From the Fool

I didn’t make resolutions because I forgot it was New Year’s. It didn’t look very new, and in the news they were still fighting, so it didn’t seem to make much difference in the larger scope of things if I sometimes forgot to feed the cat, except to the cat.

But I guess that’s not the point. People make resolutions that then they break, so it’s a test of character that they just flunked, so it shows they’re the kind of person that can’t be held responsible for their actions. Which lots of people aspire to.

If you’re a Fool, there’s no place to go but up, so I decided to try again, if only for the sake of the cat. So here’s my resolutions:

* Feed the cat.

* Vote for someone that sounds like they think.

* Don’t buy a gun until I can afford a tank.

* If there’s a big buzzing fly you can’t swat, turn on the TV and see what that does to it.

* Don’t eat stuff that moves or glows or says New Improved.

* Try to be nice.

* Think more.

* Don’t do stupid things even if they seem stupid at the time.

* Figure that one out.

* Find someplace where they make a donut that isn’t full of sugar or frosting all over it but really tastes like a donut, but then don’t eat too many.

* No more war.

That’s a lot, but at least I’ve got the cat there to remind me. Her name is Gertie. My sister gave her to me to keep while she was in jail. “Write about Gertie,” she said.

— From CB —

 Coming up in the next two months, a varied list of performances. We revive King Lear for two showings in Sonoma County; we do a reading from our new edition of Rash Acts; we’re part of “Rumi’s Caravan,” an evening of poetry; we do a showing of Gifts; and we start to put together a quality video of Lear.

Lots of stuff, though it’s very scattered and leaves me a bit scatter-brained. The heavy work is on our new novel and all the endless jerkwater query letters trying to get stuff published, and the shows take time away from that. I love performing, and I love the contact with people that eighteen months of writing a novel doesn’t give you. Inwardly, I’m an extrovert; outwardly, I’m an introvert — at parties I’m the old guy standing alone with a drink, no different from the stiff, shy cluck in high school, except for the drink.

Our rehearsals are mutually lonely, though rehearsal is the real work of theatre. Certainly, those electric moments of discovery are to rehearsal what orgasm is to courtship, but much of it is like changing the resultant diapers. Going out into the chilly studio, spending the afternoon doing something I could do in my sleep but finding myself making a thousand mistakes — what fun. I still get those moments of discovery — otherwise it’s dead and you should lay it to rest — but I’m glad when it’s quitting time.

The oddity, now, is that we’re working alone. Yes, we bring to it the multiple personalities that we each contain, but that’s not the same as working in a group, the social interaction that was our first entry into theatre. Now, though we have dozens of theatre friends, we have no local theatre community, and we work with none. Strange and sad. We love the friends we see, and we love the friends we don’t see, so I guess we can’t complain, even though we do.

This is leading to no deep wisdom, only to the realization that richness and fulfillment have their dark sides. I do have immense gratitude for the life I live, for its teeming richness, but I can’t say I ever feel fulfilled. If I did, I’m not sure what I’d do to counteract it.

 — From EF

 Muscles do things without instructions from the brain, sometimes. You don’t put “peristalsis” on your to-do list. Likewise, although the peak moments of a hot date are profoundly wished for, the go-signal issues from somewhat south of the prefrontal cortex.

When my physical therapist is slowly moving my bones to stretch the tight connections, some muscles freak out and instinctively contract, and it takes very focused work for me to get them to surrender. Consciousness and reflex have their own agendas and don’t always communicate.

I’ve been thinking about heart connections a lot, having lost several friends in 2015. Some of them I saw only once or twice a year, but the bond was strong. At each reunion, my reflex would be to hug as soon and as warmly as possible. The deep and trivial conversations that would become part of loving memory are part of the mind, but the mute physical self is equally eloquent.

That hug: it’s a non-verbal interchange that works on its own agenda. A silent conversation can weave a beautiful pattern without a word being uttered.

Within the intimate realm, skin to skin is obviously champion. Not just in love-making; modern medicine is just rediscovering “kangaroo therapy” — google it. Well, duh, any mom could tell you about that, but now experts are saying that it really does work.

For adults, love-making has the advantage of highly-motivated specialized points of contact, but as far as I know I’m not the only one who wants to engage every additional inch of skin I can manage. The strongest, most enduring communication is woven from touch, using its own deep wisdom.

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© Bishop & Fuller 2016

 

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