What do those things have in common? Well, plenty for me.
I’ve turned my book, Moving to the Center of the Bed: The Artful Creation of a Life Alone into a one woman play, and I’m in rehearsals now. Learning how to convert a book into a play has been wonderfully interesting and I love every minute of the work to bring it to the stage (off, off, off Broadway) in New York City. My director, Gretchen Cryer, calls it a one woman play with two women, because I am onstage at the piano along with the actress who plays me. But for a few electronic moments, I am providing the music, live.
The downside of doing the play is that it keeps me tied to the most difficult days of my life. And sometimes, after rehearsals, when I have played for hours the music that defines the play, and lingered in the memories of life with my husband before and after he was diagnosed with dementia, I need to take my mind into something quite different, something that puts me into the now or even into plans for my future.
So, sitting at my computer after one such rehearsal, I was musing on the fact that I need some new people in my life, people with their own unique interests who have something wonderful to teach me. So suddenly that I was sure the Universe had been listening in, I received an email from one of my dearest friends, Jen, in Connecticut. She said: “You may be interested in this link. The woman in it is a friend of mine.” I clicked on it immediately and there was Debra, a beautiful woman in her mid sixties, with pink hair, searching thrift stores in order to put together some unique outfits, clothing, hats, jewelry. I loved it…and her. I thought: “I truly need someone with pink hair in my life.” So I sent her an email and said we have a mutual friend and she wrote back inviting me for tea.
We had a wonderful few hours together and at the end of the afternoon she showed me a beautiful book of photography. The pictures were all of amazingly dressed women, ages 60 through 100; unique women in both looks and attitude. The photographer, her friend, Ari Seth Cohen, had a great love for his grandmother, and equally reveres his mother, and, wanting to honor them, set out with his camera on the streets of New York City, looking for stylish, original women in their mid to late years. What he ended up with is a treasure trove of photos of exciting women. From those photos and interviews, he created his book, just published, called Advanced Style and is now at work on a documentary about the women. It didn’t hurt either that when I went to the book signing, he asked if he could put me in the next book. Um hmm, yes, you may!
At another event to publicize his book, Ari asked some of the women to speak a little about themselves. They told us how they felt about the importance of finding your own style and looking wonderful at any age, and not being afraid to put yourself out there whether you’re 60 or 90. I was sitting with a young (17 year old) house guest of Debra’s. I asked her what she thought of these women. She said. “It makes me look forward to getting older. I don’t think I’ll ever be afraid of it after seeing and hearing these women.”
Now that Debra has introduced me to the something new I was looking for, I have a renewed interested in clothing and furthering my own unique personal style for the life that I’m living now. I’m shopping, something I always hated doing, and having fun finding my new look that truly puts the inside me… out there.
As for the pimple. Well, I was nervous about going to the first book signing, an invited affair. I’m a conservative dresser, unlike some of the women who are crazily flamboyant, and I thought, I might not fit in at all. I was suddenly thrown back into being the new girl in Junior High, wondering where I would sit in the cafeteria and if anyone would talk to me. So, I had Debra come over and help me decide what to wear. It was like prom night with my best friend, raiding my closet for the perfect dress. Only I was 75, and without a date. Debra must have thought I was crazy. But, I worried so much about it, that…you guessed it…at the age of 75 I got a Junior High School pimple.
I think I’m going to wish some more. Look what happened when I did! I got a darling new friend with pink hair and …a pimple. The pimple’s gone. But, I still have the friend.