That song came into my head and I was trying to remember what movie it came from. Recently I’ve been watching some old movies about divorce. (I wish I could remember all the titles, but I can’t.) I watched the First Wives Club two nights ago and a couple of months ago I watched “Starting Over” with Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh and Candace Bergen.

That song “Better and Better” (if that’s the title) is what Candace Bergen sings to Burt and it’s very funny. It’s a good movie. I think that the one scene people remember most is the scene in Bloomingdales, when they’re looking for a couch and Burt has a massive anxiety attack. A crowd gathers and his brother, a psychologist, played by Charles Durning, asks if anyone has a Valium and almost everyone takes out their pill bottles to offer one.

I need to watch comedies these days, although I’m still hooked on “The Wire” which is a brilliant show. And actually, McNulty, played brilliantly by Dominic West (he’s very sexy) is going through a painful divorce, so aside from all the brilliant police work and excellent characters, that storyline runs like a thread through the seasons.

All I can say is I am doing better. I still feel sad, lonely and angry sometimes. And…more and more I feel excited and joyous and alive. This is a good time really. I can move forward and live the life that is more authentic for me.

I met with my writing partner yesterday and showed him some Pema quotes. I loaned him the pocket book that I usually carry with me all the time. He loved the quotes I showed him. We have to work on a re-write of the ending and that is my focus these days. I’m hoping that we will have another reading with most of the same cast members that we had in at the Berkshires Playwrights Lab. (Or better yet, a workshop or a production.) That, finding work, writing, moving, seeing friends, taking care of the dogs, writing letters to the White House regarding the public option for health care, solving world peace, buying a few clothes that fit me, and having some fun, are my priorities right now.

When I started writing “Scrambled Eggs” almost all of my friends were going through perimenopause. Now almost all of them are dealing with divorce, relationships that are struggling, or trying to survive a difficult economy without it affecting their relationships. I think that divorces seem to be rising in part because of the financial uncertainty of the times we live in. I just heard that a friend of mine got pushed out of an amazing job in an organization she has worked at for over thirty years. She’s too young to retire. In her case it’s not the money that she’s worried about, it’s that she loves working and being productive. I know she’ll find something eventually.

Next up: “Scenes from a Marriage.” Anyone have a Valium?

I have a friend who is brilliant, and absolutely beautiful, and successful, and she is married to a guy who is a jerk. Who doesn’t appreciate her. I won’t go into details about it, but let’s just say to any objective outsider, you’d have to say, “Hey, why are you bothering with this moron?” He’s handsome and successful, but that’s about all he’s got going for him. His behavior is totally unacceptable.

You realize though that events have to play themselves out and eventually life has a way of getting where it has to go. It’s hard when you’re watching though and you want to say “Kick him out already!”

It is so much easier to look at someone else’s relationship, isn’t it?

Last night I didn’t wake up six times, filled with dread, as I did the night before. Last night I took a sleeping pill and then I woke up at 6 something and Steve was already awake. He’s going to Spain this Sunday to present his project to the Spanish bank that will be funding it. The show is about flamenco in the 60’s and 70’s. He’s curating the project, which has the photographs of 15 different photographers (including his work) and two filmmakers. He has to give this big presentation on the 12th of December and he’s very nervous, as anyone would be. But this morning he yelled at our daughter (I understand his feelings, but it wasn’t even 7 am), and then got into an argument with me. Yesterday he tried to fix my BlackBerry when I asked him not to and he broke it. So today will be spent waiting for a new one to arrive and then countless hours will be spent making it work.

There’s an article in New York magazine this week about loneliness. One out two households in Manhattan are single people living alone. I would never have guessed that. I think that overall, in all the boroughs of NY it’s one in four.

I lived alone for eleven years in Los Angeles. Aside from various boyfriends I dated, mostly I lived alone. I remember feeling very lonely a good deal of the time, but after a few years of living in the Harper House in West Hollywood, my wonderful next door neighbor Susie (she was Mary and I was Rhoda) filled that void. At least once a day we would get together and talk, or share a meal, or go somewhere together. My two cats, Max and Annie also kept me company. I began running at a park in Beverly Hills every morning, seeing the same people and running with a group of them. I studied yoga for a few years at Bikram’s first studio. I found 12 step meetings. I was living on the west coast, my parents here on the east coast.

Life was definitely a bit lonely, but so much less complicated.

If ever there was a survey of the biggest myths perpetrated over the history of the world, I swear that marriage + love would be a the top of the list.

Why are there days when I can totally understand the homicidal impulse that overcomes people? Is it hormonal? Is it just that spending so much time with ANYONE would make you feel as though you are losing your mind? I honestly don’t know how couples who have been together for 50 years or so manage to survive, except that as our senses start to fail us, and we can’t hear what our spouse is saying, we can’t see them as well, our sense of smell is fading, taste, and who wants to be touched?

I recently heard about a couple who live on opposite coasts half the year. That sounds good to me.

Tomorrow I may be saying how much I love my partner and enjoy our life together, but today you can have him. No, the truth is that I do love my partner, I just want more space. More time alone. I need more alone time to keep me sane.

I think I also need to do some heavy duty meditating. And tonight we are going to see a play by Michael Weller, a friend, called “Fifty Words” about a Brooklyn couple who fights for the pretty much the entire show. Perhaps a bad idea…

Later tonight:

In fact, a very good idea. “Fifty Words” was the perfect play to see, although painful, it really does show a marriage, the honest struggle that trying to live with someone and create a family, involves. Michael Weller wrote it. His son, Ben and my daughter Zoe are good friends. I love Ben. I’ve known his mother, Kathy for thirty years. There’s so much truth in the play. We all really enjoyed it, although it was painful. The actors, Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Marvel were both superb. Thank you, Michael. I’ve admired your work for so many years

Also – yesterday, I saw “The Changeling” the new Clint Eastwood film with Angelina Jolie. A fantastic film, beautifully acted and directed. And also very sad.

Ironically, I guess there isn’t much in life that makes me happier than seeing really fine works of art. That and some alone time.

Early this morning I was reading a book that’s a series of interviews with my therapist, Michael Eigen. The interviewer asked him, “Do you believe in God?” And Mike said something like: “Yes… and maybe I’m agnostic…and atheist.”

Which is kind of how I feel about God…and about marriage (or any long-term relationship.)

Twenty-four years ago today, Labor Day, Steve and I went out on our first date. It was a blind date, arranged by our dear friend, Mona. I immediately liked the sound of his voice on the phone when we first spoke. I changed my clothes at least four times before he arrived. And the first date was brilliant, couldn’t have been better. We went to see an obscure independent film, “Sugar Cane Alley,” had dinner at a charming French restaurant “Le Cukoo,” sat at the Bel Air Hotel’s pool and couldn’t stop talking. We had (and continue to have) similar values: both lifelong liberal Democrats, love movies, travel, books, good food – have somewhat different temperaments (I’m more extroverted, he’s more of a loner). The date was so good that I was convinced we would get married.

The second date stunk. It was as if aliens had abducted Robin and Steve and sent in clones who were speaking Russian and Portuguese. (I think it was too much pressure.) The third date (initiated by me) was okay. Good. And that pretty much sums up the history of our marriage. Great highs, pretty bad lows, and lots of years of in between.

The highs: moving to NY from LA, buying our first home – a loft in SoHo, the birth of our beloved daughter, Zoe. Years of professional success which enabled Steve to travel around the world and me to write and stay at home for Zoe, a book published, readings of plays and screenplays with some of the finest actors in NYC, wonderful vacations, summer trips to California, our two amazing dogs, Lucy and Lola, a move to Brooklyn and a great neighborhood, Fort Greene.

The lows: selling the loft because of financial stresses, career slumps, boring jobs, a dog that has peed all over our home and has been known to eat shit (we still love her), loss of close friends and family (both our fathers), bouts of depression, individual therapy, family therapy and marriage counseling, close friends battling illnesses, and the long time care-taking of my mother, who has survived hospice twice, four different nursing homes and rehab.

The in betweens. Life.

Over these 24 years I’ve cheated on Steve many times. First, in the 80’s with Harrison Ford, then Brad Pitt (thanks to Thelma and Louise), George Clooney, Colin Firth, that brief rendezvous at the Mercer Hotel with Al Gore, (which I wrote about a few days ago), and now Javier Bardem and I are an item.

But as of today, September 1, 2008, I still love Steve. And I can’t stand him. And if he ever needed a kidney (God forbid) – I’d be first in line.

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