Each line of Shakespeare is an atom. The energy that can be released is infinite -- if we can split it open."***
-- Peter Brook (quoted in The Shakespeare Wars, by Ron Rosenbaum, p. 26)
Hello my dear love. Up in the aerie at the end of the day, a day that felt normal, things getting back to usual. Breakfasted on cold turkey (like revenge, are Thanksgiving leftovers best served cold?). At any rate, I enjoyed standing at the kitchen sink gnawing on a drumstick ("protein"), accompanied with a dollop of cold stuffing ("toast"), and a crimson blob of cranberry-orange sauce ("fruit"). That's a well-rounded breakfast, it seems to me. There was half a creamed onion, too...
This holiday food is all quite rich, I had skipped a couple of days of workouts, and was feeling it. And so I took two walks today, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, interspersed with a vigorous workout to a very enjoyable Charlie Rose, which featured interviews with, among others, the actors Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh. Ms. Williams seems extraordinarily bright and intuitive. In her latest role she recreates a Marilyn Monroe... which caused this young actress-artist to research Monroe deeply, watching film after film of her, clip after clip, analyzing her moves - but also grasping her on a very human level. Of course I'm always thinking of Emily Dickinson -- and I would be very interested to see a film in which Michele Williams might (if she liked) have the chance to interpret, in her actorly way, E.D. -- because I'm quite sure it would be a very astute, imaginative, faithful, and deeply-felt portrayal.
I've read several more pages of The Shakespeare Wars, which I'm reading not so much that I'm suddenly so gripped with fascination for Shakespeare. Though in the back of my mind I suppose that's always a low-burning flame. More, even as I stood in the cozy town library considering whether to check out the book, I thought I might read it in light of considering, too, E.D. -- who at this point is a lens by which - by whom (?) - I view things.
E.D. was fascinated by Shakespeare - no, that's probably not the right word. Without in a scholarly way consulting the Sewall biography that sits not three feet away from me on a file cabinet, she certainly considered Shakespeare to be the beginning & end of literary considerings.
There is something fathomless about Shakespeare's works, and E.D.'s too. Shakespeare isn't necessarily always so compressed (his plays are quite expansive), and yet the meanings, allusions, references, puns, ironies, and everything else - redound & redound - reward one, on second third fourth readings, not just 'times two three or four' - but in exponential fashion, as Rosenbaum notes (p. 21) - "A third cycle of rereading does not increase one's apprehension (in every sense of the word) by a third -- it's more like to the third power."
It's a delightful book, the Rosenbaum. I can see how readers/critics have been frustrated with it. It's a deeply personal take, he reveals his process of thinking, in all his exuberance. It's a bit much (I'm not so far along in it) -- and yet it has many rewards. There are, as in a koi pond, sparkling glittering fish all around. And so I'm enjoying, in spare moments, hanging out with this scholarly enthusiast, and he's pointing out to me marvels that I wouldn't have otherwise seen.
I think of my blog. It is certainly no model of compression. I won't analyze it. It is what it is. I express myself daily. And one day I'll be dead & gone, vanished and obscure. And that's fine, that's how it is. But I will have left this trace of me, that I imagine - at least in some multiverse - will have a continued life.
And I think of the excitement that future generations have over those who preceded them, who vanish so thoroughly, and yet some of us care, care very deeply, and notice, and are excited to find traces, and to interpret them, and to create whole worlds and beings from the leavings...
And so on an exposed windswept beach cape, in nearly the most northerly most remote inhospitable location on this earth that one could imagine any form of human settlement ever having taken hold, if only for a fairly brief period of time, much has been "unpacked" in annual digs over the past three years, including, notably, this past summer (as in a dream), a single mysterious artifact - an archaeological find.
Think of it -- all my blathering on this blog. Well, okay, in the future, it may have its interest for others -
Or we think back on E.D. How did she do it? Create those poems on the back of scraps of letters & recipes? (I am really looking forward to reading Maid as Muse.)
Those are texts - my blog is a lengthy expounded text. But this artifact (only a couple of inches in size) is a single isolated object -- like a compressed poem -- incongruously embedded within a better-understood context. That object isn't even necessarily a work of art. In fact, my take-away is that it isn't so much, that it's an early exemplar of a replicated object...
But clearly, that buckle-like artifact is, metaphorically - to borrow from Peter Brook on Shakespeare - an atom, in what it signifies, what we can learn from it, the dense secrets it - like a Dickinson poem (or the enigma herself) - packs. "The energy that can be released is infinite -- if we can split it open."