August 08, 2005
THAT ROPE AROUND THE NECK OF LUCKY...
I had no idea who Samuel Beckett was when I first saw Waiting for Godot. And I didn't understand a damn thing about what was going on, or not going on in that play. And I didn’t really care, one way or the other. For that day, I felt as if I had had a revelation. Not a very clear one. Not one that specifies the way to go now. But something clicked that day. Or, as Arsene explains to Watt, something slipped ... suddenly somewhere some little thing slipped some little tiny thing ... It was a slip like that I felt .... millions of little things moving all together out of their old place, into a new one nearby, and furtively, as though it were forbidden.
In the French version Beckett put it this way:
... soudain quelque part il glissa quelque chose, une petit quelque chose, un infime quelque chose .... c’est ce genre de glissement que je ressentis ... des millions de petites choses s’en allant toutes ensemble de leur vieille place dans une nouvelle tout à côté, et sournoisement, comme si c’était défendu.
When I first saw Lucky enter the stage with that long rope tied around his neck which extended off-stage before Pozzo appeared, and as I stared at Lucky bent under the weight of what he was carrying and the rope pulling at his neck, I thought, what courage, what daring, what guts this writer has to show us something so horrible and yet make us laugh.
Yes, I heard laughter in the theater when Lucky entered on stage. He was such a preposterous figure. And I heard that laughter every time I saw Lucky enter on stage with that rope around his neck. I think that’s what caused the slip in me. That rope around the neck of Lucky.
It felt as if that rope was around my neck. Holding me back from where I was supposed to go. And yet, I too laughed.
This is how Beckett wrote the stage directions: Pozzo drives Lucky by means of a rope passed round his neck, so that Lucky is the first to appear, followed by the rope which is long enough to allow him to reach the middle of the stage before Pozzo appears. Lucky carries a heavy bag, a folding stool, picnic basket and a greatcoat. Pozzo a whip.
It took many years for me to understand what had slipped in me when I first saw Waiting for Godot. But when I understood what it was, I also understood how I must write my books – write them with a sense of the horrible mixed with laughter. What I eventually called Laughterature.
claus·tro·pho·bi·a (klôstr-fb-) n. - Abormal fear of being in narrow or enclosed spaces.
Claustrophobics are pansies. Just kidding. Well, sort of. I was claustrophobic at one time, back in the day. You want a cure for claustrophobia? Try being paralyzed. Seriously. That will alleviate all of your concerns about confined spaces. There is no tighter space to be trapped inside of than your own skin. It's enough to make the strongest mind go crazy. It's like a straitjacket for your entire body. You can't feel much of anything, and what you can feel is extremely hypersensitive. I swear I have some sort of Spidey-Sense in the parts that I can feel. Every sound is magnified, every taste glorified, every vision clearer, every touch intensified.
Before I was injured, most of the things I notice now I had never even thought twice about. I lay awake at night, driven absolutely crazy by the smallest itch I can't scratch. For example, with any sort of air movement, I can tell you precisely where I have a piece of dry skin on my face. At any given moment, I can also tell you exactly how many eyelashes have fallen out onto my cheeks, as well as their exact location. I can tell you literally every part of my shoulder blades that touch the bed at all times. Just the slightest discomfort can bring you to tears at times, because you lay there helpless, with no way to fix whatever the problem is.
Since that is the situation I find myself in quite often, and mainly around three in the morning when everyone is asleep, I have become a master of my own style of meditation. I have somehow figured out how to ignore the things that make me want to claw my eyes out, for the most part. And I thought I was a strong-willed and focused person BEFORE I got hurt. Now that's laughable. I should be a Buddhist monk by now, considering what I am able to endure. It's amazing what you can handle when you when you literally have no choice. Become a quadriplegic, and you become a freakin' Zen master, I swear.
6:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | On paralysis
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!
You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.
There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.
Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
'Thought & Humor'
P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
'Thought & Humor' by Howdy
CyberRiddles for your divertissement!!!