We did miss you. Good luck on your script!
Since you have greater access to Ray than most of us, any chance that you could convince him to publish "Dial Double Zero" in a future collection of short stories? Many thanks. I look forward to reading your book when it is published.
I may have an explanation for that. I was talking to Ray's longtime producer last night who said that, recently, due to helath problems, Ray's signature has somewhat deteriorated, and that he's been spending a lot of time getting it back up to snuff. At a book singing a while back he even took to dipping his thumb in ink and placing the fingerprint next to his signature so people would know it was acutally his.
I think he's better. I saw him signing posters the other day at the Theatre and he seemed just fine. (Theatre West -- L.A.) I'll ask tonight if he has any upcoming appearances scheduled.
I can understand and appreciate what an effort Ray makes to sign autographs and make appearances these days. I wish I had a chance to get a personalized autograph or even a doodle, but I'm just happy he's alive and realtively well and full of fire.
The situation with the event Nazi was a bit different. I meet Ray in the greenroom before the event (I paid extra for a "VIP" package), and he was SUPPOSED to sign autographs then, but the Event Nazi was in a hurry to get Ray upstairs to take pictures with more important folk than us. Ray didn't want to go, of course. He did sign loads of autographs after the event.
[This message has been edited by WritingReptile (edited 05-30-2003).]
Tell you right now. A thumbprint of Ray's?
Ray wrote a poem years ago about 'God Thumbprints Thee'..... and I thought that would have been a good thing for him to do... but nothing was done about it... Now this!
Wow! Can you imagine having a copy of 'Treasure Island' with a thumbprint of Robert Louis Stevenson. Yowee. THAT is NEAT!!
That really is neat. The latest I have about Ray's health is, I had a brief phone conversation with him Thursday in which he said, "I'm sick." He was very matter-of-fact and just the way his voice sounded made the statement all the more sincere. He is borderline for another stroke, which is, I suppose, why he would cut things short such as the run-through of the play--to rest. I assume he's mentioned this to others. If anyone thinks I shouldn't repeat it, let me know and I will delete this, I am just posting it because of the interest level here. I asked about his medical care and he said he has four doctors "who are all arguing and disagreeing between themselves. They're like politicians." He has plans which call for continuing being active but also accepts that plans can change depending on his health. To my astonishment he told me he had no assistant! I was sure he had one to help him around and with other physical activities such as typing, but he was insistent he didn't. Perhaps he did briefly and then got tired of it. He was quite clear that he does everything himself, which must, of course, mean that he prefers it that way.
Perhaps my personal experience can shed some light on this issue of Ray's health.
I'm the caretaker, if you will, of my 93 year old grandmother who is in an assisted living center (Though this morning she's in the hospital, the 4th such visit this year, for bronchitis. She refuses to eat, take oxygen, do therapy; it's one thing to be brave and stoic in the face of adversity, it's another to purposely make yourself a burden on your loved ones.) Sometimes, the patient isn't the best person to decide on the treatment they should receive. Though you'd like your loved ones to have as much dignity as possible in their final days, they don't always know what's good for them. (Shoot, I don't always know, either. But I'm in a better position, mentally and physically, than she is to make these decisions.)
I admire Ray's admission about the state of his health; it appears he knows his limitations and is willing to accomodate them and that's no bad thing. But other reports, and his additional admission of having four doctors squabble over his health, tells me it's time he consider, or re-consider, having some help in doing the things he'd like to do, such as his typing. (And, isn't it true, he dictated Let's All Kill Constance to his daughter from his hospital bed?)
(I suspect in the example of the event-Nazi given above, he had employed assistance that he wasn't very pleased with. If so, time to find another assistant. But, with my experience, I can see how this event-Nazi would have justified his behavior towards Ray's well-wishers. It's the job of this event-Nazi to look after Ray's physical well-being. Sometimes, neither Ray, nor his fans, may be the best judge of what is best for Ray.)
It saddens me to hear of Ray's deteriorating health just as it gladdens me to learn of his bravery. Dandelion, I don't think it's inappropriate to post your comments about his health because, and I may be out of line here, I believe all or most of us care deeply for Ray and would like to know of his current physical condition.
If nothing else, and, as if he doesn't already know this, you can tell him for us just how very much he's loved.
[This message has been edited by pterran (edited 05-31-2003).]
Twas the reason I moved back to Chicago. My mother...came down with Alzheimers, and in this case, and the experiences I had, I used to say I could do a one man play about the trials and travails of the disease.
We each respond differently.
She was adamant that she be in control of everything, tho, later, she hardly knew me. In the end....I was but a whisper during some awake moment in some far away day lost, lost in some fleeting memory....Alzheimers is gotta be in the short list of the worst....sometimes normal 15 minutes, and then, like a wind that sweeps away the stale air in the room, suddenly another person, angry, vile, full of incoherence.
Ray mentioned it was very hard to live in a sick body. He mentioned Hemingway, and why Hemingway took his life. But Hemingway was different. Totally different mental make-up than Ray's. Charles Dickens wore himself out into a fatal heart attack with his incessant public readings....
I think Ray will go to the very end, raising a banner for passion in the arts, in the use of God given integrity that lies beholden in oneself.... Whatever the case, asleep in bed, or rallying the troops for more heart-felt language, we all stand thankful for his wonderful life and effect upon ours....
As always, wonderfully said.
Tell me about it, guys. For the past six years my father, who just turned 85, has been seriously ill, with three strokes, at least two heart attacks, two heart surgeries, gallbladder surgery, and pneumonia--those are just the ones I remember. We finally talked my mom into accepting a government program which pays for, among other things, a caretaker for Dad, but she agreed to it ONLY if I am the caretaker. The program would send a substitute in my place should I be unavailable, but she won't hear of it. Nard, how weird was that with your mom? You know, in those "It's a Wonderful Life"/Twilight Zone-type scenarios where the main character suddenly doesn't belong in their own environment, what's one of the first things they do? Call their mom, who is sure to remember them! It is always their world's freakiest disoriented moment when good ol' mom says, "I have no son named George." I can hardly picture how bad that would be when it happens in real life, which a similiar situation did to a friend of mine. He was going to try to do a documentary on dealing with Alzheimer's. Unfortunately it was never finished. Pete, I told Ray REPEATEDLY that we love him and wouldn't and couldn't be mad no matter what happens! I thought, how awful would that be to have the chance and NOT told him? Thanks to whoever (sorry, don't recall who just now) posted recently about "Another Fine Mess" which reminded me you can never tell the people who have done so much too many times that you DO love them!
Looks like we'll have to start another thread about the caring of loved ones. Each story seems to be both unique in itself and universal.
Of course, I should've known you would have told Ray how much we love him. I apologize if I implied otherwise.
As always, you are the conscience of this site. A better moderator we couldn't ask for.
And, as they say, now for something completely different -
Here it is, June 1st. What ever happened to the idea of choosing a summer month for a group reading of Dandelion Wine?
Awww, thanks, Pete. Anyone wanting to start a thread about caring for loved ones could start one on an "I Sing the Body Electric!" theme, such as, "Situations Where An Electric Grandmother Would Come in Handy."
Just found this terrific interview with recent photos:
I think the month that was settled on for "Dandelion Wine" month was July. I actually "scheduled it in" after Franny and Zooey and at a likely-to-be-well-needed break from Gravity's Rainbow.
I feel like some kind of reading beureaucrat!
All the same, I'll be there!
Looking forward to July,
Then July it is. I'll spend some time on other reading projects and have the deck clear for that month, though for about half of it I'll be out of town.
Now, what about continuing with this idea and scheduling something for the magic month of October? The Halloween Tree? The October Country? Something Wicked?
Or is it best to see how Dandelion Wine turns out?
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