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WORDS AND IMAGES : Artie Shaw: Author : The well-known jazz musician hasn't performed for years; instead, at 82, he's in the midst of writing a novel.

August 13, 1992|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The muse has you in thrall. You want to make music or write stories.

Well, Artie Shaw, the wildly successful jazz clarinetist, bandleader and published author, has some thoughts on the process. The world according to Shaw is to be lived in on your terms.

"Stop listening to everyone else. Any success I've enjoyed has been in spite of good advice," he says. By his own admission, he's left his music career far behind: He says he hasn't even picked up his clarinet in almost 40 years. He does not reminisce about the show biz years, or any of the eight wives, including Ava Gardner, Evelyn Keyes, Lana Turner and Kathleen Windsor.

If you want to know about that Artie Shaw, read his autobiography, "The Trouble with Cinderella," first published in 1952 and reissued just weeks ago by Fithian Press of Santa Barbara.

This Artie Shaw at 82 reads and thinks and writes here in the county of Ventura. And rewrites. He is working on a novel tentatively titled "The Education of Albie Snow" and says he has rewritten some chapters as many as 30 times. The story begins in 1927 when Snow, a jazz musician, is 15, and will cover the years up to 1975.

Shaw on the process: "Writing to make money or worrying about publication is a lunatic activity. Write because you have to write. And read. Life has to be examined. Believe in means, not the ends. An editor will not see this novel until it's finished. I know the manuscript is too long and I'm squeezing the water out of it right now, page by page."

Artie Shaw does not watch television.

"I'm tired of being sold to."

He reads the New Yorker, Newsweek and Harpers magazines to keep up with current events. Shaw's book of short stories, "The Best of Intentions," was published in 1989 by John Daniel and Company.

Jacques Tati's Academy Award-winning comedy "Mon Oncle" will be shown Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road. The 1968 film is in color with English subtitles. Refreshments will be served during a discussion period after the screening. A $2 donation is suggested.

"Stella Dallas," that wonderful old three-hankie movie about a foolish and ultimately sacrificing mother will be shown at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura, Sunday at 8 p.m. The National Park Service and the Silent Film Society of Hollywood Heritage hosts the Silents Under the Stars event each summer. The film and some short subjects will be screened in the pavilion, an open-sided structure built more than 60 years ago by Paramount Studios to house large props. Visitors are encouraged to come early, picnic and explore the recreation area. Tickets are $6. Call the Visitor Center at (818) 597-9192.

Slip the youngsters into pajamas and bring them to Pajama Storytime Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Prueter Library, 510 Park Ave., Port Hueneme. Three- to 6-year-olds are also welcome at story time Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the library. Details at 486-5460.

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