Annenberg Beach House for the Red Hen/PSA reading, if you could go back in time–where would you go and who would you visit?

Whidbey was a lot cooler than here

Red Hen Press Readings: Carolyn Guinzio, Natalie Diaz, and Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)
Santa Monica, United States

Tonight I will be at the Annenberg Beach House for the Red Hen/PSA reading. I heard Natalie read in Nebraska and she’s amazing. This whole list of readers is a great lineup.

Every time I am at the Beach House, I feel like it’s a gift. It’s full of light and nearby is the pool which reminds me that I came to Southern California partly to swim in light. I wanted to be like one of those figures in David Hockney’s pool paintings except not be a gay man. Not that I don’t love gay men, but I don’t want to be one. I like being a woman with flawed taste in everything. Well, except husbands and children.

The beach house reminds of the elegant days of Hollywood when Marion Davies frolicked with Hearst in the castle and at the beach.

If you could go back in time, when would you like to visit? About 5.3 million years ago, I would have liked to watch when the ocean broke through the Strait of Gibraltar, which was closed at the time and the water filled the Mediterranean Sea. I imagine that water, millions of tons of it gushing down in a riptide into the dry basin below. Of course, I would have wanted to watch all this from a safe distance.

I would have liked to meet Charlemagne. I’d like to see the beginning of the birth of modern Europe. After the fall of Rome, and the crossing of the Rhine by the Gauls, four centuries of darkness and then Charlemagne who probably offed his brother to get the job, probably more chieftain than emperor, but still. I always picture him wearing big heavy clothes and throwing huge bones under the table to the dogs, and yes, in Europe humans had fleas then, so bathing was probably not happening.

And if I were going to go back in time and meet a writer? Paul Bowles and Jane Bowles certainly. Antoine Saint Exupery absolutely. Cervantes. Virginia Woolf. And Gertrude Stein. That would be a good start.

But, I don’t regret not living in another age. We have computers and the internet. I don’t have to wash my clothes by hand. We have good coffee. Women have the right to make as much money as men. Frankly, this is a crazy good time to be a woman in the history of man. We do have to make money, take care of the house and kids, and still look spectacular, but I wouldn’t trade this for the Fifties. Age of the silent strong men. Seriously, John Wayne types bore me. Or the Sixties. Time for the silly men. Or the seventies. Time for the stoned men. Or the Eighties. Time for the coked out rich men. Then we have the Nineties and into the Millenium. Time for the lost boys. We’re actually going backward. Men to boys. Not a good transition.

But since I’m not dating, I’m safe. Relatively. There is no perfect time or man or woman. I believe in enjoying what we have.


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