Hello again Lovelies,
When I said I had an abundance of good news to share I was in part thinking about our whirlwind trip to interview and film the legendary Diane Diprima. More than a year in the making, it was well worth the wait!
Life being what it is you won’t be surprised to hear that a few days before leaving, right after the burst of get-organized-to-go energy wore off, Hashimoto’s attacked and I found myself almost unable to rise out of bed after 9, even 10 hours of sleep along with headaches, heart palpitations, blurry vision and other ocular and corporeal unpleasantries.
Oh the not-joy of dealing with an auto-immune condition. I am in good company here, at least. Diane has her own share of auto-immune and health issues.
The plan had been to film Diane at the house she shares with her husband and fellow writer, Sheppard . . . but Diane was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital and it wasn’t clear whether we could go ahead. Then the hospital agreed to help us with the logistics, for which we are so thankful. Many more thanks to Diane for having the strength and the will to continue.
In fact, I can’t say enough about how moved and grateful our small team is to have spent such inspiring and intimate time with Diane at such a vulnerable time in her life.
I think we were all a little bit nervous and in awe that we were actually meeting and getting to film this amazing woman who has been described as, “poet, priestess, teacher, unrepentant activist,” and “the foremost female and one of the key figures of the original Beats.”
After more than 2 years of hoping, while Diane took off her hospital gown and put on a becoming green gown Sheppard brought from their nearby home, we waited in the “green room” down the hall with a stack of books we hoped to have signed!
Then time slipped away and the only thing that existed was that small warm room where we were gathered. Listening to Diane talk in between sips of water from a straw and breaks to wipe the corners of her eyes, which are painfully affected by Sjögren syndrome, it was evident that Diane’s keen intelligence, courage and big heart were intact.
This trip to San Francisco was my first since the motor nerve damage effected my ability to walk and stand for periods of time. I was pretty nervous at first, but knowing that I would be able to avoid the stress of a large airport helped. So did the assistance of my cousin, the lovely, multi-talented TV and film writer Kate McKenna, who is newly engaged to long-time college sweetheart, Adam Bricker, cinematographer of the charming All These Small Moments with Molly Ringwald, Adam’s first feature film after several successful years filming the very popular Chef’s Table.
I can hardly wait to see her again and to talk about turning Diane’s Memoirs into a feature film and to thank her for being the best Production assistant and traveling companion I could have hoped. Even and especially when we discovered there was no way I was going to be able to climb the stairs to the poetry room at City Lights.
When we meet, we’ll also talk about turning Diane’s memoirs into a feature film. Yes, it’s true! Finally, Diane’s searingly honest and fascinating look into her life before and after Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, Recollections of My Life as a Woman (2001), which “chronicles a life of adventure and vulnerability, and articulates the stakes she faced as an unwed mother in the 1950s,” is beginning its journey from page to screenplay!
Regarding the steep, narrow staircase I couldn’t climb at City Lights Books . . . .I cried for days once I got home over the disappointment, pouring my heart out to Diane in a text to which she replied,
“I’m sorry you feel so sad. I’m sure it’s because of the contrast between what you (& the rest of us) felt with all of us working together to make something happen that was so terrific and the relative isolation we feel at home. But don’t forget we’ll be working together in just a few weeks to finish up the film and there after there’ll be many get-togethers to deal with the music, plan showing and generally “get the show on the road” or more literally on TV as a miniseries . . . Indeed it seems to me that by creating this one project you’ve provided yourself and any of us who want to come along for the ride with a life-time of stuff to do. I for one have taken a ticket for the whole ride. So see you in a couple of weeks sweetie. Lot of love from me and Shep, Diane.”
I get goosebumps reading it still. So choo choo and woo hoo all aboard!!