Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23, 2016

Eerie flat whiteness all across my yard, unmarred by any bird or animal track. I myself moved about in the snow a good deal yesterday, but all that is buried and smoothed by wind and further snow. The one exception is on the porch, right up against the living room windows, where there are human footprints. They are not mine. They are quite small, as if they were a child’s. Someone was watching through my window. Was I there? If I am upstairs I can’t hear someone knocking, but–
Have been thinking about J’s play, and the works I heard in Omaha, and my own work, trying to distinguish what it is I mean when I say a play is good or important. I certainly don’t mean that it will be, necessarily, popular. I don’t even mean that it’s “entertaining” in any objective way, though I certainly find following its turns and intricacies entertaining. I can be bored from time to time in plays I admire, just as one might be at odd moments in the greatest production of the greatest work in the world. I mean they are fulfilling, as a good workout fulfills the body. “Fun,” in the way–the apparently curious way–I intend the word, as much participatory as receptive. The issue comes up in Cantaria when people cry to sing music that’s “fun.” What they mean by this is show tunes and ditties you can put into a drag show, and I honestly don’t see what’s “fun” about them. Are people equating “fun” with “effortless”? Many plays I’ve loved have real problems, real holes and lapses, but that it because they have dared so much. “Polish” isn’t part of it. I worry about polish when I’m disappointed in the play and turn my attention to production values.  Maybe I’m finally on the verge of dividing “art” from “entertainment” in my own mind, though I believe that my own “mature” work has been the effort to marry the two, as Shakespeare did. Figure out the difference just as you obliterate the difference.

Music of the Spanish Renaissance on CD, bought at the National Gallery, Dublin.
Dream before waking. I had been doodling and writing in the Ellet High cafeteria. I got up to get something, and an important theater producer had come by and seen where I had written about plans for a big production of Washington Place. She was standing there when I returned, beaming, pointing to the page and saying, “Yes, this all will happen.” Then a beautiful red-haired man sat down beside me and lay his hand against my ribs. He said, “”Give me time to read the inside.”

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