How I shake-off the headlines…



Love the shimmy-sway, but a vodka martini for breakfast would be so befuddling. Instead I dance till I calm in the kitchen, or, after I’ve read the Washington Post or the New York Times I have been known to take a very long walk.

Who knew the news would be the spur for a ten pound weight loss?

Mostly I try to focus on writing, but even then current events find their way in.


If you look up the word chatelaine in hopes of finding its synonym on the infernal Internet you will find a lot of rubbish. Things like doxy, sugar, mistress, girlfriend, or sweetheart scroll down the screen, as I said, just nonsense. A chatelaine is a woman in charge of running a very large establishment, like a castle. She possesses the keys (both literal and metaphorical) to the kingdom. I was the chatelaine of the studio. I devoted my time there, in service of, with the burden of responsibility for — I kept its secrets and promoted its interests — and yet I felt I wasn’t really working. Working, for me, meant making a movie. Singular. It meant rising before dawn and spending all day logging a few minutes of cinematic action on 35mm to 70mm cellulose triacetate plastic with a hundred of my best friends, my film family. At the studio I took meetings. I approved policies. I made sure we adapted to new technologies and new methods of entertainment distribution. I worried over profits, losses, and taxes. Able assistants managed my schedule, gatekeepers vetted all incoming calls, I slept late, and I was never on set. Life in a bubble makes you want to pop.

What am I getting at? Let’s turn our attention to Lilith, an ancient figure pre-dating Eve, not created from a rib but formed from the exact same stardust as Adam. Lilith wouldn’t submit to Adam’s original-male demands and so she hotfooted it out of Eden and had a high time (possibly in a celestial realm) with an archangel named Sam. Thereafter she was associated with the transgressive, the demonic, and the vampiric, all because she didn’t ken to subservience. Women who wield power have had a bad rap since the beginning of time.

In my own time I have placated, seemingly demurred, smoothed, smiled, and been deemed maternal —while my step-children and son could easily dispute that — during which I quietly controlled a work force that spanned the globe and turned out a product, that, while earning billions, entertained all. It was a good run. Do I have regrets and remorse? Did I eff up? Of course I did. Consider this, in a hypothetical pie chart of my soul it wouldn’t be all happy thoughts and an unbounded faith in my own decisions.

If you think the same standards exist for men and women who toil in the public sphere you have only to look at our present political situation to be disabused of this notion mighty damn quick. In deference to readers in the future I will briefly summarize what is no doubt etched in history. A woman ran for president in the United States, while a foreign adversarial power unleashed a storm of artfully disguised propaganda to denigrate her through social media. Despite that, and after having spent her life in public service, she carried the popular vote; and lost the election through foreign interference, voter suppression, and the manipulation of the Electoral College. She lost the presidency to the foreign power’s patsy; a mobbed-up real estate developer, so blatantly dishonest, so venal, and so visibly unhinged his masters gloated at putting one over on democracy. Think of that, she lost the presidency through the commission of a crime against the United States of America. For years the very people he was screwing propped up the faux president, they were referred to as “the base” and the senators and congressmen who could have stopped treason in its tracks deferred to the brainwashed. Powerful men are always credited with virtues they don’t possess. Powerful women are damned despite them.

Which is not to say I had been tasked with preserving the planet for future generations, or ensuring peace and prosperity for my country. Nevertheless, I took my studio job seriously, and at a certain point, I found myself wanting to hotfoot it out of the administrative realm into the private sphere with my own version of an archangel. Did I act on that impulse? You shall soon find out.


Now I can chalk up working on my novel as another coping mechanism.

What’s yours?



  1. The voice here is so different from your first novel. If you are going for a higher level of writing, judging from this, I’d say you’ve made it. There’s real authority here, the promise of something weighty and significant. Don’t lighten up. Go heavy and deep and stay there. Movie making is such a wonderful metaphor for life. Is this the opening?

    • Thank you. It’s hard not to be a bit more heavy, considering the times. The novel is written in two voices, the impersonal narrative, and the older reflective voice, which would be Billie’s (a.k.a.) the Hollywood babysitter who grew into a movie mogul. It’s not the opening, it’s toward the end, but when I get into it with my editor that all may change.

  2. I agree with NotebookM by Lanny Morgnanesi. The voice carries authority. I want to hear what she did and what happened to her. The mystery of her eff up is also driving me forward. But, I also feel confident that she’ll have some things to tell me about it that may help me avoid effing up in the future myself.

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