God’s Mercy

I am blogging on my blackberry. I’m home after the performance (and too much wine!) and an extraordinary hour after the show backstage with Gloria Steinem (her 2nd time seeing it. She saw it at the first preview), Christine Lahti, and Scott Peacock. Scott is the award winning chef at the Decatur, Ga restaurant, Watershed, owned by the Indigo Girls. Scott is a very close friend of mine. He’ll be back on opening night with another close friend, Robin Laughlin, who I just introduced him to. (I knew they were meant to be buddies). It made me so happy to sit in my dressing room with Gloria, Christine and Scott, talking about the play and catching up on life. Christine’s in NY for 4 days to see 6 plays. She just saw “God of Carnage” which she adored. It is always profound to have Gloria weigh in on anything, especially a play like “33 Variations.” All 3 of them were really moved by it–and none of them are of the “B.S. Variety.” Know what I mean?

I want to comment on a couple of comment/questions about the blog.

One comment asked about the meaning of the “song the cast all sings together” toward the play’s end.” We are singing the “Kyrie Elyeison” vocal chorus in Beethoven’s “Missa”–his famous Mass. It is a plea to god for mercy.” If you saw the play, you will understand why, at that moment, both me and my family/ colleagues as well as Beethoven’s need to ask for God’s mercy.

There was another question I wanted to address but I can’t remember and I’m too tired to look up the comments.

I will soon be in bed watching the 2-hour special of “Brothers and Sisters.” I adore Sally Field–and Gloria, and Christine and Scott. I am so lucky to have such good friends. But you know what age has taught me? One must be intentional about friendship. We are all so busy. We must really make an effort to lovingly stay in touch with those we want to be friends with.

Ahhhhhh. I just remembered the other comment I wanted to comment on: someone asked if I intended to keep blogging once the play is over. That’s a tough one. I am enjoying blogging and receiving the instant feedback. But there is something about blogging that slightly disturbs me. It has to do with its effect on ego.

I can’t get into this now, but over the coming months I have to give this ego issue some thought. Maybe I can ellicit your thoughts on this as well.

See you next time.

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  1. Hi Jane,

    Thoughtful question re blogging and ego. Got me thinking too. Seems like if one were “paying attention”, and obviously you are , it could be a whole “practice” in the spiritual sense. What an opportunity… or NOT! Looking forward to your thoughts on the subject.

    Wishing you continued success with the play,

  2. Blogging is a passionate act if you want to highlight what you notice, see, observe, and care to share with others. Frnakly I was surprised I liked your blog, it does seem genuine, but it’s really up to you whether to continue or not.
    Maybe it’s time to examine why you actually started doing it and what has changed (or not).

  3. Last night’s episode of Brothers & Sisters had me on my toes, so much suspense!

    As someone who has been blogging for nearly five years, I can understand your hesitance and the issue with ego. It’s probably easy to receive constant genuine feedback when you aren’t a celebrity (like me). I notice that a lot of people write many comments that praise you, and while I believe you are deserving of the praise, I can see how from your point of view you don’t know whether it’s authentic or BS.

    I do hope you continue to blog after the show as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your entries about what it’s like day to day to be a part of a Broadway show.

    You’ve mentioned that Rosie and Lily gave you the idea to blog in the first place, and as a member of WoW, I know Lily doesn’t write everyday. She and Jane [Wagner] blog sporadically.

    I look forward to your posts, so I’m rooting for you to stay on board!

    Just my two cents:)

    Can’t wait to see the show Wednesday night! Hopefully the weather will improve by then.

    All my best,

  4. I saw the play yesterday. We were complaining at the outset to be in the last row of the orchestra, but it didn’t matter. It was a powerful experience. We were all moved to tears at the end and couldn’t come up with high enough praise for you, the other actors, the playwright and the incredible designers. This is great stuff. Thanks for your performance.

  5. Hi Jane,

    This is so interesting reading your daily comments about the play. Hope to see you soon.

    Honey in Santa Fe

  6. Dealing with the ego has been a recent personal project (especially since studying the Buddhist philosophy the last four years.) Notice how very difficult it is to discuss the ego without using I, me or mine as part of the discussion. Suffice it to say, this project continues to be very challenging but rewarding in relationships with others. During childhood, we are encouraged to be self-involved and the center of the world. It is difficult to change in adulthood to other-involved.

    I am curious about your thoughts concerning blogging and the ego. “Blogging” has been a word without much personal use as life in Estes Park is too busy especially with two Great Pyrennes puppies and two golden retrievers to enjoy in the wild.

    I was very interested in what you had to say during a recent interview. It was during the interview that I head of this blog site. You are a very complicated, capable and principled person. I greatly admire you. pat

  7. Dear Jane,
    Well, there it is , direct!
    Since comments to your page I have made marked ‘awaiting moderation’ appear on my screen of the blog page but not in the comments window for the one post I assume that after your blog secretary, presumably your maid back at the flat, has flagged this as readable for her mistress that indeed it will be here as it is to you but will remain way off the actual comments window. Hello!
    Well, who ever didn’t want to say “Hello!” to Jane Fonda ?
    But could you tell the maid to keep this response in the ‘awaiting moderation’ category PERMANENTLY!

    I might be an exhibitionist. And if there is one thing an exhibitionist might learn in about two clicks of a mouse’s left ear is that there is no satisfaction to his exhibitionism in a blog!

    “But there is something about blogging that slightly disturbs me,” above from your blackberry ,” It has to do with its effect on ego.”

    The Blog is post-Lacan so the ego – ‘le soi’ – as an e-thing hasn’t been written out yet. (You have, of course read Jacques Lacan: Esquisse d’une vie, histoiredún système de pensèe. Élisabeth Roudinesco, Fayard 1993.)
    It’s identity. I don’t think I’ve got one at this minute.
    I”m de-egoed already!
    Gloria (shame on her for the Palin wipe-out!) might like to take it up.
    Blog discussing ego is to begin with some but to end up with none.
    Those with some should be smart enough not to begin!

    Well, you’ve illicited!

    Er, I’m a Berlioz fan, really.

    Jane Fonda is big.
    Best, lb

  8. Dear Ms. Fonda

    I’m compelled to write you because of comments I’ve seen in the news about your lamenting your “aging” appearance. As an expert and practioner on the subject of energetic medicine I must protest.
    You don’t look old. You look toned, healthy, youthful and alive. You have “dynamic” deep, warm energy. Age is a function of energy and thought. I had the wonderful opportunity of providing you and your amazing daughter Vanessa with physical therapy when you lived in L.A., at the end of the W.O. era. I recall noting and telling you then how young your energy and physical integrity and appearance were. By at least 20 years. I was also your W.O. Yoga instructor in those days. Now I’m on the medical faculty at Cedars-Sinai as their Yoga Cardiac Specialist. Because of my program, I have 80 year old patients who literally look and have the flexibilty of 60. My program is documented in my book, Dr. Yoga (Penguin Books). You have served as an enduring inspiration throughout my life in so many ways. Primarily with regard to fearlessness, fortitude and socio/politico consciousness. Much of what I’ve achieved professionally I attribute to your inspiration and example. You continue to be that role model, defying the stereotypes of age and other social constraints. Many of my patients regard you in that light. Thank you for your wonderful blog. Even there, you gave me the inspiration to begin my own on my book’s Amazon site and patients now are writing me for solutions to physical complaints.
    Thank you for being you. You continue to help so many. You are still fantastically, exquisitely young. You always will be. I perceive it as your nature.
    With love and respect.
    Nirmala Heriza

  9. Hi

    I started blogging to my friends when I went to Canada on a fellowship – and I found that just sitting down and writing when I could, often in a rush, meant that I was really un self-conscious when I did. My thoughts and feelings were distilled down to the moment – kind of to thier core without all of the diva BS that can accompany a more pre meditated letter writing or email writing session.

    I like your blog the most when you are in between scenes in the play or writing like you just did, after a night out and about to fall into bed. Its natural and charming and best of all, its pure enthusiasm. I think thats partly because of the new experience – just like my Fellowship was.

    NOw that I;m in Canada more permanently that enthusiasm has naturally given way to an equillibrium – things aren’t new in the way they were before – and I blog less. Its hard to get enthused every day about the familiar! And it makes you more internally focused which can be more revealing and I’m not sure thats the point of a blog.

    I am coming to see the play over my birthday weekend in May – my first time there! I’m looking forward to it and to reading your blog, for how ever long it lasts.


  10. Blogging is disturbing. It has to be. It’s a technique, if not a technology, in its infancy. A baby with a bazooka. The Trojan elephant in the room. Anything can happen, and will.

  11. Dear Ms. Fonda ~

    I was privileged to see one of the early previews of “33 Variations,” and it was a joy to witness an expert ensemble in a such a beautifully-written piece.

    You’ve written in other places of your difficulty in reaching Katherine’s emotional core, but I can tell you unequivocally that you got her physicality letter-perfect. I lost one of my closest friends to ALS when he was not yet 33 — and even before the name of that insidious disease was mentioned, you captured it so perfectly that I knew what your character was going through … and was going to be going through.

    Ironic, also, that in this entry you bring up the “Kyrie.” As Phil’s condition deteriorated, I used to tell him that I prayed for God’s mercy, whatever He deemed that to be. And thankfully, Phil was good with that. (By the way, if you’d like some additional insights, please feel free to check out Phil’s pages at http://www.eclecticcompany.com/pm-main.html.)

    Congratulations to you on your triumphant return to the Great White Way, and to your castmates on a job well done. I hope that you and Tulea enjoy your stay in my hometown enough to come back to us for another excursion into your dad’s favorite medium, and that you’ll continue to share your thoughts with us in your thought-provoking and entertaining blog.

    With respect and admiration,


  12. I, too, look forward each Sunday night to watching BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I never enjoyed watching “soaps” when I was a stay-at-home mom, raising my two children. But, even though this show fits in the soap category, I find that iit addresses so many real-life situations realistically. The writing and acting engaged me from the beginning and continues to draw me in. I’m curious about which aspects of BROTHERS AND SISTERS appeals to you. You and I are the same age, and both of us seems to have a younger outlook on life.

  13. Ms Fonda,
    Thank you for many years of entertainment. My personal favorites; Barefoot in the Park, They shoot horses, don’t they? and Julia. You are a fine actor and a very good blogger!

  14. I hope you do decide to keep blogging. This is my favorite blog! You’re teaching here, you know, about immersing oneself in life experiences with gusto.

  15. i hope you got my previous comment. If not i thought you and the cast were glorious and the show was great!!

  16. To call your’s “a life led” would be an understatement. The daughter of a famous father who has in many ways surpassed him, one whose been a villain, hero, inspiration, and more, I cannot understand how you would let the question of ego interfere with what you have to know is your tremendous arsenal to do good with your bully pulpit; to stubbornly support the causes you advocate, and on and on.

    Not that you need advice from some bozo fan boy but you have a tremendous opportunity to turn all of this “return to the stage”, roaring back into the movies, myriad changes in your personal life, books, and more into an awful lot of good for those causes you support. You are a life long activist and now you can do it with grace and without the fire of “youth is wasted on the young” in your way.

    My personal preference would be for you to push your causes in these pages whilst you are enjoying seeing the ripples and working hard to keep the ego in check.

    God does not want us to hide from those things which are difficult, such as dealing with ego, but to face them head on. I have faith you can do it and a lot of good at the same time.

  17. Blogging is truly hard to do just once, twice or hundred times. But I look at it like this it is calorie free. The frienships I have made blogging are priceless to me.
    When building my website some of the designing was done by a graphic artist that lives in Brazil. That wouldn’t have been possible without blogging. So blog on and we will see you around the blog so sorry I couldn’t help myself. . . . .

  18. I read the (first page of) the New York Times on line. Today though I also read “A Radical Vixen Retakes the Stage” and found a reference to your blog. Congratulations, Anni (56, from Brussels, Belgium)

  19. i liked what you said about being intentional about friendships. YES. my thoughts exactly. 🙂

  20. I’d love to hear your thoughts on blogging and ego. I’ve found myself more of a reader and responder than an instigator. I blog rarely, finding other people’s voices and perspectives more interesting than my own. Occasionally they’re alien and repugnant, but often I find resonance and fresh insight into things I thought I understood.. and I relish the connection with a stranger and muse about our shared humanity. Blogging is a lot of work and can be intrusive when all you want is privacy. Still, I’m glad so many people put their voices out into the collective conversation. After what I’ve already read here, I know I will miss your take on things if you decide not to continue.

  21. After reading your blog and some of the responses, I’m looking forward to seeing the play tomorrow. By the way I’m new to blogging, writing or responding, but I have enjoyed reading about your experiences and thoughts. Is it a kind of voyeurism? Perhaps that’s part of it, but your comments on friendship and connections with others have touched me and are something I can relate to.

  22. I love your blog and twitter, you are an amazing women…
    I have ALS, for the last 10 years… I am still going strong… go to my website if you want to know more…

  23. Jane, You raise a very interesting point regarding blogging and ego. However, I hope you keep blogging after the play has its run. You have led a very full, interesting, active life and your perspective and insights are well worth sharing. I’m hoping that once your upcoming book is published, your blog will continue as an extension of the book. You’ve always been a pioneer and I can’t think of anyone better qualified to lead us into our senior years with a sense of hope, adventure and expectation! Please don’t stop!

  24. Pithy…to save space… (I haven’t seen the play but ordered the piano C-D from NPR of to pretend). Thank you for showing how courage to be (Paul Tillich’s book describes it) blossoms from trusting inside/out. It makes me happy to see one who could rest on past laurels back at the edge, touching people in a fearful time, always grooming the true. Also, Zach Grenier — who I first saw as the ikky guy at the ‘dim sum’ cart in ‘Working Girl’ — his weight in the ensemble (just from pictures) holds down an authentic sense of Mr. Beethoven rare in a portrayal. Your doing this work is how trust in life grows for people not blessed with it from the beginning. Sincerely, Kathryn Cogswell

  25. Hi Jane
    I hope you will continue to blog after the play is over.You are one of the most interesting people around.
    And,i will always want to know your opinion on world events.

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