“Fear? When I am up so high? I am afraid, sometimes. But I tell myself I am not afraid. And then I swing. And I swing my fear away.” – Lillian Leitzel
Above it All
In my mind there was (is?) glamour to the circus. A group of outsiders who turn themselves into daredevils, athletes and celebrities. I have been fascinated by Lillian Leitzel for years. A friend who recently passed wrote a book about her. If, I was going to run away and join the circus it would be as a trapeze artist, though technically she was an “aerialist” and not a trapeze artist, though she did swing from the trapeze bar. Lillian was born into a circus family which was almost the only way to be in the circus and to become a world-wide star. She routinely did 100 revolutions (supposedly her tops was 249 at one time) hanging by one arm and propelling herself over and over and over to the delight of the audience below. Each turn essentially dislocated her shoulder, and popped it back into place over and over, until her shoulder was ruined. I almost obsessed with people like dancers, circus people who use their bodies despite the damage. Lillian was a petite little thing (redundant I know) at just under 5’. Threes a charm and her third husband was a trapeze master, Alfred Codona. Both had fierce tempers and the union was feisty. But they were in love. She routinely performed 50 to 60 feet in the air without a net and no safety rigs because she said a net would make her performance seem tame. In Denmark, February, 1931 her rig failed and she crashed 20 (some newspapers say 45) feet – to the ground, there was no netting. However, she smiled and said she did not need a hospital visit. It took two days for her strong, now broken body to give out. She was just 39, which is probably old in circus years. There has been some controversy about her story, and I have one circus gentleman that has contacted me to maybe tell Lillian’s “true tale.” We shall see.
It was time. There is a local trapeze company I have been eyeing for years. One of the little people went several times. Because of a physical challenge I could not go. But, now physically felt right so I signed up for a two hour “adventure?” More like two hours of sheer terror. I can only liken it to the panic one feels – physically – before going out on stage for a live performance, which I felt every night of my one-woman show Staar. Mentally, your brain cannot land on anything, but your body is in revolt, electrified to the nth degree. I was literally shaking. You can’t do this! And it wasn’t that I didn’t feel safe. Unlike Leitzel, there was a net, you’re hooked to the rigging, the guys running it are so kind and gentle! It wasn’t the height that bothered me, and I hate heights. From the moment on the platform (maynbe the worse moment standing on this seemingly flimsy piece of wood, where you must inch all ten toes over the ledge and lean forward into your faith determination takes over. It goes against our instinct to throw ourselves into open space. Of course, I screamed every time (same as I do with skiing jumps). Why did no one else? It is a spontaneous release for me. I could not manage to land on my back or bottom, which is what they try and teach. Like a cat I prefer landing on my feet… hoping for nine lives worth of living in this one life… I managed to hook my knees over the bar and lean back and fly (not far) to be caught by someone swinging on the other pole? I did it! Holy shit!
Speaking of Masks
Our first social event of all vaccinated guests felt so good, so normal. We needed to see people in person and talk and laugh an eat cake. Getting those two shots has been freeing.
Know all those lists everyone made of things I’m going to do during lockdown? Well . . . I haven’t tapped since my one woman show and I’m back. Got a piece of flooring and found classes on line. Oh the tippity tap makes me happy happy happy. And I figure its extra exercise. It was one of those things, along with Italian I said “I am going to get back to!” Done! Now I’m Shuffling off to Buffalo daily . . . Think of the outfits I’ll post.
The young storytellers turned in their final pieces now I am having professional actors record them. Stay tuned…they’ll be on my IG and they are good and diverse and I’m so proud to know these writers. I’m taking a break from the program probably until Spring when, if it works for Santa Barbara Film Festival we shall convene in person. OMG!!!
Made a couple more trips to Palm Springs before it gets hotter than Hades. A group of teens for a birthday, weather perfect!!! Swimming, eating so much sugar, the girls might still e in a coma and I better go check.
Get ready to load your beach bags, I’ve read more goodies. Yellow Wife is a must read. Based on a true place and true persons. Born on a plantation, Pheby is protected by her position until she is unexpected sent to a notorious jail in Richmond, Virginia. To survive she must walk a thin line with the cruel Jailor. Its really a great read! Loved Finding Tessa, a thriller told from two POVs, Tessa who is missing and Jace who is suspected of her disappearance. Great twist mid-book. Far Gone is another thriller. Hannah a 14-year-old who is high shows up for her babysitting job (every parent’s nightmare) and just manages to escape a killer who shows up and shoots the parents (okay, so maybe that is every parent’s nightmare.) Seven Days in June, two former lovers, both bestselling authors are accidentally reunited, but cane they overcome a whole lot of mess past, pain, self-inflicted pain and a new tragedy?
Burlesque and Pinup Emojis
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 cocktail recipes before for you all to try, email me at [email protected] if you want me to join in. A questionnaire is on the website to download for your Book Club.
And what I’m reading or recently read for complete list, I have everything on Good Reads as I can’t remember them all!
Excuse the typos . . . the bane of my existence
See ya between the pages next month which is the month of the National Holiday . . . Age of Aquarius (that’s your hint)