Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Dorothy Parker Drank Here"

Ellen Meister is the author of Dorothy Parker Drank Here (2015), Farewell, Dorothy Parker (2013), The Other Life (2011), The Smart One (2008) and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA (2006), as well as numerous essays and short stories. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University Continuing Education, mentors emerging authors, lectures on Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, and does public speaking about her books and other writing-related topics. Meister is the voice of Dorothy Parker on her hugely popular Facebook page.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Dorothy Parker Drank Here and reported the following:
In Dorothy Parker Drank Here, the ghost of the great wit loiters in the Algonquin Hotel bar, desperately lonely and looking for company. She could very well head into the white light as all the others before her have done, but Dorothy Parker rejects eternal peace, and hopes to find someone else who feels the same way.

On page 69, the book flashes back to the day Tallulah Bankhead dies and passes through the Algonquin. The brash, outspoken star has strong opinions of her own, and provides an illustrative example of Dorothy's loneliness, as well as the outsized personalities of both women. Here's a snippet, taken from the scene on page 69, as Dorothy Parker and a young bartender behold Tallulah's appearance...
As they watched, the form became more real. And then there she was—a lithe and glamorous star, draped in liquidy satin.

"Well," said Tallulah Bankhead, "that was quite a ride. And how perfect that it ends here, where it all began."

"Welcome to hell," said Dorothy Parker.

Tallulah approached and kissed her on the cheek. "Darling," she said in her famously throaty voice, "if this were hell, Louis B. Mayer would be tending bar. Give me a cigarette, and tell me who this divine creature is."

"Johnny," Dorothy Parker said, "say hello to Tallulah Bankhead."

"Charmed," said Tallulah.

"Miss Bankhead."

"Johnny sticks around after closing to make me drinks," Dorothy Parker explained. "And he only fainted the first four times I appeared. Now we're old friends, aren't we dear?"

"Yes, Mrs. Parker."

"Fainter or not, I think he's perfectly lovely."

"Save your breath, Tallulah. He's not our type."

She paused for a moment as it sunk in. "I see. Pity."

"He's already made you a drink. Bourbon, right?"

"You are divine, Dot. And Johnny darling, don't put away that bottle. I plan to be tight as a tick before I make my final exit." She sat down with a dramatic sweep of silk.

"Exit?" said Dorothy Parker. "Please don't tell me you plan a hasty retreat."

"Daddy's been waiting a long time."

"Let him wait a little longer."
Visit Ellen Meister's website.

--Marshal Zeringue