Thursday, May 9, 2013
Yesteryear in Today's City of Tomorrow
Here's one of mine. Actually more than one. These are book-related secrets. Surprise, surprise.
As The Librarian in Middletown, a role I played recently at Heartland Theatre, I lock up the library one evening and head home with my book bag, putting into it two books-in-progress, with bookmarks in them, and keeping out one book that I open and read aloud to the audience. It is, fictionally, Yesteryear in Today's City of Tomorrrow, the story of the history of the settlement of Middletown, back to the Chakmawg Indian days.
This was, in fact, an ex-library book, call number on the spine, and I wrote in the margins "in a bright red pen" the things the script says are written there: "anxiety, sickness, death, spiritual," and, a few pages later, "atmosphere." I also provided the blue barrette used as a bookmark by the imaginary child reader who wrote those words in the book's margins.
The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa, with a melancholy narrator rather like John Dodge, one of the main characters of Middletown, and When I Was a Child I Read Books, by Marilynne Robinson, chosen by me because it is intelligent, rigorous, has "child" and "books" in the title, and relates to my attempt to remind a smart, writerly guy, The Mechanic, who he is, was, and will be if he can figure out how to live "in the middle of all of our different ideas about life."
The book bag was my AWP Chicago 2012 book bag with red handles that matched my red Converse high tops. Yes, my entire costume was from my own closet, a sort of goofy outfit I have, I hate to confess it, actually worn in real life: blue flower print, um, "clown" pants; pale beige button-down shirt; navy blue sweater with beige and brown embroidered fall leaves, plus gold stitching at the edges and random shiny beads; and said red high tops.
P.S. Sunglasses were almost invented in Middletown.