Being Online

Yesterday my blog went up online although I’ve been writing blogs almost daily since January 5th. Blogging just to record what’s happening day to day feels different than blogging when there’s starting to be a buzz about the very fact of my blog and people are beginning to actually visit my site.

I haven’t had a chance to read all the feedback and comments that have come in this far but I will over time. As I expected, there are a few people who want to know whether the things that have been said about me over the years, the things that I have been accused of — the Hanoi Jane stuff– are true. There are also those who need to believe they are true and, as a consequence, have nasty things to say. I intend to answer these questions. I would like nothing better than to put these lies and myths to rest once and for all. I will try to do this as soon as possible but these tech rehearsals are really exhausting and I can’t imagine being able to get to it until Sunday. But then, my daughter, Vanessa will be in New York this weekend doing a media training with the Women’s Media Center and Sunday is the day we’ll get to spend some time together, so even getting to it then isn’t a sure thing.

I encourage those folks who want to know about my activities during the Vietnam years to read my book, “My Life So Far.” The chapters entitled ‘Hanoi,’ ‘Bamboo’ and ‘Framed’ deal with all this. There is also an excellent and exceedingly well researched book, “Jane Fonda’s War,” by Mary Hershberger that answers all these questions in great detail.

Having a blog feels like growing another limb, or maybe a goiter! There’s my life…and then there’s this thing that’s blossoming alongside reality. It’s my life, in a way, but not quite. I need to remind you that I Googled for the first time this summer. I have never read anyone else’s blog so I don’t know what they usually look like. I trusted my new Atlanta-based techie friend, James Andrews, when he said he knew this guy out in Detroit, J.J., who would set it all up for me and maintain it. Good. That meant I didn’t have to learn everything myself. I’ve absorbed a lot in a short time and worked by phone with J.J. and James tweeking and changing the look, the categories, the photos, what goes where and how to get there.

The feedback so far tells me people like how it looks, find it easy to navigate, like that I’m active on it, find a lot of good content. My daughter-in-law, Simone Bent, sent me an email today saying, “Personal enough to be intimate, but not a road map to your front door.” Smart cookie, that one. She also says Troy will be coming back from Russia soon. He’s been making a movie there about out-of-work jet fighter pilots directed by Mario Van Peebles.

Back to rehearsals: Tech is really tiring. Not sure why because it’s a lot of standing around. Maybe it’s standing for so long under the lights. It is, however, a swell way to practice lines and moves and even new ideas.

It’s also the first time Moises is seeing us all in costume, on the set and under the lights, so there’s a lot of wardrobe trials and errors. David Woolard (who’s doing my clothes) and I are really in sync. I feel very comfortable with the look that we are evolving for Dr. Brant (me)—stylish but not too; academic but with an edge. Diane Wash, our classical pianist, walked by this afternoon and said, “That’s great, Jane…a ballsy musicologist.” I think she meant I looked strong which is how it should be. Speaking of Diane, can I tell you what a treat it is to be privy to a private concert everyday as she warms up at the gorgeous Steinway?

Made a positive discovery during the dinner break. I was able to fall asleep with Tulea on the couch in my little antechamber. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cause its real tiny, but when the lights were all off and my ear plugs were in—swish. I was out. It’s a kind of Pavlovian thing that started in 1989 when I did the film “Stanley and Iris” with Robert DeNiro. I was fifty or so back then and finding that I needed a nap during the lunch break. I had never been a napper but I found that ear plugs made all the difference—signals to tune out. Even if I was only really asleep for 10 minutes, it made a real difference. My napping skills got honed during the decade with Ted who is a daily napper, then I got out of the habit because if your life isn’t arranged so that regular napping is possible, you find you get wiped around nap time but have to push through. Now, with this play, I can tell that napping will be de rigueur again.

I’m thinking all this isn’t very interesting so I will stop for today. Tripping out about naps must be a sign.

See you next time.

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  1. LOL. Naps rock. The last time I did daily theatre shows the schedule was errands in the morning, afternoon at the beach, shower, nap, theatre, pub. ha!
    As much as there might be nasty comments coming in, I’m sure there are at least twice as many filled with love and respect for you.

  2. saw you on twitter & signed up immediately.
    from one fellow luddite to another – you’ve got guts and are doing a great job. finding a real voice isn’t easy, so, don’t try, you’re doing perfect. ditto to what you daughter-in-law said.
    also, will love to read about your work with VDay and women’s issues. can never be enough.
    hope you write about your dog and animal issues.
    somehow, they go together.
    keep writing swell.

  3. welcome to the blogosphere . . . we’re lucky out here to have you join us and add your lusciousness to this wild peek into one another’s lives . . . global evolution, one heart at a time . . . 🙂

  4. So well written! Just want to take this chance to thank you for On Golden Pond. Those were my folks and the tears I shed were golden. Thank you

  5. Jane, you’re human. You did something you firmly believed in. Don’t let the people who can’t let go of the past bother you one iota. You never had to explain anything and shouldn’t. There are those of us who have enjoyed you as a person, activist, and as an actor. You’ve made your mark in a lot of people’s minds, revel in it and feel free! Regardless of your reasons or regrets over “Hanoi Jane”, you made some people think, others just reacted. Godspeed Jane, on your continual success.

  6. Jane, you’re human. You did something you firmly believed in. Don’t let those who can’t let go of the past sour the present. You never had to explain anything. There are those of us who believed in you as a person, activist, and actor. Regardless of your regrets or reasons for “Hanoi Jane”, you made some people think, while others only reacted. Godspeed Jane, on your continual success.

  7. I’m from Brazil and always admired your life and work. ‘Julia’, ‘On Golden Pond’ and so many pictures that made me think, laugh, cry and -after all- enjoy your work. Thank you, also, for being an ativist and lend your image and fame to shake old minds. ‘Merde’!

  8. Great reading. Welcome back to Broadway. I was so thrilled when I heard that you were returning to the stage. Theatre has always been my #1 passion and I so look forward to seeing your show on my next trip to NYC. You have a huge number of fans who are supporting you. All the best…”break a leg”.

  9. Jane,
    Naps are the only thing that got me through grad. school and many two show days. Enjoy them and don’t apologize! I’m a big fan of power napping!

  10. Ms. Fonda! I have loved you all my life. I met you when I was a kid working at Sea World when you visited in 1979.

  11. Jane Fonda… YOU ROCK! Love, love, love you — always will. My favorite movie of yours, will always be “On Golden Pond.”

  12. I have to say, I’m so excited that you’ve begun blogging. Welcome! I’ve read your autobiography at least four times now and am happy to see your writing again. As an 18 year old girl, I have to say that you are much more of an inspiration and role model than most of my contemporaries; I’m happy to see you’ve taken the leap to blogging 🙂 Hope all is well, Jane. A thousand good lucks for your play!

  13. Ms. Fonda,

    I have long admired your work, and more, your intelligence and compassion. How wonderful it is that Ms. O’Donnell and Ms. Tomlin (oh, the great Lily!) have encouraged you to start a blog. I thought “My Life So Far” was going to be the last time I was given the privilege of reading your thoughts and experiences in print. How lucky I am (how lucky all of us are) that you have decided to start a site. (An aside: More often than not, I’m not particularly impressed with “blogs”; but, reading yours, I now have at least one to which I may go and read articles of substance.)

    I am a writer, living in Ohio, who has admired your work for years — ever since, at the age of eleven, I saw “9 to 5” eight times in the cinema. “Who is this actress?” I asked myself, intrigued. Then came “On Golden Pond,” a film that is very dear to my heart. I promptly sought out Mr. Thompson’s screenplay, rolled back my sleeves, and plunged into study. It is a beautiful adaptation of a perfect film (and we all know “perfect” films are very rare in the canon of cinema).

    After that, came “Klute,” by the Lewis brothers. In the film, you offered us one of the greatest, most naturalistic performances in film. Thank you for that. It’s a film to which I return every year (often more than once); its level of complexity, Mr. Pakula’s gripping direction, and your honest, heartbreaking performance lift “Klute” into the pantheon of great cinema.

    After “Klute” came “Coming Home.” Again, I was intrigued with your performance as Sally Bender Hyde. The script (Nancy Dowd, Bob Jones, Waldo Salt) provided a wonderful template for what Mr. Ashby’s film became. It was with “Coming Home” that I caught the pattern in your work (evident in “Julia,” “The Dollmaker,” “The Morning After,” and “Stanley and Iris” as well): you are one of those rare actors (Sissy Spacek is another one) who makes a film not merely to entertain an audience, but to inform it and teach it empathy, too. (I work diligently to invest the same attributes in my own writing.)

    In high school, in a government class, I wrote a paper called “Real to Reel,” which dealt with historical events, both global and national (is there really a difference?), and in which I studied “Coming Home” as one of the films utilized for the critique. (I found “Coming Home” far more realistic than Mr. Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter,” whose intention seemed to be more of a mythological construct than one rooted in deep reality). In the paper, I also devoted a section solely to you. “Art has importance,” I wrote… and showed how you, through your various roles, showed the importance of being aware of the world in which one lived, complete with all of its problems and challenges, whether it be nuclear energy, prostitution, poverty, or the Vietnam War. “When something is wrong,” I wrote, “we each, as individuals and communites, must embrace the privilege of our rights to stand up and be heard. Of those who have done so in our history, Ms. Fonda stands shoulder to shoulder with such leaders as Dr. King, Gandhi, and Mother Teresa.” When people hurt and are made to suffer, one’s voice must rise. You, ma’am, have proven that in exemplary fashion.

    And even with these accomplishments, you have continued to forge a way in regard to teenage pregnancy and Women’s Rights. I consistently stand in awe of your energy, intellect, and compassion.

    And now you’re back to Broadway! Oh, if only I could see your work in “33 Variations.” I’m sure Moises is going to stage a wonderful show. How could not more greatness come from the man who gave us Mr. Wright’s stunning “I Am My Own Wife”?

    So, continued success to you. And, if I may ask, when will we have the privilege of seeing you on the screen again. (I’ve always thought you’d be breathtaking in a picture on the life of Georgia O’Keefe.)

    Warmest regards and respect,

    John Zulovitz

    P.S. – Your son, Troy, was spot-on perfect in Mr. Pierson’s “Soldier’s Girl.” I’ve yet to see “Lake City,” as it didn’t play in Ohio. How exciting it is to see the great cinematic legacy of Fonda being passed through the generations.


  14. I am so thrilled to have just read that you started a blog. I immediately started googling for it.

    You are so AMAZING!!! You have always been one of my most favorite celebrities.

    Whenever someone asks me what is my favorite movie, I always say, Barefoot in the Park. I have seen it at least 50 times! It is such a feel good movie. It never fails to make me laugh. The actress that played your mother in the film just really makes the movie. I wonder if you and she were friends outside of the movie?

    Thanks again for starting a blog! 🙂

  15. Great job, Jane. Your integrity shines through – love your work and am glad you’re ‘treading the boards.’ If you need more musicology background – my partner got her MA in it from UCLA…am sure she’d be happy to share some stories!

    Keep going…this is a very well-designed blog.

  16. Ms. Fonda,
    I found your blog via the Internet Movie Database site It’s interesting and I particularly enjoyed reading about the theatre rehearsals and the inauguration. I am glad that we finally had an election again rather than a selection!
    Have a good day!
    L.L. Cox

  17. I would just like to tell you, that since reading your book, a whole world opened up before me. That world was one of hope, and inspiration.
    Since I was 17 years old you have been of great inspiration to me, (I am 23 now), and I am so very pleased that we have strong, confident women like you in the world to look up to.

    Thank-you for making me feel less alone, and for sharing your life experiences with people like me.

    P.S. – I’ve always meant to write you a letter explaining in a little more detail how much your book spoke to me. But, I suppose it will have to wait.

    (I apologize if this seems a bit rambling and incoherant as I’ve just had surgery a few days ago, and the medication is still in my system.)


    Ashli Kathleen

  18. I just wanted to say I have always been an avid fan. You are an incredible actress and I enjoy your honesty. I wish I could see you live in NY onstage. I know you will be terrific. Best of luck with all your endeavors.

  19. Naps freak me out. I always wake up in a puddle of drool with an intense craving for brownies.

    Actually, that’s how I wake up in the morning too.

    Come to think of it, I think that’s how I do everything.

  20. I am so glad to discover you have a blog! I am a huge fan. I think your work in KLUTE is one of the best performances of all time. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So glad you’re acting again.

    I am looking forward to reading more and since I’m 29 days late in discovering this blog I already have a lot to read.

  21. Whew! Caught up and have read it all! I LOVE this blog. Thanks so much for holding your breath, jumping off the pier and diving into this!!
    I will be in the front row (A 101) for the 2/18 evening performance and CAN’T WAIT!!!! (Oh, and I’ve been a pianist for the last 49 years and am researching the Diabelli Variations all over again!)
    Please have fun!!!

  22. Greetings from Troy, NY ! I was reading today and saw your interview that mentioned your new site and blog. I am over the moon ! I am so thrilled that we will going along with you on your journey back to Broadway. Simply fantastic !

    Did you by any chance name your son after Troy, NY ? I know that you attended Emma Willard Girls School when you were a teen.

    Regards !

  23. Just found your blog today through twitter. I am very much looking forward to reading your stories. I enjoyed your book. You are awesome!

  24. Jane, I adore your biography and am thrilled you have a blog.

  25. Welcome to blogging! I heard about your blog on and came over to see what the fuss was about. Well deserved is what it’s about! I read all the existing posts in 1 sitting. I recently turned 30 and don’t feel bad about it at all (contrary to some of my friends) and reading about your reactions to aging (lighting for photos, napping) just made me smile.

    Here’s hoping you keep this New Year’s resolution!

  26. I can’t wait to see the play. 🙂

  27. Hi Jane. I can’t believe it. You might one day read my msg. The Daughter of my Favourite Film Star.It is exciting to have knowledge of the workings of the WEB. I have just put my sight on the web too and I get hits from all over the world. Have a look when you get a moment. I would love to know what you think.
    I was only ever in one Play. I was a bit bored waiting to go on and decided there and then I would go back to Nursing. I don’t like sitting and waiting. I am an action person. Good luck. If I were in the US I would see your Play. I am from Oz. Downunder.

  28. I loved you in “Barefoot in the Park” too! It was so cute and funny. “Sunday in New York” with a fellow Aussie was terrific.

  29. Congratulations on taking the plunge and starting a blog. I had to chuckle about your taking naps when you turned 50. I started doing the same thing around that age, but I don’t do the earplugs. I can’t seem to get them “installed” correctly and they pop right out. I’d probably swallow one while snoring!

  30. I just discovered you have started a blog and I am so excited. I have been a major fan of yours for as long as I can remember. I still can’t understand why you did not win an Academy Award for “They Shoot Horses Don’t They”
    I even met you and Donald Sutherland during your FTA tour in the Philippines; my husband at the time was stationed there in the the Navy. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to meet you. Unfortunately I have no photos but the thrill has never died.

    I am looking forward to following your journey back to Broadway!

  31. I have always thought you were funny and FABULOUS! So glad to find your blog and read that you really are!

    Smooches from someone who has ALWAYS been a fan! ALWAYS!

  32. Hi Jane, I’m Mennard on Tweeter and I think entered the first comment on your blog on your 31/01 blog by my real name John.I love your blog ,its hard work though isnt it.Ive started a blog not quite as polished as yours .Isnt the effort of keeping it up to date difficult. As we started at the same time I will keep going if you will.Trouble is not only do you have to find enough time to write it you have to find time to read others as well.

    Love it very polished as you would expect not like mine.

    Mennard (john)

  33. Wow Jane, just a few years ago I was introduced to you at the Greenstone launch party as a blogger and you didn’t know quite how to respond. Now…here you are. Among us. Kudos to you for taking the leap into social media and best of luck with all the good new stuff in your world.

  34. Hi Jane. I am an 81 year old retired military man who, though I disagree with you politically, believes you are one of our greatest actresses. I particularly admire your work in “The Morning After.” That is how I think of you, as an accomplished and beautiful actress, not as an activist or political figure.

    Good Luck and best wishes.


  35. I just learned of your blog, this morning, and haven’t had a chance to read much, yet. But I’m looking forward to it, particularly your day to day activities related to your new play.

    I have always admired your film work. With respect to your political activism, I don’t know the truth of any of it, and am hoping your blog will cover some of it.

    Good Luck!

  36. Congratulations on living life so openly and willingly. I’ve always admired you and your work but am writing to say how much I loved seeing you on a recent interview with Larry King. Do you recall the comment you made regarding having a love affair in your 70’s? I know I loved it and agree totally that sex keeps getting better as we get older! Continue to be a marvelous role model for all of us “older women”. D M

  37. I love reading your blog. I’ve been a fan since forever and have only grown to love and admire you more and more as time passes by. I know you must be thinking of Natasha Richardson, daughter of your friend Vanessa Redgrave. I’ve been so sad about it and I only know them through the films they’ve made. What has happened is just tragic.

  38. You should check out AC360 tonight. He has a segment on napping and how it contributes to a longer lifespan! Don’t miss it! If you are back from the theatre. stay well, B

  39. Dear Ms Fonda,

    I was always inspire by your bravery to confront some of the worse backward looking ideals inherent in our political system and society. Thus when I saw your interview in theater talk a PBS program, I was really move to tears when you said that you were involved in efforts to help improve the lot of poor folks and Americans of color,like me caught in the vicious cycles of the many ills of our great society. I live on the lower east side of Manhattan. The particular part of your comment that really moved me is when you said, “our boys”needed to know that being a man does not entail knocking so many young girls with kids, that feeling of belonging “our boys” wow Ms. Fonda thinks a low life like me is part of this great democracy, you words are what I really needed to hear. I remember when I was a student in the SUNY educational system, I was label a suspicious person one afternoon when I was innocently walking on campus, just going to the library to study. I swear, I was a simply walking and behaving normally. Another student who happens to look just a bit different than me called campus police on me for simply being on campus with my book bag going to study for finals in the library. I love you Ms Jane Fonda, you will always be my inspiration to let bygones be bygones and be a full contributor to our beloved society. Thank You.

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