ABILITY’s Geri Jewell and David Zimmerman continue their interview with songwriter Marsha Malamet in her quaint bungalow in Hollywood, CA.
Malamet: I believe we come back time and time again, and have hundreds of past lives.
Jewell: Do you believe that we connect with the same people we connected with before?
Malamet: Absolutely. We come in, and we have groups. We travel in groups. We’re always changing roles. Let’s say if Nancy is my caregiver now, and I’m the patient, maybe in another life I was the caregiver and Nancy was the patient, so we experience the other’s perspective, and work out some issues we continually have, lifetime after lifetime, until we finally resolve it and it ends.
Zimmerman: I feel like that’s why when we met, we connected. That’s why when you and Geri connected; we all felt a bond.
Jewell: It’s amazing.
Malamet: Yes! All right, you have to indulge me here.
Zimmerman: Indulge, indulge! (laughs)
Malamet: So, we have lifetime after lifetime to perfect and evolve, but what happens between the times of each incarnation? We plan, we choose certain things to experience, and people are at the top of the list. Who knows? Maybe we all chose this time, this place, to share, to experience one another. And now it gets fun. Maybe we wrote this in our life script to have this interview now, for this particular magazine, so we would help and inspire people.
There’s a guy named Robert Schwartz who wrote a book called Courageous Souls. I would suggest you read it. It’s about the notion that we plan our life challenges before birth. We have to be courageous to even choose to come back to this earth, because it’s not very pleasant, especially now. We all our warriors in some sense, and I believe we are all looking to heal, whether we know it or not.
Jewell: We’re spiritual warriors.
Malamet: Right. If we do decide to come in, we have consults with our spirit guides and our angels and we write up an overview, like a PowerPoint of our life. Of course, there’s free will and there’s things that happen, but basically we created our lives.
Zimmerman: And then jumped in?
Malamet: We jumped in. “Aaaaah! Waaaah!”
Jewell: “Why did I agree to this?”
Malamet: Right! Exactly!
Zimmerman: I always say that when I popped my head out of the womb, I said, “Push me back in!”
Malamet: Well, hey, my mother was in labor 48 hours. Did she want to have a baby? I mean, I’m sure she did, but there was some fear involved. Anyway, so this is what we do. We create our lives on some level. So of course we connected because I wrote you into my script to be at this time and place, and that we were going to all be friendly. There’s an unconscious acknowledgment of the familiarity of it.
Zimmerman: And what’s making me tear up right now: We all have helped each other in the short time that the three of us have known one another.
Malamet: We’re basically on the same page. I want to help you, you want to help me. I want to be creative with you, you guys want to be creative with me.
Jewell: I have to tell you, that story you told early about The Garry Moore Show is really interesting because my idol wasn’t Barbra Streisand—sorry, Barbra!—it was Carol Burnett! Mom used to say, “I don’t know why you are obsessed with Carol Burnett! The only thing I can think of is that when I was pregnant with you, I watched The Garry Moore Show all the time; you must have heard it from in here!” So when you said that, I was like, “Garry Moore!”
Malamet: So look, we have another connection. By the way, Carol Burnett is a bloody genius.
Jewell and Zimmerman: Oh, yes!
Malamet: You hitched your wagon to a brilliant actress and comedian. She and Lucille Ball were it…period. They’re the queens and everyone else is below. It’s these people who inspire us. God knows what I would have written if I hadn’t heard Babs singing, “A Sleepin’ Bee,” and all her songs on that first record, which was so spellbinding. I walked around in a daze. My mother would say, “Marsha, time for lunch!” I didn’t eat. I wasn’t hungry. Barbra sang over those little speakers and I was transported into heaven.
Zimmerman: When I saw Streisand and Hoffman were to play the parents in Meet the Fockers, I said, “Listen, they must have a role for a cousin somewhere. They must have a wedding or a bar mitzvah or a bris! I’ve got to be in that movie!” And ultimately, I got to play Dom Focker. I was on the set for one day, and it was amazing and wonderful. When I see those little residual checks that say Meet the Fockers, I smile.
Malamet: You set your intention.
Zimmerman: Because I always thought, “I’m the love child of Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman.” (laughs) You have a connection to Dustin; tell us about it.
Malamet: Midnight Cowboy floored me. The pathos of his character, Ratso, made me weep. Dustin is our Jewish De Niro.
Jewell: Maybe 10 years ago, I was invited to a speech Dustin Hoffman gave at UCLA. I got a front-row seat because I’m hearing impaired. He spoke for two hours about his life and career. I just sat there like, “Oh, my God!” And then when it was over— and you can relate to this—my back pain was so severe I couldn’t get out of my seat. Everybody was getting up and shaking hands with him, and I was sitting there, trying to get up, but couldn’t. He pushed through all those people and came over to me and said, “Let me give you a hand.” He helped me up, and I had tears in my eyes.
Malamet: I love that! There’s a humanity about him. The reason why I also have a little affinity for him is that, in 1978, I was hanging out at Catch A Rising Star in New York where I performed.
Jewell: I performed there, too!
Malamet: A lot of us did. So he comes in. I was with friends. For half an hour, he tried to pick me up. He was schmoozing heavily. I thought his flirting was cute. Of course, I knew who he was. He didn’t know that I was gay. If I were straight, we would have gone to a hotel. After that I had a warm feeling for him. At least he had good taste. (laughs) He has this twinkle in his eye, and he’s such a brilliant actor. That’s sexy to me.
Zimmerman: On the set of The Fockers, when they called “cut,” I was in a haze because I had been so focused. And then I heard “playback” of the scene, caught a glimpse of myself, and heard muffled laughter. Somebody grabbed my hand and started shaking it hard. He said, “Good s—, man, good s—!” And I turned and it was Dustin Hoffman.
Zimmerman: And I said, “Thank you.” I was standing there like, “Okay, I can die happy now.” Such a mensch he is. You know, there was something I wanted to ask you. Tell me about the poem, “Again…”
Malamet: It’s something I’m proud of. I’m not a real lyricist per se, but when I get inspired it comes out. A couple of my records that are—shameless plug— on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, are songs that I wrote the lyrics to. For months I had the melody to that one written, and I wanted to set it with my own lyric. But the lyric wouldn’t come to me. I was sitting there and nothing. When that happens, I give it up and I let my higher self dictate what it is. And one night, one of the only times this ever happened, this lyric, this poem just came to me. I wrote it in an hour, which is amazing for me.
It was about how when you say goodbye to someone you love, and you want to be there but can’t, so you have to do something. You maybe have to go away for a day, a week, a month, the separation is so intense that in my mind, I think, “Oh, if I could just love her again, one more time.” That’s what inspired this lyric. It goes back to ancient times because love has no boundaries. So I think on some level I wrote this song for one of my past lives that was during Sappho, the Greeks, the Romans, whatever, that whole time in history. I really feel that… It translates into the old Celine Dion song from Titanic?
Zimmerman: “My Heart Will Go On.”
Malamet: That’s it. That’s why the song was such a megahit. This is true. Even if we pass, the love is there. It’s real. Because the only thing in life that’s real is love, not hatred and fear. The opposite of love is fear. And this planet is in a lot of fear now. But hold onto your hats, because it’s going to turn around.
Zimmerman: The yin and yang is going to balance out?
Malamet: This planet will balance out soon.
Zimmerman: It’s got to. I remember reading that you opened for Eartha Kitt. I loved her. ...
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