"I offered him coffee. I actually gave him champagne. He stayed until six o’clock in the morning with extraordinary recklessness, but of course the real recklessness was mine."-- When Harold Met Antonia (from "Must You Go?" by Lady Antonia Fraser)
Proof that I'm an incurable romantic: Lady Antonia Fraser spoke at the Los Angeles Central Library last night, interviewed by Howard Rodman, who may be the best interviewer I've ever seen at the ALOUD series. At 78, Fraser is still luminously beautiful, witty, erudite, charismatic, a humanist. She is self-effacing as only the English upper class can be (wish I'd taken more notes on that.) Had the whole evening been written as a play, it would not have set a foot wrong. With a lightness, she spoke of her life with Harold Pinter (they met when she was 42 and were together for 33 years), enduring his illnesses and death, and how she always holds a piece of him with her. Rodman recalled how the always brilliantly subversive Joe Frank, then his high school English teacher, took the whole class to see The Homecoming in 1967, at a time when students were being taken to see The Sound of Music or The Music Man, and how it changed his life completely. It was from that moment on that he knew he was a writer. The whole night was enchanting, heart-beatingly so, and I drove home on the 101 amidst the city lights thinking about desire and destiny and the road not taken.
A few take-aways:
bonhomous -- adj. full of cheerful friendliness.
a shop in Compton Marbling, Wiltshire
"the warp and woof of married life"
sanguine -- adj. cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident
Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall
Pinter pauses: "what lays behind the silences?"
I have "Must You Go?" on my desk now. I've been reading it all night.
Julia Cameron talks about an artist date in her "The Artist's Way" and it is notable how an evening in the presence of a fine mind can bring out one's better self or at the very least a more generous way of looking at the world.
The Guardian review of "Must You Go?" is here.
Read an excerpt from the New York Times here.
UPDATE: You can listen to or download the podcast of this event here.