Monday, October 19, 2009

THE TRIP I NEVER TOOK

I wanted to see the Vigeland sculptures. They're in Oslo.

(It's an un-typical Em dream -- I've been around the world, and seen the places that seemed magical to me ... though I wanted to see, but never saw the Sphinx, and Russia.)

I was in the middle of producing, directing, choreographing, keeping alive my "FOUR CHOREOGRAPHERS" project.

One of the kids had powered the floor (see my post "Skidding," 9/1). I was still suffering over my slipping and sliding, lousy performance. And bugged by the weekend performances, the reservations, the rehearsals, my what-am-I-going-to-do-next thoughts made me want to end the project and say "Bye-bye" to everyone involved.

Except maybe Julie M -- lighting gal, janitor, do-everything young dancer who was trying to make it as a choreographer -- she reminded me of me. She bloomed with positive energy. She inspired busy me, got me to go with her to the museum to see Rodin's "Gates of Hell" sculpture.

Julie looked at things -- the real world, not just the dance world, like every other dancer I knew. And more than anything, she wanted to ge
t her master's degree so that she could teach kindergarten kids. Julie M was definitely un-typical.

A sailor guy, JC's pal who was in love with me, always came to dinner with gifts -- "Joy" perfume, an Indian dance doll that still sits on my shelf, and two travel books from Norway. Travel books bore me, but skimming through them --wow -- I saw pictures of incredible men and women -- naked, sculpture-people who seemed alive -- many, many, unbelievably many people of all ages, sizes, types with whom the park in Oslo is filled.

Vigeland created a world. The only thing I'd ever seen that enthralled me like those pictures was what I'd seen at the museum. With Julie.

I was restless. I didn't want to create more "ballets" or dance plays, or any pure or un-pure multi-media, barrier-breaking choreography. I'd tried to do that many times, but never really managed to break into the echelons of the "innovative," important guys in my field.

Martha Graham, "prima" innovative choreographer in modern dance, had a powerful artistic relationship with sculptor Isamu Nogochi. Other famous dancers had artistic, arty gurus in their corners. Not I -- I've never been arty or very interested in amplifying paintings, Shakespeare, or other playwrights, and poets.

(Okay, classical music inspires me, but my source, my passion to create and make some sort of statement comes from me wanting to talk with, communicate with, connect with plain ordinary people -- talk about what I see, feel, and seek.)

I need to make this clear -- what interests me is love, fear, pain, curiosity, amusement, joy, wonderment --the whole kit and caboodle of one's internal and external life.

It sounds pretentious. I used to like to be pretentious and sound educated, (use big words). I used to like to find untouched new subjects, and create shocking, unusual, evil characters.

Not anymore. I went into writing, certain that I could write -- and wrote. And boy oh boy, man oh man, yay team, goody goody -- I've learned to write better. Being kind of a natural born liar, (growing up with brilliant sisters, trying to out-do them, and impress an intellectual, wise daddy), I lied, fabricated, invented accomplishments, talents, knowledge -- you name it.

As I got skinnier physically (I've got to do a post about starving oneself, the joy and sorrow of those ups and downs), I also got skinnier, skived down as a writer. I learned that ugly characters, shocking stuff gets tiresome, unless there's more to it than ugliness. PLOT -- the story -- the GO from here to there IS IT.

So what the hell was I thinking when I got hung up on Vigeland? His people are heavy, square, slumped, breasts sag, all the men have peckers (hanging small ones
and unimportant balls), and most of the poses the people of all ages are in, are sexual.

The greatest, most amazing sculpture he created for the center of the park is a huge phallus of people intertwined, intermingled, body on body -- men, women, children and babies.

Why did I want to see the sculpture park? . Well ... I am not sure why ...

It's like me loving big books, long stories (not short stories). Vigeland created a whole world. And I have been impelled, as a writer, to create a whole world for "Cordelia" (my book"Somebody," on The Readery) -- the whole century, all the things that filled it, and how her life intermingled with everything that was happening. I'm not sure I had to write it, but that's what I wrote and re wrote for years.

Right here, right now, I need one of my usual expletives -- a wow, gee, golly, holy moley, jeeps, ooo, yow, or maybe a mmm.

I don't want to travel. I've traveled. I don't really want to see the sights that I should have seen (if I hadn't been so busy setting up a stage and teaching a stage crew my cues) ...

Okay ,that's a fib -- no, it's a lie -- I saw it all in pictures and didn't, still don't, feel impelled to see the real things.

How much can one do, see, feel, seek in one life?

But the sculpture park, the world that Vigeland created in Oslo Norway, is still in my mind -- those bodies, men, women, children, babies -- it's something I want to see ...

And if you gave me a ticket, and said "go," I'd say no. I'm too busy.

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