Monday, December 15, 2008

In Which We Learn That The Recitations Of An Asthmatic Hamster May Be More Salubrious Than The Entire Corpus of William Faulkner

I am very susceptible to suggestion. Virtually anyone who knows me will agree to that. Part of it is just natural... gullibility, I guess. But part of it is training.

Any sort of criticism is essentially a response to the stimulation a work of art gives; formal criticism is just putting that gut reaction into a more informed context.

And while this is true for all art, I think it is even more so for the drama. Most modern acting in the US is more or less based on Stanislavski's System, and all that boils down to is a schemata for making yourself extremely open to the imaginative suggestion of an author's script.

Dramaturgy and directing are even more so, in that dramaturgy is preparation for the more literary, theoretical suggestions underpinning a script, and direction is dealing with the the concrete realities of working actors and their inter-relating physical and mental positioning.

So where is this going?

I finished reading Faulkner's Go Down, Moses not long ago, and it's made me want to go hunting.

This is, of course, ludicrous.

I have none of the necessary skills, nor (really) any of the necessary desires. I mean, sure, I hate deer. I /really/ hate deer, and it must be loads of fun to take one down, but the whole sitting half-way up a tree at 4.30 in the morning of the off chance one might stroll by is pretty much the opposite of how I'd like to spend my time.

And the idea of giving me a firearm ought to appal everyone. I mean, technically speaking, I can fire them -- and have been licensed to do so in front of people in state-run institutions, even -- but my knowledge runs out for anything produced after 1580 or so.

Had I spent more time learning to shoot in Boy Scout camp instead of learning to kiss from the instructor, this might not have been an issue. (And no, for the record, it was not some gross Scoutmaster. It was some over-eager older scout.) In an amusing twist of fate, the state of South Carolina got rid of sales tax on guns the weekend after Thanksgiving. And my brother was going to be there. I asked him to pick one up, but he (wisely) laughingly refused. He was in the army and knows the danger of me packing heat.

But for a few weeks yet, I'll still think the whole hunting thing is something I ought to try. I even learned all about seasons for various game, and the licenses required and bag limits and so forth. One might even hunt bears in the vicinity of where my parents live, which I find equally fascinating and appalling. I didn't know there were bears left there to hunt, but next time I'm there, I'll be more aware of the dark.

Perhaps fortuitiuosly for everyone involved, I've started reading a collection of the works of Washington Irving, an author with whom I have no familiarity. (Other than he used to hang out with Walter Scott and that Mary Shelley carried a torch for him...) I quite like it so far, if for no other reason to find out what Isobel Campbell was going on about in "I Could Be Dreaming".

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