What an event it was last night at the Beverly Hills Hotel! It was an elegant affair, no more than forty guests, all decked up in our blingest of blings and chicest of chic cocktail attire. The added lighting in the Polo Lounge Private Room was superb, a pink blush reflecting on mahogany-paneled walls, ruby-clad tables decorated with centerpieces bursting with roses of different shades of red and orange, a forgiving light that made us appear dewy-skinned and many years younger — good wine helped too.
It’s not in my nature to name names, but suffice it to say that the guest list consisted of the who’s who of Beverly Hills. The music was superb, the service impeccable, the food terrific, miniature lamb chop, sushi, and mushroom-wrapped asparagus, which I dropped in my mouth as gracefully as possible, trying not to smear my lipstick and struggling to appear as feminine as possible, then I took a bite of lamb chop, forgot all appearances and smacked my lips, lipstick and all, and embarked on sampling each delicacy. Life is too short and such delicious evening too rare not to fully enjoy them.
My husband and I were touched to learn that our hostess had assigned us seats at her table. We each introduced ourselves. Then arrived an elegant lady dressed in an embroidered Chanel Coat, who introduced herself as Judith Krantz. Perhaps it was the effect of the wine or the romantic music, but I was shocked to hear myself asking like a star-struck teenager whether she was “The” Judith Krantz and when she replied in the affirmative, I patted the chair on my right and invited her to sit next to me.
I was touched and impressed by her candidness, the ease with which she spoke about her family, her husband of fifty-two-years who encouraged her to write fiction and who read every chapter of every one of her books and made suggestions. She spoke about her books, her writing habits, how she wrote from nine to five seven days a week, except for Saturday, when she took the afternoon off to spend with her husband. She shared the reason she decided to stop writing once she turned seventy. Imagination, she said, was like champagne. When the bottle is first opened, the champagne overflows freely, but once one gets to the bottom of the bottle and the last dying bubble, it’s time to quit. And that’s what she felt was the right thing for her to do, quit rather than write a book she would later regret having written. That’s courage, I thought, to refuse to sign a contract for a three-book deal and walk away at the height of success. And then, after twelve years, remain confident that that was the right decision.
I consider that an act of courage, I suppose, because I’m not certain I would have had the guts to walk away from a three-book deal even if I’d turned my bottle of imagination upside down and squeezed it long and hard and not a single reluctant bubble fizzled out. Perhaps I say this now because my head is bursting with ideas for many more books and the thought that this well of imaginations might dry up one day is inconceivable and frightening. Or, on the other hand, if one day I have the good fortune of living to see my books climb best-seller lists, be made into films, and become a wealthy woman in the process, I’d kiss my golden pen, or diamond-encrusted computer adieu, pick up my Prada suitcase and travel around the world.