by Pauline Arthur Lomas
As I sit here in my little cabin in the woods of Sierra Madre Canyon, my "Lovelands," the realization hits that I am lagging in my comprehension of the computer realm. I find it impossible now to enter this simple portable word processing machine upon which I once hammered out entire manuals. Alas! The instructions are missing.
Fortunately, my brain still has access to my hands, and I have the words to my journal in their original handwritten form--quite simple and user-friendly, for I am not a writer by trade, but a storyteller, if you will. I treasure the stories in my life--and this one, about my standing in for Meryl Streep on the film about the Bridges of Madison County, and all that the experience meant to me, is especially close to my heart.
I was, you might say, part of the action, from unexpectedly sharing a bathtub with Clint Eastwood to bearing down on the startled film crew at the wheel of a runaway truck.
"Lovelands," of course, is part of my story, so that's where I'll begin...
. . .
In short, I found Lovelands so that I could be close to Thomas, the man I love. He has melanoma cancer, and I am part of his fight.
The love I have with Thomas is filling me with so much sweetness and light that the nervous "fear" feeling in my solar plexus has disappeared. I have a quiet courage about it all now...going to Iowa to work with Meryl and Clint Eastwood. I know it will be fun and exciting and a wonderful opportunity, but for the first time in my life I have this longing to be back home again at Lovelands.
I read Bridges in one evening, and the rush of tears from my eyes convinced me that I really had no choice--my old heart related so desperately to this star-crossed love. So much of my own pain was there amidst the pages. When Thomas and I first met, we were both in need of deep love. I had no idea that our union was going to open up such emotional doors--some leading back to far-away lands and lifetimes long ago, and some that were clearly marked NOW. May I never forget that it is Passion that fuels the Life Force.
I ask, Dear God, that you keep my Thomas safe and happy. Let him feel my love every day, and let the cancer be gone, once and for all. I love him so much that it surprises me.
. . .
I find myself constantly examining my own life--my love for Thomas--trying to see what this chapter in the story is all about--trying to unveil answers to lighten the emotional load that is always somewhere deep inside this being, "I."
. . .
It seems whenever I work on a film I inevitably find myself somehow within the story. The conversations between Robert and Francesca remind me of feelings of times past and times present. My own passions are awakened as I witness again how love serves to transform us. How it comes when we least expect it.
. . .
Meryl did a wonderful scene today. I learn so much from her. You can feel an excitement in the air when she acts. She has the magic. She embodies her characters. As Francesca, her essence seems to reach out and grab your heart. The housewife from Italy, oh, so long ago, is awakening to the young woman she once was, and reclaiming that passion into her life. Recognizing that call to passion....
I drove in the truck with Clint again today--doubling as Francesca. He broke a cigarette in half and we pretended to smoke as we drove fast along the dusty roads of Madison County, past the camera high above us on a crane. There is a strength and a certain sadness to this man, this character. I don't know at this point whether it's Clint or Robert. When I think back to my life as a young girl in England, watching and falling in love with Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, I am amazed to understand a little of my powers, as I am here over twenty-five years later in America, sitting and working beside him.
. . .
The tears left me drained and empty but from somewhere deep within the emptiness, I knew I had to rise again and continue on. Life had momentarily stripped me of that which I had held to be precious, but I still had love. Not just the love of another person, but the love I had for my own spirit in its determination to survive against all odds. I splashed cold water on my swollen eyes and gave thanks to God for my credit card and went back into the 'big bad world." I could not hold on to my fears or they would destroy em. I had to summon that 'warrior woman' who dwells inside me, sharpen my weapons and prepare for battle. I needed to prove to myself that this philosophy I had spent a lifetime uncovering within me had no been in vain... that it had some place in the outside world. I would not give up.
. . .
And so it is that I promise myself that I shall not bury these words amongst the hundreds of thousands of others that I have hidden away in desk drawers and boxes awaiting the light of day.
A new day has dawned and I shall instead dream them into reality ... It is not important that I even know why I must do so anymore... for life has taken me beyond that .... It is enough that I simply do it. The manuscript seems to have found a life of its own and I find myself once more following the signs and symbols that are presenting themselves to me.
. . .
We ultimately determine the quality of our life, and I believe that disease can be cured by the mind and its willingness to accept the miracle of life.... and Love.
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Copyright © 1996 Pauline Arthur Lomas