“Is it actually true that Christopher Columbus gave false information to his sailors regarding the position of his ship so they couldn’t find their way back, in the event of a mutiny?” -Sam Shepard, Day Out Of Days
Should forever immagine the Lands further off are Still better than those upon which they are already settled… (-errors and/or typos from original text)
Took a break (from) reading this book the other day. It was one of them rare, early hot summer days in Germania. Drove to a dam to have lunch, catch the sites. But all this sort of thing does is make me remember. Reminded by so many indigenous tourists in their getaway vehicles. Motorcycles fill the streets. Illegally parked cars line the already thin mountainous roads. Bikni clad blondes and guttural hipsters with the whitest skin you’ve seen walk to the dams freezing waters and minimal shores. Good times, youthful days, take advantage while you can, youth. Their boats and canoes and dinghies with mis-matching ores paddle around the man-made lake’s icy surface–they do so just like the worker-bees driving their autobahns, the people they are waiting to become. It’s been a while since I thought about days missed. And not just youth. Days where I could finish a job, get off work, start my bike and take a ride. The days where all I wanted to do was drive around on my motorcycle. Waste life–as it was meant to be lived. The only purposeful accomplishment being the females laid or the child birthed or aborted. When the perpetual winter breaks in this part of Eurowasteland, few and far between, that’s when the reminders come to me. Reminders to get a bike again, this time get a BMW R1200GS. Put some luggage on it, get it with those fog lights, an iPhone connection, drive and drive more, take it to my home, my real home across the Atlantic where highways lead to the nowhere they should. And do it like Shepard has done it.
The German issue of this book is called “Drehtage”. Roughly translated Drehtage means the days when a film is shot, when actors and crew work on a film. Also, “Day Out of Days” according to Wiki, is a chart used by filmmakers to tally the number of days worked on a film. I mention this, dear worst-reader, because this book feels like Sam Shepard, in the most beautiful and vibrant way, is chronicling his days while working on a film. The film that comes to mind is Don’t Come Knocking. This book also makes me wonder if Shepard, who is America’s greatest living playwright, let’s his mind wonder and dabble in the idear of writing a novel–which I don’t believe he’s ever done, or at least he’s never published. This is a book of stories but it almost feels like a novel. An exhilarating, poetic, chaotic and comical novel. The only (wondrous) problem with Shepard’s humour, though, is that he seems to think finding a severed head on the side of a road and carrying that head as though his protagonist is a slave to it is funny. The head threads all the stories in this book together. It is a brilliant literary tactic by Shepard.
This book reminds me of one more thing. I remember reading a Shepard interview many, many years ago, where he vehemently claims he does not write using computers. He said something about he could never get used to what he writes disappearing. That said, I believe he is a blogger in the truest sense. This work proves that. Not only does it read like a novel, as some blogs can, but it also reads as a journal where a writer writes always. If Shepard were ever reduced to blogging, this amalgamation of entries would fit right in. If he’s reduced to the writing brilliance that he clearly possesses, well, that’s even cooler.
Nomatter. Seriously. Brilliant. Read.
Links (thorough reviews):
Watched August: Osage County the other night. So. Get prepared, dear worst-reader. This is gonna be a tumbler. Well. Maybe not.
Follow-up to this post here.
First. Julia Roberts can’t say the word fuck. She just can’t. I swear, in this film she tries, she really tries. But every time those innocent broad lips open up all one can see, because astonishment clouds sound, is her promoting that well-branded laugh that somehow spews effortlessly through a mouth that seems to have no end to its width and a limitless shine to those teeth. This woman, like the burden of the smile of a Dolphin, will forever be associated with the burden of one thing and one thing only. That laugh she barks in her bourgeoisie portrayal of how much fun it is to be a whore… Well. Nuff said.
Oh yeah, the smile. Roberts goes for cursing all the same but this time instead of taking the sure way she just spews the word fuck–through the same mouth so many people adore. And when she calls her dying mother–with nothing less than that same mouth: “you fucking bitch”, I couldn’t help but imagine a beautiful little girl finishing kindergarten and given an opportunity to speak at her graduation where she says the same thing to her lost and lonely teacher. You fucking bitch. Indeed, dear worst-reader. There’s seriously something wrong with that picture and with Julie Roberts struggling to say the word fuck. But more. There’s something wrong with the lack of astonishment from the Julia Roberts adoring world. Because. Hey. She’s Julia Roberts.
Second. The best thing about this movie is Juliett Lewis’ portrayal of a husband hunting bimbo. She really nailed it and I never thought she could do that again because she already did it so well in the movie Kalifornia across from Brad Pitt. Hats off to her!
And as far as… what’s her name goes… what’s her name? Oh yeah, Meryl Streep. As far as Streep goes, I saw cracks in her sunglasses and I think, if I were to re-rent this film on iTunes, I might be able to even prove exactly where those cracks are–because if you look closely when she fakes her smoking, the smoke comes through the cracks of her glasses. Seriously. Oh wait. iTunes doesn’t allow you to do anything with rented movies except watch them within 24hrs of starting them… Wait. Does Meryl Streep know this?
But enough about worst-writer’s attempt at criticizing a film. That sort of thing is better left to others more privileged. Still. I can’t wait to download the play and give it a read. Tracy Letts has obviously nailed it with his play. Transferring it to film went pretty well, too. Since the movie starts with Sam Shepard, a writer I (used to) read religiously–especially his plays–I couldn’t help but compare this play-to-film transfer to Shepard’s own Fool For Love, which was transferred way back in 1985. Short pause…
Warning: slight spoiler alert.
Of course the moment in Osage County when my thoughts of Shepard were sealed was when I realized that there was an incestuous affair about to be revealed. The same thing, of course, is in Shepard’s play Fool For Love. So. Tracy Letts was influenced by Shepard. Or? Goodness. I hope so.
Either way this was a beautiful film that I thoroughly enjoyed watching from start to end. Brilliant writing, acting and cinematography. I also thought it was a bit strange to categorize this film as a comedy. Seriously. A comedy? There are a few funny moments, especially the brawl between Streep and Roberts, where, after the film, I got to thinking that it wasn’t funny at all. If I could question Letts about his play it would be why he chose to put obvious male mind-set characters into female bodies. But that doesn’t really matter. He’s got a female name and so does his dead dramatic patriarch. All hands clap for men named Beverly.
Early morning. Sun coming up. Groggy. I quit drinking coffee and the black tea takes longer to get me going. Quick reddit read woke me, though. Luv Sam Shepard and wish I was in Toronto. Here thoughts churned:
Not afraid to admit it: Spent most of my adult life dreaming. Big mistake there. But then again, the price (I paid) of freedom and independence is a price worth paying. No matter how poor it makes me. Would do it all again. For there is no greater sacrifice than being true to yourself. If only more people could do that. There would be less “success” in this misconstrued world but there would also be less of the nothingness we have to live with now. Wait. Reverse and twist that. And enough about me.
The problem with dreaming is that you are basically stuck in a box that has one hole in it. It is thru that hole that you consume your dreams. Not unlike a theatre, the hole being where/how the dream is viewed, dreaming, and especially living for a dream, can be very tricky. In fact, the trick is to not let that hole drive you mad. Well. I found a way to control the madness. It was in the form of documenting. Now this is kind of hard to explain, dear worst-reader, but let’s give it a go. I did not document the dreams, per say. What I did to curb/control the madness of youth, the paradox of freedom and being forced to make a living, was a complete waste of time, but I always grabbed something to write with–either pen and paper or a typewriter. And off to the races to nowhere I went.
Fast forward 15 wasted or so years. Looking back is ok. I mean, I’m ok with all that I wasted for a dream. Because when I think about the wondrous dreams of someone else, someone who was and still is able to master that hole… I mean his dreams, I am ok. (But I’m back on me again ain’t I? Sorry.) Sam Shepard saved my life when I was about 28 years old. I used to buy his plays to read even if it meant I couldn’t fill up my shit car with gas. I reckon it’s kinda sad I don’t read them anymore. But like I said. That hole beats you down.
I am forever indebted to this man’s work.
- 6 amazing photos of shep you’ve likely never seen | Stella Artois Presents: The Playwright Project
- the playwright | Stella Artois Presents: The Playwright Project
- Sam Shepard – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- the artists and plays | Stella Artois Presents: The Playwright Project
The God Of Hell by Sam Shepard
The hardest thing about living abroad for so long is not so much the distance and proximity I’ve put between myself and home. The whole idear of home has become an enigma anyway. The real problem has been watching the place closest to my heart from the outside for more than twenty years. Strange travels indeed. In the beginning the air I breathed and walked was full of everything wrong, misleading, false-optimism and blindness. I was suffocating so I ran from the America of the 80s where the seed of greed was allowed to spawn and mutate freely. And then the Cold War ended. You would think that such a positive, happy, great-ending would change people. But it didn’t. It made everything worse. Everyone immediately started squandering any potential dividends of that war. And. Their mis-efforts made Das Volk even more stupid. So I continued watching from abroad. I reckon there lies the seriousness of it all. People of all walks of life just didn’t do much about the changing of the times. They all just stuck to the path set for them. That was it. Nothing else. But not for me. I had put myself on an edge because I couldn’t take the mediocrity and the mendacity that so many thought acceptable. As though life, liberty and everything else was just a transaction. So I went to Berlin and London and Köln and Prague. And with every trip I read The Harold Tribune, Time Magazine, etc. Every hotel I tuned in CNN. I did everything to see what was happening back home as my travels took me further and further away. But you know the old saying, right? You can take him out of home but you can’t take home out of….
Confusing times. Ever since I’ve watched with tear-filled eyes my home, the country that I adore, fall to ruin at the behest of politics taking advantage of a people hell-bent on following a life-doctrine dictated to them: consume-to-survive. I’ve watched my home fall from grace at the behest of rampant, ill-conceived political ideology, despicable talk-radio and never questioning misconstrued authority. And then there’s Faux Newz. I watched the literature I’ve read by Orwell & Co. begin to materialise. Then came that horrible day in September 2011. And how did my beloved country react? No different than how it reacted to the ending of the Cold War. And. Just look out the window or, if you please, read up on some history. Indeed. Things have gotten complicated. As worst-writer I’ll never attempt to try and explain it all. But what is obvious is that a once great nation has fallen from grace. The game is up.
So let’s move to shinny shores and old worn out places that can no longer be subsidised for the pleasure of the needy but can explain things worst-writer cannot. Plays. It’s one thing to love the art of dialog and what can happen on a stage but it’s another thing to love the art of the playwright. I wonder if America knows what it has with Sam Shepard? The actor, the writer, the hot stud women don’t know what to make of. “What? He’s a Pulitzer winning writer, too,” she squirmed watching him in The Right Stuff. I certainly know what I have with Shepard. Probably my life. While trying to figure out things during that hell-setting period known as the 80s, it was Shepard’s play The Tooth of Crime that woke me up. (Keep in mind, I’ve only ever read it, never seen it performed!) With that play all I ever wanted to do was read dialog. In fact, reading plays completely changed my perspective on reading in general. A world was opened up. Through the years I’ve spent considerable effort on acquiring Shepard’s work just to read it. How fortunate I’ve been to be able to fly to places like London or San Francisco to buy his work because they have book stores specialising in plays. Heck, was even able to fly to NYC once to see Kicking A Dead Horse, unfortunately it wasn’t available in print yet. But let me move on before I get lost.
If anyone wants a way to explain to an adult as though that adult were a third grader, so he or she can understand, what is truly wrong with America today then all you have to do is check out The God of Hell. Like today’s America it’s a farce, funny and full of bullshit that will make you squirm and laugh. And in order to make it fit the American TV mentality, it’s short, precise, has dick jokes and don’t have lots big words (grammar intended). But there’s something else in it. The truth. So beware.
Welch: What did you expect? You didn’t think you were going to get a free ride on the back of Democracy forever, did you? Well, did you? What have you done to deserve such rampant freedom? Such total lack of responsibility. Just lolling about here in the Wisconsin wilderness with your useless lumberjack of a husband, scraping the cream off the countryside. Sooner or later, the price had to be paid. Don’t you think?
Crossed a few time zones. Waiting on the baggage, luggage–why so many words for one thing? Siting next to homeland security IT geek. Probably ten years older than me. Got a fancy pocket PC and a ’99 Mustang GT. Nice guy and I will not ask him for a job. But I was talking about customer service and my brain. Or was it something else? Something else. The anger I laid on my sister the other day. She and I didn’t even say proper goodbye. It was caused by my frustration about not being able to achieve anything. I did not let it all out on her because of my lack of success. Oh. What if I were successful? Also. More it was about my inability to comprehend my situation. Sister has everything and more and all she can talk about is what’s her next doctor appointment or shrink visit. I had heard enough of it and blew a fuse. Just like I do with women. On my last day there all she can talk about is an MRI. Should I now be concerned that she’ll have a brain tumor? So I needed these months to have it once again drilled in my head. I am all alone. I am a failed writer but I will keep on keeping on. To nowhere. Rosy as it is. And what of my “family”? I hate them. They are all worth hating. But I love them. And they are not worth loving. Can hate be a term without all the negative? Like this man a few seats away who can’t stop searching for the perfect sleeping position. Can you imagine such a thing? Talk, think of family. Think of those who only care about themselves. Will (my better half) be the only person to appreciate my true want? Of course not. Such a thing is simply asking too much. Of anybody. Heard in my head today that there are simply those who were not meant for their own dreams. Of course I believe it. But I am not giving up. I have now accepted that I will be unsuccessful (in this life). I don’t really know what I expected (when I started on this journey). All I know is that there are people I’ve left behind and they are much better off. That must say something. Something. Trinkets are something. Trinkets aren’t it. Trinkets of guilt. (Paraphrased from Sam Shepard “tokens of guilt”.) So let’s kill a philanthropist. But don’t know one. Don’t have the bravery. Only have something. Only have trinkets. I am confused about their motivations. The voices in my head. Are they smart enough to have some kind of other motivation? My marriage, for example. Or my son. I will never know because my oldest nephew said it best. “We have a really fucked up family.” I should never write a word in these notebooks and I cannot recall doing so about or of my stepfather. Why do my parents disgust me? Not them personally. But the generation. The generation that has ruined everything. Is it because we brought the world to this? A person three seats away from me has a portable DVD player. Next to me the government worker with his pocket PC. The devices/gadgets of entertainment. Oh my, the world is Sandra Bullock. Family. Pain. No hate. The world wants to be like Sandra. Or is America my sister? You know, I thought the whole time I would wear out my welcome with my friend (who put this old middle aged geezer loser up). But. It was my sister. My parents don’t even count. They should move to another place. They picked a horrible place to retire. Fitting for that generation. The generation that made you clean your dinner plate because otherwise the world was starving. What a lie. And their greed. Shall we get into their greed? And now they live in a place where it won’t be pretty in a few years. Decrepit. Weak. Ailing. The forgetting that comes with age is the perfect quilt and comforter for your sins. Old sins are so much better than new sins, eh? Yes. They should wallow while they can. And I should write about the room from last night.
It was a Motel 6 on the outskirts of some distant, close, serene metropolis. Where the workers reside and spit their tobacco. I was shocked as I made the bend of the off-ramp, the highway had a special smell that day. Not the grand smell of victory but that of napalm alone. Lonely napalm. No one to splash and burn onto. I could see the logo of the krapp motel through the trees. My only hope was that it would have been a bit closer to Metropolis. It was obvious that the facility was once an “inn” of whatever brand. It was bought (overtaken) by a corporation. The cost of tearing it down would have been worth it. Built something cheaper in its place. The office was occupied with the same girl I phoned. She was an adorable black girl. She gave me the plastic room card and I drove around to the other side and was surprised to learn there was a pool. It was occupied by poor bastard vacationers–lust like me. But I was afraid to go in the water. I kept thinking of the fungus and infection I would get if I dared take a quick, soothing swim that seemed to do the trick for those kids. I quickly forgot such nonsense. There was work to be done. The room was #140. The door was jammed. Why? Did someone sit on it and deform it, deform its frame? I gave it a kick at the bottom and it swung open. “Cheap room.” The title of my life? An unknown uncles cheap wisdom followed: “you get what you pay for.” Then the smell hit me; I barely broke the threshold. I pulled my stuff into the smell and shut the door. The smell immediately began to grow on me. I started to pick each of them out. The little smells in the air. Like the parts of molecules that I also can pick apart. Two atoms of this, one of those. Eightch two oh, my ass. But there was a TV. The perfection of avoidance. Being drawn away. You gotta see the TV. it was so picturesque and whole … apot … shelving. Part of the room. Part of the everything I was. The bathroom area was fine but by the time I got there the smell of fungus and baby-powder about to turn, yes, baby powder. It was worse than I initially thought. And it was getting worser. Worser. Then I began to feel the moisture trapped everywhere. Human moisture. The sweat. It had all become, from every person ever there, part of the room. The sweat room. The a/c unit was in the lowered ceiling, above the wash area was dripping of moisture. The best part of the room was the shower stall. It was pure plastic and showed no sign of wear & tear from cleaning. But it was clean. Spotless. Plastic. The water nozzle was positioned below the entry way to the stall. So it was like walking into it backwards. Make sense? I got the other bag from my rental. Hung up my suits and changed into running shorts. Stretch, stretch. I had no clue where to run to. Like my travels. Where to? Toward the freeway seemed full of too many cars, and the traffic? Around the corner was a sidewalk that looked like it would lead to a neighborhood. But did I want to go there? Another sidewalk down past the small but overwhelming strip mall. The neighborhood was bad. Wanted nothing to do with it. I could see the poor bastards hanging out with their seventies bottles. Which could be a good sign. I’m of the seventies. Right? Down the freeway I went. There wasn’t much to it. Except the traffic which would slow as the light approached and could feel people staring at the stranger jogging. The sidewalk ended after about one hundred and fifty yards. Bad for my left ankle, an old sport wound that would never heal correctly, to run on uneven ground. Could I afford a twist? I kept jogging along the poor bastard freeway which was starting to turn into a pathway that had been carved out of the wild grass that had never seen or heard a cutting blade. I went for about thirty or so minutes (but could have been ten) and turned around. Not enough free space to run. Can you believe it? Roads and you can’t run on them. (Just askin’.) On the way back ran around a huge, empty bank parking lot four times adding another ten minutes to my run and then headed to the motel. Stop to walk it off and checked out a seven-eleven where I would buy a six-pack. Went to room and showered. I tried desperately to dirty the plastic shower but could get nowhere. Was the room occupied by the cleanest humans ever? They only smelled but carried no dirt. I had also bought a few apples along with the beer. I drank and beer and ate an apple as the shower poured over me. I had it has hot as I could tolerate. To better the moment I jumped soaking out of the shower and turned on the TV. Dripping on the floor I searched for the news. Found a channel and jumped back in the plastic stall. The floor was soaking wet. The strain made me gulp down the beer and then finish the apple. I washed my balls and thought about jerking it a bit. But desire was lost. There was no desire in me. Where had it gone? Jogged across the room to get another can. CNN on TV. Enjoyed the second beer more than the first. Jogged across the room again, this time spilling some beer, and grabbed the TV remote. Then back to the shower with it. Switched to TLC–and wondered what the hell that stood for. Then HBO and a show about a brothel. Would that bring some desire to help me jerk it. If I opened and drank a third beer then I would never be able to jerk it off. That’s when a real women is needed. But this TV program was saucy, steamy. It was soft porn of some sort and I couldn’t help but hear the poor bastard kids out in the pool even more. The TV program talked about whores who loved their work. That seemed to be it. There would be no desire for jerking after that. It was time for another beer. Gulped it down faster than the first two. Thought for a second about leaving the the last two beers for the cleaning help–I hated leaving tips on pillows. But I whipped them down, too. So much for discipline. It helped deal/cope with the stink of the room. Watched a little late night TV and fell asleep without difficulty. Woke at six a.m. Got out of bed at seven a.m. Was checked out, on the road, yearning for coffee (another story) by eight a.m.
For Bela Kaan. Use Flashback. Like Sam Shepard in the Late Henry Moss. is there some Buried Child in there, too? The broken, decrepit American family. Bela Kaan.
The Bela Kaan family. A lawyer is there to settle open issues of Will. Or what seem to be open issues. What the parents (Adam & Eve) have left behind they left to all their children. Which is mankind? The children try to fight this. Then they realize that they never really knew their parents. They certainly never knew they had amassed such a huge fortune. The lawyer has a problem with the docuements in the will because they are thoudands of years old. But there fortune was amassed in a (sinful) last act using their (years) of experience (thousands) they were the single source of investments that ended with the DotCom boom. When they cashed out the boom bust set in.
So many questions AND so many answers with the birth of my son. I know the birth of any chid now. It is amazing mankind has made it this far. (But) I must have written that last line a few times before. A waste of pencil? So who is bad? Who is good?
What complexity will be the solution to (the) future societies? Will it be some kind of politic? A (good) king? Religion? Why not just a bit of sharing. SHARING.
What I was trying to say in my outburst to/about my sister (post 19.07.05). She has so much. She squandered everything and now has nothing to show for it. And with so much opportunity over the last twenty years she still does nothing. When I was there she wouldn’t listen to me or ask me for any advice. How about a story about my leaving the family and while gone for a so many years having forgotten why or at least misplaced the reason why I left returning only to be rudely reminded of (that) why. I just can’t believe it. Sister has everything and nothing. For real. So unhappy but so stuffed full of herself. Krapp.
Participle. Just like writing it. In linquistics a participle is adjective derived from a verb. Present participle. Past participle. Tom will develop first future participle in English language. Or?