the good thing about having a sister that does english lit (and with not altogether dissimilar tastes) is that my house is well stocked with books. going back to look at our collection (which i've missed all my time in london) was like rediscovering something. so many of my old books now are literally turning yellow.

as you might tell nowadays i divide my day into thirds. when i'm fresh i study. when i get emotional i read. when i'm sick of that i hit town.

one day i will be a mel brooks kind of person, or cartman instead of kyle. but, i like arthur miller. conservative, american dream sort. the synopsis says this is about a man and his guilt, ostensibly autobiographical, the usual miller-monroe fighting stuff. he's talking to the dead which is why he talks so much, the dead can't really reply properly, and about how he decides that it's fine to move on and shack with holga, his latest love

after the fall, act II

mag: remember how used talk to me till I fell asleep?

quen: mag, i've sat beside you in darkened rooms for days and weeks at a time, and my office looking high and low for me -

mag: no you lost patience with me.

quen, after a slight pause: that's right, yes

mag: so you lied right?

quen: yes i lied, every day. we are all separate people. i tried not to be, but finally one is - a separate person. i have to survive too honey.

mag: but if you loved me?

quen: but how would you know mag? do you know any more who i am? aside from my name? i'm all the evil in the world aren't i? all the betrayal, broken hopes, the murderous revenge? [then suicide monologue by mag]

mag: quen, what's lazarus?

quen: jesus raised him from the dead. in the bible. go to sleep now.

mag: wha's 'at suppose to prove?

quen: the power of faith

mag: what about those who have no faith?

quen: they only have the will

mag: but how do you get the will?

quen: you have faith
mag: but jesus must have loved her

quen: who?

mag: lazarus?

quen: that's right, yes! he ... loved her enough to raise her from the dead. but he's god, see... and god's power is love without limit. but when a man dares reach for that... he is only reaching for the power. whoever goes to save another person with the lie of limitless love throws a shadow on the face of god. and god is what happened, god is what is; and whoever stands between another person and her truth is not a lover, he is... [he breaks off lost, peering, and turns back to maggie for his clue] [through a sudden burst of tears]
we... used one another.

mag: not me, not me!

quen: yes, you. and i. "to live" we cried, and "now" we cried. and loved each other's innocence, as though to love enough what was not there would cover up what was. but there is an angel, and night and day he brings back to us exactly what we want to lose. so you must love him because he keeps truth in the world. you eat those pills to blind yourself, but if only you could say , "i have been cruel", this frightening room would open. if you could only say , "i have been kicked around, but i have just been as inexcusably vicious to others, called my husband idiot in public, i have been utterly selfish despite my generosity, i have been hurt by a long line of men but i have cooperated with my persecutors..."

mag: son of a bitch!

quen: "and i am full of hatred; i, mag, sweet lover of all life - i hate the world!"

quen: hate women, hate men, hate all who will not grovel at my feet proclaiming my limitless love for ever and ever! but no pill can make us innocent. throw them into the sea, throw death in the sea and all your innocence. do the hardest thing of all -- see your own hatred and live.

mag: what about your hatred? you know when i wanted to die. when i read what you wrote kiddo. 2 months after we were married kiddo.

quen: let's keep it true -- you told me you tried to die long before you met me

mag: so you're not even there, huh? i didn't even meet you. you coward! what about your hatred! i was married to a king, you son of a bitch! i was looking for a fountain pen to sign some autographs. and there's his desk - [she is speaking toward some invisible source of justice now, telling her injury] -- and there's his empty chair where he sits and thinks how to help people. and there's his handwriting. and there's some words. [she almost literally reads in the air, and with the same original astonishment.] "the only one i will ever love is my daughter. if i could only find an honourable way to die." [now she turns to him] when you gonna face that judgey? remember how i fell down, fainted? on the new rug? that's what killed me judgey? right? and you were ashamed of me. don't lie now! you're still playing god! that's what killed me quen!

quen: [in quiet tension against his own self-condemnation]: we'd had our first party in our own house. some important people, network heads, directors -- all right. i wasn't... ashamed. but ... afraid. i wasn't sure if any of them... had had you

mag: [astounded] but i didn't know any of those!

quen [not looking at her] i swear to you, i did get to where i couldn't imagine what i'd ever been ashamed of. but it was too late. i had written that, and i was like all of the others who'd betrayed you, and i could never be trusted again.

mag [with a mixture of accusation and lament for a lost life, weeping] why did you write that?

quen: because when the guests had gone, and you suddenly turned on me, cold, remote, it was the first time i saw your eyes that way -- betrayed, screaming that i'd made you feel you didn't exist

mag: don't mix me up with louise!

quen: that's just it. that i could have brought two women so different to the same accusation -- it closed a circle for me. and i wanted to face the worst thing i could imagine -- that i could not love. and i wrote it down, like a letter from hell. that's rock bottom, what more do you want? mag, we were both born of many errors; a human being has to forgive himself! neither of us is innocent, what more do you want?

mag: love me, and do what i tell you. and stop arguing [he moves in anguish up and down beside the bed]. and take down the sand dune, it's not too expensive. i want to hear the ocean when we make love in here, but we never hear the ocean.

quen: we're nearly broke, mag, that dune keeps the roof from blowing off.

mag: so you buy a new roof. i'm cold, lie on me.

quen: i can't do that again, not when you're like this

mag: just till i sleep!

quen - an outcry : mag! it's a mockery. leave me something.

mag: just out of humanness! i'm cold!

quen: it isn't my love you want anymore. it's my destruction. i want those pills. i don't want to fight you maggie, now put them in my hand. drop them you bitch! you won't kill me! you won't kill me! you won't kill me!

reintroducing holga: holga is a ww2 survivor, a courier for the plot to assassinate hitler. she survived while all the officers died. she's also quen's latest flame.

[holga appears on the highest level]

holga: but no one is innocent they did not kill!
quen: but love, is love enough? what love, what wave of pity will ever reach this knowledge? - i know how to kill? i know -- she was doomed in any case, but will that cure? or is it possible [he turns towards the tower, moves toward it as toward a terrible god] -- that this is not bizarre... to anyone? and i am not alone, and no man lives who would not rather be the sole survivor of this place than all its finest victims! what is the cure? who can be innocent again on this mountain of skulls? i tell you what i know! my brothers died here --- but my brothers built this place; our hearts have cut these stones! and what's the cure? no, not love; i loved them all, all! and gave them willing to failure and to death that i might live, as they gave me and gave each other, with a word, a look, a trick, a truth, a lie -- and all in love!

holga: hello!

quen: but what will defend her? [he cries up to holga] that woman hopes!

[she stands unperturbed, resolute, aware of his pain and her own.]

or is that exactly why she hopes -- because she knows? what burning cities taught her and the death of love taught me: that we are very dangerous! and that's why i wake each morning like a boy -- even now, even now! i swear to you, i could love the world again! is the knowing all? to know, and even happily, that we meet unblessed; not in some garden of wax fruit and painted trees, that lie of Eden, but after, after the Fall, after many, many deaths. Is the knowing all? And the wish to kill is never killed, but with some gift of courage one may look into its face when it appears, and with a stroke of love -- as to an idiot in the house -- forgive it; again and again ... forever?

no it's not certainty, i don't feel that. but it does seem feasible... not to be afraid. perhaps it's all one has. i'll tell her that... yes she will, she'll know what i mean.

[he turns upstage. he hesitates; all his people face him. he walks toward louise, pausing, but she turns her face away. he goes on and pauses behind mother, who stands in uncomprehending sorrow; he gestures as though he touched her, and she looks up at him and dares a smile, and he smiles back. he pauses at his dejected father and dan, and with a slight gesture magically makes them stand. felice is about to raise her hand in blessing -- he shakes her hand, aborting her enslavement. he passes mickey and lour and turns back to maggie, she rises from the floor, webbed in with her demons, trying to awake. and with his life following him he climbs towards holga, who raises her arm as though seeing him, and with great love... ]

holga: hello!

quen: hello.


so it turns out that even holga is a very thinly veiled reference to inge morath. oh and another person he left behind. so fascinating.


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