Michael Stuart Kelly

To Barbara Branden With Love

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To Barbara Branden With Love

I miss Barbara. Kat and I both do.

I should have posted this sooner, but the pain of losing her caused me a weird kind of inertia every time I thought of doing it. But now it's time.

On December 16, 2013, I received an email from Kerry O'Quinn. I had heard of him, but never knew him. Part of the email said:

BARBARA BRANDEN – A Celebration of Her Life

My dear friend Barbara Branden (84) died in Los Angeles on Wednesday 11 Dec 2013.

I’m organizing a private memorial gathering of Barbara’s close friends to celebrate her life by sharing personal stories, pictures, whatever you have that others might enjoy. We’ll screen a video clip of the NBI Fashion Show from 45 years ago, in which Barbara was a glamorous model with Frank O’Connor, and danced with Bob Barole. This celebration will be at Judd Weiss’ hilltop home in the Bel Aire section of LA.

If you cannot attend, I urge you to write something that can be read – a funny moment, a touching memory, anything special your have to say about Barbara.


He asked to send pictures to Jim Peron. Here is what I sent to him, with a copy to Jim (dated December 22).

Dear Kerry,

Thank you so much for including me in your invitation. I'm not sure we've met, so I don't know how to break the ice except to say how much Kat and I loved Barbara and are heartbroken by her passing.

Unfortunately we will not be able to attend the get together but Kat and I do have a couple of personal images of Barbara we can tell everybody. So please share this email with all. I'm including a copy to Jim Peron as backup. (Hi Jim. :smile: )

First Kat. (The following is from her.)

Barbara will always have a special place in my heart. She was sweet and wise and I looked up to her. I even asked her advice when it came to matters of the heart. When Michael and I first “met” online and things were getting serious, she was the one I would go to for advice. She was always supportive, but when I told her we were getting engaged and asked what she thought, she said maybe we should meet first. We did meet and later that year we met Barbara. We spent quite a bit of time with her at a TAS conference. About a month later I received this email from her.

Kat and Michael, I am so delighted for you both -- and I wish you every possible, and several impossible, happinesses. Think of what you most want for yourselves and for your relationship, and know that is what I'm wishing for you.

What in this world can be as wonderful -- and as inspiring to your friends -- as loving each other and building a life together? You have the best there is. And don't let anyone tell you that love becomes more muted, more "sensible," as time goes by. It doesn't. Love is obsession -- a magnificent obsession. If it's real, the intensity never fades, nor the passion, nor the all-consuming need for each other. So love each other forever, you two dear people, and always be as happy as you are today.

With affection -- and please imagine that I am hugging you both --

Barbara


(Back to me.) That was pretty, huh? Look what those two were up to behind my back. :smile:

As many of you know, I was at Barbara's side all during the attacks from that book and author I will not name right now. Most of my relationship with her was by telephone and email and, boy, do I have a ton of stuff from her. I was going through it to see what I might mention, but boy, was there a lot of stuff about that book and author I will not name. :smile:

There was so much more, though.

I am grateful to Barbara for one part of our relationship and I always will be. During a few years, she adopted me--she was my writing mentor. At first I felt like a dirty little urchin coming in off the streets into a fancy house. But she cleaned me up and taught me manners. Her advice was always insightful and over time, I did improve.

Barbara would congratulate me with high praise when I wrote items she approved of and rake me over scalding coals when I wrote a stinker. She had a system nobody ever used with me before. She copy/pasted my paragraphs into an email, then inserted her comments between brackets within the writing itself. Sometimes these insertions were in the middle of sentences. To distinguish her criticism from my words, she wrote in all caps.

I have an active imagination, so her all caps praise landed on my brain like football cheerleading and the criticism was like she was yelling in my face and stabbing at me with a threatening finger. I never told her about these impressions, God help me. But I did tell her she had improved my writing beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. And that's the truth.

Over the last two or three years, Barbara and I drifted a little. There was no misunderstanding. She merely went in one direction and I in another. But the love was always there for both of us.

A dear friend of mine visited Barbara less than two months ago and put her on the telephone with me. I had no idea this would be the last time I would talk to her. We made plans to reignite our former intense communications. She had some endearing phrases for me that still ring in my ears, and I her. The last words I ever heard her say were, "Okee dokee. Give my love to Kat."

There is a fitting article from Barbara Kat and I want to share with you, one that was not widely publicized. In fact, Kat remembered it. I believe it will touch the hearts of everyone who loved her. Barbara posted this on our forum, Objectivist Living on July 19, 2006, on the occasion of her 77th birthday. I have included it below. (http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=674)

Thoughts on Aging
by Barbara Branden

I turned seventy-seven this year. I look at that sentence, and it seems as if the words "seventy-seven" must be a typo. What has that number to do with me? I remember that when I was still under twenty, I read a short story – I've never quite understood why this passage struck me forcibly at the time and why it has remained with me -- in which an elderly woman, in her bathtub, looked down at her body and thought: "How very strange. Here I am, I've lived all these years, and this is my body, and I've earned it – and nobody understands that inside, I'm still eighteen."

Inside, I am still eighteen. I hope I've learned a lot, and I've certainly lived a lot, yet still all the passion, all the curiosity, all the wonder at the beauty and the possibilities of life on this jewel of a planet we inhabit, remain with me as they were when I was a girl, unaltered by time. There was a river that flowed across the street from my home in Winnipeg, and when I was a young girl I'd go there to sit on the riverbank and dream about what my future would be. I would know great people, I told myself, I would travel to great cities, I would devour whole libraries and learn and never stop learning and I would read about the noble lives others had lived, I would find the answers to all the questions that I struggled with, I would find friends who shared my dreams and my passions and I would find a man to love who saw the world as I saw it and with whom I could share my life – and I would write, I would find ways to set down on paper the things I felt and understood, I would communicate to others the incredible treasure that is our life.

And now, as I look back, I see that I have done it all. Much of it has been different than I imagined, there has been more pain that I expected, I have not found answers to all my questions – but I would not choose to have it otherwise, since the questions lead me to tomorrow, where the answers might yet lie. There has not been one man with whom I have shared the whole of my life, but three men whom I have loved deeply and passionately -- a great gift I would not choose to have lived without. Some of my gods have failed, but, in so doing, they have taught me that to be a god is a simple thing but to be a human being is not. And today, I can echo the words Ayn Rand once said to me: "I don't regret a moment of my life."

I have found that aging is not wholly an entry into years of gold. It brings with it the pain of losing people I have loved. My mother, whom I adored from the moment I opened my eyes on the world, died when I was still in my thirties; it is a loss that does not fade. My beloved older brother died suddenly sixteen years ago, a blow to me beyond anything I had ever experienced. I have lost dear friends, Roy Childs for one, and others who had been my life-long comrades and who have left me forever. My father, the kindest and most generous man I have ever known, died when he was only sixty; three very dear aunts, all over ninety, and a very special cousin with whom I played Tarzan in my yard when we were children, are gone now, and I miss them. Ayn Rand died, my mentor, my much-loved friend, and my enemy, whose thoughts and influence and the memory of my unrepeatable years with her will never leave me. But I have learned, through these deaths, that we do not cease to love when the object of our love dies; the love remains, and the beloved is alive in our hearts forever.

Cherished friends remain, however. Joan Blumenthal, my friend since I was thirteen, the first person to whom I could speak of what I thought and what I loved and what I dreamed and know that I would be understood. Wilfred Schwartz, my first boyfriend when I was fifteen and still, more than fifty years later, my dear friend, who has stood by me through all the traumas and the triumphs of my life. And James Kilbourne, whom I met eleven years ago on a moonlit terrace in Athens, Greece. A boyfriend once told me a fable that I loved, and I had him tell it again and again. The story was that my friends and I had been born and had lived on Rigel, where we had played, carefree and happy, among the stars. One day, God decided that it was time for us to go to Earth and learn its mysteries. He picked us up in His hands and scattered us over the earth – and from then on, each of us searched always for our lost playmates. In James, I knew almost at once that I had found my playmate from the stars. I have learned so much from each of these friends; they have enriched my life, for which I am more grateful than I can say.

Aging brings with it, also, the piercing sadness of watching some of my friends – happily, only a very few -- fade and seem to diminish, to lose some of the fire that had burned in them and illuminated their existence. It brings with it the physical problems that inevitably come with the years, in my case again fortunately very few. I survived cancer almost fourteen years ago and have been in remission, and quite well for the most part, ever since.

I never really noticed the years flashing by. I didn't experience the trauma many people report at becoming forty, or fifty, or sixty – not even seventy. I have never observed any failing in my mental abilities; in fact, I think that I am wiser, more stable and centered, more tolerant and loving than I have ever been. Whatever self-doubts I once had – and there were many – I have never doubted my intelligence; and with advancing years, I feel that it is more highly developed and that it serves me better than it ever did. I feel a still-growing confidence in Barbara, the certainty that she will cope with whatever problems she must face. But with my seventieth birthday, I found myself becoming thoughtful about the years to come. I realized that those years were limited and that it was time to decide what I wanted to do with them. I have decided. There still are mountains I want to climb, and singing words to put on paper; I have not devoured all the libraries in the world, a feast which still awaits me, and there are still great cities to see and new playmates to encounter and new experiences to have and wonders to discover and knowledge to gain. I am not afraid of the years to come. I have found that one great advantage of aging is that there's not much that I am afraid of. I want to remain on this jewel of a planet for as long as I can.

I have always loved the poem by Robert Browning that ends with these lines:

"Grow old along with me,
The best is yet to be,
The end of life for which the first was made."

Barbara


Kat and I miss Barbara. We will never stop loving her.

Our very best to all of you,

Michael and Kat


I received thanks from both Kerry and Jim. They said they would read it at the event. In fact, Kerry mentioned there would be photos and films of the event. Kat and I were not close to almost anyone who went, but I hope we will be able to see these someday.

Later, on December 24, Jim wrote about the event in a Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/james.peron.9/posts/10202635921041836) and he gave me permission to post it here:

Tonight some of Barbara Branden's close friends gathered in Los Angeles to share their times with her with one another, and to remember a warm, gentle woman who did much for libertarianism and Objectivism. There were a number of old, old friends there, people who were involved with Objectivism in the 50s and early 60s.

Tonight I felt as if we were all threads in the tapestry that was Barbara's life. And, with everyone there, I could glimpse a lot of more of the whole tapestry than I had seen before. I know I will forget people, and don't want to, so I apologize for those I miss in advance.

Of course, Nathaniel Branden was their, with his wife Leigh, and his assistant Vivian. I'm a big fan of Leigh and Vivian both. Kerry O'Quinn was chief organizer and knew the Brandens and Ayn back in the early 60s. I met Kerry via Barbara ultimately, but another good friend of mine met Kerry in completely other contexts and kept telling me, for years, that I had to met him. One day I saw an email Barbara sent out and it had Kerry's name and I thought this could be the same Kerry. It was.

Leonard and Jonathan Hirschfield were there. They are the sons of Nathaniel's sister, Florence, and thus Barbara nephews. Of course, they knew her from birth. I liked them both very much, very personable fellows.

Nathaniel's other ex-wife, Devers, was there. I've heard so much about her but tonight was a joy to meet her. She had a hilarious story about Barbara and her at one event together that I will try to share at some point.

Dan Fauci was there. The last time I saw him was the opening of Atlas Shrugged in Westwood. We all met for dinner before hand at the deli around the corner from the theater. Wonderful night. I had Barbara and Nathaniel both sign a poster of the film and date it for the opening night. I remember after the movie that about 25% of the audience hung around outside talking. Of course, once Nathaniel and Barbara were recognized people were flocking over to take photos. A night to remember.

Joyce and Lee Shulman were there. The meet Barbara and Nathaniel in the early 60s. They are psychotherapists and wrote Nathaniel about some of his techniques in the field. They used to fly to New York twice a month to visit the Brandens and Ayn. They now live out here in Southern California and work with a charity that helps matches needy people with pilots who can fly them someplace in an emergency, or to reunite families.

Film producer Duncan Scott was there, and had camera in hand the whole time recording the event for posterity.

Glenn Cripe from Phoenix was there, having been scheduled to fly through LAX anyway. I've known Glenn for just forever it seems, even longer than I knew Barbara. I met him in Chicago in 1980, knew him in San Francisco, and knew him in Phoenix.

Benjamin Hyles and Cody Nicholson were there. Benjamin had been hired by Barbara to help her and was working with her for the last year.

Judd Weiss was the host of the event, and this time I managed to actually drive straight to the house, I finally figured out the trick to Bel Air.

Verity Grover was there. We first met at the Free Minds event in Anaheim a few years ago, where Barbara spoke on "Objectivist fundamentalism." To say the least, I applauded her loudly on her discussion. It was a topic we saw eye to eye on.

I'm very happy to have seen so many old friends, and to meet new ones, again thanks to Barbara. She will be missed.


Jim also sent me a personal note about Barbara. It meant a lot to Kat and me and I am posting it here (with his permission, of course) because it may mean the same to others who loved Barbara.

I wanted to say one thing about something you noted below. You mentioned you and BB drifted apart over the last few years. If I had $100 every time I heard that I'd be happy. Sadly, over the last few years BB became more and more reclusive and harder to communicate with. This happened to everyone. I wish it weren't the case. Three weeks ago I tried my hardest to get BB to consent to let me see her, she made excuses about having a doctor's appointment that no one thinks she had. Leigh Branden would tell me she'd call BB and leave a message and it could take weeks before she was called back. At one point neither Leigh, Kerry nor myself had heard from her in so long, a mild panic set in. I called Kerry and he said he had left a message telling Barbara that he was worried and if he didn't hear from her within an hour he was coming over and using his key to let himself in. She called him back. Even friends who have known her for half a century had the same experience.

I was aware this was happening for some time. But even with that knowledge I couldn't sometimes help wonder if I had done something to put her off as a friend. (I can do that sort of thing, though I do try to avoid it.) But, then I'd hear the same thing from one mutual friend, then another. So, just in case you wondered, be at ease—this was the common trend with everyone. I think a lot of people who experienced this were wondering.


So now we know that Barbara drifted at the end with everyone. When she stopped posting on OL, I never prompted her to return, nor did I ever ask her why. I figured she had her own reasons and, now that I know this was her turning into herself, I am glad I didn't say anything and inadvertently lay a guilt trip on her.

Here is a personal note from me because I don't know where else to put it. When I was in Brazil, the only information I got about Ayn Rand's life for years came from Who is Ayn Rand?. The first impression I got of Barbara came from the back of that book.

WhoisAynRand-small.jpg

Later, after I was addicted to drugs and after I had read The Passion of Ayn Rand, I would look at her picture on the back of this book for long stretches.

WhoisAynRand-Back-Barbara-reduced.jpg

I don't know what others see, but from the very first time I saw this image, way before the drug problem, I saw a fragility in her expression that used to make me want to protect her. I would think, Who is hurting you? That is the main emotion I would experience as I stared at that image years ago, even later when I was high.

Looking at this from the distance of years, and knowing now that Barbara is no longer with us, I am going through so many conflicting feelings, I simply can't describe them.

I miss her. I love her.

Life isn't the same without her.

Michael

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Very well stated and very touching! Those who knew Barbara would certainly agree with your sentiments. And those who never met her can get an idea of what Barbara was like and why she was so important.

In addition to Barbara's books (especially The Passion, but also her biographical sketch in the earlier Who Is Ayn Rand?, and her very interesting Preface to the print version of the NBI lecture series, The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism), her many interesting communications that she posted on Objectivist Living are still accessible (and I presume will remain so...although an interesting project would be to collect those correspondences, and some of the responses to her by OL members, and publish it as a memorial volume,....hmm).

And there are many audio and video recordings of Barbara made by The Atlas Society, which are still available from TAS, but also many are easily accessible through YouTube. Some of her lectures are available also in print form and probably downloadable from TAS. And of course her 10 lecture NBI audio course The Principles of Efficient Thinking.

The sadly ironic thing about Barbara Branden's life is that in many ways she represented the best of Objectivism, especially its ethical principles; and yet, she remained anathema to many of the orthodox or ARIan Objectivists for the rest of her life. And for what? For telling the truth about Ayn Rand, both her glory and her all-too-human frailties.

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Michael,

I forgot to refer to your comments about Barbara's picture (from the back cover of Who Is Ayn Rand?)! She was a knockout, wasn't she? Other excellent photos from the time period of NBI (1958-1968) are on the covers and inside album jackets for her audio course, The Principles of Efficient Thinking.

However, my view when I saw those and other pictures from that time period, including in person at NBI, and also at a reception for in Chicago in 1982 on the occasion of the publication of her book, was quite different from what you reported. Especially, during the NBI years, she and Nathaniel struck me as the very personification of the heroic, as Ayn described in Atlas Shrugged.

O.K., there might have been more than a little "hero worship" in my view back then. But, what the hell, in my "book," they were heroes then and remained so to this day.

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I forgot to mention where OL members and anyone else can purchase this excellant course by Barbara as an mp3 download (and checkout her picture!).

Below is a direct copy from the course announcement in the "Culture of Reason Center," right here on OL. Redundant, maybe. But us "hero worshippers" have gotta do what we gotta do!

- Jerry

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Randall

$$$

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  • Members
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  • 352 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas
  • Interests:Student of Objectivism. The virtues I seek to live by are: Rationality, Honesty, Independence, Integrity, Justice, Productiveness, Pride and Benevolence.

Posted 19 May 2011 - 11:47 AM

The%20Principles%20of%20Efficient%20Thin

The Principles of Efficient Thinking
by Barbara Branden

(Lectures 1-10) Complete Series MP3 Download

Lecture 01: An Introduction to Thinking
Lecture 02: Focusing and Problem Solving
Lecture 03: Automatic Mind Functions
Lecture 04: Conceptual Level of Consciousness Part 1
Lecture 05: Conseptual Level of Consciousness Part 2
Lecture 06: Emotions as Tools of Cognition
Lecture 07: Language and Definitions
Lecture 08: Common Aberrations in Thinking
Lecture 09: The Fallacy of The Stolen Concept (Nathaniel Branden)
Lecture 10: Causes of Inefficient Thinking

Approx. 15.7 Hours

Our Price: $40.00

Companion Product: The Basic Principles of Objectivism by Nathaniel Branden

Companion Product: The Vision of Ayn Rand Paperback (The Basic Principles of Objectivism Transcribed)



The ability to reason is man’s most important faculty – the attribute which lifts him above all other species. Yet, the science of using his rational faculty effectively has been almost entirely neglected.

Most people fail to realize that thinking is not an automatic process, known to everyone “instinctively.” It is, indeed, an acquired skill and – like every human skill – it involves certain principles which have to be identified and learned.

Principles of Efficient Thinking was developed by Barbara Branden to help meet this need. Her course deals with thinking in both its theoretical and practical aspects. The theoretical aspect covers in detail the principles that make possible the most efficient use of one’s mind; the practical aspect covers specific techniques by which one avoids thinking errors and maximizes the productiveness of one’s mental effort.

As part of the curriculum of the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), the course was attended by tens of thousands of students in cities throughout the United States and Canada. With the exception of lecture nine, which is a guest lecture by Nathaniel Branden, the course is given by Barbara Branden. Many of the lectures were re-recorded to improve sound quality, to slightly revise errors, to update references, and to make the contents readily understandable to those with no previous philosophical training. This course is substantially the same as that offered by NBI and it proved to be one of the most popular series offered by the Institute.

The ten lectures in this course discusses the following issues:

- Why a science of thinking is necessary.
- The relation between efficient thinking and intelligence.
- The philosophical base of efficient thinking.
- The nature of intellectual focusing.
- The various levels of focusing.
- The problem of concentration.
- The nature of the subconscious.
- The subconscious as a “Univac” (computer).
- The proper use of the subconscious.
- The psychology of “inspiration.”
- The effect of repression on thinking.
- The nature of the conceptual level of consciousness.
- The nature of intelligence.
- The destroyers of intelligence.
- Thinking in essentials.
- The destructiveness of treating emotions as tools of cognition.
- The manner in which wishes and fears can distort the thinking process.
- “Emotional-perceptual” thinking.
- The importance of knowing the source and validation of one’s concepts.
- The role of integration in thinking.
- Forms of the failure of integration.
- Evasion as the sabotaging of consciousness.
- Common aberrations in thinking and consequent mental habits.
- The inability to think in principles.
- The misuse of abstractions.
- The “socialized consciousness” and the destruction of language.
- Failures of discrimination in thinking.
- The error of intellectual “package-dealing.”
- The danger of false axioms.
- Psychological causes of inefficient thinking: the surrender of the will to efficacy; failure of self-esteem; the “malevolent universe” premise; “social metaphysics.” The source and conditions of intellectual certainty.

Permission to offer this product has been given from Barbara Branden who holds the copyright.

Edited by Randall, 30 September 2011 - 05:04 PM.

“When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Study Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in Dallas, TX - www.thecultureofreasoncenter.com

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Has Nathaniel Branden posted anything on Barbara's passing?

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Has Nathaniel Branden posted anything on Barbara's passing?

That same thought has been on my mind today, I have been avoiding thinking about her being gone.

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Some years ago, in an email exchange, when I inquired if lack of communication with her indicated some kind of health problem, Barbara indicated she was then okay, but that when such things happened she tended to withdraw from people, kind of hunker down.

Her Principles of Efficient Thinking course is the best single course to come out of NBI; it has legs.

While someone may post something in Nathaniel Branden's name, he won't be posting anything.

Thank you for this thread and your long first post, Michael.

--Brant

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If this has already been posted, my apologies.

Here's a link to a Washington Post article which appeared in the Book section of their paper:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/barbara-branden-ayn-rand-author-dies-at-84/2013/12/23/7536475e-6997-11e3-ae56-22de072140a2_story.html

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Jim also sent me a personal note about Barbara. It meant a lot to Kat and me and I am posting it here (with his permission, of course) because it may mean the same to others who loved Barbara.

I wanted to say one thing about something you noted below. You mentioned you and BB drifted apart over the last few years. If I had $100 every time I heard that I'd be happy. Sadly, over the last few years BB became more and more reclusive and harder to communicate with. This happened to everyone. I wish it weren't the case. Three weeks ago I tried my hardest to get BB to consent to let me see her, she made excuses about having a doctor's appointment that no one thinks she had. Leigh Branden would tell me she'd call BB and leave a message and it could take weeks before she was called back. At one point neither Leigh, Kerry nor myself had heard from her in so long, a mild panic set in. I called Kerry and he said he had left a message telling Barbara that he was worried and if he didn't hear from her within an hour he was coming over and using his key to let himself in. She called him back. Even friends who have known her for half a century had the same experience.

I was aware this was happening for some time. But even with that knowledge I couldn't sometimes help wonder if I had done something to put her off as a friend. (I can do that sort of thing, though I do try to avoid it.) But, then I'd hear the same thing from one mutual friend, then another. So, just in case you wondered, be at ease—this was the common trend with everyone. I think a lot of people who experienced this were wondering.

So now we know that Barbara drifted at the end with everyone. When she stopped posting on OL, I never prompted her to return, nor did I ever ask her why. I figured she had her own reasons and, now that I know this was her turning into herself, I am glad I didn't say anything and inadvertently lay a guilt trip on her.

Barbara went through a similar period of withdrawal back in about 2002-2004. Just as Jim Peron describes, people who had been friends for years would try to contact her, and she wouldn't return calls, or she might cancel an appointment - John Hospers spoke of her doing that several times. As Jim said, she did this with everyone when she was going through a phase of being inward-turned.

Here is a personal note from me because I don't know where else to put it. When I was in Brazil, the only information I got about Ayn Rand's life for years came from Who is Ayn Rand?. The first impression I got of Barbara came from the back of that book.

WhoisAynRand-small.jpg

Later, after I was addicted to drugs and after I had read The Passion of Ayn Rand, I would look at her picture on the back of this book for long stretches.

WhoisAynRand-Back-Barbara-reduced.jpg

I don't know what others see, but from the very first time I saw this image, way before the drug problem, I saw a fragility in her expression that used to make me want to protect her. I would think, Who is hurting you? That is the main emotion I would experience as I stared at that image years ago, even later when I was high.

I thought there was a fragility in her expression, too, and I've heard a number of others say the same.

Ellen

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The Ice Goddess was my name for her when I saw her standing on the stage [i was maybe 17 lol].

Austere, proud and yet absolutely "fragile" - perfect choice of words Ellen.

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I thought there was a fragility in her expression, too, and I've heard a number of others say the same.

Ellen

When I first saw that photo in 1964 or 65, it didn't seem right.

--Brant

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I thought there was a fragility in her expression, too, and I've heard a number of others say the same.

Ellen

When I first saw that photo in 1964 or 65, it didn't seem right.

--Brant

How so?

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I thought there was a fragility in her expression, too, and I've heard a number of others say the same.

Ellen

When I first saw that photo in 1964 or 65, it didn't seem right.

--Brant

How so?

I don't remember then, but it still doesn't seem right now. Now I'd say she seems disengaged, abstract. It's not just that it doesn't seem to fit the book, but she seems out of place. Strange.

--Brant

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I don't remember then, but it still doesn't seem right now. Now I'd say she seems disengaged, abstract. It's not just that it doesn't seem to fit the book, but she seems out of place. Strange.

--Brant

Agreed. She was like a statue that they rolled out that was frozen.

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The Ice Goddess was my name for her when I saw her standing on the stage [i was maybe 17 lol].

Austere, proud and yet absolutely "fragile" - perfect choice of words Ellen.

I was echoing Michael's description, although it is what I saw, too.

When I first saw that photo in 1964 or 65, it didn't seem right.

How so?

I don't remember then, but it still doesn't seem right now. Now I'd say she seems disengaged, abstract. It's not just that it doesn't seem to fit the book, but she seems out of place. Strange.

--Brant

I thought it fit Barbara's mini-biography which gave the book its title, because I thought the mini-bio was unnatural, constrained, that Barbara's writing seemed cramped into the style and content - except for the beginning, which sounds fluid and impassioned, and which I complimented somewhere early on this list.

I'll fill in a link.

Ellen

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I'd forgotten, until I found the post referred to above, that it was posted on Ayn Rand's birthday, February 2.

Here it is:

I'll quote the whole passage. It's just beautifully written. Barbara is and was then a very skilled writer.

This is the start of the title essay of Who Is Ayn Rand?, © Copyright, 1962, by Nathaniel Branden. Random House. (I don't know why there wasn't a separate copyright for BB's piece.)

[Extra paragraph break added for easier reading.]

"To hold an unchanging youth is to reach, at the end, the vision with which one started."

It was a world of irresistible gaiety. It was made of the music that tinkled arrogantly against crystal ovals of brilliance strung across the vast solemnity of the ceiling--music that danced defiantly on the soft, faded elegance of velvet drapery and on the stern white marble of glistening walls--music that surged upward through the stately grandeur of the opera house, carrying, in its rise, the laughter of a weightless exultation. It was made of graceful bodies whirling in effortless motion on a stage held in light rays, of silk gowns and radiant smiles and gleaming top hats--against the backdrop of a huge window which framed the painted image of lighted streets and the skyscrapers of a foreign city, sparkling and beckoning in the distance.

Beyond the walls of the theater--beyond the reach of the operetta--was a city of unending grayness: the grayness of crumbling buildings and crumbling souls, of stooped shoulders and bread lines and ration cards, of chronic hunger and chronic despair and the odor of disinfectants, of steel bayonets and barbed wire, and marching feet moving in a grim parade of death to sudden arrests in the night, of weary men crushed to their knees under waving flags and clenched fists. Only the flags and the fists relieved the grayness: the fists were stained, by a different dye, the same red as the flags. The city was Petrograd. The year was 1922.

A slender young girl with large eyes sat high in the last balcony of the opera house, leaning forward tensely, listening to the meaning of the most ecstatic sounds she had ever heard. The bright notes sparkling and leaping in the air around her and the reckless gaiety of the scene spread out on the stage below, were carrying a message to her, and a promise They told her there was a sunlit, carefree world--a world of unobstructed action, of unobstructed fulfillment--somewhere beyond the dark night and the darker horrors, and it waited only for her to claim it.

She listened with grave solemnity to the promise--and she gave a promise in return: that if she could not be the physical citizen of that glittering world, she would be its spiritual citizen. She took her oath of allegiance, with passionate dedication--with the gay score of an operetta as the holy bible on which she swore--an oath never to let the reality of her true homeland be dimmed by the gray exhaustion of a life lived under the alien weight of the ugly, the sordid, the tragic; to hold the worship of joy as her shield against the sunless murk around her; to keep burning within her that fuel which alone could carry her to the world she had to reach, the fuel which had kept her moving through her seventeen years: the sense of life as an exalted, demanding, triumphant adventure.

Thirty-five years later, and more than five thousand miles away, the young girl was to erect a monument to that music, and to the sense of life she had never lost or betrayed. The monument was Atlas Shrugged. The girl was Ayn Rand.

The next paragraph starts, "Ayn Rand was born on February 2, 1905 [...]."

Today is February 2, 102 years later.

Ellen

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Here is something I just remembered.

When I first met Barbara face-to-face, Kat and I were in her room at a TAS convention and we talked and talked. (btw - This is where she told Kat she approved of us and I started thinking, whaaat? What's going on behind my back? :smile: )

In the middle of the conversation, I mentioned that I really liked an idea Rand had that if you keep the same vision throughout life, you will hold onto an unchanging youth. But I could no longer find the quote. Barbara's jaw dropped and said this was a quote she opened her first bio of Rand with (Barbara called her "Ayn" of course). Then I remembered--that was where I read it.

For the record, here are the exact words from p. 119 of Who is Ayn Rand? (which is the title of the book and the title of the fourth essay, Barbara's bio):

To hold an unchanging youth is to reach, at the end, the vision with which one started.

I suspect this quote came from the taped interviews Barbara made with Rand. For some reason, I didn't ask her. (I think I was too excited at the time at meeting her to think of asking something like that.)

I still like the quote, but I guess I don't have an unchanging youth.

God help me if I had kept the same vision that I had back then. :smile:

Michael

EDIT: Ellen, I just noticed that this same quote is in your post. I think our posts crossed or something. Looking at the time stamps, this is probably what happened, even at a little under a half-an-hour. It took me a while to finish my post--I had to find the book again and look up the quote. And this darn book has no table of contents. Weird how this stuff happens.

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WhyNot - no, no,I wasn't blaming AR. Not in the least. I have met writers of the Obj. pursuasion who can really write, but they'll never sell many books. It's a shame. Personally, I have always felt that is what happened to Barbara. Damn, we know the woman can write. Yet she never did any fiction and only one non-fiction. I could be wrong, but truly, don't think so. Oh, I know Barbara sold books; that's not what I meant.

Barbara did write a novel, years ago, which she then "put in a drawer" as too Rand-influenced.

Near the start of this century - I think it was before 9/11, but I'd have to check old correspondence - Barbara got an idea for a novel which I thought sounded like THE novel which was her personal song. In a white-heat stretch, she wrote a lengthy mock-up/outline. However, she had another project in planning, a non-fiction work which I think was to be called "Ayn Rand and the People Who Knew Her," or something like that. Her agent advised her to do the non-fiction work first.

I feared on hearing this, since I thought, the Bard's words coming to the occasion, "There is a tide...."

Ellen

Since Barbara won't get back to writing "[the] novel which I thought sounded like THE novel which was her personal song," I'll tell the title. I thought it was so perfect for Barbara to write:

One True Chord

Ellen

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The title of her unpublished novel was Price No Object.

I didn't like it--the title--back then--really didn't like it--but had no idea of the content behind it. Knowing nothing more today I'd say I'd prefer something like The Price. "No Object" seems to reveal too much from the start. Chop it off and you've much more of a mystery, an invitation to find out the what behind the it. If it had been published, the title might have been changed, but we'll never know. I sorta think of it as California superficiality while acknowledging it's unfair to the author. I still want to be disabused of the notion.

In the mid 1970s Barbara lived for a year or two on New York's east side. I don't know why--she visited my monthly therapy group run by Nathaniel in September 1976 (one of his clients was anti-Semitic ["New York Jew"] which she hated but mostly held her tongue [Nathaniel: You can tell me things here I'd react quite differently to if you were to tell me them on the street--Barbara, I would too])--but it might have at least partially been an attempt to find a NY publisher. Considerably later on I saw her on a popular NY TV show with a gracious host--sorry I forget his name and the name of his show--a small engaging man with a cultural-literary orientation--and I forget the subject of conversation (post Passion)--but Barbara mentioned having trouble with writer's block. Commonly understood--she mentioned this more than once over the years--her big trouble with writing fiction was plot construction and gloried in the way Ayn's life came with a big plot built right into it (along with a great climax).

--Brant

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The title of her unpublished novel was Price No Object.

Brant,

I've gotta brag a little on this one:

Many years ago, I wrote a novel called “Price No Object.” It’s theme was loyalty to values, a trait exemplified by the heroine of the novel who continued to fight for her values no matter what price she had to pay, no matter what the odds against her. For her, price was no object. The novel could have been dedicated to Michael Kelly.

That is from Who is Michael Stuart Kelly? that Barbara wrote here on OL.

Dayaamm!

Only now did I get the "Who is John Galt" reference.

Man am I thick...

:)

Michael

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WhyNot - no, no,I wasn't blaming AR. Not in the least. I have met writers of the Obj. pursuasion who can really write, but they'll never sell many books. It's a shame. Personally, I have always felt that is what happened to Barbara. Damn, we know the woman can write. Yet she never did any fiction and only one non-fiction. I could be wrong, but truly, don't think so. Oh, I know Barbara sold books; that's not what I meant.

Barbara did write a novel, years ago, which she then "put in a drawer" as too Rand-influenced.

Near the start of this century - I think it was before 9/11, but I'd have to check old correspondence - Barbara got an idea for a novel which I thought sounded like THE novel which was her personal song. In a white-heat stretch, she wrote a lengthy mock-up/outline. However, she had another project in planning, a non-fiction work which I think was to be called "Ayn Rand and the People Who Knew Her," or something like that. Her agent advised her to do the non-fiction work first.

I feared on hearing this, since I thought, the Bard's words coming to the occasion, "There is a tide...."

Ellen

Since Barbara won't get back to writing "[the] novel which I thought sounded like THE novel which was her personal song," I'll tell the title. I thought it was so perfect for Barbara to write:

One True Chord

Ellen

Ellen,

Did Barbara send you the outline? Or a description?

It would be lovely if you could find it and post it.

Michael

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The title of her unpublished novel was Price No Object.

Brant,

I've gotta brag a little on this one:

Many years ago, I wrote a novel called “Price No Object.” It’s theme was loyalty to values, a trait exemplified by the heroine of the novel who continued to fight for her values no matter what price she had to pay, no matter what the odds against her. For her, price was no object. The novel could have been dedicated to Michael Kelly.

That is from Who is Michael Stuart Kelly? that Barbara wrote here on OL.

Dayaamm!

Only now did I get the "Who is John Galt" reference.

Man am I thick...

:smile:

Michael

That's a good match up with content.

--Brant

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Re #18

She felt, simultaneously, that Hank Rearden’s presence in this valley was impossible—and that this was his place, peculiarly his, this was the place of his youth, of his start, and, together, the place he had been seeking all his life, the land he had struggled to reach, the goal of his tortured battle. . . . It seemed to her that the spirals of flame-tinged fog were drawing time into an odd circle—and while a dim thought went floating through her mind like the streamer of an unfollowed sentence: To hold an unchanging youth is to reach, at the end, the vision with which one started—she heard the voice of a tramp in a diner, saying, “John Galt found the fountain of youth which he wanted to bring down to men. Only he never came back . . . because he found that it couldn’t be brought down.” (AS 724)

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