The Year of Saying Yes!
Martin Sage coproduces the Thalia Follies at Symphony Space. This month the theme is food.
"Would you write something for it?" Martin asks.
I write lyrics to "How About You?":
I miss the fudge at Schrafft's,
How about you?
And Luchow's roasted pork
Ribs at Ruby Foo's...
"Why don't you sing it?" Martin says.
Rehearsals begin with actors I've paid to see. The big night arrives! We share a dressing room! It's time for my Broadway debut! So what if it's Broadway and 95th Street! There are two shows, 6:30 and 8:30. I print the lyrics on a doily in case I forget them. During the second show, I'm so excited that my daughter's in the audience, I forget to look at the doily. I flub my lines. It doesn't matter. I read somewhere that when asked why he chose to spend his life on the stage, Sir Laurence Olivier replied by clapping. I get it.
Bennington's low-residency MFA writing program asks me to teach for one semester. I step out of the car into wall-to-wall faculty meetings. The program is beyond intense. It will be complete submersion for ten solid 14-hour days, with five 40-plus-page student packets arriving each month.
That first night I creep into bed. How can I get out of this? Say someone in the family had a heart attack? What am I doing here? I want to go home. I can't go home. In the morning, terror is replaced by raw excitement that doesn't let up for ten days of the most exciting, endorphin-fueled work I've ever done. The students are dazzling. I could easily have missed out on that. Last year I would have.
A Blind Date with a Famous Man
It's been decades since I've been on a blind date. The last one I had, I married. I know and like the Blind Date's work. And I have to say yes, yes?
He picks me up in my lobby. We're both wearing blue and white gingham shirts! He's funny! Cute, too, even if I'm taller and outweigh him. At brunch he gets sad talking about his late wife. He won't eat. Walking me home, he asks, "What are you afraid of?"
"I'm afraid I'll never see a man in his underwear again," I say.
Right there in the street, he yanks the tail of his belt and starts to unzip. I scream. He laughs and says, "Now, if you hadn't yelled so loud, you would have seen a man in his underwear."
This, I think, is a man I could like. We take the long way home, walking miles through Central Park. He raves about his new TV equipment, then offers to come up and check out mine.
Examining the jerry-rigged setup, he says: "Do you have some time?" We walk more miles to a Best Buy, where he discusses my case with a salesman. Then we walk more miles back and he writes it all down.
Three days later, an e-mail arrives. The Blind Date breaks up with me before we hold hands. If I ever upgrade my TV, I'll know just what to get.