Letters from Venice – Part XIII

March 6, 1983

A fantastic week. I have finally come out of hibernation. February is lethal for me – some people have menstrual cycles which debilitate them for 5 days per month – I have February. Unbelievable – in the future, I will plan my life to take me on vacation in February to southern sunny climes! Saw Pat Methany in concert Friday night – fantastic. My adventure in Mestre – went alone, met some great people in trying to get back to Venice. But the concert was incredible. Lyle Mais, his pianist, is a genius. Truly and the concert felt structured rather like a church service with “As Falls Witcheta Falls so Witcheta Falls Falls” – a powerful sermon of destruction and fear of imminent war, with sound effects of choppers and sounds I’ve never heard coming from a guitar, all followed by the recessional music, then another ½ hour of fabulously optimistic music – he truly brings joy to his audience members.

Thursday night saw “Io, Bertolt Brecht” with Giorgio Straler and Milva, who sang “Surabaya Johnny” in the most powerful rendition I’ve yet seen. Wow. Talk about flashbacks.

I joined the Canottieri Querini, rowing club and will go Tuesday at 1:00pm to row. I can’t wait; also started running again, and was waxed for the first time – what a trip to see my legs for the first time without hair festoons! I’m on a rush!

5 hour lunch today with Peter, Sam, Ronny, Jim, a new friend who dances with Carol Carlson at the Fenice – last night, Saturday dinner at Montin, then to Jim’s for Lemon Vodka – ouch. Things are picking up.

Still no word from MWM or Bob – distance is a big drag…But I am getting up and spring is coming!

April 4, 1983

Far too long has passed – Bob has come and gone and my life has taken on a whole new tone – while Bob was here, for a week, I started to get to know Carl and Caroline, two Australians and from there my circle has expanded immensely, and I’ve seen some towns outside of Venice – two days ago we drove to Mantegnana, a beautiful 14th century walled city, the only complete remaining wall in Northern Europe? Or even all of Europe. Also went to Este and spent the whole day speaking Italian – great experience – I would so much rather spend my time here with Italians and Italian speakers than with English people – they have a lot more fun, too. Next weekend I am going to the mountains with Carl, Caroline and Albert – that would be great fun. The places where we went the other day were in the Eugenian hills which are incredibly dramatic mounds which rise totally without warning out of the plains and are punctuated with cypress trees and edifices ranging from 17th Century Palazzi to 15th Century Tempietti. The group was fun that went – Carl and Claudio, his “Romano,” Francesca, a student of Chinese at C’Foscari, Albert, a student of critical literature also at Ca’ Foscari. Louisa, Anna, me and Caroline. We went in two cars and swapped places back and forth all day – a very dynamic group.

Bob’s visit last week was fascinating in its effect on me – it woke me up to the truth about working in the US. I’m putting together my resume for job hunting from Venice this spring – thinking , too, of working a few months in Venice at the Guggenheim if it were to work out. Philip Rylands has put me on the top of the waiting list for an internship, and I feel sure it can work out.

Verona NightWent to Verona last week with Frank and Felicia and Anna and met some lovely people , Mariella and Gian Carlo with whom we ate lunch and they showed us around. An incredibly powerful “arena” was the arena worn by centuries of rain and the seated spectators of theatre history.

Verona

I hope to go to the mountains with Alberto and Caroline this weekend, which would be fabulous to get away from Venice over night – first time since Christmas in Florence with Mom.

Easter Dinner(s) yesterday began at Casa S. Stae with a boned stuffed chicken created by Caroline, who has now been coined the assassin because of the unfortunately untimely death of Ned Guinness of apparent “food poisoning” two weeks after her arrival asa new cook. We only tease her. Then she and I went on a bar crawl for a few glasses of prosecco and finally ended up on the Zattere where I left Caroline with my buddy Christopher who is back in Venice for Easter – happy bunny…I went on to Carol’s house, expecting our Easter Dinner of duck, but she was sick in bed so we had to return to our house to cook and eat the glorious little duckies with Tom, the German Art Historian. It was a lovely evening, though I drank far too much, comme d’habitude these days. Today was a recuperative day spent in sun and walking all over with Anna, then a two hour nap tonight.

Letter to  Bob Stern

Note: New Address   Patton Ave., Princeton, NJ

Dated April 14, 1983

Dear Bob,

Your fabulous letter (s) came this week and Carl and I met at a torrid [sic]café near the Rialto to exchange news – I missed you so much this week, as I’ve been faced with a number of difficult decision about the future of Els in Europe –I am here at least until the end of August as I’ve accepted a job at the Guggenheim from the first until the 31st and I have a possible apartment in Venice (Sylvano’s house – he’s going to Greece in August) from the middle of July until Aug. 31st. Then I’m thinking of going to Paris, as I have a lead on an apartment there in Sept. It is difficult to plan when I don’t know what Mark’s up to, but I have decided to go ahead and make my own decisions based on my needs and my desires – sounds selfish, perhaps, but what else can one do, given the circumstances?

I am very excited about the possibility of living in Paris – the only thing I would like was a respite to come back to the USA to touch base with my grandparents, as they are getting on in years.

Your plan to come to Venice is divine if it works out. I think I will have this apartment, and of course, there’s Sicily, or maybe a place in Casa St. Stae; I didn’t tell you of the new developments on the Casa St. Stae – I am now involved with  “big” Alberto – Oh what a Peyton place. (Edited by the 54 year old author…)
What a crass letter. You needn’t share it with anyone! Carl kicked his heels up when he got your letter and grinned all afternoon and I’m sure, far into the night!

Louisa and I are having a huge party tonight – billed as a Disco. There are 40 people invited! Oh my God!! (A Frankism)

I’m teaching English now to a Doctor who is going to the states on Sunday for a month or so. Pay’s good but I need to find more jobs!

Zanna-doo went back to school today….:))) Long 2 wk vacation. I love you Bob Stern! Come Back!

April 20, 1983

Peter and Sam Judge to arrive tomorrow, and the household has been a bit strung up lately. I have been getting my resume out to people – called Paris about the Gallerie 55, and Fiona Scanlon seems to be doing a production in September for which I will apply – sent my resume to her as well as to Bob Edgar.

I am not ready to return to the states – talked to MWM on the phone, and per normale, he is hesitant about coming to Europe. As the day approaches I am becoming very nervous that I have put too much expectation on his visit. As I have met people and even fallen in love, how can I assume things will be the same – he is probably looking toward visiting then returning to the states – am I going to return, too? I have taken a job at the Guggenheim in August, I am here at least until then – $600 for working one month, and little prospect for earing money. I gave three English lessons to a Doctor going to the states – it’s good money – I’ll continue to look for positions. Tomorrow I’ll go to a lecture at the Cini Fondazione by American architect Richard Meier – good place to post a notice…Oh…I have to take charge…

Last Thursday, the 14th, Louisa and I had a party of 40ish people – great. Anna made the invitations with me – watercolors. She constantly amazes me with her choice of colors and sense.

May 2, 1983

I can’t believe how fast spring is coming and playing itself out – constant attention given to matters of body, heart and soul. Am seeing quite a bit of Alberto, roommate  of Carl P. He is a student of Spanish & Portuguese literature. We had a great trip around the lagoon on Friday and Saturday on his moto. I think I’m making things complex for myself, but then I always find myself coming back to the issue of fear of doing unexpected things, and risk-taking.

Now have a job for July also at the Guggenheim – rumor has it Philip’s secretary is leaving and that would be the job for me to take. Another year in Venice? Why? Why not if I had a salary and a place of my own…Connie Rusconi was very encouraging – says I should pursue it.

Sherwood Anderson in Paris, 1921:

            There are places that must be seen alone. The exclamations of people terrify, they are like whiplashes on tender flesh. Even intelligent comment is hurtful. Once does not receive the caress of beauty through the intellect. It creeps upon you or flashes down on you like a stroke of lightning. There is the necessity of readjustment, or rebuilding something within. Every new and beautiful thing seen destroys while it seals (heals?) You are a tender, hurt, shattered thing emerging from the womb of some great mother. Silence and solitudet. The sweet, the golden thing. Long after perhaps we shall speak to each other.

 

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