November 13, 2016
Noon to seven Saturday spent in a meeting room in the Beacon Hotel. We discussed the business of the Foundation, then wangled over the twelve finalists for the playwriting prize. My 1st choice won this year– a rich and daring fantasy on love among slaves in the 1860's South– but it is amazing the breadth of taste and judgment available concerning one piece of writing. I think if a work is good it’s good, and everyone will know it, but actual application of that principle is not, in my experience, to be found. Even the most excellent work requires advocacy. Even the most idiotic mess will have a champion. One rule of meetings like that: the person with the least to say will take the most time to say it. You can see her winding up when it comes her turn, gathering the richness of attention around her, planning the wreath of apologies and asides that will keep the focus on her just a little longer. Walked to my hotel from 75th Street in a night that, higher up on Broadway, was serene, companionable, even suburban. When I got to Columbus Circle I felt lonely. When I got to the hotel I had forgotten that for a time. There had apparently been anti-trump demonstrations on Columbus Circle and Times Square during the day, and battalions of cops lined the street. The moon was almost full. There’s a towering skyscraper where Broadway hits Columbus Circle, unfinished, so it is a dark and lonely majesty. The dark tower made the most amazing and memorable conjunction with the sailing moon, like the ruin of some great city lost.
At one point I had fallen into revery, and waded out into the middle of 49th against the lights. Taxis honking their horns, people on the curb looking aghast. When I made it to the other side, one young blond woman said, “Come home, Speed Racer.”
The walk outside the hotel entrance was so thronged with smokers pedestrian traffic all but stopped. The doorman turned to me and said, “The French are here.”
I fear the cops on the street are a portent of things to come. The people in the Foundation assume that the Republicans in Congress will impeach Trump almost immediately, so they can have Pence, who is controllable, and, in some ways, worse than Trump, because all the humor and glamor is drained out, because he actually seems to believe the horrible things Trump says without conviction and without thought.