With a bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios and a big mug of coffee to keep me satisfied, I’m working on the chapter after the hard one.  The one I consider to be the hard one was emotionally difficult to write.  The subject matter in this book isn’t always fluffy and light.  It’s intense at times, but it’s important to not water down certain types of events.  Abuse is one of them.  It’s a very serious topic.

Now that the first draft is over, I am drooling over this gorgeous villa.  It’s an important setting in my book.  Oh my, imagine staying there.  I doubt I’d even be able to get a tour!  Can’t say I blame the owners of the inn, not wanting to turn the villa into an open house.  Perhaps one day I’ll be able to though.  Many celebrities, including Johnny Depp and Reese Witherspoon, own homes in Ojai (“OH-hi”).  When I lived near there, I shunned the very idea of moving there because it’s what I considered too far from Santa Barbara.  Now I’m wondering what on earth I was thinking!  I’ve still got family near there.

Johnny Depp is a big fan of Disneyland, but as you can probably imagine, the man can’t go without being mobbed.  Or can he?  He actually goes fairly often, but in elaborate disguises.  Once he went as an old man in wheelchair complete with an actress dressed as a nurse.  A women tripped and fell near him, and he instantly jumped up and went to help her.  Yes, he is one of those gentlemen who doesn’t overlook someone needing a hand.  Well, his cover was blown, and he was mobbed.  Park employees had to help him get out.  If you ever go to Disneyland and spot him in costume, at the most tell him hi, but don’t make a big deal.  He really does want to have time to enjoy himself without the flash and pomp of his celebrity status making him the target of camera lenses.

The last time I went I had the chance to dine in Club 33, so called because the only marker of where it is is a door the the number 33 on it.  It’s an exclusive club.  Even being a member of the Disney family doesn’t automatically get you in.  If your name isn’t on the list, you’re not getting through the door.  I’m wondering what I was thinking to pass on the chance.  Oh, I remember.  It’s expensive, even by Disneyland standards.  I think I’ll still be able to pull the same strings and get in the next time I’m there.  An old friend of mine actually got mad at me for having the chance.  She worked at the park and only got to walk through the club as part of an initiation day, and she thought it wasn’t fair that I had the chance when she didn’t.

Apparently it’s a place where the celebrities in attendance eat.  I’ve met hall-of-fame football players and had an argument with a couple of the Yankees during warm-ups (that was interesting).  I’ve met politicians including presidents and state senators.  I’ve met various well-known bands.  I never got nervous.  But I think eating in the same room as a movie star might actually make me nervous, even though a part of Southern California life is chancing upon celebrities and film and television show filmings.  You can tell the tourists from the locals by how close they are to having their jaws on the grounds and their eyes nearly out of their heads.  When you’re a local, it’s no big deal.

There’s a running joke that if you want to meet an aspiring actor or actress, talk to any wait person at any restaurant.  The joke is actually true.  I remember one particular women waiting on me in Hollywood.  Her make-up was just so and her hair was perfectly coiffed.  She probably spent more time maintaining her look during the day than I spent getting dressed and driving there.  She carried with her a folding leather folio with copies of her resume and head shots.  Her folio had “resume” embossed onto it, and that side was carried out.  A lot of celebrities and casting directors and producers really do eat at places like Denny’s and IHOP and other chain diners.  Fans are less likely to expect to see them there, and so are less likely to look.  This makes for prime ground for those hoping to be discovered delivering a pot of crappy coffee.

Southern California, at least the Hollywood to Santa Barbara area, has an energy I haven’t found anywhere else in the US.  While only the rare dream will result in a film role, there’s still a sense of hope and of it being all right to dare to dream.  Not everyone wants to be in front of the camera.  There are those who dream of working on costumes or sets, and even those who want nothing more than to be on a cleaning crew just to get to watch without having the pressure of creating.

My dream now is to write.  I wish I could go sit at a sidewalk diner on Rodeo and just write.  I used to do that, years ago.  It feels like being in a movie being on that street with the palm trees and sunshine.   And I miss it.

Dredging up my memories is actually helpful to my writing as my book started in SoCal.  Hollywood, then Ojai, and perhaps some trips to other areas.

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