Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Writers Guild Office Boy 1971 (xxi))

Norris proved to be the most interesting Writers Guild member I spoke with in early 1971. She seemed to be in her late 40s or early 50s and lived alone with her early teen-age daughter in a middle-class Upper West-Side Manhattan residential hotel on West 72nd Street, east of Broadway, on the north side of the street. Her residential hotel apartment was cluttered with a lot of books and it looked like Norris and her daughter could have used a larger apartment for all the stuff they had accumulated, had they been able to afford the Manhattan rent for a larger apartment.

As an alternative to being crowded in with her teenage daughter in her Manhattan apartment, Norris probably could have afforded a much larger apartment in Brooklyn. But she seemed to be the type of writer who felt that to have to live in Brooklyn in the early 1970s (unless you could afford to live in Brooklyn Heights), instead of residing in Manhattan, meant having to live in a cultural wasteland that would isolate her too much from the recreational and work world of her mass media colleagues and her literary friends, who mostly lived in Manhattan.

Norris was both more intellectual and more interested in talking about literary and mass media culture, current events and social justice issues, women’s liberation movement-related issues and the early 1970s hippie anti-war counter-culture than the other Writers Guild Members I met. Like Pat of the Writers Guild office staff, Norris seemed to be the type of woman who still usually just wore a dress or a skirt and not pants, and still always used lipstick and make-up in the early 1970s. But being at least 10 years older than Pat and probably seen as less physically appealing to the men of her own generation than was Pat, Norris seemed to have a deeper appreciation of the anti-war social critique of patriarchal capitalist society that the radical feminists of the early 1970s were raising—and which I was then reflecting—than did Pat.

Norris and I chatted with each other in her apartment for a few hours before I finally had to head back to the Guild office before it closed at 5 o’clock. What seemed to intrigue her most about our conversation was the emotionally open way I was able to talk with her about my personal feelings, my negative feelings about the 9-to-5 world, and my idealistic views of how counter-culture, new age values--which would use technology to free people from 9-to-5 slavery--would also both enable everyone to be writers and artists equally and substitute artistic values for lowest-common denominator commercial appeal values, in determining which television scripts get produced on U.S. television.

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