Woody Allen ruined my life. Ok, that’s not exactly true, but almost, and I think he’d secretly love that.
I don’t know Woody Allen, but I have watched many of the worlds that he’s created and wanted them for myself; the drippings of money and intellectual privilege. I’ve wanted a man to whisper e.e. cummings in my ear, as he encourages me to have an affair. Of course, the other woman is my sister.
I’ve wanted to live in a grey house by the sea and splash around in waves that crash up all around me – destined to drown. I’ve wanted a booze-soaked, angry Mother who once possessed glamour, and a neurotic family who financially supports my poetry habit.
I’ve wanted to work in an art gallery that was actually mine and be forgiven for my dalliance because my husband was caught up in a prostitute’s intrigue. Or, to be invited to fly to Orvieto to have a threesome with my gorgeous friend and Jarvier Bardem.
Each world he creates is a beautiful backdrop to privileged peoples’ problems that paint personal, interesting Hells to inhabit; however, I’ve wanted these worlds with less hell-fire.
Last night my dreams came true. I was invited to my first publishing dinner at a famous intellectual’s house; a man I had studied in college.
When I first started my job I was a little disappointed to discover that I wasn’t going to be personally involved with the authors that I was representing. Because of Woody Allen, I had imagined being invited to late evening literary circles where some meaningless and dramatic event would happen. I, of course would handle all of this with the aplomb of a publishing executive like myself would possess and then throw out a witty comment or two.
Unfortunately, for me, the San Francisco publishing scene was not the New York one, and the sun has set on the Golden Age of publishing. I was not going to be going to author dinners, but sitting on calls and answering email after email. My authors were not going to be my friends, but people I answered to professionally.
Somehow I managed to move past my disappointment, embrace my job for what it was, but still I harbored this secret dream, knowing I would shine in this moment. Though, in time, I laid my dream to rest.
Then unexpectedly I was confronted with “the man I had studied in college”. Due to the constant email, the eminence of him had not sunk in; however, I was a little surprised that our author call had turned into a very late lunch. We’re nice at my company, but normally wouldn’t settle for eating at 2:00 p.m.
As the meeting went on who he was sunk in, and suddenly I became nervous and concerned it was obvious.
“I’d love to have you over at my house for a catered dinner,” captured my attention. “No”, I thought, “no, this cannot be true. I’m sure this will never happen.”
Now I am sitting here to tell you, my dear readers that yes, it did happen, and it was one of the most magical nights of my life (clearly I need to get out more).
It was the most elegant, perfectly set dinner I have ever attended. Each stage of the meal was choreographed like a beautiful three act play.
Act One: hor’deurves with Rose champagne in the blue entry room with Brahms in the background.
Act Two: Dinner in the Italian room, which had a wooden Roman ceiling, white wine, and a starter salad of grapefruit and avocado. It was followed by a delicious meal that I don’t have the words for – there were even ceramic nameplates.
Act Three: We were led up the stairs through a hallway of Northwest Indian and Egyptian masks that he and his wife had collected throughout their travels. Once up the stairs we entered three exquisite rooms that overlooked the entire city. After we enjoyed the view, we continued our discussion of technology and parenting, while consuming the dulce de leche ice cream that was served.
Each room was lit to suit the setting, and I must admit there was a very handsome butler serving us. When it was time to go parting gifts were given: Hawaiian coffee and macadamia nuts.
Ok, truthfully nothing dramatic happened (Woody Allen did not write this screen-play), but it didn’t matter because the conversation was so stimulating; it was inspiring and intelligent; absolute sparkling with insight.
Though I was most touched by the Hawaiian chant that was sung before dinner; one of the co-authors is a Lacuna, a Hawaiian spiritual leader who has an enviable voice. After dinner she pulled me aside and said, “baby, you glow, you’re going to do great things,” and I have to say, I’m going to choose to agree with her.
I know that I will remember last night forever, a symbol that I can make what I envision true; even if no one confronts one another about infidelity. I can be the screen-writer of my own life, and maybe no one will want to watch it, but hopefully others will be able to see the light within.