13 April 2011

April 13, 2011

Sometimes we are sappy because being sappy is the truth. Sometimes we get so good at acting natural that we stop acting human. A human clams up when a camera is pointed at them; an actor gets into character.

If you’ve never read Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” I think it’s worth your time. It’s the most entertaining anti-plot fiction I’ve ever read. I want to take it apart and find out how it works, why I care so much about what’s going on, why I keep turning pages. (I take full responsibility if you hate it. Please submit your complaint to my email address along with a scanned receipt of your book purchase (on or after this date) and I’ll see about getting you your money back)

Nothing happens the whole time.

But that’s not really true. I guess things happen. People come and go, they talk and then they leave. There are conversations — loads of conversations. Dialog you could cut your skin on. When we say, “Nothing happens,” I think what we mean is, “Nothing changes.” Which it doesn’t.

The play is absurdist, a movement that started in the 19th century. Just after the industrial revolution.

That’s important. That last thing I just said.

I’ve been thinking a lot about tortured artists. How we idolize them. How we need them. How we love our Cobains, our Wallaces, our Berrymans. We love them for how much they suffer, as if they were actually suffering for us, as if their suffering was as much a gift as their work, as if it somehow made their work more honest. And when they finally kill themselves, when someone finds the body, we love to mourn over them, to grieve over what the world lost. It feels so real. So immediate. So weirdly inevitable.

I was reading an interview with David Foster Wallace’s widow. She was saying, “It was just one day. He was just having a bad day that day.”

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