Margo T. Krasne, a young actress wannabe, had been invited by a friend to see the new Elaine May and Mike Nichols Broadway show. They had great seats. Nichols seemed to notice their raucous laughs during the performance and at the curtain motioned them to come backstage. Next thing they knew, they were pinching themselves as they sat at a table at Sardi’s with the famed director.
Then what happened defies logic – and explanation. As Krasne describes it in her memoir, I Was There All Along (Simply Good Press): “Then, out of nowhere, Nichols turned on me. ‘You think you’re an actress? You’re nothing but some rich Jewish kid who thinks she can make it in the theater. Bet you can’t act at all.’ Nichols kept going at me until his venom was used up.”
Could this all be from a simple decision to wear a mink coat to the performance?
Anecdotes like these help explain Krasne’s lifelong obsession with therapy in search of how and why she constantly found herself: struggling to settle on a career in the arts, finding harmony with friends and family, brushing up with celebrities, seeking perhaps a special someone, and doing all she could merely to survive the last 50 years navigating life in New York.
Krasne begins her story in the fall of 1986 in a great opening diatribe reminiscent of a middle-aged version of Sex in the City: “I was turning 49. Exhausted. Depleted. About to lose my home. Where the hell had it gone? I was supposed to be a somebody. I’d graduated from one of the best professional schools in the city—if not country. I’d run a department at a major advertising agency. Two of my sculptures were in a museum for Christ’s sake. And there I was—curled up in a chair staring out my window contemplating a leap.”
Readers learn about Krasne initially through the dialogue at her therapy appointments. She’ll discuss strained relationships with family members, the weird dynamics, her friends who come into and out of favor, her efforts to act, sculpt, sing, paint and perhaps live the Marjorie Morningstar life described in Herman Wouk’s classic novel.
In the course of her narrative, Krasne will come into contact with personalities such as Marta Graham, Sanford Meisner, David Susskind, Ira Levin, Phil Ramone and Suzanne Pleshette, to name a few – all in totally different contexts.
Since BookTrib originally reviewed this novel, we had the chance to delve deeper into Krasne’s life and her story in this Q&A:
Q: How does one go from being so successful in a variety of artistic endeavors to being at the peak of depression?
A: I never saw myself as being successful. Just as I never saw myself as attractive. If one is brought up to believe one is not good enough, there’s a point where aspiration crashes and you hit the skids.
Q: The book takes a very granular look at your therapy sessions. Why was it so important to delve deeply into that aspect of your story?
A: It was important to me on so many levels. First, I wanted to share that one can survive and thrive after taking a harsh mirror to oneself. I had a most unconventional therapist who did not abide by boundaries. Yet, she saved my life allowing me to start over and find what I had always searched for: an inner core.
Q: For the average person, rubbing elbows with all the famous people you encountered would be thrilling. Did you feel the same way?
A: Yes and no. I idolized Martha Graham. I detested David Susskind and felt the same way about Mike Nichols. My father was in awe of famous people while my mother would say, “They put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us.” I found a place in the center.
Q: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about yourself in writing the book?
A: That I have tremendous perseverance. I wrote three different versions of the book until I “got it right” so to speak. I always had the sense that no matter how far down I went, I would get up. But realizing this in the moment and seeing it over a lifetime drives it home.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?
A: Mainly I wanted to share the crazy roller coaster ride of a life I’ve had. And if readers can find aspects of themselves in it, learn from it, or simply just enjoy the ride, how wonderful.
Follow the world and life of Margo Krasne in her memoir, I Was There All Along, currently available for purchase.
Visit Margo’s Author Profile page in BookTrib’s Author Discovery Zone.
About Margo T Krasne:
Margo Krasne, a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, has lived many lives—often simultaneously. Trained as an actress under Sanford Meisner, she left the theater for the ad world, created the radio department at Doyle Dane Bernbach in the 1960s. Her hands in clay from early days, she went from advertising to sculpting full time until, in her fifties, she reinvented herself once again becoming a highly successful communications coach. She is also the author of Say it With Confidence and Appearances.