Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil

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Everybody Rise for The Ladies


Photo borrowed from Eonline.

Joan Rivers and Elaine Stritch being omitted from the In Memoriam at last night’s  Oscars was the biggest snub of all.

After a rousing speech by Patricia Arquette about equal pay for women that received such a loud cheer, it aroused Meryl Streep out of her seat as she fist pumped the sky. Yes. Women in the work force should get equal pay.  They also deserve respect. Even if they’ve had to be total hard asses to get there. And yes – they both worked in film – especially Stritch.

Joan Rivers, with her outspoken views and screw you attitude never made friends with the right people. Johnny Carson excluded her from the mainstream of show business because she wanted to do her own show without asking him first. She never appeared on ‘The Tonight Show’ again – even when Jay Leno hosted – which by then – wasn’t even The Tonight Show anymore. It wasn’t until until Jimmy Fallon, the host with the heart, invited her back – breaking this stupid, ridiculous ban once and for all.

Joan passed away at the wrong time. Yes, she was over 80, but she wasn’t finished. Not by a long shot. She had dates arranged, projects to deliver, performances schedule, Fashion Police, Red Carpet kvetching – this woman was the epitome of talent, ambition and vibrancy. Then one day, she went in for some throat nodule surgery, and she’s gone.

Elaine Stritch, on the other hand, was in semi-retirement. Elaine was star of the Broadway stage and in films since the 1940’s, heading to New York to study at the Actor’s Studio while staying in a convent her favorite nun back home in a swanky suburb of Detroit Michigan had recommended.

Watch her famously renown Broadway and West End stage show “Elaine Stritch: Live at Liberty”. She talks about alcoholism, her difficulty getting roles.  She was up for the role of Dorothy Zbornak in ‘The Golden Girls’ but got iced out at the audition when she got snarky with the show runner. One time, she was in a stage performance of “The Women” with Joan Fontaine and Gloria Swanson where her bad behavior moved her fellow actresses to write a letter to the producer asking them to fire her. Only Gloria had her back. When she was about to co-star in Woody Allen’s film “September” – he wrote a letter to her stating that he knew her reputation, and hoped she’d be understanding of the way he does things – or else he would have to ask her to leave the project. She did the film. She also framed the letter.

In recent years, she guest starred on ’30 Rock’ as Jack’s hilariously racist, hard nosed mother Colleen. Off set, Elaine moved into the Carlyle Hotel on the upper east side and set up residency at their cafe where she did cabaret every night, decked out in her signature attire – a giant loose white shirt and black tights with suede low heeled shoes.

In time, she tired of her sixty plus years in New York and went back home to Detroit, where stomach cancer took her life at the age of 89. No one has commended her in end of year tributes.

Both women were as salty and demanding as Frank Sinatra. Both women were as talent ed and charismatic in their field as Milton Beryl (who was apparently horrible to his writers – and reflected in Joan’s Fashion Police WGA dispute a few years ago). Both women misbehaved like Marlon Brando, were cranky like Russell Crowe, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis rolled into one. But in the end, they struggle for perfection, for their talent to be heard. They demanded on sharing their gift – even if the boys club didn’t want it. They weren’t talentless divas. They weren’t difficult because of ego. They were hard because they had to be to survive. And they expected nothing less from those around them. Please,  if they were senselessly awful – I wouldn’t be writing this!  Yet, sadly, in the end, they are the ones Hollywood wants to forget.

So, when we talk about equal pay, lets also bring in respect. Respect for talent. Respect for tenacity. Respect for longevity. No matter what you thought of these ladies – too brash, nasty, ornery – or their gifts weren’t your cup of tea – it doesn’t matter. In their own way, and in many ways equal to their male counterparts, they paved a road with their own special bulldozer, allowing the young women behind them to follow suit.

The ladies left us this year. Everybody rise!


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“Mork Calling Orson…Come In Orson…” End Of Week Lesson

mork calling orson

What have I learned this week?  Here is the bottom of the barrel. Mutterings and moanings.

To harness frustration. I, for one, am frustrated. I still haven’t finished my book. Edits are coming together slowly. Office work is crazy with low communication and even lower rewards – taking me away from the process. Why can’t the MIPCOM conference in Cannes just be over already!  It’s taking my focus away from what matters to me.

I thought I had a cover to my book – but my artist friend, who offered to design my book cover, can’t get the colors to work, and I don’t understand why – since I’ve seen this kind of color processing in books I’ve purchased before.

It’s sad that Jan Hooks died. When I look back on the last year, we lost so many funny people – Elaine Stritch, Joan Rivers, Rik Mayall, Robin Williams, David Brenner.

I’ve decided to try and find a literary agent in the next year – try to become a legit author as I self publish what I can – so my voice doesn’t die with me.

Perhaps I’ll be a writing coach? (Word to self – look up what writing coaches actually do and how realistic it is to find clients).

But all will come together. The lessons of annoying weeks like this,  where one can feel stuck, suspended in nothingness will dissipate and my book will be accomplished without me going broke. Right? I mean…right?

And to those who’ve left us this week – famous or not – the world will still revolve, and their memory will live on.

Friday round ups reveal much.


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Joan Rivers

I don’t have a first memory of Joan Rivers. It was as if she always there. She was the modern day mother of comedy, a lady of convention, conviction and sass. In the dash to read up on the news, I read various fan comments in a blur as my fingers quickly clicked from page to page. One commenter on Facebook said it well: “Robin needed an opening act.” But that’s just one morsel. She was a pioneer.

Heaven must be a funnier place now. Things are certainly less funny down here.

Rest in peace, Joan.