68th: Go not thither, where you know not, whether you shall be welcome or not. Give not advice without being asked & when desired, so it briefly.
Today's Search Engine queries:
I'M ALREADY BEHIND
1 November 2004
This is just day #1 of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and already I'm behind.
When I decided to participate in the project to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, I calculated how much I'd have to write a day, and figured I could do it. I mulled over a couple of possible plots and have kind of come to a decision about the story I want to tell.
I've been thinking of opening lines, and where I'd like the story to go and all that.
The NaNoWriMo project begins at midnight November 1 (a few hours after I post this entry). I was all geared up and ready to write.
And then Roz called.
It's been about four years since I last saw Roz. It was shortly after Paul died and shortly after I met Steve. We had gone to Baltimore to see The Last Session, we stayed with Roz and her husband Stan, and took them to see the show.
I met Roz in the 1980s at an Experiment in International Living convention in San Francisco. I still remember I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel and people were complaining to me about a Brasilian group and how they hated Brasilians. I was just saying "I love Brasilians" when this voice came across the lobby saying "Who loves Brasilians? I love Brasilians."
It was Roz.
We bonded instantly. We went to lunch alone together that day and discovered that we had so much in common. We had both hosted lots of Brasilians. They had 4 kids, we had 5. Stan was in theatre (in fact he didn't come to the convention because he was playing Sancho Panza in a community theatre production of Man of La Mancha). We both had best friends who were gay men. We were both overweight. We were both terrible housekeepers. I was working for a medical office, she was working for a dental office. The more we talked, the more we forged this great friendship.
The next year, the convention was held in Vermont and I knew that both Roz and Stan would be there. I was sitting in the cafeteria of the School for International Training when this short round bald-headed man walked into the room. I knew instantly it had to be Stan. He looked like a Sancho Panza.
The three of us had a great time at the convention and the friendship just took off. Over the years, Roz and I dieted together, Walt and I visited them in Annapolis, they visited us here. I grieved with her when her beloved dog, Shana, died, we compared notes on our "Brasilian children," we worried about our real kids together and shared wedding stories when our kids married.
We flew to Annapolis one year just to see Stan in a play, and then another year I flew back again to see him in a production of Carnival. He had been a young actor in the Yiddish theatre and had literally been acting almost his entire life.
He also spoke six different languages fluently and dragged me to a "polyglot dinner," where everyone there spoke at least two languages other than English. I stumbled along in my halting French and halting Portuguese, but it was like standing at the Tower of Babel and trying to communicate.
One year we were all in Washington, DC. I can't remember why now. But I remember the four of us were walking to--maybe it was the new FDR memorial. We happened to encounter a couple of guys who were from Brasil and trying, in halting English, to ask for directions. My Portuguese was better in those days, and Stan's was fluent, so the two Brasilian guys, Stan and I walked along chattering in Portuguese, while Roz and Walt walked behind shaking their heads.
When his theatre group threw a big party for him, on the occasion of his retirement from regular performance, we flew back to Annapolis to be part of the festivities.
Over the years, we've had less and less contact. I had hoped that when Stan got on the Internet, Roz would learn too, but she didn't. I would have IM chats with Stan from time to time, and he'd always tell me Roz was going to write, or going to call, but she's a very busy person with a very large circle of friends and responsibilities, very active in her synagogue...and then the grandchildren came, so things just kind of...petered out. But still we exchanged greetings during the holidays.
So when Roz called today, I was so pleased to hear from her. Until I learned why she was calling.
Stan died 4 weeks ago, 2 weeks before their 50th wedding anniversary. We knew that he had cancer, but when I last talked with them, it was in remission. However, it returned and metastisized to his brain and he was gone in two weeks.
Roz is philosophical about it. When he could no longer speak, they all agreed that "Stan Morrow without a voice" was inconceivable. He had a ready wit, honed in his years in the theatre, and from working for years and years as a tour guide with AAA. His annual Broadway tours were always a favorite. When he retired from AAA, he began giving walking tours of Annapolis--in costume. We got a private tour (but not the costume) and it was delightful. Stan's whole life was words and humor and it was impossible to think of him alive, but silenced.
So the family was ready to let Stan go, but I know how difficult this is for them.
"Are you going to be traveling out this way anytime soon?" Roz asked, hopefully.
I had just been sitting there, before she asked, wondering if I could afford to fly to Annapolis before winter really sets in to spend some time with her. Her question was all the prodding I needed.
So I've booked a flight to Annapolis on the 11th of November and I'll return on the 16th. I've also contacted my friend Melody, whom I also have not seen since that infamous Baltimore trip in 1999, and we plan to get together while I'm in Maryland.
BUT that means six whole days without the peace and quiet of this office to pound out pages for this crazy novel I want to write. I'm going to take my laptop with me and I hope that I can still keep writing steadily--I am determined that I am going to complete a novel in the month of November.
But it has just become a little more challenging than I thought it was going to be--and I went into it thinking it was a humongous challenge to begin with!
All I can do is try.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Roz and Stan, about 1983--the year I first met Stan.