Saturday, November 11, 2006
Here we go again
In my struggle with italic fonts--I think I'm finally getting it, though I'll have to use Roman for the time being--I halfway lost where I was going with my poor play. Like many another half- wit, I am no stranger to Popular Mechanics, most idiots having a mechanical bent in the first place.
But this here permutation of Mr. Boole's algebra, let alone html tags, has me totally begaffled.
So the best I can do is clear up all my horrible typos in the last post and follow R. J. Baker's suggestion as to my last couple of lines.
OK. OK. I'll put the italics in later; I might even indenture my poor son to put them into the professor's soliloque--but then I'm already working on Scene II of Act V and I cannot lose the speed and fury of the attack.
So here we go again with more or less the same post as THE WITCH DUNKER HIMSELF DUNKED, but with some of the embarrassing typos cleaned up. I'll get rid of what I'd put up just under this post as soon as I figure out how to delete...Do you find too, dear readers, that when you are separated from somebody, simple things like tying your shoelaces--are impossible to do. How the *&^% do we ever survive anyway, and to add a fatalist note, what's the f*cking point?
My late father comes to the rescue with a ghostly quote: "Because the world is beautiful. Look at it. Look at it!
..."And you're going to meet people, beautiful people. You have no idea of what is yet to come."
Ah, my poor father:
Prodigal son, divorced, middle-aged f*ck-up, comes to sleep among the swine, is given a ring and a hundred thousand dollars and he pawns the ring and drinks the hundred thousand dollars.
But again, I hear my wonderful father's voice from the grave, wonderful, forgiving, talented genius father:
"It was one of your options, Ivan. Do you think I would mind? Eat, drink and be merry. That's what it was all there for."
Why do we wonder, with Dostoevsky, that we are not engineer, teachers, lawyers, instead of pursuing this mad thing called writing.
Fyodor Dostoevky never pulls any punches: "Because we are all closet bumfuckers, that's why.
"--Sorry to mangle your quote, Fyodor, fellow Kievan, but that was the sense of it. Most men are into drinking and buggery?
I am halfway sure that many of you ladies out there would agree.
Anyway, best I can do right now, deriving artificial life from coffee, cigarettes and booze, is to at least clean up the typos in the previous post and follow a suggestion of R. J. Baker's at the end of the scene, though I've varied the suggestion a bit.
--Ivan the Horrible.
Ah, the play's the thing.
My play, The Fire in Bradford, Act V, scene 1
The permutations of unrequited love.
One makes moutains out of molehills.
One gets confusing letters, like those from Celia to the professor:
Yes, its too bad. Too bad the way it turned out for us. You're sitting there in your lonely room, rejected. And yet there is this love. Surely,with your education, the various languages, you must have come across philosophy.
There is the Platonic love that I have for you. I love you only so far as out social circumstances will allow.
I love you spiritually. We can love each other, but we'll have to turn this thing into the spiritual.
I have felt so bad after that time we got together at the Grey Goat, where I made it plain in no uncertain terms that we could'nt be together any more. And there is only one way I can sign this note. With love.
please don't assume that things are that all right between us. Don't assume anything. There has been a change. We can stay together as before, but it'll be on my terms. My terms...Celia.
Well. While it may be true with Kierkegaard that the business of love is to indeed make mountains out of molehills, this was a pretty tall molehill.
So now we set up Act V, Scene One in our ongoing play.
THE FIRE IN BRADFORD ACT V, Scene One
Interior scene of the professor in his apartment. He is extremely agitated. Paces from corner to corner, hitting
a shin on the edge of the antique coffee table, yelling OW, sitting down and finally taking up a corner where the typewriter sits. He begins typing.
The professor's voiceover:
I just got your last note. This is confusing.
My turn to write, but by the time you will have read it, you might wonder whether to laugh or cry.
It has struck me over this past long weekend that all is not hunky-dory in the state of Denmark, allusions to ethnic origins and Newfoundland be damned. My ifeboat seems to have this great big hole in it, and I'm not sure whether you can appear as your usual fetching self in a U-boat uniform or, more accutately, be my angel of the mists who has only now guided me to a firm shore. The lifboat is, at any rate safely moored, but I've been feeling for the longest time that I'd been torpedoed.
When we first met, really met, I was a bit like the hero out of Simon and Garfunkel, was a rock, was an island , was fairly insular in myself, needing little that stemmed from elsewhere; the asbestos suit was on snugly and some of the king's horses and men had succeeded in doing a fair patch job on old Daniel.
Then along came Celia. Well. I went from a fairly self-possessed man of 47 to a love-struck young paranoid of 18 who possessed all the filigree of love without its frruit and enjoying all the pain even so.
You had me hooked, almost grounded and on the road to even more obscurity than I already possess. The situation was hopeless, no man would touch it with a ten-foot pole, but I would, for I was and am deeply attracted to you as we are both alike, and like tends to attract like, right down to the multiple personalities, changes of appearance, attempts at being Honore' de Cossack, guitar playing, stroking, hugging, making strange warm love somewhere on the far side of the moon.
We were and are (even after these twelve months), in the first stages of falling in love, and I do mean love, for I am so much like you-- and do people like you and I ever "fall" in love? We, probably, each of us, consider the world as our playground for our various schemes, our "collecting hearts like notches on a gun", as you once put it.
Ah but even aliens fall in love, and we soon developed a pretty strong mutual admiration society of two.Strangers in a strange land, fairy folk we were, romantics in a fairly ugly and acquisitive world.
I was delighted to get your letters, nicely written, well thought out, neat as pins.
Then came a change. I found myself totally unprepared to have you write to me like a much younger woman, perhaps a girl of 22 rather than an experienced woman of 34. The letters became lovelorny, a little broady, Dear Abby, referencs to collecting hearts like notches on a gun and a quick denial of same, the mark of a hand used to dealing with younger men of a long time back, in a style of hearts and flowers that began to have less and less refrence to experienced people--us-- people who know what it is to walk through fire, to even trade their bodies in situations that sometimes surely approach World War Three, while strangely possessing an altruism, perhaps even an unselfish concern for the other, to, in your own worlds, "get us back to whre we belong."
But I'm starting to hae' me doots.
Perhaps your letters were so practised, so direct and full of unmistakable knowledge of their effects that there was no mistake as to the message sent and to the message that would be received.
You were telling me that we could only be friends, that sex outside your marriage was out of the question, that our love could only be spiritual, all the things you tell a man who is afraid of women, who gets their egos up and is not
really all there, not really grown up, an ingenue, perhaps like our dtinking friend John, though I am not sure.
Now, I have enough fear to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I also know that it's much easier to deal with the father of a child whom your dog has bitten, rather than the wife. Yes, Lief is the man, certainly by contract and financial arrangements and he is infinitely easy to deal with because there is no doubt that Lief and I like each other...:Yet in the words that lovers say to each other at night, when the reveal everything, and I do mean everything, the sublect of old Daniel comes up and Celia is told to the last detail as to wha to do or say.
Yet I know you are making a hellish sacrifice by cleaving onto me with fair appraisal of the consequences, and that kind of loyalty has tobe appreciated. And yet and yet. We come to the bone of contention.
When we first met, you said you would find a way. Later, when I brought up the subject of sex in what was then your "open marriage", you said it was "only sex", perhaps a mere filip or two-in a casual relationhip.
Well. Along comes a developing Daniel, halfway a teacher and halway and alcohol-crazed wild man, driven half-mad by a woman's beauty, not used at all to a woman who will, yet she won't--too used to having women make the first move and not the other way around; I am vain and spoiled, like you, from carrying the auras of too many lovers, and they all had been complementary, coming to me first and not the other way around.
So I was secure in knowing the ways of relationships, certainly my past relationships, too secure I was, and did not go to you soon enough and here we are at this impasse, where the man struggles with the teacher, explaining to the woman why certain things are inappropriate, are just gauche, while at the same time trying to commit those very acts. (The sober Daniel is different fromthe tipsy Daniel, much as the sober Celia is different from the wonderful blues-loving doll that you really are).
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
Methinks the lady has explored all her entuitive machinery, which involves a man's income, social position, access to power, personal attraciveness , all of that and the lady has found old Daniel wanting; she will not have sex outside the marriage, she now says, at least not with Daniel.
But the chilling thought comes: What if sex is possible within the marriage, you with me and the inevitable lies to Lief that must come to hold the marriage together?...Take a drink of something bracing.
I am not any more modest than I should be. I am not any more naif than I should be. I am a writer like you, hungry for truth, but if I practice duplicity routinely among my friends and lovers, I cannot make the words come straight and clear, because my heart would not be straight and clear and so I am reduced to the mass of men and women who long ago made their emotional and financial compromise, so therefore I cannot write with all my heart and also my spirit, for onlly half of me would now be dedicated to the task.
So if there is a sourness to my mood, an effeminacy in my style through the halting way I now move and act, it is not because I am still one more teenager looking for ginch, but because I am a writer and a man, not a truckdriver, not a jock, but a man who has had some sort of impact on the world. And not for me the emotional callousness in a world of fleshy Fitzgerald characters who go around and devour each other and everytyhing around them, a world ot the devourers and the devoured.
Many years ago, my then wife, watching me struggling with an angel, said she was witnessing the breakdown of a once-fine man, and in fact, that was the case. She was not a dull woman.
That man has since broken and mended and he is not a semi-literate fuckup that falls heavily for a bit of bait and then has to be treated like a clerk at the take-out.
I have long obsereved you as a person and a writer, an ambitious person, not at all a littlle bit of fluff, a woman of ambition, drive, talent. But there is this unnatural attractiveness that you have. And for women as well as men. This fact gets all the sisty-uglers upset and then you get treated like Cindarella at the cinders, much like I myself have been treated like Cinderfella by my own sisty-uglers.
You are not a sisty-ugler, but a beauiful woman trying to reach her proper place. For Christ' sake, get us back to where we belong. I am running short of patience, too old for much more of the waiting game and I am audacious enough to make some demands and set down a contract.
Okay, here is the swagger:
The conditions of the contract between you and me run nothing short of unconditional adulation. This is the contract. You will revolve around me, not the other way around, kiss my ass on request and be my woman, putting her man forward and not being a millstone around his neck, his badge of being inducted into Celia's Pain Club.
I aim to be your lord and master and the time has come to separate sheep from men. I will not be your uncle, I will not be enslaved like poor old Lief as he watches you change into more and more of a tyrant the older you get. For make no mistake about it, when a woman has these dikey independence famtasies and moves right into them,, when she goes to night classes to find all the unusual men, she risks the convent and the the house of the rising sun.
There is a way out for both of us in a love that promises to be much larger than last year's bestseller. I do not expect you to change overnight, nor do I try to coerce you into a roll in the hay just by fluffing some of my sharpest feathers. I want you to love me as I know you really do. I expect youto be perfectly honest in telling me whom you're invloved with besides Lief and me. I am not a wimp, nor a dweeb, nor a homosexual, your strange preference in men to date. I am a man, a damn good one and that is the source of your roil and occasional spurts of poison as you seen to roll of the anima jof your own animlus. Hell indeed has not fury like a woman scorned., I don't mean to scorn you,Celia, I just don't want to be in a contract where you get everything and I get nothing, literally nothing.
Yes, yes, I have robbed Lief's pantry and sampled some of his goods. I see a hell of a good man in Leif and I blame you not at all for still being with him. But it's how you stick with him. I am not the only threat to a marriage in which the initial trust is broken. Please do not cry, for I have been there and it will take a hell of a lot more tears and a hell of a lot more years until it's all reselved. I have been successful int totally destroying a lover of my ex -wife's, am experienced at it, and I am, Machiavellian as the thought is, perfectly capable of destroying Lief. But If I were to destory Lief, it would be not to me that you would go, but to somebody else.
Leve me, love me unconditionally in a form you can find and stop this high school confidential bullshit I am still the naive, slightly incompetent Inspector Cluseau of the literary world that you had initially met, though a little older now and vrey much in love with you. Find away.Find a way for both of us.
STAGE BUSINESS: There is a drip coming from the ceiling, a drop of some strange liquid, posibly bath water,hitting he professor at the crown of his head. He wipes the top of his head and looks up. The drip is fast gaining in frequency.
He raches into the corner for a broom. He holds the broom cornside down, lifts it,and begins tapping on the ceiling.
Professor: Hey. Hey. What's going on up there?
There is no response. Bath water is now dripping all over his studio.
SOUND EFFECTS. Running water, sloshing sound. Sudden crash as a window flies open. Leaves blow in.
Daniel moves towards the window and sees a cloaked young woman running. More leaves now start covering the professor's face and jacket. The overhead dripping continues and down comes something like a turd washed yellow.
The professor is losing the battle with the drips, and now the little turds.
The door to his bathroom is open. It is well lit. The wetness dos not go here. He goes to the bathroom doorway, tuns towards the audience.
Professor (turning to the audience, arms outstretched, from the bathroom doorway): Shit. Baby shit!
I've become King Lear!
...........end Act V, Scene one