Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29, 2014

    Successful dinner party last night. J and L, K and R were invited, but I got an email from JB, saying that he and his wife were going to be in town, so I expanded and invited them too. J and I were neighbors in Syracuse, his porch and mine flanking the front entrance. He is 6'6", and had flaming red hair which, like mine, has settled back into a sort of frosty pale brown. It was good–and strange to see him. He remembered Susan. He was so big and handsome I wondered why his life was not, then, other than it was.  We went to the movies, and he fell asleep with his head resting on my chest. There were tears in his eyes when he said goodbye at the door. His wife said, “Don’t mind him; he’s sentimental.” Have been writing since the morning dark, and now it is dark again.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


November 27, 2014

Made my first cheese cake, It looks like cheesecake from the top, praying it tastes right when it’s cut.
Put myself in financial straits paying taxes on my house–on my houses- forgetting that the mortgage company takes taxes for 51 out of escrow, and I needn’t have paid at all. Inquiring to see what can be done about that. . . .
Complicated dreams of CH before morning. He loved me and I didn’t see the signs. I will accept more punishment from the spirit world for his sake than for, perhaps, any other.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014

Wet, dark, wintery-springy morning, Everything gleams with wet trying decide if it will be rime or liquid.

 Sweet student D comes to relate that he has been baptized and feels washed clean. Long discourse on how his life has changed. He shows me pictures of his former self, which look fine to me, but which are strikingly different from his dreamy, rather aggressively serene present self. I want to throw my arms around him and protect him, but from what I’m not sure. He looks to be on the path of the saints. Would I protect him from getting there too soon, while he is yet unfinished? I trod the same path for a while, though I never dared to speak of it. It did not come out well for me. He does pass judgment –sweetly–on those who might hinder him on his path. I refrain from pointing out how his new self is still casual about getting to class and turning assignments in on time. He is floaty and airy and quite beautiful in all this. I would pray that it all comes out as he dreams.

 Last Blake presentations. There is always the student against whom circumstance conspires, and whose presentation blows up at the last moment, and it is always the same student. I say, “the professor handbook tells me to say this wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t waited until absolutely the last moment.” She stares back, stung at my lack of compassion.

 Trip to Marshall less dreary than before. I arrived early–who knows how?–and spent some time in the Good Stuff café, right at the opening of the French Broad bridge. I liked it, The bartender with hair-of-many-colors was solicitous. Had I work a ski cap I would not have been conspicuous at all. . . well, except for the ordering of tea.

 On the road to Marshall at sunset I saw in the southwest a tremendous shaft of orange light leaping up through pink and purple and orange clouds. Bad taste on a smaller scale is transcendent glory on a greater.

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

 Did not cough last night. Hooray! Did dream that I went to visit Denny, and he’d changed vocations so that he was an ad designer, and he taught me how to use the camera-thing thereby objects are rendered suitable to appear in ads, and for the rest of the night I dreamed of one ad after the other. I brought the machine to my class and we were working on advertisements of some kind when I awoke.

 Momentary irritation with the new bass in choir, until I realized he does exactly what I do, what I have always done, and the irritation became a sort of amused self-revelation. “Finesse” is spontaneous to neither of us.

 Traded my Sunday afternoon nap to go see The Muckle Man at UNCA, because Olivia directed it. The play itself soon turns a potentially creepy mystery into a sort of tedious waiting-to-see-the-obvious-come to-pass, leaving its best bit (a squid seems to be turning into a man) just to drop because–clearly–where it was going was not thought out. None of this is O’s fault. S was there. I waited to hear whether he liked it–he did—before I spoke.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014

All the Ellet people reminiscing on Facebook yesterday about where they were when Kennedy was shot. JH and I were sitting side by side in Mr Tucker’s junior high history class: a kinship that transcends the years.

Yesterday’s event was the MFA project of a young woman from Antioch U, whom I agreed to mentor. Her degree is to be in Creative Writing and Social Awareness, and she organized a reading of pertinent works and a silent auction to benefit animal rescue organizations. I admit I wasn’t paying that much attention–she didn’t seem to need much mentoring, and her social focus was un-amiable to me– so the event took me a little by surprise, for I had fallen among the animal activists. These people can’t say “animal” but only “non-human animal,” couldn’t abide the ride in the elevator because there were pictures in it, and only of humans; can’t bear mention of Santa Claus without shedding a tear over his abuse of the reindeer. Wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. I probed the air for humor, but there was none. They took turns leaving the room in heartsickness over the brutalities in the excerpts they chose to be read. One read surprisingly good poems excusing the fault of excess tenderheartedness. She didn’t mean that at all. I had some inkling of the procedure, because she sent me a story to read (an awful one with a sort of interesting premise), whereby I did stop myself from wearing the leather jacket I’d worn the rest of the week. I finally figured out what “milk is rape” meant. They all knew the buzzwords, and nodded as they came rolling out. The silent auction was larded with drawings of American Indians lounging about in forest glens with friendly animals, the fact that the AIs ate and otherwise used these animals apparently irrelevant to the purpose. My thoughts were confused, because I have what I think of as holy and informed reverence for nature, yet the attitude around me, though allied, caused me to cringe. Cringing without total disagreement. I feel the same around religious people, a believer in almost a fanatical sense who nevertheless is mortified around too much witnessing, too much talk of what should be private and experiential. The path that leads from revelation to extremism to idiocy is, unfortunately, poorly marked. Saw once beloved DD, and met his fiancé, who has a task ahead of her. The story I was given to read involved a fisherman who was given a heart attack by the sight of a puma. The story wanted the hungry puma to eat the man, but lifted up its petticoats and tip-toed off in another direction. Interestingly, the bit of a novel read by my mentee was SENSATIONAL, and, even more interestingly, had the brutal mutilation of a cat as a significant plot point.

Dream of my father sitting in his living room, telling me of a rest home to which he wanted to retire. I took the address and went there. The rooms were small, but the setting was at the edge of a vast wilderness, saw-tooth mountains in the distance. I told him what I’d found, but he said, with tears in his yes, “I want to go there.” This is the first moment when I thought he had visited me.

Deep turquoise in the study window.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 22, 2014

   In the middle of night there was an angry dream. I dwelt in a mansion at the edge of a glacier and a frozen arm of the sea, with some others. We were meant to take care of the mansion and the wilderness around, but the others in the group were at first carefree and then destructive. I came out one day and there were great holes cut in the ice sheet over the water, in which polar bears had been trapped and killed, dozens of them. The ice was red with their blood. I began screaming at the people. The only one whose identity I remember was N, and since he had been a friend I screamed at him most. I bellowed “I hate you!” to them at the top of my lungs, and then, to N in particular, I added, “I wish you had never been born.” Maybe sleeping in the front bedroom did this to me.
   Took S to see Don’t Dress for Dinner last night at NC Stage. It was a perfect clockwork, realized–again I would say perfectly–by a skillful and energetic cast. I am just not the right audience for farce, though. It is passingly amusing to see one lie build upon the other a tottering edifice as remarkable for what will be believed as much as for what will be said, but I think such energy should be in the service of– something. Anyway, I kept my mouth shut because S liked it so much. S is tall and thin and Indian-dark, and I wanted to introduce him as my son, to leave people to work out their perplexities.

  Rehearsal in Marshall not so gawdawful as in times past. My colleague bass could actually sing a few notes when I dropped out to cough.

  In a strange passion to bake and cook. I have most of the utensils left over from times in the past when this passion has, however briefly, struck.

 Will use today–I hope– to rewrite Washington Place according to the revelations of the reading.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 19, 2014

Reading of Washington Place at S’s house last night. I thought it went well. I didn’t cringe once at something I had mis-written. The one problem I thought it had–the fire coming on too abruptly–L assured me was not a problem, fire being by nature abrupt. The actors were unnecessarily afraid of the Yiddish and the Italian. It was too cold. It is now too cold, morning like the edge of a knife. My muscles are so sore from coughing each cough is to be dreaded. Thank God all that seems to have tapered off, after a frenzy of it at the reading last night. Bought a tiny rose to sit on a table until spring. Bought cappuccino which came without foam, and was lamenting that until I considered all the things the world has to lament.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014

Thinnest salting of snow; thinnest sliver of moon.

Caught an odd plagiarism, one, it seemed, begging to be caught, so clearly was the matter not something that one of my students would address. Reminds me of the time in Syracuse when I had a paper on the War of 1812 which began, “During the late unpleasantness with Great Britain.” The student didn’t deny or excuse, and that will save her.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

Hard rain falling on the study roof. High and lovely, actually. Another night of Verdun-ish coughing, though less than before. Was able to sing through the Cantaria rehearsal. Sunday of leisure, in which I wrote heroically.
From Ste in Cambridge:

Hi Pal,
Remember the night we stumbled along from the pickerel trapped arm in arm within the beautiful infiniteness of love. I do. It was magical. I can feel and see my production alive on stage. To be is all I see like Shakespeare jumping from cloud to cloud throwing out his letters in synchronicity. I have found some friends to play with. Lets hope I can bring them to The Black Swan one day. We could play all day.
Love you

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 16, 2014

Fried eggs for myself this morning. I haven’t fried an egg for myself since I was in Boy Scouts.

Talked with Louly’s class about the poets of Black Mountain College. At the end, I liked Olson better than I liked Creeley. It had been the reverse when I walked in.

Acquired house plants yesterday. Planted a Christmas cactus that I’d been rooting, then bought African violets, two ferns, a blooming white cyclamen. These are added to the plants Jason left in the studio long ago. My mother had African violets for a long while. Did she get sick of them? Was their time ended when we moved? Did father shame her out of them, as he did so much else? They sat on a multi-level white wire shelf underneath an eastern window. I think I bought mine because of her. In any case, the house seems finished now. The houseplants were what it needed.

Brought three rose buds in before the night the thermometer dipped into the 20's. Not sure if they’re going to bloom. I think they’re too angry. I set them where they couldn’t see the ruin of their brethren out in the yard.

Rose early and wrote. That was well.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November 15, 2014

Destined to be cold upstairs until somebody teaches me how to light the gas heater. One space heater is not enough and the second flips a breaker switch.

Class presentations. The brighter ones, the ones destined for grad school, try on academic jargon and reasoning like young gazelles pronking on the plain. It’s charming to hear them employ the buzz words and the shibboleths, trying them on, working into them. I heard “praxis” about fifteen times yesterday. At some point in the past it was “topoi.” One or two visits to academic meetings and the tone is set, the delight passed on.

Went to the concert of the UNCA chorus last night, for S’s sake, as I said, but Melodie was joyful to see me there. The singing was uneven, except for a featured men’s chorus, which was sensational. I could see mostly the altos from where I sat, and they were very earnest and beautiful, their unconscious grace and eagerness reminding me why I linger on in this employment. The theme was Veterans’ Day, and one song used the hymns of all the branches of the service. Melodie asked the vets to stand up when they heard their hymn, and it was unexpectedly touching to see a few old sailors totter to their feet during “Anchors Aweigh,” a clutch of wizened soldiers when the caissons started rolling along. It was a good thing.

Trembling a little at the end of what may be the last terrible week. Taking a breath.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

Slept terribly last night, coughing coughs like the reports of rifles. This cold is nothing if not tenacious. I can see my students strain to catch the sound of my diminished voice.

The bar of soap I bought in Vienna is now used up.

Cast as Orisini-Rosenberg in NC Stage’s  Amadeus. Glad about it. It’s one of those parts small enough that the nightly strain will be at minimum, and yet faceted enough to make it worth the effort. It also conflicts with Spring Break, which we be a money-saver for me, not having to trek off to the wide world’s edge.

The more I think about Macbeth, the more I admire D for standing his ground before his awful Lady Macbeth, and not, in the general hearing, complaining about her once.

Some respite beginning today, though I did agree to talk to Louly’s class about Black Mountain. Knowing quite little, or remembering quite little, I must commence condensed research.

Going tonight to hear Sam sing.

Still turning over in my mind the meeting in New York. D suggests that in the name of equality next year’s contests should be open only to women. Silence in the room. I say, “No, that’s not fair; It’s not fair to men.” I have my statistics ready. In the Dramatists Guild Resource Book (last year) there were 26 contests or theaters open ONLY to submissions from women; not one only to submissions from men. I’m saved from opening my mouth by another colleague’s–a woman and an executive in a female theater collective— pointing out the Foundations female/ male and color/white proportions are far higher than the general proportions in New York theater. We didn’t know it then, but our own honoree this year was going to be a woman. It’s not worth your life to suggest that the perceived disadvantage of women in the theater is just that, perceived, anecdotal. My play was not chosen and a man’s was; therefore, there must be bias. Our Foundation received more applications from men than from women, but anybody is free to surf the internet or read the notices on green room walls, and there were exclusively women’s outlets we took care to notify, and I conclude that if fewer women entered than men, fewer women felt like doing so. I know that part of who’s talking is a male playwright, who’s sick of seeing “wymyn only” or “women especially encouraged.” Most contest submissions these days are “blind,” anyway, so unless somebody is cheating, the judges don’t know who made the work. People whose work is not chosen assume bias. People whose work is chosen assume fairness. It would seem to me that, in this case, honoring a bias would be far more laborious than being fair.
My Ebay china arrived yesterday, Noritake Gramatan, in three immense crates.  Only one serving bowl was broken. Amazingly, it all fit into existing spaces.
Maud, getting her neck rubbed, is the picture of contentment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12, 2014

Several days of sickness seem to be near an end. Teaching class being unable to speak above a whisper was fascinating. I could get past it with my torrential stage voice, but that took a toll. Threw my back out Sunday, have staggered around bent like an octogenarian. Unable quite to catch up since my return, the tasks spreading out a few inches every day beyond my reach. Need to go to the Y to work the back out. Computer infected while I was gone– though it was shut down. Sent out a cry in the morning night to my computer guy. I thought I’d lost the charging cord to my cell phone, and though I have a new phone (have had it since the month I moved to this house) which I could have charged up and used, I was suddenly overcome by grief– unfortunately, that sentence is not overstated– on behalf of my old phone, which has served me long and well, and which I thought I had betrayed by treating its cord carelessly. Found the cord, wept with gratitude. I don’t think that reaction was right. I was feeling bad, and am always vulnerable then. Today I am healthy and careless and cruel.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New York New York 4

November 9, 2014

Cold, sore throat, hardly able to speak to the desk clerk as we were struggling to print my boarding passes.  This must be a good place to work; everybody is humorous and happy.

Meeting for the Foundation in Park Slope. Interesting, but also very, very leisurely. People do like to hear themselves talk. Five hours and more had passed and we were still not quite finished when D and I had to make a run for it back to Manhattan. Interestingly, though there was wrangling about the merits of the other plays, the first prize winner was first on the list of every single one of us. Some mystical apparatus in play there. That part of Brooklyn seems quite liveable. I don’t know why I’m always picking out places in New York to live, as the time for me to do such a thing is long passed. I realize I have as much money as the Foundation, and could be giving out my own prizes. If I thought I was going to die timely, I would. Our Founder was a pornographer, and we find ourselves in the odd position of hoping, someday, to receive some classy pornography we can reward to honor his memory.

It’s Only a Play that evening, a romp with all the biggest stars of Broadway. When I went to the concierge of the Merriott to get tickets, I was told that it was sold out and a random ticket would be upwards of $350. I walked across the street to the box office and got a box seat for $145. In the theater, the people in the box above me had paid over $300, and had stories of people in the orchestra who’d forked over $600 per ticket. That is ludicrous under any circumstance, and especially so since McNally’s play is feeble. It is laugh-filled, on the very low level of expert delivery of theater gossip. The bit of plot it might have had, involving a critic who is also a playwright, is dropped mysteriously.  Everyone in New York is in-the-know concerning theater gossip. Nathan Lane hit every joke out of the park. Rupert Grint, late of the Harry Potter movies, was able and professional. I don’t know what I was expecting. F Murray Abraham was ill last night, and his understudy was punished by the audience by no special applause.  Stockard Channing did the only real acting, and yet the circumstances tempted her into more mudding than might have been necessary. It was one of those evening which LOOKED like it was fun, but was actually rather boring. I shared my box with a grandmother, daughter, and grandson. Grandma was vehemently disappointed, whereas I was only mildly disappointed. They were all the time wanting to share their candy with me.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New York New York 3

November 8, 2014

Rose early, worked on my play, drank coffee from the Corsos attached to the hotel, then walked from Times Square to Washington Square through the cool cloudy light. Made a stop at Bryant Park, to honor the spot where I saw the hooded warbler, the spot where I bought a homeless woman a croissant and watched her divide it and share it with the birds. A man was shadow boxing in Washington Square. I called it the Winter Sun Dance, as it was more dance than boxing. The inscription on the arch is “Let us raise the standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.” I thought of TB, for he was with me the last time I was in Washington Square. I phoned him in St. Augustine, and heard about his recovery from years of debility because of allergies. Joyful. Walked to MOMA, but was disappointed because I could not lunch there, as is my custom. Spent some time at Columbus Circle, as I must. The pretty Park horses were sharing their feed buckets with the pigeons.

Albee’s A Delicate Balance at the Golden, which is run like a little fascist demesne.  I have been in, I think, six of Albee’s plays, met and talked with him twice, and seeing this play was like taking up a most formal and arch portion of an old conversation. The set was glorious, and it is always a pleasure to see such fine actors– John Lithgow, Glenn Close, etc– working near the top of their game. But, what of the rest? The play resonates eighty years older than its actual age, strives for a gilded Restoration tone, and has in it not one moment of reality. My aesthetic allows for a play not to have much reality in it, but here we have not fantasy but a sort of forced twilight which is meant to look like reality, which, repeated relentlessly, is meant to bludgeon the audience into accepting (rather as the electorate does) repetition for truth. None of the assertions the play makes about life is very or necessarily true, but the characters are so articulate they lull you temporarily into the sense that great (rather than minor and idiosyncratic) truths are being revealed. The play’s emotional temperature (like that of Virginia Woolf) is a kind of fever raised by revelations and complications we accept only because we have paid our admission and the night will be ruined of we do not. The audience sees the rules Albee has laid out, and part of it is sweetly eager to follow them. The play is funny. One gives it that. How is it that nobody has pointed out that Albee is Shaw’s successor, the witty lecturer who does not leave to chance the receipt of his message, who allows nothing to be discovered because he cannot stand not to explain everything fully, exhaustively, who does not allow freedom of interpretation because of the horror that someone might not get only and completely what he meant. I enjoyed my evening of theater, even with these things passing through my mind. The play is in previews, and people leaving by irritated little clutches during both intermissions does not bode well for its success. The big muscley man in the seat beside me complained bitterly, but stayed. I was glad for him, for that unavoidable slab of muscle on one side kept me warm. He called the play “bullshit,” and it was, of a very high, articulate, and scentless variety.

Friday, November 7, 2014

New York New York 2

November 7, 2014

Rain Thursday. Outside my window at dawn lay the angular jumble of the city, all line and plane grayed by rain. In the midst of it, perched on the peak of a roof, was a single gull, the one brightness, the one organic, living being. He made the whole city turn around himself as an axle makes a wheel. I went down to the Paramount lobby and began writing a play. I continued on the play in the sculpture court of the Met. The gull inspired the play, as did my reaction to On the Town the night before.

Subway to the Met. Ran first to the special showing of El Greco’s. Wandered and took in. Wandered, so far as I remember for the first time, into the American wing. I must have been saving that for a time like this. Lunched facing the gray rain in the green-gray Park. The horrible taxi ride back to the hotel consisted of forty blocks of the driver jabbering to his friend on speaker phone in one of those African languages that have no words, only modulations in a stream of sound. The cell phone has made us forget the occasion and the necessity of manners. I couldn’t stand it and jumped out of the cab long before we were home. Cleared my head in the ran. Thought of the paintings. Thought of my play.

My sickness is mild but exhausting. Slept as much of the afternoon as I had.

From the Internet:

I'm a longtime admirer of your poetry. I don't know of anyone else as good, now that Ted Hughes isn't around any more. I am writing to ask if I can use a short passage as an epigraph for a new novel, the sequel to my first one, "The God in Flight." "The God" is going to be published for Kindle soon, and I would like to bundle the first chapter of the sequel with it.

I would like to call that sequel "The Platinum Secret," which is your phrase, so I am asking your permission to do that. It is the only phrase I know that captures exactly what I mean. If I can use the material I have in mind, it would be perfectly clear that this concept is your concept.

Below is the material I would like to use as the epigraph:

Beloved reader, do not look for it here;
do not look for the platinum secret—
more precious than victory—
the disappointment men do not speak of,
after the hope which barely dared to breathe its name.

“After Reading Whitman at Midnight, He Returns to an Old Theme,” from Blood Rose

All the best,

Evening: off to Roundabout’s production of The Real Thing with Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stoppard is the cleverest playwright in the world, and the show never disappointed on that or any other account: witty, perfectly acted, intellectually engaging. It gave me everything I lamented the lack of the night before. Happy with the Theater again, happy with Broadway. I was told I’d gotten the last ticket, and the sign said the show was sold out, but there were 20 seats in front of me in the mezzanine empty. The coat of the woman beside me stank rather shockingly. I wondered if her friend would tell her, or if she couldn’t detect it herself.

Joy returning up Times Square to bed. I thought of Blake’s “London.” Here there were no marks of weakness or of woe. Has the world changed so? Is that bit of it so special? Hundreds of smiling people taking pictures of one another under the dancing lights. Children petting the muzzles of the policemen’s horses.  Fifty languages. Ten thousand stories.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New York New York

November 6, 2014

Ninth floor of the Paramount. This time I have a view of the complicated geometry of Manhattan. Slept through the flight, the reason turning out to be I have a cold, and most illnesses of any kind lead me to sleep. No complaints. I have practically no memories of the journey hither.

I wanted to buy a watch at the Swatch place (where I bought my last watch) and so that was my first destination. What has to be noted is that Times Square and environs brimmed with the handsomest men I had ever seen gathered together like that, throngs and dozens. I sat down at an outdoor table with my new watch and–watched. As the afternoon progressed, I did something I haven’t done in a long while; I went to O’Luney’s bar and slammed down vodkas until I was just short of staggering drunk, and then I wandered around Times Square happy and sodden and a friend to all. It was lovely. Saw Hank Azaria walking out of the American Airlines Theater on 42nd. He’s smaller than you’d think, but quite beautiful. Sobered up enough to get to the Lyric, where I had the best seat in the house to see Bruce and Jack’s On the Town. They will bring bags of candy and drinks to your very seat. When it was over, I turned to my companion-for-two hours in the next seat and said, before I knew I was going to, “Wasn’t that horrifying?” Though on any technical level it couldn’t be faulted, though the music is Bernstein and “perfect” in any way I could detect, it was, otherwise, a blaring caricature of what someone must have thought, at one time, was the red blooded American male in the red blooded American city, all manufactured naivete and chemical energy with the volume at full. I know it was meant to be “entertaining,” but it didn’t entertain so much as bludgeon one with every cliche in the vicinity of having a good time, defying one to stagger away at the end imperfectly entertained. The ushers stood around with cattle prods to shock you into jollity if it looked like you weren’t having the Time of Your Life. The end, where it all starts over, was actually profound enough to raise it a few levels in my estimation, but not above “exhausting.”  On top of it, I had arrived drunk with every intention of having a good old fashioned good time. Like coming to a restaurant for a meal, and not being allowed out until you’ve consumed the entire dessert try. It’s like– oh, it’s early in the gray morning. Let’s start again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 5, 2014

Election day more of a disaster than can be spoken of. America has voted for the vampires while they were sucking blood out of their very necks.

Off to New York, assuming a routine journey, but who knows? Packed just one small carry-on, and I bet there’s still something in there I don’t use.

Quarrel with the humanities chairman, in which I was wrong, or at least weirdly entrenched, on most points. I think I make up too many scenarios, imagine too many twists and turns before I ask what’s really going on. I believe gossip too easily. I mistake confidences for truths. I do, on my side of the ledger, back off instantly if I sense I’m awry.

But, I do think I’ve learned enough lessons for a lifetime. Hold them off. Deflect the time of trial. It is time for ripeness. Even mercy.

Trying student J out as housesitter. He was very eager, and likes cats.

Ready, as ever, too early, or for things that may never come.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014

Two memorable dreams. In one I was in Hiram under calm starlight. Nothing happened; I was just there, and serenely happy. In the second dream we inhabited a world in which a race of monsters suddenly appeared. At first there was fear and conflict, but after a while we began to learn that they were sentient and good beings under shocking exteriors. All Souls was one of their first places of refuge, and we sang a service there in honor of one of then which had been killed by a mob. Jack and I stood side by side reading from the same music. The music was not notes but shafts of color. Our part came in on yellow. The music sounded like old country Gospel, and the lyric I remember, the one noted in bars of yellow, was, “We have seen the light behind it, praise the Lord, praise the Lord” repeated in canon.

Election day. It is more than I can speak of. One side doesn’t even have a platform, but only messy and contradictory bundles of negations, most of them at the base simply bare-faced lies. And the wisdom is that they will win. I have said in the past “I can’t stand it,” I and I have stood it. I suppose I will again.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Left Macbeth before curtain call in order to be at a Cantaria rehearsal, where I was so sad about no longer being with my theater friends that I was probably not much use. Onward, forward, leaving new construction and ruins both behind. People remain vulnerable as they age; they simply have learned how not to show it, how to entertain vulnerability inside, like an uncomfortable guest so frequent now you hardly notice that he’s there.

I’ve lost the Cantaria repertoire wars. It looks like it’s going to be Broadway and jingle bells from here on out.

In the great wars of the spirit I have come to a bivouac of sad truce. Nothing in any book prepared me for this.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014

Snow continued through the night, light but persistent. There was a point on 40 while I was driving home last night of near white-out.

Several friends at the performance last night, and it was good to see them. Sam & Sam from Humanities, who’d never seen Macbeth before, stood upon their long legs all a-smile. I wanted to party, but everyone was tired and far from home. What do I think of the production? There are excellences and deficits– all in all, taking in the standards of the Great World, I’d say we did above average work. The technical aspects were excellent, and at no point did the acting stand in the way of comprehension or enjoyment, I think. The sad part was how close to excellence some parts were without crossing over. Macbeth delivered the text without interpreting it. He was audible, energetic, efficient (“professional” would be the word), but there was neither delving nor discovery. His love is Commedia del arte, and the time you’re enthusiastic about Commedia might not be the time to take on a classic, iconic, thoughtful role. . . or anything with soliloquies. His sword fighting was excellent. MacDuff was both energy and contemplation. I have enjoyed doing this work more than I’ve enjoyed anything since Hamlet at the same theater. Some good angel smiles on it, and on the remnants of my conviviality.

Either return to or departure from Daylight Savings Time (I forget which), giving me an extra hour. Fighting off the onerous to get to the vital.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1, 2014

Jeff’s review of Macbeth in the Mountain Xpress allowed me to have created a “regal and refined” Duncan. Overall review respectful, without enthusiasm.  Friday’s performance was the first one which was “perfect” for me, no reversed words, no substitutions. Amy and Bill were there. So tired when I got home I woke to find a wine bottle with the corkscrew half driven into the cork, poised where I had, apparently, given up.

Halloween evening gave me an icon of myself and my life: I’m hunched over my roses bushes, choosing what I can save, clipping bud and blossom to bring a remnant inside against the threat of snow. Above, the sky darkening, piling cloud upon cloud, the wind stiffening, the north and west already black. Snow fell through the night and one woke to winter. I moved in during a snow storm, so this isn’t a first for this house. 51 isn’t cozy: too many rooms have two or three walls which are mostly 90 year old windows. Tiny spiders, one of them pale green, were hidden in the petals of the roses I brought inside. I leave them to their fates. They can ride out with the spent petals if they hang on that long. Haven’t looked at the gardens, but they’re under an inch of snow and one is not hopeful. That’s human life, isn’t it? Hoping that THIS frost doesn’t kill everything, knowing that one of them, sooner or later, will.

Main Street in Waynesville was thronged with costumed families trick-or-treating. It was lovely.

Took a Facebook quiz meant to determine what state should have been my home state.  I got Alaska, and almost immediately thereafter messages saying, “Yes, that’s right for you; you need open space and quiet.” These were from near-strangers, and I wondered “how the hell would you know that?”

Late afternoon, and it’s still snowing. The roads are clear, so I don’t fear for tonight’s performance. Tom and I sat in Starbucks writing Country songs.

Troubadours on the CD.