wendywassersteinbwphotojillkrementzWendy Wasserstein, ever read her? Heidi Chronicles, Shiksa Goddess, An American Daughter? What do you think, come on, let’s sit and talk about her. And I don’t mean in the “coffee tawk” sense, chock full of yiddishkeit tacky irony. I mean let’s really think, and speak. There’s a good table over there in the corner, it’s not too drafty, and the playa with the loud ipod seems to be leaving. Phew, good. Ew, there’s a coffee stain there, oh good, let’s wipe it up.

Me: What have you read of hers?

Me2: Not a lot, her book of essays, Shiksa goddess, Heidi Chronicles, I keep meaning to read more.

Me: What interests you so about her?

Me2: She’s incredibly brilliant and yet verging on anachronistic. She has these beautiful way of crafting a detail or a thought, soulful and true. For example when she writes about writing itself, she described how she would take herself on writing vacations in Ann Arbor and London and Boston. Her descriptions of the hotels and waitstaff at each restaurant was so vivid, I felt like I was eating her broiled fish with her. Hmmm…I’m hungry. Also she was fiercely independent, she never married, chose to have a baby on her own, and had an arguably tragic life, as she died at 55 from lymphoma, leaving her daughter a orphan.

Me: What irritates you about her?

Me2: Well, the thing that jumps out at me are twofold: one is her Cathy comic sensibility. She writes ad nauseum in her book “Shiksa Goddess” about her struggles with weight, calorie counting, and other women’s thinner figures. The p.o.v. just seems so 80s! In addition, she was exceedingly private about her love life, a conspicuous dearth, since the plot points of her plays focus on male female relationships. Third is that she really did live a life of incredible privilege, an artist’s life in what I’m guessing was a pretty comfortable lifestyle. I’m pleased to see an artist succeed financially, but I’m wondering if she was mildly oblivious to her own material success.

Me: I sense you identify with her

Me2: What are you my therapist? At least write up the invoice for insurance return. Yes and no. I’m probably more physically confident, but also less successful materially and careerwise. I don’t identify as an intellectual nerd or wallflower. I must say I find her to be an enigma, because she was very determined to follow her own path but has this veneer of being self effacing.

Me: Well said!

Me2: Ok thanks. Now let’s integrate, this is getting weird.

me and me2: OK.

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