Tag Archives: Linda Palmer

Those We Lost in 2013

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So many people left my earthly circle this year, whether it’s friends’ parents, friends of friends, or acquaintances — it sure seemed like death was hovering over us more than usual. Maybe not, maybe I just paid more attention to it.

There were a few people I want to remember here, even if I did it before in the blog, as we close out the year I want to say goodbye once more.

Dennis Bogorad

Dennis Bogorad

Dennis Bogorad

Dennis died unexpectedly in his sleep last March. It was a great shock to all who knew him, and so devastating for his partner Mark and his other family and close friends. Dennis was one of my first fiction fans – someone who reached out into that internet ether and not only complimented me on my book “Benediction,” but wanted to get together to talk about it. What a way to flatter an author! So eventually we did meet. Dennis had also suffered through prostate cancer (a main theme in that book) and went on to found a number of discussion and support groups for gay men with those health concerns. He was a TV producer, sure, but he also brought those skills to his passion as an activist. He was one of those people who knew how to make things happen, and he leaves a great void in Los Angeles. You can read more about Dennis here.

 

Linda Palmer

Linda Palmer

Linda Palmer

Whenever I think of Linda I just can’t help but smile. She was just the most fabulous, bubbly, interesting, smart and wonderful woman! I just adored her. She’d been a studio exec, a wildlife photographer, a teacher and a writer. Probably many more things I don’t even know about! I knew her best as a writing teacher and then a writing colleague. She had such a way with students, so supportive and encouraging. Just the right amount, and not sentimental. She was, in a sense, very girly, but also very strong and independent. She was also someone to live her life on her own terms — something that so resonates here.

 

 

Joan Arnold

Joan Helen Arnold

Joan Helen Arnold

Finally, my aunt Joan Arnold, who died in August at 92. Here’s a link to her obituary on this blog that I wrote earlier this year. What more can I say about her? One of a kind. Another great example of someone who lived life on her own terms, fiercely independent, definitely a role model for me as yet another single person in a big city. She definitely proved that not only could you work and go to the theater and out to dinner and pretty much do everything you always did well into your 90s: She also seemed to prove, to me, anyway, that in a big way the numerical age we all have is just some “idea,” to which we ascribe certain prejudices of what we should or should not be doing. Whenever I think of myself as that weird old guy on the bike with the blue lights, I think of my aunt going to work everyday at 92 years of age (and being a respected and valued member of the staff while there).

“You are remembered for the rules you break.”  — Douglas MacArthur

 

 

The Writer’s Friend: Gary Shusett, RIP

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Gary Shusett  photo candidcoverage

Gary Shusett
photo: candidcoverage

So many deaths in 2013! I saw the obits for Gary Shusett while I was in New York last month helping my dad with the arrangements following the death of my aunt.

I certainly didn’t want to not remark on Gary. He was such an original of the type that you still occasionally find in Hollywood, a link between those golden filmmaking years of the 60s and 70s and today (I know it’s weird to call the 60s and 70s golden years, but it’s all relative, right).

Gary died on August 9, the day after my aunt Joan, of cancer at 72, according the obit in the Times.

I took a couple of seminars from Gary’s organization, Sherwood Oaks College, over the years, mostly having to do with access to producers and agents, always hoping for that prime bit of perfect information that gets you a foot in the door.

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Gary was remarkable in his success at getting the major folks to appear at his seminars, a constant amazement that they actually would show up. I also found him to be genuine and honest – at times brutally so, about the role of writers in Hollywood and what were the best strategies for success (which may or may not dovetail with anyone’s personal ambitions).

I also did an internship with his company on script coverage, which was good training as well as just good for a writer to know how scripts and short stories (we read a lot of science fiction) are evaluated by readers.

He will be missed. I don’t know who will fill that void, but I certainly hope it’s someone. Another great loss from the writing/mentor world, who joins beloved teacher Linda Palmer in that Big Writers’ Room upstairs.

In Memoriam: Linda Palmer

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Linda Palmer

Linda Palmer

Very sad to report that one of my beloved writing teachers, Linda Palmer, died on April 21.

Linda was not just a great teacher, but a wonderful inspiration. I always thought of her as a kind of amazing renaissance woman, someone who found her bliss and along the way to that realization did a lot of really interesting things – and had a lot of fun.

She was part of Hollywood royalty, and then she was also a wildlife photographer in Africa; a passionate pet lover, and also a writer of popular mystery novels. I’ll always be grateful that she shared her love and knowledge of writing through UCLA. I remember she was an early champion of my main character “Ben” in my first book “Benediction” — when many in our class had opposite opinions. At that point I think I needed someone to say to me that “this is OK, proceed” — and Linda confidently provided that affirmation. I might have stopped otherwise.

RIP, dear Linda.

Old Clip of Linda Palmer

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