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I imagined people had probably had their fill of pictures of Marilyn and me. But here’s one of two of the characters in “The Alexandrite”—Linda’s not really a character, but she was the inspiration for “Sophie.”

 

I’ve been at this book on-and-off for 21 years. Poor “Sophie” has been there the entire time. Instead of saying, “Why don’t you go off and make us a living?” she just put up with all my: “What do you think of this part?” “What do you think of this other part?” She ought to get a medal.

Living With Marilyn

Linda found a place in Hollywood where you can order full-sized cardboard cutouts of famous people. There are more of Marilyn Monroe than almost any other celebrity. We chose the one of her from “Bus Stop” since it’s the shooting of that movie that provides some of the background for “The Alexandrite.”

We had a book launch party and Marilyn was there. Everybody appreciated it almost as if it been the real her.

That was a little over a week ago.

Marilyn is still with us. She doesn’t take up much space, being basically two-dimensional, so she’s still… here—living with us. We come around a corner and there she is.

She scares us.

There’s nothing frightening about the look on her face, but there she is, full sized—a person standing in the living room, or around the corner on the porch (we move her around from time-to-time).

Marilyn was a medium-sized woman. She’s wearing high heels, but she’s not as tall as I am, a little taller than Linda. There’s nothing threatening in her pose. I’m a grown man. You wouldn’t think a woman standing on the other side of the room would be so disquieting. But, I don’t know, she is.

The problem is that I like her. The look on her face is friendly, not sexy, just friendly, innocent. She’s easy to like. Having done tons of research on her for “The Alexandrite,” part of me likes having her around. I don’t think it’s going to turn into one of those weird “Twilight Zone” kind of stories, where I start to have a relationship with her—talk to her, and so on. Linda’s very common-sensical. She’s certainly not going to do that. She likes her too. It’s kind of special having as a constant, undemanding houseguest, Marilyn Monroe.

Still, Linda and I both wish she would stop scaring us that way.

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Pre Book Launch All Nighter

I napped a lot yesterday. It was an extra-hot San Fernando Valley day. I’d stayed up all night the night before, doing things I must do to be ready for the launch of “The Alexandrite” on August 15th. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight, so after Linda and I finished reading to each other and she was beginning to fall asleep, I got my stuff together to go out into the kitchen and begin my Sunday. I’d already brewed the coffee. My oatmeal only had to be heated up.

As I was about to leave the bedroom, I felt heavy-hearted. I didn’t want to begin a day this way. It felt wrong. So I got back into bed where Linda drowsily put an arm over me. I turned off the light, snuggled back into her and just lay there. I felt like an electric car being recharged. 


About an hour later, I got up, full of energy. I felt terrific, revitalized. It’s maybe an overblown word, but I felt brave. I was ready for whatever the day would bring. I wasn’t going to have to fight any dragons or anything—except in the way we all fight a few dragons in our day-to-day life—but anyway I was ready for mine. Linda is my courage, my Velveteen Rabbit.


When I picked up the book that I’m currently using with my meditation, the first line I read was a quotation from Josiah Royce (a nineteenth century American philosopher, says Google) His words were sort of an exhortation: “Courage, then, for God works in you. In order of time you embody in outer acts what is for Him the truth of His eternity.”


I didn’t know what the hell that meant. I still don’t. But in doing the kind of reading that works for me with meditation, I’ve found that not understanding something isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Usually it turns out to be something my unconscious can chew on at whatever pace it chooses, then quite often, it will cough up something fresh into my conscious—usually at a moment when I’m not expecting anything along those lines.
 When it does that—ejects this new, now clarified thought into my wakeful brain—it will at the same time clear up something else that on one occasion or another has troubled me. It may be something big or little. It doesn’t seem to matter.


Later, I go on the internet and the first thing I see is something about the top five signs I will get a certain scary disease. I don’t click to it. I think the first sign I’ll get that disease is if I decide to read this article.


Still later, I take a break and walk to the park a block-and-a-half away from our house. I walk around it twice (about a mile), then come back home. I remember when I could still run. I’d run as fast as I could, thinking God, I love this. I’m really going to miss this when I can’t do it anymore. Now I have that thought again, except it’s about walking. God, I love walking, living for that matter.


Now I’m going to go to bed. Linda will be about to get up. I remember Renee Taylor and her husband Joe Bologna, actor/writers, wrote and performed a play called, “If You Ever Leave Me, I’m Going With You.” 
That’s the way I feel.

Rideaway With Me

Published June 3, 2015

 
Dear friends,

Thank you for coming to my website. I hope you enjoy it and that you’ll come back again and follow my quest through my blog: I will post videos, art, book events, and giveaways, which I hope will entertain and court kindness and amusement. In a sense, I will be following my star like Don Quixote. I invite you to join me in the quest.

I’m excited to announce that my newest release, The Alexandrite, will be coming this August. Stay posted for news on my book launch!

Alexandrite is a gemstone of constantly shifting colors. The characters in the story encounter and sometimes see, beneath their own ever-changing facades, the parts of themselves that exist through time and space. Marilyn Monroe is one of those characters. As the novel begins, her line toward the end of The Misfits is quoted: “How do you find your way home in the dark?”

I’ve been an actor most of my life. A few years ago, my wife Linda said, “Go ahead and do whatever your muse tells you.” Earlier in my life, I’d also been a writer and a scenery designer. Now I write, draw, and paint full-time.

The painting in the upper left corner is called Rideaway. The caption reads: “I don’t know what it is, but I intend to ride away from here on it.” That’s as near as I can get to a description of my approach to writing and art without boring you half to death.

I could—and probably will—tell you what a joy it is to ride that critter, how grateful I am to Linda for letting me ride him, and now to you for the kindness of taking a look at my work and play.

Come for Hollywood, stay for the quest.

Rick Lenz

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