Molly, the Tortoise, is ill. My sister is taking her to the tortoise hospital. I haven’t heard from my sister Nancy in weeks. According to our mother she slept the entire Saturday, and perhaps a greater portion of Sunday as well. My sister sounded chipper, her usual perky-to-the-point-of-irritating-self. It had been so long that I was actually starting to miss her. I was feeling somewhat abandoned, bereft of any semblance of support. My friend Richard was also MIA, while my friend Mia was richer in every thing but cash.
But now I have heard from both of them, both Nancy and Richard (Mia was created purely for the purpose of a pun, obviously). It was all in my imagination. I was not on the fecal roster for reasons I couldn’t fathom. I was not stuck behind the podium without any IMODIUM®. I am somewhat concerned about Molly, but was not able to ascertain any further details due to my being at the library at CSUB surrounded by students who were all glaring at me for disrupting their studies. I hope Molly will fare better than her namesake, Molly Mallone, who died of a fever, though no one could save her. I should learn more in a few days when our Wednesday evening soirées continue.
In other news, I am thinking about reading Shakespeare’s Richard III. There is a documentary video I have with Al Pacino wrestling with the role called Looking for Richard. Richard III is also a 1995 British drama film adapted from William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, starring Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr., Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, John Wood, Tim McInnerny and Dominic West. The setting for this film is 1930s England, but an alternate version torn by civil war between the houses of York and Lancaster, where Richard conspires to create a fascist dictatorship.
Of course, my TV is broken, and who amongst my friends has a VCR? — so little chance of me watching that. I would also like to see the Ken Burns documentary on Country Music. Or the 45th season of SNL that began last Saturday. 45th season was quite a portent, but anyway, I heard that Maya Rudolph’s take on Kamala Harris was spot on, and host Woody Harrelson scored a few points with his attack on Joe Biden. Larry David and Alec Baldwin were back for the cold open. Guess who they played? Weekend Update managed to deliver a few decent quips from Michael Che and Colin Jost. Plenty of material for topical humor nowadays. I’ll just bet you the Colbert is on fire. I’ll refrain from commenting, at the risk of premature gloating. Maybe it’s a good thing that my TV is broken. Sure getting a lot more work and reading done.
I am reading a biography of poet Robert Graves, author of I, Claudius and The White Goddess. It is good. The book is by Robert’s nephew, Richard Graves, and is neither exploitative smear nor hagiography, but does dish the dirt about Uncle Bob, and the brilliant but manipulative woman he was in thrall to, by the name of Laura Riding. He leaves his wife and the two form an art colony, centered around the megalomaniacal Miss Riding, that Robert, in spite of being the real talent, insists on worshipping as if she is a goddess. In spite of her malign influence, he does some of his best work while living with her on Majorca, an island off the coast of Spain. Here is a poem he wrote there that seems to express his feelings about his strict muse:
If strange things happen where she is,
So that men say that graves openAnd the dead walk, or that futurityBecomes a womb and the unborn are shed,Such portents are not to be wondered at,Being tourbillions in Time madeBy the strong pulling of her bladed mindThrough that ever—reluctant element.
~ Robert Graves