Wendy Wasserstein  

Day One
Monday, Sept. 30, 1996

       Sunday in New York. I had plans to spend the day reading V.S. Naipaul in bed and taking an aerobics class. This was mostly caused by seeing Secrets and Lies, the opening film at the New York Film Festival. Not that it has anything to do with V.S. Naipaul but, in the film, a rather centered woman who plays an optometrist spends her birthday at home reading.
       Overslept Sunday morning. Didn’t get around to reading V.S. Naipaul or the paper, but went to Jane’s aerobic class. I decided I was the oldest and heaviest person there and therefore could afford to skip the stomach-crunches part of the hour.
       Took a cab downtown to have lunch with Nicholas Hytner, who will be directing a film I wrote based on Stephen McCauley’s The Object of My Affection: A Novel. Nick’s film of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is coming out in November, and it’s fantastic. Anyway, when I think about a positive trajectory in my life, it’s a Sunday lunch with Nick and this particular afternoon.
       My friend Paul Daniels invited me to see a concert by Dancers Over Forty at the Dance Theater Workshop. We sat behind Louise Roberts, who was the receptionist at the June Taylor School of Dance when I was growing up. In fact, it was because of Louise that my first play was done. When I was a writing student of Israel Horovitz’s, my mother, also a dancer, ran into Louise on the street. Louise asked my mother, “How’s Wendy?” and my mother hyperventilated, “Wendy’s writing plays.” Louise told my mother that she was the administrator of a new dancing school in a Y across from a new theater called “Playwrights Horizons,” and would give any play I wrote to them. So as far as I’m concerned, generations of dancers and one playwright owe a lot to Louise.
       I loved the Dancers Over Forty. Especially a waltz danced by Stuart Hodes and Alice Teirstein. Hodes was Martha Graham’s partner in the 1950s. His face is amazing, and his dancing was elegant and joyous. Nick and I want to cast him in our film. A star is born. Schwab’s drugstore at Dancers Over Forty.
       Had dinner with another friend, Peter Shweitzer, a producer at CBS, and his parents. Peter’s mother remembers the names of all his former girlfriends. His stepfather was a writer on HawaiiFive-O. I am reminded of the dinners I would have with friends of my parents in high school, and wonder about what it would be like to have real conversations with them. It’s actually a game my sister and I used to play. We’d sit upstairs in synagogue and pick out which ladies we thought we’d like to have as mothers. My sister preferred the intellectuals. I always selected the ones who looked warm and knew about makeup.
       Came home around 1 a.m. Haven’t worked. Haven’t read V.S. Naipaul. Feel a cold coming on and anxiety about deadlines on the way. I make a resolution to work and exercise. I make that resolution every night.