Sunday, November 30, 2008
Milk is an extraordinary film--and an important one. In an age where Sarah Palin dares to say that the true America is the "little pockets, the small towns, where everyone is the same" which, in her way of thinking and speaking, seems like her particular code words for intolerance, a film likes this explores and challenges prejudice. Penn is astonishing, the movie is heartscorching, and the lines were around the block an hour before show time.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
and I peppered Melissa with questions, which are below.
1. What led you to write a book about friendship and what made you decide on the friendship pairs that you did?
When I went through a particularly rough patch a few years ago, I really came to appreciate the joy, laughter and moral support that my girlfriends provided. While I had always felt my friendships were important, it occurred to me that as we get older with more responsibilities – husbands, homes, children, jobs – that we might need to be reminded to take a little time out to stay in touch with those we hold dear. So, the idea was to create a way to honor the wonderful women we hold dear – and the book was born.
When I was researching my last book, How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life, I learned a bit about Audrey’s friendship with Sophia Loren. From there, I researched who was friends with who. Also, I tried to choose relationships that represent the various types of friendships we all encounter. For example, Lucy Ball and Vivian Vance as co-workers, Katharine Hepburn as a mentor to Lauren Bacall and Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds as a mother/daughter friendship. There were some friendships that perhaps did not have enough information to become a chapter and so you can find them as smaller stories throughout the book.
2. What surprised you about these friendships? (I know I was surprised by the depth of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynold's relationship.)
Overall, I would say I was surprised at how normal these friendships were. Certainly, these were women who led extraordinary, public lives – and yet privately, I think they looked for the same things in a friendship that we all do – companionship, compassion and laughter. They rallied together in times of tragedy and celebrated together when the time was right. They gave each other professional and personal advice.
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds are a very interesting pair – not only because they are both fascinating and seasoned women, but also because they have managed to go through so much together and still keep laughing. There is something especially beautiful about family members who become friends.
3. Were there any famous friendships you didn't include that you wished that you had?
I wish I could have known more about the friendship between Vivien Leigh and Katharine Hepburn, but both were fairly private about each other. I also considered including a chapter about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford – perhaps the ultimate frenemies. There are some ridiculous and amazing stories there! They worked hard at getting under each other’s skin. But in the end, the book was a celebration of friendship, and so I decided to leave them out.
4. What do you think this book says about modern day friendships, in relationship to some of these very classy, vintage ones?
Perhaps it comments on the fact that no matter what the social culture, era or lifestyle, female friendships don’t change all that much. For me, this is a very reassuring fact. We need each other and often for the same reasons our grandmothers and great-grandmothers needed their friends.
5. What is in the works now for you?
I am working on a few ideas. Writing Getting Along Famously, I was fascinated to learn that Lucille Ball became not only the first female head of a studio, but also the largest studio in Hollywood at the time. She made landmark shows like Mission: Impossible and Star Trek possible. And so I have been looking into what other female firsts might be worth learning about.
6. Was there a question I should have asked that I didn't?
Nothing comes to mind! It was a pleasure!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's all that anxiety from the election, and being run-down, and overworked and not exactly taking the best of care of myself but driving myself to do more, be more, etc. etc.
Open Letter to Barack Obama from Alice Walker
Nov. 5, 2008
Dear Brother Obama,
You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.
I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.
I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.
A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
In Peace and Joy,