This is the start of a New Year and I am about to start something exciting and a little scary—at, what some would consider, an advanced age. To hell with that old paradigm notion. What does age have to do with it?
Blogging itself is a new adventure for me. You see, I have always been something of a luddite… Someone intensely resistant to technological advances. (see footnote added by Robin Morgan if you want to know the history behind the name). I Googled for the first time this summer at the urging and with the help of my pal, poet and author, Robin Morgan, who was staying with me at my ranch in New Mexico. (More about her and my ranch another time) Why hadn’t I known about this sooner. I mean, I knew about Google, I’ve actually visited their campus and spoken there, but had never availed myself of its treasures. Listen, I didn’t even have a computer (PC) till I was 58. I was married to Ted Turner at the time. He is a Luddite for sure and will die that way. He hates all this stuff. Doesn’t even have a cell phone. When I want to email him or he email me we have to pass it through Debbie, his saint of an assistant. He threw my computer across the room once when he thought it was taking me away from him.
I adore my computer and have had a big-time relationship with it for thirteen years now. I would never have been able to write my memoirs (and enjoy doing so—a lot!) were it not for my PC, its files, cutting and pasting. Ooooh it was so much better than how I used to do it…taking scissors and cutting and taping paragraphs in new places and since I always rewrite as I go, I’d end up with something resembling the Dead Sea Scrolls. And I do a lot of public speaking so I cut and pasted in this truly old fashioned fashion for way too long.
A few years ago I asked Gloria Steinem if she had a website/blog and her negative reaction convinced me I’d never want one either….”You lose all privacy.” But my new techy friend James Andrews, persuaded me that it doesn’t have to be that way.
James Andrews is very cool. Check out his website thekeyinfluencer.com. He and his drop-dead smart and gorgeous wife, Sherrelle Kirkland-Andrews (her blog is called funkidivagirl.com) and their 2 children moved to Atlanta 4 years ago (that’s where I live mostly—I came with Ted and stayed. More about that some other time…my staying, that is).
AND, Andrews has done what Robin Morgan and other friends have been unable to do…persuade me to switch to a Mac. I’m scared and excited to leave my good old familiar PC but everyone keeps telling me how far more user-friendly the Mac is. James is also getting me to use a streaming video camera. Not sure about that part yet. The people I’ve seen use them– staring into their cameras and answering questions and stuff while managing to look decent are all around 20…or so they seem. Flattering those streamers are not. Hmm. Have to figure this one out. Maybe attach a key light to the top of it. I’ll let you know.
But here’s the really big deal for me at the start of this New Year: tomorrow at 6am, I am packing up my stuff and my dog Tulea (more about her later—in fact I will have photos and stories of my little 8 lb soulmate) and moving to New York for 5 months to star in my first Broadway play in 45 years! The last time I was on Broadway, Kennedy was president and it was in an Actors Studio production of Eugene O’Neil’s “Strange Interlude” starring the memorable Geraldine Page. This new play is called “33 Variations” and Obama will be president when it opens (thank you, Lord!) at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre. Previews start Feb 9th (Yikes!) and the official run starts March 9th. (See side bar for more info about “33 Variations.”
This unusual play was written and is being directed by Moises Kaufman. He and his company, The Tectonic Theatre did, among others, “The Laramie Project” based on interviews about Matthew Sheppard’s murder with the people of Laramie, Wyoming, where the murder happened. I saw the HBO film based on the play and found it incredibly moving and important.
It’s late and I have to get up really early for my flight so this is all I’ll do for my first blog. Tomorrow I will try to describe my thoughts and feeling as I face this new and challenging chapter in the second scene of my third act. (Third act= 60 until death. First scene of third act= from 60 to 70.) I am a quite different person than 45 years ago. New York is a different city. It is, as I just said, an unusual play. People who’ve seen earlier stagings of it in Washington and La Jolla say it is amazingly powerful.
I want to try to take you through the whole process with me—from start to finish.
Let the journey begin.
See you next time. (That’s how I always ended my JF Workout videos.)
PS. The blog isn’t actually set up yet. Maybe next week. But I am writing anyway and will post it asap..
PPS: Robin’s info on the history of Luddites:
The Luddites were a social movement of British textile artisans in the early nineteenth century who protested—often by destroying mechanized looms—against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work. This English historical movement has to be seen in its context of the harsh economic climate due to the Napoleonic Wars, and the degrading working conditions in the new textile factories; but since then, the term Luddite has been used derisively to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change. The Luddite movement, which began in 1811, took its name from the fictive Ned Ludd. For a short time the movement was so strong that it clashed in battles with the British Army. Measures taken by the government included a mass trial at York in 1812 that resulted in many executions and penal transportation. The principal objection of the Luddites was against the introduction of new wide-framed automated looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers.