It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is no such thing as ready. There is only now.” – Huge Laurie
Dear Loyal Readers,
It is with great regret that I write this blog to you. I knew it was coming but I just didn’t know when. Unfortunately, that day has arrived.
Last fall I was very ill with just about everything Mother Nature could throw at me. I was immobile, and for a time had no recollection of where I was or who I was. This lasted from October until January, when I finally came home. With the help of a village composed of friends, relatives, doctors, nurses, and therapists, I slowly regained my ability to walk, to talk and to remember my identity. I began living my life again. I made a great recovery all in all but I was not as I was before the illness. For those of you who like details and I do preach that DETAILS are essential to good writing, here are the elements of my sick time. I had a debilitating case of Sciatica which totally paralyzed me. I had dehydration, then kidney failure and finally pneumonia. Even so, once I got home and started making a bit of progress in the recuperation department, I returned to the blog and managed to turn out a new blog every week or every other week.
It was during that time I knew this letter would have to be written one day. Even though I made progress in becoming a productive person, I’m sorry to report that Mother Nature in the last few months has saddled me with a couple of whammies that finally brought down the curtain. I have developed a vision problem consisting of Glaucoma and Wet Macular Degeneration. (The last requires an injection into my eyeball monthly.) My hearing isn’t so good either.
The name of my last blog was ANATOMY OF A FILM and told about how the film “La Nuit de Varennes.” It happened to become a film. I have often said in my plays , novels, and screenplays that many times we let life make our decisions for us. The film mentioned in my last blog is a perfect example of the word happenstance. So is this blog.
Before I moved to Palm Springs, I lived fifteen years in West Hollywood, California. It was during those times that I worked on my screenplays and was a script doctor. Due to the age factor, writing jobs got scarcer and scarcer. The Writers Guild even had a committee to battle ageism. This group produced very little positive results. As a consequence, when I hit 65, I moved to Palm Springs, a retirement destination for many show business people.
One thing I learned very quickly was that the main activity for most people here was to eat and drink. I quickly decided I did not want to have these as my new professions. Instead I decided to write a book based on one of my plays. The result of this was my first published book, CONTESSA. It did quite well but I quickly found out that publishing companies pretty much expected you to do a large part of your own marketing.
One weekend I went into West Hollywood to attend a book signing at a book club. After the event, a friend of mine and I went to a popular restaurant called The Silver Spoon. I noticed a young man in his early forties at the next table would look over in our direction every so often. I smiled in an attempt to be friendly.
He asked me, “Did you used to teach Spanish in Riverside, California?”
“Yes,” I replied.”
“Is your name Jack Fitzgerald?”
“Yes,” I answered, “but that was many years ago.”
He gave me a big smile and held out his hand and said, “I’m Dan Felix. I was a student of yours.”
I was absolutely taken off guard because Dan had been an excellent student and had been blessed with an active curiosity, just like me. He was always coming up with some new piece of information to try out on me. Palm reading, handwriting analysis, and even what your name meant.
I was delighted to see Dan again but the boyish young man I used to know was no longer. He was mature and had a very professional look about him. He quickly told me that he had attended the Air Force Academy and had served in the Air Force for quite a few years. His specialty was now technology marketing and that he was actively in that business at the present.
I quickly filled him in on my years in Paris, my just having retired from being a screen writer and script doctor. I told him I had just started a new career—novelist. I showed him a copy of CONTESSA. He asked me about my marketing activities. And I told him I had none except hit and miss like book clubs and book store appearances.
He smiled and asked if I had a blog. I had no idea what he was talking about. He thought a minute and then said that for old times and because he appreciated me so much as a teacher, he would create a blog for me—for free!
I was delighted but can assure you I did not know beans about something called a blog. Over the following weeks we got together in person, on the phone and via email. He lived in Riverside, which was about 50 miles from Palm Springs. He would ask me for photos and info about my book. Finally in a very short period of time, he sent me via the internet a copy of my “blog.” It was beautiful, I thought, and so well done. It had my biography, my writing output over the years and just some interesting trivia. I used it immediately and sent it to everybody I knew or met.
The blog was revised a couple of times over the following years. Then Dan decided once that he would re-do the blog and that I should write an article weekly.
This is how my blog began—by sheer happenstance. The blogs that you have received over the last three or so years have been the result of Dan’s input. He has been the one who has done all of the terrific layout, editing, and especially all of the different departments of this blog. In short, he has been a treasure.
Can you imagine if I hadn’t gone to the Silver Spoon that day? What if I hadn’t taught Dan? So, here you have another instance of fate making our decisions for us.
I could not write this “so long” blog without sharing with you the tremendous job Dan Felix has done over the years. If you have enjoyed this blog, a great and integral part of your interest is due to the talent he has incorporated in it.
Thanks, Dan. Thanks for all the years of friendship. I could never have done it without you.
So, here it is, my friends. I am not saying good-bye. I’m more comfortable to say “so long.” I will put out a new blog occasionally. In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you went to the ARCHIVES and checked out some of my past blogs. I’ve been writing this blog for nearly three years and you have over 200 blogs from which to choose. Actually if you read one blog a week from the Archive section, you could easily have a choice of two years worth of blogs. It would be as if I were still with you on a weekly basis. Then every so often, a fresh blog from me will appear. I might even go into all the trials and tribulations of getting a needle in the eye. I could even tell you about the baggage we all have in life and goodness knows what other topics.
My very best to you. I thank you for your comments over the years and your interest. You WILL hear from me so don’t think this is goo-bye. It’s like I said——