paid a grand total of $125, as costume helper and apprentice dancer. That fall, I got my first and only professional job, performing with the Weidman company on a four-week tour. Back in NYC, while stuffing envelopes with Weidman's brochures, I copied his card file. It was a list of colleges where Weidman had performed on previous tours.

I put together a brochure, and booked a tour for myself and Mark --he was a "name," Graham's leading dancer (and lover probably). We called ourselves the Dance Drama Duo.

We got a first "booking," a $250 fee for performing an evening of choreography. Then, we choreographed the program to perform. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The booking definitely got us going.

We got married. We were earning a living that supported us in the un-fancy style to which I have never become un-accustomed.

Living unfancily involved other skills. We rented a loft in an old factory, plastered, painted, sanded floors for our own dance studio; taught classes and rented our studio to other dancers for 99 cents per hour. I learned to use automatic typewriters, booked Dance Drama Duo, then our company tours -- made women and men's costumes, learned to drive, a car, and later a truck with a trailer.

And, I learned to choreograph, record-tape-splice music and do the bookkeeping. The most difficult skill was learning to be a boss, director, and get the dancers, stage managers, designers, chauffeurs, agents, PR people I later hired, to do more, do it better.

And now I write.

In 5 novels and 7 plays, I created background, family trees, and credentials for more than a 100 characters, with careers in teaching, movies, fund-raising, acting, lawyering, doctoring, running newspapers, restaurants, real estate, house-building and renovations.

And now, every day, I tackle a different subject, and write essays for my blog. Sometimes, I know right away all I need to know. Often I do a lot of research.

Hey, you are probably wondering -- does Em really have the credentials? She's got a lot of opinions about political issues, war and peace, isolationism, job-hunting, making it, writing, acting, dancing, art, education, medical stuff, exercise. And cooking, marriage, lovers, divorce, sex. (I'm working on a post about sex for next week.)

Gee, I think I've got more than enough life experience, and jobs, and technologies -- all the credentials -- perfect credentials for being an opinionated commentator.

Friday, October 29, 2010


A good friend sent me these pictures. She said, "With all that's going on in the world, I thought you'd enjoy seeing something positive."

January of this year, 2010,
the weather stayed so cold
in St. Louis, Missouri and Alton, Illinois
that the bald eagles were cruising over houses
in hopes of a quick meal.

They could not access fish
that were at the bottom of the river
and had gathered together.

A beautiful cold morning it was -- January 2010.
Eagles were motionless on the fence posts.

Some kind souls gathered fish
and started feeding
the eagles that were huddled on the shore.

Once the fish were thrown,
the eagles did not seem to fear the good Samaritans.

The word spread fast!
Soon a lot of eagles were vying for the fish.

The photographer didn't need a zoom lens.
He was maybe just ten feet away!

Here are the men who were feeding the eagles.
The eagles didn't mind them standing so close.

As you probably know,
it was not too long ago
the American Bald Eagle was an endangered species.

I'm glad my friend sent me these pictures. The eagles, the men feeding them, the photographer shooting the eagles close up -- all of it tells a story that makes me smile each time I look at it, and I've looked at quite a few times.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Here's some advice I got ten days ago. I planned to publish it but didn't, because it doesn't cover all the things -- the fifty, the hundred things you'll have to do if you discovered bed bugs in your home or office.

<---- Professional Bed Bug Control Kit for Amateurs -- that's what you'd need. In the phone book, and Online, there are Websites with instructions about what to wash, clean, spray, and if you are overwhelmed by the job, there are lists of bed bug exterminators.

Bed Bugs have become a big business.

"We have friends here in our community and one of their sons is an entomologist (insect expert), and he has been telling them that there is an epidemic of bed bugs now occurring in America. Recently I have heard on the news that several stores in NYC have had to close due to bed bug problems, as well as a complete mall in New Jersey.

"He says that since much of our clothing, sheets, towels, etc. now comes from companies outside of America, (sad but true), even the most expensive stores sell foreign clothing from China, Indonesia, etc. The bed bugs are coming in on the clothing, as these countries do not consider them a problem.

"He recommends that if you buy any new clothing, even underwear and socks, sheets, towels, etc. that you bring them into the house and put them in your clothes dryer for at least 20 minutes. The heat will kill them and their eggs.

"DO NOT PURCHASE CLOTHES AND HANG THEM IN THE CLOSET FIRST. It does not matter what the price range is of the clothing, or if the outfit comes from the most expensive store known in the U.S. They still get shipments from these countries and the bugs can come in a box of scarves or anything else for that matter. That is the reason why so many stores, many of them clothing stores, have had to shut down in NYC and other places.

All you need is to bring one item into the house that has bugs or eggs, and you will go crazy trying to get rid of them. He travels all over the country as an adviser to many of these stores, as prevention and after they have the problem."

I read this to my husband, JC, who is in a Broadway show.
Bed Bugs are in the hotels in the area. JC hangs his clothes in a theater dressing room. The costume department provides the cast with socks, shirts, underwear, as well as costumes. Bed Bugs have created a huge mess at Lincoln Center.

Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown, flattened, oval, wingless and have microscopic hairs.

When JC got home from the theater, we put everything he'd been wearing in the dryer, on HOT. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Dear Mr. Glenn Beck,

One of my favorite holidays is almost upon us -- it's a perfect time to send you holiday greetings in a fan letter.

When I sent you a fan letter last month, some of my friends were surprised. They wondered why Em, a strong supporter of our current White House, would be writing a "Fan" letter to you. A "Fan" to me, is someone (like me) who observes closely, is fascinated, by the growth, the deepening ideas, and ideals of a celebrity -- the development of a firebrand politician such as you.

Your concern with the future of America is stronger than ever. You scheduled a "Restore America's Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on a date that was precisely 47 years after Dr. Martin Luther King made his "I Have a Dream" speech there. What a bold, profoundly significant concept that was, Mr. Beck -- gathering your followers to stand together where a great Black American stood and spoke for his people -- and there you were, "restoring America back to what America was."

Benefactor, leader, potential president -- that's what most of your fans think, as you are preaching, teaching, sharing truths that some people, perhaps, don't find solidly, reliably, impeccably truthful. But because they are YOUR truths, your ideas stand tall -- tall as giant Sequoias in Yosemite Park -- tall and surrounding you and your devoted followers, who probably can't see the forest, for the trees.

(To me the forest's so chock-full of trees that there may not seem to be a world out there and beyond, but there is -- I live out there.)

Anyway, there's more than enough space for you and your followers, Mr. Beck -- conservative Americans and Mormons, who believe in what the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), call the "White Horse Prophecy."

You don't seem quite as Mormon-ish as Mitt Romney, but I'm sure you know all about that prophecy -- you've been a Mormon for ten years.

Though the White House is pursuing and fighting for what the country needs -- what's absolutely important to me, and constitutional -- on your Fox News TV show, you recently told your audience "We are at the place where the Constitution hangs in the balance."

My goodness, that's what was said in 1840 by the founder of the Mormon church. He said, "When the Constitution hangs by a thread, elders of the Mormon Church will step in -- on the proverbial white horse -- to save the country."

And when Brigham Young became the leader of the Mormons, he proclaimed, "When the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the 'Mormon' Elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it."

Those are scary words.

Also, after Obama was elected, during an interview with Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, a Mormon, you said: "I heard Barack Obama talk about the Constitution and I thought, we are at the point or we are very near the point where our Constitution is hanging by a thread."

Maybe because Halloween weekend is approaching, and there's black and white spiders and skeltons hanging everywhere -- your "Constitution hanging by a thread" stuff sounds downright spooky.

Hey, are you revving up a ... what?

A rebellion?

A civil war, led by Mormons and your other followers who see themselves as defenders of the constitution?

Well, Happy Halloween to you and your devotees Mr. Glenn Beck!

I think I'll carve my pumpkin into a Glenn B. trophy -- half-moon, toothy, Beck smile. -- triangle Beck eyes lit up by a flame-proofed candle inside -- sit my pumpkin on my 4th floor window so he can look down and around at New York City -- the wild noisy parade this weekend, all those "sinful" gays, and irreligious folk naively celebrating.

Oh yes, indeed, I'm fascinated by the deepening, expanding, swelling ideas of Glenn B., celebrity, presidential hopeful. But Em the Fan happens to be a staunch supporter of the White House no matter what season it is.

Off with my costume. My Jack-O'-Lantern is a joke. 'I'm profoundly repelled by your ideas and ambitions, Mr. Glenn Beck.

Sincerely yours,
EM of Em's Talkery

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I read a fascinating rip-apart, tear-down, sassy-angry, ruefully-amazed attack on Chick Literature versus Dude Literature.

I hope, none of this matters to you. If you are thinking of writing a book, or if you've already started writing a book, skip this post.

The less you try to fit yourself into a category, these days, the better you will do, especially if you are hoping to get what you're writing published.

The author of the article that I read in Daily Beast, Laura Fraser, is snappy and amused, because a book she wrote and published, "All Over the Map," a memoir of her family and growing up, was more or less dismissed as "Chick Lit." It's a term publishers use, whereas a man's book, "Freedom," by Jonathan Franzen, about a man's relationship to his family, gets raves for being "profound," and is becoming a must-read bestseller.

Why isn't it called "Dude Lit?" Fraser wonders, as she wickedly coins another possible name -- "Dick Lit" for Franzen's book, for any male's introspective novel about growing up.

Fraser observes that these days, men (dudes), are saluted for describing their escape from the cocoon, while female (chick) revelations, about their struggle with family relationships, are compared to the current bestseller -- a prime example of Chick Lit -- "Eat Play, Love, " by Elizabeth Gilbert..

Fraser calls the book "EPL."

She seems to be caught in the male versus female stuff that's been in the air for a year or two, like a strong perfume." (I'm borrowing Fraser's image.) Laura Fraser is sardonic and peevish, because Chick Lit is expected to have references to Hermes pocketbooks and name-brand shoes, ala Sex in the City.

Of course Dude Lit (i.e Dick Lit), does often tell/re-tell the same story again, as the great male writers, Saul Bellows, Norma Mailer, and John Updike do in their various books that Fraser mischievously calls Prick Lit."

I say forget it, skip it. the only way you can write is to be you, and not try to write for women, or men, or chicks, dudes, Sex in the City heroines, or pricks.

(I met and flirted with Norman Mailer at an arty party. I picture Norman Mailer grinning, enjoying the term.)

I am advising author Laura Fraser (and any of you you has a book you've dreamed of writing) -- don't think chick-dude-dick or prick -- don't think Lit or literature.

Just write, produce the pages. Don't judge, just tell us the story. And take Em's advice, even if you're a dude. Even if you are an actor or actress -- be whatever, whoever you are.

Monday, October 25, 2010


<----Barbara Boxer, as a blimp, floating over California. in a GOP commercial.

The Republicans found a new, clever, brilliantly nasty Public Relations guy. His name is Fred N. Harris.

I don't want to publicize him and make him more famous. In a recent Time Magazine, there was a centerfold photo and article about him titled, "GOP's Hottest Mad Man"

Talented and Hollywood creative, this "Hot" PR guy's brand of irreverent marketing is shaping up the GOP's best year since 2004, when we re-elected Bush.

The Hot PR guy has been fixing PR problems for "I-gotta-win-candidates" if they're ready, willing, and able to break every rule on their way to an elected office.

His "PR art" includes memorably clever ads: California Senator Barbara Boxer talking about what she's accomplished as a Senator, while her head swells up into a blimp-size balloon. Ben Quayle, (son of former Vice President Dan Quayle), declaring "Obama is the worst president in History. "John McCain, discussing home invasions and immigration with an Arizona Sheriff, saying, "fix the dang fence!"

Also, the Hot PR expert helped Delaware's Tea Party Senatorial Candidate, Christine O'Donnell, get a million dollars in free publicity, when Christine announced, "I'm not a witch." It was risky. The witch idea may linger, but risk-taking is what corporate advertisers do. Don't we have a lovable gecko promoting insurance, time machines promoting diet soda, Walt Whitman selling Levi's Jeans?

The GOP's Hot P.R. guy not only distorts reality, he's telling out-and-out lies.

Lies, disrespect, and insults used to be taboo in politics.

But now, expressing yourself, saying whatever you feel, is apparently here to stay -- it's happening again and again, and happening everywhere. (Remember Congressman Joe Wilson, yelling "You lie" as Obama addressed Congress? I'll never forget House Minority Leader Boehner's insulting remarks before the Healthcare voting began, and both these men are respected, beloved by their constituents.)

So why shouldn't the No-Sayers hire a fearless PR guy, who has an instinct for shocking, attention-getting commercials?

Democrats have not been fighting back on the same level, but maybe, probably they will -- they'll need to in 2012.

Oh my ... this is sad. Will America ever recover? Can we recover?

A Congress that won't debate pressing, life-and-death issues is changing the nation.

The only thing you can do -- you MUST DO -- is hold onto your common sense, your own clear, stern, sense, of right and wrong.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Emily reviews "Scottsboro Boys" -- the preview performance that she saw at Broadway's Lyceum Theater.

John Cullum, knowing that Emiy can be very critical, explains his part, as the Interlocutor -- the only white man in the show.

Her review is what producers call a "money" review -- a summary that sells tickets. According to Emily, Scottsboro is dazzling. Having seen it when it was first staged at the Vineyard Theater, and liked it/loved it then, Emily describes the way the cast has grown into a brilliant company. "These guys are great, fantastic," Emily says, as she compares them to a performance she saw earlier in the day --the NYC Ballet performing two of Balanchine's classics.

Then, she focuses on John's performance. And goes into detail that delights him -- her knowledge of the show as it was a few months ago, makes her comments extra special.