THE ONLY place Woody Allen ever really wants to be is in his bed. "My spot on the bed is my spot in the world," he explains. It's where he watches baseball games, and reads, and where he writes, usually in the morning, because if he starts at night, he sometimes gets so excited he can't go to sleep. It's where the act of imagination is actually "pleasurable and I might go cast the people and see my characters come to life. And I put the music in and I see the characters playing their scenes to the beautiful music behind them. You know, I get a kick out of that. And if nobody else does, that's too bad."
He sounds less defiant than resigned. Of all the major American artists, Allen has experienced one of the cruelest and most violent whipsaws of fortune, of tumbling from audience adulation to mass approbation. His solution to the vagaries of public estimation is to hold fast to the belief that none of it means anything. "When you're a kid you think to yourself, 'Fame and fortune and it's going to be so exciting and . . .' -- but then you quickly find after three or four films, you find, 'Wait a minute, the upside is nothing and the downside is nothing.' The adulation of the multitudes or of the critics is an impersonal experience, and the negative feelings [from] people is an impersonal experience. The contract that the audience has with the person is you entertain us and we'll show up. And that is as the contract should be."