Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book III - from the Brasillian fragments

Book III

I awoke suddenly, although I had not been sleeping. I was looking in a mirror by candle
light, when I recognized my face. Not the one I was wearing now, but the one I’d had back in the 16th Century. I, or he, smiled at me, the me that I apparentiy was now.
Things had not gone according to plan. Again.
And now here I was, twenty-something, in the hyperreality of a psychotropic drug (turned out to be LSD), the Other having relenquished control enough for me to come to our senses.
Where the hell was I?!
A flood of memories overwelmed me, mostly his (the Other’s, that is), some of mine.
I pulled us away from the mirror, and looked around. By the dim light I saw I was in a bathroom, the style of which was new to me. I could just make out what I thought was the light switch, so I fiddled with it, and the bright incandescent overhead came on, causing me to close my eyes for a moment.
I opened my eyes again, and examined the bathroom. It was small and sparse. There was a small, oblong cabinet of very shiny metal just under the mirror, with sliding doors in front. So I slid one to the side. Inside were various toiletries, some with writing on it. I read toothpaste, aspirin, razors, etc.
I could read these things, but that didn’t tell me in what language. It was the
language of this body I was in, so I naturally could read it. But I’d learned from last time that it might take some time till I could differentiate between this language I could read, and my mother tongue - if different - which I might not even be able to understand any longer.
This body snatching stuff is a bitch, sometimes.
I decided to venture out of the bathroom.
I found that I was in a rather bland apartment, with ratty furniture, a mishmash of stuff on the walls, numerous books and papers strewn about. Fortunately, no one else was there. I entered the main room, where a light was already on, and saw two ____ doors opposite me. I crossed the room to the one closest, hesitated a moment as I listened at it for any sound within, and knocked gently.
No answer.
I slowly and carefully swung the door open. I reached in, searched for the light switch, and flipped it on. The room was not too small, not too big; there was a mattress on the floor with rumpled bedclothes, a ____ folding chair, and a pile of clothes. There were also many pictures on the walls. Pictures from movies (some I recognized), theatre posters, some black and white paper pictures that looked sort of, but not quite, like from newspapers.
It seemed familiar.
I decided to look in the other room, just in case I was wrong. I did so, but the second room seemed “off” in a way I can’t describe.
So I went back to what I believed to be my room, closed the door, and sat down
on the mattress, with my back against the wall. It took a minute to realize I had disrupted some picture a behind me. I turned to look at them. They were simple paper prints, a mix of photography and drawing, black and white, obviously cheaply done. And they all seemed, in this spot above the head of the bed, to be following a theme.
I realized it was my story. The original story, that is, of my life as Faustus.
More memories overwhelmed me, of that time. As I let my gaze wander away from the wall, I saw a small beaten-up black book beside the bed. I picked it up and opened it. It was a journal. “My” journal. I opened it. On the inside of the front cover was written ” —, 198_ -“.
Weii, I now knew when I was. I read on.
[a few entries from a journal from ‘85 or ‘86]
This helped me to recall a few memories of my host body, though they were a bit
sporadic. And I now knew what year I was in.
Damn, my plan had really gone awry.
The plan: since the last time I had managed to enter the body of an already living being, who was already 14, and my hopes had all ended in failure, I had decided to start from scratch. So, I had managed to find another descendent, pregnant with unborn twins, one of whom had no spirit, and aimed to enter that one. Apparently, I’d missed slightly. I had entered the twin with a spirit, somehow causing me to forget myself, and so now here I was - in New York City if gleaned correctly - writing poetry, making an Underground film (whatever that was), drinking excessively (often in Downtown Beirut - which really through
me at first, till I realised it had to be the name of a pub), taking drugs (pot, which
was something you smoked, H, which I suspected was heroin, “acid”, which was something you “dropped”, and opium), and going to movies, plays, and some new kind of music, called Punk, shows.
I had a lot of catching up to do with myself.

In the closet I found more journals, dating back to 1978. I stacked them in order, and
began pouring through them.
[few entries from European journey, then the story]
He, or I, as I now started to feel more “at home” with this self, returned to the small town of ________,where I grew up; but not for long, as the trip had stirred up the need to move on.

I wandered cross country.
I stopped for a bit in San Francisco, which I very much liked, but it was very
expensive, and I couldn’t find a job.
I travelled down to Santa Cruz, which was kind of cool, too, staying with a favorite Aunt. For a about a month I stayed in a family house, which she cared for (but liked people too much to live In) isolated in a canyon up in the mountains. I took this time to consider my options.
I wanted to be an actor. That was my dream.
So I headed to LA. (some may question the wisdom of going to LA. to become an
actual actor, but, hey, I was 20, what the fuck did I know). I met up with a [former high school teacher, Mr. Hammersmith (only if going to do something with this),] who lent me a room. I got a job at Burger King. I enrolled at a small college with a Theatre Major, and Psychology Minor.
Things changed rapidly.
[a few entries from journals ‘79-81?]
I quickly became disillusioned with Psych. Although I diagnosed myself successfully - later finding out from my Mom that a pychiatrist had given the same diagnosis - it seemed too much about labelling, and not enough about the deeper why's.
There were exceptions, of course. I started reading the work of Dr. Timothy Leary, who was something of a modern day heretic (the mainstream denounced him outright, often with witless mockery), and found myself very drawn to his thinking.
[a bit here from/about Leary]
So theatre, which was the more important subject anyway, became my main focus.

I also obsessively went to films. Mostly “Art Films”. Alone. And stoned.
This must've been my influence. The obsession with films, that is.
I wrote rave reviews of quite a few. i especially followed certain directors: my old friend Jean Cocteau, F.W. Murnau, Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Aklra Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Jean-Luc Godard, Orson Welles, Kon Ichikawa, John Cassavetes, John Waters. And certain films, most of them wIth “cult” status, made a lasting impression: ERASERHEAD by David Lynch, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (I’d also seen the stage play in London In ‘78), BLADE RUNNER, ROAD WARRIOR, REPO MAN, THE SHOUT, LIQUID SKY, . And there was one actor I wanted to be as good as: Klaus Kinski.
[may Include some reviews here]
Apparently my Other was embarrassed by the fact that we’d spent our childhood &
teen years watching lots of crap, such as big Hollywood mindnumbing entertainment, but mostly horror movies. The previous actor I emulated was Vincent Price (whom I still admired, thinking he was underappreciated for his excellent comic acting - I’d even met him in an airport on the way to the same place - he to act, me to see, in DIVERSIONS AND DELIGHTS, where he was marvelous as Oscar Wilde).
We had become a “Serious Artiste”. And so if the horror movie was made by a Serious Artiste, it was acceptible (e.g., Murnau’s NOSFERATU... and Herzog’s remake). I seemed to feel guilty over going to, and really enjoying, the big budget remake of DRACULA, starring Frank Langelia and Laurence Olivier! I’d even written a treatment for a sequel, called DRACULA II: The Countess, based on the old classic DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (which I’d seen In my last body when it was released, and enjoyed very much) and Joseph Sheridan LeFanu’s novella ‘CARMILLA’, and one for a remake of the classic FRANKENSTEIN (another favorite from the “old days”) - both of which I never showed anyone (I even put non-de-plumes on them).
Mind you, I had no “connections”, anyway, so no one to show them to would even care.
(Much later I was to realize that I had “lost” the little movies I made as a teenager, because I was embarrassed by their amateurishness and light-weight subject matter).
This was taking things too far. I was to discover that this was common, however, in the late 20th Century. As art was very underappreciated in the United States, the peasantry having risen to prominence, but keeping their superstitious mistrust of learning, so the majority of the population considered artists to be a bunch of layabouts, artists became defensive, especially young struggling ones, and so they denegrated pop culture (except those, such as Andy Warhol, who manipulated it to effect), as it was mostly aimed at keeping the “groundlings” amused. But some of it was fun.

I had difficulty getting parts in the college plays. And I was drawn more and more to directing. I took a couple of directing classes with a burnt-out failed actor for a teacher, whose intelligence stagnated in alcoholic bitterness. We clashed. He labelled me a flake, which was ironic when held up to his own “achievements”.
My first experience directing was okay - a scene from Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS
(which I found amusing - it’s funny how some things come through). For my Lab Theatre production I directed a Sherlock Holmes one-act (there were several well-written ones by Michael & Mollie Hardwicke). The teacher’s only positive comment was that I cast well (missing the fact that this is an important part of directing - he himself was a terrible director - I ended up ghost-directing several of his actors in one of his productIons, at
their behest).
There was also a “store front” theatre, called The Shoebox Theatre, not far from the college, which had aspiratIons of doing New York style theatre. I directed a sequel to Marlowe’s play, “TO HELL WE GO, DOCTOR FAUSTUS”, for which I borrowed dialogue from Marlowe, George Bernard Shaw and I.A.L. Diamond (the latter being illegal, as his play, TOMORROW MORNING, FAUSTUS, was very much still copyrighted).
In my 2nd year I changed my Minor to Film Production. I was living in LA., and
had a better chance of making a living in film than theatre. I also studied Television Production, despite not much caring for TV, and almost never watched it (the one exception was “DOCTOR WHO”, a rather clever British children’s sci-fi series, which had gained a cult following in the U.S.). But I ended up studying more and more in film, even
learning animation.
At The Shoebox Theatre I directed two one-acts, “THE MAN WITH ThE FLOWER IN HIS
MOUTh” and “THE VICE”, both by the brilliant Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. Audiences were small (the theatre never really caught on, and soon closed). One of my actors, whom I’d been friends with for a while, was Lily Valdez.
We ended up having an affair.
When we got together, we had agreed to not fall in love - we had both been broken-hearted, and wanted to avoid falling in love again.
Oh, what foolishness.
I broke the promise.
Together with several others from the college we formed a theatre troupe, Renegade Players. Lily was also a writer, and for our first production we planned to do, with me directing, a romantic comedy, [SURPRISE!], at a coffeebar/theatre in Hollywood, the Deja-Vu Coffeehouse.
But things quickly fell apart. Besides the ending of the affair, which I tried
to handle well (I even helped her hook up with her next beau), there was too much apathy among other members of the troupe (they preferred the relative safety of the college milieu).

At this time I also gained a new roommate. I was living in a house, owned by a friend [
or Hammersmlth?], with he and a several others from the Theatre Dept. We needed a new roommate, and at my job, at 7-11, I met an interesting character, Harry Fist (when he’d introduce himself, he’d judge you by how long it took you to get the name), who was in need of a new place to live. So, he moved In.
We became immediate friends. Though he was in the Computer Dept., and studying Business, he had studied some theatre, and his taste in films was like my own.
He not only produced two one-acts for me (one of which I wrote, the other an adaptation of a short story, both of science fiction themes), but got some seed money together to produce an ultra low-budget feature film.

[the film is the ALIEN REPORT piece; problems casting the female lead, end
up very attracted to singer cast at last - then run out of money, can’t
get the film from the lab, I.R.S. takes the house, so flee to NYC with
new friend, Granger Hammersmlth - who turns out to be Meph. again]
[at LaMama meet ex-dancer, Maggie, who turns out to be a vampire,
and is the same reincarnation of the witch, a.k.a. “Mephistophela” - or she
becomes possessed by the spirit of the witch at Harmonic Convergence]

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