Letter From New York 05 13 2016 Thoughts on mortality….

It is Friday the 13th, a day feared by many as unlucky.  It has neither been lucky or unlucky for me, so far…

The cottage is ripe with the good feelings from a lovely dinner party last night.  There were six of us.  We had appetizers, soup, salad, fish, lamb or pork or both, baby gold Yukon potatoes, sautéed carrots, green beans with butter and ice cream and berries for dessert.  People arrived at seven and left after midnight.  A good time was had by all.

I am now in my fourth load in the dishwasher.  We had cocktails, champagne, white wine, red wine, cordials.  It was a long, delightful evening of food and wonderful conversation.  It was a moment of recognition of how lucky I am, to be in the cottage, to have friends, to be alive.

As I returned from the city on Tuesday, I got a text letting me know that Vinnie Kralyevich had died the night before.  He was fifty-two, was on the treadmill, collapsed and could not be revived.  He was someone I worked with a lot about nine years ago and I was staggered to learn he had passed.  I am older and there was another moment that reminded me of my own mortality.

I am at an age when mortality is knocking at my door.  The people who mentored me are growing older and are leaving the scene.  I have younger friends who are cursed with terminal diseases and are leaving me.

For more than fifteen years my friends Medora Heilbron and Meryl Marshall-Daniels have had a weekly call to check in and support each other.  It’s a phone support group.  Medora ran development for USA Network when I was out pitching shows.  Meryl got me involved with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  I was on the Board of Governors when she was the Chair of the Academy.  Medora reached me on 9/11 just before I lost phone service to check on how I was.

It is a deep and rich sharing, once a week, except when one of us is out of the country.

Medora shared today that Bruce Lansbury, brother to Angela, a producer of great renown and who gave Medora her best break in the business, was suffering from Alzheimers.  Angela and Medora live in the same Los Angeles neighborhood, run into each other in markets but Medora had never introduced herself to Angela but, for some reason, she did this week at the Whole Foods in Brentwood.  She was devastated by the news that Bruce was alive but gone.

It is what all of us fear.  I do.

While I write this, on a day which has been dark and drear, a soft fog is descending around me, enveloping the creek, the end of a rainy, dismal day. And the view in front of me is a bit magical.  One could imagine woodland nymphs dancing in the distance.

However, there are no woodland nymphs dancing tonight in American politics. 

Trump has a butler who is now retired but still gives tours at his estate in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, a cereal heiress whose daughter, Dina Merrill, was an accomplished actress.

He called Obama a “muzzie” who should be hung.  The Trump campaign is working to distance itself from those comments.  A “muzzie” is a Muslim, by the way.

I had a long chat with my client, Howard Bloom, who has just finished a new book, “The Mohammed Code.”  It is an exegesis of the roots of fundamentalism in Islam. We have battered back and forth about the book because it exposes the roots of ISIS and I am hoping will reflect the differentiation between fundamentalist Muslims and the majority of Muslims who have renounced the ugly parts of their religion.

This is the great conversation of today. We must come to peace with Islam and they must come to peace with us.  Not easy but must be done…

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