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This is from A Hell of a Life by Maureen Stapleton- page 179. A small story about Lillian Hellman.

"After Toys in the Attic, I began a ritual with Lillian. Once a year I'd take her out to a restaurant of her choice. "I'm not picking it," I told her, "because if I choose the joint, you'll find something to bitch and complain about." She'd select the place, and I'd order a limousine and take her out in style. Once time, after a splendid meal during which she smoked four hundred packs of cigarettes, we got into the limousine and she started to light up again. Jesus, the woman had emphysema. I couldn't help it; like a schmuck, I reached over and took the cigarette away from her. Lillian glared at me. "Do I take the wine out of your hand?" "I'm sorry," I said, handing back the cigarette. "I lost my head. Here, smoke."

Lillian and I kept up out friendship until she died. Everything went kaput at the end- her eyes, her lungs, her legs; everything except that brilliant mind and that sublime wit. At the end, she couldn't see, she couldn't walk, and she could barely breathe. She was hospitalized and lay blind and bedridden in her smoke filled room. Peter Feibleman told of going to see her toward the end; he walked in and asked, "How are you feeling?"

Lillian turned her head. "Terrible!" she groaned, "Oh, Peter, I have the worst case of writer's block I've ever had in my life." "

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August 2010

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Page Summary

Varia

As you get older, you don't get wiser. You get irritable.― Doris Lessing

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.- Tom Stoppard

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

We do what we must, and call it by the best names. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something helpless that wants help from us. -Rainer Maria Rilke

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.- Anatole France

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -John Kenneth Galbraith

Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night. -Philip K. Dick

It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over. -Edna St. Vincent Millay

If at the end your cheerfulness is not justified, at any rate you will have been cheerful.-HG Wells.

Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as a story, we are saved. - Anais Nin

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