Friday, January 22, 2010

Rainy Friday... Sunny Ambitions.

Dialogue of the day: Marta, my best friend from Barnard College, describing her two new goldfish:
"I finally found a name for them this morning. Buddy Holly."
Me: "Wait. I thought you had two fish."
Marta: "I do. Their names are Buddy and Holly."

Where Gatsby wishes he were today... On this rainy Friday in Los Angeles... He wants to close his eyes and mysteriously reappear in Lancaster where he can run around freely and jump in the water and play endlessly... preferably with bones hanging from the sky!

Today is a rainy day and thus I am baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch! I needed motivation -- because as I trekked to Santa Monica to meet up with the entrepreneur, Mark E. Roberts, it was sleeting and pouring rain and suddenly sunshine was bursting forth! And though our lunch was yummy and he is super intelligent -- a bit of a golden child -- we are meeting next Tuesday to discuss my film. He has produced films before -- with Joshua Jackson and Dennis Hopper. And moved down to LA from SF where he was an electrical engineer for ten years. He told himself he needed a reason -- a real substantial reason for moving down to LA and so he applied to UCLA Business School and he got in. And what was super cool about it -- is that he said he had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he would get in. The truth is -- the belief comes before the reality. It's like I was just telling Marta -- what you believe -- truly believe -- the world believes back.

And so I am excited for our next meeting. To see what he can create together.

And then. I took a HUGE RISK today. And I called a director who called me a few months ago. After I'd written my 50 letters. Okay. To explain -- I sat down in July and I wrote 50 letters to people in the industry with whom I wanted to work. And I felt like Horton Hatches The Egg. I wrote the letters in Echo Park at Downbeat on Friday night. I wrote them in Vermont during my writer's conference last summer. I wrote them in the guest room of my Dad's house in NJ, I stayed in on weekends in LA and wrote them. And what I did was -- I wanted to go beyond just "I am an actress and you are a director" and so "I want to work with you." I researched them -- I found out for example that Rob Reiner has an organization with his wife called, I am Your Child Foundation. And they basically aim to help children from lower income families and I felt a connection -- because my mom was a trailblazer for Head Start in the 70's and 80's. And so, I wrote him about this. And Spielberg about The Shoah Foundation. And I waited and waited, like Horton... And I heard nothing back. Except for the occasional returned letter with the wrong address.

And then, at Lulu's birthday party at Mozza Pizzeria, I got a phone call from a director. An amaaaaaaazing director. One of the best in Hollywood at the moment -- and actually for over the past ten years. And he asked me to call him back and I did and then he did and we kep missing each other. And I called him a few times after that. And left messages. And sent a Christmas card.

And so. Today I called him again. And we shall see. His films are quirky and intelligent and original and his actors are almost always -- in fact I believe they are always nominated for Academy Awards. And I would be honored to work with him.

p.s. -- I am learning the lay out here, so please bear with me :)

I am hatching the egg, so to speak. So -- not a huge day of seeing results -- but a day of planting seeds... And hatching eggs...

And wishing that the sun would shine so that Gatsby can play again!!!

p.s. Down below is an excerpt from my memoir, "Mighty Forces Are Gathering On Your Behalf." Enjoy! If you are reading this... :):):)

Cruel, cruel summer…

I was in the sixth grade then – well, on my way to seventh. It was a sticky, hot Jersey summer. A Cruel, cruel summer as the song goes. And I had this friend Rachel whose mother happened to work for my uncle who was a therapist. So, I remember my parents calling him on the phone to get some advice. And I could just picture the graven look on his face. His mustache seemed to make things more serious, as if it were hiding his true mouth – a frown or a tremble or maybe even a smile – like things will work out.

I held onto this idea just as I held onto my stuffed animal dog-bear – one of those terminally cute, but what was he exactly? Kind of stuffed animals. He was a Gund. I took him with me to Rachel’s townhouse where she and her Mom lived and I held him and somehow felt safer. Rachel and her Mom took me in like the good Jewish broken family they were. And we talked about things.

“How is your Mom doing?” Cheryl managed to get out, her smallish eyes, red on the edges. “She’s with my Dad,” I replied, my fingers digging into Dogbear’s neck. Rachel stared into the mirror and swung her one leg out in front of the other, which created a sort of displeased, chic look which we were all searching for when we were twelve. We wore Benetton and Esprit – but we wanted to look a little upset about everything, pissed off really at the state of things. And Rachel had mastered this look – her head slanting, about to fall off her neck, her feathered hair in place. And her sleeves always pulled up, as if ready for some hard work. Hard work never to be done.

And here I was. In the middle of them – “What would you like for dinner, Kieren?” Cheryl managed over her dust busting in an attempt to clean up the globs of hair her Persian cat had most recently shed. My eyes were puffing up from the fur. “Oh – whatever you have, is fine,” I said, my mouth barely smiling. I secretly loved being taken care of – by another Mother. Something about it felt so special – Cheryl’s Coke and Cheryl’s salad. The other once again. The middle once again. Ahhhh… I was home – just not mine.

And the thing is, Rachel was also super popular then and that’s what I wanted more than anything – to be one of those girls – the popular crowd in junior high is akin to royalty and Rachel was the queen. I was merely a kid who went from roller skating while singing Muppet Movie songs with my decidedly unpopular neighbor, Christine -- to being recruited into the popular crowd – made up of girls from mostly divorced parents, out of Brooklyn, Jewish, and ready to gang up on you at any given moment. Part of me was thrilled; internally swooning, that I was an easy recruit – the thrill of the potential gang-up, the envy over the Esprit outfits they flung around haphazardly, the feeling of being wanted by the best was intoxicating and still… the other part of me longed to be roller-skating. But I had to grow up – I was now twelve and elementary school was a pebble in the dust, a forgotten road. I had arrived. I was going to be cool – I was learning the ways to dress and I was noticing boys noticing me. I was a constant phone talker. I wore Reeboks and quoted from, “We are The World.” I led the girls around school as if they were my pups and I even became President of my class. Also, my Mom was dying.

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