I've only been in Idaho again for this past week and already it feels as though I've been away for months. I've living my life right now in hiccups, snap-elections and immersive experiences, constantly losing sight of the last rich tapestry of sensory-overload just as soon as that next one clobbers me and wraps me up inside, like Cleopatra, ready to be bustled off and dropped at the feet of some other Roman.
...I saw Boise Contemporary Theatre's "The Physics of Regret" last night. It was an ensemble-created work crafted over the course of 2 years, and while I saw much that was worthwhile and provocative, I did not see enough to draw the work together as a whole, not on the same scale as the ambition of the piece, which obviously impelled it across two years, the landing of various grants and a striking design process.
But it was enough to remind me that this was exactly the kind of theatre I want--the strong, meticulously crafted design, the intimate ensemble, the sense of grown-up pro's workign with everything they've got. No choking back to make the lesser scene partner look better. No dumbing-down for the lowest-common-audience denominator. Complex ideas. Complicated characters. And risking enough to clearly fail means that the stakes if you succeed are that much sweeter. Goddammit, THAT'S WHAT I WANT.
So now I'm leafing through yet more plays, looking for more monologues, stoking this precious kindling of frank ambition, cupped in my hands like a match in the wind. My roster of Books here In Idaho now includes a much larger, richer proportion of plays than is even otherwise my wont. I'm hungry for more.
I have to be careful with this frank ambition, though. Too often and too quickly I can easily smother it all by comprehending too much from the top of the trail, and sinking in resignation at the face of so many obstacles--funding, casting, organizaqtion, finding playing spaces, scheduling, marketing--all stuff I've hardly begun to conceive of. Patience, and a careful pace of constructing myself such as to be able to undertake all of these things in due course, are my only conceivable responses right now... I must bide my time, audition, and keep learning...
It is good to be on the road again. Never mind the petty nuisances of this tour; for myself, for my core, the road is a patient and most salutary physician.
The trappings and assortments of who I am fold together, if not neatly, then with conspicuous readiness. Details clarify. Scales fall away from the eyes. Shape and color return to the husk of discipline; my boots almost lace themselves. Like Epaminondas rationalizing the tattered mess of Greece, so now I feel myself avidly mucking about, preparing the way for some new, unsuspected Alexander to burst across my world....
More than anything else, I’m even a bit relieved that what amounts to a sea change is now taking place in the otherwise glacial progression of events in my family’s world; and nothing less than this sort of sea change is absolutely necessary before I can begin to resolve anything.
This gives me pause, though. My housemate S is endlessly fascinated by the strange, idiosyncratic gestures or conditions that I’m always waiting for people to meet before I agree to do anything. Witness the College Letters. Petty etiquette, it would seem at first glance, except that, for me, forms and appearances tend to mean a great deal more, like icebergs foreshadowing entire continents of intentions, hidden in obfuscatory mist.
Sometimes, I suspect the nascent roots of a tentatively obsessive-compulsive, or perhaps even a manic propensity. Even this very suspicion can be a symptom of the cause. Needless to say, this is something I can’t help but monitor.
As it bears upon my mother, I feel as though I’ve been waiting for just this development to empower my renewed involvement in her affairs; hence, it is rather more, in my opinion, than simply a petty desire to spite my mother by my being absent for so long, and only now coming to her aid.
But the aforementioned manic piece of me makes a hash of this. I hold my self, and my motives, irretrievably suspect, just as my mother does. Would matters have detiorated so badly—would so much have been wasted over time—if I had just taken a more vigorously active role in my Mom’s care? Would I personally be a happier person? Would my Mom be happier, healthier? Such questions keep me humble.
The waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge are all frozen, or nearly so. Multnomah Falls is a thin streak of whitewater, thickly emblazoned with bursts of frozen cascades. I remember a quietly delightful picnic, a handful of years ago, sharing a basket with you on a beautiful summer day. I am impatient to see such days again...
- The Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis
- Arguments with England by Michael Blakemore
- My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
- The History of Astronomy: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Hoskins
- Break Blow Burn by Camille Paglia
- Dianne Reeves, "Good Night and Good Luck"
- Bettye Lavette, "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise"
- Kathleen Edwards, "Back to Me"
- Amadou and Mariam, "Dimanche a Bamanko"
- Steve Earle, "El Corazon"
- Dusty Springfield, "Dusty in Memphis"
* * *
I'm very scared right now. Some major shifts are finally happening on my Mom's side of my family, things that are years overdue, things that I've been waiting for. The other shoe is dropping, and some massive responsibilities are coming down my way. I've been wanting this, and I have no idea how to manage any of it.
I had a long conversation in my car with an old friend and former castmate, about the sense and meanings of discipline, as the notion applies to my art and my life. I sat there, behind my steering wheel, groping for words to articulate the nebulous synthesis of philosophy and meaning that I'm slowly working towards consummating in myself. No, I'm not sure what any of it means, but I do know it means everything and more to me. ("Was that our exit? Let's take the long way.")
Today was a long day that ended a long and difficult week.
I saw defunkt theatre's production of "Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights" tonight, and it moved and burned something in me, albeit much primed by the aforementioned. I walked home from the theatre with a wan and pierced frame, wounded by the final tableux, mortified at how hurtful it was to remember why I loved someone that no longer loves me. "Lights, Lights," everyone cries, at the end of that play-within-the-play.
I've begun a new journal. I am quietly pleased by the letters arriving in my post office box. I am in a bit of a mood.
I'm reading portions of Donald Kagan's history, "The Peloponnesian War", a surprisingly detailed and sophisticated account that makes Thucydides look like a tabloid columnist. While driving through the basins of Idaho and the rough slopes of eastern Oregon, my mind wanders through the Aegean, ticking off the lights on the horizon with ancient names: Potidaea, Mantinea, Pylos, Epidaurus, Piraeus, Megara. I am heavy with the old sadness, that comes with realizing how little we've changed, how well-worn the paths of foolishness are. I am still sailing the wine-dark sky.