Love, what else

In Animals, Artists, Drafts, En français dans le texte, Local projects, Music on May 18, 2014 at 7:28 am

Woke up to the word cinquefoil, last encountered in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, if memory serves. And now, checked out on the web in its horticultural and botanical usage.

What the woman made of the experience, I don’t know. Someone had suggested she attend a writing workshop. She doesn’t read anything other than self-help books, plus self-medication through plants and other such materials. Last work of fiction read, some twenty years ago: a title by Stephen King. Favorite reading when younger: romance. She’s now a recent divorcee with a truckload of mishaps she might have shared had I not cut her off at the pass. Perfect, I said. Just the kind of thing we’ll play with today. The theme of the workshop: Laughter.

Four participants. Four different ways of approaching humor. (Plus me: makes five.) Three of the women, in their forties, one in her fifties. I’m approaching the tail end of the sixties.

What unhinges you like Ophelia, or makes  you climb every mountain, search every slum, sit in grief-fed stupor, tap-dance till you feet turn raw, and swoon under a soft brush from the wind or someone’s hand. How do you make any or all of this funny?

One of the women has huge issues with anger – as in: off-limits, verboten, do not go there. The extremes to which one of her characters will resort to avoid anger had the rest of us in stitches. I kept piling on the aggravations. Her character kept finding wriggle room to avoid confrontation.

Frustration. Almost there, and the goal recedes. Slanted tiles on a rooftop across the street, each one with a black outline of shadow. Laugh, cry, argue, smile, pull at your hair when things don’t make sense. Let go. Watch the birds fly. Walk the dog. Humans don’t have roots, the Syrian man says, they have feet. (Ah. The words are by Salman Rushdie, I learn at the end of the article  – in French in Le Nouvel Observateur).


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