I went with a new friend, Mary Lake, to the Gagosian Gallery today to see the spectacular exhibit of late Picasso. It was so powerful. One more proof that great talent and courage does not have to decline in old age but, in fact, can become deeper and bolder. I think about this every day because Beethoven is another example of it–having done his greatest work when he was old, ill and deaf.

Mary Lake was the Chair of the Stanford School of Medicine. She is also an Emma Willard alum and an obgyn. Over lunch we discussed sexuality in older women, something I will address in my next book about aging.

Tonight I will dine with Scott Peacock who sent me a jar of his strawberry preserves. Two days ago he sent about five pounds of pound cake. What does he think he is doing, fattening me up for the kill?

I have been obsessing about what I will have for dinner and decided to have calves liver which Orso’s does so brilliantly.

See you next time, I am about to go back on stage for my first scene in my wheelchair–a scene I used to dread but which I look forward to now.

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  1. I can’t wait until your next book. That, and possibly traveling with your play gives me hopes of you popping in, in RI!

    You’re the best!!

  2. I missed that exhibit but i did see some Picassos at the Met in the morning before the play. This Gagosian exhibit space is very nice. The video said the initial showing before his death at a castle had bad reviews largely because there was too much violence and craziness packed tightly together. I had the same feeling from seeing a Picasso exhibit in Montreal in 2001 called Picasso Erotica–there was too much of the same, and i did not like his mixing of violence and sex, as well as the misogyny of a lot of it. I liked his early work the best as it had not departed so much from the tradition and was more subtle, less gimmicky. People often get a little crazy as they age, as he was criticized for at the time. There is a lot of reminiscing over 80. One friend of mine told me recently he needed to use Viagra after his early 70s and it gives him headaches, so he has to weigh the costs and benefits of sex now — there are a lot of things that can drive a man mad. There are other pains as well for woman, such as osteoporosis and grumpy old men! Confucius actually said that part of the wisdom of getting older is not really wanting the selfish and lustful things as when we were younger. So yes, there is a bias towards peace and tranquility in ancient wisdom. This is not the same as being half dead, however, so one does not have to quite go out kicking and screaming. To me, it looks like Picasso was reliving a lot of his past in these later works, reminiscing a bit and mabe a bit infantile.

  3. I believe that we are related. My father and your father had the same aunt. (Aunt Bee). My dad and my uncle Bob would talk about how Henry Fonda was related to them. Of course they are both gone now and I am trying to put the family history together before it is lost forever. The family names are Sprague and Greene. Those are the only ones I know for sure. I have followed your career and always wondered if this story was true. Now thanks to twitter I can contact you without invading your privacy. Signed curious!

  4. I enjoyed seeing some of Picasso’s paintings a few years ago. He was creative with his work until the end. So was Monet. They wouldn’t stop or “retire” as they got older. They couldn’t, because being creative with painting was like breathing to them. There is no age limit for being creative in any way. For most, I think, it makes life worth living!

  5. Jane Fonda — the very first public figure I began to hold up as a modern day saint — not a vegetarian? Calves liver? Please Jane tell me you don’t eat veal! Only kidding — I’m an animal lover but I am not a vegetarian either, though most of my friends are.

    What am I going to do after you stop blogging??? It’s how I start my mornings.

    Good luck at the Tony’s though you’re already a winner this or any other theatrical season for coming back to Broadway after being away so long…

  6. I just want to say that I started reading your blog several weeks ago because of reading Rosie’s blog, which I do religiously. I find your writing to be wonderfully entertaining and love following you during your run on Broadway. Congratulations on all you have accomplished. I also read Ross Mathews every day and watching his Inside Dish episodes. I just saw on his Hello Ross site where you came up to him while he was in NYC doing interviews of Tony nominees for the Insider. He was so thrilled! I love how so many of the big stars can be so down to earth and “real.” Thank you for sharing and making our day. I only wish I could have the circle of friends and aquaintances you have. You motivate me to become more involved with issues of the day. Thank you very much.

  7. calves liver: good choice. i like chicken livers altho cooking liver makes me weepy. for some reason an animal’s innards seem more personal than a leg or a flank or wing. but hey, circle of life.

  8. Jane,

    Once again you have encourage, and reminded us to
    persevere despite what life may bring us. Thank you for those wonderful examples of talent and courage.
    So much of what and who we are is determined by our thoughts, determination, and out look in life. This was quite obvious to me when I was a geriatric nurse. Seniors today have such a different out look, and seem to be enjoying , and living life more abundantly. I can see you will focus on the most prevalent aspects of aging in your books with your genuine flare that is
    sure to attract the bestseller lists.
    Don’t worry about all the pound cake etc, your in fabulous shape.
    Have A Blessed Mothers Day

  9. Thank You!! For your honesty- your compulsive sharing of your process with all of us!
    I am trying to get confidence to write a memoir- of living- in Berkeley CA from 1961-1968!!!! after growing up Cath/Prot in very wealthy Far Hills/Peapack NJ…..
    You are a mentor, altho i have never until today listening to Gloria Steinhem realized how much i needed one!!
    I’ve had an interesting and exciting life– benn “There” for all fo the 60’s- from Struggle mountain with Ken Kesey, thru SO MUCH of SF/Berkeley in the 60’s=
    I am a sensitive, healer, MUSICIAN, who played piano for Janis J, and many many others- but was too shy to
    get “famous”….LOTS of juicy stories…
    When people hear my story, they are excited- about the rocknroll stuff…………more later….
    Tomorrow- May 10th,2009, I’m producing my show on KUNM-FM- it’s our 8th anniversary– Mother’s Day!!!!!!
    It;s a live call-in show about indigenous, integrative and GREEN ecohealthcare– Please call in!!!
    277-5866—- you cal listen at 89.9 fm on radio, or tune us in at http://www.kunm.org.
    Blessings to you for all that you do…I used to live in Montana for 7 years too!!! ………. more later….
    Halima Christy

  10. Have a happy mother’s day Jane, nice post on you visit to see the Picasso’s at the Met. In Art school that question of time and age to the artist expression is often in our thoughts.Picassos style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, as with other artist a lifetime of work can lead to a genuine understanding.

    “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

    Pablo Picasso quote

  11. Hi Jane
    Exhibit sounds great. Was wondering if you’ve ever been to the Berggruen Museum in Berlin? The collection houses what was once a private collection of 100 or so Picassos and a couple dozen Klees. It’s one of my favorite musuems. Fascinating to see how prolific Picasso was.

  12. You made me so hungry for liver and onions. Most people don’t know how good liver can be when it’s prepared well. When I lived in Atlanta, there was a French restaurant in Decatur, called Claudettes, that did a great liver dish with a vinegar sauce.

  13. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said – just one correction… Beethoven died when he was 57 — I think you’d agree, he was not old! 🙂

  14. Jane,

    I am eagerly awaiting this new book you have in the works. I think it’s going to be spectacular, and even though it isn’t geared towards my age group, I’m super excited to read it.

    Personally, I’ve loved all your work. I can appreciate how you may think your work now is deeper and bolder–and perhaps to a degree it is–but I’ll probably always favor the work you did in the ’70s and early ’80s. Despite the generation gap, I’ve found that your films have pretty much always resonated with me.

    But like I’ve mentioned before, I do hope you come back to Broadway again. The stage loves you, Jane. I don’t want to have to wait another 46 years to see you live again!

    All my best,

  15. Haha! I love strawberry preserves–especially homemade! I think thats also a sign of getting on in years—people start sending you lots of sweets to eat! Enjoy!

  16. Picasso the greatest artist who lived on this earth and through his paintings conveyed the message of peace.His famous painting of dove.Jane,one wonders how you manage to attend so many things,places,etc etc.This must be God`s blessing on you.Energy source perhaps you know and from that you draw your energy.

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