Hello darling, big kiss hello, I've been thinking about you, mon chère jules dalou, that is, Bacchus. Oh sweetheart, I wish it could be you & me, I really do. But, oh well, c'est la vie. So you get these virtual kisses from me, and very real love messages, and I hope everything is going well for you, & that you're having fun. At the moment I feel a great sense of well-being. Up in the aerie, of course, with an ice-filled glass of pink wine. It's turned into a very rainy, raw, chill afternoon -- which is actually welcome, the rain especially, because never mind Noah's 40 days of rain, we've had 40 days or more of drought -- and this on top of "the winter that wasn't" -- so things have -- for the Hudson Valley -- been quite parched, considering there was no snow-melt. Anyway, meteorological report over. I'm enjoying the chill day though. The pellet stove in the solarium is cranking away merrily, I have various lamps on all over the house, there's a chicken roasting in the oven, along with russet potatoes, and a pan of caramelizing chunked root vegetables plus brussel sprouts. I'm back from an afternoon at the theater -- a small theater in town, near the railroad station, which is to say near the river -- oh what's the word - am I blocking it -- oh yeah! waterfront. Okay upland waterfront, the theatre has no connection with the river or the shoreline or for that matter the railstation at all... Where was I?
But I think of these connections, because I wished a delicious cup of coffee before the play, because it's such a cold, damp afternoon and while I was psyched to be out at the same time I was fighting sleepiness -- and was disappointed to see that a really good coffee place, Strongtrees, across from the Amtrak station, is no more, and has a dispiriting 'For Lease' sign up, with the name of the realty contact person, who I also know is, or has been, a 'life coach.' Life coach -- I wonder how that biz is going?
I am my own mother, I am my own life coach... and maybe I try to help a few other lost wayward wanton souls along the way, as with my date tomorrow, which I'm looking forward tomorrow, and who is positively Nabokovian in his sheer exuberant, over-the-top, ceaseless, pilings on of erotic imaginings, myriad fetishes, and hilariously & evocatively descriptions, along with allusions to helpful reference sources. A truly Borgesian "Library of Babel" of knowledge acquired through the vast sources of pornographic reference materials available now, mercifully, many for free, on the internet. Yes, I'm not the only one learning of new methods, techniques, how-to's --- my online acquaintance cheerfully admits that he'd never heard of many of them.
And so the play I saw was a very minimalist, and very affecting, theatrical staging of the Gospel of St. John. Which I was glad to get from start to finish -- it wasn't a literal reading, at all times, but followed the Gospel very closely, I believe. And it's funny -- an observation I'd make now, in a literary way -- since I've been attending church given my organ-playing service, I've been hearing readings, each Sunday, from various Gospels, and they always strike me -- because I'm so unfamiliar with them -- as coming in at the middle of the story, Cortazar Hopscotch fashion (a book the poet at yesterday's seminar had mentioned, which I'd read a million years ago -- still, it's not the book, so much of the concept of nonlinearity that's what's interesting me, in this context. So yeah, at a church service, these disconnected (to me) fragments of readings -- usually three, one from the Old Testament, and two from the New Testament, interspersed with a Psalm in between -- oh those Psalms, so beautiful, and the congregation gets to incant each one, of a Sunday).
But -- or not really a 'but' - it's the nature of the thing -- I don't, as I'm sitting at the organ bench, Sunday to Sunday, have a sense of the whole story, from A to Zed (yes, darling, I know perfectly well about the being born-in-a-manger part) -- I mean, I didn't quite have the entire trajectory of the Passion in my mind. And maybe I still don't entirely, it's a story that bears retelling (oh duh!) again and again and again.
And so this theatrical piece, however spare, did give St. John's eyewitness account, from start to finish... his deposition, as it were. It was a marvelous piece of writing
and the very final line of the production (and of St. John too? I haven't checked my New Oxford Bible) is the resounding (again, almost Borgesian, to my lit-crit mind) idea, that with regard to this story -- books upon books will be written, meaning the Gospels themselves; meaning the Reverend Mother's beautiful sermon this morning; meaning, even, my blog post this evening.
It was a great day, there was more to it, that I can hardly get to. At church, after the "peace" part, the Reverend Mother asked the congregation if there were any announcements, and there were the usual banal reminders of one drive or another, and then she briefly recounted, standing in her full-bodied self in her vestments before the congregation, some rather general remarks about her week at a priestly retreat. And I sort of felt like, sitting there at the organ, like on a talk show where the band-leader offers a prompt... I actually did! So I asked, from my musical sidelines, "so --- how was it at the synagogue the other week?"
And at first the Reverend Mother was a bit taken aback -- I mean she'd been seriously soliciting -- well, a prompt, ideally -- from her congregation -- and here I was -- I served it. And it's a miracle that I even remembered, at that apposite moment, that she'd mentioned last Sunday that she had been invited to and would be attending a special service at the local synagogue, in commemoration of the Holocaust.
Anyway, this post is getting way too long -- but I'm so glad that I gingerly queried -- so how'd it go? Because the Reverend Mother -- a fantastic, impassioned, kindly, warm, engaged raconteur -- only needed a prompt, a simple tiny reminder ("oh my - I forgot! thank you so much for reminding me!) -- to launch into the most wonderful account of her experience there, and her take-away from it, which honestly is worth a post in itself, it was that full, and meaningful, and moving --
I'm really glad that happened
I don't know how religious I am, and true to canon --
Love one another
Only connect, said E.M. Forster too, which I thought of as I sat at the organ, dreaming about tomorrow's meeting, within that churchly setting, maybe even --- well fill in the adverb -- so
I think that love, Jesus's, comes in strange ways
I know that I come in good faith
however mixed & problematic as they may be to some others
I will never stand you up.