Shirley Sacks' book, THE FABLISS LIFE OF BELLA MELLMAN, arrived yesterday at a tea party, produced by the writer Valerie Woods, at the legendary Culver Hotel. Ms. Woods' BooksEndependent published the book, with Sacks' witty drawings, which catch the charm and flair of her character's voice. When Ms. Sacks read, the crowd (at least 100 people) laughed and fell in love. (The book IS HERE on Amazon!!) Shirley is one of the first of The Coast's Wimpole Street Writers, a London group I formed in the late 20th C.
I have never been to a better book party. Ms. Woods is a first-rate inventive publisher, providing charming ivory canvas carrying bags for each book featuring one of Shirley’s drawings.
The afternoon not only presented Shirley's sharp, wise original novel, but drew a gathering of serious writers and artists, sipping tea, eating simple tarts, berries, nuts, and snap peas.
The setting captured the reflective mood of our time, and caught the tone of classic Los Angeles—Laura Andrew's fedora, Sallie Green's sleek blonde bob, Drew's velvet blazer—and Shirley's radiant Art Nouveau glamor, not to mention Laurie Lipton's black and white Oxford shoes.
L.A. knows quite well how to put On the Look, and serve a tea fit for Buckingham Palace, not to mention Wimpole Street. We celebrated Shirley's book—A TRULY WISE and spirited guide to living NOW and preserving attitude, grace, and the notion of family in this era of techno detachment.
The dark wood lobby had the feel of a 1930s screenwriter’s “library,” with the soft sunlight, chairs, sofas, and what once we’d called tea tables. We celebrated Shirley. And then we talked, as the World was trying to do, about where we go from here, about what we might do to help, and what we must write. But then, this is what writers do from the beginning of time.