I am an actress and a teacher of acting, the library is a constant source for meWhat are you doing at the library today, Gina?
I was asking the Librarian if you had any de Waal, he’s sort of an anthropologist social studies writer. He writes about human beings and nature, and their relationship. It’s sort of like Darwin with the monkeys. He has an excellent book called My Family Album and it’s all about monkeys.
—Oh that does sound familiar.
…And the relationship between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom—sort of against god business…which is always good. But of course, this library doesn’t have any de Waal. And so—since there was no de Waal, I then thought I’ll read Fritz Perls who was the guy that debunked Freud in the '60s and started that Gestalt movement, the therapy movement and I just accidentally picked up his book the other day when I was at a meeting and it was kind of wonderful to look at. I grew up with one of the poems he wrote… that goes, if I can remember it… something like… you are not on this earth to live up to my expectations, I am not on this earth to live up to your expectation, if by chance we find each other it’s beautiful and if not, it can’t be helped. I remember seeing it when I was a child and of course, I forgot about it… but I thought now it would be good to read him a little bit because he’s very much involved in working on the Self. But not in a self-help way, you know. He’s a real therapy person. Psychology and really working on the whole-being and how to alter aspects of yourself more towards autonomy, health, and communication without a whole lot of nonsense.
Sounds interesting… So he writes poetry too?
He writes really well. Maybe some verse-stuff along the way, but I don’t really know all that much about him. Then, of course I picked up Yeats because I’m teaching a child acting. A ten year old – and I’ve taught really young children before—but these are private lessons and she’s a serious student. There’s no other child in the room with her—it’s just her—so she doesn’t have “team”—no game she can play with someone else, just a lot of technical information & language & improv… She’s very smart. Every time we get together, we read together, that’s part of the lesson. We read Shakespeare and—I haven’t quite gotten to the Greeks yet but I will. There actually are roles for children in the Greeks. But—Yeats—we are going to go into "The Stolen Child" today. Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild…With a faery hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
So I’m going to have her play with that, that will be way fun.
What else did you get today?
I come here too, as you know, to find books to read to a blind woman. I read to her for two hours a day, almost every day. So we read a lot of pretty good literature. When I first started reading to her, she was really into contemporary mystery novels and she’s much smarter than that! I started very slowly adding in Classics. Now we are reading David Sedaris and Ken Follett.
It’s interesting that she doesn’t use audiobooks, that she wants a physical person there to read to her...
...Because she forgets things. She constantly asks questions. About plot lines, characters, story lines, sequences of events—so she’ll ask me to recount all the events for her. She asks me a lot of questions.
So you are almost like Cliff Notes. How long does it take you to get through a book?
A 200 page book would probably take us a month.
How long have you been using the library?
I moved to New York in ’81 and I went to Julliard so I lived at the Performing Arts Library.
Do you still go there?
All the time. I get music there, because I am a classically trained singer and the scores and just endless! Endless!
I also "live" in the library because the Dance Collection has some of my work.
And I get my plays there and not have to spend money. The funny thing is, I am often late in returning my books to the library, so I spend money anyway.
Oh no, Gina!
…It never bothers me though because I think, every few months I have to cough up $15 or so, so by the end of the year, I’ve made a nice little contribution to the Library. I never complain!
That's a good way of looking at it.
I have a funny story about the library. When I was a teenager, my mother joined a cult. It was absolute torture for me. They were horrible to children there. I didn’t get out into the real world until I was in my early twenties, and by then I was pretty shell-shocked. The very first thing I did was get a library card.
Yes. Then I went there with my boyfriend. We walked in and took down Masters and Johnson Human Sex and Loving or whatever it was called and we had an argument, whispering on the floor—in the early '70s—in this library about where the clitoris was. I pointed to the picture and he would point to the diagrams!
It’s almost cliché! Two young people giggling over a sex book in the library…
But really the library means so much to me. I only wish we had a stronger indie film collection.