Monday, September 29, 2014

A cry for help

As with so many things, I have tried to figure out the point of this. It's from a very bad movie starring Mitzi Gaynor, whose name I could never stand, called The I Don't Care Girl. In this number, which strains to be avant garde and flamboyant and all that uninhibited shit, she flings herself around in a slutty outfit and repeatedly shrieks, "I DON'T CARE".  How they got one of America's foremost concert pianists to put on a dog suit, or a wolf suit or whatever it is (first I thought it was a cat suit, but I don't think so) is beyond me, but he may have been stoned on pills. Alarmingly, I seem to be travelling backward in time to 2012 and my Oscar Levant phase, which was quite fascinating, at least for me.

Oscar Levant in drag. He still has that saturnine Slavic face, melancholy crumpled brow and incredible profile even when wearing this ridiculous old-lady suit. There was something truly poetic about him, original, and sad.

I almost want to apologize for this post, and for the last one about my dream, which came pretty much straight out of my journal. Though my life isn't bad now, my attitude toward my work couldn't be worse. Frustration and failed dreams are beginning to curdle into cynicism and bitterness. So what do I do?

Turn again?

That dream about talking to Harold - well, analyzing a dream can puncture it, leave it limp and lifeless. But I found it strange, or I do now,  that though I was fairly interested, I was not wildly excited nor even surprised that I could meet a man who had been dead for 40 years. He didn't really look like HL, though I knew it was him, in that weird way that people can shape-shift in dreams. He looked almost like a cartoon of himself or one of those standard 1950s black-and-white businessmen on TV sitcoms, the Dad on Dennis the Menace or something. Pulling out that list of ten questions was killing. If this was supposed to be some sort of interview, the dynamics had been completely reversed. He had taken control utterly, and obviously didn't really want to know anything about me or have any sort of real exchange. Just answer the questions, like a quiz. I grabbed the paper and crumpled it up and threw it away, and at first he looked disconcerted, but then -


The most crucial part of a dream liquefies and collapses like the centre of a caramel chocolate left out in the sun too long, or microwaved to see if it'll make it taste better. (I do that all the time, even though it's fairly idiotic and usually ruins the item in question.) We talked, yes, in a little more relaxed way, and I felt a bit hopeful, but I don't remember ANY of the content, though obviously that should have been the whole point of the dream. He got up to leave quickly - God, he WAS in black and white, though I wasn't. - and when I shouted after him, "Can I send you a copy of my novel?" he said, "Oh, no" in a sort of bright, breezy, utterly dismissive way.

What does it all mean? Well, what do YOU think it means? This chimera, this rare unicorn in the woods has retreated back into the mist. Now I feel a bit ridiculous to have taken this on. I should've written about Oscar Levant, instead. Or anything else. I allowed my imagination to go wild, as you are supposed to. Writer's imaginations are damnation, like a muscle that has been worked and worked, a huge grotesque bicep good for nothing except completely disabling your arm.

Dream-Harold's dismissal represents pretty much the reception of my novel, and at the same time, my lovely torturous Facebook experience grinds it into me daily how much more successful all other writers are, how they are wined and dined and laugh buoyantly out on the terrace while sipping rare champagne and smoking cigarettes in long holders. With those long white gloves on, you know, Deborah Kerr-type gloves that are sort of wrinkled, and immaculate as if you never touch anything because you don't have to. I however am left with my nose pressed against the windowpane. It was that way with my two other novels, and as a matter of fact, it has been that way throughout my entire life with the majority of things. The feeling is, I should go away now and not embarrass myself any further. For my failure embarrasses THEM, you see, and intimidates them, for hungry dogs lurk around the outside of the terrace with the men wearing their top hats and the women in the wrinkled gloves. Hungry dogs who never "made it", though everyone else did, of course, because God loves them and doesn't love you.

And that's what the dream means.

Postscript. I forgot about the Jerusalem part, watching the choir at the beginning of the dream. This may have just been some sort of crazy-ass thing that wasn't even connected, and it was full of the Dali-esque symbolism (speaking of melting) that suggests dada or theatre of the absurd.The hymn was significant to me in the past, quite significant in fact: it was on an old Christmas album of mine, and I used to thrill to it, cry, etc. It was Special in that I only listened to it at that time of year. Then I remembered more about it: it was on an old LP that I transferred to a tape, but the sound quality got worse and worse over the years. I made the mistake of sending the LP away somewhere to get it transferred to a CD, as was common then when nobody had any equipment to do it. When it did come back months later, it was a worse mess than the original. The album "faded in" at the start - in other words, it didn't just start normally, so it sounded like  ". . . oy to the WORLD. . ." When I complained about it, they said they did that with all their transfers "for effect". Imagine losing the first couple of bars of every song - this is effect?

So what does this have to do with anything? I suppose it's just part of my odd history with the song.

Which is all about the present world passing away and a New World, a new Jerusalem taking its place. The afterlife, as I understand it. It means crossing over. Leaving this world forever for greener and saintlier pastures, where the music is better and somebody listens to you.

Literal death, or just the death of my dream? The death of my dream is bloody painful. The theme of my life is family, with all its monumental struggles and irreplaceable rewards. That's it, that's  my assignment while here on earth, and I guess I'm not going to get beyond it no matter what my efforts. I often say, well, when you're lying on your deathbed (speaking of crossing over), is your career going to walk in and say, "I love you and I will never leave you until the end"? I don't see it.

And once again the scene was chang'd
New earth there seem'd to be,
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea
The light of God was on its streets
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away
Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
Sing for the night is o'er
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna for evermore
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna for evermore!

(I don't set out to do it this way. But I don't like to do a whole lot of separate posts on the same subject, or, worse, incorporate new information into the original post. This whole blogging thing is a process, with deeper layers uncovered and connections made - perhaps the most valuable part of it. So sometimes I end up with a P. S. to the P. S. With all those hosannas at the end of The Holy City, I remembered something I had heard in a Bible class somewhere. The leader looked around the circle searchingly and asked, "OK, who knows what hosanna means?" Of course all the hands shot up and someone claimed it meant "Praise God!" or some-such. Then, shaking his head with the intense pleasure of proving everyone wrong and himself right, he said, "Oh, no, it doesn't."

And it doesn't.

Nothing comforting about the original meaning: it is a cry of anguish, fear and near-despair. Somewhere along the line, someone found that definition too "strong" and softened it. On Palm Sunday, the crowds were really shouting to Jesus, "Save us! Save us!" Kind of puts a whole new spin on it, doesn't it?)

Strong's Concordance

hósanna: save, we pray

Original Word: ὡσαννά

Part of Speech: Hebrew Form (Indeclinable)

Transliteration: hósanna

Phonetic Spelling: (ho-san-nah')

Short Definition: hosanna

Definition: (Aramaic and Hebrew, originally a cry for help), hosanna!, a cry of happiness.

HELPS Word-studies

5614 hōsanná – a transliteration of the Hebrew term (hôsî-âh-nā) meaning "Oh, save now!" or "Please save!"

[The -na suffix in Hebrew expresses intense emotion. 5614 (hōsanná) comes from two Hebrew roots meaning, "Save now!" (= "Save I pray!").]

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