When She Has that Look in Her Eye

This is so much how I feel at the moment working on my next book, Angel’s Flight, the next book in the Destiny’s Consent series.  Of course, in her genius, Clarissa Pinkola Estes has captured it perfectly: a simple matter of spit and crystalline bones and balancing acts on fingertips..

“When she has that look in her eye, she is balancing a big cardhouse of ideas on a single fingertip, and she is carefully connecting all of the cards using tiny crystalline bones, and a little spit, and if she can just get it to the table without it falling down, or flying apart,  she can bring an image from the unseen world into being. To speak to her in that moment is to create a Harpy moment that blows the entire structure to tatters. To speak to her in that moment will break her heart.”
                                           Clarissa Pinkola Estes   Women Who Run with the Wolves

Currently I feel I am in the midst of casting a spell to summon muses, goddesses, and all cosmic helpers to assist me with my quest to bring those images from the unseen world into being.  I am a witch goddess crone….I stand at the end of the world to watch doors open and close, to watch the flight of flocks of birds, and to watch the magic of the world unfurl….I truly believe that reality is completely dependent on magical worlds.

woman with tree becoming birds

I just finished rereading my first two books and am so in awe of them…this knowledge pushes me to aspire to the same level, to return to the same place in which I dwelt when I wrote them.

No easy task…those eight years spent writing the first two books, were days of miracles and more miracles and then even more miracles to guide and to inspire me…golden light shimmering each of my footsteps so as to bring my words shiny and bright, garnished with the wisdom of destiny’s consent spit-fired with grand adventures.


A Duet of Book Signings at Larry Edmunds


larry edmunds exterior

 If you have not been to Larry Edmunds in a while, I urge you to go — RIGHT NOW!! in support of ‘Indie’ bookstores.  Especially if you are in the biz, interested in the biz, so I guess this would have to include everyone on the planet.  Larry Edmunds was not the isolated entity on Hollywood Boulevard that it is now;  it was in the midst of a host of other bookstores — Pickwick, Satyr, and Cherokee, but sadly, the once glorious boulevard sports tourist traps, tattoo parlors, and corporate giants.

Larry Edmunds interior

Its owner, Jeffrey Mantor, works his butt off to promote writers, movie books and posters, photographs of the stars and scripts.  Neat as a pin, organized, His love and passion has created an immense inventory for your perusal: more than 500,000 movie photographs, 6,000 original movie posters and 20,000 motion picture and theater books.  But all is neat as a pin and organized.

HINT:  Jeffrey Mantor is introducing books and writers all through Cinecon so look for the dates. 

 Now back to the book signing…here we all are listening to Jon Boorstin.

The one and only Marilyn Slater was my escort, but of course, since she pursues anything Mabel Normand, and Jon Boorstin’s book, Mabel and Me, is a novel,  about the incredible Mabel Normand.  

Brent Walker’s major opus of love, Mack Sennet’s Fun Factory in 2 volumes, took at least 30 years to compile is everything one would ever want to know about Mack Sennett.  EVERYTHING!!

Take a look at Marilyn’s Slater’s wonderful discourse on the event. http://looking-for-mabel.webs.com/larryedmundsbookstore.htm



The 87th Annual Valentino Memorial



                          “Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen.
I am merely the canvas on which women paint their dreams. “
Rudolph Valentino – 1923

To the uninitiated, the smolder of Rudolph Valentino in this photograph will explain his lure. Especially if you apply it to the 1920’s.  The Roaring 20’s had begun liberating urban women to their sexuality, and Valentino became their sexual icon.  His death at 31 years of age initiated an inflamed hysteria in women, young and old. 

I had the good fortune to attend ‘The 87th Annual Valentino Memorial’ on August 23, 2014. This is the longest running memorial…annually since Rudolph Valentino’s death….The ceremony starts at the time of his death, 12:10 p.m.  This is a very beautiful ceremony in tribute of a one of the most magnetic and charismatic stars of the silent era.  

Valentino grave

 With the great success of The Sheik and his subsequent rise to celebrity as the ‘Latin Lover’, Valentino was asked if his love interest in the film, Lady Diana, would have fallen for a ‘savage’ in real life.  

valentino sheik

Valentino had a surprising answer for the time.  

“People are not savages because they have dark skins. The Arabian civilization is one of the oldest in the world…the Arabs are dignified and keen-brained”.  

To voice this opinion in 1921, held a wisdom not just unpopular, but bordering on scandalous in 1920’s America.  

Obviously, Rudolph Valentino was not just a pretty face.  

Judging from the pictures of his book collection in his library, he was very well read to support his rebellions against not only Hollywood’s biases, but also the world’s.

valentino dining

 The photographs of his graceful home at No. 2 Bella Drive, a retreat he called Falcon Lair, is further evidence of Valentino’s taste and elegance.  

falcon lair color


Valentino in home

After his death, an auction was held, and everything auctioned off including his wardrobe.  At the memorial, some of Valentino’s personal items from Tracy Ryan Terhune’s collection were on view including a huge leather bound volume of Shakespeare (infamous for photos).


 Christopher Riordan, who lived at Falcon Lair before it was destroyed to make room for a new house, lovingly conveyed a portraiture of the acres of gardens and private oases that once surrounded the house.  

Marilyn, Christopher Riorden

Marilyn Slater and Christopher Riordan

I could not have had a better companion than Marilyn Slater for the ceremony.  Ms. Slater, authority on Mabel Normand, but also on all the other personalities of the silent films era as well as Hollywood.  Well, you name it, and Ms. Slater knows about it.   In case you are curious, her website is http://looking-for-mabel.webs.com/

Yes, Rudolph Valentino was graciously presented in videos, music, poetry,  and memorabilia in the midst of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with its peacocks, verdancy and flowers with  the Hollywood Sign as backdrop.  

 Valentino grave1

 This was truly an inspiring afternoon.

I urge anyone who has not gone to mark their calendars for next year’s event. You will not be disappointed!

And here is a link to a wonderful overview of the event http://looking-for-mabel.webs.com/valentino87thmemorial.htm




Spring in Venice

Ahhhh….Spring in Venice…for some it means jasmine perfumery, The Venice Art Walk, or the return of the tourists to the beach.  For me, spring’s atmosphere wrenches with a cry of desolate despair: the cry of the baby mockingbird. 

 I am particularly sensitized to it since Michael and I have raised two mockingbird orphans: Amelia and Beauregard.  We began with the name Amelia as inspiration for it to fly, but when we inherited another one the next year, naming them in alphabetical order seemed to be called for.   As a child, one of my favorite books was one where the heroine had 26 dogs, one for each letter of the alphabet.  (This might be a clue for my rescuing of any creature lost or abandoned so that I, too, could gather so many of the earth’s needy.)  Here I might add, Michael holds the reverse philosophy, and opts that the universe to deal with any issues at hand. As you can imagine, this is raw material for, shall we say, interesting ‘discussions’ throughout our relationship.  In any case, I am always meddling in everyone’s biz, just ask any one of my neighbors…

 Speaking of neighbors, I have been racing at the neighbor’s cat, Jack, on the attack, clapping and yelling like a mad woman to chase him from any vicinity of the nest.  Poor Jack is now quite confused; at other times of the year, I pet him so he falls on his back, paws in the air, belly vulnerable and exposed.  No more!  At the first alarm from the mockingbird parents, loud clicks and daring dives of gray flecked with white, I race from our studio on the alert.  Buckets of water stand at the ready.  Last night at dusk found me at my loquat tree battling a very large and very pissed off raccoon with a rake. No matter that he probably only had hankerings for the sweet fruit.  The mockingbirds had sounded their clicking alarms, and out I ran, at first thinking it was one of the cat, buts…no, he was just a very wild raccoon.   I called Michael for help and out he came immediately with a long stick to assist in my battle like a knight of old.  You can see the difference in how each of us deals with the world — Michael generally is just trying to save me from the results of my many interventions…..

 But back to the raising of baby mockingbirds…a large box will generally suffice as a cage.  We always had a cat, so we got a cage to keep the babies out of harm’s reach.  We used a dropper to squirt water down its throat for hydration. The baby bird acts like it’s being drowned, but ours thrived in spite of our efforts. For food, we found that frozen peas and ground turkey work best, the ground turkey closest to our idea of regurgitated worms.  However, I must warn you.  Forget about having any life other than feeding and caring for this featherless bit of blue-veined flesh.  The baby mockingbird is relentless in its demands.  Absolutely relentless. Its loud voice adamantly claims that it is starving to death and very nearly at the end of its rope.  Michael and I were either feeding it, or cleaning its nest every 15 minutes.  As a result, I totally get putting one’s children in front of the TV;  for peace, we would wearily put the cover over the baby mockingbird’s cage so it would shut up and go to sleep.  With some guilt, I might add, until dawn, when our day of servitude would begin all over again.

 When we were raising Amelia, I had to go to Texas for work for a few weeks. (You can see why Michael hates me to get involved in anything – when I do, he invariable does as well.) When I returned, Michael came out to greet me, Amelia hot on his heels, mouth gaping, wings outstretched, running as fast as she could to keep up with him, yelling at the top of her lungs.  It is one of the most endearing snapshots I dearly hold in my memory.  As well as his…

 No matter…how I have come to love that early springtime warble of the mockingbird to attract its mate.  Trills and spills of percussion and melody that outdo Louis Armstrong or Jimi Hendrix.   As Harper Lee said, “mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

 Amen.  Especially in the sacred city that is Venice!