There is nothing more to say.
Imagine the scene:
There is a clown on stage. not one of those modern clowns that make you laugh but at the same time make you think about the frailty of the human condition; just a normal clown. Loud colors, loud noises. Just a clown!
The kind that if you see him when you are older than say 15, you feel a little sorry for them, but you are happy that the kids seem to enjoy him.
Maybe even your kids. You are maybe even a little too embarrassed to laugh, but you keep a grin plastered on your face.
But in the middle of this act, he stops abruptly.
Nothing cliche, here. No taking off the red nose and regarding the public seriously for a moment of truth, this is a real thing that is going on.
Maybe it is a clown in the classical entree sense. Maybe it didn’t even make sense in this play that is about the communist revolution in Bulgaria that seems so heavy, serious, reflexive. But this is the last entree, and all this shit is about to come together, and when it does, it will be like a whirlwind.
I love these writing whirlwinds.
It is the sound of an audience full of people realizing something all together at the same time.
It is the sound of a sigh over here, a sob over here, an exclamation of disbelief here, someone verifying with their neighbor if they understood this little twist correctly or not. It is the sound of understanding something clearly that you didn’t even recognize as a problem. These characters are this way because the author needed them to be that way, not because they can be changed.
Lucy will always pull the ball away from charlie brown.
This is the way that characters are made, the way that we come to understand them.
Two characters that are tied together for the duration of a show beg the questions “When are the going to get tangled up? When are they going to cut the rope?” But less evident is why they ever started out on the journey in the first place.
But there is a discrete way of changing characters, one that is not really discussed in any literary schools that I know of. Not discrete for the character themselves, but discrete for the audience, because the character is perhaps not at all surprised with the change they took, etc.
But for the audience, it changes the whole story. It is a plot twist, but there is a necessary emotional component, here. It is where the audience understands that this is more than a funny show with acrobatics in it because for fuck’s sake now I’m crying!
“I need to talk about this more sometime. Because for the longest time I have been feeling something empty inside of me and maybe it is this wanting to change the world thing that you were talking about. Whenever you achieve mastery of something, you are always going to have admirers, but it is like that marathon thing you were talking about. So you’ve arrived, now what?
So I just want to say ‘go for it. To the end. Why not you?’ ‘Why not you?’ I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who works hard to make other people’s life better; who suffers to change the world, but I just hope that through it all, you are able to realize that life is in the present. And that you don’t go too fast to your goals to remember that. Because I worry that you are going to find yourself more and more alone because it is a specific thing that you want and not many people feel this way. Mais rêve, vas-y, jusqu’au bout. A tous ceux qui te disent de ne pas rêver, je dis ‘fuck off, man’ pourquoi pas toi?”
It is my time to be silent. It is me the ignorant one. It was not them who did not understand me, it was me who was to shy or too stuck up or presumptuous to communicate to them. Sure they said I was always to serious, that I can’t let go and have fun, that I don’t laugh. But it was me who was holding off like I was too good to enjoy these people who care for little else than the next party or the next one-night-stand.
And I expect to be an artist when I grow up?
I wasn’t communicating.
And there is no excuse for that.
A frustrated artist is not a good artist.
A frustrated artist is not skilled enough in his metier to ease this frustration through artistic expression.
So it comes full circle again, I guess. This is where the training comes in. And of course you need to take into account the audience and your message and the bottom line, but if you are frustrated, you are no good, and you have a right to be frustrated, so go out there and work harder so that you can communicate yourself better instead of sitting on the veranda of a ryokan mulling over for the millionth time all the facons to end your life in an shocking or amusing way. On schedule.
So the vacation was different this time, maybe more real. The moments re-recorded on the wax cylinder of my brain in just that way. Surreal in their clarity and seeming irrelevance. To each other and to my life. But they fit together, like what I have just described and the way a Kitano film spills up against itself. Abutting.
Buying fireworks. Her head thrown back, surrounded by futon. Good god, this hotel is a three-dimensional maze with no end. An empress’ poem. A diving gramma. Two rocks tied together for a human eternity in foul water.
Fear of heights and fear of fear of highs. Paralyzed even as a fish is practically leaping out of its own tank. Suicide. This is a strange city.
These boat rides and this scenery, this is like a walking corpse with no soul. Nature purgatory. It is only beautiful when I see it a hundred years ago, but even for that, perhaps it is worth it.
A birthday party for a woman who offers me raw fish and wine before I work.
I barely know her, but this is enough to know that I like her. And we sing like creatures who have never heard music except in legend. Theoretically.
And we drink enough that it sounds good. A friend I have just met and may never see again leaves, and I do not say goodbye because I always have this assumption that it is not too late, that I will see him again. But this time I am wrong. This time is not the first, and maybe it doesn’t matter, but sometime it might.
Saying goodbye in the right way is very important.
This guy has to know that knowing him was important to me, that he made me laugh and brought me spaghetti and taught me how to say ‘happy birthday’ in Lithuanian because I was scared I was about to have to make a speech… he wanted to celebrate my half-birthday because the Expo would be over before my real birthday.
And I didn’t say goodbye in the right way.
I didn’t think about these things at the right time.
This shit is important, because it is what defines our pasts. The people that we have known and what they have taught us. Not what we have taught them. And because I was not able to seal this relationship, short though it was, it is like a wine-glass, tipped over. And I will always feel that it was incomplete.
People are leaving the party in order of interest in the birthday girl or karaoke, or the times that they need to work the next day.
In the end, we are five, those who are the hardest core into karaoke.
Is there any way to describe how I feel at this moment?
The floor is sticky and wet, and when we dance on the couches, they move under our feet. One of us is done, Andrius. Les genoux qui fleche, we say in French, and we wake him with YMCA. There is a woman here who talks to me with her eyes only. There is another one who talks to me when she is not even there. And Victoras is there who does not speak to me because we both know that it is not the time yet. We are going to put this shit off until the right time. And then the genoux will really fleche, and everything will be clear.
The taxi ride is nonstop chaos, and I can’t stop laughing. It is nice to laugh without being haunted by the desire to have been the one to have said these things.
We are weaving down the street, the five of us, in the aleatoire choreography of drunken cameraderie. Groups of two merging and transforming with one person who is suddenly interested in the song of the birds flying overhead and who lags behind, gazing skywards; having a moment that, whether he knows it or not, will never reoccur in his life – and tomorrow, it will be forgotten.