I’m in a two week slam to finish the book and I’m a little stuck. I have a scene that has something important. It reveals necessary background info but I’m still not happy with it.
The answer will come. It always does.
So, I took a break this morning and watched sections of the Grey Gardens documentary on You Tube. I recently caught the new HBO movie of their lives with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore and was drawn to the story of Big and Little Edie Beale, women who lived so much in the past, they got stuck in time. They had huge personalities and yet such a scary dependent relationship. In the documentary, Big Edie says outright she didn’t want her child taken away because she’d be all alone. But there is so much that goes into the story of why Little Edie didn’t leave. Her high society upbringing, love, guilt, weakness, loyalty–not to mention they had no money. Also both women had been so disappointed and hurt, depression played a major role in their lives. This probably helped get the house into the disgusting state it was in, but it didn’t help that every time the daughter left the room, her mother yelled until she came back. They had a 28 room mansion and yet there was a stove and refrigerator in the room where they slept. I’m thinking the years of cold New York winters without heat had something to do with that, too.
But what characters they both were and they did truly seem to love each other, so the story is fascinating. I’d never heard of the famous documentary from the seventies, but I can now see why it picked up such a cult following. The parts with Big Edie singing and the whole staunch woman and costume speech by Little Edie are priceless. And if you get the chance, catch the HBO movie. Lange particularly impressed me with her Big Edie later years performance.