Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Is this a ghost town? No, it was Manhattan... Manhattan in 1977: quiet and empty. Alas, there is no longer any "Willoughby" among these mean streets.
In the fall of 2007, I was looking through my collection of photos and I was becoming nostalgic. I knew I had to arrange to save these photos and many others. I contacted the documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner to discuss what I considered a dilemma and I was inspired after a visit to his studio. Shortly thereafter, I decided to write a memoir... a memoir that would eventually include photos and memorabilia that is both bizarre and hilarious.
So here it is: "marjorie-pentimenti, some pieces of a life documented."
Monday, June 1, 2009
I was an elementary school teacher in Manhattan for thirty-four years and now I am retired. I am a stand-up comic at NYC comedy clubs and I won a contest in 1991 (to find the funniest teacher) at Stand-up NY comedy club.
I had a telling experience during the school lunch hour when I was seven years old and in the second grade. I was in the playground and I climbed to the top of the slide. As I was ready to fly down, I was unaware that both sides of the bottom of my dress caught on two sort of rusty hooks. I started the downward soar and the dress was pulled back over my torso, over my shoulders, over my arms that stretched behind me, and I took the dive. I landed to the ground half naked and my dress flapped in the breeze at the top of the slide high above me. It was a defenseless landing. But, that was not what caused me concern as all the kids laughed. I ran to the school nurse and demanded a tetanus shot.
The above photo was taken at The Water Club at my birthday celebration when I turned 60 years old. Please enjoy reading this memoir in a blog, and then tie a nice bow around the entries. Now lookout street, here I come!
I think I got it! The clue is in the "tachyons!" I believe in reincarnation, and superstring theory in quantum physics hints that it is possible to "time travel." When we "shuffle off this mortal coil" the consciousness is no longer confined by matter or gravity. The "tachyons" of the mind tunnel FTL through wormholes, at black holes, to one of an infinite set of parallel universes where we can be born again forward or backward in time. Such beauty exists in this simplicity. It is our consciousness after death that is the ultimate time traveler. We are all time travelers!
Oh, what a journey! I am left breathless by the infinite possibilities! Perhaps one glorious day I will ride with Jack Kerouac. Maybe one great night I will party with Marion Davies and William Hearst at San Simeon. I hope in a next life I remember not to book passage on the Titanic.
Can we begin to understand the strange cosmos? Stephen Hawking said: "to know the Theory of Everything is to truly read the mind of God." Albert Einstein said: "God does not play dice in the universe." Perhaps physicists are not hard-wired to ever find the mysterious and elusive missing piece of the puzzle. Maybe we are just like little goldfish... goldfish who will never ever even understand that 1 + 1 = 2. I have a strong intuitive feeling that I will be reincarnated into the future with somewhat of a writing ability. I will show my work to a close friend and she will remark, "You're good, but you are no Marjorie Levine."
We all have a death sentence. But wait! If we get the right tests and then the recommended procedures after the inevitable diagnosis, we can get a little stay of execution. It's about those little stays of execution along the way... the little stays that allow us to continue enjoying in small scale ways whatever this is.
from my 1991 poem, "Last Morning on Twenty-third":
As I hear the sound of the rain begin
to assault the old, tired, faded fire escape-
I start to pack.