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The Road Not Taken

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Those of you who know me long and well and those of you who think you know me but have no idea where I am going with all this, which I sometimes don't either, are certainly aware of my loathing for technology, at least the part of it that keeps us from having eye contact (eye contact? What's that?) and real conversation. But as I am not genuinely intractable, I let myself be dragged, mutedly screaming and sort of kicking into the 21st century because of what may be serendipity, or part of divine design, because if God didn't mean us to move on, He/She wouldn't have given us Steve Jobs.

So it was that I found myself at the Apple store on Fifth Avenue just before I went to Bali the second time to write my (I hope) chef d'oeuvre, my first book I had finished there, SCANDAL, (available at Amazon.com) hustled out into the e-world because I thought/hoped there was something more important to come to which I wanted to devote my full energies. At Apple, having signed up for one-on-one time so I would understand a little of what the fuck I was doing, I had the joy of connecting with Fernando, a gentle, smart man in a swirling pool of the often insensitive, and he guided me through a little of the morass. We had such a good time he touted me to Gabi, who had, besides verve and patience, the best name I had ever heard that wasn't made up: Gabi Chanel. One can almost see the store window.

Anyway, we all became friends, and when I went to Bali and my Mac died, Gabi actually spent an hour and a half plus her own nickel on the phone, healing my computer, and my general hysteria over the inhumanity of technology. While I was there they married, and moved to the West Coast where we have all re-connected, both on and offline. They have started their own smart tekkie business, NetWorkFolio, and have, through their smarts and ineffable (an old editor, Don Fine's favorite word, meaning unspeakable, or even more, doesn't even have to be spoken) compassion, made me accept and even enjoy aspects of the net.

One of those is my own website, TheOnlyGwen.com. Check it out. They showed me what they had done in the way of preparation, and I have to say, inhuman and sometimes anti-human as I always thought that whole avenue was, my heart swelled. First of all, having heard me lament the loss of bookstore windows, from which SCANDAL with its fabulous cover by my artist pal Joel Iskowitz, would have flown, they have created what looks like an online bookstore window, with all Joel's terrific covers, for nine of my novels. Not stopping there, they have come up with all the books that were, I thought, out of print, with their original covers, and ways to get them, including Happy at the Bel-Air which would have made me a jillionaire but Oprah didn't show the book.

Then, they have tracked all the careers I didn't have, and put on YouTube the song I wrote for Tony Perkins when he was a teen-age sensation, playing the son of Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire in Friendly Persuasion, a touching tale of a Quaker family, the guiding principle of that religion, one I espoused for a long time in my spiritual questing, (don't turn away,) unwillingness to go to war, something the whole planet could have benefited from embracing. Anyway, I was 20, and crazily smitten with Tony, who was really bright, funny, creative, and something I couldn't imagine at the time, being twenty, and a Bryn Mawr grad, gay. I lost him to Tab Hunter, who was also to record a song of mine, 'Don't Let it Get Around,' the lead sheet for which was actually printed in Photoplay, when movie magazines were alive. I am not blowing any whistles on beloved friends even dead, because Tab in his autobiography wrote something like "for a really smart girl she was incredibly naive," which is putting it mildly. Anyway I loved Tony in my chubby girlish fashion and it was not until Don, a real man, came into my life, that I got the strength to pull away. Still, it's wondrous to have gone online and heard him singing my song(those were the days I thought I was meant to write musicals) which, as Life sometimes sends us dovetailing sidebars, turned out to be the song that kept the BeeGees from being found guilty of plagiarism with How Deep is Your Love, as Harold Barlow, a great musicologist, showed in court that the musical transition cited by the suer as having been stolen from him by the BeeGees, was first used by me in First Romance. Seemingly convoluted a tale, but basically charming, as I know that because Harold was the father of Pam Barlow, who I believe I have already told you if you're still listening was the dance double for Liza Minnelli in LUCKY LADY, the movie I went to spy on at Liza's invitation when I was writing a murder mystery about a movie company on location. Pam and I became friends which we are still. Title of that book, The Aristocrats, not one of my best, but enjoyable -- the cover of which I didn't even remember till Gabi and Fernando dug it up.

Then, most miraculously, they found the tape of my appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which I hadn't even remembered I'd done. Those were the days when talk shows were actually talk shows, and as you can tell from these reports, I can talk almost endlessly, so was welcome and needed all over the country, including Cleveland when Phil Donahue was top of his line, and Cincinnati where Nick Clooney, George's dad (just as handsome and charming and smart) was holding sway. I'd done the Tonight Show a number of times but Johnny had always been away so there was a substitute host. This show was one he was hosting himself, and we got along like a... what's the expression? A house afire? Is that right, and if so, why? He clearly liked me, I cannot believe how cute I was, and slender, taking on the guest who'd preceded me, Bobby Blake, later to be a murderer, or maybe he was already and nobody knew, calling him a weirdo which really pleased Johnny. So I was pretty and witty and bright, and it would be a puzzle why I hadn't become a TV sensation, except that part I remembered: they were so excited about me they had me come back almost immediately, but with a substitute host who was dud.

So you wonder why these thing happen as they do, or don't, like Oprah's not showing the book and so not allowing me to be the thinking woman's Mitt Romney. The answer is: I don't know, but I do suspect that had that happened, and had I become a TV darling, I would never have written the number of books I have, or struggled to know the truth, which is still part of my quest (don't turn away).

Anyway, check out TheOnlyGwen.com (Don't tell Gwen Stefani). I love you all, whether or not you love me back. That is the true nature of love even after you are too innocent to know someone is gay, and what does it matter in the long run, anyway, I wrote so many songs to please him and had joy in the process, which may be what the whole journey is about. Kisses. xxxxx