puppet people

1

My triplets turned 3 today, and we had a little party for them at a children’s restaurant called Giggles ‘n’ Hugs (“That’s kind of a creepy name for a place,” observed my ex)*. The highlight was Scott Land, or as I so brilliantly called him, “the puppet dude” (as in, “Is the puppet dude here yet?”, asked while he was standing beside me. So not my finest moment). I first saw his act at a mall in Century City and learned that he worked with the marionettes on the movie Team America. He’s a great example of something I believe strongly but not sure I can express — something about how entertainment should be aimed at children without condescending or pandering to them in any way, or making it a point to teach them Moral Lessons, how it can be clever and sophisticated and artful enough to engage adults. One of the triplets and his big brother ran backstage after the show was over, the younger one signing “More!” while the older one asked Scott questions and investigated the marionettes as they returned to the trunk.

*Amended to clarify that my ex thinks Giggles ‘n’ Hugs is a great name and was actually referring to the name that he plans to assign his own chain of children’s restaurants** (once he’s finished with rockets and electric cars and stuff), Tickles ‘n’ Bugs, which, as he points out to me, “is a literally creepy name.”

**This, in case clarification is needed, is also a joke, although frankly I think Tickles ‘n’ Bugs has potential.

I wanted to post a picture of one of the marionettes — they are exquisite creations — but my technology is not cooperating, so here instead is a pic of me about to head out to the OC for a friend’s birthday dinner. Not the same as a cool puppet, I know, but I like the reflections in my sunglasses.

2

Tomorrow will continue some thoughts about writing from previous entries. In the meantime I give you the opening paragraphs of the first draft of my novel-in-progress THE DECADENTS:

Yesterday I read through Angelina’s letters and journals again. Some of those passages I know by heart, and even the ones written in her most illegible scrawl — black ink pressed deep in the page, spiking and jagged –have decoded themselves, if not always into individual words then at least their general meaning. Afterwards I sat on the deck with a blanket wrapped round my shoulders and watched the dark come down on the mansion-studded valley. Coyotes yipped and called somewhere deep in the shadows of the pines, the eucalyptus. It’s a wild, lonely, beautiful sound, and I can’t think of Los Angeles without thinking of the coyotes. I called Gabe on my cell and told him I was going to write this book. His response flickered in and out – it wasn’t a good connection – but I heard him wish me luck, and also the irony in his voice.

I have no more respect for secrecy. Someone could argue that these are not my secrets to tell. But now I look back and see how it was the invisible, the ghosts of the unsaid, that extracted a price from each of us, and so in that sense the secrets belong to us all.

Gabe says he’s told me everything. He even remembers – or claims to remember – that when the girl first entered his life (all our lives), he was asleep in an all-white luxury hotel room dreaming about fire.

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