Thomas Wolfe and Throwing Up
First things first:
Nosedive’s Pottymouth Social is now a thing of the past, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. The band “Cars Can Be Blue” played and knocked us off our ass (I think they upstaged us, and I’m fine with that). And someone during the course of the night puked in Christopher Yustin’s bag. When I heard this, I burst out laughing. ‘Cause I’m a prick. Christopher (justifiably so) kept going, “It’s not funny! It’s NOT FUNNY!” And he’s right. It’s not. It’s not.
In other words, the fundraiser went quite well—and MAN, there are a bunch of DRUNK motherfuckers in our audience and company.
Ain’t no party like a Nosedive party ‘cuz a Nosedive party don’t stop…
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For anyone interested in the films of John Cassavetes, I recommend checking out George Hunka’s blog, which has some great insight to these excellent films.
And, finally, due to some last-minute troubleshooting and organizing for said Nosedive fundraiser, I was unable to go to my friend Kelly’s birthday party. I feel really bad about that. Kelly, if you’re out there in cyberspace reading this, I’m sorry. And happy bithday!
Now on with the nonsense…
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There’s this great passage in Thomas Wolfe’s novel, Of Time and the River, where the hero, a young man going to Harvard and wanting to be a playwright, is taking a playwriting class. I just dug it and have decided to share it with y’all, my little cyberherd:
The members of Professor Hatcher’s class…belonged to that unnumbered horde who think that somehow, by some magic and miraculous scheme or rule or formula, “something can be done for them.” They belonged to that huge colony of the damned who buy thousands of books that are printed for their kind, telling them how to run a tea shop, how to develop a pleasing personality, how to acquire “a liberal education,” swiftly and easily and with no anguish of the soul, by fifteen minutes’ reading every day, how to perform the act of sexual intercourse in such a way that your wife will love you for it, how to have children, or to keep from having children, how to write short-stories, novels, plays, and verses which are profitably salable, how to keep from having body odor, constipation, bad breath, or tartar on the teeth, how to have good manners, know the proper fork to use for every course, and always do the proper thing—how, in short, to be beautiful, “distinguished,” “smart,” “chic,” “forceful,” and “sophisticated”—finally, how to have “a brilliant personality,” and “achieve success.”
Wait, it gets better:
Few of the people in Professor Hatcher’s class possessed this power. Few of them had anything of their own to say. Their lives seemed to have grown from a stony and a fruitless soil and, as a consequence, the plays they wrote did not reflect life, save by a curious and yet illuminating indirection.
Thus, in an extraordinary way, their plays—unreal, sterile, imitative, and derivative as most of them indubitably were—often revealed more about the lives of the people who wrote them than better and more living work could do. For, although few of the plays showed any contact with reality—with that passionate integument of blood and sweat and pain and fear and grief and joy and laughter of which this world is made—most of them did show, in one way or another, what was perhaps the basic impulse in the lives of most of these people—the impulse which had brought them here to Professor Hatcher’s class.
The impulse of the people in the class was not to embrace life and devour it, but rather to escape from it. And in one way or another most of the plays these people wrote were illustrative of this desire. For in these plays—unnatural, false, and imitative, as they were—one could discern, in however pale and feeble a design, a picture of the world not as its author had seen and lived and known it, but rather as he wished to find it, or believe in it. And, in all their several forms—whether sad, gay, comic, tragic, or fantastical—these plays gave evidence of the denial and the fear of life.
Anyway, since I’m still mildly hung-over from our fundraiser, I just thought I’d share. Next time I’ll use my own words to shit on the theatre community (although Wolfe really does it better than I ever could).
James “Hair of the Dog” Comtois
September 28, 2004