Nowadays audience participation is so much a part of radio and some
other forms of performance. Less so in writing, but I’m struck by how often
people who subscibes to the Hereabouts come to visit. The Norns tug on a
string and suddenly here that person is, chatting with the World Famous Fowl.
This weekend we had J. visiting. She has what in, “The Return of Martin
Guerre” was called, “La memoire des doigts,” the memory of fingers. Ask her to
play a tune on the piano and there’s a good chance she’ll be able to, so we had
a bit of a nineteenth century evening, with singing and music.
Of our two pianos, J. prefers the Bauer grand. Our piano tuner, by
contrast, is convinced the upright Chickering is the better piano. I went to
school with a fellow named Bauer. I believe Bauer means small farmer or even
peasant. If so, it's a funny name for a piano. Chickering was originally
Chickering and Mackay, so there’s a Scottish connection. Chickerings were
built in a space vacated by the Spencer Repeating Rifle company, a firearm that
was vital on the first day of Gettysburg. The web says Chickering invented a
new “deflection” of the strings, and was awarded a medal by Napoleon III.
That’s all I know about that.
Change of subject. This is apparently the time of year when my wife
and I buy new cars. We did it once in 1987 and here we are doing it again.
Almost a habit. Given this consumer spending stimulus, it’s a near certainty
that the stock market will rebound on Monday. I mentioned this to the chickens
and they nodded sagely. Mimo’s view is that stocks are like puppies, “They do
a lot of bounding.”
“And *re*bounding,” Appenzeller added, helpfully.
Pecorino wanted to know what a stock is.
Mimo said they hang from the roundy roundy drying thing in the yard, and gods
put them on their feet.
Pecorino, “So what with the bounding and rebounding?”
The wise old sages moved on to more important matters. Like food.
I learned last week that current thinking is Hegel and the dialectic
no longer go together like a horse and carriage. Ditto Marx. I stepped
outside to complain that my sense of Dialectic Materialism had suffered a
battering. Having lost confidence after the issue of stocks had been talked
out, Mimo decided that predation would be a better subject. “Bugger
Materialism,” she began, “dialetical or otherwise. What we want to know is
what you are going to do about this here predation threat?’
Apparently while we were gone last weekend some animal had become emboldened
and Mimo wanted to be sure that she would continue to be defended by the dog’s
pee and pooh perimeter. I said Hamish is hard at work, “defending you with
scents and scents’ abilities.”
Mimo was not amused.
The new play is stalled. This is partly a matter of catching up on all
I postponed, but also it’s the kind of moment of re-evaluation that has
happened in the genesis of earlier plays. At this point the question arises:
do I really have a reason for finishing this? It’s one thing to draft amusing
dialog and smile to yourself; it’s another to ask actors and a director to
commit their energy and time to an endeavor. I imagine that everyone who has
written for stage or screen has this moment. Since commercial success is not
the measure, I fall back on trying not to waste anyone’s time.
I am surely not the only person to notice a resemblance between places
where people spend the final period of their lives and world of motels and
airports. It’s as if everone travels towards death. No doubt when you get to
the Pearly Gates there will be a queue, and someone with forms of the sort they
slide across the counter when you have to file a claim because the handlers
damaged or lost your bag.
I once finished a novel that began with such a scene. An literary
agent read it and said it seemed to be a version of, “Candide.” I told her,
“That’s because it *is* a version of Candide.” She said, “Do you really think
the world wants another version of ‘Candide’ right now?” “No,” I wanted to
say. “That’s why I write…to annoy the world.”
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