wonder • wander
a collection of thoughts, musings, and milestones
This is part 2 of an excerpt from a taped conversation Sparkle and I had in 1995.
She calls me “Jill”—my “Bunny name”.
Click here to read part one.
Linda: For me, it's telling the truth., finding or knowing the truth. For me, truth is so
powerful, freeing, enlightening, and so entertaining. All of those things that I really like.
I think, when the truth is spoken, it hits the air in a whole different way than a lie. It
sounds different, feels different. It smells so much better than bullshit.
I used to tell my kids that the bad thing about lying wasn’t that if you get caught lying
you’ll get in trouble. The bad thing about lying is that it pollutes. You know? A lie goes
out into the room or the air...and it pollutes everything.
Linda: ...it has a kind of sick energy, and it flits around, and pollutes the environment.
And, I'm an environmentalist! A communication environmentalist. I mean, I want to clean
stuff up. Get rid of the lies. In my earliest days, I bordered on being a pathological liar. I felt totally insecure about who I really was and I wanted desperately to be something other than that. So, I invented a more interesting family and a more impressive educational background. I’m almost sure I stopped doing that a long time ago. Maybe not. I’m still trying to prove
something, or do something, or be something more or better than I am—even just in the
eyes of strangers. I’m coming to understand what that's about---that what you start out
wanting to do or prove is always different than—and not necessarily as good as---what
you end up doing or figuring out…That’s my story.
Sparkle: I found out that a lot of my problems, a lot of the reasons that I ended up doing
drugs and alcohol, had a lot to do with the fact that so many people expected so much
from me. Like you said, "Oh, Sparkle, you were always, you know, up there!"
Linda: It's true. You know, you were the beautiful, sparkling, super woman.
No one sparkled like Sparkle.
Sparkle: Right. And it's like, God, I just wanted to take a break from that. I wanted a
breather. I didn't want to have to prove myself to anybody. I didn’t think I had anything
worth proving. Not really. Nothing real. It was so much easier to be down there with
street people drinking wine under the bridge and not having, you know, not having to
prove myself or impress the other homeless people because, hey, I was just there under
the bridge drinking wine just like them. I didn't ask them if they had once been a
congressional candidate or did they ever do real estate... And they never asked me
anything like that. So, they didn't expect anything. They didn't expect anything from me.
And I could cruise I could just take it easy. I could do nothing. I didn't have to do anything.
Or be anything. Or show up all Sparkle-like.
Linda: (imitating a pretentious voice) "Oh, Sparkle, your outfit is adorable! We must have
Sparkle: Right. and nobody would say, “Gee, what are you doing with yourself these days?”
Sparkle: And no one saw me or looked at me like, (imitating a haughty voice) “Gee, isn't
it a shame? Remember what she used to be?” And especially I didn’t want to see you, Jill.
I didn’t want to see you. Because when I saw you—you, of all people, knew what I could do.
So, I couldn't see you. Because then, geez, you know, I'd be really depressed for days after that, Jill. You know? And, now I don't feel that way, you know. Now I don't feel that way at all.
"I didn't want to have to prove myself to anybody. I didn’t think I had anything worth proving. Not really. Nothing real. It was so much easier to be down there with street people drinking wine under the bridge and not having, you know, not having to prove myself or impress the other homeless people because, hey, I was just there under the bridge drinking wine just like them.
This is an excerpt from a taped conversation Sparkle and I had in 1995.
She calls me “Jill”—my “Bunny name”.
Sparkle: Good idea. Unfortunately, I've never been good at that. Maybe it’s time. Maybe.
Without sounding totally trite here, what I really believe is that I have to take my life one
day at a time, Jill. I'm very much into that. All my past problems stemmed from getting
too worried about too much, too stressed out about what the future had to offer me.
That's what I'm still working on, Jill. That's what I'm working very hard on right now;
finding something to be optimistic about. That’s what I'm doing.
Linda: I use the projection into the future idea to move me into something I want to
make real. ‘Cause, yeah, you can inherit money, or you can marry rich, or you can win
the lottery, but you're still going be alone and you're still going be responsible for what
happens to you and how those things come about. Aloneness is the constant for me.
Personal optimism and crazy determination are what I rely on. I mean, face it, you and I
are never going to be 21 or 35 again. So, we don't have any choice about those years.
We don’t have to know how to do 35, or how to do 42, or 50!
Sparkle: That's right. Maybe I can figure out how to do 51 and a half, or how to do 52.
Linda: Uh huh. And we both can figure out how to do 54, 55. And beyond.
Sparkle: But I have to remember that I'm an alcoholic and an addict. I can’t be
responsible for the past or for any of that anymore. I can just be responsible for today.
"I can’t be responsible for the past or for any of that anymore.
If there had been a contest, Sparkle, to crown the most beautiful Playboy Bunny of our day, you would have won, Bunny Cheryl. You would have beat out Lauren Hutton, Debby Harry, Kathryn Lee Scott, and all the other remarkable young and ambitious women who quit Playboy and went in search of fame and fortune. Some girls had clear goals. And support. “This little Bunny went to market; this little Bunny stayed home; beef, no beef; all the way…”
A collection of thoughts, musings, and milestones from author, wonderer, and wanderer, Linda Durham.
Copyright © Linda Durham | Site Design by Angulo Marketing & Design
Linda Durham is a human rights advocate, adventurer, author of Still Moving, The Trans-Siberian Railway Journey, An Art and Friendship Project, and a Sixties Manhattan Playboy Bunny. She is the founder and director of Santa Fe's Wonder Institute, which sponsors art exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and salons focused on discovering and implementing creative solutions to contemporary social and cultural issues. For more than three decades, Durham promoted New Mexico-based artists as the hands-on owner of contemporary art galleries in Santa Fe and New York.