On the 16th, I went with Carrie Fisher and Richard to see a preview of “Baby, It’s You,” the Broadway musical that Richard was working on when he and I first started dating and it was playing in a tiny theatre in Los Angeles. Now it is about to open on Broadway (April 27th). It has become a new animal—a fun, rousing, musical that audiences seem to be eating up. The music is infectious and makes everyone want to sing along. I think it will be a big hit.

Roshi Joan Halifax, me and Mary Catherine Bateson

The next morning I was on a panel with Roshi Joan Halifax and Mary Catherine Bateson at the Legacy of Wisdom Project. The mission of the project is “making wisdom the central operating principle of aging.” Other participants included Ram Dass, Harry Moody, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi. I was worried because 1) I was tired and 2) I’m not especially wise. But, as is always the case when I am in the company of the truly wise Joan and Mary Catherine, interesting things come to the fore.

Following that, I rushed to hop a Delta flight to Atlanta with Gabby Sidibe. While I had met her at the screening of “Precious” that opened the New York film Festival and crossed paths at some gala functions, I had not really had a chance to talk with her. One of the things I wanted to ask her was if she gets recognized often. I didn’t need to. People definitely recognize her. They spoke to her, passed notes to her. Clearly she has had an impact, especially on young women. I discovered in her, a 27 year old woman who, at age 22, knew she had to make a decision to either accept who she was and be strong or die. She chose strong and rarely have I met someone her age who is, as the French say, so ‘bien dans sa peau…Well in her skin. She exudes a wisdom and confidence. She laughed and told me that people often say to her, “How wonderful that you have followed your dream!” “But my dream was never to be an actor. I just went on the audition [for Precious] cause a friend said I should. My dream has been to be a psychologist.” When asked about fame and how that has affected her, she got big laughs when she replied, “You have no idea how hard it is to buy tampons when you’re famous!” In other words, it bugs her and it’s not why she is doing her acting—for now.

Pat Mitchell, Me, Gabby Sidibe and Michele Ozumba

She was coming with me to Atlanta to participate in a dialogue with me and 2 other young actors with the Alliance Theatre that followed a screening of the documentary “Jane”, made in 1962 by D.A. Pennybaker. It has been a painful thing for me to watch because I was so voiceless and disembodied as I went through rehearsals and out-of-town tryouts of a play that lasted 2 nights on Broadway. I decided to show it as a fundraiser for my non-profit G-CAPP because part of what we do is try to help girls keep their voices at adolescence, when many, if not most, lose theirs…well, not lose…their voices go underground so they will fit in, be ‘popular’, acceptable, ‘good girls.’ This is more common with middle class white girls than with african-american girls who ,from early on and often from their mothers, learn that, to survive, they need to maintain strong voices.

It was a successful evening, that included a meaningful conversation with the audience, moderated by Susan Booth, artistic director of the Alliance Theatre. At the party afterwards, people said how moving they found it and how much they had learned. They especially commented on how amazing Gabby is…”what wisdom!,” exclaimed one man.

Gabby spent the night with me in my loft (strange to be back as all my personal things have moved out) and I spent the day in my office looking for photo and film archival stuff for the enhanced eBooks of both my memoirs and my new book, “Prime Time”, which comes out Sept 20th. I’m excited. I was interviewed two days ago by the first person outside of Random House (i.e. no dog in the race and, hence, not obliged to make any comments) who said she “devoured” my book and thinks it has everything “from A to Z” that anyone would want to know about approaching and living into the aging process. Actually, I think so too, but then I’m prejudiced!

Tonight we had a farewell party for Michele Ozumba who has been CEO/President of GCAPP for many years, the Policy Director and a board member before that. I’ve known and worked with Michele since 1995 when she was head of Maternal and Child Health for the state. It was a moving ceremony at the home of Drs Robert and Cheryl Franklin. He is President of Morehouse College and Cheryl is an OBGYN and Board chair of GCAPP since I’ve moved to L.A. On Friday I come back to Atlanta to join other members of the selection committee to interview candidates for our CEO position and then Easter with my Grandkids at Ted’s farm outside Atlanta.

Tomorrow we have a board meeting and then I fly to Tallahassee for a fundraising event to support the Thomasville Community Resource Center which I helped build in the 90s. It will be a wonderful experience, I know. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been down there and I will get to visit the TCRC Center, witness all they are doing for the children in that community and see old friends. I will read from my memoirs, about the making of “On Golden Pond,” and then dialogue with the audience.

I leave early Wednesday morning to go back to New York to, again, dialogue with Gabby after a screening of “Jane,” this time to benefit the Women’s Media Center and this time, moderated by Co-founder Gloria Steinem.

In others words, this is my fundraising week. It will all continue to be exhilarating and a learning experience.

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  1. Well Jane, Hope you find time to read the comments on your blog.
    It does sound all very interesting “making wisdom the central operating principle of aging.”
    A trip into the mountains of life, always good.
    As Mignon McLaughlin said “It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change.” but Tolstoy has the last word on the subject.
    “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy
    Wisdom- To make something better does not interfere with creativity. It in itself becomes a creative act. This is a time for great creative Purpose,for Purpose is what gives life a meaning.
    You do have meaning and purpose in your life, that is wisdom.
    The future is not the past, one does not go into the past,but into the future. You do have a lot of integrity, professional competence, and have credibility, this you should use wisely.

    with love and care,

  2. Wow! You are one incredibly busy person! Talk about adding up those frequent flier miles! You sure do live a fascinating life for such good causes. I sure would be loving to spend my time for charity. I guess I need to start small and build myself up. And Jane, you are extremely wise. As for Gabby, she must be such an interesting person with such a wonderful story to bring with her that so many can learn from.
    You bring up the fact that girls don’t seem to find or share their own voice. This is so true and frustrates me as a teacher. Early on you can see the girls, and boys for that matter, filtering what they say in front of their peers for fear that their “popularity” will dwindle. Before long a fake personality comes out that they try so hard to carry forward. I guess this is just part of the process of finding themselves, but what worries me is that some people never do find or use their own voice, even in adulthood. I think it is the fact that they never find that confidence in themselves. The big question is how do we find a solution to this? Do you recommend any books to read?

    • Sue, thank you for this question. Here are the names of some of the many books that I have found helpful around this issue: “Reviving Ophelia” by Dr Mary Pipher. This book is a bible for girl’s issues. You should read it and then get your girls (and maybe even boys) to read it. Assigned reading.

      I just finished an interesting book called “Odd Girl Out,” by Rachel Simmons. Google Carol Gilligan. She is a psychologist who has written, along and with colleagues, numerous books about girls and voicelessness. “Girls at the Crossroads” is one title. There are many others worth your time.

      For boys, google Michael Kimmel and see the many books he has written. “Raising Cain”. Is a fine book. Good luck and thanks for caring. Xx

      • Thank you for the information. These sound like great books to read. You are helping me create my summer reading list which also includes “What’s the Matter With Kansas”. I think that’s the title you mentioned the day after the elections. So again, thank you.

        • Just to clarify, most of the books are for my own reading list, not my students, except for the couple you mention as possibilities for them.

  3. Oh my God. You’re really busy. I so admire you for being so enthusiastic and find things to learn from everything. I know I wouldn’t be able to do that.

    How do you keep up your enthusiasm when you have a lot to do? I could really use some advice on that. 🙂

  4. The TCRC fundraising event held in downtown Thomasville, Georgia to benefit the Thomasville Community Resource Center was such an enjoyable event. Thank you Jane Fonda for sharing with us your memoirs. You are an incredible woman. Thomasville should be so proud in what you have given the children in this community… The Staff of TCRC…. “Kudos” Job Well Done!

  5. Hi Jane,
    We truly appreciate your fund raising events for the Thomasville Community Resource Center tonight at Thomasville! YOU are an EXQUISITE woman, Jane! I’m so honored to meet you & took pics for you tonight! I’ll email you some pics ASAP.

    I really enjoyed your reading from your memoirs, “On Golden Pond”, and the Q & A with the audience. You touched my heart when you talked about your relationship with your father! This is the BEST fundraising event I had ever been!

    Thank you for helping our children & families in Thomasville! I have been teaching digital photography at the TCRC since June, 2010 and witnessed the growth in these kids. YOU give them LOVE, which is the best & the most precious gift one can ever give! With love, they have HOPE.

    May you & your family be showered with blessings of love, happiness, health, and bliss! Hugs! ♥♥ღ♥♥ღ♥♥

    Ling So Photo

  6. I sure hope “Jane” will be released on DVD and blu-ray!

  7. I just read MY LIFE SO FAR.

    The thing about you that impressed me the most was having your implants removed.

    Being flat chested all my life, I know it took its toll on me….I so envied girls with boobs all my life. I never felt that I was attractive in the way our culture/men expected.

    In so many ways, you and I are kindred spirits….I found Ted Turner amusingly disgusting as you did, and also loveable. He can’t help the way he is (?) I so agree with your views on war, government, politics, testosterone…..becoming Christian (not so much) but I do hear what you are saying about it…..

    Much love,

    a 66 year old sister/admirer

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