Wednesday, May 12, 2004

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2004
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Hot and humid




The state of the world is so depressing, and I feel so helpless to do anything that might, even in the slightest way, be helpful, that I’m burying myself in my writing.

I don’t do well in hot weather anyway, and I’m overtired from trying to figure out what to do first. When I stop, I start thinking about the war and it gets worse. The only way I can make a difference is with my vote in November, and you can be damn sure that’s what I’m going to do.

The last few days of writing were quite productive. I wrote for episodes of The Widow’s Chamber and two episodes of Tapestry on Monday. I am so far behind on Periwinkle that it’s pathetic. I wrote something else on Monday, but I can’t remember what it is – oh yes, an essay about traveling with a friend’s dog – or was that something I wrote and submitted over the weekend? I can’t remember. It’s all one long day.

Writing on the Run asked for permission to retain and use one of my short pieces, which I granted. I like their new site, and I’m pleased they want me to be a part of it.

Wild Child has another monologue up and will put yet a fourth one up in June. They also voted me the May “Editor’s Choice”. Not only is that an honor, it means a gift certificate on Amazon.com –which I instantly spent, treating myself to Joyce Carol Oates’s Faith of a Writer and a book I’ve wanted for the past couple of years, The Madwoman in the Attic. I probably should have bought something on steamboats, but hey. I wanted to treat myself.

Yesterday was one of those fascinating research days that comes up occasionally. I finally made it over to the Westchester Archives to do the research on Playland. More specifically, in search of the women in the photograph I saw at the Playland Boardwalk Museum last summer.

I read through all the folders, and searched through about 3000 photographs. I didn’t find the photograph I wanted, although I did request copies of some other fascinating ones.

The jackpot was in an article by Charles W. Wood, published in the 1928 of AMUSEMENT PARK MANAGEMENT Magazine – where he names all four of the prop painters. I thought there were five in the photo, but the article names four. So that means the photo is from 1928. And now I have names.

When I came home, I started searching the names. One woman’s name came up on an art site with a picture of a painting, and the same name came up as the author of a book about driving the Alaska Highway in 1947. If she was a young woman painting in Rye in 1928, she could very well have driven through Alaska in 1947. I want to order the book and see if, perhaps, it is the same woman.

The other breakthrough came on another name on the list – I found the same name in the acknowledgements of a book by a writer/speaker/therapist. I visited the writer’s website and her biographical details made me think that there was a possibility that my painter might have been the friend thanked. I e-mailed her – she e-mailed me back saying the friend was, indeed, a painter, and gave me the phone number of the woman’s son.

Could it be? This is too exciting!

I decided that, instead of calling, I would write a letter. It’s less intrusive and it gives me the chance to decide what to say. How do I explain my fascination with the photo? I want to know what it was like to be a prop painter at the opening of Playland. And I also hope that all four women led happy lives. They were so radiant in the photograph – I want that captured moment of happiness to be only one moment in four lifetimes’ full of joy.

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