Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Cookie Whore

Yesterday after work I took part in a First Person Arts storytelling event. First Person is a local arts group now in its second decade and is dedicated to the storytellers, artists who tell their own stories, comic, tragic and in-between. The sharing can be as familiar as stand-up comedy, it can be musical, it can be one actor playing multiple parts. Political, satirical, complex or simple story-telling. However it's done, it's compelling and deeply affecting, as you begin to see and hear the similarities between yours and someone else's story, someone who may be your polar opposite.

The First Person Market was a venue for artists and craftspeople to sell their wares, hopefully raising some money for First Person, I imagine. There were four storytellers (myself among them) who charged a dollar apiece to tell one of three personal stories to whoever sat down at the table opposite them. Among mine was one I called "The Cookie Whore" (for reasons which will be obvious). It was quite popular -- so I thought I'd share it with you here:

No, not me... Suzanne Pleshette
Back in the late 80's and early 90's I was living in Los Angeles, whence I'd moved to be a screen writer. I even went so far as to take a class in screenwriting at the American Film Institute. I finally came to the conclusion that my real passion was acting, so I set out on a years-long search for parts, an agent, a Screen Actor's Guild card. In between, of course, I had to earn a living, so I did temp work. I sold crafts. 

And I became a cater waiter, working for a staffing outfit that sent only the best waiters to only the best events. I wound up working often for a client in Beverly Hills, a woman who worked tirelessly year-round for a major charity, and who threw numerous parties, dinners, banquets and bashes, all culminating in a yearly event so big it took several days and involved the proverbial Who's Who of Hollywood royalty. Her husband had been head of a major studio and now was just a billionaire. In their fabulous (and I don't use the word lightly) Beverly Hill mansion I served the likes of Sean Connery and Michael Caine, passed shrimp puffs to Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra, heard Streisand sing and... met The Cookie Whore.

It was a luncheon for fashion designer Arnold Scaasi (whose archives and 100 of whose designs were acquired by the Boston Museum of Fine Art), attended by a bevy of big-name Hollywood ladies, among them one of my favorites, Suzanne Pleshette. She had starred in "The Bob Newhart Show", got pecked to death in Hitchcock's "The Birds" and was romanced in "Rome Adventiure" by Troy Donahue who was, frankly, prettier than she was. Most recently, before her death a few years ago, she brought her smoke-and-whiskey voice to "Will and Grace" as Karen's mother.

So I was cleaning up in the dining room after the luncheon. Everyone else had moved into another part of the house and I was in the dining room, clearing up the remaining odd dishes, napkins and platters of food, among which were about a dozen cookies, left on a large silver tray. There were chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin and they looked really, really good. As I picked up the tray and started for the kitchen I heard that unmistakable voice behind me: "Can I have another cookie?"

I turned and it was Suzanne, looking gorgeous in a summer-weight suit and heels. I said (to myself) "Of course, Suzanne Pleshette, you can have anything you want." "Sure," I said -- to her --and proffered the tray. She took one, then two, then a third. She looked at me and without blinking said "I'm such a cookie whore!" Then she thanked me and walked away.

Nor surprisingly I've never forgotten that. And even now, almost two decades later, I can still hear that voice: "I'm such a cookie whore..." And whenever I bite into an especially good oatmeal-raisin cookie, I hold it up in a kind of toast and say "This is for you, Suzanne Pleshette!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Terra Incognita

I recently had the experience of driving through a small town and catching a glimpse of a house I would swear I had been in years ago. I knew I hadn't, but just for a second I was reminded in a very visceral way of a place I remembered from decades ago.

In any case, I've started writing poetry again because... well, because I need some sort of creative outlet and the job takes an awful lot out of me -- enough that I can't do more than think about writing a whole play or starting a new painting. (Which I fully intend to do... after I finish the painting I already have started.) So here's my latest effort. I thought I'd share, in case this has happened to you, too.

Terra Incognita

You are in a town you don’t know,
driving through, terra incognita:
Here be monsters --
yet familiar somehow,
when you see it: a house.
A house you somehow know.

You know its architecture, the bones of it,
the geography of its rooms,
the way the floors slant, and where
there is need of paint.

You’ve spent time there: weekends,
late nights drinking, smoking,
long, hilarious talks with friends
whose children are now married.
You went to the weddings.
People, too, who have forgotten you by now,
and people who have died.

It smells of wine and simmering soup,
also the salt air of a coastal town,
though landlocked and forbidden to you now.

You want to go in,
to see if you are right
about the rooms, the rugs, the water stains…
But suppose you do:

All those people will be there too,
the voices and the shades,
drinking, murmuring, staring at you.
It would only upset them
to see you again so suddenly.
And what would be the point of that?

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Humans Come Home

by Kona the Burmese Cat

Kona, with attitude
Being a cat Myself i can always take care of myself for a awhile if I need to if the humans leave out enuff food and water and all -- but when its a couple days or more than that, evena  week well thats a diffrent story. like this last week whenmy humans Chris and the tall one Fred they went away to someplace called Pee Town i think, in another state Massa Chew Sits

It was a big deal, they packed big bags full of there cloze and took some food and everything and left me alone with a big bowl of food and some water and there friend Tom - who is tall also like the tall one Fred -- Tom came by to clean my box and make sure i had enuff treets and food and all and bring in the mail, which i could have done i bet.

nyway the were talking about it and it sounds like they had a really good time, eating and resting and shopping becauses the weather was so lousy up in Pee Town most of the time, so they ate lobstars and clam roles and all kinds of fish which made me jellous since I love my fish and shrimps and all. In between the tall one Fred went shopping and got a couple new shirts from some dezyner guy (is that how you spell dezyner please let me know?

Sunset at Low Tide
The human Chris bought a bracelet made of Burmese jade and i'm a burmese cat which i don't think is a considence (is that how you spell considence please let me know? The tall one Fred also got some new shoes and fancy underwere from this placse that use to be AllAmerican boy and sells lots of cloze that he sez are too 17ish for him which i don't understand what that means but i think it means he would look silly.  He also got a bag of Gay Coffee. Yes i said Ga y Coffee and on the bag is a picture of a guy with a silly espression on his face and he's saying Wake up Mary! i guess it's  real coffee.

 They took lots of other picstures too including one of this big painting on a garage near the edge of Pee Town that they call the Bad Marilyns i don't know why, but here's the picture, you decide. The tall one fred went to the beach when the sun was out and took pictures of the sunset and other stuff. he's is an artist so the picstures come out very pretty i think but i'm just a cat but you decide. He also went to the Pee town art Alliance and took a life class which  is where humans go to draw pictures of other humans naked. one of his drawings turned out pretty good.

My kind of restaurant
Mostly they talk about how much they rested and had such a fine time and enjoyed there time off. Meanwhile i was here all by my self eccept for that one night i had a few of the local kittys over for some treats and kitty chit chat. We had to keep it down. i did miss them tho, and i'm glad there home now since I can get my food and treats on time and fresh water whcih is very important. I like it that my humans are rested and had a good time but as they say on Tv "I have needs!"

that's all for now. Luv your friend Kona the burmese Kitty