I found, in my fallen state, a diet appropriate to my blood type, and as a consequence, health in simplicity. I cooked simply seasoned ground grass-fed beef under the broiler with onions while sweet potatoes with ginger, cayenne and cinnamon, roasted in the oven. As the cooked meat rested I wilted leafy greens in the hot iron pan.
I biked, or walked, through the woods to work and saw hawks eating their catch on wide limbs of the trees of Dumbarton Oaks park. I'd worked my shifts, having created a pub of my little bar. I had little money, less to worry about. I wrote to keep myself calm and kept in shape doing yoga. I tried to minimize possessions to useful ones. I recycled and tried to keep my usage of resources low and simple.
While wine provided a return to an archaic way of fostering community, I began to take a more considered view on my own habits, work-related as they were. I'd feel the depression the next day after the night of giving way to my thirst. I'd sleep fitfully, waking to a pounding heart, the body trying to rid itself of toxins. I'd wake feeling lost. I'd think of my mistakes, my sins of the past.
"Alcohol promotes an inflated sense of verbal facility at the same time that it lowers the boundaries to social cueing... A further brutalization of culture." Terence McKenna. Language of the Unspeakable, part 1/6, found on youtube.
Hamlet has this affinity for the players. They represent the feminine, coming to the male dominated court of aggression. Thus, the play his its deep resonance within our subconscious. We sense the usurper, the imposing of male domination.
Is there a bit of Shakespeare saying that he personally feels lost unless, like Hamlet embracing the players, their egoless sensitivity, he writes, putting on his own play. Like Hamlet fighting against something hard to define but physically present. Hamlet is sensitive to the bluster of Claudius, the drunken tradition 'better honored in the breach...' Hamlet doesn't try to dominate anyone. He doesn't put the sword through his enemy when he has a chance, and this could be a noble thing, as the King is, after all, saying his prayers. In terms of the male-dominant Western World Hamlet is known as unable to make up his mind, something of a wuss, rather than just a person being the deeply sensitive being that he is, not having bought into the Madison Avenue image of 'a man.' Thus there is his amazing soliloquy about the nobility of man, how like a God, just as he is naturally. The play is an amazing grasp for terms we stand to lose, in constant danger of being run over, quelled, outside the agenda.
Hamlet's father's ghost recites his sins, condemned to fast in purgatory flames. A familiar feeling that might be to those caught trying to figure things out. Hamlet, as well, must admit his own irrevocable deep insensitivity toward Ophelia the feminine aspect of the play, a sin which can only be dramatically resolved by his own death. There is an eery parallel, we sense, between the sins of the father and that of the son, and one might conjecture, the sin of not embracing, not listening, not honoring the female. (Which is perhaps why Gertrude is not so unhappy with her new husband.)
And there is, of course, as a musician might observe, an incredible tone ringing in Hamlet, the play. Out of the writer's inner personal neuroses and issues, from which writers must, regrettably, write.... The tone in the speech of the ghost, in Hamlet by himself...
These almost feel like a writer trying to vet, trying to work through, on a pathetically daily repetitive basis, issues, issues with girls, issues with having not properly honored a princess nor his own father, even as such things might never been, of course, his intention. What happened? What fell down in the way of a young man doing the decent thing? What cloud in his head or bad habit caused him to defeat himself and his fondest wishes? All the stupid emotions, 'all the shocks of flesh that man is heir to...' All the misunderstandings, portrayed, cataloged, so laid out in Othello, in Lear, in The Winter's Tale...
And writers are not so lucky to be able to escape from the omnipresent reality of their own stuff, their own errs and mistakes, are they, (but I suppose through miracles.) Like Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters "falling out like a fruit, complete" (as he writes to Heaney explaining the unavoidable), the mind's eye must digest, deal with...
Have compassion, my therapist says. Don't call yourself a creep, because you know your intentions were good. Ruminate over the negative feelings you harbor toward yourself, rather than thinking of her so much. Have compassion for yourself.
But there is always another session required. No, no, it was all me, my bad. My name is mud. She was kind enough to me, though in a coded way, such that a fool would miss, and I was the one who did not respect her. What was it? My unconscious anger at something? The depressive effects of self-medication? The social post-frat party milieux? Clouded vision? Wild stubbornness? Deafness? Negativity? The great mistake in never sitting down with the other to talk? What was that about--some kind of shyness?
It seems that if you start out thinking of higher things, higher reality, a meaning, a purpose to life, everything alive, with soul, why do you end up with the greatest need of all to be able to forgive yourself, to find compassion for yourself with your self.
It's as if you think of Jesus Christ or Buddha or a Shaman, or Shane MacGowan or the Zen master, if you begin, then eventually you will very much need their aid. If you think of yourself as a writer you will very much need to write, and never really get ahead of the game to your satisfaction. Is it better to never think of such things in the first place? Does Shakespeare infect us with the issues of a mortal mind? If you read Ernest Hemingway you're going to be stuck needing him and Big Two-Hearted River kind of separate peace; if you find solace and light in Larkin, you'll need to keep reading him.
If you read Job and Jonah then you have need for them. But if you have a girlfriend, then, that will be all that you need.
What is it that makes us harsh and exacting to those we love, consciously or unconsciously? What compels us to ruin our bright little lives for the sake, as it were, of higher thought and deeper understanding, and the kind of fresh higher consciousness that runs in defiance of the prevailing culture? Who knows.
The fool mistake we all make when we invest our work with higher meaning... I've done it all, over the silly job of greeting people in a pub and pouring them drink and nourishment while music played, and even with writing. The writing must be cathartic, I suppose, a simple bodily function, an inner tube of some purpose and then an outlet valve, that must be done on a daily basis, until it not work anymore.
She played with me rough and beautifully, as I tried to play with her the same way.