Tuesday, April 30, 2013
April 30, 2013
Finished classes for the semester with sort of a bang, I guess. R stomped into Readings in the Drama half an hour late on the last day of class, spent the next five minutes dropping things and loudly arranging herself; then five minutes before class was over slammed her book shut and began loudly gathering her things for an exit. This happens every class period. She is one of those people who make you ask yourself, “What do I do, of which I am wholly oblivious, that drives people wild?” As in a marriage, class and professor reach a point where they begin getting on each other’s nerves. I’m glad it was, for me, so late. M came late to poetry class and brought her infant daughter with her. I stopped myself from looking too directly, but I believed she nursed the child (a beautiful, happy child, it must be said) in class. People must not distinguish between levels of propriety anymore. At one point the baby was making such a din (not petulance, but happy baby playing sounds, however wrong for a classroom) that Merritt came in and took her for a while. M also produced the single most moving poem ever presented by an undergraduate in my class, so there it is.
I have willfully engineered today to be a day without particular duties, and I intend to rejoice in it.
Monday, April 29, 2013
April 29, 2013
Durufle Requiem yesterday afternoon. Rain fell hard, but the crowd was large, and the singing was, after all, fulfilling. Many people who had never been to rehearsal (all of them Joel’s Mars Hill students) appeared, so there was much fussing with seating, but I ended up in the best place–as far as seeing the conductor–I’d ever had. The Mars Hill boy beside me hadn’t brought his music, and replied when I asked if he needed to share mine, “Oh, I’m pretty confident with it,” and ended up singing maybe a tenth of the time. He was a “low bass” with nothing below a G. We discovered that we were both Eagle Scouts; all his male relatives back to God knows when had been as well, whereas I stood in lonely majesty. Charming, young, feckless. So far as I could tell, the singing was excellent, but what everyone will remember was that a college girl collapsed during the Sanctus and everything stopped for a considerable time while she was looked to and eventually hauled out. She was a very large girl, and the hauling out was no mean task. DJ said God had struck her down because she had been texting behind her music. In any event, I do not need to hear that piece again for a long time.
Mostly sleep the last few days, though I did sit in Edna's–where the music was, blessedly, off– and wrote, and the rain fell, and all was well.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
April 28, 2013
SJB announced that our Lincoln is Steven Hauck. I’m as ignorant of him as I am of nearly every other New York actor, but IMDB suggests he looks the part. I shouldn’t be watching Smash on the TV. I know enough to know it’s partially accurate, though I’ve not met the real crazies in the New York theater. Except for one savagely dishonest reviewer, everyone I’ve encountered so far has been, at the least, sane and humane. The attentive viewer will note that Bombshell must be a terrible, terrible show splendidly performed. And THAT is the diagnosis of Broadway theater at this point in time: impeccable staging and technique, deadly fear of material good enough to stand up to that technique, plus an abyssal terror of new work. Professionalism in every arena except the actual creation of the play, which–I take it back–may be professional enough without being very good. The “edgy” work on Smash is exactly the same as Bombshell, except the lights are dimmer and the dancers dance the same dances in a moody twilight and worse costumes.
16th and Curtis is in rehearsal. They also told me the names of their actors, which I’m happy to have, however little they mean to me at this point.
The sickness seems to have been some kind of flu. Was weak and achy yesterday, and slept most of the day when I wasn’t rehearsing or devouring a LAB repast after rehearsal. Rose very late today. I could see the walls and floor without turning on a light.
I’ve served under choral conductors almost continually since the 7th grade. I think they must have summer camps where they go to learn conductor-y things, for obsessions and techniques seem to go in waves. Somewhere, also, they learn not to tell the chorus what they actually want, but to make them do some trick or exercise that will lead them to what the conductor wants without their ever having to know what it was. Choral singing s not a very participatory art, at least on the cognitive levels. It’s all between the director and the composer. We are the instrument. We’re not expected to understand how we’re being used. I must not have minded too much, as I’ve been doing it forever.
Blessed long rain on my garden. The first white peony is in bloom, a sloppy snowball, country girl carelessly brought up, yet perfect in beauty.. I long for the poor dicentria to be in the ground, soaking up this rain with her sisters.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
April 27, 2013
Neighbors looking over the fence at my garden. Kelly says how beautiful she thinks it is. Quincey says, with great formality, “I think it is like something you would see in a fiction novel.”
Maud vomits on the THE GREATEST pillow that was my goddaughter’s first Christmas gift to me.
Last night brought the worst acid attack ever, and I don’t know what caused it, since I had eaten very little, and not late. Each time I began to fall asleep, I would vomit acid into my mouth. The acid would cause outrageous coughing, and the coughing would bring up more bile. In addition, my stomach and all my digestive system was rumbling and bubbling, and when I tried to expel what was causing that, out came only a flux of blood. Was up and down through the small hours of the night, but woke around six, so I must have slept a little. My throat feels like I had drunk acid, which I have done, except in the reverse direction. My voice is ruined for the moment, and the excuse I had for skipping rehearsal this morning is this provided, after I had decided not to use it. Legs ache, but I don’t know how to blame my stomach for that.
On top of it all, it seems not to have rained.
Friday, April 26, 2013
April 26, 2013
Humanities class agitated by the bible, almost no use trying to present a unified thesis. Though it is safe in a classroom (at least among the students who self-select into my classes) to scorn ideas like the inerrancy of scripture, equally misty and phantasmagorical concepts, like “white privilege” or “the patriarchy,” are held up as facts which must not be discussed except to honor. Every generation has its faith.
Lunch with Dalton and Jon. One never knows why one is chosen. I was happy listening to them. So much gossip, so much perspective never comes into the doors of the faculty without liaisons like this.
Covered the new plants against the possibility of frost last night, or rather this morning, right at this moment. The back yard is studded with buckets and planters and various kitchen implements turned upside down over tender greenery.
Dining Out for AIDS last night– the $150 dinner.
Evening: Drinking blisteringly cold tea and feeling the sweat of heroic gardening dry on my back.
Angels in America in class today. One girl was clearly disturbed (it was R, so she showed her upset by turning pages loudly and heaving long sighs); another ran out of the room sobbing-- clearly tributes to the power of theater. I’m on record as saying that Angels is, ultimately, a failed play, but its opening fanfares are epic, and so far as we were able to view the DVD in one class period, I was deeply moved.
A girl on assignment from the Hendersonville paper interviewed me about Wiley Cash and his book in the afternoon. I’m happy to talk about him, but she wanted more evidence of genius-revealing eccentricity than I could supply. I remember Wiley (in part) precisely for his lack of difficult temperament, for his steadfast and un-dramatic craving after skill and knowledge. It was warm to have that conversation. I hope Wiley can find his way back here before too long.
Two huge crates arrived from Plant Delights in Raleigh, and it turned out I had just enough time between the interview and the gathering of dusk to put most of them into the ground. Left are two climbing dicentria, which will need more finesse and bed-preparing than time allowed. If I can remember all: two different kinds of giant elephant ears, a native marsh hibiscus and a scarlet hibiscus with blackened (on purpose) leaves; three golden hollyhocks, a multi-hued-leaved substantial plant that I didn’t recognize the Latin name of (leaves shaped like holly); a knotty lady fern; two prickly aloes that promise to be giants, a pied-leaved acanthus; an arisaema; a flower with “blue” in the name which, again, I didn’t recognize. The sky is a gathering darkness, more of cloud than of night, and I figured I could let God do the watering.
Exhausted to the bone.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
April 25, 2013
Happy to sing between Brian and Russell, but other than that rehearsal last night was a slow, minor sadness. DJ said we harmonized well. I ask myself why the experience is so dark: I’m learning nothing; my voice doesn’t count in the mass; utter despair at the loss of another Saturday. Have to learn to turn my back on things that damage. Gin and tonics helped.
Installed the water gardens yesterday, buying new water lilies in as many colors as they had. Planted asylum over Carolyn’s cast-out potato pit. Planted 4 o’clocks. Took poison to the vines coming up under the mulch on the front slope. Was standing inches from the feeder when a bird landed on it. I couldn’t identify it right off. It looked like a brown headed nuthatch, but the crown didn’t look brown, but an iridescent brown-silver. I watched as he picked four or five seeds out of the hole, cast them down, until finding the one he wanted. Went to school to hear the senior research projects. Half were quite good, half were not. We need a moratorium on gender studies and sociological readings of Jane Austen. Had a massage, which revealed that my body was in real distress.
Back in touch with Jason Cicci, who wants to be in Lincoln. That would be great.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
April 24, 2013
Buying tickets online for London. Got the very last ticket, in the last row of the balcony, for an evening called “Handel in Italy” at Wigmore Hall.
Watched Tout les matins de la monde on DVD. Beautiful. I tried before, but didn’t have the patience. Depardieu is a bit of a joke here, but watching him shows why the French adore him. The film gave me strange, Renaissance dreams. There were long processions. We dressed in white and wore heavy black beads. I was at the front, and the person who was at the back of the line was going to be executed when we reached the destination.. There was no visible distinction between us, and I worried about that. In another we (a different group, including people I know) stripped down to our underwear and marched up the central aisle in a stone church, and sat down in a semi-circle in front, with out backs to the congregation. One of us got to wear a red robe over our underwear; I was glad it was me. I think we were meant to prophesy or receive the power of God–or perhaps deflect the power of God.
Also watched David and Bathsheba with Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward, a very much subtler and less frivolous film than one expected.
Desperate for a day off– I mean off, no rehearsals, no semi- voluntary attendance at a student function, no stolen hour that kills the whole of the day.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
April 23, 2013
In dreams I entered a painting contest. I thought my work was best, but the work of a rival (I knew him in the dream, but not in real life) won the prize. When they auctioned the paintings for charity, in a gesture of good will I bid on the rival painting. But, I was outbid and ended up without prize and without painting. This caused bitter resentment in me, that only ended when I woke up.
Slept late. It is dawn. The sky is greenish and some harsh bird sings from the telephone wires.
April 23rd has always been one of my favorite days of the year. Maybe Shakespeare, maybe high spring.
Monday, April 22, 2013
April 22, 2013
Sank into the covers last night like a tree falling in the forest.
It was Youth Sunday, and a girl from the church gave an excellent sermon. You always expect something embarrassing on such days, and you always get something wonderful.
DD wrote me a poem. It’s been so long since anybody wrote me a poem. I must study it.
Raymond visits from DC and asks, practically the first thing, what he can do from that distance to help defeat the insidious Republicans in Raleigh. Two of us say in chorus to pray for tornadoes to level the city while all the legislators are in it, I do give thought to the savagery of the state legislature. It is almost parody. If it were in a comedy skit it would be funny, in a way, but so darkly extreme that one might not laugh. They are so ludicrously destructive and inhumane, so much the bombastic backwoods fascists that I think there must be some kind of code or test I’m not divining, but what the end game can be I can’t figure. The last time the Republicans held such a hand was Reconstruction, and both times their policies were based on vengeance against a supposed enemy, against those who, they thought, got for free what was came to them through much labor. They hate the poor because the poor demand to be allowed to live with dignity, and they do not see that such a right exists. They hate immigrants because only they themselves can be true Americans. They hate education because reason and critical thought take about two seconds to undermine their voodoo pieties. If I look for rationale that only thing I can find is a bitter privileged class seeking retribution for others’ having, or getting, or aspiring to, what they imagine they have earned for themselves, and underclasses going along so as to imagine themselves part of this real and redblooded Americana. That families in trailers vote for Republicans is like Jews voting for Hitler. Hitler had the courtesy to spell out his contempt. That is the difference. Worse than all is what the Republican Party has done to public discourse, which is to have made truth and fact irrelevant, and set up the wildest and most ignorant speculation as somehow equal to them. Preference for the truth has been painted as a shibboleth of elitism, and we’d rather have dinosaurs walking with Adam than confess we have gotten something wrong. That Governor McCrory is an ignorant vandal cannot be questioned, yet he must have been so when he was elected, and it must have been known that he was. Nothing he does takes he cronies by surprise; they saw it coming, and rejoiced. It’s only the rest of us who are astonished, and that’s because we expected balance and reason, at some point, even from people whom we mistrusted. Balance and reason are not part of the Republican program. They know they cannot last– Raymond described the current state administration as the “death throes” of the party-- so their plan must be to do as much damage as they can before sinking into the cesspool of history. We must find a way to lessen that damage. We must find a way to hand some legacy beyond envy and hate to the generation behind us.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
April 21, 2013
Underestimated the effects of the fever, and though I did some gardening (digging a ginseng plot and a patch for black hollyhocks) and went to the senior readings, I spent the rest of the day recovering.
Mortal combat with the ants. You think you’ve left them no reason to come into the house, but they can make a meal of the most unlikely things. Flour and sugar go into the refrigerator; cat food sits in a shallow lake in a cookie sheet; every used fork or glass is put into its place. The can of ant killer never goes back into the cupboard, but stands ever ready for use. You always leave one to scurry back to the hill and cry “Horror! Horror! Go there nevermore!”
Everyone who knew him says that the captured Chechen bomber was a sweet and merry boy. The best play in the world might be the one which tells how he changed from that, or–even more horrifically–how he did not change at all, but how his sweetness and mirth somehow encompassed that benighted deed. I’m trying to imagine how I could hate a people I lived amid so much I would want to blow them up. Wouldn’t I just leave and go home, or find a cabin in the woods, or something? Was he Svengali-ed by big brother? An intellectual hatred is the worst, so let us think all opinion is accursed–
Saturday, April 20, 2013
April 20, 2013
Woke at the wrong point in the sleep cycle, and woke grumpy. It’s a shame, for yesterday was in many ways quite lovely. Good discussion of Mamet in class. I’m oddly practical in discussion of theater, concentrating on how things are done and why they are done that way, as though I were giving away some secret if we delved deeper into the spirit, a secret which is not yet mine to give.
Glory in the yard. I stood at the window in time to see a pileated woodpecker at the little stump that used to be the hemlock tree. He flew in a diagonal across my window. Then in the evening, practically at last light, the first hummingbirds came to the feeders. I don’t know what else they would have eaten–maybe the lilacs–had the feeders not been hung the day before. It’s a shame God and I continue on such bad terms; there is so much to praise him for.
If I were to die today, the summarizing emotion of my life would be illimitable bewilderment, darkened by fury here, emblazoned by bolts of supernatural joy there. Only the fury can be fully accounted for.
Reaching the time of the semester when each day is blasted to smithereens by tiny duties, snuck-in requirement which singly seem likely enough, but together spell annihilation. I cannot use a partitioned day; it all must be spread before me pristine or it is no use. Am I a writer? Am I a painter? I forget.
Friday, April 19, 2013
April 19, 2013
Cool under the slightly opened windows. Kevin was singing late last afternoon. Phlebitis manifested itself as an almost opiated exhaustion throughout the morning– I went to school, but lay back in my chair and slept– until I caught on and began taking the pills. Each time it is a little different, until that point when it becomes the same. Roused myself to go downtown for a reading I had agreed to do for a book, or a project, called Poetry in My Pocket. Club soda at the vault, where the bartender looked like he was on the verge of sobs. He held off while I was there. We’d been asked to present brief poems, and I recited Herbert and Millay. The ubiquitous Soniat read, as did many I didn’t know, and we were all delightful, I hope. Emoke recited a quite beautiful Hungarian poem, beautiful in its music, as, of course, I had no idea what it said. Emoke scolded me for publishing e-books. I understand her point of view, and refrained from retorting, “How many of my books have you sold in the past year?” I wish the whole publishing house/bookstore thing had worked for me, but it didn’t. In that arena, I’m a drowning man grasping for something to bear me up.
Decided, antibiotics or no, to have a wine before going home, and was strolling toward the wine bar when I passed Southern and saw my students sitting around a table, the same students whose invitation to dinner I had to refuse because of the reading. Dalton. Jon. Justin, Brittany, later Grace. Chit chat, gossip, tales of classes and dates gone awry. It was a blessing. It was exactly what I needed. I hope it was well for them, too, as I arrived just as their checks did, and they lingered for me.
Lively, happy dreams. In the one I remember best I was in bed with my student who now runs Rock Hill, SC. We were inventive and merry lovers, and I think I must have laughed aloud in my sleep.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
April 18, 2013
Kevin the Frog made his appearance yesterday, stretched out on the rims of the water gardens, the master of all he surveyed. I managed to get a photo through the study screen, which was a hit on Facebook.
Determined to spend the day at the studio, but did not. It seemed shorter than usual days. Found a flat of bedraggled primroses at the hardware store for half price, planted those just as rain was beginning to fall. In the course of things I asked myself whether there was anything in the world no one could say a word against, and the answer was at my fingertips, “primroses.” Rehearsal at Central Methodist, where I was reunited with the boys from The Mikado. Not really interested anymore in singing with gigantic choirs. Drank a bottle of red wine at Avenue M, which was a mistake, for I am a little hungover, and the complicated taste of it (rather like honey poured over concrete) is still in my mouth.
Too much to do at the end of the school year. Hands held out to forfend.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
April 17, 2013
Raised Lawrence the Fish out of his aquarium and into the largest of the water gardens. He’s bashful, so I made sure that, this time, there were places to hide. Got very anthropomorphic, wondering if he missed watching me through his glass walls, missed his little light or my tapping on his roof when it was dinner time. His new home is colossal in comparison. Does he like colossal? Did he prefer compact? Are there dangers I don’t think of? The mind takes its own course.
Good class on Rome yesterday. Unusually rowdy Humanities class, but at least part of it is engagement with me and with the materials. Will try to get to the studio today. Will it remember me?
“Wind Chimes” a finalist in the Thomas Wolfe Prize.
My goddaughter is calling herself Bella-Barnabas Marsh. Not a married name, but arising from something, I’m sure. The list of people I miss. . . .
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
April 16, 2013
Bombing at the Boston Marathon, a shocking slaughter. It’s hard even to approach the imagination that brings such thing to pass.
Carol Slatton writes from The University of Akron press that A Childhood in the Milky Way is now an e-book, available on all formats. The relief of this is like waking whole after a long illness.
Mayapples give a tropical jungle to the imagination passing through the back yard. Violets in their first prime, things back there are almost exactly the way I want them, my own tiny Ithilien.
Monday, April 15, 2013
April 15, 2013
Circe nuzzling my hand so it’s hard to type. This morning, I let her. Sunday of as much sleep as I could get. Rehearsal, dinner with DJ, then stupidity on the TV until I could no longer stay awake. Must have been what I needed. Reserved my tickets to Albany for the taping of 16th and Curtis in Williamstown, MA. Still so flattered when someone does my play that I will, if I can fly to see it.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
April 14, 2013
Saturday was a blaze of light. I went with a man who turned out to be a former student to see a property in Candler. All the things it had going against it as a homesite were irrelevant to my pursuit of a bit of bare forest, but I guess that I won’t be buying it. The price is right, there are magnificent ferns, but something is wrong with the feel of it. A neighboring developer had dropped great trees across the road to prevent ATV’s. The fact that there IS a neighboring developer is bad enough. Passed Jesse Israel on the way home, and couldn’t resist multiple purchases: a variety of tomatoes, zucchini and straight-neck squash, bee-balm, golden poppies, lupine, whole beds of purple alyssum to help cover the plumbing scars. Planted long and, for a while, tirelessly. One of those days when no damage can be done, no exhaustion felt. Pulled sweet gum and cherry saplings out of the ground with my hands.
The first close inspection of the rebuilt wall reveals shoddiness even beyond what I expected. What gets into people’s heads? Did I mentioned they absconded with my garden trowels?
After the monumental gardening I had some wine and passed out until it was time to see Spring Awakening at UNCA. It was a good effort, and better than I had been led to expect by some involved in the production. Some good performances. The play itself is so weak that I think back on the praise it received on Broadway and wonder what that could have meant. Even with a production ten times better, the play is still without a single original, startling, or very engaging idea. The most interesting part is when the boys are reciting Virgil, if that can be imagined. It’s daring theater for those terrified of daring theater. Almost every directorial mistake that can be made was made, and the choreography was weirdly random, un-associated movement meant to cover up, I suppose, the thinness of the songs. Left into a beautiful night with the moon, risen late and already low in the west, a rim of snow, holy, a little crooked with respect to the horizon.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
April 13, 2013
Yesterday was the most blazing bright of days, a blue enamel over a shifting sphere of many colors. Planted nasturtiums in part of the ruins. Excellent class discussion on Sam Shepard’s Buried Child. I find in him a not always successful sense of improvisation. The class forgave him for the unsuccessful moments and uplifted the moments when it worked. Ringing in the ears reaches a new intensity. Cat vomit on the kitchen floor. The tiny black ants found the sugar canister.
Friday, April 12, 2013
April 12, 2013
Finished class and various duties, picked up my tax return, celebrated by driving out to the Reems Creek Nursery. Planted Brussels sprouts, Best Boy tomatoes, and two kinds of cabbage in a space semi-prepared by the ravages of the plumbers. Spaded, yanked out the inevitable vine roots, then worked in rich earth from the nursery. I let God water them through the night, as he continues to do to this moment.
On the subject of the plumbers, my once excellent collection of garden trowels is gone. I have no suspect but them. Troweling with the side of a hoe.
Drinks at Avenue M with Jessie, who volunteered to house set while I’m gone. I like talking with her about veganism, for I have never quite understood the morality of it (an egg or milk doesn’t damage an animal, and she wears wool). She won’t drink Guinness because it’s filtered through isenglass, which turns out to be fish bladders miraculously processed.
Very legalistic dreams. In them I was impressed by my own knowledge of the law. Dream law.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
April 9, 2013
Philippe Jaroussky on Spotify.
Threw my undershirt on the floor at bed last night; this morning mistook the polo player embroidered on it for a dead spider. Minutes spent overcoming my aversion enough to pick it up.
Evening with Dalton and Jon at the café. Much gossip. Their obsession with a troublesome friend named Richard makes me wish I had been more troublesome. Or more efficiently troublesome.
Dream that my niece Bekka, who had been staying at a dormitory in a roadside service station, had been accused of leaving during the night with a mechanic or local of some kind. It’s not clear whether an actual crime was involved, but it seemed like we spent hours trying to recreate the scene. Bekka and her friend were there, “helping,” but we didn’t know if they were helping or misleading. Woke feeling especially useless and unfulfilled, though I can’t see how that’s related to the dream
Keeping up with a-poem-a-day through April, though there seems to be no time to transcribe them out of my golden notebook.
Probing for some way to put an end to the flea-bites, to the incidental obligations, which, however tiny, devour whole days.
Monday, April 8, 2013
April 8, 2013
Regretfully deleted the photos Huseyen sent of his silk carpets. Beautiful they were, but in the end one could neither afford nor use them. Now.
Linda and I took the Shut-In trail north toward Pisgah, a good piece in the blazing perfect light. My plantar’s wart lit up every time a root or stone pressed against it, so conditions other than meteorological were not ideal. Warbling of grosbeaks, pounding of an invisible pileated woodpecker. Moss of extraordinary thickness and range of bluish greens. Drank one of the Biltmore Rieslings and slept through the afternoon, then rehearsal. Dinner for Steve’s birthday at TGI Friday’s. Up early, listening to Baroque opera.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
April 7, 2013
Waiting for Linda to arrive yesterday AM, I took time to clean out the water gardens. In Kevin the frog’s I found– Kevin the frog, who had been hibernating in a thin layer of black muck at the bottom of the barrel. I touched him to see if he was real and alive, then refilled the barrel and reset his mass of weeds, hoping I had not disturbed him enough even to enter his dreams. The larger pool I prepared for Lawrence the fish, putting in lovely rocks for him to hide among. Linda is disturbed that he spends all the time alone, so I may find him some companions, though he is the lone survivor of quite a throng introduced to the ponds last spring.
Linda and I went to the Biltmore winery, took the tour, and laid in a supply of surprisingly good wines. Roamed the gardens in a day of blinding blue radiance. Biltmore is certainly well organized and charming employees appear out of the air to service one’s desires. Chit-chatted about the boys, and the it was off to the theater with DJ. We tried to eat at LAB (which I normally like), but an hour passed and we had not been served, so we had to leave and see the play hungry. The play, Shipwrecked., bored me to weeping, but the bright, sweet, red-haired kid next to me had seen it twice and kept leaning in with an excited whisper to help me savor to upcoming moment, so I suppose that it was for some people and not for others. The actors were blameless. Moments meant to be underwater were quite beautiful.
Belated supper at Avenue M with Jake and Jeff. We were warned off the UNCA production on no uncertain terms. Directorial “concept” is the annihilator of many a decent play. Happy and exhausted there in the restaurant, surrounded by the friends of friends.
The cats are freaked by a strange sleeper in the living room.
Friday, April 5, 2013
April 5, 2013
Cantaria sings for the UNCA Queer Conference. Possibly not our finest hour.
Cindy’s all but inexhaustible cake diminishes slowly in the Lit lobby, like a sand castle by the sea. I regret to say I have done my part.
Sidney reports the people on board for The Loves of Mr. Lincoln. He is excited. There will be a flurry of Google searches soon. My energy for anything but writing contracts so that even reading the lists of credits of the famous people I’m about to meet exhausts me.
Have not flagged in my poem a day for April. Nor has there been a real clunker. Yet.
One follower of my blog (I hope it’s just one) is vicious, and has some biting comment to make whenever I give him the chance. My sanity, my craft, my affections, whatever door I leave slightly ajar. My own hours being so short, I wonder where all that leisure and commitment comes from, or how I have filled anybody’s well of envy. Same thing when I was reviewing for Mountain Express: one person, calling himself variably “Theater Fan” or something of the sort–style testifies it was the same person, and one person, all the time– would take the stance opposite to mine, and lament my stupidity (or in some cases, dishonesty) as a reflex. If he wanted to underline his first comment, or if he had forgotten something snide, he would support it over a slightly different name. “Oh yes, he got everything wrong in this review”. . . “Probably because MF did one of his little works and he hopes they will again.” Mostly the comments made him look like a fool, or were merely puzzling, but the wonderment for me was the energy and commitment that went into it. His brightest moment was when he lamented that I had not revealed anything about the plot of a play called “Jekyll and Hyde.” Another commenter– a real one-- remarked “It’s JEKYLL AND HYDE, for godsakes.” I think that’s why I pulled away from reviewing. The energy in Asheville is so hell-bent against honest criticism and analysis–for so many and often perplexing reasons– that there’s really no point. We are less a city of art than of self-indulgence– though there’s still enough art–like Jolene, like the boys at Apothecary-- that one keeps fighting.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
April 4, 2013
This begins the time of year when I think my ground is magic. Every flower seems holy; every bird visitor seems an emissary from some better place. I stand and stare at the loam, waiting for the next brilliant thing to appear. Bluebirds in the front lawn.
In a spasm of resolve I got my tickets and my lodging for New York, deciding, since I was part way there already, to continue on to London before coming home. All that is still considerably less expense than my Anatolian rugs, so with a new perspective on extravagance, I feel well enough. Though I do note that when I arrive for Lincoln I will be the only one not being paid, but paying hugely myself. There is irony there that the industry does not quite seem to catch.
Little, diddley meetings and courtesies end up annihilating each day. So much one does not want to do, but wants to have done.
Harsh rain against the southern window. I will not see the moon this morning, as I have the last thousand.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
April 3, 2013
Uncharacteristic dedication to photography in recent days: my throng of hyacinths, Cindy’s retirement party, etc.
Yogurt may have cured my seemingly ineradicable diarrhea problem. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before. Conversely, I don’t know why I thought of it at all.
Sidney steaming ahead with preparing The Loves of Mr. Lincoln. The idea that he might want Cody for Josh Speed fills me with anticipation.
Anemones poking out their scarlet and azure heads. They look like more compact and vivid versions of what I saw on the stones of Troy.
Bluebirds throng my front yard. This is a blessing almost inexplicable to the layman.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
April 2, 2013
Lawrence the fish tilts one way in his universe of water when the floor lamp is on, thinking it must be the sun. He tilts the other way when the TV is on, thinking, no doubt, the same.
Terrible dream, which persisted though I woke up twice in the midst of it. I was feuding with my neighbor (John the film maker at the end of the street, who, I think, rather likes me in real life) It was not this house and not this neighborhood, but he kept stealing things from my house (a painting, a bicycle) and then throwing trash in the yard. He would send vicious women up the front steps, who would snarl “I hate you!” I punched one in the face and tumbled her back down the stairs. DJ was there and worried that I’d get into trouble. I marveled that I should be in trouble after merely retaliating. John-in-the-dream seemed to have the ear of authority in some unjust way. When I woke I couldn’t fathom the root or cause of the dream, as I usually can,
Monday, April 1, 2013
April 1, 2013
Woke moments ago from a wonderful dream. I was traveling with some friends. It was my task to record our travels in a large notebook, as I often have done in waking life. But this notebook was made of bright plastic material, and the pages could be molded and worked over in different colors as you work over clay, and you wrote in it with a stylus. It was so much fun writing in it that I was recording the least details of the journey, but even the mundane came out as poetry.
Driving to church early Easter morning, I got from my house to the church without hitting a single red light. I’m trying to take that as a sign.
Worked on a story and on the Celestine play.
Though eventually it turned to exhaustion, as all things carried on too long do, the early moments at All Souls were inspired and uplifting. I felt wholly in the Easter spirit, and felt that salvation was so great a gift that all my complaints were revealed as sand and pebbles in comparison. I wish that perception had lasted longer, but at least I know I can still have it. Sean Patrick was baptized. The dean referenced dinosaurs in his homily. Nobody invited me to Easter brunch, so I made a pasta dish I regret to this hour. Watched The Greatest Story Ever Told (the end of it, from Lazarus on) and remember whole passages verbatim from when I was a teenager. I remembered a line where my mother laughed.