“Why do the wrong people travel, travel, travel
When the right peoples stay back home?
What explains this mass mania to leave Pennsylvania
And clack around like flocks of geese.
Demanding dry martinis on the isles of Greece . . .”
– Noel Coward
I wanted to start the new year with what inspires me. Reading, obviously. There is nothing better than to fall down the rabbit hole of someone else’s life. To fly back in time or experience more drama than I would ever want to in “real life.” I’m drawn to people who invent things, discover things previously unknown like the post-it (which I obsess over). People who devote their lives to doing good (but aren’t saints). I am drawn to – and inspired by – women of the past, willingly or not, forging their own path, in spite of society’s disapproval. I think its always great to revisit what inspires us so that we might inspire others.
Love and Marriage
Supposedly go together like a horse and carriage. As I we) start 19 years of marriage I was thinking was a funny institution, at least historically. Take for example marriage in the mid-1800s (where I will be spending most of my time this year). Women were still being bartered in exchange for lands, titles and money. Marriage meant survival for many women of the 19th century. Once married legal she was beneath her husband, his property, legally subordinated to him.
As the same time as women were scrambling to be “taken care of” I don’t’ even have time to go there, as in sometimes she was the nursemaid, housekeeper, nanny and sex slave, the courtesan and the “lowly” prostitutes and all the levels there in were labeled as “fallen women.” But what did they fall from?
An author from the 1840s, W.R. Greg asked did these women “fall” if they were already born on the lowest rung of society? Greg’s POV (and mine) is that we should not disdain them but have compassion for them. At the time a vast majority of women (without family, abused, abandoned, sold, from “low society” had little other choice. Greg compares the courtesan who “sells herself to a lover” to a wife who sells herself to a husband.
Marriage meant “the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended,” writes Stephanie Coontz, in “Marriage, A History.” Marriage was deemed threatened if the wife was given equal rights.
The definition of a cyclone is “windows rotating inward to an area of low atmospheric pressure.” There is no difference from a cyclone and a hurricane or a typhoon for that matter. It just depends on the location. Cyclones occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
You know those travel articles “36 Hours in Austin” or some other city, that is always in the newspapers?
Well here is our 36 hours in Fiji. F n Fiji (a 3-plane ride away destination).
We left Santa Barbara for our private island paradise, looking forward to floating in warm turquoise waters, caressed by gentle breezes, buckets of champagne, and no people. We will catch up on movie screeners, read, write, refresh. Reality was a little different.
We arrived at our island at 7 am, a little cloudy but warm. A bottle of cold bubby and a fresh cooked coconut cake greets us in our bure. Then it was a light breakfast of coconut pancakes and steaming coffee and a swim in the ocean. Then a dip in our 90 degree (perfect) dipping pool just on our deck. Then a massage. Then finished “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,” (strange good book) then started another book immediately and off to lunch. Another dip in the pool, and a nap. At 7 pm we walk 2 minutes to a restaurant on top of a little hill for dinner. We sit. And the island manager comes over iPhone in hand. “A cyclone is set to hit Fiji at the end of the week. We can evacuate you or you are welcome to go underground in the bunker we built for 24 hours with us.”
This isn’t happening. We only get evacuated in Montecito (numerous times.) But no, it is happening. Off to bed early, up for another swim, breakfast, walking around in the warm SUNSHINE, more champagne, PACK. Some fresh delicious lunch (vegan, their chef is amazing), hop on the little plane at 5 for a not very fun flight through dark clouds and rain and circling around the airport on the big island. Then another two flights and back in Santa Barbara
There you go – you can get a lot done in 36 hours in Fiji. I took at least 2 weeks’ worth of IG photos. So, there’s that.
I get asked a lot how I got started doing documentaries and books. My dear friend, teacher and mentor of more years than I will tell you, who taught me and my fellow best friends at the Beverly Hills Playhouse with toughness and kindness and love has started a podcast. Past guests have been David Mamet, Angelica Houston and ME! While you’re driving, tune in – I come in about 17:38 and you can hear us swear (a little) laugh a lot.
I love Acting Schmacting with Jeffrey Tambor | Ep 12. Leslie Zemeckis, let’s play it!
If your BOOK CLUB would like me to visit via Skype, I’m available. It’s been fun coming into your homes, sending specialty FAN cocktailrecipes before for you all to try. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to join in. A questionnaire is on the website to download for your Book Club.
Though only a day and a half in Fiji – I marked off 2 ½ books. I am mad about Rachel Monroe’s voice. Her book “Savage Appetites” is my January recommend. At first, I was honestly hesitant about her inserting herself in the story, until I read beyond the first couple pages then I found myself relating to the author’s journey.
I have always been fascinated by true crime. Growing up (have I?) my parents never censored what I read or watched, so I was exposed to a lot of literature (Hemingway) probably before I was ready for it but have since gone back to it. My parents (my father I think) had a lot of crime anthology books and true crime biographies were hugely popular. Remember Ann Rule’s “The Stranger Beside me?” It’s about Ted Bundy. I devoured these stories which honestly has made me super paranoid and might be why I have violent nightmares always (Just had one the other night where I slit this guy’s throat who was trying to get me with a poison pen. And there was a nice twist at the end. The woman I was trying to save, they were going to put her in a refrigerator, turned out to be in on the whole poison pen thing).
Author Monroe dives deep to explore and discover what society/literature does to women who are the biggest fans of true crime (TV and books). It is our way of dealing with something so horrible to read about it and come to a conclusion. I still remember when some prisoners escaped from – I don’t remember Kentucky? – and I was convinced they were coming to where I lived and would “get me.”
So, I could relate to this book. The author is smart, probing, engaging and I can’t wait to see what she will do next.
I have set a goal of 90 books for the year (which will include research books) we’ll see won’t we.
And what I’m reading or recently read
for complete list, I have everything on Good Reads
as I can’t remember them all!
That’s all the oddness I have time for this month.See ya between the pages. . .