Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Samuel Beckett

I originally composed this for my humble blog, but at the request of my dear friend Sharon I submitted it to Il Sussidiario and Dario published it. So, here is Samuel Beckett: life in two dimensions. It did not appear here first. In its stead I posted the interview with Beckett, knowing that virtually, or literally, nobody would like it. If you don't want to link, below is a slightly modified version of my Il Suss piece:

Harold Pinter wrote something very visceral about Beckett. I am not sure how I feel about it, other than Pinter is spot on. It's the truth of what he writes about Beckett's writing that I can't quite figure out how to take, that is, how to write about it myself, except to quote it.

Pinter writes that Beckett is "not leading me up any garden path, he’s not slipping me a wink, he’s not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he’s not selling me anything I don’t want to buy — he doesn’t give a bollock whether I buy or not — he hasn’t got his hand over his heart." In my bumbling philosophico-religio-blogosophical way, I guess it is about experience and desire and not settling for any old b.s., grasping at straws to find meaning and, dare I say, truth.

As Vladimir says to Estragon in act one of Waiting for Godot: "is it –this is not boring you I hope– how is it that of the four Evangelists only one speaks of a thief being saved. The four of them were there –or thereabouts– and only one speaks of a thief being saved. (Pause.) Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can't you, once in a while?" Returning the ball, engaging, talking honestly, not abstracting, but looking at what faces you. The best way for me to engage the writings of Beckett is to understand that he works in two dimensions- depth and length. As Pinter asserts, in Beckett's literary world, there is no looking up. That is okay because Christians spend too much time looking up. Since, it is Godot that we heard about Luke, we'll stick with that Evangelist and turn to his sequel to his Gospel, Acts:

"And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'" (Acts 1:10-11 ESV). It is clear that the end of time is not when he will come, but when the Holy Spirit descends, which happens in the next chapter. The Holy Spirit keeps our gaze level and allows us to look at what and who it is that faces us.

After some correspondence (i.e., writing back-and-forth) today, I may turn next to Milan Kundera, whose novel Immortality provokes me in much the same way that Beckett affects me. I was a Kundera addict for several years. His book of essays, The Curtain, is one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read.

Today's neo-logisms: blogosophical and protagonize. I am very proud of both. I guess I better get to work writing what I am supposed to be at work writing!

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