We all have our own role models, our people who we want to be when we grow up. As a twenty something, I wanted to be Bette Midler. I remember telling someone and she laughed at me. You’re a tall blond Swede who wants to be short and Jewish?
I never had noticed that she was short and I didn’t know she was Jewish but I’ve always wanted to be Jewish because then I’d be one of the chosen ones, plus I’d be super smart and I’d have a back story. I wanted to be Bette Midler because she has pizzazz. She is not a smudge on the perfectly formed landscape, she is electric in her bones. She is fully alive. That’s what I want.
I still like Bette Midler. People I have met in my life and would like to be like: Peggy Shumaker, Joe Usibelli, Ben Saltman, my grandfather Gus Swanson, Blasé Bonpane and his wife Theresa, both my kids Tobi and Stephen because they are fearless. People who I would like to be more like: the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Frida Kahlo, and Cindy Sherman. It’s all about being creative, being a great leader, and having grace. I believe in grace. I believe in kindness. My friends Darlene and Lisa have enormous grace and wisdom. I could use more wisdom. I sometimes make decisions with my stomach when I should get my brain involved. I am all about heart decisions, but I’m getting better.
It was an interesting reading last night at the King’s English. They were so nice to us! It was amazing, I love the people at that bookstore. The audience was mostly Nicelle’s friends and family. Nicelle’s son JJ was there and he was so happy to see me and I got him some books which he needed, and he was being super good. Nicelle’s family were so glad to see JJ too.
It’s weird when you travel and do readings how chilly the whole thing is in some ways. When I was in Minneapolis, Jen picked me up at the airport and we went off to lunch and then we hung out together at her house and we went out to meetings and readings and it was a girl party and when I do readings in New Mexico, Darlene and I are hanging out. But if you drop into a town where you don’t have buddies, it feels like you are a parachute jumper. You parachute in, you hang out in your room, you do your reading and that part is exciting and then you sip your warm coffee in the morning if you are lucky enough to have coffee and you get dropped at the curb and then you parachute out.
Next week when I go to Phoenix and Tuscon, I will be staying with Peggy and we will hang out and it will be like home away from home. We talk about our lives and who we are and where we are and what we’re working on. I like reading places where your home girls show up and you’re still home, but a lot of times readings and workshops and talks are parachute time. Be glad you have a parachute that works both ways, you fly in, and you fly out and then you tap your red shoes and say, There’s no place like home. I’m flying back to Los Angeles right now.