Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 28, 2010

The smoky purple asters are tall as I, the swamp hibiscus quite a bit taller. Spider fed and balled herself up under the porch roof to digest and keep out of the way of hungry birds.

Tried to paint, but my studio was flooded, so I came home and dug around in the garden. Weeds came up easy after the rain. Pulled out a running Virginia creeper root twelve feet long and thick as my thumb. The ground groaned with relief when it came out.

Off to Marion in a few minutes to lecture at the McDowell County Library on Hasidism and the Jewish novel, in preparation for a discussion on Chaim Potok. Preparation didn’t involve much scholarship, but it involved some, and each time I do scholarly research, however minimal, I remember that I liked it, and was good at it, and marvel that I let it go almost completely to the wayside. I’ll keep it for some unforeseeable season of calm in the future.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 27, 2010

What did I do yesterday? Wrote, wrote, wrote. Wrote nothing today, to balance the forces a little. Did finish up with the mortgage refinancing, which will benefit me in all sorts of astonishing ways. Why did I take so long? Because I never think what works for others will work for me. The value estimate on the property is wonderfully fanciful. Autumnal day, some rain, evening light now domed with spectacular clouds. Refilled the hummingbird feeders for the last time this year, to stoke them on their way to the rainforests. Transplanted acanthus into the light just in time for the rain to fall upon them. In my latest book I am writing the history of Asheville, as it would have been had we all been who we were supposed to be. Blessing my spider when I see her against the light.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 25, 2010

Rain, not generous, but sufficient, as much as I would have sprayed on with a hose, anyway, and more generally distributed.

Trying to get ready for my trip, the effort multiplied by the fact that Matthew will be here remodeling the bathroom while I’m gone. I cleaned out the bathroom cabinets so they could be moved out of the way, and found a jar of Noxzema from when I lived in Syracuse. It had separated into a pool of white liquid lying amid rounded white mountains. Cold cream from the same time (I was doing a lot of theater) was dry and cracked as a white desert. Found a vial of musk scent I bought in New Orleans in 1981. Kept it: still potent. The shelves were lined with newspaper from May 3, 1992. I will have students in the spring younger than my former shelf paper.

Rose when the sky was just paling and stood on the porch. A big spider was weaving, seemingly midair, suspended from the porch roof, only her silhouette visible. She was graceful, purposeful, concentrated on a complicated task I couldn’t do given a year of tries. The Lord blessed her again and again in the skill of her movements. I saw her again a few minutes ago. She’s big, fat, her two back legs striped black and muddy yellow, her six front legs striped red and black. I sense something from her, a presence, an intention unlike my own, but not fully unintelligible.

Strange revelation in the midst of the day: God created man to be His teachers. Our duty is not to obey God, but to teach him. We are the one mind in the world not His own, and He watches us, listens to us, to find out what He has done.
September 24, 2010

Preparing Potok’s The Chosen for a lecture at the public library in Marion. At one point Reuven’s father says that every man has two duties, to find a teacher and to find a friend, and the definition of friends is one soul in two bodies. I have fulfilled neither duty. One is my fault, the other isn’t.

Watched Wyler’s The Heiress with Olivia de Haviland, Ralph Richardson, and Montgomery Clift. Great movie– smart script, brilliant, natural performances. Clift is so beautiful you know the film wanted to go on fire around him. The person Richmond looks like that I could never quite think of is Montgomery Clift. I was thinking, though, if money is what one has to offer, what’s wrong with being desired for it? It’s longer lasting than beauty, and I don’t see how it is any more superficial than wit or charm. What does it mean to be loved “for yourself alone”? How many people would love whom they love if their appearance were entirely different? The lucky few love soul to soul, but the rest of us are attracted to some particular thing, and the attraction would be different if that thing were different. How is marrying for money worse than marrying for any number of other imperfect reasons? I do see the difference, though, now that I’ve talked myself into it: it is possible to love the money and not the person, though I suppose not possible to love the beauty or the wit and not the person possessing it. Everyone in the film, in Washington Square, in most of James’s work is pretty ghastly on a moral level. How can one trust someone who expects so little?

All conversations about love are pure speculation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 22, 2010

Autumn equinox. Almost unimaginable clarity of moonlight. Nothing else is quite so clear.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Republican Party

Elections loom, and even in a non-Presidential year like this, even for a man who does not have TV service, the hype is omnipresent. I’ve long thought that a moral person could not vote Republican. The irony of this is that Republican candidates so often picture themselves taking the moral high ground, when in fact they are but riding those tireless steads Fear and Prejudice. I do need to moderate that a little and say now that a conscious moral person cannot vote Republican. If asked to name the signal difference between parties, I would say that the Democratic Party–though it has its share of deceivers and spinners– pays homage in its policies to truth and reason. Democrats are embarrassed to be caught in a lie, and, in general, attest publically that some things are true and other things are false. Republicans–those the knowledge of whom comes to me, anyway– are not interested in truth or fact at all. Facts are a sort bludgeon wielded by elitists against red-blooded Americans who want to hear that their red-bloodedness is proof against error. They will boldly declare what they know to be untrue, as if saying X with enough vehemence, or enough repetition, makes X the truth. As if they were little gods, spinning worlds out of malice and wishful thinking. They create a fellowship of people who believe a ludicrous thing, and then interpret the critique of that ludicrous thing as an elitist counter-attack against saints and crusaders.

The Republican Party does not serve those who wish to identify problems in the real world and solve them; it is the party of mystic identity, the party of people who do not respond to data or reason, but rather to catch-phrases and which seem to place them in a group to which they long to belong– red-blooded Americans, patriots, Christians. salt-of-the-earth. Republican stump speeches contain few references to any real issue. If they do, the qualities of the issue are not discussed, but rather the supposed character of those who support or oppose it. Their entire substance is demagoguery centered on threats which do not exist, opinions attributed to people who do not have them, invisible warfare between the saints and the damned.

That Sarah Palin has not said a true thing once in her public life does not seem to diminish her popularity. That she does not have one recognizable conviction is less of the moment than her ability to create a momentary tribe for her listeners to belong to, beleaguered and at war with other tribes which also do not really exist. People who tell the truth in correction to her lies are called liars, and people who do not fall for her phantasmagoric rhetoric “just don’t get it.” If I walked up to her and said “You ignorant hick,” she would not even take it as an insult, for she is the empress of ignorant hicks, and cunning enough to glory in it. She is the goddess Dullness evoked at the end of Pope’s “Dunciad,” snuffing out the world not in violence but in inanition. Having devoted my life (successfully or not) to the getting of wisdom, I am baffled by people who run from truth as though it were a kind of temptation, who vote neither with their hearts nor their minds, but with the raw, mindless fury of dogs fighting in a pit for the last bone.
September 21, 2010

Supper at the K's. I had dreaded it because it meant an interruption in an outpouring of creative energy unique in my life, every second of which I treasure and every interruption of which I grudge. But I went, and heard about their hobbies and their collections and their experiences, and I’m glad I did, for it was humanizing, and slowed the rush of my mind. I did puzzle why I was there. They did all the talking, and they already knew what they were going to say. The urge to share, I guess, to include me in their lives. I find myself unexpectedly grateful. Who knew there was such a thing as buttermilk pie?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 20, 2010

Quite hot, but also quite dry, so the effect was comfort rather than misery. The garden holds. The morning glories are an undulating carpet of blue. They want to climb, but I have made them spread, and they spread happily enough.

Gombert on the CD. Parsifal is on my truck CD player, and, believe me, there is a dissonance–a delicious one, it turns out–between Wagner and pick-up.

I am out of the social loop at the studio. It would probably take up too much energy to be in it, but still I feel a twinge of regret. Henry the dog appears to a chorus of “Oh, Henry! You’re back!!!” and as many hugs as the dog will endure. I enter to a terse. “Hi.” Henry is cuter, after all.

Harassed by a student who earned an F in my class, but was given a C in an act of mercy, but who now complains that she was ill-treated. Perhaps she is simply mischievous, but my guess is that she sincerely misreads the situation, to a degree bordering on the insane. I take it as a cautionary exhibit, though, remembering all the times I cried out fiercely when I was wholly in the wrong. I was not obliterated; neither shall she be. What gives us our sense of self-worth? Upon what do we base our estimations of what we have earned and what we deserve? On the other hand, because one perspective prevails it doesn’t mean it was right, merely that it won. Nights have passed with me outlining, with equal measures of fury and reason, the ways in which God was wrong and I was right. I might maintain that, even in the coolness of this hour, the fact nothing changed does not mean I was wrong, only weak.

Would I have my way in my life rather than God’s? Oh yes. Oh, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Extend the yeses to the end of the page, to the end of all pages. I would agree this is an indication that I have many lives to live, and my soul has just started on its journey. Considering that, the answer is still yes. . . yes. . . yes. .

Jupiter unfathomably bright–as though the moon and he were the only things in the sky.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 19, 2010

Quiet Sunday evening. Spent the weekend at Lake Logan, at choir retreat. I normally hate that activity, for reasons too subterranean and complicated for me fully to understand, but I did not hate it this time. Met the new couple, Marie and Russell, both such gusts of fresh air that they alone may have levitated the weekend. Stayed up late and gossiped, which though an uneven and uncontrolled activity, includes moments of great satisfaction. The next day is a waste, but perhaps it is worth it. I realize that I have no small talk. I’ve mastered ribald blasphemy, and high discourse on art and philosophy, but nothing much in between. I can listen. Most of the people gathered in our cabin for drinks could talk about what they sang in choir in previous years with a recall and enthusiasm which left me baffled. I have been singing in choirs–well, longer than the rest of them have been alive-- and yet it never occurred to me to bring it up in conversation. I not only have no small talk, I rarely feel empowered to offer a purely personal anecdote not tied to illustrating some principle or other. The weather was perfect, the lake, which ended under our balcony, preternaturally still.
September 16, 2010

Quiet night. I feel like the only person in the world. In the studio I made a version of Yeats’ The Singing Horseman from memory. It was much more detailed than the original, and much less effective. I will try again tomorrow and see if I can get the balance of the evocative and the abstract right.

I watered the garden in the evening. As I watered, the moonflower was in bud. I went around and turned the water off, and when I returned, the bud had blossomed. It was waiting for me to turn my back.

Listening to Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in the truck Very, very clever, and the performers are perfect– Zeta-Jones, Lansbury, et al. What bothers me about it? The same thing that bothers me about intellectual jazz– exclusiveness, the too-public assertion of a private event. Like hearing the conversation of one’s betters from a distant room. One admires Sondheim, but does the work want us to like it? Does it allow us to like it? I’ve sat through Into the Woods five times, and each time admired something it, but, though I enjoyed individual performances, I never enjoyed the work. I don’t think I was meant to. Sondheim enjoys it, and that is supposed to be enough for us all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Buying the Farm

September 14, 2010

I caught tonight’s moonflower blossom at evening, before full night came on. The center is a five-ribbed swirl of gold-green, like a star whirling its arms in a white heaven.

Tom came with me to see a farm on East Fork Road near Mars Hill. The drive there was beautiful, but the property itself was not. The good features are a wide creek and an open field, part of it depressed enough for a pond and wetlands. The bad features are everything else. The western end of it is about five acres of steep kudzu thickets, which climb the trees that form the border between it and the next property. The realtor suggested that a few goats would make short work of the kudzu, and fertilize the ground as well. Unless I lost count, six double-wide trailers sit rusting away on the property, hauled there to serve as vacation cabins, a purpose they apparently never served. There is a school bus, several derelict vehicles of other description, and a family graveyard. The house itself is a couple of double-wides jammed together. The fact that it has a real foundation, of sorts, seemed to the realtor to make a difference. The present owner lay on the couch with a bad back. His rather beautiful mistress tried to hide in a bedroom, but, caught, came out and smiled at us through the tour. There is gap-toothed tobacco barn, which would be an excellent feature were it in better repair. The barn is filled with mowers and tractors and materials for the house the present owner means to build himself in Tennessee. There is big garage, an open shed, and several more or less permanent outbuildings, all of which are rotting and crammed full of exactly the junk a Hollywood set designer would choose for such a scene. The family is evidently acquisitive to an extreme degree, and slovenly to an equal one. The realtor says the owner will haul everything away I want hauled away, but that sounds to me a covenant promising to be an epic and endless quarrel. Finally, the road goes directly through the center of the property–little used, as the realtor pointed out, but a road nevertheless. I hated this property in particular, but moreover had second thoughts about the whole enterprise. How will I deal with large-scale mowing, septic tanks, well water? As I search, I will face an expanding universe of rusting double-wides and complicated rights-of-way and sheds full of yard sale treasures. Can I plant the gardens I want amid the kingdom of the deer? What I wanted was the life I have now, but on more property. Second thoughts about everything: the trip to Madison County was time well spent.
September 13, 2010

Received an email about a business exposition being held at the Gramercy Mansion, 1400 Greenspring Valley Road in Stevenson, Maryland. I used to live there, when it was Koinonia. It’s the most amazing thing. Glad it’s still in use.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 12, 2010

Vivid dream before waking. We were at “The World’s Fair” in Jacksonville, Florida. The Fair consisted of a series of ascending passages that were each a sort of ride, a cascading waterfall, or a staircase that kept you from going where you wanted to go, or a spooky dark passage that twisted you around. We kept getting lost or losing one of our company, and some of the “rides” were actually perilous. I received a phone call from Denny, who said he was just hours from my home on a visit, so I was suddenly desperate to get out of the maze and hurry home. It was, predictably, very hard to find an exit, but we did, and drove up a road on the side of the mountain, looking back on the “fair,” which was gaudy, but, beside the mountain and under the roof of stars, ridiculous. This dream is related to the recurring dream I had years ago about getting lost in the mazes of the Goodyear Factories– which are all pretty much parking lot and open air now– and easy to interpret. I’m in the labyrinth. Last night suggested there are plenty of ways out short of through, and getting through may be an honor only in the context of the fun house itself.

A passage stood out from the familiar haze of church this morning. The bishop of Durgapore, our visiting preacher (who otherwise was almost unintelligible to me), said at one point, “Christ has come to give good news to the poor.” I’ve long thought that Christianity was kidnaped near its birth by those who wanted it to be a religion of sin and sadness and remorse, of hierarchy and authority, when it was meant to be none of those things. It lied and said Christ’s gift was the Cross, when in fact it was the Stone rolled away from the tomb at morning. Not the thorn, but the rose. The Cross was a historical, legal accident, which distracted them from the true message of justice and humanity. It was a door that could be closed, a lock that could be locked, a gift that could be withheld, and so it was. Likewise, I began to think this morning that the rich robbed Christ from the poor, to whom he came, that Christianity was always meant to be poor, outside, unestablished, an alternative the power-base. When it became all those things it shouldn’t be, rich, inside, established, the seat or near the seat of power, we got a whole lot of great art, but spiritual catastrophe. Far from arbitrating matters of state and morals, the church should have no opinion at all, but merely serve.

Crickety night, extraordinarily dark for some reason. My sister and I talk on the phone, largely about what we will do when we’re too feeble to take care of ourselves. She promises to help me over the bridge rail if I’m too far gone to make it myself.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 11, 2010

Read Don Bernard in the NC Stage version of The Double Falsehood. This makes me, I would imagine, the world’s veteran in that role. At a third hearing the play is almost making sense, and both funnier and slyer than I had thought. CA’s tight-jawed dramatic intensity in a role such as Julio is beyond perfect– it is culmination and send-up in one instant.

Watched the Irving Berlin vehicle On the Avenue last night. The need for a way to make a musical without too much affront to reality required many old Hollywood musicals to be set backstage of a Broadway show, where bursting into song would be topical, if not exactly plausible. Was Broadway really like that? A bunch of lavish, silly reviews strung together only by the personality of the stars? If so, we have advanced, a little, and I will moderate my lamentation about the decline of theater in these latter days. I found the Broadway excerpts trying, but the movie itself actually sort of engaging. Stepin Fechit was in it, and he was deadly funny, though there is little indication that the people on stage with him got it– or else they were masters of the straight face. The guy who gave the DVD commentary knew every bit player and each one of the 200 movies they had been in. It was sweet, somehow, for everyone to be lovingly remembered.

Everyone expects something to be blown up today. I don't. I feel we are done with that version of the world.
September 10, 2010

Wandering the garden in the darkish cool of the morning. It is more colorful than it ever was, for all the apres-drought desolation– the 4 o’clock’s, which I remember from old times at my grandma’s house as magenta, now come in all colors, mingling with sky-blue and purple and magenta morning glories. Scarlet swamp hibiscus rides above it all, and the roses, which I have kept vital with copious watering, bloom yellow and red and white and red-and-white, all bordered by dusty pink clouds of sedum. Dug some today, planted some today, put bulbs in the fridge against a paramount planting day in autumn.

Meeting with the money people about this summer abroad. What I love about the processes surrounding money is the precision of it all. People assume I mention that as a contrast to the processes of poetry, but I mean it rather as a parallel, for good poetry is just as precise and specific as honest bookkeeping. There’s quite a bit of fudging, too– which I will translate as “faith.” So long as the spaces are filled in, it seems not to matter that the numbers in the spaces are–necessarily at this point–pretty much made up. Paying homage to the process, winking at the materials. I ask questions like a five year old. It must irritate the hell out of them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Woodfin's Finest, etc

September 9, 2010

Had coffee with Tom, then for reasons not yet clear to me, I attacked the garden. I dug up the huge flag stones from under the turf and reset them as a front walk. The work was exhausting. Afterwards I found myself at the studio, painting, without a false step. So though it was not the day a planned for myself, it was a day of accomplishment.

Lifted one of the great flat stones, and under it was a whole ant kingdom, babies and workers and, once the light broke upon them, mayhem. I was sorry I had done it, but by then there was no way back and I went ahead and moved the rock. Maybe they regrouped under it in its new location. I don’t think have ever disturbed so many souls at one time.

Driving back from the studio, on the steep hill that leads from River Road to Lakeshore, I saw four Woodfin police cruisers, two on each side of the street, their lights flashing. I shuffled through possible scenarios, and decided there had been some crime, and the best thing I could do was sail on without rubbernecking. Wrong. The first cop shouted at me “Stop!” and the second one scolded me because when you see cops, you’re supposed to stop unless they signal you on, says he. It was true no one had signaled me on, but had stood staring at me with their shaved heads and their very cool sunglasses. “We want to make sure you’re paying attention!” the shaved head cute one said. It was everything I could do not to laugh out loud. A paying attention road block? Only in Woodfin. They were all very gruff and macho and almost bent double with posturing. Someone should tell these boys that extorting respect never has desired the effect. He handed me my license and I said, “Am I finished?” He nearly jumped into the truck. WHAT DID YOU SAY????
“Am I finished?”
“Oh. . . yes. . . you’re finished.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 7, 2010

The doctor warned me that the gout medicine would affect the digestive tract, and so it does.

Dry, dry, dry. I stand with hose aimed at withering flowers, and they drink it in for as long as I can stand there, and they are still not satisfied. None of the hurricanes had steam enough to reach this far into the mountains.

Bought passage to London for the end of this month. I am excited. I am excited about seeing Steve. I am excited about being able to squat down at leisure in London and penetrate past the main avenues. I want to have a favorite pub. I want to sit in a park until a Peeler moves me on.

Writing at a pace I have never experienced before. It’s prose now, new stories pouring out of me, the latest my first serious attempt at writing about Asheville. The pages I have so far are going to irritate some people, but we are all threads being woven into somebody’s fabric. The bugbear of this activity is that the proportion of typos has skyrocketed along with the mass of print. In one sentence there can be three or four. I spend 1/3 of my time hunting and correcting them, and I’m sure they’re still not all found. Speed may be a factor, but my own explanation is that a demon possesses the keyboard and strikes the wrong key when I strike the right one, strikes two when I strike one.

Painting, too. Painting insects this week, whatever that might mean. Gave keys to the studio to Matthew the Barista, because he despairs of finding a quiet place to write. I told him I am almost never there at night.

Dream last night of a machine– well, so preposterous, so unlike me that it but confirms my suspicion that our subconscious imagination is not merely unknown to our conscious, but totally, bewilderingly unlike it. We are two totally different people, at least. My conscious scrutiny must explore and reason out my unconscious as though it were a distant planet. Luckily, these two selves enjoy each other.

Reading two books. One is by Patti Smith, in which she reveals how she falls in with Robert Mapplethorpe, Janis Joplin, Jim Carroll, Sam Shepherd, and the like by pretty much sitting on her stoop and letting them trip over her. The other is The Eternal Lover by Edgar Rice Burroughs, in which a stone age warrior gets imprisoned in a cave during an earthquake and wakes after another earthquake, not only in Tarzan’s back yard, but within sniffing distance of his former girlfriend, like him miraculously transported through time. I have to say that these two works are equally fantastic to me. Fictions of equal remoteness. I have never happened upon anyone famous who had an instant desire to do me good. Doing so is, in my reality, no less preposterous than sleeping half a million years in a cave and waking in my girlfriend’s arms.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 4, 2010

Sleepless last night, because of the throbbing toe. Of all the asinine afflictions–and yet pettiness does not decrease the agony. No position is comfortable, or endurable; the nerves do not weary and go to sleep; no moment is free of pain as the central element of consciousness. Had to keep the cats out of the bedroom lest one of them touch me. Angry now, looking around for someone to give a piece of my mind. The toe does not respond, other than to burn and throb, burn and throb. An under-noted phenomenon of pain is that it can be both agonizing and boring. After six hours of writhing in the dark, one thinks, “all right, let’s get on to something else.”

Hobbled to MAHEC, where the adolescent freckly doctor loaded me up with drugs and sympathy. What impressed me was that I stagger in with some (I suppose) obscure ailment, and the intern knows everything about it and the treatment of it. Did he rush to the Internet and look it up before he came to the room, or do they really carry all that stuff around n their heads? He gave me vicodin for the pain. I never had vicodin before. It is like being emulsified, like being made into a marshmallow. Doesn’t really kill the pain, but makes it feel like it’s several rooms away and not really an issue.

Last night’s reading of The Double Falsehood last night was not, I think, much of a success, though there were laughs, some of them arising from the readers’ haste to get the lines out and be done. After reading it once and hearing it once, I couldn’t tell you the exact plot. At the end there is a blizzard of reconciliation, a veritable white-out of troth and repentance. John Russell think ours might be the American premiere. It has not rained in two weeks, and will not rain for two weeks after, but as we sat in the Montford amphitheater reading our play to twenty or thirty people, down came rain, briefly. I sat there in wonderment, growing slowly sodden, watching the script disintegrate before me.

Evening: Tonight’s reading of The Double Falsehood was disturbing to me, because it as worse than last night’s, and it shouldn’t have been. Leonora was so bad that I don’t see how anybody could recollect anything but her halting, floundering, figuring it out, going back and trying it again, meanwhile annihilating any sense that the passage might have had or any pleasure the audience might have been taking. Reminded me of that woman who single-handedly destroyed Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers for me in Valdez by fluffing every single line. The readers got giddy, chattering and laughing among themselves, camping the performance once they despaired of doing it straight. The message they broadcast was “this is ART and we’re just folks, and isn’t it cute that we’re making the effort, however half-assed, and wouldn’t it be a little suspicious, a little anti-democratic if we were actually trying to do well?” I was embarrassed to be there.

Theobald’s play, however, seemed better to me, as though it were successfully sending up antique heroics, rather than unsuccessfully aspiring to them.

Progress in the foot department was evidenced by the fact that, coming home from Montford Park, I could brake the car without whimpering in pain.

Dream: I’m riding my bike down a path in the forest, when I meet three women, also on bikes. The women attack me. I consider if I can fight them all, and decide I can’t, so I flee to the top of a tall tower. Still on my bike, I wait for them on the landing of the tower stair. When they attack me there, I pick them up one by one and throw them over the balustrade onto the floor many feet below. I had thrown their leader first, and I realize the other two will probably go away and leave me alone, but I throw them too.

Steve calls me “the librarian of the universe.”
September 3, 2010

I look back on the Erebus that was my dwelling at the beginning of the week. I raged in fury. God did not take away the causes of the fury, but he did take away the fury, which turns out to be good enough.

Gout, that most distracting and attention-stealing of afflictions. I did manage to paint today, and to make discoveries while I did, and I think I’ll be able to fulfill my duties at Montford Park, though the pain has rather increased since this morning. Stepped in a hole while I was watering the garden, and bent the toe back, and I thought I would pass out.

Theobald’s Prologue to The Double Falsehood returns to the trope of Shakespeare as the wild garden, which the Eighteenth Century can aid with a little formality, a little organization. When our century looks back, I think it tries to assert a reconciliation with meaninglessness, the lack of which renders the work of the past a little naive: Shakespeare and Shelley gaping at the pretty church windows, believing the stories .

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 2, 2010

The salesman at the Toyota dealership was amazed at the interest rate I got, and said I must have the best credit in the world. This leads me to think it’s time to look for the homestead, for the HOME that I didn’t think I could look for until the finances were ready.

Best birthday since 21, I think, when I was on a boat on Long Island Sound with George and Denny. There was that one in Sligo– but still, I had a wonderful day. Painted this morning. Took pieces to be framed, and the frame lady, seeing how I had painted one the pieces on scrap matte board, gave me a stack of matte board in various sizes and colors. Can’t wait to get them to the studio.

Heaven blue morning glory and white angels’ trumpets mingle on the terrace.

Happy Birthday

September 1, 2010

Radiant summer/fall day–radiance of fall, heat of summer. The magic of Facebook allowed me to receive nearly 100 birthday greetings. I’m just enough of a twelve-year-old for that to be a delight to me.

The angels at Over Easy did restore my phone to me. I bless them. If I ate breakfast, I would have, there, for their sake. I will direct all breakfast eaters to them from now on.

I got myself a birthday present. While I was having my inspection done at Jim Barkley Toyota, I eyed a cobalt blue Ford Ranger pick-up on the lot. It stayed in mind. This morning I gathered myself and went down and bought it. I suppose this is my mid-life crisis vehicle, and if so I am lucky, for among mid-life crisis purchases it is both small and useful.
August 31, 2010

Lovely pre-birthday get-together last night at the Usual. I think DJ and maybe Leland organized it, but it was merry and bursting at the seams with my favorite people. Gossip. Ice cream cake. Terry gave me a platinum photo of Wolfe’s angel; Richmond, a gorgeous diary. Bullet made a drawing of me riding on a swan, or doing something to a swan. There was a haul of rude and/or lascivious cards.

Tried to get my license plates renewed. First time thwarted because the car hadn’t been inspected. Got it inspected. Had to tear myself with main force away from buying a pickup truck. Second time thwarted because, as I was standing sixteen or twenty back in the line at the DMV, the printers went out, not only in Asheville, but across the state. It was 10 AM. The big lady behind the desk said, “We’re done for the day.” Renewed online, finally, skeptical every stroke of the keys that it was going to work. Took my dead lamp to get it fixed. It was fine; each of the three light bulbs I had tested in it had been defective. Lost my cell phone while downtown. Spent hours retracing my steps, making phone calls. Got an email from Kyle that the people at Over Easy restaurant had found it, and called one of the numbers in it, his. Over Easy had no phone listening, so I drove downtown, again, to retrieve it. Over Easy is a breakfast joint and was, of course, closed.

Beat my distance running record at the Y this morning. Anger helped, for I aimed a mantra of opposition at heaven the whole while my feet beat on the machine.
August 30, 2010

Reading The Double Falsehood online in preparation for performing it at Montford and at NC Stage. I have no reason to doubt the story that it was adapted from unfinished manuscripts by Fletcher and Shakespeare. The verse is hackneyed but the prose has some life in it. I am to portray Don Bernard, and to the point I’ve read I have the most of the jokes. An indulgent father, again. I missed the role in real life.

Got a tour of the Masonic Lodge downtown, which is now going to rent its facilities out, largely for theater. Its interior mysteries seem rather boyish, though no less charming for that. The theater has forty exquisite painted backdrops, all portraying some Masonic allegory (Egypt, Solomon’s Temple, the Gates of Paradise, etc), but which may be adaptable to other things, or simply beautiful to look at even if nothing to do with the action onstage. There’s the old fashioned light board where you have to stand on a box and physically pull the handles to dim or brighten the lights. Hazel liked that a lot. She said, “That’s the kind I learned on at Chapel Hill.” All very dusty and frayed.

Lord Krishna’s birthday.