The interview, "On the Art of Being Yourself", was crisply penned by Margot Dougherty. It begins, "'Hello!' Diane Keaton sings, walking into a beachside restaurant in Santa Monica." Meticulously describing a very chic and tailored long sleeved white blouse over polka dot capris, bottomed off with telephone-climbing boots, she allows as how, looking fantastic, 68 year-old Diane Keaton ". . .owns it." (I daresay, I, for one, was happy to hear it. Indeed, it is hoped that she is the sole proprietress.)
Margot then announces the vehicle that will justify her article's title, Diane's new book, "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty". Our reporter tells us the book "is an honest, moving, eloquent and sometimes funny pastiche of memories and contemplations of beauty and aging, family and friends." Keaton tells us that she wrote snatches at a time (And you'll see why I'll certainly not go there) because "I'm not a writer." (This statement confirmed the 'honesty' aspect of the book's description.) Rather she likes to talk it and then read the book over and over. Somehow that statement turns the phrase proofreading into an oxymoron.
This introduction is but prelude to the treat of an excerpt from Diane's book. Unfortunately it speaks for itself and presumably in its final draft order. The sample begins with a shopping list of qualities that Diane admires in women: outspoken, eccentric, funny, flawed, inappropriate, sassy, strong, brilliant and having their own style or stamp are among them. Perhaps, by way of illustration, this olio leads into a discussion of a shared experience Diane had with her daughter, Dexter.
Reading a story, "Top 10 Female Celebrities Who Are Ugly No Matter What Hollywood Says", Dexter was shocked to see that number five was Diane Keaton. The article author granted that she (Diane) was "old as dirt" but pointed out she was ugly even when young in the film The Godfather. Diane immediately went to the mirror and reminded herself sternly of the many blessings, friends, family and gifts that she had. Along with her ability to "think, to a point. . .", she could see - "the gift that keeps giving". By way of example, Diane tells us that seeing "is far more enriching than being seen." An odd comment to be made by a woman whose career is defined by the latter. Don't you think?
Diane then shares the fact that the favorite part of her body is her eyes. She then quickly clarifies, explaining that this is because of what they can see, certainly not because of their color or shape. The reader must then endure a smarmy and self serving paragraph about seaside cliff views, flaws that become animated and the "ineptness [sic] that makes you who you are." In an uncharacteristically dogmatic tone, she informs us, "I'm talking about women who make us see beauty where we never saw it." (After that, color me 'kept on point'.)
In what has now become a typically unrelated segue, Ms. Keaton describes her living room wall as sharing space with 48 portraits of "men I've collected over 25 years. I call them prisoners." A lineup of modern and historical gentlemen of some notoriety then follows. Departing from the mundane into the more dicey, she points out that Warren Beatty is not one of the prisoners. She tells us that Warren was someone whom she loved in real life, "not reel life" and that he was stunning, especially from the right side. She sums up by saying that he was indeed a beauty, a fact that made their breakup even more poignant and painful.
Moving along to what might just be her book's main schematic theme, she poses a "question for Warren and all of my prisoners on the wall." She is curious as to when they began to worry about the effect of time on their faces, if they worried at all. After providing a brief selection of male actors who would be considered 'lookers', she provides as well the ages of those still on the screen and wonders "how they are handling the loss." Apparently from firsthand knowledge, Warren, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson have just let it go. Diane feels this is probably the most gracious thing to do.
Then, in an interesting bit of autobiography, she prattles on about how most women, herself included, handle the physical 'disappointments' of aging. She admits to being a senior citizen, as am I (you will recall we are the same age.) In fact, like Diane, over the years I have appeared as my normal self and have also enjoyed some 'Annie Hall' periods.