The Writing Room

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Cynthia from Manchester England – May 29, 2005 –

In order to distance myself from “the charisma” I’ve projected myself back into Victorian times for my review of “The Philadelphia Story”. I’ve taken on the persona of a young lady, Sophia Marshe-Mellow, who visits the play with her governess Miss Prim. You have to suspend disbelief a bit as it presupposes Kevin was around then but I’m sure he’d adapt well to a top hat and cape ( wow!!) The writing style and even parts of some of the lines are from Oscar Wilde’s comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest” (sorry Oscar).

MISS SOPHIA MARSHE-MELLOW GOES TO THE PLAY  

Went to the play at that charming theatre The Old Vic on Saturday evening accompanied by my governess Miss Prim. Wonderful ensemble acting  from all the cast and a lively atmosphere of amusement pervaded the theatre. The young men Connor and Kittredge played enthusiastically and William Tracy, the heroine’s uncle, was very amusing. Mr. Kevin Spacey showed great humour, emotion and subtlety, the merest glance or movement being full of significance. Usually to be seen lying on the sofa or ironically leaning on a chair, he still gave the impression of a tumult of emotion inside seen bursting out when he hit Connor on the jaw. Miss Jennifer Ehle gave a powerful performance developing effectively from the cold “ice queen” to a warmer person who is able to consider what she is doing. In fact the only criticism I had of Miss Ehle was caused by the green-eyed monster, jealousy! She was far too pretty a young lady to be so obviously “involved” with Mr. Spacey’s character. The kiss between them at the end was clearly intended to be among the finalists for “Longest Kiss on the London Stage” and in fact Miss Prim told me to cover my eyes! The fact was I had already been following Mr. Spacey round the stage with my eyes all evening and had thought that the feeling in the pit of the stomach and the racing heart were caused by something I had eaten. But they were caused by him! I directed my opera glasses at  him and spent ten minutes surveying him minutely from head to foot then felt compelled to repeat the process.

“Miss Prim,” I said at last, ”That man is the visible personification of absolute perfection”

“You are wrong, child,” said Miss Prim firmly, “he has a bald spot on the back of his head!” I decided not to argue and though I had to be prized out of my seat by three of the theatre staff and given  smelling salts at the interval, I applauded enthusiastically at the end.

“Sit down and stop shouting!” said Miss Prim appalled.

“But the English are far too serious in the theatre are they not Miss Prim,” I said, “sitting slowly clapping like lumps of dough on a conveyor belt when in fact what they want to do to him is—-”

Miss Prim interrupted quickly “He is a Bohemian and hardly suitable for you” she said firmly.

“But he can’t be a Bohemian and an American , you know” I said, puzzled. I was thinking about my eight weeks of learning dictionary definitions by heart with Miss Prim. “I take it you are using Bohemian in the sense of “native or inhabitant of Bohemia ” I speculated on Mr. Spacey’s possible dual nationality which made him even more fascinating.

Miss Prim drew herself up to her full height. “I am using Bohemian”, she said in a peremptory tone, “In the sense of a person of loose or irregular habits, an artist, a person who sets social convention aside”

“Oh, but don’t you see Miss Prim how wildly attractive that makes him. His name is admittedly a problem. “Kevin” is mundane to the point of parody. Most of the train managers on our esteemed railways go under the name of  “Kevin” according to the loudspeaker announcements. Still I dare say it could be changed.”

“He is not for you” declared Miss Prim, who was clearly getting cross. “He takes his dog for walks at ungodly hours, wears what can only be described as unconventional headgear, rides on a peculiar electronic contraption and is just about to appear as the most evil man in the world in a probably over-expensive and certainly over-indulgent magic lantern production. He is also much attached to a deceased singer named Darin. How could you, a most well-brought up girl, marry into a set of  hair-pieces and form an alliance with a toupee. My child he’ll have you walking the dog! And the critics have no time for him”

“The critics are wrong.” I declared fervently.

“Never speak ill of the press, Sophia, -only people who can’t get their faces on the front page do that! I shall send for your father at once and you will be locked in your room with bread and water till you get rid of these foolish ideas.” I suddenly noticed that Miss Prim had got through three bottles of smelling-salts during the production and was visibly shaking.

“Miss Prim!” I said , “ How do you know all these admittedly doubtful facts about Mr. Spacey. You’ve been in the British Library researching him haven’t you. You are fond of him yourself!” The dimness of the theatre foyer could not conceal her blush.

“Miss Prim!” I continued. “what will you be doing while I am incarcerated and on bread and water?”

She smiled, “I shall be doing what all well-bred Victorian ladies do frequently – walking in the park”

“Which park,” I snarled, anxious to protect poor Mr. Spacey from predatory governesses, “The park near this theatre? The park where Mr. Spacey may conceivably be seen walking his dog?”

She adopted a superior air. “Oh Sophia – there are many parks in London – Green Park, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park – I produced a thesis on them in my younger days – who knows where I shall choose to walk”

But Miss Prim had underestimated the independent spirit of the Victorian woman! Each evening I let myself down from my bedroom window by the simple technique of knotting sheets together, and bribe papa’s coachman, Tom, to take me to the Old Vic where I have hopes of eventually seeing HIM. The gas lights are not awfully good and we are knee deep in beggars but I don’t care. Tom keeps murmuring about getting papa to have me taken off to a lunatic asylum but what does all this matter if I get the chance to accompany the dear man – walking his dog under the stars!

Cynthia ( Manchester , England )

~

MID-LIFE CRISIS By Cynthia (Manchester, England)

This Kevinitis/Spaceyitis – I assume it’s sort of incurable? I only ask because I seem to have inadvertently become a victim. One moment I was watching “LA Confidential” on TV thinking “Oh God – some more Hollywood chewing gum for the mind” (I’m a snob about films – or at least I was, usually going to more “art house” stuff), when I became riveted to the spot by the amazing acting of one of the characters, Jack Vincennes. In fact the film was a classy production but I can’t tell you much about it because my mind was totally concentrated on watching his every movement throughout.  Then I went to London in April as part of a theatre studies trip I go on every year. There are about fifty of us and we see a selection of experimental, contemporary and classic plays in London and discuss them with literature/drama tutors from Manchester University in the mornings. “National Anthems” was on the menu. I was completely blown away by his performance.

I’m very keen on theatre with a particular interest in contemporary work and I see quite a lot of different plays during the year with usually a week at the Edinburgh Festival to see the fringe stuff. (I don’t work in theatre by the way – I’m a humble librarian in a college of further education trying to din research skills and study skills into students aged 16 to adult and who has little to recommend her except a degree in English Literature/History and what I like to think is a highly developed sense of humour).

Next a colleague at work lent me the video of “American Beauty” remarking encouragingly “This is the sort of off-beat thoughtful rubbish that you like” In fact I think it is a really important off-beat film, brilliantly acted all round but of course I did spend a lot of time looking at KS and of course in that film there is a lot to see of him and it is all very satisfactory. I felt he must have been responding to fans saying they wanted to see more of him! What is to become of me – I am too old for this sort of thing and too busy (committee member of creative writing group and World War 1 poets’ society, poetry presentations, art, literature, music etc. etc). And now the wretched man has decided to come to live in England! And of course I feel a compulsion to visit the Old Vic !

It seems Americans can flit blithely across the Atlantic with much less trouble than I have getting a second class (we are not well-paid as librarians in education in England) train fare from Manchester to London with our railways in the state they are in. However, the train trips are improving in efficiency a bit and I’ve become as great a student of railway timetables as the Victorians were. I have a car but I’d be in such a weak state coming back that I’d be a danger to other road users. I’m off to see “The Philadelphia Story” (matinee) with the excuse that I need to see the London art galleries in the morning (which indeed is true).

What the hell! He needs some support. The critics have not been entirely kind to him – I suppose for those more “English art establishment” critics the sight of a slightly eccentric Hollywood star with a penchant for weirdo characters, a desire to sing at the drop of a hat, an obsession with Bobby Darin and a need to sign autographs wearing a selection of baseball caps taking over a prestigious theatre must seem like the end of the world as they know it. But serious critics will be fair and the English, who take a little time to get used to people, will take him to their hearts eventually (they will be unable to resist) and start calling him “our Kevin”(!) and invite him to appear in “Coronation Street” – well they’ve invited Ian Mckellan who starts appearing in it next week!

I’ve written KS a fan letter, heavily disguised as a detached critique of “National Anthems” and warm approval of his acting and that of the other cast members. Took care not to let any “I think you are absolutely gorgeous etc” type language slip out. I sent it to the Old Vic. I hope he gets it as it shows support for the hard job he is doing for the theatre though I don’t expect a reply.

I’m hoping to go to “Richard II” which I believe is planned for later this year – one of my very favourite Shakespeare plays. May attempt to get KS’s autograph. Interestingly he’ll be in good company if I do because I’ve just got Harold Pinter’s during a “do” in London in which the Wilfred Owen (World War I poet) Association (of which I’m a member) presented Pinter with an award for his own poetry writing (specifically his anti war verse). While Pinter signed the little book of his poems on the Iraq war for me I said I agreed with his anti-war stance and he squeezed my hand – quite a moving moment! But with KS it would be much more difficult to ask for the autograph – his charisma would make me tongue tied if not inclined to pass out on the pavement!. I think I’ll have to stand some distance away and throw the theatre programme to him to sign then he can chuck it back! He seems to be good at throwing and catching as seen in the living room version of American football in “National Anthems”!

So no chance of a cure then – oh well I’ll just enjoy it and indeed you do feel very invigorated after a performance with him in it – he’s definitely a life-enhancer.

I’ll just go and settle down with a box of chocolates and some paper hankies to watch the DVD of “Beyond the Sea” – not too many chocolates of course. – I want to appear cool, slim and in control when I try to get that autograph later in the year, not an inarticulate frump!

May 2, 2005

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His Secret World By Borislava “My world is not only politics! I believe I am a singer, who doesn’t sing, a painter, who doesn’t paint; a poet, who doesn’t write; a composer, who doesn’t create music; an architect, who doesn’t erect buildings. It’s just I don’t have such a gift and I have not studied, but I feel deep inside me some calling, even some necessity to do it. My love for any kind of art is in my blood.” In the cool halls, they stood longer than usual in front of the glass-cases. Gianni was not in a hurry to take a look at all of the objects in the exhibition. He was more interested in discovering those of them he could call “mine, by my heart” those he would remember, those with special meaning to him. “Let’s stay longer in front of this one! There is something beyond the masterly clear shapes, I discovered something else that impressed me. I adore most of all the statues and the portraits, the human figures and their faces. I love to communicate with the faces from the portraits in a peculiar way – I can always escape from my own world when I want to and get into somebody else’s without an excuse. I examine closely the person without feeling obliged to talk to him. I never explain anything to anybody. That means I always get what I want. At times, it is as if I discover my own private moods and ideas already expressed by a different person, as if he has learned them from me. Only he had done such a great job with the paint and brushes, and such a thing is not to my abilities. This is why sometimes even their creator, who has painted them ages ago, seems so close to me, as if he is a friend of mine, more than many of all those people I encounter today, in my time and yours, but they are strangers to me.” “At the museums, at the picture galleries, at the ancient squares with the statues, I feel I am close to them and my spirit is at home, and never a guest. I will hold it as a necessity of them for the rest of my life. If I could express myself with a song like you…” She paused, unable to keep control any longer her bitter sorrow: “These performances are born and die only within an evening. That’s the saddest part of it all! They live their life only as long as the people who have seen them remember them!” “And that is not an easy task at all! It is so hard to change people’s mood, you know what it is like when you are trying to soothe or encourage a person with words. While with the power of the song, you actually achieve it with such a great number of people! It is worth doing, I suppose! I feel envy of your gift!”

July 2003

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My fantasy meeting with Kevin  By Karen Weisz.  

Some day I will be walking to the Denver Center For Performing Arts on 14th and Curtis Street. In Downtown Denver I will go past the stage door of the Auditorium Arena, and who should come out?  My favorite actor of course Kevin Spacey.  I will look at him and smile and I will say hi my Kevin.  How are you?  He will laugh and say I am fine why do you call me your Kevin?  I will tell him do you remember that interview you did with the Village Voice about 20 years ago?  You told them that your not one of the in Kevin’s.  I don’t care whether you are or not because you will always be my Kevin.  He will smile and say that’s sweet do you know where I can go get some coffee?  I will tell him yes there is a StarBucks nearby I will show you where it is.  When we get to StarBucks I would go up to the counter and order a mocha for me and he would order a cappuccino for himself.  When I start to pay for my drink he will say no that’s ok I’ll pay for it.  He will take our drinks to a table and he will say do you have time to sit down and talk to me?  I will say I have all the time you need Kevin.  I will show him my school books and he will say let me see what your studying.  After he looks at my books he will say you are very smart I know that you can succeed in whatever career you attempt.  After talking to him for about 2 Hours I will say on no it’s getting late I have to catch my bus home can I write you occasionally? He will say yes please I want to hear more from you.  Before I go I would tell him is it ok if I give you a hug goodbye? He would open his arms and give me a big hug.  As I walked out the door he would wave goodbye to me from the window of the StarBucks.  I know it sounds pretty innocent but I would still be on cloud nine and 3/4’s.

June 2002

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The Kevins That I Have Known  By Pamela Sosnowski

One of the advantages of being a Kevin Spacey fan, especially if you’re a single female like me, is that you run a greater chance of meeting men who may remind you in some way of your favorite male actor. Unlike performers such as Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt who rarely wander outside the circle of their generic roles, Kevin is a cinematic chameleon who has embodied everyone from a serial killer to a man who believes he’s from another planet. I’m not saying that single women would (or should) date a criminal or a psychiatric patient, but I am implying that our Kevin has a way of making the “everyman” sexy. His presence seems real and accessible in a way many pampered stars can’t touch. And in the past couple of years, I have come across a few “Kevins” when I least expected it.

There was the guy I bumped into – almost literally – at my last job. A coworker and I were returning from lunch, and began ascending the cold steel stairs in the back of the office building to get to our company’s floor. When I opened the door at the top, there stood a guy wearing a maintenance man’s uniform, long dark hair pulled into a ponytail, and three-day old stubble. And at first glance, I thought he looked an awful lot like Kevin, albeit a sleazy version, perhaps Verbal Kint’s brother. He nearly crashed into me….”Oh…uh, excuse me” he murmured off-guard, and stepped out of the way to let me through. His voice was so similar it made me wonder if Kevin was incognito and prepping for a new role in our unassuming suburban office building. I smiled, said, “thank you”, and continued up the next flight of stairs, and as I did I turned back and saw that he was looking back at me, and watched me walk a few steps before disappearing through the door. The whole surreal experience put me on cloud 9 the rest of the day, and I never saw him again.

Another time on my way to work I was waiting at a red light, and a white SUV came around the corner and passed my car. Lester Burnham was behind the wheel and slowed down to look at me. His eyes seemed to be pleading, “I’m stuck in a crappy job with a cold, controlling wife at home…help me….”. But before I could pull out a card with my number on it, he zipped off. Now I’ve just recently learned through an interview that Kevin prefers being toted around in a SUV as opposed to that standard celebrity mobile – a limousine – when travelling…hmmm.

At our ten-year high school reunion a couple of years ago, my friend Elaine who attended with me thought that the class Casanova had grown up into a Kevin lookalike, although I thought he looked more like that other “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” cutie, John Cusack.

Unfortunately, I’ve met a few Prots out in the dating scene, particularly at singles events (remember what John Gray said: Men are from Mars…or is it K-Pax?). And I was in love with a Quoyle for a whole year – a non-confrontational guy whose girlfriend exerted unusual control over him from 350 miles away.

Fortunately, I’ve moved on. I’m still waiting to encounter Jack Vincennes – dashing, classy, with a devilish smile and a suit to match (why don’t more men dress like him?). Or the equally take-charge Chris Sabian, who looks sexy in a bulletproof vest with guns hanging off his hips. Or even the Big Kahuna himself – a bit of the stereotypical salesman, but obviously passionate about pitching those industrial lubricants.

More realistically, my guy could be an original character who possesses some endearing trait that reminds me of Kevin. Someone with gentle eyes. Someone who is passionate about life, the world, and his career. Someone who has a Zappy scooter, smokes cigars on occasion, or who is an animal lover. Someone who cares about people.

Compared to the “boys” in Hollywood, Kevin is the epitome of a man – a grown-up, responsible guy who brings to mind suits, chest hair, and the whiff of aftershave. And although his maturity is light years ahead of the twentysomething males I have known, he can still exhibit a sense of humor with a twinkle in his eye without resorting to gross jokes. The media has accused his looks of being “pleasantly plain” or “average”, but to us fans he has one of the most beautiful faces in the world, potentially because we’ve seen its incarnation in our own lives several times before. I do hope to find my own “Kevin” who’s out there waiting for me.

June 2002

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TINTED GLASSES
By Margie 

And I’m just beginning to wake up to it all.

I am looking at the world through tinted glasses. I can not even imagine a life without these glasses. There I would be, all alone in the world, with no protection from the pure beauty of life. If only I could take these glasses off. What would I see?

Would I see the sunlight reflecting off of the yellow leaves of an oak tree? Would I feel the warmth of cracked asphalt in summer? Would I smell the sharp smell of cinnamon in the wooden cupboards of my grandmother? Hear the sound of joy in the laugh of discovering love for the first time?

But these glasses don’t come off. Instead, I see rows and rows of identical dwellings along a narrow street. The veneer of perfection and happiness is almost thin enough to peel off. But would I dare take away everything that we seem to hold dear? The false peace that comes from apathy and uninvolvment. The air is thick with forced cordiality. If only we knew how to say what we feel. But that would ruin everything. It would ruin the way we live our lives, only caring how others see us. Why not live just to feel the pure exhilaration that comes from waking up and embracing the incredible sunrise that can only be slightly faded by these glasses. What must be done in order to unlock the beautiful nature of life? What we see is only a shadow of the loveliness in this world. If only we could take off these tinted glasses…

 ******(This was inspired by American Beauty…if you couldn’t tell…in case you all were wondering what it had to do with Kev!)******

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If you want to add your musings to the page, you can email it to me. Use Writing Room as the subject header.   Liss@drivingmrspacey.com

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