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Monday, January 18, 2010

POISONED BY MY OWN HAND

So, my birthday party at Elaine’s did not make the NY Social Diary, but while these photos were shot I was sitting in the back corner at the table under the George Plimpton bust you see floating over Elaine’s head in some of the pictures. Mysterious Blond Woman (also her initials?) was there, along with Spats, my buddy Mike, and Dr Robert who gave me the cigar I blogged about yesterday, and who announced to the table that he was lining up the funds to produce “CafĂ© Lysistrata” (which he loved and has given me some great notes on since the readings -- he came to both).


This morning I read Terry Teachout’s blog about having too much to do and not enough down time to regenerate the creative process. I took his musings very much to heart.


And among all the birthday good wishes on Face Book I found this link to a Pete Townshend video of him playing the ukulele and singing "Blue Red and Grey" which I recalled spinning on my radio show:


The song seemed so perfect to my mood -- even Pete's caustic aside. Had I but known.


Today was such a beautiful sunny warm (for PA in January) day that I decided to smoke the cigar outside. Then Dr Robert called and I got some info on the provenance (Cuban seed grown in Nicaragua, labeled the way it is to tweak Castro’s nose or something like that – Dr Robert being an obsessive Cuba watcher.) Anyway, I got so excited by the beautiful day, the Teachout dispensation from doing anything, and the premium cigar – I usually smoke Parodi cheroots about once every 3 or 4 months -- that I decided to go ahead and smoke. So I did.


I sat outside my music room in the little courtyard. My daughter, off from school for MLK Day, took some snaps which at some point she will upload or email to me or something and I will post them. About halfway through the cigar I went back inside and grabbed the book to pick a play for today. “The Second Mrs Tanqueray” looked longer than I wanted to tackle. So, I perused the TOC and chose William Butler Yeats’ “The Hourglass” as the title appropriate seemed to the whole birthday gestalt I had going.


I started reading this mercifully brief, perplexing screed on the nature of the desire for Redemption at the end of one’s life. While reading, when the angel appeared in the door, I literally thought I was going to be ill, and for a moment I thought it might be the writing. Then it hit me: I hadn’t eaten anything but a slice of toast and coffee 5 hours before. I was suffering a mild case of tobacco poisoning.


Only it didn’t feel so mild. I went to bed for 4 hours, eventually ate some apple slices, and gradually recovered. I finished the Yeats play, almost had a relapse, then forced myself to eat some dinner and to write this.


As might be expected in a play by a poet, the language of “The Hourglass” was very rich and aphoristic


Plays read so far from "Chief Contemporary Dramtists" (Cambridge, Mass 1915):


"The Rising of the Moon" by Lady Gregory

"Lady Windemere's Fan" by Oscar Wilde

"The Hourglass" by William Butler Yeats

-- Uke Jackson

1 comment:

  1. Actually, it turns out I am in one of the photos in Elaine's -- over her shoulder in a black turtleneck against the back wall. Follow your eye to where lines from the corners of the Bogie photo and Plimpton bust would intersect, and there I sit. One of my erstwhile Face Book friends spotted it. Thanks, Deb!

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