Entries tagged with “Anne Dick”.


I originally wrote most of this posting as a book review for the July 28 Point Reyes Light where I was editor and publisher for 27 years before retiring 10 years ago.

Anne and the Twentieth Century is the surprisingly appropriate title of newly published memoirs by Anne R. Dick of Point Reyes Station.

Anne at 89 is an impressive woman. She runs a bed-and-breakfast inn, Seven Gray Foxes, and has published seven books of poetry and reminiscences in the past six years.

West Marin residents have also known the author as the proprietor of a successful jewelry-making business in Point Reyes Station, Anne R. Dick Jewelry. That would seem to be a straightforward name although, as Anne recalls with a laugh, one customer wrote it as “Antarctic Jew.”

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Longtime residents in West Marin may also remember the girls’ horse-vaulting team that she organized in 1967. (Horse vaulting is often described as gymnastics on horseback.)

With Anne as coach, the Point Reyes Vaulters in 1976 won the National C Team Championship in Malibu. The following year they won the National B Team Championship, and the year after that the National A Team Championship.

The book is called Anne and the Twentieth Century because in telling stories about herself and her family, she uses as backdrops contemporaneous news events throughout the century.

These range from the Great Depression (“Mom served one vegetarian meal a week to save money”) to World War II and the rise of Hitler, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the death of President Roosevelt, and the atomic bomb.

Periodically Anne gives her own pithy assessment of political, cultural, and military affairs. Adding further color is the book’s taking note of songs and movies that were popular when events occurred.

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Anne and Phillip K. Dick at their home in Point Reyes Station in 1958, a year before their marriage.

Anne’s second husband (1959-68), with whom she had one daughter, Laura, was science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, who gained international recognition for his books, 11 of which were turned into Hollywood movies.

Among the best known are Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which became Blade Runner and We Can Remember It For You Wholesale which became Total Recall. Unfortunately, he was paid very little for screen rights. Blade Runner grossed $28 million, but he received a mere $1,250.

Anne has lectured at several universities including the Sorbonne about her knowledge of Philip Dick, but because she previously wrote Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982, he appears as mainly “an interlude” in her new book.

Getting more attention in her new book is her first husband, the late Richard Rubenstein. Anne’s family had moved to St. Louis after her father died, and Richard came from a prosperous St. Louis family.

The two were married by a justice of the peace, and Anne candidly explains: “We must have thought that going to a justice of the peace wasn’t bourgeois but that a big fancy church wedding was. To be called ‘bourgeois’ in those days was an insult, but we certainly weren’t members of the proletariat either.”

Philip Dick would later turn out to be shy and occasionally paranoid, but Richard Rubenstein, who fathered her daughters Hatte, Jayne, and Tandy, was troubled by severe anxiety.

From St. Louis the couple moved to San Francisco, and “as we drove across the country, Richard was too nervous to go into restaurants. I had to bring his dinner to him every night in our motel room,” Anne recalls, adding, “Not much fun.”

Indeed, life with Richard apparently included many uncomfortable moments. When they moved into an apartment in San Francisco, they bought a large, “handsome” couch. “I spilled some ink on it,” Anne relates, “while trying to sit on Richard’s lap for some affectionate hugging.

“Richard became angry at me for spilling the ink and possibly also because I was trying to hug him. I think some men, maybe many, are fearful of intimacy with women, but they like sex with a woman — which they don’t seem to think of as intimacy.

“Richard didn’t converse. Period. If we went to a restaurant together, we just sat there….

“Richard received a modest monthly income from a property his mother owned in Quincy, Illinois, which paid for food and rent. If we needed a new car, Richard’s mother would buy one for him. If we wanted to go on a trip, Richard’s mother would send money for the trip….

“I felt uncomfortable that Richard didn’t work and earn money, but there was nothing to be done about it. Richard felt he was too nervous to work.”

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Anne and Richard Rubenstein, her first husband.

An aspiring poet, the only people he didn’t feel ill at ease around were other poets and San Francisco’s Bohemians. Fortunately, he and Anne arrived in the city just as the Beat Generation was coming into its own.

Richard started a poetry magazine. It lasted only one issue but put him in contact with such poets as Kenneth Rexroth, Dylan Thomas, Robert Creeley, and Gary Snyder.

His mental health, however, was deteriorating, and while in a New England psychiatric clinic, he had an allergic reaction to an anti-schizophrenic medicine and “dropped dead while drinking copiously from the water fountain,” Anne writes.

“I don’t think he was schizophrenic. He was anxious and drank too much alcohol at times.”

At the end the movie Blade Runner, an extraterrestrial android (human-like robot) played by Rutger Hauer, dies.

Just before he does, Hauer bitterly tells actor Harrison Ford, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe — attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All these moments will be lost in time like tears in rain .… Time to die.”

Anne Dick likewise has some remarkable memories, and she too doesn’t want them to be lost in time. Anne and the Twentieth Century engagingly preserves for her family, friends, and the general public what she has seen of relationships, celebrities, West Marin, American culture, and key events in a fascinating century.

The book is available at Point Reyes Books or from the publisher at Point Reyes Cypress Press, Box 459, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 and online at <www.pointreyescypresspress.com>.

 

Anne R. Dick, 87, of Point Reyes Station is extraordinary in many ways. Already this year she has published one book of poetry, Friends & Family/Point Reyes Poems.

And that’s after publishing three first-rate volumes of poetry last year: Iliad Poems, Penelope of the Mind, and Space and Love.

The octogenarian author, meanwhile, is quick to credit her editor, Barbara Brauer of San Geronimo, with helping her “focus, clarify, and organize the poems.”

Currently in progress are two novels, the working title of one being Anne and the Twentieth Century or Gullible’s Travels, an Autobiography.

In addition, Anne has written two well-received books of nonfiction, Search for Philip K. Dick: 1928-1982 (published in 2009) and The Letters of My Grandfather Moses Perry Johnson: Written 1910-1928 (published in 2012).

Anne’s grandfather, she notes on the book cover, was “a successful St. Louis businessman [who in 1910] left his family behind to make a new life with a red-headed ‘Gibson Girl’ chanteuse in the Far West.” Johnson worked in a Washington lumber camp, was a paymaster of the Panama Pacific Exposition, and for awhile lived “in the far reaches of Yosemite.”

Anne and Philip K. Dick in Point Reyes Station in 1958. They married the following year.

Far better known, of course, is the subject of her other nonfiction book, science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Anne, who was the third of his five wives, was married to him from 1959 to 1968.

Philip’s books received widespread recognition and won more than a dozen national and international literary awards for science fiction. Time magazine in 2005 ranked Philip’s novel Ubik one of the hundred greatest since 1923.

Hollywood turned 10 of his novels into movies, but paid him pittances. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? became Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford. The film grossed $28 million, but Philip (right) received a mere $1,250, the online magazine Wired reported awhile back.

In Search for Philip K. Dick, Anne writes that he told a neighbor his inability to contribute financially to their marriage ultimately caused him to resent her.

Philip was “a charming man and quite shy,” Anne told me Saturday. “He would listen too… He really was very brilliant.” However, Philip also experienced episodes of “paranoia,” she said. And he could be manipulative and controlling, she writes in her biography of him.

In An Odd Conversation with God from Penelope of the Mind, Anne remembers Philip as “that terrible, beloved, wonderful man whom I hated passionately and was mourning for every night in my bed (my empty bed).”

In 1974, six years after their divorce, Philip received sodium pentothal during a tooth extraction and subsequently was given Darvon.

Afterward he experienced weeks of hallucinations. The experience appears to have informed some of his later science fiction writing.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________Anne

Anne acknowledges there are autobiographical echoes in many of her poems, and Families from Penelope of the Mind hints at what life was like with Philip:

Safety-danger, love-hate, loyalty-treachery

chains of commitment and rejection

power, power, power

Slavery

the bondage of guilt

MONEY, not enough, too much

envy

greed

conflict

I only love you if you’re useful to me

if you don’t disturb me too much

if you become the person I want you to be

Earning a living was less of a frustration for Anne. While she and Philip were married, she started a successful jewelry-making business, appropriately named Anne R. Dick Jewelry. She ran the business in Point Reyes Station for 47 years before selling it in 2007. By then, however, she was also an innkeeper operating Seven Grey Foxes B&B at her home on Mesa Road.

While her writing is sometimes personal, Anne doesn’t hesitate to laugh at herself. Here’s a short poem from Penelope of the Mind. It’s titled Ageism or I Thought I Looked Great That Day:

I dress young, look good

blonde hair, good features, good skin

a trace of lipstick

a little eye shadow, mascara

 

I was walking down Cypress Road

when a man in a big shiny car

slowed down and drove alongside me

with a wink and a smirk

he crooked his index finger

can I give you a ride?


I walked over to his car window

to say no thanks, I prefer to walk

he blanched when I got close

and said, I’m sorry madam

and sped away

My personal favorite among Anne’s new books is Iliad Poems, perhaps because I’ve been fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology ever since I was a boy.

In Anne’s case, she was still young when her father died and she moved with her mother to St. Louis where other family members lived.

“I was sort of a latch-key little girl,” she told me. And much of her time alone was spent reading Bullfinch’s Mythology and similar works, a practice she continued as she grew older.

Anne’s knowledge of Greek, Roman, and even Norse mythology is impressive, and by drawing on it, she is able to describe the universal nature of her own experiences while remaining succinct.

You can see a bit of this in her poem My Personal Chaos.

A reminder before we begin: the original Iliad by Homer (who lived around 800 BC) is, of course, a long poem telling the story of the Trojan War. Back then, the Greeks thought of Eros as the god of love and of Dionysus as both the god of wine and of ecstasy, including frenzied rituals.

To Escape the strong forces of Fate

I crammed my being

into a small corner of my psyche

 

One day something burst

and let me out

 

Everything changed—

The earth all around laughed

the mountain and its wild creatures joined in

“ha ha ha!”

 

My brain squirmed and squealed

twisted and turned

The childhood wound

I had brooded about so long

turned out to be a mirage

 

Now I gyrate in the whirlwinds of Eros

dance to the dissonances of Dionysus

While we talked Saturday, I noted that dancing comes up several times in her poetry and asked if she likes to dance. In 1947, Anne replied, she was a student at Washington University when she paid a brief visit to the University of Wisconsin, observed modern dance, and was captivated by it. She briefly considered becoming a professional dancer, but “it didn’t seem practical.”

Instead she took up horseback riding which, she remarked, is similar to dancing: “It uses the total body.” As a result of her fondness for horses, she coached horse-vaulting (gymnastics on horseback) for 10 years in Point Reyes Station.

Looking in on Anne Dick reading in the social area of her B&B.

Anne, who has written two science fiction novels herself, posited that in her riding she “was actually communicating with an alien” — and then laughingly added — “if you consider a horse an alien.”

Those wishing to order copies of Anne Dick’s books can contact the publisher, Point Reyes Cypress Press, at Box 459, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956. Or <www.pointreyescypresspress.com>.