Friday, 28 October 2011

55) Memoirs on a bus

    Even as I slept the play was running through my head. Parts were reversed. The mother was played by a couple of riggers in bad drag, they would alternate lines. I guess that’s how you know you’re committed to a thing, it saturates your entire being.
    A rough shake woke me from sleep and I came to in the bus, the Ticketmaster had a flashlight in on hand and his other in front of my face. I took out my ticket and handed it to him. He punched it and moved on. That’s the last time I go with Spot Turtle to go cross country. He should have recognized me from before. I got on two days ago.
    I tried to get back into the mutant play, but all I got was a tableaux of the Ticketmaster’s scruffy face. First a huge canyon of pink rock and dark tubular outcroppings. We were on a donkey tour winding down thin little trails, a giant cigar belched acrid smoke off on the horizon. I looked over the edge of my mount to the jagged yellow teeth below and a torrential river of a tobacco.
    I’ve heard about lucid dreaming, and I’ve thought it would be a powerful tool, but I was happy enough just remembering them. Though I’ve heard the easiest way to bore a man is to tell you about his dreams I think they can provide real insight. Not as direct symbols, but as literal emotional palettes.
    I woke with the sunrise as it stabbed at us through unshaded windows. I wiped my eyes of crust and looked over to the line at the rear of the bus, the morning bathroom line. I could wait, all I had to do was empty my bags, a tiresome affair, but not one predicated on muscular pain. The plastic tubes just shunted the waste away from my body instead of it accumulating naturally and threatening to explode me from the inside. As inconvenient as it was in someways it was a godsend.
    I reached under the seat in front of me and pulled out my pack. Everything I would need was there. I pulled out my cleaning equipment, a small sponge and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. I pulled out my breakfast, a couple of fiber and protein bars and a small orange juice. And I pulled out my sketch book.
    I gulped down my breakfast and placed the cleaning supplies near my hip. I unfolded my sketchbook, took out the pen, and opened it to a random page. I happened upon the set design for an old play, “Sisyphus and Bottom”. I giggled a little. That one was a great flop. Though the whole crew and cast was into it, though I thought it was great there was an essential part missing that we didn’t catch until opening day. It wasn’t very good. It had a mediocre opening and died on the vine. When the Times calls your work, “An unmitigated bore.” then it’s time to seriously recheck some things in your life.
    I turned the page and was delighted by watercolors of Mercy’s Chateaux. She’d felt sorry for me and invited me out for a little sabbatical in Nice. There were cats and cheese and lovely silence. There gets to a be a point living in a city where the ambulance cries and junky fights and screaming neighbors and explosions just get to be so much background noise, you just learn to live with it. That doesn’t mean its appreciated, just accepted. It’s a constant and tactile pressure. Like deep sea fish who and born, live, and die at pressures that would turn a human into dog food.
    When I arrived in Nice the open spaces and silent fragrant air was a shock to my system. I drowned myself in red wine trying to bring back that tension and violence my body was somehow craving. Thankfully Mercy came by on the third day and talked some sense into me.
    Those six months were refreshing on several layers. One, I was able to get back into writing everyday, writing something new, not just editing the old and rehashed anecdotes. I was able to get good food into me, not just leftovers and takeaway.
    In NIce I was able to write “The Marriage of H”, it did much better than Sisyphus though you probably haven’t heard of it either. In some circles it’s very well regarded. I’ve heard it’s even being taught in Finnish drama schools as an example of late 21st Century black humor. I didn’t mean it as black humor, I was just writing about life. That’s all I ever write about.

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