tapla wrote: Maggie - If you're still around .......
Your plant looks like it does because it was grown for a LONG time under extremely low light conditions, producing stems that were too weak to support their own weight. The stems collapsed and the higher humidity near the soil stimulated the adventitious roots (aerial roots) you see that have rooted in the soil. If you want to, you can leave the aerial roots in the soil & sever the stem just above the first major bend. Stick the severed end into the soil and you'll have a second plant. You can then prune the other stems/branches to correct the weak stems/branches if you like, or simply prune the main stem about 4" above the soil line & be done with it.
You can probably propagate this plant easily by taking 2-3" cuttings of the parts you remove. They don't need leaves on them. Just lay the stem 'chunks flat on top of moist soil and press them into the soil just so they are half covered (like a log half submerged in water). You can make a pretty foolproof propagation chamber from a plastic milk jug. Let me know if you need more help here.
The key to returning your plant to good vitality lies in your ability to provide very bright light and a suitable soil/nutritional program. July is the best month for any serious work, like major top reductions and/or root pruning/repotting.
The 'gritty mix' is a soil I developed that is 2/3 inorganic. It drains very fast & doesn't hold perched water when made correctly. This is a huge benefit to the grower, making it much easier to grow healthy plants with unspoiled foliage, and providing the grower with a much wider margin for error.
The best o/a advice is often hard to find. It doesn't come from most books on 'how to grow houseplants', or someone who read a book on houseplants, or someone who's been growing for a long time & is still doing things the same way he/she did 20 years ago. It will come from someone who understands plant physiology as well as the sciences associated with plant husbandry, and also those who can think on their feet - by that, I mean not necessarily repeating bits & pieces of plant 'lore' gleaned from various sources that may or may not be reliable. In my experience, when we take plant knowledge as a whole - I'm guessing that 90% of it applies to virtually all plants, and 10% of it is species specific. This means (to me) that someone who is truly expert at growing one particular type of plant will understand how all plants work, and probably has 90% of the knowledge needed to help you over the rough spots.