Saturday, July 27, 2013


Emily complains about her typos, and errors, and explains that everything she writes is proof-read by Fran Weil, and usually, also, read by John.

Em says, "You are a mean proofreader, John. Why are you such a stickler?"

John explains that he is constantly reading scripts for new projects and slowly, carefully reads every word. Together the Cullums calculate -- guesstimate --how many scripts John has read in the course of his career.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I don't like labels.

Actually, I think that most of the time labels are  ignored, confusing, deceptive -- sometimes harmful -- seriously harmful, even poisonous.

The  labels you put on yourself, labels you put on other people, labels that  are used over and over by us, by scientists, and researchers, are  affecting, infecting, eating away our common sense and sensibility.

One of my magazines, "The Week," is open on to page 46, where I've been reading about Adam  Alter's new book, ''Drunk Tank Pink" that laboriously explains how  labels, such as "under-privileged," "working class," "baby boomer," also labels like "black," white," or "Latino," are prejudicing us. The author goes on  and on about experiments which prove how labels affect teachers, and how  that affects-infects their students.

Hey, I agree. But of course, I realize that labels can be helpful -- hey, if you're shopping labels tell  you the price,  warranty, how to clean whatever it is. And help to define whatever it is -- categorize it so you can phone Amazon and they can access it and put it on your credit card, dammit-- and --

Dammit -- to hell with Amazon!

I'm  biting my tongue, I know what labels have done to me -- I'm dying to write a letter to this author, to his  publisher, to the damn magazine that published the damn article -- blurting out what I wrote in one of  my novels, "Karen of Troy"-- yelling, shouting ...
      " DON'T LABEL ME—you're  killing me with your senior citizen, golden age, over the hill  classifications—don't put me in a category and assign to me the  category's limitations, or tell me what prowess, what heart rate, what  weight suits me/ my age/ my frame, or prescribe the yearly checkups,  those marvelous latest newest procedures that reveal my deterioration --  don't box me, bag me, limit me, fence me in with death-doom statistics  -- when you pin your name-tags on my breast and assign me my costume,  and foretell my future, you're stunting my growth, you're killing me."

I read this to my husband, John Cullum, who said, "This will be a good blog post, if you can get a better ending, Em."

Okay. Okay, O K A Y -- there's a value to a label on a bottle
that labeled "Poison," but NO value, nothing helpful, nothing good comes from having any labels stuck on me.

I know from my life, my career, that if I'm labeled, if I let lable-itis get  me -- I'm done, finished. If I want to communicate and create I've  got to go naked -- yes -- naked, un-labeled, in no category, unadorned,  undefined.

Naked? Yep! It's chilly sometimes, and  silly -- you're vulnerable. I can catch a cold, or feel very old, but I can't be me unless I'm free -- I've got to be free.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I came across this film clip. It hit me, touched me.

Every day I'm ruffled, peeved, angry, yes, and pained because of what we -- we the people -- are doing to President Barack Obama -- praising him, putting him down, saying we like him, but he's failing, because all those things he passionately wants to do for us, he can't do.

The Republicans/Tea Partiers (whatever you call them), are committed to stopping him, and they're doing it -- stopping him, fencing him in, making certain that whatever he mentions as urgent will not be helped, or fixed.

Do I think it's race prejudice? Yes, and reverberations from the pre-election days when Romney was buying himself the candidacy, and yes, yes, even as I put Romney down, I sneer at my thoughts that make me one more prejudiced person who's absolutely certain I'm right, the other guys are wrong. 

This clip is from a 2010 benefit for "Friends of the Environment," a group from Abaco, Bahamas, that's been raising money since 1988, to improve the fragile environment of the Abaco Islands.

I never heard of "Friends of the Environment," and we don't get to hear each of the well-known participants, but oh, what marvelous performers -- they lifted me out of my negative feelings -- what they sang continues to ring and sing in my mind and lift me up.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Right off the bat Emily wants to know what John thinks of actor, writer, producer Harvey Fierstein.

John describes the reading he did recently, of Fierstein's new play, "Casa Valentina," along with his friends Len Cariou, and John Glover, and reveals that Fierstein is also playing an important role in his own play.

Performing a few lines for Em, it sounds as of it's a project with a future on Broadway.