The Year Everything Important Happened

June 28, 1904


BIANCA DORSO  “Artless Fiction”

June 28, 1904, Anton Chekhov, dying of tuberculosis at Badenweiler, writes to his sister Masha to say his health is improving.  He dies a little over two weeks later.

You never know what’s going to happen.  Nothing’s going on, and then you come home to find a film crew in the lobby, Carlos has finished another season of his wonderful web series, Eduardo’s becoming a book coach, Mark has lost 28 pounds, Esther cracked my French press.  All of a sudden everyone’s busy and productive; it seems to come in waves.  Last weekend Sophia and I went to see Shakespeare in Topanga Canyon (A Midsummer’s Night Dream on Midsummer’s Day, appropriately enough), I did a photo shoot with Jim,  Lemonade with Richard, pizza in Korea Town with Michael,  and this weekend it’s Roscoe’s chicken with David, tea with another David, tete-a-tete with Bob, Al, Richard, possibly Nicole, squeeze in the 101 Cafe at the end of it all and a short week to follow because of the 4th.  Blink and it’ll be Christmas.

“You wrote a play?” Eduardo exclaimed in disbelief.

“You needn’t sound so surprised,” I replied.  “I haven’t seen you in ages.”

“It’s been two weeks,” he corrected me.

“And you didn’t bother telling me you’d gone to see Wagner’s Ring.  Don’t deny it, I saw the pictures on Facebook.”

“That was Betty in Into the Woods,” he shot back.

“An eighteen-year-old did her hair,” Mark offered.  I had to admit, it was an impressive look.  She looked monumental, a Sondheim Brunhilde if ever there was one.  I said I felt certain she’d given a memorable performance and they confirmed my suspicions.  Unlike another cast member, they added, who’d been fired and replaced and, thus scorned, returned opening night to storm unexpectedly across stage and into the wings, slamming doors and uttering imprecations and thinly veiled threats to the cowering cast waiting for their cues to go on.

“Everything interesting is happening up there,” I observed.  It’s true.  They live in Idyllwild, a remote rural community perched high in the mountains above Palm Springs.  It’s a hot bed of art and culture.  “Moses is descending the mountain with his husband,” Carlos texts me whenever they come to town, and we drop everything to gather and hear the latest news.

You never know.  And you can’t make this stuff up.

Today is Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s birthday (June 28, 1929), Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s birthday (June 28, 1712) and Pirandello’s (June 28, 1867):

Whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in that seems real to you today is going to be – like the reality of yesterday – an illusion tomorrow.”


  1. Ah Pirandello! He always hit it right, doesn’t he? But it has never stopped us trying to do, to be busy and productive… trying to dream.

    • And Pirandello never had to create art while awash in a turbulent sea of email and text, as dear George does.

      Tomorrow? An idea grown quaint. These days, what seems real and authentic at one moment can be but a fading memory twenty minutes later.

      • Even more precious are they, who in the turmoils stay calm and work hard, create, who want something to remain a bit more than twenty minutes… maybe at last until the day after tomorrow.

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