Sunday, March 1, 2009

Getting through Saturday with Madame de Stael

I was practically holding my breath, knowing members of my Utah family were driving from St. George to Los Angeles to see Raymond's play. I called my niece Cheryl beforehand to wish her a safe trip and to tell her I thought it best that we relatives coming from other states should not converge on the scene the same weekend. Doc and I will be leaving next Saturday on the Grayhound bus to go to Raymond's. He has instructed me to ride the fast transit down to the bus station this week to see if we have to walk any distance. As DB says in his entry this morning in Vagabond Journeys success is in the details. If that is the case, Doc will get us there thoroughly briefed, prepared, and on schedule. Pam, our nurse blogger who lives in an LA suburb, suggested that we have dinner together before the show, but I may opt for just meeting her to the play and talkng afterwards as Doc has not been out and about for years and I can't guarantee how sane he will be. I have tried to take him to the theater or even to movies and he invariably gets up and leaves before the show even starts. This is, of course, alcoholic behavior, which at this point in time cannot be altered, but rather dealt with in order to make this trek to California. Raymond understands and will stretch to accomodate him no matter what condition he is in.
I was comforted yesterday reading Madame de Stael by Francine Plessix Gray to learn that a good many otherwise sane and even brilliant people of her time got addicted to the opium that came from India, discovered by the British to be so useful in so many ways, until it was learned that it was also dangerously addictive. Her own brilliant mother, married to her very wealthy Swiss father, became addicted and could not get off from it until her death. Voltaire and Dickens were famous writers who dabbled in opium. I am reading that even Madame de Stael may have tampered with it. God knows she had enough upset to contend with, with the French Revolution and the killing of so many royals to say nothing of her friend, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Napoleon did not like a pushy intellectual woman like Madame de Stael, so she was lucky he did not kill her.
Madame de Stael was known for her marathon conversations. She would keep whatever man she was with at the time up all night talking until they wearied. Some even sickened and died trying to keep up with her. The author thinks now she would surely have been diagnosed as bi-polar with her manic behavior, but I don't know as that would have done her any good either, being diagnosed I mean.
I was also intrigued to read about her relationship with a brilliant fellow named Constant who brought out her talent for scintillating insights as no one else did. Now Doc is that man for me. His knowledge of the arts and his appreciation of a black sense of humor has made him indispensible to me, if I was ever to get my plays produced at all! He has helped me to put them up on Youtube in series, three plays I thought best lent themselves to a two actor format. I was able to give him improv privileges since it is impossible for him to memorize given his alcoholic intake. He still retains enough of his native intelligence to do that fairly well, but he becomes very irritable if directed at all. So the way I critique his work is to reject videos I don't like until he figures out how to act in one I do.
I figured I could not wait any longer to find a better set up to do my plays, at 78 years old. He was it, so I have had to learn to work around his addiction. My own partial disability hobbling me for years was a handicap in doing theater the normal way. (See blog list: GerryKing40 channel featuring the first episode of Aunt Santhea)
Now Doc loves his success such as it is, and since I am the source of it, I do not believe he will give me up until he dies. He surrounds me with attention that will keep me from straying despite any aggravation with his limitations.
But I am addicted to food, as can be seen in my body shape quite easily in my photos and on my videos. Battling with that for years has taught me how hard it is to conquor any addiction once it is deeply entrenched into the psyche. It becomes a less than ideal way of surviving. It is comfort! So addiction continues to confound me as I read Madame de Stael for any answers she might have, who was known for her brilliant reasoning power and refusal to be stifled no matter the cost! A woman after my own heart.


Pamela said...

Keep in touch and let me know what your plans are.

Connie said...

Yeah-no one can shut me up-either-as I say I've never grown up and no one can make me,LOL


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